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Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters: Benefits and Drawbacks

Environmental Impact of Electric Scooters: Benefits and Drawbacks

To stop the worst effects of climate change, we must dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the upcoming years. The best way to accomplish it has been the subject of protracted discussion. Deciding where to spend our time and money in this context can be challenging. Consumers purchase e-scooters for various reasons, including the fact that they are a fun, convenient, quick, and affordable alternative to other forms of transportation. Many also purchase it because it is a more environmentally beneficial mode of transportation. That said, there has been both positive and negative discourse around electric scooters. Here, we will discuss both from an impartial perspective.

Are electric scooters eco-friendly?

The positive impacts (benefits)

     - Fewer emissions

     - Energy efficiency

     - Mitigates traffic congestion

     - No fossil fuel used

A discussion of the alleged drawbacks

Final comments

Electric scooters are quite environmentally beneficial compared to other forms of transportation because they have no emissions while in use, thanks to their rechargeable battery. Nevertheless, we will assess every angle from which researchers, media, scientists, and brands have addressed, evaluated, and analyzed.

Are electric scooters eco-friendly?

The answer is mostly yes! There has been some debate until recently, but scientists have debunked most negative connotations objectively.

At first, there was debate over whether electric scooters were environmentally friendly (besides electric vehicles). To make a contrastive study, more and more people are adopting a sustainable lifestyle. As recently as 2022, statistics and scientific studies revealed that electric scooters in the US had demonstrated climate-friendly qualities (especially when commuting lengths are lower).

Electric scooters emit no hazardous gases into the environment because they are electrical devices. Of all vehicle kinds, it contributes to environmental conservation. Smog is a common issue, particularly in cities, especially during rush hours when everyone travels to and from work. There is no air pollution when using an adult eco-friendly electric scooter. This form of transportation was hailed as a "big win for the climate" by the incredibly respected think tank Sightline, which presented its research.

We invite you to read our sustainability statement to understand more about our philosophy, approach, and how SmooSat contributes to the world as a sustainable and environmentally friendly company.

The positive impacts

Less Carbon Emission

Researchers from Georgia Tech have published research in Nature journal, which wrote, "indisputably shows that investing in micro-mobility infrastructure such as e-bikes, e-scooters, and bike lanes can reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions in cities." They further claimed that because their approach was entirely data-driven, this disproves any claim. Asensio from GATech and other research team members calculated in the report that the expected time saved (by utilizing e-scooters instead of autos and reducing traffic) for drivers countrywide is translated into monetary value, adding up to $536 million a year. The Data Science and Policy Lab at Georgia Tech calculated that e-scooters and other micro-mobility choices could reduce drivers' overall trip times by an average of 17.4%.

US Institute for Transportation and Public Policy wrote

“… E-Scooters present a significant opportunity to cut carbon emissions by filling in the first and last mile gap and replacing cars for certain urban trips.

Average Emissions per Vehicle Type
Infographic data source: Levy and Carbon Fund​​

Energy efficiency

EcoHungy, the non-profit think tank, conducted a differential study on energy efficiency on different means of transportation. Energy use varies significantly between various modes of transportation. Secondly, they carefully evaluated this data collection because power consumption depended on multiple variables. Second, in their case, they used an ideal scenario for public and private transportation, in which automobiles are complete to their maximum capacity and trains, buses, trams, metros, and airplanes are operating at total capacity. Their studies thus revealed a maximum efficiency for these modes of transportation. The findings show that electric scooters take merely 20 joules per meter per person, over 380 for a car!

Energy Efficiency in Transportation
Infographic data source: EcoHungry​​

Mitigates traffic congestion

Anthony Eggert of Forbes, in their article - E Is For Environment: Unpacking The Benefits Of E-Scooters, reported that electric scooters are significantly replacing autos that cause traffic congestion in locations like Portland, Denver, and San Francisco. According to the article, 10% of electric scooter journeys supersede bike trips, and about 36% of e-scooter trips replace pedestrian trips. Most significantly, at least 36% are substituting a journey in an automobile.

Speaking of San Francisco, a significant survey showed that popular perception was also on the side of electric scooters. Over 50% of people in the sample in San Francisco and almost 80% in Atlanta favored electric scooters from the traffic standpoint. Most survey respondents positively saw the transition from cars to electric scooters as it significantly reduced traffic jams.

No fossil fuel used

You can charge electric scooters with renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. Electric scooters can propel without emitting emissions, unlike gas-engine cars, which depend on fossil fuels. As reported by Forbes, for moving a human on a 30 to 50 lb. load, electric motors are more than three times as efficient as combustion engines. Comparing an e-scooter to a 3,000–4,000 lb. car or SUV, the energy used is significantly less. Based on the energy required to propel them, one research calculates that scooters are more than 1,000% more efficient per mile than the typical combustion car. Even if the infrastructure that powers e-scooters runs on fossil fuels, the electricity generation has very low emissions per mile.

Majority of U.S. City Dwellers View E-Scooters Positively
Infographic source: Statista​​

A discussion on alleged drawbacks

The negative connotations, which are outdated now, mainly focus on the chain of manufacturing, batteries, and charging. From our extensive research and experience in this area, we discuss a breakdown of several factors here.

Energy-efficient manufacturing processes: Modern brands use energy-efficient procedures compared to conventional manufacturing techniques to create electric scooters emitting fewer emissions. For instance, they frequently use robotic automation to manufacture electric scooters, which use less energy and produce fewer pollutants than hand assembly.

Reduced materials: Electric scooters often have fewer parts than cars with internal combustion engines, which reduces the number of raw materials needed to produce them. The reduction in materials lessens the production process's influence on the environment.

Recycling of batteries: Rechargeable batteries, used in electric scooters, have a finite lifespan. When these batteries end their useful lives, they can be recycled, minimizing the adverse effects of the manufacturing process on the environment.

Location of production: Manufacturers of electric scooters frequently strive to produce their goods close to the point of consumption to lessen the environmental impact of transportation. But of course, we acknowledge that this can be subjective and depend on manufacturers.

Final comments

There is almost zero debate over the negative impacts of fossil fuel emissions on the earth's temperature. Governments and the private sector must take considerably greater action to reduce emissions in the upcoming years. Yet there should be no question that owning a commuter electric scooter like the SmooSat SA3 Prime is one of the finest ways for individuals to reduce their environmental impact and effect change for the better in the world. It is quick, dependable, portable, and enjoyable. To know about our pledge from SmooSat for a more sustainable world, we welcome you to read - SmooSatCare: "Ride Your Green Style Sustainability Brand Story.

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