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E-scooters are sometimes more harmful to the climate than cars

E-scooters are sometimes more harmful to the climate than cars

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Rental of e-scooters is now banned in Paris, and stricter rules are in use in Vienna. However, scooters are still often traded as a good alternative to cars for short distances in town – the so-called ‘last mile’. However, under certain conditions, e-scooters have a worse climate impact than cars.

The biggest environmental problem for electric scooters is their manufacture. In actual operation, rental scooters have a good balance of emissions, but in production the situation is completely different: if you look at the total carbon dioxide consumption in the manufacture of the scooter, much more aluminum is used – then the battery and the motor.

Short operating time results in poor climate balance

“Then it depends a lot on how long these devices have been in operation. If e-scooters have been used for a relatively short period of time, i.e. only driven 2,000-3,000km and then have to be thrown away because they are broken, then they have a worse CO2 emission balance than a car, though. For example,” says Michael Michik of the Transportation Institute at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in an interview with “Vienna Today.”

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Motorcycles that break down quickly have a significant impact on the climatic balance of the devices

E-scooters also rack up negative points in their climate balance when the rental hardware isn’t running. “If they are used relatively little each day and must be collected frequently, these service campaigns lead to additional emissions,” says Mechik. This also includes the daily distribution of freshly shipped scooters in the city by car or truck.

Trips are rarely substituted by car

Studies in Berlin, Dresden and Paris also showed that only a few people use scooters instead of cars. Promises made by manufacturers and operators that this would replace car tracks did not materialize. Studies show that about 4 to 6 percent of e-scooter trips previously took place by car, ”says the researcher. Rental scooters often replace public transport or walking – both of which are much more environmentally friendly. Vienna currently has 7,000 rented scooters compared to With 700,000 registered cars.

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