Are Electric Scooters Eco-Friendly?December 22, 2021
E-scooters, also known as electric scooters, are surging in popularity in cities across the world. They can be a fun way to get around the city through smartphone rental but also reasonable to own as an easy way to commute. They seem to be an eco-friendly option for your transportation needs, but are they really sustainable. There is evidence for both the negative as well as the positive aspects of these fun machines. Some experts say agree that they do cut down carbon usage while others do not. Let us look into the positive and negative environmental impacts electric scooters have to see how these popular tools are measuring up.
Negative Aspects of E-Scooters
When looking at how sustainable a product is you must bring factors about its creation as well as day-to-day function into account. What materials were used to make it? How much gas was used to bring it to me? How long does the product last? What kind of energy is used to power it? And when it’s done working is it able to be recycled? Because of questions like these, a seemingly perfect sustainable product can turn into an item’s costly carbon footprint. There is evidence to conclude that this poor cumulation of factors is, unfortunately, true for e-scooters.
A study performed in 2019 at North Carolina State University found that traveling by scooter can actually produce more greenhouse gas emissions per passenger per mile than traveling by bus, bicycle, moped, or on foot. Even though these scooters do not emit fumes themselves, the items used within e-scooters along with how they are used are what drive up their carbon footprint. It should be noted that passenger usage is considered in this calculation and can be compared to cars and trains, which can carry more people per trip. Making it so that each trip used less carbon as it is distributed among all of the riders for an average. The life cycle of the electric scooters paired with the manufacturing process behind them is a big contributor as well.
Life Cycle of Electric Scooters
A key aspect of a truly eco-friendly product is how they were created, how long they last, can how well they can be recycled. Essentially, the life cycle of the product. The manufacturing process is pretty costly to the environment, and we go into more detail about the beginning of an e-scooter life later. But the use of the bike is an important element to consider in its measurement of sustainability. City-wide scooters are growing in size and popularity, but these easy-to-rent scooters do not last very long. As they were first becoming commonplace, their longevity was only a few months. But as e-scooters have improved their life has grown to 1-2 years of functionality. This is also due to the scooters being a target for misuse and vandalism. Damage decreases the scooter’s lifespan and requires more resources from the environment to replace.
Riding a scooter might be easy, but building them requires a lot of materials and energy that can be harmful to the environment. Building the many different parts of the scooters, such as frame, wheels, and battery have their own effects on emissions. Mining materials from the ground have a notable impact on the environment itself, and the combined factor of various other chemicals used for the lightweight vehicle degrades its eco-friendly title. Another important part of their manufacturing process is their journey to their end location after production. They are often made in China, which means that there are not only lots of fossil fuels involved in creating the final product but also ship it to places in the United States.
The additional efforts to round up the scooters, charge them and then return them to the streets, are involved in greenhouse gas effects too. The lithium-ion batteries used in e-scooters are better than other battery options, but if they are not recycled they can leak in landfills and cause damage to the ground and surrounding waterways. All of which heavily stack up when you look at their environmental impact.
Positive Aspects of E-Scooters
Personal e-scooters are shown to be better than the environment than public rental ones. On their own, they do not produce emissions and are three times more environmentally friendly than rental ones. This is because these scooters need trucks and vans (petrol or diesel-powered) to collect, recharge and redistribute them around the city, Rental scooters can often be made in bulk and for cheap so they are disposed of quickly, leaving them with a higher environmental impact. Personal scooters do not need these extra resources and can be handled with more care, making them last longer.
Scooters can also be charged with renewable energy, lowering their contribution to fossil fuel use and emissions. Electricity is a much better option for energy than petrol or diesel, which makes E-scooters a clearly better alternative to driving a car. Because of their small design, they can also keep roads from becoming congested with traffic and keep extra weight off of our roads. Both of these aspects prolong the life of public roadways and prevent the need to repair them using gasoline machines which help reduce carbon use in a city overall.
The science of electric scooters is still ongoing and there are experts on both sides of the debate. Through the evidence provided by studies, rental e-scooters do not necessarily help out the environment, but personal ones can be a more productive option. With the growing popularity of e-scooters in urban cities, there will need to be some improvements to the design of the scooters to make them truly count towards sustainability. But if you are looking to buy one for yourself, they are much more eco-friendly and allow you to charge them with renewable energy and recycle the parts when they are worn out. Still, they are an option to consider if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint traveling around your city!
About the author:
Trevor Fenner is the founder and owner of Mobility Paradise, a one-stop shop for mobility scooters, electric scooters, electric wheelchairs, wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, lift chairs, saunas, steam showers, massage tables, exercise equipment, electric bikes, massage chairs, and bathtubs. Years ago, Trevor’s grandma had an accident that made her dependent on a wheelchair; this forced Trevor and his family to put her into an elderly care facility. Since then, Trevor would visit her to take a walk around the neighborhood. Mobility Paradise was created because Trevor couldn’t find an online store that offers a wide selection of mobility equipment and educational resources. What started as a business focusing on mobility scooters grew to include all kinds of mobility products. You can shop for the most reliable mobility products at Mobility Paradise.