Do you think e-scooters are eco-friendly? They’re not.

At first glance, we think e-scooters are earth-friendly and potentially carbon-free. But a new study from the North Carolina State University found that traveling by e-scooter produces more greenhouse gas emissions per mile than traveling by bus, bicycle, moped or on foot.

At first glance a good idea for the earth

E-scooters themselves are not particularly environmentally unfriendly. In fact, they don’t emit greenhouse gases. Also, they can reduce road traffic, particularly for trips under 5 kilometers between home and work (70 percent of car traffic in France). And because people can leave it anywhere in the street, they don’t turn around to find a parking space.


The real uses of e-scooters that don’t reduce the environmental footprint

In reality, half of e-scooters usages is recreational, based on a survey from the French governmental agency for energy efficiency. That survey reveals that more than 40% of usages was by out-of-town visitors. And only 19% to go to work or school. Without e-scooters, people admit that they would have walked, biked or used public transport. Anyway, they wouldn’t use cars. Thus, e-scooters don’t reduce that much car traffic.


An unsuspected bad environmental impact

Because of the material

The North Carolina State University search calculated that materials and manufacturing represent half of the e-scooter’s global warming impact. Also, these numbers are increased because of the short life span of e-scooters. Depending on the study, it varies from 28 days to three months.

The biggest issue is the battery. The lithium poses an environmental risk related to its extraction and its recycling.

Because of the fleet management

At the end of each day, e-scooters are collected by the company’s chargers. They are individual citizens (with an ‘auto-entrepreneur’ status) who collect, power and redistribute e-scooters to hubs in the streets each morning. But the problem is that chargers use cars for these missions. Moreover, e-scooters are parked anywhere, that-is-to-say that chargers have to drive long distances to collect them one by one.


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A propos de Mathilde GARGASSON

Une juriste en quête d'aventures 4.0, actuellement étudiante en Master 2 Droit de l'économie numérique.

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