Onewheel Electric Skateboard at The Gadget Show

Continuing the rise of personal electric transportation, on show here is the Onewheel, “the world’s first self-balancing electric skateboard”. Think of it as a skateboard deck with one a motorsport-style slick tyre in the middle. The Onewheel is self-stabilising and it’s simple to control – lean in the direction of travel and the Onewheel will start moving forwards. To turn, it’s like an ordinary skateboard, just lean in or out – apparently it takes a only a few minutes to get the hang of it. With a range of about 5 miles, the Onewheel has a top speed of 12 mph, depending on terrain.

Onewheel

The Onewheel was a Kickstarter project and amazingly raised over $630,000 against a $100,000 goal. Obviously no interest at all but I thought I’d better ask Jack a little bit more about it.

Onewheel Balancing

You can pre-order now for delivery towards the end of 2014 at a cost of US$1500.

 

Voltz Electric Bikes at The Gadget Show

Personal electric vehicles were very much in evidence at The Gadget Show with bicycles, scooters and skateboards all on show from different vendors. Voltz Bikes covered two of these categories; bicycles and scooters.

First up is the Voltz eTrail, an electric mountain bike which was recently road-tested on The Gadget Show itself. With a range of up to 50 miles, the 1.9 kW motor can give some serious “oompf”, technically speaking. Looking over the bike, the attention to detail and component quality is impressive, which is not entirely unsurprising given that it costs around GBP £8,500, which is not cheap.

Voltz eTrail

Next is the brand new eScoot is a electric scooter with a range of 30 miles and a top speed of 20 mph. A range of accessories will be available including the neat trailer shown in the photo below. Also not cheap at £2000 but I could see myself buying one of these or similar – my job requires me to travel between sites that are usually no more than a few miles apart and a vehicle like this would be ideal for those journeys. No worries about parking either! Both the eTrail and eScoot are made in Britain which is great to see in these economic times.

Voltz Bikes Scooter

Dan, who helps make “awesome fun products”, reviews Voltz range with me at The Gadget Show.

Powered Bodyboard

Design Icon out of Kowloon, Hong Kong, has created this great concept for a powered bodyboard. Driven by three electrically-powered propellers, the board’s deck has embedded solar cells to extend the battery life, while adjustable buoyancy lets the board both ride the waves and go completely submerged. I want one.

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept Deck

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept

Design Icon Bodyboard Concept Snorkeller

All images courtesy of Design Icon.

 

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

The Nissan Leaf is expected to be the first “normal” electric car and by the brief look I had today at Charles Hurst Nissan, it’s certainly not far off the mark.

To start with, it looks like a normal four door family saloon. Perhaps a little on the small side for US folk, but perfectly normal in Europe.

Inside, it’s a gadget-lovers dream – electronic dash, GPS, Bluetooth, the works. If you were expecting an electric car to be frugal with the juice, think again.

The gear stick only has three positions – park, forward and reverse – and is finished in a crystal blue that looks pretty good. In the picture, it’s the object in the bottom left.

The interior is pretty roomy, again by European standards. There’s plenty of space for four adults.

Moving round to the boot (trunk), there’s room to get the shopping in or a couple of suitcases.

That is the portable charger you can see in there. Plugs into any UK domestic 230V 3 pin socket.

Which brings us round to the front of the car. Just below the bonnet (hood), there’s a small flap which opens up to show two charging ports. The one on the right is for normal home or domestic charging, the one on the left is for commercial fast charging. Think petrol station for electric vehicles.

On the roof at the rear, there’s an optional rear roof spoiler with a solar panel which can charge the battery. From the size of the panel, I think you’d be waiting awhile to charge from flat, but I suppose every little bit helps.

Chatting to the salesman, he was using the Leaf as his daily car. He felt that the range of 100 miles was realistic and the regenerative braking was effective in returning power to the battery (and stopping the car!). The torque (acceleration) was good and the car easily kept up with other cars on the round. While he’d only driven it up to 70 mph – that’s the legal limit in the UK – the Leaf wasn’t struggling and would reach its top speed of 96 mph.

I would buy one of these in heartbeat – my daily commute is about 7 miles each way and I perhaps drive another 10 miles in the day visiting other businesses, so the 100 mile range would be no limitation. The only snag is the price. At £26,000, it’s nearly three times the price of my daily runabout when it was new and that’s even with a £5,000 discount from the UK Government for EVs. But with petrol prices being what they are – the UK pays about £1.35 per litre, that’s about $7.67 per US gallon – you can see that it can begin to look much more attractive. If the prices come down, I can see that EVs like the Leaf will sell very well as second cars for commuting and school runs.

Sitting next to the Leaf was another exciting Nissan – the GTR. Slightly different approach to motoring, mind you.

Thanks again to everyone at Charles Hurst Nissan in Belfast.

 

Ford Introduces The Ford Focus Electric

Sean from Ford introduces the all-electric version of the Ford Focus, which is set to be launched in 19 markets in late 2011. This is simply a remarkable vehicle. Esby takes you deep into the heart of the car to get a full rundown of all the features inside and out.  With the need in my family growing for an additional vehicle I could see the green Electric Ford Focus sitting in the driveway.

Interview by Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

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