The Ultimate Guide To Electric Transport
The future is indeed bright with electric transport firmly at the wheel!
What was once believed by many to be a ‘flash in the technology pan’ has quickly turned the tide, becoming one of the most in-demand industries globally.
Electric transport is certainly up there with the likes of crypto and cybernetics in terms of future tech.
But let’s face it, learning about electric vehicles is a lot more exciting/polarising.
After all the EV industry has more practical uses that will eventually play a bigger part in your day-to-day.
Depending on how often you move from A to B — or C to D that is.
We here at E4TP have put together the ultimate guide to electric transport; made for new and established eyes occupying the market.
And yes, we’ll be covering every viable mode of transport here — from electric cars to electric boats and electric skateboards to electric hoverboards.
Think of it as a crash course for the uninitiated.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Land-Based Electric Transport
Land-based electric transport offers a lot more variation compared to other categories.
It’s also the most searched for compared to other EV types.
After all, most people tend to spend a lot more time at ground level than up in the air or in water.
Furthermore, electric cars are a lot cheaper in comparison. They’ll only get cheaper as time goes on too, as they begin to replace standard petrol-diesel types.
This isn’t a prediction either, it’s happening; as early as 2030 for the UK. Norway, the unofficial capital of EVs has already transitioned. Phasing out combustion-engined vehicles completely, almost.
Land-based electric transport doesn’t apply to only cars either. Personal electric transporters like power-assisted bikes/scooters fit the bill, too.
Electric cars are the future of electric transportation at ground level
Electric Cars: The Most Popular Form Of Electric Transport
The idea of electric cars has been a topic of conversation for over a century.
In 1889, an American Chemist named William Morrison began to develop the first successful electric vehicle. This wagon literally shocked the world.
Fast-forward to the present day, and you’ll find electric-powered cars next to impossible to ignore. Every major car brand is making them, not to mention the dedicated all-electric car brands making headway in a completely separate lane.
Know that Tesla, albeit popular, aren’t the only name worth mentioning.
Electric car companies span the globe, advancing the tech behind electric transportation with every passing month, it seems.
The top 5 electric car companies you need to know about include:
- General Motors
- X Peng
Many electric car companies are simple start-ups — the same can be said of most electric transport types. Funding for these vehicles is never an issue because of how in-demand the market is.
You’ll see stories all the time of venture capitalists funding some unknown electric car company located in a place you’ve never heard of.
The cost of electric cars has dropped significantly over recent years, thanks to the interest shown from other major car companies. Kia, Volvo, Nissan and Mercedes are all examples of notable car companies taking the electric pledge.
Not only do you have regular family size cars building momentum, but there’s also been a huge rise in hybrid estate cars too.
The boom in the electric car market is as close as we’re going to get to another space race and is incredibly exciting to follow.
The sky’s the limit, until someone makes a flying electric car, which at this rate, is bound to happen eventually.
Check out The Complete List Of Electric Car Brands to learn more about the names behind the rides.
Fleet electrification is more than encouraged
Electric Trucks: Tough And Hella Reliable
Carbon emissions generated by heavy-duty vehicles have always been a level of concern. After all, freight transportation is said to contribute 2.9 gigatonnes a year in CO2 emissions.
This amount increases by the year.
Electric trucks could decrease the above amount drastically by completing a total takeover. In fact, many shipping companies have already started electrifying fleets.
Durability is key when discussing electric transportation of this kind. After all, trucks are almost always designed with shipping in mind.
Not to mention they travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles regularly.
The top 5 electric truck companies you need to know about include:
- Daimler Trucks
- Nikola Motors
News-wise, electric trucks look to have a lot of uses.
For example, Amazon and Royal Mail have announced plans to roll out a fleet of electric trucks to carry out day-to-day operations.
The former has plans to work alongside Michigan-based EV company Rivian to release thousands of delivery vehicles over the next few years.
Electric trucks and pickups offer a lot more variation visually and functionally than, say, electric cars, which tend to follow a standard outline.
Just look at Tesla’s cube-like Cybertruck for the perfect example of an electric transport vehicle ripped straight out of Bladerunner.
