How Commuting with a Scooter in London can Save You Cash

It’s a drudgery no-one would wish on their worst enemy – the daily slog into the heart of London. We’re in love with the city - full of energy and jam-packed with culture and excitement, London is one of a few places that could rocket your career to interstellar heights overnight. However, moving around the city is not easy. It’s hard on your pocket, it swallows time and causes significant stress to London’s commuting population - with effects of commuting on mental health now an increasingly discussed topic.

The status quo of London commuting cannot remain. Pollution is choking, the streets stuffed beyond capacity, the Underground bulges at the seams and Londoners are spending X% of their take home salary simply to get to work! What’s the solution?

Costs of commuting in London

How much do you really spend on getting from your front door at home to the front door of work? Not all the commuting costs mentioned will affect you but the current costs of commuting in London paint a sobering picture of the cost of something many of endure daily: commuting to heart of the city.

·        Driving in the city

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Driving in and around London daily is an expensive business. Aside from your fuel – March 2019 fuel prices according to the AA were 121p a litre for unleaded petrol and 131p a litre for diesel – there are other costs to consider too.

Parking costs are eye-wateringly expensive. Different zones have different hourly parking rates.  To park in the city, you’ll be looking at £3.70 per hour minimum. In Hyde Park, Marylebone and Fitzrovia, if your diesel car is pre-2015, you’ll be paying £7.35 an hour to park.

In addition to fuel and parking costs, you’ll also need to consider the London Congestion Charge. The £11.50 daily charge applies to vehicles being driven in the charging zone from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, so peak working hours in other words

There’s more. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates every hour of the day, every day of the year within the same area of London as the Congestion Charge. Vehicles driven in the zone must meet emissions standards. If they don’t, you’ll get whacked with another daily charge of £12.50.  This is only the start as there are plans to expand ULEZ in the coming years.

Aside from fuel and insurance costs, driving and parking in London working 5 days a week with 8 hours daily of parking in the heart of the city will add an extra £1,072 a month to your commuting costs, with the new ULEZ charge included.

·        Ride the tube

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You could, of course, already be part of the 3 million commuters who take the tube. You can track how many others take your tube line every morning too, just for fun. Aside from the sheer volume of fellow commuters, there is the cost of it.

Adults without an Oyster card for a single tube journey in zone 1 will need to find £4.90 (there are other zones at different pricing structures). You can reduce the by half if you buy an Oyster card.

The average cost of catching the tube to work comes in at a £135, although some commuters say they pay much more than this, averaging £387 per month.

·        Take the bus

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The red London bus is an iconic symbol recognised the world over and synonymous with the bustling, vibrant streets of England’s capital. A single journey is £1.50 or for a few pence under £850, you can buy an annual bus pass. Again, you may find that fares change depending on zones and frequency of use.

The cheapest way to travel any distance on a regular basis by bus in London is the annual ticket but that will still set you back £70.84 a month. Add to this the time it takes to get from home to work and vice versa, along with overcrowding on buses at busy times and you can soon see how the daily bus journey is no-one’s favourite.

Number crunching the electric scooter for commuting

You don’t need us to tell you how expensive your daily commute is. But you do need us to show you just how brilliant and affordable an electric scooter for commuting is.

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Initial outlay is the amount you will spend on buying your foldable scooter. How much you choose to spend depends on your budget but you need a reliable scooter that has a strong robust frame and a reliable, high-performing  rechargeable battery. It is the battery, after all, that you’ll rely on to get you from A to B on your commute.

Around £450 (half that of an annual London bus ticket) will get the scooter you need: lightweight, foldable (for those unavoidable tube or bus trips), robust, stylish and a rechargeable lithium battery. You can choose to pay all at once or you can opt to pay monthly, a great way of spreading the cost. And because this is an interest-free option, you not paying any more for the convenience.

Of course, what we also need to consider is that with a monthly payment plan, after 12 months, the scooter is yours and no more payments. Our top commuter pro package comes with scooter and 24/7 helpline and breakdown cover, all for £68.60 a month for 12 months. If you spend £135 a month on a tube ticket, after only two electric scooter payments, your quids on. After 12 months, you have even more cash in your pocket!

