More and more people in Singapore are using their electric scooters and even unicycles - also known as Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs) - to get around right now, and that trend looks set to continue.
It’s no surprise either, given many models can travel at 25km/h for up to 35km on a single 2-hour charge. That’s enough to get you to and from work in some cases, and there’s plenty of time to top up the battery in between. What’s more, they’re portable enough to bring onto public transport should you have a long commute, and are eco-friendly too.
With that in mind, we set out to answer many lingering questions surrounding PEVs, and figured the best way to do that would be to ask Andreas Dale, Marketing Manager of Falcon PEV, who already answers these questions every day as part of his job selling them. Yes, that’s him in the main picture, not a male model.
Additional text by Elissa Loi
Is it legal?
That’s one of the first questions many people asked us during testing. Contrary to popular belief, it’s indeed regulated by the LTA, and they have rules surrounding it. Many, in fact. But the general rule is to err on the side of caution, which most Singaporeans should be familiar with.
But did you know you have to equip your PEV with a white light in front and a red one at the back? And if you can't, you will have to wear a luminous vest or make yourself visible during the night. What PEV owners might not realise also is that pedestrians have the right of way on pedestrian crossings and in areas of high people traffic, you might even have to dismount and push your PEV across. That might lend some legitimacy to the case of the e-scooter rider getting his PEV towed because he didn't dismount at the pedestrian crossing.
Where are they allowed?
Hate to break this to you, but PEVs aren't allowed on roads no matter what speed they're going at. According to LTA, they're allowed on footpaths at the top speed of 15kph or cycling paths at 25kph. Obviously, there aren't any speed cameras installed on the pedestrian paths (yet) so it's up to your own civic-mindedness to keep to the speed limits.
Only bicycles and electric bicycles are allowed on the roads. Which means that guy riding his PEV along Upper Aljunied Road was clearly breaking the law.
Should you buy an affordable China-made PEV, or one from an established brand?
As with all electronics, you get what you pay for. While there are many models of China-made PEVs that go for half the price, you also get approximately half of everything else. That means it might not be as well designed, have lower range, or not be as reliable.
Dale adds: “It boils down to quality assurance, which we feel is key given you have your entire self on it, travelling at a good 25km/h - 30km/h. The last thing you want is for something to happen to the structure, which can cause the user to be hurt. The brands we carry at Falcon PEV have a high standard of quality control checks recognised by international standards. An example will be the Israeli INOKIM / MYWAY eScooter which took the designer 4 years to develop.
An electric scooter is like a motorcycle – it runs on a motor, so a certain level of reliability has to be considered. Hence, there’s also a need for some maintenance, which a known brand will have the parts to support through an officially appointed distributor”.
Do you need to wear safety gear while riding a PEV?
25km/h might not sound like much, but it’s actually fast enough to cause injury should an accident occur. Even though it’s not a legal requirement at the monent, Dale recommends that “all riders of PEVs should put on the necessary safety gear such as helmets – an essential – wear proper footwear, and have proper safety lighting to make themselves visible. Of course, not forgetting the bell as well”.