Mike - 2017-01-24 21:47

Car VS Electric Unicycle

Assumptions

Let us introduce you to a new series of articles that compare means of transport. Before we compare an electric unicycle to a bike and car, we need to assume that: 
  • We will not compare any long-distance rides, associated with the transport of any luggage, heating/air conditioning installations or comfy seats. In such cases, there would always be a car – created to provide such options – indicated as the winner of such a comparison.
  • We will not compare any questions related to sports or burning calories. A bike is the only means that requires the use of muscle strength present here.
  • We will compare all of these vehicles by classifying them primarily as means of transport, particularly focusing on the question of city transport.
We are to compare an electric unicycle to a car in this article.
What were these devices created for? 
  • An electric unicycle was devised as a means of personal transport, intended for city use or the use within smaller towns where usual distances to one's destinations are too large to consider walking, while they are also short enough to decide that driving a car does not make much sense or that driving a cat could take more time than necessary (e.g. on account of the necessity to drive out of one's garage, getting stuck in a traffic jam or looking for a free parking space).
  • A car – it was created to replace horse-drawn carriages and serve longer routes. Just as in the case of a carriage, it is (usually) meant to carry more people than one and – at least until recent days (before autonomous cars were created) – it required the presence of a driver instead of a coachman. You may think of an electric car as of its younger brother, but nothing is more misleading! The electric car was first, while the man named Henry Ford managed to devise a cheaper version thereof – the combustion-engine based Ford T. car. The assembly line production of it was a revolutionary method at the time, allowing both for drastic reduction of production expenses and the lowering of staff qualifications (one person would only deal with a single part of production process – they did not have to have complex knowledge on it as a whole), while filling up the tank was faster than battery charging. People did not find noise disturbing at the time, as there were few cars present then. They also had no idea of the negative impact of cars on natural environment and this was why the designs of hydrogen fuel cells would be rejected as an alternative solution to petrol. Additionally, the ecological advantage of rechargeable batteries over petrol was no argument with regard to the much lower purchase price for a Ford T. Electric car and fuel cells became forgotten of and this state was effectively maintained for years to come. It is a curiosity that the construction of combustion engines would not change nearly at all since then. In spite of the fact that modern electric cars demonstrate considerable technical advantage (better performance, a positive impact on environment and less noise emitted, the lack of considerable charging expenses and many times lower exploitation costs) over combustion engine-based cars, the latter ones are still cheaper to buy, while their refuelling and exploitation need to be paid much more for.
The info-graphic below depicts this comparison of means of transport in a great way: 

Round 1: Parking, snow clearing, traffic jams and risks

We all perfectly know how difficult it is to drive through the city during peak hours, even if our cars are electric. While some countries allow for free parking of electric cars at designated places, it is quite hard to find such places at all, and definitely not in the surroundings of our interest. How many times did you get fined for the lack of a parking ticket or having parked in a prohibited area? How many times did you have to pay for a parking space only to leave your car for a while? How many times did you want to pay for a parking spot while there had already been no room for you there? There is nothing worse than having to pay for a parking space far away from our destination.

Did you manage to park your car? Great. Still, you will not use it to drive along a pavement or pedestrianised area. What is the distance between the car park and your working place or any other destination of your choice? What to do about clearing your road of snow during winters? Window scraping?

Have you ever tried to estimate how much time it takes you to cover the distance to your garage or parking space, how much time you need to reach the main road while driving at 10 km/h? Has it ever occurred to you to clear your driveway of snow?

OK then – you have managed to set off and are driving to work, just like most of us: as the only passenger of your car, with the remaining four seats not occupied by anyone. Most drivers fill the road and parking space intended for five people while driving alone. Do not feel guilty though, this is how cars have been designed – transferring a larger number of people has its advantages. Unfortunately, it does not happen very often today that a whole family work at the same place or have their working places located en route, not to mention the same working hours.

Work is an individual question and it requires an individual approach to transport. In spite of the fact that the architects of our roads and parking spaces have not predicted the increase in the number of cars (or have, while ignoring the question), reality forces us to buy more than one more often than not. There is an average number of two cars per a flat present within residential estates, while car their parks only suffice for the presence of one car per a flat at maximum, or even less so.

Moreover, we should also remember that most cars have manual gearboxes which makes drivers accelerate to the prescribed speed of 50 km/h (or any other in your country) take a slow course. Meanwhile, those following them may get distracted by browning Facebook. As a result, there will only be two cars riding through the green light instead of ten. 

