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article imageElectric scooters are not as 'green' as you might think

By Tim Sandle     Aug 3, 2019 in Environment
Electric scooters may appear to be an alternative and 'green' form of transport compared with cars or buses, but the environmental credentials of scooters are necessarily as good as some manufacturers claim, according to a new report.
The report is a a life cycle analysis of the dockless scooter industry, and the analysis shows there are still relatively high levels of carbon emissions. This comes at a time when the electric scooter market continues to grow rapidly. As an example, Digital Journal's Ken Hanly reported that Ford-owned Spin plans to deploy 15,000 electric scooters in eight U.S. cities beginning in August 2019.
The study has been issued by North Carolina State University in a report for the journal IOP Science ("Are e-scooters polluters? The environmental impacts of shared dockless electric scooters"). The researchers used a statistical risk analysis method called Monte Carlo analysis to assess the environmental impact of electric scooters.
The report finds that while e-scooters are better for the environment than cars, they are not as good as transportation options, like bicycles, walking, or some forms of public transportation. The assessment was based on the total sum of emissions drawn from manufacturing (the scooters are typically fashioned from aluminum), transportation, maintenance, and upkeep. In terms of just riding the dockless scooter, the mean greenhouse gas emissions per scooter mile traveled was found to be around 200 grams of carbon dioxide. The main issue here is the source of electricity used to charge the scooter (with the U.S. electricity supply still heavily dependent upon fossil fuels).
Lead researcher Jeremiah Johnson told The Verge: "If you only think about the segment of the life cycle you can see, which would be standing on the scooter where there’s no tailpipe, it’s easy to make that assumption. But if you take a step back, you can see all the other things that are a bit hidden in the process.”
As well as environmental issues, electric scooters continue to be associated with accidents and general safety concerns. As Digital Journal has flagged, such is the spate of accidents the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a study to assess accident patterns for the first time, and to propose preventative measures.
More about electric scooters, Safety, Green, Carbon footprint
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