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One Wheel (Future Motion)
June 28, 2014
Future Motion aims to revolutionize mobility with personal electric vehicles. Their first offering is the closest thing yet to a hoverboard. You need to see it before reading on – http://vimeo.com/84071364
Let’s begin with why this is not a Segway because this seems to have come up in every conversation I’ve had about Onewheel. @Kyle pointed me to a Paul Graham post which captures one of Segway’s biggest issue very well – http://www.paulgraham.com/segway.html.
Beyond what people thought of you as a rider, it had some other challenges. It was introduced at a time when there was no infrastructure to support it – there were no bike lanes, so you were a threat to pedestrians or threatened by cars. Today, longboarders and skateboards share bike lanes with bicycles (and sadly, often delivery vehicles). And because they weren’t able to reach meaningful volumes with gen1 Segway, the price never came down.
Onewheel is approaching the opportunity differently. First, the team has had a good response from the board sports community. Certainly a good path to cultural acceptance (and hopefully adoration). Like Tesla’s sports car loving Roadster buyers who were willing to pay for the first version, this seems like a great community of early supporters. And again like Tesla, with the early learnings from this group, Future Motion can figure out their Model S and Model X to eventually make Onewheel technologies available to a large number of buyers in cities around the world.
The second thing that is of interest is the architecture. If you think about electric bikes, their economics are also defined by batteries, motors, and controllers, but Onewheel’s architecture means there is little more in the bill of materials. So the architecture has a real shot at being much cheaper than most ebikes. And this is what makes us believe that if Onewheel eventually has a shot at disrupting the last miles of urban mobility.
Finally, it seems like the time is much better to support a revolutionary mobility push. Bike lanes provide the space. Protective gear exists from biking and boarding and social web means it’s just a matter of time before we see insane Onewheel videos. And there push for clean last mile mobility has never been stronger.
Also, there is no reason why we shouldn’t have a lot more fun on commutes. Please help us in welcoming Kyle.