Some countries have already implemented electric buses
Electric Buses: Public Electric Transport For The Masses
You don’t need to go far to see electric transport in your local city; you need only get on the bus.
Major cities like London and Hong Kong have already begun rolling out these electric transport vehicles to the masses.
Here’s an interesting fact for you: the electric bus market increased by 48% in 2018 alone, a statistic that continues to grow thanks to government involvement.
China leads the way in electric buses, with countries in Europe tailing close behind. Plans of going all-in on electric buses in cities such as Shenzhen have only encouraged other areas to follow suit.
The top 5 electric bus companies you need to know about include:
- VDL Bus & Coach
As of November 2020, 75 million kilometres has been covered by electric buses owned by VDL Bus & Coach in the Netherlands.
Don’t act too surprised when electric buses become the norm in the next few years; it’s already an established reality for the east and parts of the west, as mentioned.
Electric buses are the new normal for public transport, and we’re all for it.
Electric trains could change everything (especially Hyperloop)
Electric Trains: A Work In Progress
Fine, we’ll say it.
Electric trains don’t get the same level of love as other electric transportation, which really needs to change.
Train-spotters, where you at?
After all, emission-free trains are incredibly accessible, arguably more accessible than any other form of electric transportation (excluding buses)!
Like cars, trains have a storied history with electric power. The first electric passenger train launched in Germany all the way back in 1879, if you can believe that — reaching max speeds of up to 13 km/h.
Speeds like that would be laughed at today.
The top 5 electric train companies you need to know about include:
Trains generally don’t emit as much carbon dioxide as other forms of transport (00.46kg per kilometre) compared to cars.
Still, this hasn’t stopped rail companies from going full electric in the fight against climate change.
The cause for concern is still justified despite low emissions. A Danish study showed six times the amount of black carbon inside diesel-fuelled locomotives over its electric counterpart.
Exposing passengers to harmful gases like this can have lasting effects (none of them good).
We’d be crazy not to mention Hyperloop either, which could be the next step in the evolution of sustainable trains; more efficient too.
Hyperloop is a super speed ground-level transport system currently in development.
Unlike a standard train, riders would be asked to get into pods that can travel up to 760mph. Speed of this kind would allow for country-to-country travel.
Day trips in Brazil anyone?
Electric bikes are reliable and affordable (most of the time)
Electric Bikes: An Ideal Commuter/Adventure Partner
Bikes have always offered a healthy alternative to standard vehicles. Electric bikes, or e-bikes take it up a notch to make life just a little bit easier.
Many have already made the switch to electric. You can actually find a decent e-bike under £1000 if you look in the right places.
Know that there are many types of electric bikes out there that each caters to distinct specifications. Electric mountain bikes are great for traversing rough terrain.
There is quite a big electric ladies bike market too, giving female enthusiasts the chance to ride their way.
Electric city bikes are easily the best way to explore a city at a decent speed; folding bikes are great for this and are quite easy to store.
The top 5 electric bike companies you need to know about include:
Riders will find some e-bikes very light despite the chunky nature of some frames. Know that the location of the lithium-ion battery will vary from bike to bike.
Some will hold the battery within the rear luggage rack, others, the stem.
Finding a bike with a high battery capacity is ideal. However, the one caveat to that is charge times will increase as a result. Distance covered per charge will also vary.
Want our advice? Look for an e-bike that works for you.
Looks aren’t everything.
Rented scooters can be found everywhere these days
Electric Scooters: The Everyday Electric Transport Two-Wheeler
The path to net-zero is only boosted with the inclusion of electric scooters.
Arguably a lot more effective at exploring cities, e-scooters are also a hell of a lot cheaper than electric bikes. They are a lot lighter in comparison (depending on the scooter, of course).
One look on a site like Pure Electric will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Like electric bikes, riders can fold electric scooters to make them a lot easier to carry places. LCD/LED displays on most electric scooters make it incredibly easy to monitor your speed/distance travelled.
Scooters from the likes of Xiaomi come with full app connectivity, allowing you to lock your scooter from the comfort of your smartphone.
The top 5 electric scooter companies you need to know about include:
- Pure Electric
Unfortunately, the law dictates how fast most scooters can travel. In the UK, it is illegal to travel over 15mph, which does dampen the creativity of some companies.
