E-Mobility

Yesterday, the international Motor-Show in Frankfurt (IAA) saw a big protest, demanding an urgent change in politics towards eco-friendly mobility.

A lot of people think that this is only about the question which power train to use in a car.

Alas, it’s not. Even with an all-electric car, it’s still neither a good idea nor good use of resources to propel 2 tons of steel forward to get a single human being to work.

Rethinking mobility is much bigger and needs to focus on how to keep us mobile, with a strong focus on public transport and bicycles. It also includes questions like home office – why do people need to commute to work, if work could also commute to them?

If we’re serious about saving our planet, we need to stop putting individual car ownership on top of our agenda.

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(Deutsche Bahn, ICE 3, Cologne Central Station)

Segway done right

This weekend I had the great opportunity to test-drive a prototype of a new scooter, the Steereon; I’ve been watching it closely ever since I saw the first prototype during a startup event at Stadtgarten a year ago.

The Steereon will come in two versions (for regulatory reasons) and sports a unique, all-wheel steering which makes driving an enormous amount of fun; the founders call it “Carving on the Street” and that’s pretty much exactly how it feels.

As a modern device for urban mobility on the last mile it’s basically what the Segway should have been – light weight, fun and extremely agile.

The scooter will become available during early 2020 (planned) – I can highly recommend it and plan to pre-order one

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(Test-drive in Cologne, e-Scooter configuration)

Speed limit? Speed limit!

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity again to drive long distance in the US.

Speed limits are now at 65 to 75 mph on most highways, which makes for very smooth and relaxed driving; it’s much easier and less stressful to drive 600 miles in the US than to drive 600 kilometers in Germany.

Speeding doesn’t really benefit anyone:

  • The environment suffers a lot due to much higher consumption
  • The risk for fatal accidents increases greatly
  • You arrive a lot less relaxed (if at all)
  • You won’t save time overall

Then why are we so obsessed in Germany with having no speed limit on our motorways? I have no idea.

Or, as Virginia signposts it:

“Speeding over 80 mph (130 km/h) is considered reckless driving – Fines will be higher”

There you have it.

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(I-81)

One-pedal driving

Today I had to go to Bonn, to Deutsche Post/DHL, and finally found a BMW i3 nearby; from Drive Now, one of my favorite car sharing companies.

I selected the appropriate hourly package, and off we went – boy, is that car fun to drive!

The i3 was set to one-pedal driving and maximum recuperation (It was the first time for me in an i3, so I have no idea whether that’s the default setting or came from the previous driver)

In one-pedal mode, the ‘gas’ pedal is no longer linked to the power you send to the engine, but to the car’s forward motion. In this mode, there is no coasting, you keep the pedal in the same position to maintain speed. And if you (abruptly) take you foot off, the car will (abruptly) brake and come to a full stop. It took me a mile, or so, to get used to it, but once I got the hang of it, it felt like the perfect way to drive smoothly.

The i3’s dashboard shows everything you need to know about power consumption and after a while if becomes really fun to drive as energy-efficient as possible. The dashboard could be a bit less stark though – why not make driving energy efficient a game and reward drivers with new cars for the navigation system?

Enough talk, here’s Madeleine:

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(Drive Now name all their cars)