We once wrote that the electric scooter phenomenon feels like “the idea of a fourth-grader made mayor for the day.”
If you’ve been to a city where the vehicles have become ubiquitous over the last three years — Baltimore, Denver and Los Angeles, to name a few — you know that people like to ride them at breakneck speeds (sometimes into incoming traffic, too often while texting), then strew them on street corners for the next last-mile commuter. It’s a messy system, predicated on a potentially dangerous machine. No wonder London officials are expecting up to 200,000 accidents by the end of the year.
In the wake of this knowledge, a new motorsport series called the eSkootr Championship might … not be the best idea? Set to debut in 2022, with the express purpose of “raising awareness for e-mobility and promoting the rapid advancement of sustainable transportation solutions,” the eSC will feature 30 riders racing specially designed circuits from 400- to 800-meters long.
They’ll be all racing — for the first couple campaigns, at least — on the same vehicle: the newly-designed S1-X eSkootr from Italian engineers YCOM. Powered by a 1.5 kWh lithium battery, and weighing in at 77 pounds, the S1-X can hit speeds of 60 mph on straightaways. It’s an absolute beast. The riders will have to be in fantastic physical condition to control it, especially on the turns. To this point, though, no one really has. In testing stages, riders have only juiced the e-scooter up to 70% of its capacity.
There are over a dozen different motorsport series, and it’s highly unlikely a European electric scooter tour is going to make big waves in the States. (Although with the randomness of TikTok these days, you never know.) But either way, let’s hope that A) the eSC is able to keep its riders safe, and B) in its mission to spread the good news on micromobility, it advocates for safety in that space.
Scooters made by Lime and Bird go about 40 mph slower, but they’re often used in situations that are dangerous enough in their own right, and don’t require any training, a license or even a helmet to ride. They’re wicked fun, don’t get me wrong (and so too, will the eSC be, assuming it gets off the ground without a hitch), but the fun factor is also what gets the whole system into trouble. Everyone wants to ride them and nobody really knows how. Maybe, hopefully, watching some pros do it will help us all.