ExtraEnergy to Return to E-Scooter Testing in 2010
ExtraEnergy, the Tanna-based test authority known for its independent tests of pedelecs and e-bikes, will (for the first time since 2002) test e-scooters again next year and award the respected ExtraEnergy quality seals "Good" and "Very Good" to deserving e-scooters in the test.
Detail of the test (the costs involved to manufacturers, how to submit models, when to deliver to ExtraEnergy, how many specimens to deliver etc.) will be published on the ExtraEnergy.org portal in the near future. At the moment, it can only be said the deadline for submission of e-scooters by manufacturers will be sometime in the spring of 2010 and the test results will be released on the International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bicycle Fair Intermot in Cologne in October 2010, where ExtraEnergy will be responsible for the fair's e-bike supporting program.
Andrés Moreno, editor of the Spanish e-bike portal Vehiculosverdes.com, interviewed Hannes Neupert, chairman of ExtraEnergy, to hear why ExtraEnergy widened its scope to include e-scooter testing, what the University for Applied Sience (HTW) in Dresden's role will be in the test, and what exactly will be tested. The interview is published below.
Moreno: Why did you decide to also start doing e-scooter tests?
Neupert: We have done e-scooter tests before. In 2002 we tested e-scooters, but the quality and variety of e-scooters in the years later were so low, that we decided to stop. We expect the market for e-scooters to become very colourful from next year and thought it was a good time to turn our attention back to e-scooters. In our view, e-scooters will become an important means of getting around European cities in future. Maybe not equally important in every country, but certainly in a country like Italy.
Moreno: The 3-stage test for pedelecs and e-bikes has proved itself to be a very thorough test. Will the e-scooter test also consist of three stages, namely an ergonomic test, measured test rides and laboratory test?
Neupert: Yes, there will be three stages. And there might even be four stages in later years. Next year we'll test e-scooters on a test bench, conduct an ergonomic test and then conclude with a few test rides to verify the results of the test bench. Eventually, there will also be a fourth stage, namely a rigidity and conformity test, but probably not next year. We still need to do some research and it's unlikely to be completed in time for next year's test.
Moreno: Which stages will ExtraEnergy be responsible for?
Neupert: The ergonomic test and the test rides. And we'll be responsible for evaluating the results collected in all stages, for awarding the quality seals and for publishing the results. The HTW is a partner and subcontractor of ExtraEnergy tasked to test e-scooters. They will get paid by us and we'll oversee the whole process.
Moreno: Why the HTW?
Neupert: We selected them, because we have worked with them before and have established a very good working relationship. Furthermore, they have been very eager to get into the testing of e-scooters for a while now. We look forward to working with them.
Moreno: How and what will the HTW be testing?
Neupert: Together we have developed a complete trip cycle for a test bench with, for instance, flat sections, inclines, stops, starts, accelerations and decelerations. In the test, each bike will be put through the full trip cycle on the test bench and its response noted. The batteries will also be tested for their ranges. The bench results will be fully comparable. ExtraEnergy will then do a few test rides to verify the mechanically produced results. Only a few test rides will suffice, because unlike with e-bikes, where the rider influences the result and many different riders have to be involved to get a reliable result, there is no human interaction on an e-scooter.
Next, we'll do an ergonomic test, where we'll test things like how easy it is to remove and charge a battery and how comfortable and stable the bike is to sit on.
You may wonder why that is necessary. Well, most e-scooters are manufacturered in Asia, where the people are generally smaller and lighter than in Europe. It is to be hoped that the products exported to Europe by these manufacturers take these differences into account. Regarding the trip cycle: we expect it to eventually be taken over and used by manufacturers for testing their products.
Moreno: Will e-scooter manufacturers also have to deliver two specimens of each model to be tested, as is the case with e-bikes?
Neupert: Yes. For two reasons. Firstly, when the same problem is detected on both specimens, we are certain that it is more than a simple breakdown, but, in fact, a serial factory mistake, which needs to be pointed out to the manufacturer and consumer. Secondly, a second specimen enables us to proceed with the test after one had broken down.
Moreno: Will ExtraEnergy be the first in Germany to test e-scooters?
Neupert: No, a number of magazines have conducted e-scooter tests. But, no-one has done such comprehensive tests on the electrical components of e-scooters to date.
Moreno: Will it be ExtraEnergy's aim to eventually also do two e-scooter tests per year, as is done with pedelecs and e-bikes?
Neupert: No. There are far fewer e-scooter manufacturers worldwide than e-bike manufacturers. The market for e-scooters are also still very small in Europe. There are, for instance, only about four e-scooter manufacturers in Europe. We expect to be testing only 15 e-scooters next year. If we do, we will cover a far bigger percentage of the e-scooter market than we have covered this year of the global pedelec and e-bike market, when we tested over 60 e-bikes. We expect to do one e-scooter test every two years, but will increase the frequency if the market demands it.
Moreno: Thank you for your time.
Neupert: It was a pleasure.
Note: Alexander Reuter, a member of the HTW test team, completed a comparative study of electrical systems of e-scooters earlier this year towards his engineer degree at the HTW. Interested parties can download a digital copy of his thesis here.
Translated by Christoffel Volschenk 25 October 2009