Charging costs are an important consideration as you’ll need to plug in your scooter from time to time. Using an average hourly charge for electricity of 12.376p per hour (current figure from UK Power) and opting for the upper end charge time of 4 hours, it’ll cost you 50p to charge it. A 36v 6.4ah lithium battery, common on electric scooters, have an average run time of 15 kms or 9.32 miles so a daily charge over a 5-day working week will set you back in the region of £2.50 a week or just two single bus fares or half an hour’s parking in the West End.

Sneaky tip - buy an extra charger to charge your scooter at work for 0p!

Maintenance costs are a consideration too. Electric scooters for commuting have few mechanical parts but taking care of it, the battery and tyres, the less likely you are to face a ‘scooter breakdown’.

Replacing the lithium rechargeable battery is something you should think about, along with keeping an eye on the condition of your tyres.The tyres on your Model T- last for several thousand kms and so replacing them any time soon is not something you need to worry about.

The same can be said for the scooter’s battery. The long battery life means you won’t need to budget for a replacement just yet. Not keeping your scooter in a cold place extends battery life, as does charging it every 3 months when not in use. You can buy replacement batteries from us, when the time comes, for £90.

So, an electric scooter for the daily commute is the answer?

Yes, in part. Clearly it’s not meant for intra-city long distance travelling, but the electric scooter is making an impact in replacing the first and last mile commute – so the expensive bus journey or the two-stop tube hop could be a thing of the past. And if you live in the heart of London, it has the potential to replace both by cutting out public transport completely.

The electric scooter is not just a trendy item. It is a commuting workhorse, a smart investment that gives massive financial and lifestyle returns into the long term. Commuting in London is not just about expense: it’s about the time spent commuting, the drudgery and the pollution, three things that have affected commuting in the city for decades. Is the electric scooter part of the answer to commuting problems? Absolutely.


Electric Scooters for Commuting – A 9 Step Guide to Riding Etiquette

Electric scooters are a great way of getting around. Fact. With a decent reach in mileage per charge and quick charge time, the electric scooter for commuting is an increasingly popular choice for many inner city workers.

However, as with any form of transport, accidents can occur. To keep you safe, we’ve put together a helpful list of things to remember when out and about on an electric scooter.

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@Stez Unsplash

#1 Practice makes perfect

Quick and simple suggestion – when your new scooter arrives, unpack it and take it for a short spin to get used to it, preferably where you can’t run into people or objects. Practice braking, stopping sharply, get the feel of it when you corner and how much of a lean it will take before you have to take a foot off. The better you know your scooter before you take to the crowded city pavements, the safer you’ll be.

#2 You are sharing the pavement

London’s pavements are busy throughout the day but with increased foot traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, the small strip of pavement is rammed from kerb edge to wall.

Harmony amongst all pavement users, pedestrians and electric scooter riders included, is key to free-flowing city pavements. Riding with this in mind means you scoot along with no problems at all.

However...

  • If it’s busy, get off.

  • Don’t zip in and out of pedestrians – the pavement is not your personal slalom track.


#3 Be heard and seen

Lights on your scooter are perfect for darker mornings and evenings, giving other pavement and road users more chance of seeing you. A bell, should be used to warn other pavement users you are there, so someone stepping out of a doorway, looking down at their phone would, we’re sure, prefer the gentle ring of a bell than colliding with a scooter.

#4 Make sure YOU are seen

Ok, let’s be honest– the idea of a high-viz waistcoat fluttering in the breeze as you scoot to work may not be your idea of the best fashion accessory.

We understand your reluctance. The high-viz vest is not the most fashionable item of outer wear but there are other choices, you’ll be pleased to hear.  

  • Riding in light coloured clothing and in a way that gives everyone – pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers, bus drivers etc.- a chance of seeing you in good time.

  • In the depths of winter, a high-viz vest is a wise investment and certainly worth the four or five pounds that it will set you back. That said, there are come quite stylish waterproof ‘visible’ jackets on the market that look nothing like a workman’s jacket, worth a second look we would have thought.

#5 The basic rules of the road still apply to you

It’s just basic ‘rules of the road’ stuff…

  • Walk across the road rather than scoot.

