2188: E Scooters
Title text: Obviously battery technology and prices have driven a lot of the scooter explosion, but I feel like Dean Kamen must be at least a little grumpy about how much people laughed at the idea of the Segway.
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At the time of publishing, motorized scooters or e-scooters were very popular, especially with the rise of ride-share companies such as Lime and Bird that use apps allowing users to rent the scooters by the minute. (Randall uses "e Scooter" or "E Scooter" for the comics title. But in the comic White Hat does say e-scooter, which is also the way the Wikipedia article on e-scooters mentions them).
Cueball drives up to White Hat on his e-scooter. White Hat asks him for his thoughts on the scooter, he is interested as he has heard so much about them. However, instead of just waiting to hear Cueball's response, White Hat then goes on to list four things he has heard other people say about e-scooters. When he finally stops talking Cueball tells him that he has given this a lot of thoughts, and tells him that he will give him his opinion on e-scooters. But instead of choosing an opinion from White Hat's list (or any opinion for that mater) Cueball stats making engine/vehicle sounds and in the last panel also "pew pew pew" sounds which prompts White Hat to ask why there are lasers on his e-scooter, as the "pew" sound is interpreted as a laser sounds (maybe as from the Star Wars universe) by White Hat. Cueball's reply to that is to make a final pew.
White Hat makes the following list of opinions on e-scooters:
- Are they impractical and unsafe toys?
- Or a last-mile transit revolution?
- A low-carbon car replacement?
- Or Silicon Valley sidewalk clutter?
Some people consider e-scooters as a "low-carbon car replacement", as they are better for the environment than polluting gas cars. Additionally, e-scooters have been touted as a form of "last-mile transit" - used to cover the "last mile" to your destination after taking other forms of public transportation.
However, others consider e-scooters as a public nuisance, as users often leave them on the sidewalk haphazardly. They have also been seen as dangerous, as many users do not wear helmets when riding e-scooters (though Cueball is seen with a helmet in the comic) or ride them at high speed on sidewalks in the middle of pedestrians. Some cities have gone so far as to ban e-scooters from their communities.
The title text refers to Dean Kamen, an American inventor best known for founding the Segway company. At the time of the invention of the Segway, it was billed as a revolution in personal transit, with articles (and Kamen himself) speculating that future cities might be entirely rebuilt around it and similar personal transporters. That buzz quickly died down, and Segways quickly became the subject of a great deal of mockery. The text implies that Kamen might resent the fact that a similar vision has re-emerged, and is once again being taken seriously, but without his invention. However, Segway actually manufactures scooters for e-scooter rental agency Lime.
- [Cueball is getting of his e-scooter, with the bicycle-helmet hanging on the handlebars. He has stopped right in front of White Hat who addresses him.]
- White Hat: Hey, you got one of those e-scooters!
- Cueball: Yeah!
- [Cueball is now standing next to the scooter holding on to the handlebars with one hand. Both he and White hat looks down on the scooter.]
- White Hat: So what do you think? I hear so much about these things.
- [A large panel just with White Hat who is spreading his arms out.]
- White Hat: Are they impractical and unsafe toys? Or a last-mile transit revolution?
- [Closeup on White Hat holding both arms out and up with palms held up.]
- White Hat: A low-carbon car replacement? Or Silicon Valley sidewalk clutter?
- [In a frame-less panel only Cueball and his e-scooter is shown.]
- Cueball: Well, having given it lots of thought, here is my opinion on scooters:
- [Cueball is bending in the knees and holding on to the handlebars with both hand as White Hat is looking at him, while Cueball stats making machine noises. The letters in Cueball's noises changes size up and down to indicate he is modulating the volume.]
- Cueball: Zooooooom!
- Cueball: Neeeeeoooormmm
- Cueball: Vrrrm vrrmvrmm
- Cueball: Wheeee!
- [Cueball changes feet and arms position as he continues making sounds as in the previous panel, White Hat seems to have taken a step back.]
- Cueball: Pew pew pew!
- Cueball: Bzzzzt kaboom!
- White Hat: Wait, why are there lasers?
- Cueball: Pew!
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