Update: Read about the official 17 March 2011 launching of the EcLiMo electric motorycle here! Some of the features & cost points have changed a great deal!
You might not think, at first, that TRANSIT would support the idea of introducing electric motorcycles to the roads of Malaysia. After all, TRANSIT is involved in improving public transport, and motorcycles/scooters are a competitor to public transport.
You would be wrong.
TRANSIT exists to improve public transport but we also aim to improve transport options and choices for the public – and believe it or not, electric motorcycles/scooters are a great way to do this.
One of the perennial problems for public transport is reaching out to customers. It is, after all, a very complicated proposition.
The ‘First Mile’ and ‘Last Mile’ Challenge
Customers prefer the convenience of 1 trip service and they want public transport to be located conveniently – both to their starting point and their destination point.
Unfortunately, it costs money for operators to provide these starting (‘first mile’) and finishing (‘last mile’) services. If the areas are low density and dispersed, it costs even more money – which explains why public transport operators like RapidKL have cut back on their ‘local’ and ‘feeder’ services in the past few years.
Unfortunately, without that reliable ‘first mile’ and ‘last mile’ services, most people will simply choose to use private transport instead – most likely a car, but possibly a motorcycle/scooter.
So how do motorcycles/scooters fit in?
Motorcycles are popular for short distance trips because they are convenient to use and quick. They can generally avoid most forms of traffic congestion, can be parked easily, and are cheap to operate.
The drawback to a motorcycle/scooter is of course the safety and comfort factors – which is why a large number of motorcycle/scooter users would probably prefer to use their motorcycles for short distance trips rather than long distance trips – as well as the impact of unplanned parking on our cityscape (especially the pedestrian environment).
What we need to do is encourage motorcyclists to use their motorcycle/scooter for short trips to cover the ‘first mile’ of their journey. For example, they would ride the motorcycle/scooter to a public transport hub like an LRT station or bus hub, then use public transport for the longer distance trip.
This will do a lot to reduce the number of motorcycles making long trips on our roads.
But what about the ‘Last Mile?’
Using a private motorcycle solves the ‘first mile’ of the trip and public transport if reliable takes care of the majority of the trip – but what about the ‘last mile’ where there is no motorcycle?
Here is where electric motorcycles would be an excellent solution
Electric Motorcycle Sharing Program
Imagine that at each of the major suburban LRT and KTM stations and bus hubs in the Klang Valley, there was a small kiosk with fully-charged electric motorcycles/scooter, available for rental. A person getting out of the LRT or bus service would simply use their Touch N’ Go card to unlock a motorcycle/scooter and use it for their errands.
When they return the motorcycle/scooter they would lock it, set it for recharging, tap the Touch N’ Go card to complete the payment, and go back to the LRT or bus and be on their way home.
Features of the ecLiMo(Eco Lithium Mobility) motor scooter:
Expected Cost: RM3,000 for the first 10,000 units, RM6,000 thereafter
Expected Performance: like a 125cc petrol-powered scooter
Body design: Step-through scooter
Motor design: ‘In-wheel’ electric motor with regenerative braking capability
Maximum speed: 110kph
Maximum range: 100km
Recharging time: 3 hours using 240v household electricity outlet
Cost for 100km of operations:
- Electric scooter – currently RM0.87/100km;
- petrol scooter – currently RM6 / 100km
Additional information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org
TRANSIT: Updated information including price & performance can be found here.
It sounds to us like a simple, secure, environmentally friendly, and above all, convenient solution to the ‘last mile’ and short distance transport.
What do you think of the idea of using electric motorcycles to cover the ‘last mile’ of a public transport trip? Comment below or send us an email at email@example.com