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Electric Scooters Look Increasingly Capable of Lowering Road Emissions

Kick the tires of some standout electric scooters in micromobility.

Electric vehicles are increasing their share in the passenger car market and the emissions of the transport sector need to be brought under control. However, changing the drivetrain alone is not the most effective way to reach Net Zero. An important element in achieving the climate goal will be to control the use of passenger vehicles and encourage other forms of transportation such as micromobility.

I recently joined Micromobility Europe, a conference dedicated to electric scooters, e-bikes and other small vehicles. One thing that makes this event so much fun is the opportunity to run, operate or pilot sophisticated hardware.

Shared micromobility companies like Bird, Lime, Tear and Voi are often seen in the news headlines, many new companies are now designing devices for private ownership. It introduces the challenge of matching form factors and scooter capabilities with personal features and lifestyles, such as pickups being preferred for some people while others prefer a compact car that is easy to maneuver and park.

There is no single best scooter on the market, but the great electric scooters perform well in at least one of the four S’s I’m dubbing.

Durability

Early adopters of micromobility are often environmentally conscious. Although the emissions from scooter use are much lower than many other types of transportation, critics have accused scooters of being disposable hardware that ends up in a pile of scrap with little error. Estonian e-scooter maker Aike seeks to challenge that perception with a range of devices designed to be durable and repairable. The batteries of the scooters have a 10-year warranty and a five-year warranty. About 42% of used parts are recyclable and 92% of scooters can be recycled after retirement.

Style

Customers need to win minds to embrace increased micromobility. One way to do this is to design a beautiful-looking product for which the owner can feel the same pride with their car. M, a new scooter from the UK-based Bo, is a Formula One and a stylish product designed by automotive industrial engineers. The scooter is a statement piece with an aluminum chassis, GPS tracking and AI-based range forecasting.

Simplicity

Does changing all or part of your transport from four wheels to two significantly complicate your life? Aiming at the US market, Taur, a UK-based company, has developed a compact and attractive folding scooter that can be easily stored. The design of this scooter has been enhanced by a feature that makes it as easy as it gets effective – the rider is able to face the ride thanks to the folded footrests from the middle of the scooter. Low center of gravity means the body of the scooter does not have to be as long as other designs.

Smarts

The companies I’ve talked about so far are early-stage startups, but there are more established companies working with innovative products. Near the Segway-Nineboat scooter industry which is in the Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota automotive industry. One of the latest scooters they have to offer is the s90L. While it’s designed for shared scooter fleets, it highlights how many advanced features are being added to smaller vehicles. The scooter is equipped with a fishy camera that enables it to detect pedestrians and bike lanes and can record footage for anti-theft and anti-vandalism purposes. Some of these technical features may be unnecessary on privately owned devices, but some may also reduce the pain points behind micromobility adoption.

Even a scooter that is exceptional in all four categories will not be able to win the hearts of all customers. It shouldn’t either. Scooters are not for every consumer or traveler. However, electric scooters are improving rapidly and will be an important tool in tackling urban air quality and emissions from road transport.




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