It can be bought at a gadget store and charges like your phone. Meet the boot scooter, an eco-friendly mobility solution that has recently cruised into markets in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The scooters are usually imported or assembled locally, and the manufacturers are mostly Chinese or European.
The early creators were making powered wheelchairs for the disabled, but got stuck with the idea of a personal mobility device even for regular people. That led to the birth of mobility scooters about ten years ago.
Finding markets was a task because, as the creators were asked, why would an able person need it? However, a growing consciousness about the environment and newer design concepts—with a more compact size, sturdiness, utility and comfort—made these scooters a rage in developed countries.
It seats one person, has handles and basic controls like a regular scooter and goes up to 20kmph. It is ideal for zooming around in office, at home or for a short trip to your friend's place.
A ride on Delhi's walkways and cycle tracks is a breeze on one of these. One evening, riding one of the cheaper versions in a park in Delhi, I drew some eyeballs. “This reminds me of Star Wars characters moving about,” said an onlooker, drawn by the blue LED lights.
Retailers in Delhi say these can be driven without a licence. They are fairly safe and most have infrared sensors that make the device go slow when it senses anything within 20 feet.
These lithium-ion battery operated scooters can be charged just like your mobile phone. And, they are foldable and fit snugly inside you car's boot space.
The cheaper versions, which also boast of good quality, are selling for Rs12,000 to Rs15,000 in Delhi. The more expensive ones, made by Japanese or European manufacturers, and priced at about Rs30,000, are faster and have more options. Still, they are cheaper than any regular electric scooter.
In India, mostly corporate bigwigs or tech geeks have bought these scooters. However, fashionistas are also warming up to these eco-sensitive scooters as they are perfect as personal lifestyle devices.