  • Do the same at both pelican and zebra crossing.

  • Ride with caution - that is, looking ahead, taking action in good time to avoid street furniture as well as other pavement users.

#6 Respect the terrain

The likelihood is that most of the terrain on your commute is relatively flat and with a solid surface. Most electric scooters for commuting can handle a hill or two with no problem. But where electric scooters are not so good is uneven ground.

Forget off-roading – this is not what your scooter was built for – and take care with potholes in pavements and uneven surfaces.

#7 Consider a helmet

Aside from motorcyclists and their passengers, wearing a helmet on an electric scooter or bike is not compulsory. Yet.

It makes sense though, don’t you think, to protect the most important organ of the body with a helmet?

You may argue that you “won’t be going that fast” – touché – but flying off the scooter at its top speed of 28 kph (or 17mph) will do you some damage. And even at slow speeds, banging your head against a hard pavement is not recommended.

#8 Look after your scooter

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@sonance Unsplash

Essentially, electric scooters for commuting are simple, efficient machines. Lightweight and foldable, they have the latest breaking technology that makes them a safe riding option, no matter your age or agility. With very few moving or mechanical parts, the risk of serious mechanical breakdown is minimal.

But, if you a. rely on the scooter to get you to and from work and back again and b. travel on busy city pavements, it makes sense to keep the electric scooter well-maintained. Check the tyres for wear and tear on a frequent basis, get it serviced (you’ll find that’s part of what we do) and if it doesn’t feel right/not riding as well as it used to, get it serviced.

#9 Have fun (responsibly)!

Electric scooters are for commuting and pleasure. The way we get around busy cities, whether that is San Francisco with its electric scooter share programme or the busy pavements of London, has to change.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most harmful pollutant gases, irritating the lungs and nasal passages. As we walk or cycle through London, for example, we are exposing our bodies to this harmful gas. London is not the only UK city struggling to deal with the effects of pollution and so maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. Electric scooters for commuting is part of the answer.  

And then there is the fun element. Whizzing along a quiet pavement, hearing the wind singing in your ears, just like when you were a kid… there is no better way of commuting through the hustle and bustle of the city.  


How Commuting with a Scooter Reduces Morning Stress

There are few things in modern life that carry the same hysteria and notoriety as the morning commute. Sending shivers down the spine of many a city worker on Sunday night, the reality of the daily journey into the city can be a nightmare; frantic, packed and tiring - a distressing symbol of modern working life.

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The daily commute is a necessary evil. There is now evidence to prove what we have known all along – commuting is stressful. Ranking the tube stations across the London Underground network using commuter input and other data, Kings Cross St Pancras holds the unenviable title of ‘most stressful tube station 2017’. The London Underground is not the only source of commuting strain either – half of regular train commuters say it is a significant source of tension in their working day.

What is it that causes commuting stress?

#1 Overcrowding

The stand out feature between the most and least stressful tube stations are the number of daily entry and exits over the year. 97.92 million ‘entry and exits’ were recorded at Kings Cross St Pancras but at Barkingside, a mere 1.62 m annual ‘entries and exits’ were recorded. At peak travel times, upward of a quarter of a million people can pass through London’s busiest tube and train stations.

#2 Financial constraints

Londoners estimate they spend 20% of their income on commuting each month, not an insubstantial amount by any stretch of the imagination. The annual cost of the zone 1 - 2 Oyster card comes in at a hefty cost of £1,406, a figure that places the monthly cost of commuting in London as the most expensive in the world. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a two year freeze on TfL fares starting from January 2019 - a move that will go some way to alleviate the financial burden of commuting across the capital.

#3 Delays

Aside from worrying about how you will afford your annual ticket next year, delays are another major headache for commuters. Used in ranking London’s tube stations, it’s no surprise that the more delays commuters faced on their morning commute, the more stressful they rated it. Kings Cross St Pancras averaged 1,853 minutes of delays, compared to only 17 minutes of delays at Barkingside.

#4 Commuter behaviour

Most commutes are incident free. But there are occasions when commuter behaviour is unpleasant. From rarely making eye contact to not speaking, there are incidents on the commute that can leave people feeling fearful or vulnerable.