In fact, the ability to ride rented scooters in public was only made legal in 2020.
You’ll need permission if you hope to ride your own e-scooter out in the open on private land.
With that in mind, you might be better off with an e-bike for commuting.
Long gone are the bulky e-scooters of old. Sleek is a word we’d use to describe the design of modern scooters — most feature built-in LEDs, essential for dark trips.
Be sure to check out our list of the top 10 cheap electric scooters under £500 for inspiration.
No Tricks: An electric skateboard is a great commuting option
Electric Skateboards: For The Fearless
You can’t pull off any sick tricks, but you can move around a little quicker; we’re of course talking about electric skateboards.
Be warned, they’re very powerful, and could throw you (literally) if you’re not the balancing type.
How do they work? Electric skateboards often come with a controller that you operate as you ride.
Pressing the appropriate button will cause the e-board to move and break at a moments notice. That’s right, you don’t need to put your foot down to go slower as the board does it all for you!
The top 5 electric skateboard companies you need to know about include:
- Boosted USA
UK buyers might want to consider looking overseas for electric skateboards.
E-boards are fitted with powerful lithium-ion batteries like some of the other forms of electric transportation mentioned here. The size of the batteries can be rather noticeable, located on the underbelly of the board.
Just don’t run the risk people, it’s not worth it.
Finding an electric Segway is next to impossible at the moment
Electric Segways: (Slightly) Gone, But Not Forgotten
OG electric segways are still just as popular today in certain circles. You know, those transporters with two large wheels and handlebars?
Some of you might be thinking of the self-balancing variants (hoverboards) that made for hours of entertainment up on YouTube.
Segway is the only reputable brand out there building these personal vehicles.
Try to avoid the knock-off companies that manufacture these types of products. Many operate without a license looking to make a quick buck at the expense of your safety.
Flashing lights and wacky decals are all part of the novelty of hoverboard segways. Want our advice? Choose an e-scooter instead; they aren’t nearly as volatile and aren’t as dangerous if you insist on taking one outside.
Besides, the UK has banned the use of electric segways in public — similar to e-scooters/skateboards.
But hey, at least we’ll always have that one video of Mike Tyson flying off his hoverboard to keep us going.
Sea-Related Electric Transport
Maritime transport is not limited to just boats. We get it, it’s an easy assumption to make whenever the word ‘sea’ is mentioned.
Here’s an interesting fact for you: most electric boats you come across use the same tech found in electric cars. Lithium-ion batteries, for example, are used in a lot of inboard motors.
Outboard electric motors are very popular in Asia and any other country known for exporting fish, or tourism. These motors let you turn practically any boat into a sustainable powerhouse.
Boat shows are a great way of discovering new technologies surrounding these craft if you’re interested in staying ahead of the electric curve.
Most electric boats use electric car parts to run
Electric Boats: Sustainable On The High Seas
Boats of all shapes and sizes come with electric propulsion these days, offering an eco-friendly alternative to those navigating the sea.
Investment in electric boats continues to grow alongside other forms of electric transportation.
As mentioned, electric fishing boats are commonplace in quite a few spots. Kenya, for example.
The top 5 electric boat companies you need to know about include:
- X Shore
- Grove Boats
- Vision Marine Technologies
Large scale electric boats are quite expensive, as are most electric alternatives given how many maritime enthusiasts there are compared to those supporting automobile/aviation industries.
Expect electric boats to pick up more steam as time goes on, as and when more companies like X Shore release boats like the Eelex 8000. If you’ve never heard of this electric boat, do yourself a favour and catch up.
Many are calling X Shore “the Tesla of electric boats,” a title they’ll no doubt want to shed, in a bid to become the X Shore of electric boats.
Electric speedboats offer increased performance/acceleration
Electric Speedboats: Electric Transportation Just Got Sweeter
Speedboats are fun as hell if you’ve ever driven one? Especially those electric ones.
Face it, all electric vehicles have a very sleek design. But electric speedboats are a cut above, which was kinda expected given how they look normally.
Speedboats aren’t cheap, but they do offer some of the most fun you can have in open water.
