Let's say you're concerned about carbon emissions and you'd like to travel more sustainably. (You're visiting this website for a reason, right?) If you're like most of us, you can't afford a Tesla. The high cost of entry for plug-in hybrids may turn you off. If most of your trips are within a few miles from home, this solar electric scooter will do the trick.
Solar Electric Scooter (SES) Inc, was founded by Mike Donnell and Tony VanMeeteren, both of whom have a long history of environmentally responsible work. In 1980, Mike founded a solar hot water installation company that became the nation's largest. After attending college, Tony completed a certification program in Hazardous Materials Remediation at UCLA and became a certified solar contractor. Now the duo has joined forces to create a mode of transportation that's about as cheap as possible.
The design of the scooter is relatively straightforward save for the 36 volt hub motor, the lithium ion battery stored under the riding platform, and the solar panel on top of it. The panel is protected from wear by a laminated piece of glass.
The scooter's lithium ion battery can be charged in three ways. You can remove the battery, and connect it to an external charger which can be plugged into a standard wall outlet. You can use the retractable power cord on the scooter itself, or you can let the solar panel do the work for you. An hour of solar charging will get you a mile of range, while a full charge will provide 20 miles of zero emissions scooting bliss.
The electric motor's instantaneous torque propels the scooter to 15 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. That doesn't sound fast when compared to the acceleration of a car, but feels plenty zippy when you're standing on a narrow platform weaving through rush hour traffic.
$1,500 will put one of these babies in your garage right now and for each one purchased, SES donates $50 to charity to boot. Now that's one planet friendly vehicle.