#5 Sensory overload

Heat, cold, noise… taking the tube at peak times is an assault on the senses. It is not uncommon for commuters to feel nervous about riding the tube. Combined with being underground and unfamiliar with exit routes whilst improvement works are being carried out in underground stations, the resulting anxiety makes for an unpleasant start to the working day.

To think that you have to do this every morning and every evening, five or six days a week… it can prove such a strain, your mental and physical health can begin to suffer.

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You wait for one and they all turn up at once... @jacobshutler Unsplash

Commuting with a scooter is the answer

Finding another way to get to and from work is one solution. There are several options – driving to work is one, although London’s roads are increasingly congested. Plus, you’ll be adding to pollution as well as facing the congestion charge to drive in the capital.

You could hail a cab, but this is not the cheapest of options...

The bus is always available, but brings similar issues as commuting on the Underground...

You could cycle on congested roads, but there are no showering facilities at work… Who wants to start the day hot and sweaty?

Fast, cheap, convenient and stress free.. The scooter is the answer!

The electric scooter solves the ‘last mile’ problem

It’s a phenomenon that has proved unsolvable. Until now.

The last mile problem is the challenge of moving people from transport hubs, such as a tube station, to their final destination. When the gap between the transport hub and your final destination is over a quarter of a mile, our willingness to use public transport all but evaporates.

The commute is not just the tube ride but the walk to the office. It’s walking the ‘final stretch’ to the office, scrambling through busy streets or even a bus ride. The electric scooter for adults is a personal electric light vehicle that has the potential to transform the stressful  morning commute into a pleasant journey.

With a range of up to 25 km or 15 miles on a single charge, you could alight your tube train several stops before you reach your destination, taking a different route into work by scooting along the pavement. If you live within a 15-mile distance of the office, you could leave the London Underground behind completely.

Financially speaking, once you’ve bought your electric scooter, there is no further outlay other than the few pence it costs to charge it up. And with options to spread the payments, you won’t have to find a chunk of money to outlay either.

Commuting with a scooter means no frustrations about delays and certainly no sensory overload either. An understanding of pavement etiquette is all you need and after a bit of practice, you can easily navigate the ‘last mile’ or possibly ditch your usual commuting method.

The scooter for commuting is here

San Francisco welcomes electric scooters for commuting back to its streets in early 2019. An earlier programme ran into several issues, one being availability of scooters at key points and the inevitable dumping of scooters. The better option is to own the experience and invest in your own scooter for commuting.

For many inner city London commuters, the electric scooter will make a difference in reducing the stress of the daily commute. The electric scooter for commuting is here. And it’s staying.  


Adult electric scooters: A 2019 Guide

In the past couple of years, hundreds of electric scooters for adults have come in to the UK market. Amazon’s now pretty saturated.. from the famous Xiaomi m365, to the sleek ninebot ES2, to the monstrous Condors, such a range of options can create a paradox of choice. We’re all familiar with this - it’s like ordering food from a 100 page menu… how can you possibly decide?


We’re here to help make this process a bit simpler, and help you to understand which adult electric scooter is best to suit your needs. Here’s a summary of things to think about:


  1. Purpose

We think the most important thing to keep in mind when electric scooter shopping is what you need it for! Are you a commuter, looking for a solution for your “last mile” problem? Or are you 72, looking for a quick ride to the bingo on monday evenings? It’s important to bear this in mind..


If you’re a commuter, folding up your scooter to take on the overground, you’ll need to prioritise weight. 15kg might not seem like a lot, but when you’re carrying it around train stations all day, it can get heavy.


Or perhaps you’re skipping out the overground entirely - in that case, you need to be conscious of your scooter’s range. Has it got the legs to get you to the office? The last thing you want is to run out of battery half way there!

N.B. most scooters are easily charged at the office - so you’ll usually just need the range for one leg of the journey.


Maybe you’re looking to purchase a scooter as a gift! In that case, think about what they’ll be needing it for.. You probably don’t want to be getting grandma a 40mph bullet scooter, but maybe that weird cousin of yours might like it? That’s for you to decide...


