A Thunder Bay company has imported two solar-powered scooters — but there's some uncertainty over where riders can legally use them.
The Highway Traffic Act forbids light motorized scooters or “go-peds” on roads, but Solar Logix spokesperson Jason Ritchat said a police officer told him there would be no issue.
“The go-peds, which are quite smaller and a much lower speed and probably aren't, in my opinion, safe to drive on the roads,” the company’s business development manager said. “The solar electric scooter that we're carrying is quite substantially faster.”
However, Thunder Bay police traffic sergeant Glen Porter said he believes the vehicles are prohibited on the road, but there's nothing in the city's bylaws barring them from the sidewalk.
‘Intrigued by the concept’
Solar Logix obtained the scooters from an American company called Solar Electric Scooters.
"Two guys in California came up with the concept of this solar electric scooter, and then they designed it,” Ritchat said.
“We were intrigued by the concept, contacted the company in California and made arrangements to purchase a couple. [We're] using them to get out the message that solar is able to power other things other than just your home."
The platform the rider stands on is a solar panel, which is connected to a lithium ion battery. The scooter can also be plugged into an electrical outlet to recharge.
The scooter’s top speed is 24 km/h, and it has a range of 35 km on a single charge.
And what is the ride like?
“So far I've driven this mainly on sidewalks, bike paths, and things of that nature,” Ritchat said.
“When I have had a need to drive it on the road, I actually have been passed by police and have had no issue. But I was driving [safely], with a helmet on, and following the rules of the road."