Electric speedboats are just built different, and we aren’t just talking about the battery within. Companies make electric speedboats entirely out of carbon fibre, allowing them to travel further distances on each full charge!
Fuel efficiency and the rising price of marine gas make electric a must for speedboats, not a suggestion.
The top 5 electric speedboat companies you need to know about include:
- Zin Boats
- Rand Boats
- Edorado Marine
- Vita Power
High-rollers with electric speedboats can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge with little to no fuss!
Again, speedboats are incredibly expensive, but renting for a one-off fee isn’t nearly as strenuous (mostly). So what are you waiting for? Electric speedboats wait for no man.
Check out The Complete List Of Electric Boat Brands to learn more before taking to the water.
They aren’t a possibility yet, but we’re holding out for an electric cruise ship
Electric Cruise Ship: On The Way For Your Holiday Pleasure
Yep, you read that right. Electric cruise ships are indeed a thing, or at least they will be.
At the moment, they rely on hybrid technology, making them only part electric, which is more than enough in our book!
A 530-person passenger ship launched in 2019. Although limited due to the sheer size of the vessel, the MS Roald Amundsen shocked experts with news that it could run on pure electric energy over limited periods!
We could very easily see the introduction of much larger ships/boats in the next few years as long as maritime automation continues on its current path.
Catch waves in an power-assisted way
Electric Wakeboards/Surfboards: Extreme Electric Transport For The Coordinated
Like electric skateboards, battery-powered surfboards/wakeboards are reinventing extreme sports as we know it.
Electric wakeboards resemble miniature motors you might find on the rear of a traditional boat, only with a platform you stand on top of.
It might seem jarring at first, but these boards are made for channelling the ocean. One of the main reasons you want to own an electric wakeboard is because of how fast you can go.
Some boards, like the Awake Ravik Electric Surfboard, can travel up to 56 km/h.
The top 5 electric wakeboard/surfboard companies you need to know about include:
Companies/natives have tried to create electric surfboards since the early 30s, calling them ‘surf scooters.’
Early iterations of the tech appeared far too heavy to glide across water without sinking. Only now are electric wakeboards finding commercial success, in part due to how small the battery ultimately became.
Just imagine electric surfing somewhere in Australia, or better yet, Hawaii!
Ah, total bliss (unless you’re the uncoordinated type).
Air-Related Electric Transport
The technology found in aviation is arguably more advanced than any other form of electric transport, depending on who you ask.
If you were to ask Rolls-Royce (yes, that Rolls-Royce), a specialist in electric cars and aviation, they’d probably go with the latter.
Electric aircraft require a lot of power to get moving. And, unfortunately, that tech is still in its infancy.
It’s why you haven’t seen any electric commuter planes as of yet.
Companies are working on making electric range better; it’s why you see a lot of them talk about helping the market as a whole, rather than benefit individuals interests.
We’ll more than likely see short-haul electric flights before long-haulers enter the picture.
Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, or drone taxis, look very promising.
These aircraft blur the lines between helicopters and planes, and could be a permanent fixture in the ride-hailing segment when released to the public.
Electric flight has a long way to go yet
Electric Planes: Eco-Friendly From Country To Country
All-electric planes are, currently, a pipe dream, although they will happen in time; we’re sure of it.
Billions wouldn’t be poured into research and development if experts/companies didn’t think we could fly high in the sky in an eco-friendly electric-powered bird.
That being said, some are dabbling in hybrid technologies, at the moment.
At the moment, hybrid passenger planes use batteries as a second line of defence almost. Electric batteries work in parallel with standard fuel options to power certain aircraft.
The top 5 electric plane companies you need to know about include:
Various electric plane-related projects are currently in development. NASA — yes, that NASA — are currently working on an electric-optimised aircraft that is not only a lot quieter than most aircraft but is 100% carbon neutral!
Why haven’t we seen full-scale commercial passenger planes? Energy use depends entirely on mass, and the more weight you add, the more power you ultimately need to generate.
Electric batteries are indeed powerful but are limited when it comes to travelling long distances between charges due to weight.
Would you take a ride on an electric helicopter?
Electric Helicopters: Noiseless And Tron-Like At Times
It’s like we said, travel duration is limited in electric aviation due to several factors.