There occur many collisions en route to work roads a day. Drivers seem to be still sleepy while driving there while they may also be tired on their return. It all influences the slowing down of their reflexes and weakening of concentration, as well as the impairment of their observational powers. Unfortunately, most drivers to not anticipate the moves of other traffic participants, also not observing them. After having passed their driving licence exams they only seem to be solely focused on the tips of their noses and uninterested in what is happening around them. A passed exam only stands for... a passed exam. It does not mean that a driver of this kind can drive well or will ever polish their abilities, while the truth is that each of us learns to drive only after their exam is passes (these are the words of a rally driver).

Even if we drive our cars in an excellent way, we are at risk of a collision brought about by another traffic participant each day. Why wasting our time on waiting for the police, insurance money or losing our nerves? Even if it has only been a minor damage?

Round 2: Expenses and travel time

All the aforementioned factors cause it that: 

  • During the peak hours – particularly between 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. – all large cities are subject to traffic congestion. 
  • The distance of 2 km that should normally take 2 minutes to cover, may even consume 20 minutes of our time – as much as if we covered it on foot. Reaching one's workplace from where the car has been left, covering the route to one's home or finding a parking space may even take an hour. Who pays us for it? Nobody but us. We pay for the fuel we use on our own, with the money we earn from our jobs that we need to be present at every day by means of driving. 
  • Cars have a tremendous influence on air pollution and global warming. Did you know that a car stuck in a traffic jam burns up to 10 times more fuel than while driving at the speed of 80 kilometres? If you have an in-board computer, it probably reminds you of it every time it happens. 
  • If we decide to drive to work, we become unnerved by other drivers and tired of commuting there this way. 

Assuming a route to work only of 10 kilometre distance, driving to-and-fro on a daily basis (20 kilometres) with traffic congestion involved makes us lose EUR 2-2,5 at minimum.

It means that an average worker needs to spend at least an hour of each working day to work off the expense of their daily fuel intake they need to waste 2 hours of their lives in order to travel to-and-fro with traffic congestion involved!

Summing up, commuting + full working time = 10 hours, while only 7 hours end up in workers' pockets and the remaining 3 are paid for with their time and money.

Car maintenance also needs to have exploitation expenses counted in:

  • The cost of car inspection and insurance,
  • The cost of servicing. Let us not delude ourselves – a combustion engine, as composed of thousands of parts, considerably increases the possibility of damage, 
  • The expense of oil change, the change of brake blocks, etc.

Round 3: Electric unicycle

Let us value our time, nerves and money. Why bother if we can choose a vehicle made for personal transport? An electric unicycle is better than a car with regard to city driving because:

  • It allows for faster transport and avoiding traffic jams,
  • It allows for reaching places that are inaccessible for cars,
  • It takes the same space a pedestrian does,
  • It may be charged for free, e.g. at one's office or while using a charger of electric vehicles / solar charging unit. If we decide to charge it at home, the expense inflicted will not exceed EUR 0,20 per 100 kilometres!
  • One does not have to park it anywhere,
  • It is friendly for environment – it is a so-called zero emission vehicle that emits no exhaust. Li-Ion batteries are fully recyclable. Did you know that recycled Lithium is used anew to manufacture batteries?
  • It is free to maintain – one does not need to change any oil, brake blocks or camshaft. It is the motor that is responsible for braking, additionally recovering the braking energy for later use.
  • It is virtually trouble-free – its construction is very simple and only composed of a few elements, e.g. the most popular Li-Ion batteries and a brushless electrical motor. The lifespan of this battery is even up to 10 years! Moreover, manufacturers grant a 10-year warranty period on their motors that should also serve us much longer.
  • It may be carried anywhere – by being hand-held, kept inside our backpacks or led by its telescopic handle,
  • Nobody will steal it from us as it does not have to be parked anywhere while due to its security system no unicycle could be useful or valuable. Additionally, its advanced alarming systems inform the owner of when their rideable wheel has been displaced or forgotten of,
  • It does not have to be defrosted. An electric unicycle may be kept at home while riding it on snow will never be a problem in the context of this design. 

Verdict

Revolutionary unicycles are introducing a new standard of personal transport, never previously available. Electric unicycles are a beneficial solution in an age when we work individually and our streets or parking spaces are overfilled with cars.

Here is a short summary:

  • For city driving? An electric unicycle. A clear advantage over a car – both with regard to one's time and finances.
  • For taking tours / long journeys? A car. While travelling far away, a car (preferably an electric one) makes an irreplaceable and comfortable means of transport, letting us carry more people and luggage (including a unicycle stored inside its trunk). During a trip, it is always possible to park our cars and switch to unicycles in order to sightsee a given place faster and explore more attractions.
  • For remote workplaces? Use your car to reach the suburbs. Leave it at a free car park before you enter the zone of parking at extra charges and traffic jams. You will reach your destination by riding your unicycle! Such a hybrid solution will make your commuting to work not only faster, but also cheaper.

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