By Wade Thiel
Not Very Green Afterall
People look to electric scooters and cars and motorcycles and think of them as carbon-free machines. That’s simply not the case. People think of a shared resource like scooters or mopeds as another thing with few evils. Again, not the case.
According to a study by researches at North Carolina State University reported on by Forbes, shared electric scooters are actually worse for the environment than riding your own electric moped or even riding on a diesel bus.
Shared scooters have a short lifespan and while they seem to be everywhere manufacturing them is resource-intensive, creating a notable carbon footprint right off the bat. Then you have to account for the greenhouse effect of actually powering these scooters. The end result is a machine that’s less efficient in most cases.
“Roughly two-thirds of the time, scooter rides generate more greenhouse-gas emissions than the alternative,” the study reported.
The study is more about the shared use of these scooters and how inefficient the systems are in place to make them available to the masses, but it brings up questions we have to ask about electric machines, specifically two-wheeled ones. Are they really any better for the environment? In some ways yes, but in others, they may not be.
While the point of this study is not to suggest that electric scooters, mopeds, or motorcycles are bad, it is clear that we’re essentially trading one form of greenhouse-emissions-producing vehicle for another. I don’t know the right answer, but I do know dockless scooters probably aren’t it.
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