This is where electric transportation through helicopters can really shine as they are designed for urban travel above all else, with some surpassing that label completely.
Efficiency in the air is a hallmark of electric choppers. Australian company AMSL Aero proved that with its Vertiia copter. This electric transport vehicle can reach speeds of up to 186mph. And then there’s the range potential (up to 500 miles a charge).
The top 5 electric helicopter companies you need to know about include:
- AMSL Aero
- Sikorsky Aircraft
- Vertical Aerospace
Companies offering helicopters tours have also shown an interest in electric transport.
This could prove a massive win for residents of popular areas, as electric-powered helicopters are virtually noiseless!
Electric helicopters look incredibly cool too, perhaps cooler than electric trucks. Every concept image/real-world photograph we’ve seen show multiple rotors and an almost Tron-like cockpit.
Maybe you have a different option?
What, in your eyes, is the best looking electric transport vehicle?
Joby Aviation are one of the major players in the eVTOL space
eVTOL Aircraft: The Future Of Short-Distance Flight
Why don’t we answer the above question for you.
Take a look at any eVTOL aircraft; all could win awards for design.
Short-haul journeys appear to be a lot more logistical at this moment; proven possible by the number of eVTOL projects we’ve seen appear in recent months.
These aircraft have propellors attached to wings, bridging the gap between helicopters and planes.
The only downside is that they can only carry a handful of people (including the pilot) at a time. Then again, this is where it excels.
Leasing, transporting cargo, ride hailing, and running a regular airport taxi service are amongst some of the potential roles tied to eVTOL craft.
The top 5 eVTOL companies you need to know about include:
- Joby Aviation
- Beta Technologies
- Vertical Aerospace
- Archer Aviation
Multiple parties are interest in this form of electric transportation too. The US Air Force, Virgin Atlantic, Uber, United Airlines and DHL have all reached out to companies in the space.
Some have actually placed orders and are simply waiting for these companies to receive official flight certification.
One of the best things about covering the EV industry as a whole is seeing the inception/introduction of transport like this.
Transport that seemingly defies the laws of physics; yet here we are talking about it.
The Ultimate Guide To Electric Transport
Every major company/government has shown an interest in electric transportation. Why? Because it poses a unique alternative that relies less on fossil fuel and more on carbon-neutral innovation.
Emissions are rising and have been for quite some time now. The fact remains that 28% of greenhouse gases are caused by transport in the UK. Excuses are cheap, now that we have alternative options presenting themselves.
The future of electric transportation looks promising, would you agree?
We no longer have to settle for gas-guzzling, carbon releasing vehicles.
Yes, range is somewhat of a concern for potential buyers, but the technology is still in its infancy.
We expect this to get better with time, as do these companies and governments with interest in this field. It’s partly the reason why MHEVs and other hybrids have become so popular, given these vehicles rely on petrol to get moving.
The world is ready for change, which is why the number of public charging points in the UK has risen significantly, with over 20,000 stations set up as of April 2021.
The current plan hopes to eliminate carbon emissions by 2040.
Electric for the people is looking forward to that change, and we hope you are too.
Electric Transport FAQs
Is electric transportation sustainable?
Electric transportation is less polluting than conventional fuel types, but it still requires fossil fuels in its production, unfortunately. That being said, owning an all-electric car, for example, is a lot better in the long run for the planet, given it emits zero emissions when active.
What is the cheapest type of electric transport?
Buying an electric scooter, or a motor-assisted skateboard is significantly cheaper than buying an electric car/van. Both are fantastic for commuting to and from work, and don’t take that long to charge either (depending on the personal transporter and charger in question).
What is the cleanest way to travel?
An electric bike is easily the cleanest way to travel. We’re assuming you’re looking for something with some range to it? E scooters are a great option too, only they’re technically illegal in the UK and other parts of the world. Besides, an e bike has more/better features anyway; not to take anything away from the scooters.
What mode of transport is the most harmful to the planet?
Road transport is the most harmful by a significant margin, although air travel isn’t that far behind. Cars, vans, trucks and buses produce more than 70% of the overall greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. Transport makes up 24% of direct CO2 emissions total.