With concerns about overcrowding on public transport and finding sustainable alternatives to cars, many people turn to two wheels for their means of transportation. And with the rise of electric scooters, it’s easier than ever to get from A to B.
Despite the negative media narratives surrounding electric scooters, they are part of the micro-mobility solution that could reduce our carbon footprint, increase public transport access, and save people money. It seems the public is voting with their wheels; UK cycling retailer Halfords cited growth in e-mobility products of 184% in 2020. Soon enough, infrastructure and government legislation will change to catch up and adapt to the new normal of fewer cars and more micro-mobility vehicles in our cities and beyond. Read on to find out how electric scooters stack up against other modes of transport.
Let’s start with the basics - why are electric scooters a great mode of transport. You might want to read our blog on 5 Reasons You Should Buy an E-Scooter.
Our two-wheeled friends are:
- Eco friendly
- Cheap to run
- Energy efficient
Are electric scooters better than cars?
While electric scooters are cheaper upfront and long term as well as less polluting to the environment, it’s essential to consider whether they are the right solution for your personal needs. If you live in a rural area with the main facilities far away from your home or need to take a highway to get to work, a car or public transport may be your only option. However, if you live in a city, rely on a car for journeys under 5 miles or tend to use the car alone - then an electric scooter could be a great alternative.
Additionally, if you use your car to drive a few miles to a train station and then catch a train to get to work, swapping your car for an electric scooter could be worth considering. More compact models are available that can make commuting a breeze; the handlebars of Inokim scooters fold down, making the scooter compact and easier to carry. Another consideration is the typical weather in your area - some electric scooters are not suitable for harsher weather - so be mindful of the average weather conditions you’ll be riding in.
The average upfront cost of a family car (in the US) is $35,000 versus the $500-1000 of an e-scooter. Considering insurance, servicing, parking and petrol costs - an e-scooter could save you a lot of money.
Based on usage of five miles a day - the fuel costs of an average vehicle (with a 28mpg average petrol consumption) is $185.10 (Source; Wired), an electric car comes in at $78.87; the humble e-scooter comes in at just $2.93.
ERideHero worked out the price per mile for e-scooter versus car and worked out approximately 4.7 cents for a full charge which works out at 0.3 cents ($0.003)per mile (30 cents per 100 miles, etc.) Compared to an average gas-powered car which worked out at $0.086 per mile. Meaning the car is approximately 29 times more expensive to fuel than an e-scooter per mile. Are you sold yet?
Want to work out a complete breakdown calculation of car versus e-scooter? Head to ERideHero to find out how.
Are Electric Scooters Better than Public Transport?
While public transport is often low cost and convenient, we’ve all experienced the unpleasant side of it - squeezed in under someone’s armpit during rush hour or waiting as packed buses or trains pass by your stop. If you live in an area where public transport is unreliable, infrequent or just too busy - an electric scooter will allow you more flexibility and freedom. However, if your commute’s distance is further than your electric scooter’s range - you’ll hit a dead end. There are ways that e-scooters and public transport can work in harmony - you could use your electric scooter for “the last mile” - travelling from the train station to your home or office.
For example, a monthly London travelcard is around $200, and unlimited travel in New York is $116.50 per month. While the initial investment into an e-scooter would work out at about $500-1000 would set you back initially - daily charging would work out well under $1 - and you would soon level up your average costs. Plus, the price of not being squashed in like a tin of sardines with strangers is priceless.
Are Electric Scooters Better than Bicycles?
Bicycles can get you from A to B and give you a good work out. If a sweaty commute or the risk of leaving your bike outside doesn’t work for you - an electric scooter may be the better option. Since you bring a scooter inside rather than chain it up outside, you can eliminate the risk of theft or damage. Scooters can usually fit under your desk and are slightly more portable and lighter in comparison to bicycles. However, if you cannot charge your e-scooter or go over the max range, you could be left lugging it home. Luckily most e-scooters can also fit into the boot of a car - in case you have to take a taxi!
The riding position of an e-scooter versus a bicycle also has some advantages - not a saddle sore in sight! If you’re riding into the office to sit down all day - an e-scooter might be a fun way to spend your commute. While you don’t get the same sort of workout as riding a bicycle, e-scooters can work your glutes and improve your balance.
While distance on a bike trumps an e-scooter, a bicycle is not an accessible transportation mode for everyone. An e-scooter can be a way for those unable to use a bike or with limited mobility to get around. With a standing riding position and a footplate that is low to the ground - many may feel more comfortable using an e-scooter.
E-Scooter versus traditional bicycle come up relatively even in terms of costs. A decent entry-level model will set you back around $500, and both use similar accessories (helmet, extra lights, bells, high visibility apparel). Both would require annual servicing of around $50-100 (on the cheaper end for e-scooters). However, an e-scooter would last around two years with regular use, whereas a pedal bicycle is five years.
Both bicycles and e-scooters are sustainable modes of transport, and if you live in a city, they make a lot more sense than a car and sometimes even public transport. As long as your local laws allow the use of e-scooters, it comes down to a matter of personal preference and perhaps distance.
Both e-scooters and bicycles offer a great alternative to cars and public transport depending on your needs and personal situation - and more often than not, they could not only benefit your pocket long term but the environment too. When it comes down to bicycle versus e-scooter - we’re going to leave that one up to you. Here at CYCL, we opt to use our e-scooter for shorter distances under 5km, and we use our bikes for longer trips.