2. Important indicators


Great… you’re thinking… but how can I think about the purpose when I don’t understand the jargon? Brushless motors, regenerative technology, lithium batteries... it all seems a bit overwhelming.


Ultimately, we think the main indicators of importance in an adult electric scooter are the speed, range and weight. Focus on those as your main measurements, and leave the technicals for later. Industry standards are around 25kmph for a 25km range, at around a 12kg weight.


3. Extra specifications


Once you’re happy with the speed, range and weight, you might want to think about the motor power. The higher the number, (250W, 300W etc), the higher the torque - meaning your ability to accelerate and get up hills easily. If you live on a mountain side, you’ll be wanting a powerful motor so you don’t end up walking home!


Other than the motor power, there are a few useful gizmos to consider.


Does your electric scooter offer an app interface? Many in the industry do this, so you can track trip time, distance, remaining range etc. These are usually connected to pretty simply via bluetooth.


What about regenerative technology? This means that you’ll be saving power when you brake - more efficient for your transport needs, better for the environment. But it’s not critical to a good ride.


If you like to cruise effort-free, have a look to see if your electric scooter offers cruise control. (Note, “effort free”, not “hands free”!).


Conclusion


That’s a simple breakdown of how to choose an electric scooter that fits your needs in 2019.


If you’ve got any questions, on our scooters or any others on the market, you’re always free to drop us an email at support@ridewithelka.co.uk.


Enjoy the ride!


Electric Scooters: Shared VS Owned

As the day draws to a close and the sun settles over the horizon on the west coast of America, Dave the ‘bird-catcher’ swoops around picking up any electric scooters he can find and bundling them into his truck. It’s just another day for Dave, who makes $5 for every scooter he can find, charge then return in the morning, ready for the commuters.


Scooter sharing has been blowing up all over the place. For just $1 to unlock then $0.15 per minute you can hop on an electric scooter and fly around town. Wait... hold up, doesn’t mean paying $2.50 for 10 minutes? Well, we guess it’s worth it if you’re about to miss your train and have no idea when the bus is going to arrive…


The plus side of owning your own electric scooter is that you can use it whenever, wherever, rather than having to use an app to locate the nearest scooter. And then you realise it’s going to take you 5 - 10 minutes to get there. Suddenly the whole experience seems a bit pointless as you realise it’s probably quicker to just hop on a bicycle, or even walk...


But hold up, this is an interesting debate... Would you rather own your own electric scooter and be free to use it wherever, whenever, whilst taking responsibility for charging it and taking it around? Or would you rather pay per usage and enjoy the convenience of dumping it when you are done, but have the uncertainty of finding a scooter as well as the high cost of usage?


Leave a comment below with your thoughts 😊

The end of commuting as we know it?

As I sit, perched on a cramped South West Train service on my way to Waterloo station at 08:12AM on a dark January Monday morning, whilst being held at a red signal for nearly half an hour, I can’t help but ask myself, does this pain that I seem to be experiencing on a weekly basis spell the beginning of the end for commuting as we know it?

From last minute service cancellations to surprise increases in train fares, sporadic red-signal hold-ups to awkward stepping-on-toes, it’s easy to feel like another sausage on a conveyor belt, optimised for maximum return on investment. As 21st century customers living in a highly competitive world, don’t we deserve more than this?

We need more options to choose from as we plan our daily commute. An option that doesn’t require you to be stuffed into a metal underground box that closely resembles a can of tuna. At least one option that doesn’t incrementally charge you more whilst reducing the quality of service over time. Please, just one option that doesn’t try to squeeze every last drop of ‘pounds per square human’ out of the space that is available.

In fact there is a better, more affordable and time efficient way to get around London. And not only does it save time and money but it saves the planet too. By investing in your own personal electric scooter you can take control of your commute, save hundreds a year in London Underground travel fees oh yeah and the trees will be happy too. It’s fun, efficient and good for the environment!

