According to a recent study of the North Carolina State University, electric motor scooters produce more carbon emissions than a diesel fueled bus or an electric bike.
As reported by MIT Technology Review, researchers from the North Carolina State University found that scooters produce more greenhouse-gas emissions per rider per mile, contrary to what is advertised by the companies who offer their rental services.
The results of this study showed that they produce 202 g of CO2 per rider per mile, whereas a petrol engine produces 415. The comparison is striking if you look at a diesel bus’s production: 82g of CO2/rider/mile, 40g for an electric bike and 8g for a regular bike.
For the calculations, the researchers also took into account the scooter’s materials: the lithium battery, the aluminum structure, the electric motor. Not only that, but there’s also the emissions of the transport of scooters by diesel-fueled vehicles, which is responsible for 43% of the CO2 emissions of electric scooters. Their very short life span (28.8 days and not the theoretical 2 years – 2018 data collected by Bird in Louisville, Kentucky) contributes to the their carbon footprint as well.
A few small changes might help make scooters a lot more climate-friendly: using vehicles that produce less CO2 for transport; reducing the distance between charging and pick-up points : only collecting scooters that need charging; using more sustainable materials for production. The initiatives could help the carbon imprint drop by 30%, by extending the scooters’ life span.
The recipe for a greener scooter requires two key ingredients: better management of the existing fleet and better awareness of the consumers.