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The plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market is forecasted to experience explosive growth in the next decade. In particular, some analysts expect that micro-mobility vehicles — a subclass of PEVs — will grow in valuation to $210 billion by 2028. Micro-mobility vehicles are small, electric-powered transportation devices used for short distances. Common examples include electric scooters, e-skateboards, and e-bikes.
This massive popularity of these small personal transportation devices is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing cost-competitiveness of PEVs relative to traditional vehicles like cars, advances in lithium battery technology, and growing consumer interest in sustainable transportation options.
Even military use of such electric vehicles has increased in recent years. Not to mention, COVID-19 has changed the way we think about commuting and many of us are now looking for alternatives to crowded public transport.
The Electric Unicycle: Dead End, Niche, or Breakthrough Industry?
One type of personal micro-mobility device that is gaining popularity is the electric unicycle (EUC). EUCs are self-balancing, one-wheeled devices that are powered by lithium batteries and a high-torque hub motor.
An average EUC can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can travel distances of up to 20-30 miles on a single charge. More performance-oriented EUCs can reach speeds of up to 50 mph, and some include built-in suspension for off-road travel. The cost is also relatively affordable, with a variety of high-performance models priced under $2,000.
Emerging Popularity and Utility of Electric Unicycles
Although the statistical popularity and sales figures in the EUC market aren’t clear, due in part to its niche, electric unicycles have been increasingly visible in urban settings in Europe and North America. The appeal of the electric unicycle is clear: They’re much cheaper than cars, motorcycles, or even public transport. Moreover, they’re emission-free and small enough to take with you on a train or bus, or even into the office. In fact, they will fit right under your work desk.
Those who live in cities and need a nimble form of transportation for short distances, such as less than 10 miles, and can quickly get them from point A to point B, are finding that electric unicycles are a good solution. An interesting example is also that of food delivery services like UberEats, which allow carriers to use their electric unicycles for their ease of maneuverability in congested areas.
As the growth in personal electric transportation for commercial use and leisure continues to expand, so too will the number of people using electric unicycles in public spaces. Given the increased presence of e-scooters, it would not be surprising to see an increase in the visibility of electric unicycles in the coming years.
Of course, the question remains of how society will react to this change. Will we accept electric unicycles as a new transportation option? Or will they be seen as a passing fad?
Whether electric unicycles are a passing novelty or here to stay is yet to be seen. But one thing is for sure, with the innovation in micro-mobility moving at a breakneck pace, electric unicycles have become one of the most visible — and perhaps most amusing — evidence of this revolution.
Image Credit: Sergei Chuzavkov / Shutterstock.com