Tech Firms Exploring the Future of Transport

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The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month featured a variety of carless commuting options, including electric bicycles, scooters, and skateboards aimed at reducing commuting costs as well as traffic congestion, especially in larger cities where these issues are much higher.

Throughout the week, an AFP reporter tested the car-free concept using a GenZe electric bicycle. The reporter was able to consistently bypass clogged traffic near the convention center. The bicycle also features a throttle that can be twisted in place of pedaling, which is especially beneficial for those with physical limitations that do not allow for bicycling for extended periods of time. The GenZe e-bikes will be added to a Ford GoBike ride-share program in San Francisco in April. The company’s collection of carless transport includes the following:

  • 0 Electric Scooter – “Our original e-Scooter, the GenZe 2.0 has a front storage area, adjustable seat and open Back Bay for modularity. It connects with the GenZe app, but with some features limited.”
  • 0s Electric Scooter – “The GenZe 2.0s has lower handlebars, a new front fascia, and a sporty look. It comes with enhanced app features, including the ability to track and disable your scooter remotely to protect you from theft, and three years of 3G telematics data.”
  • 0f Electric Scooter – The GenZe 2.0f was made for city riders, couriers, and commuters on the go. It has [an] electronically locking center kickstand for added balance and security, and a hard locking storage compartment to keep your goods safe between trips.”
  • 100 Series e-Bike – “Perfect for new riders or riders new to electric bikes. It’s accessible, affordable, and a whole lot of fun.”
  • 200 Series e-Bike – “With a sleek design, integrated display, and connected app, the 200 series takes your ride experience to the next level.”

 

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GenZe spokesman Tom Valasek stated that several car makers had approached the company’s CES exhibit. “There is a lot of curiosity right now about where things are heading,” said Valasek. “I know a lot of people in the auto industry who are quite worried that car ownership is going away.”

As ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber become increasingly popular, technology giants continue developing innovative solutions that offer these services on a wider scale. Recent developments have favoured automated vehicles. Lyft Chief Executive John Zimmer stated that “car ownership makes no sense in the future,” adding that it was highly unlikely that his young daughter would want a car when she is of driving age. “She’ll want access to transportation.”

Zimmer also noted that an autonomous car boom would prompt an evolution in vehicles likened to rooms on wheels. These, he stated, might include sleeper cabins in trains or private offices.

 

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Bikes are not the only sources of electric, carless transportation in development. Despite setbacks with hoverboards, manufacturer Swagtron attended CES, where the company featured the hoverboards, along with skateboards and bicycles boosted with electric motors.

“We are seeing with personal mobility that some people like to skate, some people like to scoot, and some people like to ride,” said Swagtron Chief Operating Officer Andrew Koven.

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