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The Electric Scooter: Two Good Reasons to Own One

Updated on July 9, 2010

Even though the technology used in an electric scooter is more than 100 years old, they were almost unheard of just a few years ago. For instance in London, which has thousands of ordinary motorbikes and scooters, the city council estimated that there were only about 50 electric bikes, electric scooters or electric mopeds registered at the start of 2009. And this is despite the fact that in London there was a very large number of different electrically-powered two wheelers available.

Yet this market is growing fast. One market research company, Pike Research, estimates the number will double worldwide in about 7 years (it is forecasting a compound annual growth rate of close to 10 percent). And London’s Mayor is also forecasting a big jump in the number of electric bikes in the city.

The first reason to own an electric scooter is because they are relatively cheap to run. Companies offering them estimate that their running costs for a year will stand at only about £55 (about $75). That works out at just pennies a day. They are also not terribly expensive to buy with prices starting at just above £1000 (about $1500) for electric commuter bikes. This compares quite favourably with ordinary 50cc mopeds and they probably offer similar performance. They would also be a lot cheaper to buy and run than 125cc scooters, even if they would be a bit slower.

They also do not need expensive infrastructure. Electric cars need high-powered sockets to be able to charge in a reasonable amount of time. But an electric scooter can take a charge in between 2-4 hours drawing about 3kW (which is the same as about 10 lightbulbs). This can save thousands on the cost of installing special high-powered electrical sockets and cables. They are also ideal for city riding. A charge of 2-4 hours would give a range of about 75 miles, which is more than enough to get to work and home again.

The other reason to consider buying an electric scooter is because they are good for the planet. Ordinary scooters and motorcycles are actually quite polluting when it comes to local air quality. They emit nitrous oxides (NO2) at about twice the rate of ordinary petrol cars and they are four times worse than cars when it comes to emissions of small particulates. Electric scooters, on the other hand, release no emissions so do a great deal to help keep the air in big cities clean.

They also help protect the planet against global warming. A study by MIT has found that electric vehicles are far less polluting in terms of carbon footprints than gasoline-powered ones. This is true even in cases where the main source of electricity comes from dirty sources such as coal.  The other great thing is that they will only become more eco-friendly over time as electricity grids get more and more of their power from clean sources. In many parts of Europe, America and Asia wind power is growing at an astonishing rate. So too is solar power in places such as Germany, Spain and the West Coast in America. As electricity supplies become greener, electric scooters will become ever more carbon neutral.

It is not that often in life that you can really find what people like to call a genuine win-win situation. But when considering whether to own an electric scooter you really do. You not only save money you also get to help the planet.

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