Electric scooters are a great way to get around. As you hurtle along past all the traffic, you can feel smug that you are enjoying the benefits of owning an electric scooter. One of the benefits is the feeling that you are doing your bit for the environment. Electric power is more eco friendly than driving a car bellowing exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. But is riding an electric scooter good for the environment?
Some people may be concerned that their electric scooters may not be as eco friendly as they think. You want to be sure that you have made the right choice about your mode of transport, regarding its green credentials. However, we read many news articles tell us otherwise.
Even though your scooter isn’t contributing to poor air quality, there are a few things that you may not know about it. For example, you may not know what your electric scooter is made of or the carbon cost of charging it. Therefore, you might be wondering if your electric scooter is green at all.
If you have had any of these thoughts, you have come to the right place. We are going to go through how eco-friendly electric scooters are and what you can do to reduce their environmental impact.
What Are Electric Scooters Made From?
The first thing you need to remember is that an electric scooter is tiny when you compare it to a car. So, it already has a huge environmental advantage.
When you think about it, a car has to transport the weight of its passengers and contents. But, it also has to be able to move its own weight. The average weight of a car is 1.4 tonnes, and SUVs weigh nearly 2 tonnes. Heavier vehicles are less efficient, so they need more energy to get them moving. The need for extra energy is supplied by burning more environmentally damaging fuels.
An electric scooter’s motor contains the same rare earth minerals used by an electric car or wind turbine generator but in a much smaller quantity.
If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint with an electric scooter, you can minimise the environmental impact by choosing wisely. An electric scooter with a high-quality motor and a reliable, durable battery has the least negative effect on the environment. A good electric scooter with quality components will last longer. Therefore, you won’t have to keep buying new ones or replacing the battery too often. Also, you will get a much better range from your battery.
Quality Not Quantity
Choosing a scooter with high-quality components isn’t just great for your convenience. Buying an electric scooter that will last a long time will help you make the most of it and benefit the planet.
Most electric scooters are made from aluminium. Manufacturers use it as it is lightweight and very strong. Aluminium is quite abundant, but it takes a lot of energy to mine it and extract it from the ground.
But, aluminium can be recycled easily and efficiently. The recycling process for aluminium uses 95% less energy than needed to dig up the original aluminium ore. Therefore, electric scooter manufacturers need to select construction materials that can be obtained and recycled easily. So you can be safe in the knowledge that your aluminium scooter is built using a reasonably sustainable manufacturing process.
However, electric scooters with lots of plastic composites such as carbon fibre are less sustainable. Carbon fibre is lightweight and pretty much invincible. This may help with the scooter’s ownership, but when the other components fail, and the scooter needs replacing, the carbon fibre is impossible to recycle.
Is A Personal Electric Scooter Better For The Environment Than a Rental Electric Scooter?
When you ride an electric scooter, it produces no exhaust fumes, as it only uses its electric motor to propel it. Therefore, during your journey, you are not contributing to air pollution. Of course, there is a carbon cost when you charge it up, but electricity is has less of a carbon cost than petrol or diesel. A car emits 650g of CO₂ per km. The energy to propel a personal electric scooter the same distance is about 65 g and about 202 g for rental electric scooters.
Therefore, a journey on a rental electric scooter is two thirds more environmentally friendly than a car. This is a significant improvement, especially when more people leave their cars at home in favour of renting an electric scooter.
What About Buying An Electric Scooter?
However, when you own your own scooter, you can be three times more environmentally friendly. The problem with rental scooters is not the scooters themselves but the support services of the rental companies. These make them much more damaging to the environment than an electric scooter you personally own.
Every morning electric scooter rental companies drive their scooters to areas where people need to pick them up. Then, they gather them up from where the renters have left them at the end of the day. To do this, electric scooter rental companies use diesel vans and trucks, which pollute the air.
But, other rental electric scooter problems are not so obvious are bad for the environment. For example, the scooters are used so much that their lifespan is much shorter than personal electric scooters. Therefore, they are sent to landfill much sooner. Even though modern electric scooters are more robust, the average life expectancy of a rental electric scooter is about 18 months. But this can be much shorter due to vandalism and people dumping them in canals, lakes and the sea.
Is Electricity Production Environmentally Friendly?
As we have already mentioned, electricity is much greener than petrol or diesel. But, how sustainable is electricity as a fuel for travel?
The world is finally waking up to climate change, so some countries are employing more renewable energy sources to generate electricity. Examples of these are wind turbines, solar panels and tidal generators. All these create energy sustainably, using up pretty much zero resources other than their manufacture.
Power stations use coal and gas to generate electricity, and extracting them from the ground has an environmental impact. However, mining the rare minerals, such as neodymium necessary to build wind turbines can be equally polluting.
There will always be a trade-off between the different alternatives, but we need to think about the long term. The benefits of solar and wind power are far better than using non-renewable fossil fuels. Therefore, as long as electricity is generated in a green way, powering your scooter is good for the environment.
Pretty much everything has a carbon footprint. Whether it is from its manufacture, use or transporting it to the end-user, there will be a carbon cost. There will be emissions during the manufacture of an electric scooter and to charge up its battery. But, the smaller and lighter nature of an electric scooter puts it well below a car in terms of its environmental impact.
You can reduce your environmental impact when riding an electric scooter further. Buy one with a high-quality motor and battery, and make sure that most of its materials are recyclable. Also, learn how to maximise the range of your electric scooter, and how to dispose of it at the end of its lifespan responsibly.
By learning how to maximise the life of your electric scooter and its battery, you can continue to ride feeling smug. As you ride past the gas-guzzling cars, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to contribute to a healthier and greener environment.
If you are considering buying an electric scooter, check out our online store.