E-scooters have conquered the cities in numerous European countries within a year. In Sofia for instance, there are already three companies offering shared e-scooters service, and vehicles parked all over the city or lying on the sidewalks. Ever since the first players entered the market there have been discussions around regulations, but also for and against the e-scooters. The most frequently used argument defending the thesis that e-scooters are positive phenomena is that they are an environmentally friendly alternative. But are they really?
The short answer is: not as green as you may think. According to a calculation by the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, they may even be more environmentally harmful than conventional mopeds and also as electric cars, writes Techandnature.com.
“To bring more clarity to the ongoing sustainability debate, we collected as many available data points as possible from reputable sources to rank the various mobility modes – including the growing number of New Transportation services, such as e-scooter and shared bikes – based on their average carbon-emission output,” the data experts explain in a blog post.
E-moped better than a tram
The experts have summarized the estimated or calculated CO2 emissions of different types of mobility from different sources. In doing so, they took into account not only the emissions during operation but also in production and maintenance. Unsurprisingly, walking is the way to go if you don’t want to emit CO2. Immediately afterward are cycling and e-bus driving. Then comes the first surprise: an E-Vespa is obviously more environmentally friendly than a tram.
CO2 trap: production, disposal, and maintenance
One needs to scroll down before getting to the e-scooters (the dockless ones, used for shared services). With 126 grams of CO2 per person-kilometer, the electrically powered scooter is in the upper middle field and is, therefore, more environmentally harmful than mopeds, public transport, plug-in hybrid cars, and electric cars. According to the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, the poor carbon footprint of the e-scooters is mainly due to manufacturing and disposal, as well as maintenance, which are comparatively environmentally friendly with conventional mopeds.