If you were living in Chicago in 2019 and 2020, you might remember the city’s e-scooter pilot program fondly or with great annoyance. In its first phase, the city invited 10 vendors to launch 2,500 dockless electric scooters for rental in a 50-square-mile area for four months.
During this time, it sometimes seemed like residents couldn’t walk down a city sidewalk without having to step around an e-scooter. Ultimately, the pilot successfully showcased a variety of designs and led the city to invite three vendors back for a second phase the following year.
This is part of a bigger trend around the country and globally, as scooters, ebikes, and other motor-assisted solo transit options gain popularity around the US.
Energy-conscious urbanites often opt for these alternative forms of outdoor transportation because they want to get around quickly without taking on the carbon footprint of solo auto travel or a rideshare. As a result, electric scooter and bike technology is getting better.
So, it’s time to revisit the display technology embedded in these green transportation options to ensure they’re meeting consumer expectations for energy efficiency and utility.
Factors to Consider in Displays for eBikes and Scooters
One of the most important things to consider when it’s time to select a display to spec into an e-bike or scooter is size. Many shared micro mobility options today have no display at all, but this can be impractical for riders who want to know how much battery life or time is left on their rental. In the future, this could even include their total cost per mile.
To this end, engineering teams must consider the display’s…
- Power budget.
- Display size.
- Readability in sunlight and low light.
- Color requirements.
- Performance in a range of temperatures.
- Controls, whether touch screen, buttons, or Bluetooth.
To date, most screens in this type of application have been non-existent or low res LCDs, but future iterations of e-bikes and scooters will likely take a more colorful and connected approach, whether by including a rider-facing GPS component or using a Bluetooth connection to allow riders to access directions on the road or an update on how much time is left on their rental without pulling out their smartphone to check their maps app of choice.
But for now, let’s focus on the essentials.
3 Key Qualities All E-Bike and E-Scooter Displays Need
The next generation of eBikes and Scooters that includes display technology must accomplish three things:
- Sunlight readable. Shared scooter use data shows that afternoons see peak ridership, and when the sun is high, your display must be fully legible.
- Offer illumination in low-light settings. It can be a challenge to find a traditional LCD option that doesn’t waste a large portion of its power budget during daylight hours, but reflective LCDs are a low-power option that fit this bill.
- Low overall power draw. E-bikes and e-scooters rely on batteries to propel them, and their battery size is limited by the weight and slim profile of today’s micro mobility options. To this end, you must select a display that requires minimal power consumption to ensure that it doesn’t drain batteries and leave riders stranded.
From a design perspective, it’s also worth mentioning that it’s critical that whatever display technology you choose, it should not distract riders from the road. To this end, the light profile and overall illumination should be relatively subtle and align with safety regulations.
Why Reflective Displays Are Coming Back in Style
We’ve written before about why now is the time for a reflective display renaissance, and as the climate rapidly changes, the myriad applications of this low power technology are gaining traction because they present a greener solution for designers and consumers.
A recent Market Data Forecast found that the global e-bike market is expected to grow from $15.42 billion in 2021 to $23.83 billion by 2026. As shared and privately owned e-bikes and scooters hit the streets around the world, we’ll see an increase in optional and embedded display features to assist with safety and navigation.
And there are few low power options that suit this project. While e-paper holds some appeal, its performance is notorious for degrading in cold temperatures, which makes it a poor choice for vehicles that will face a range of temperatures on the road.
The most promising alternative available today is LCD 2.0, which requires little power to illuminate a display for hours in bright sunlight or the dark of night.
The Future of Mobile Display Tech Is Reflective LCD
Electric bikes and scooters are becoming popular as last-mile mobility options, but they may hold increasing appeal as a primary mode of transportation as the US works toward a greener future and all indications point in that direction.
On August 5, 2021, President Biden threw down a gauntlet for the American battery materials supply chain and automakers with a bold executive order that calls for electric vehicles to make up 40 to 50 percent of new auto sales in the United States by 2030.
As Washington and Detroit make moves toward a less fossil fuel-dependent future, cars, e-bikes, and scooters will be designed for energy efficiency in every component part.
Schedule a quick discussion to find out how a low-power display might fit into your next micro mobility project.