The stand-up scooters, powered by electric motors, have been banned in Dubai but a Dubai-based start-up is revving up to launch its first electric scooters, designed and developed in the UAE, by the end of September.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has banned the stand-up scooters from sidewalks in a bid to reduce the threat to pedestrians and eventually introduce new laws governing the form of transport.
Despite the ban, some people are still using the stand-up electric scooters, priced from AED1,200, on the sidewalks to avoid the walk in the hot sun.
Adam Ridgway, CEO of One Moto, told TechRadar Middle East in an exclusive that he and his partner in the UK have been developing electric scooters – Electa for commuter (a vintage model of Vespa), Byka for delivery market and the Commuta (more designed for the European market). There are also two Emiratis as partners.
“We intend to change the landscape of logistics delivery. We have designed these bikes and we also have a range of parcel delivery vehicles planned for next year.
Ridgway believes that there are around 12,000 bikes on the UAE road and the average cost of a petrol bike is between AED 8,000 and AED 11,000 and the cost of the delivery box above that.
“If an average rider travels around 100km a day, he spends on average of around AED 7,500 on fuel every year and AED 150 for servicing and the maintenance cost, apart from queuing up at petrol stations. So, the average investment comes to around AED 25,000 for the first year.
No Salik and registration fees
The biggest advantage of an electric bike, Ridgway said is that a user doesn’t need to pay Salik and no registration fees as part of government incentives.
“The one main reason we developed the bike is to be environmentally friendly. After the aeroplane, a petrol motorbike is more harmful than an SUV and saloon car.
According to a study by the University of California Berkeley, emissions from motorcycles dwarf that of SUVs. A sportbike can be responsible for 1.5 times the total greenhouse gas emissions of a typical SUV over the lifetime of the vehicles.
“We have got ESMA [Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology] approval recently. ESMA introduced us to GSO [GCC Standardisation Organisation] in Saudi Arabia. We have been working with government organisations, including RTA, to get the necessary approvals to get the bikes on the road,” he said.
Moreover, Ridgway said that the bikes are designed by a team of bikers who understand the vehicles, the way a rider rides, and the conditions a rider rides in.
“The magic is fusing all this knowledge into intelligence that’s specific to riders,” he said.
However, he said the bikes are assembled in China and planning to assemble it in the UAE at a later stage.
Normal three-pin socket for charging
“We plan to have 20,000 bikes on the road by 2022 and our focus is on the delivery companies and supermarkets,” Ridgway said.
He said the bikes will be launched in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for now. In the UAE, it will be officially launched by the end of September.
The Electa is priced at AED 16,450 while the Commuta at AED 14,450 and Byka at AED 14,950.
“When we came to the design and R&D of One Moto, one of the things was convenience. The way we have designed the battery is a slot-in and slot-out method. A customer can purchase multiple batteries and keep one in the office and one in the home for charging. The biggest disadvantage for electric vehicles is the charging stations. We wanted to make sure that we take the hassle of the user. The battery can be charged from any three-pin socket,” he said.
The bikes have a capacity of 85km an hour, including three gear systems to conserve the battery. The battery gives a life of between 90km and 150km. The full charging takes between four and six hours and 80% charge in one hour.