The Georgia Straight is a proud media partner of Fully Charged LIVE
By David Green
We’ve all seen electric scooters and countless other small electric devices whizzing around Metro Vancouver—and for good reason. The rise of micromobility has exploded thanks to ease of use, significant cost savings, and of course, pure fun.
With the announcement of the E-mobility pilot project by the provincial government in March 2023 came a drastic increase in Vancouverites (and residents of other communities also participating in the project) looking for a better way to take themselves to and from their daily activities.
As the City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan put it upon launch of the program: “It’s time to modernize how we move to and through communities, otherwise we will see significant impacts on our health, economy, and environment.”
It’s an exciting time for micromobility, which is why I have so much passion for eevee’s: the local business I run that has helped grow the alternative transportation movement in Vancouver. Located in Chinatown, we’re one of Canada’s leading micromobility retailers; specializing in all things small and electric, we help people of all ages change the way they think about navigating their cities.
We’ve heard from students who are no longer at the mercy of sporadic transit schedules; delivery drivers who are able to nimbly navigate the city without the expense of a vehicle; commuters who supplement their transit journey with gap-filling between connections; and countless other types of riders. Some of the best stories are from riders with specific disabilities that limit their capacity to ride a bike or operate a motor vehicle. These are people who never thought they would regain their freedom of movement, yet are often able to find a device that works for them—giving them back invaluable independence.
Micromobility will be a focal point at the inaugural Fully Charged LIVE Canada, taking place September 8 to 10 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. Fully Charged LIVE is the world’s number-one electric vehicle and home energy show, merging all aspects of electrification in our daily lives in an effort to #stopburningstuff.
One of the biggest features of Fully Charged LIVE Canada will be the Micro Machines zone, where all of Vancouver’s major micromobility retailers (including eevee’s) will be ready to not only answer your questions, but actually get you out on a test track. You’ll be able to try out all things micro and electric—including a somewhat mysterious electric unicycle. Of course, Fully Charged also has you covered with everything from the latest and greatest electric vehicles (EVs) in the Watt Drive zone, to commercial EVs, to a huge home energy advice team ready to help decarbonize your living space.
Speaking of mysterious electric unicycles (EUCs), at this point everyone has seen those futuristic-looking, one-wheeled mini machines zipping around town. But how do they work? How do you stay balanced? Can anyone really ride one? Using similar technology found in the Segway best known for getting Paul Blart around the mall, EUCs use a gyroscope to self-balance front to back. Instead of leaning and pulling on a bar as was done on the Segway, the rider themself is the bar, shifting their body weight forward to activate the motor. Shifting their weight backwards, such as a backwards lean or a squat, will activate the huge electromagnetic brake to slow the rider down.
Often thought of as dangerous, difficult, or only for thrill seekers, EUCs are actually highly stable, extremely maneuverable, and, as shown by a friend of mine who’s 77 years old, accessible for anyone willing to learn. With such massive power, along with the connection a rider has to the wheel, the ability to adjust to unexpected circumstances is unparalleled in the micromobility world. Rather than being something that is sketchy and only for those with ice in their veins, EUCs are actually extremely convenient and practical commuting devices. Parking fees, locks, and storage are all non-issues because of their compact size and ability to trolly beside a rider right into a shop, train, or workplace.
If you are even just thinking about how micromobility can work with your lifestyle, or are ready to get out of traffic and stop paying ever increasing amounts at the gas pump, swing by Fully Charged LIVE, eevee’s, or any other e-transportation retailer. You’ll quickly see how easily micromobility can be a part of your daily life, and save you time and money—while helping contribute to a greener Vancouver.