Is An Electric Scooter Worth It?

Are Electric Scooters Worth It

“Is Investing in an Electric Scooter Worth it for Urban Commutes?”

Urban mobility is often reliant on public transportation, but more and more individuals are embracing sustainable urban mobility to reduce pollution caused by traditional means of transportation. Electric scooters are one option that falls under this category. In this article, we explore whether investing in an electric scooter for urban commutes is a smart choice.

We will examine the pros and cons of using an electric scooter for daily travel, as well as estimate the monthly cost of ownership. Based on this analysis, we will provide final recommendations on whether or not it is worth investing in an electric scooter.


Saving money  

If you’re looking to reduce your daily commuting expenses, an electric scooter may be a smart investment. By replacing car trips or public transportation with an electric scooter, you can potentially save money in the long run. In this article, we delve into the monthly cost of owning an electric scooter to better understand the financial benefits.

Freedom and speed  

Do you frequently find yourself stuck in traffic or cramped on public transportation during your daily commute to work? An electric scooter can offer a solution to these problems. By choosing an electric scooter, you can avoid traffic and crowded public transportation and enjoy a leisurely journey through the city. This not only saves you time but also helps you arrive at your destination earlier and refreshed. And, the benefits of using an electric scooter extend beyond just commuting to work – it can make any journey more enjoyable.

Forget parking

Finding a free parking spot can be a challenge with the growing number of cars on the road. However, electric scooters offer a hassle-free parking experience. Simply arrive at your destination, fold the scooter, and store it in a compact space such as under a desk, in the trunk of your car, or in a corner of your home. When it comes to parking in public spaces, electric scooters can usually be parked in designated bicycle parking areas, or in some cases, motorcycle parking areas. Before using public parking, it’s important to check with local regulations to ensure compliance with local laws.

Easy combination with other means of transport

One of the benefits of electric scooters is their foldable design, which allows them to be carried with ease for short trips. Most scooters can be folded in just a few seconds, making it convenient to take them on public transportation such as the subway or bus. This versatility allows you to enjoy longer rides and expands your travel options.

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The main challenges facing electric scooters are not related to the scooters themselves, but rather the urban and legal environment in which they are used. Legal restrictions and regulations can impact the use of electric scooters in cities, making it important to understand the rules and requirements for operating them.

There is still no unified regulation at the state level in the USA

Electric scooters are categorized as personal mobility vehicles (PMVs) rather than motor propulsion vehicles. This means they are single-seater vehicles with a maximum speed ranging from 6 to 25 km/h. The lack of clear regulations surrounding PMVs has led to concerns over road safety and interaction with other vehicles and pedestrians.

A report titled “Personal Mobility Vehicles (VMP): Threat or Opportunity for Road Safety?” showed that in 2018, PMVs were involved in 300 accidents with victims, with 90% of these accidents caused by PMVs and resulting in 5 deaths. The report also found that 72% of Americans (24.1 million) view PMVs as a risk to road safety and consider unicycles, hoverboards, and electric scooters to be the most dangerous.

The DGT is currently in the process of creating a nationwide regulation for PMVs, set to be in place by 2020. In the meantime, individuals can follow temporary instructions from the DGT and comply with local city ordinances.

It is hoped that with clear regulations in place, the issues surrounding safety and coexistence will be reduced. To learn about the regulations affecting you, check out this article, which summarizes the most important instructions and legislation for major cities.

Cities do not have enough enabled spaces

The design of American cities was created when cars were the primary mode of transportation. As a result, these cities do not have designated lanes for the recent surge in electric vehicles such as bikes and scooters.

Typically, scooters are not permitted on highways or sidewalks. The only areas where they can operate freely are bike lanes. Unfortunately, most cities have limited sections for bikes and scooters to travel, including the capital city Madrid, where these vehicles are only allowed on a few outlying streets, making it difficult to use them for everyday trips.

