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Are electric scooters efficient?

Electric scooters are now a common sight in our cities and are here to stay, which is why we must learn to live with them. They are often considered the ideal accessory to use in conjunction with other modes of transport, but are they really efficient?

Although they started to appear in our cities last year, in 2019 we have seen they are not simply a passing fad. Some rent them, whilst others have their own, but one thing is clear - these battery-powered vehicles, which help cut our journey times and reduce pollution, are a common sight in our cities and are here to stay.

This is not the place to enter into a discussion about how they should be used (on the pavement, with a helmet, etc.). What this article aims to do is explain what an electric scooter is and show how it is a viable alternative to other modes of transport in cities. Using figures, we are going to see how efficient they are in terms of the electricity they use for the kilometres they are able to cover.

A scooter or an electric bicycle is a fantastic mode of transport, but also a way of designing the cities of the near future, where cars are set to lose ground.

Their mere presence is bringing about a series of far-reaching changes, such as the creation of special lanes aimed at encouraging people to use a mode of transport which is sustainable and zero-emissions, thus freeing up parking space.

“An apparently incidental event, the arrival of electric scooters in our cities has sparked a chain reaction set to create less polluted cities.”

How much does it cost to charge a scooter

Let's be honest, one of the main reasons why so many of us are opting to buy an electric scooter is because they are so cheap to run. Clearly, if we use it often, within a few months it will have paid for itself in terms of the amount we would have spent on petrol and public transport.

Just like the cost of charging an electric car, it is impossible to come up with a specific, unchanging figure. There are lots of different models of scooters. However, what we can do is estimate this cost based on standard, common specifications.

It is impossible to take into account all the different scooters on the market, but we can take a series of standard specifications, largely shared by the leading models. Based on this, it is easy to show that the cost of running a scooter is fairly low. Let's suppose your scooter has a 7800mAh, 42V battery.

Bear in mind that electricity is charged in €/kWh. The watt (W) is a unit of power, not energy. The energy used by a device is calculated based on its power and the time it is on for.

For example, if a 25W light bulb is left on for an hour, it will use 25Wh of energy.

In order to do our calculations, we first have to convert the unit of measurement used for the battery's capacity from mAh to Wh. To do this, all we have to do is multiply the capacity by the voltage:

  • 7.800 x 42 = 327Wh, o lo que es lo mismo, 0,327kWh.

The price per kWh ranges from 0.11 and 0.16 €/kWh.

With Endesa's One Luz tariff, it would be 0.12 €/kWh. With the One Luz Nocturna tariff, customers are able to make the most of off-peak times and pay 0.08 €/kWh. With the Tempo Happy tariff customers are able to customise their plan even more and choose times when their electricity is free.

With the Tempo Happy tariffs, customers can save even more. However, we will use the tariffs mentioned above for simplicity.

Electric scooters take around five hours to fully charge. Let's take this new factor into account in our equation: number of hours x price of kWh x battery capacity.

  • 5 x 0,0804 x 0,327 = 0,13 euro.
  • 5 x 0,1255 x 0,327 = 0, 20 euro.

This means that charging a scooter during off-peak hours would cost around 0.13 euro. With the normal One Luz tariff, without the time restrictions of One Luz Nocturna, this would increase to around 0.20 euro.

If you want to know what it would cost you each month, let's suppose you charge your scooter every day, from Monday to Friday, i.e. 20 days a month. Assuming you always fully charge your scooter, the monthly cost would be 20 days x €0.20, which is 4 euro a month.

Please note: our calculations do not include the various conditions and variables that exist, as our aim is to give an indicative, rounded figure. However, even in the most extreme scenario, the cost of running this kind of electric vehicle is fairly low and almost negligible if compared to a car or public transport. Also, we must not forget that many people charge their scooters at places where it is free, such as at work.

“As a general and indicative figure, charging an electric scooter costs around 4 euro a month in electricity.”

Things to bear in mind if you are thinking of buying a scooter

Although electric scooters are a fairly new product, lots of companies (mainly Chinese) which make quality scooters that are fully adapted to our needs have quickly appeared. They are no longer seen as just a toy, but as a sustainable and efficient way of getting around cities.

When choosing a model, you should bear in mind six things:

1. Battery time. Electric scooters can do between 15 and 30 kilometres, this changing considerably depending on speed and terrain. We recommend going for one which is able to do at least 20 kilometres.

2. Power. A more powerful electric motor means more speed, but also uses more battery power. Given the speed limits in place, there is no point in going overboard and getting a model that can go extremely fast. 25km/h is more than enough. Some scooter apps let us choose from different power modes.

3. Tyres. Different sized tyres perform differently - small tyres are less equipped to absorb shocks from uneven terrain, whilst larger ones provide better suspension, but use more battery power. It is important they are puncture resistant.

4. Safety. Your scooter should have good LED lights so you are visible from behind and in front. Another important safety feature is the brake, either a handlebar or foot brake, which must have a light which comes on when used.

5. Weight. The lighter your scooter is, the less the motor will need to work, although this will also depend on our own weight and anything you are carrying with you. The closer it is to 10 kilos, the better. Your scooter should never be more than 15 kilos.

6. Folding models. If you want to take it with you on other modes of transport, such as cars or trains, or inside your home or other buildings, it is important it is lightweight and can be folded up.


Tips for keeping your scooter in good shape

The battery is at the core of this kind of vehicle and is just as important as the motor. That is why you should bear in mind a few things to ensure it lasts for as long as possible.

For example:

  • You should fully charge your scooter. Check its user manual to find out its recharge time.
  • Once it is fully charged, unplug it in order to avoid phantom energy.
  • Always use the original charger or one which meets the needs of your scooter's battery.
  • Do not completely run the battery down as this will reduce its life.
  • If you are not going to use your scooter a lot, you should still fully charge it on a regular basis.
  • Batteries can usually be replaced and you might find yourself having to do just that. However, it also might be a good idea to have two, leaving one to charge whilst you use the other.


Electric scooters - the perfect complement

Electric scooters are a hot topic at the moment and have become very popular. Lots of people are coming round to the idea that it could be a good way of getting around on a daily basis, either alone or in conjunction with their car or another mode of transport.

In reality, not everyone can travel using only an electric scooter, but thanks to their weight and size (many fold up), they may well be an ideal mode of transport to combine with trains or cars.

What factors come into play when choosing to travel by scooter? The distance travelled, things we need to take with us and the weather are all important factors. Also, living in a small city with little traffic encourages us to carry on using our car, but in big, congested cities, scooters are gaining ground.

It's true that the electric bike has created many new possibilities in new urban mobility, but the scooter has one big advantage over the bike: because it is smaller, it can be used in conjunction with other means of transport.

“We recommend you opt for a scooter which weighs less than 15 kilos and has enough battery power to do at least 20 kilometres”

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