Cities across the world are buzzing with electric scooters. In some cities, you can rent them by the hour. In others, most of them are privately owned and easy to spot in the suburbs. Either way, urban mobility is changing. It's getting quicker and cleaner, and it’s going electric. The electric car comes later, but the electric scooter is already here.
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Practical, convenient, portable, eco-friendly, reliable, economical and relatively affordable, electric scooters are so popular right now. Here's why.
1. Electric scooters are economical to run
Not quite as much as a traditional bike, of course, but owning an electric scooter has much the same advantages in a city as a pedal-assist bike. The cost of fuel – in the form of electricity – is so much cheaper than petrol, of course (they costs less than 30p per day, in fact), but there are other savings to be made. Congestion charges? Nope. Parking fees? Rarely. You can often carry an electric scooter with you, instead of parking, and it may be that you can simply put your electric scooter under your desk at work and in your hallway at home.
2. Riding an electric scooter requires no effort
Unlike a bike, which must be pedalled, electric scooters require almost zero physical effort. Consequently, you’re not going to be sweaty when you arrive at work and nor are you going to be tired when you get home. That means you don’t have to waste time showering, but compared to pedalling a bike to work and back each day you do miss out on a valuable daily workout.
3. Urban mobility is the new 'mega-trend'
We’re on the cusp of a revolution in how we get around our cities in the 21st century. Governments tackling climate change know that vehicle emissions must fall, so the UK has banned the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. However, £20,000+ electric cars are not going to provide a quick solution in cities, which are busy preparing for a new era of ‘urban mobility’. That means bike-share schemes, dockless bikes and electric scooters in cities around the world. It’s already happening in Europe and beyond, and multinational electric scooter-sharing operators like Lime, Bird, Tier and Voi are on the cusp of coming to the UK, with trials of rental schemes already underway.
4. Electric scooters are a safe alternative to public transport
Cities have been trying to persuade commuters to leave their cars at home for decades, and were beginning to make progress when coronavirus came along. Suddenly, crowded buses and trains are not where anyone wants to be (and won’t be for some years as society battles against the spread of Covid-19 infections), but sadly it’s all brought private cars back into fashion. Cue the electric scooter, a form of personal transport that allows people to avoid trains and buses without jamming-up the roads with extra cars, extra congestion and extra emissions – and perhaps also helping to avoid more infections.
5. Electric scooters mean zero-emissions
Electric cars are coming, but they’re not here yet. Sales of electric vehicles are booming and could even surpass petrol-driven vehicles in 2021, but they’re going to remain out of many people’s price range for some time. Until then we have electric scooters. Operated by a chain-operated electric motors, there are no exhaust fumes and, as a bonus, they’re exceptionally quiet.
6. Electric scooters are easy to maintain
Electric scooters are not maintenance-free, but looking after them isn’t exactly difficult. If your scooter has air-filled tires then use a bike pump with a pressure gauge to check it tyre pressures frequently, check that the tyres’ tread is OK, and check the brakes for wear. It’s also wise to help your electric scooter clean – though before you use a pressure hose it down do check that it’s waterproof and/or weather-proof. If it’s not, wipe it down carefully and avoid giving it a soaking.
7. Electric scooter batteries are improving
Have you got ‘range anxiety’? Fearing that the battery will run down while you’re miles from home is a common feeling among those thinking of going electric. Most electric scooters can go for about 20 miles on one charge, though there are now models that can go over 50 miles. There’s obviously a trade-off with portability. Recharging the battery of an electric scooter can take as much as eight hours, but newer models reduce that to about five hours, and sometimes even come with the option of removable batteries, so you can always have a fully charged spare battery to hand.