You do not carry the body protected

Electric scooters, like bikes and motorcycles, lack protective structures for the rider’s safety. This means that if it rains, you may get wet, and in the event of an accident, you are more exposed to injuries. However, it’s worth noting that the speed of electric scooters is lower than that of cars and motorcycles, reducing the severity of potential accidents.

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To find out the cost of using an electric scooter, we’ll compare the expenses of renting vs buying and see how it stacks up against using a car or public transportation. We’ll use the Gotrax Ultra, the most popular electric scooter in the USA, as an example. Here are the specifications:

  • Price: $450
  • Battery: 36v 5.2aH
  • Charging Time: 5 hours

We’ll calculate the cost based on a typical scenario of 20 trips per month, each being 3km.

The monthly cost of renting an electric scooter ($50/month)

To calculate the cost of using an electric scooter through a rental service, there are two main expenses to consider: unlocking the scooter and the minutes of use. Unlocking the scooter typically costs $1 per unlock, while the minutes of use can range from $0.15 to $0.30 depending on the company.

To calculate the monthly rental cost, we will use the average speed of 20 km/h for a standard itinerary of 20 trips per month, each trip being 3 km. This would take approximately 9 minutes per trip. The monthly rental cost would be calculated as follows: 20 trips x ($1 + $0.15 x 9 minutes) = $47/month.

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Monthly expense if you buy an electric scooter ($4/month)

The cost of charging an electric scooter can be calculated by considering the average electricity rate and the battery’s capacity. The average electricity rate is usually $0.15 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The battery’s capacity is measured in milliampere-hours (mAh) and needs to be converted to watt-hours (Wh) to determine the cost of charging.

To convert mAh to Wh, simply multiply the battery’s mAh by the voltage, which is 36V in this case. A 36V battery with a capacity of 5200mAh will have a total capacity of 280.8Wh, or 0.280kWh.

One hour of charging with this battery will cost $0.042 ($0.280kWh x $0.15/kWh). A full charge, which takes 5 hours, will cost $0.2 ($0.042 x 5h). If we use the scooter every day for 20 days a month and charge it every time we use it, the monthly cost of charging will be $4.

In conclusion, purchasing an electric scooter can be more cost-effective than renting it, especially if it is used frequently. The monthly cost of charging an electric scooter is only $4, compared to the monthly rental cost of $47.

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Comparison with the cost of a monthly pass for public transport and fuel for a car

In California, the cheapest monthly public transportation ticket is the youth season ticket for zone A and costs $35. The cost of using a car is different and requires several calculations. For example, if the price of fuel is set at $1 per liter, and the car has a fuel consumption of 4 liters per 100km and a tank capacity of 50 liters, a full tank will allow you to travel up to 1250km.

If you make 20 trips of 3km each, you will travel a total of 60km per month. This means you will have to refill the tank after 20 months and it will cost you $50. The monthly fuel cost will be $2.5 ($50 divided by 20 months).

This calculation may seem to suggest that using a car is cheaper, with a savings of $1.5 compared to using an electric scooter. However, this calculation does not take into account other important expenses such as car insurance (which is not mandatory for scooters) and the cost of parking space, as well as potential damages that may occur and will always cost more than those of a scooter. When considering all these factors, it is clear that buying an electric scooter is still the most cost-effective option.

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In conclusion, purchasing an electric scooter is the best option if you plan on using it regularly for your daily trips. Despite the initial cost, the charging and maintenance expenses are minimal and the added benefits of versatility and environmental responsibility make it a smart choice.

If you’re interested, you can find a comparison of the best affordable electric scooters in this website. However, if you only plan to use the scooter occasionally, it might be more economical to rent it as needed.

Hi, I’m Jason Tie

I have been passionate about electric scooters and bicycles since they came on the market, but I really took to skateboarding when I was young.

I started with the skateboard at 7 years old when my dad taught me how to ride. Since then, I have mostly owned freestyle skates and longboards- even if they were difficult for some people in our town.

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