So hop on and join the crowd of adults that seem to have ‘never really grown up’. Or perhaps they could argue that they’ve just got their heads screwed on ;)

Electric Scooter Engineering: 5 Things You Should Know

The electric scooter is a complex marvel of engineering, honed over thousands of years of human evolution. Since the dawn of time, humans have pondered the futility of walking; while early cavemen bemoaned the uselessness of two-footed travel as they were hunted by predators, we too break out in sweats at the prospect of a 20 minute morning walk to the station. If only there was a better way to get around town, they wondered… An electric powered way…

Not really… We reckon that cavemen were too busy hitting each other with rocks to be worrying about the complexities of urban transport. But even they could have understood the extraordinarily simple engineering under the hood of an electric scooter. It can seem confusing, but they too would marvel at the incredible efficiency of regenerative braking technology, or the frictionless acceleration provided by a 300W brushless motor… All it takes is a little explanation.

There are 5 main components underpinning the tech that keeps you zooming around the local area.

1) The first, and arguably most important, is the battery. No battery, no party. We’ve constructed ours from lithium ion – the most recent generation of battery technology. Coming in at 32V, we’ve tried to balance power with weight, so that you can maximise ride time while the electric scooter remains lightweight and portable. It’s a win-win.

 

2) Next up, the motor. This is gives power to the vehicle and keeps the wheels turning. Pretty important. It takes energy from the battery and converts it into power – 300W of power, to be exact. We’ve constructed ours with brushless technology, meaning that there’s zero friction inside the motor – as opposed to the old “brushed” design which reduced efficiency and required more power. Keeping it high tech! The cavemen would be proud.

 

3) Now for one of our personal favourites – regenerative braking technology. Essentially, when you step on the brakes in your car, you’re losing energy. We know from Newton’s first law of thermodynamics that energy cannot be destroyed – so where’s it going? Mostly it’s released in heat and sound energy. Pretty useless - up until now. This cutting edge tech, pioneered by Tesla in the modern market, means that when you engage the brake the energy that used to be wasted is stored back into the battery – making the whole system more efficient. That’s right, it’s lean AND green.

 

4) Coming in at number 4, the wheel design. There are two main tyre constructions used in electric scooter engineering – soft, and hard. Pretty simple, and each has its pros and cons. The soft, with inflatable tubing (like you find on a bicycle) means more shock absorption and the tires last for longer. However, you are prone to getting a puncture – not an issue you get with hard (solid rubber) tires. It’s a trade off, but the choice is yours; we’ll customise the tires for you – just let us know what you fancy when you make an order.

 

5) The last piece in the puzzle is the interface bringing all the components together. On your LCD display you’ll get real time indication of your remaining battery life and current speed – and much more if you download our app and pair via Bluetooth.  You’ll get access to features like cruise control, superbright LED lights and statistics on ride time and distance travelled. (Your lights can also be activated by double pressing the power button).

 

That’s pretty much it! Simple, right? We hope you think so too. If you’ve got any questions, or still a little confused, you can always drop us a line for further info at support@ridewithelka.co.uk .

Enjoy the ride!

Micromobility: A New Way To Get Around Locally

Let’s face it, walking has its time and place. Perhaps it’s Christmas day with the family, you’ve been eating copious amounts of Christmas lunch, spirits are high and the mince pies are all gone. Or you’ve had a hectic week at work and you need to dash off to the countryside for a long old stroll with nature. In such instances, there is nothing better than using your wheels to blow off some steam (or mince pies).

However the world is changing, more things are demanding our attention, time and energy is more scarce and as a result, we seek convenience. Which is why it baffles us to see people choosing to walk over other methods of ‘micro-mobility’ in their day to day life. You know, if you cycled everywhere, every day, instead of walking, you’d have saved an average of six and a half years in time, imagine what you could do with that! But cycling is a hassle with unlocking and locking, sweating and consuming energy.

However, a new way is emerging … an electric powered way. This new wave of Personal Lightweight Electric Vehicles could be the solution we’ve all been looking for. Gone are the days when scooters were just for kids. With an adult electric scooter, you can go for 15km on a full charge (it takes around 4 hours to fully charge), ride it at up to 25 km/h (road legal speed in UK), but the best part? You can easily fold it up and pack it away either on a train, at home or in the office. Oh yeah, and it costs a penny a mile in electricity bills…

Leave us a comment below convincing us that this is not a revolution in Getting Around Locally and we’ll give you one for free ☺

Elka


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