For all of our innovative spirit, tech know-how and engineering prowess, the UK is some way behind other European countries when it comes to legally using and riding an e-scooter on public roads or pavements. Head to Germany, France, Austria or Switzerland and you’ll find thousands of folk happily gliding along with little more than a slight whine from an electric motor as an emission.
Thankfully, the government recently fast-tracked a proposal to trial the rental of electric scooters in a number of busy areas in the UK. That means we could all soon be safely (and legally) navigating our route to work by this much cleaner and greener mode of transport.
But why opt for an electric scooter when eBikes already exist and they won’t attract unwanted attention from the fuzz? Well, we’ve come up with an extensive list of reasons why below, so you can consider ripping up your Travel Card in 2021.
1. You won’t arrive sweaty
Cycling is fantastic and a great way of keeping in shape while reducing the amount of pollution that is entering our atmosphere, but it also requires a fair amount of leg power and that tends to equate to a lot of perspiration, particularly in the hotter months.
Yes, you could buy an eBike, but a good electric bicycle typically costs in excess of £1,000 / $1,200, where a simple e-scooter can be picked up for around £300 / $350. Also, have you ever tried to lug an eBike up a flight of stairs? We don’t want to bash the things but they tend to be cumbersome and heavy and require a fair amount of space for storage. An e-scooter doesn’t.
2. You’ll save money
Once you’ve got over the initial outlay of an e-scooter (expect to part with between £250 / $300 and £600 / $660 for a decent one), you’ll start to reap the financial rewards of avoiding public transport and taxis. Even at the cheaper end of the e-scooter price bracket, you’ll find that many can manage around 10-miles on a single charge.
Granted, the top speed will likely be limited to a relative snail’s pace 10-12mph, but it remains a quick way of covering a good amount of ground without having to reach into your pocket or deal with traffic jams. Even if you only replace a tube or bus journey and then fold your scooter down for the main train journey, you’ll save hundred of pounds over the course of a year.
3. You can easily store it
With UN statistics claiming that 68 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by the year 2050, it’s highly likely we will have to accept that not many of us will be blessed with a double garage (or even a shed for that matter), so being able to store a mode of transport in a small flat is a real boon.
Most current e-scooters can easily be folded fairly flat, with a quick release mechanism that sees the handlebars fold backwards and clip onto the main deck, allowing the user to carry the scooter by its main handlebar stem.
The Ninebot Segway Air T15, for example, comes complete with recycled packaging that doubles-up as a handy storage and charging station for the scooter itself. This way, it can be folded and stored upright against a wall, drastically reducing its already teeny tiny footprint.
4. It is greener than using a car
There has been some debate about the eco-friendliness of an e-scooter, with one study claiming that they aren’t as green as other forms of transport, like cycling, walking and some forms of public transport.
But according to the very same paper, scooters produce about half the emissions of a standard automobile, at around 200 grams of carbon dioxide per mile compared with nearly 415 of a car. So an e-scooter trumps taking a taxi or Uber every time, and if it replaces personal car ownership, it’s taking a huge chunk of emissions out of the atmosphere year on year.
5. It’s better for your body than sitting down
Ok, so if you really want to get fit, we would advise you start cycling, walking or running to work but if, like us, you simply can’t be bothered, an e-scooter at least provides more of a workout than slumping into a train seat or tucking into a Gregg’s pasty while driving.
Riding an e-scooter requires a degree of balance, which in turn requires your core and leg muscles to activate and stabilise things. Plus, folding one down and walking it up a few flights of stairs is more of a workout than just trudging up them. Oh, and it’s hard to eat a pasty while riding an e-scooter. v
6. There is very little maintenance
Compared to a car, an e-scooter is a dream to live with, but even pitched up against eBikes and other environmentally-friendly forms of transport, an e-scooter requires very little maintenance. Clean it every once in a while, make sure the batteries are charged and keep an eye on tyre pressures… these are really the only key things to ensure the smooth running of your daily commute.