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Small electric vehicles: motorcycles and scooters

We have already spoken about electric bicycles. Here is everything you need to know about other small vehicles such as scooters and electric motorcycles: the advantages, requirements and energy consumption.

Little by little, our cities are expanding their horizons with new alternative methods of transport. The problem with vehicles that cause pollution, such as petrol and diesel cars, has led to the emergence of numerous green and versatile options, which offer new possibilities to move about more easily, quickly and with respect for the environment. These alternatives feature bikes, scooters and electric motorcycles.

In a study made in 2022, the Spanish Foundation for Road Safety (FESVIAL in Spanish) estimates that more than 44% of people in Spain, some 17 million citizens, currently use these small electric vehicles on a regular or occasional basis. In the same report, 60% of those asked acknowledge their intention to use these means of transport in the short term.

 

Main advantages of scooters and electric motorcycles

Here are some of the advantages before talking in detail about each of them:

 

Sustainable

Electric scooters and motorcycles produce no polluting emissions. And they are powered by electricity. To stay in line with the sustainability these vehicles provide, you should make sure that the energy you use to charge them comes from renewable sources. And when you no longer need them, always remember to deposit them in a Recycling Centre or any other authorised point.

 

Versatile

Because of what they are, they solve the problem of traffic jams, as they adapt easily to the type of road and traffic. Because of their light weight, they are accessible when it comes to storage and loading. And if you do not want to own one, you can take advantage of the rental systems you will find in many cities, where you can check availability for your location, book and pay for the use of the vehicle and deposit it where you are authorised to do so once you arrive at your destination and you do not need it any more. This type of rental service enables you to be free to use as you wish and to adapt requirements as you ago.

 

Accessible and economical

They are easy to handle, although later we will specify the requirements to drive them. They are increasingly affordable and many administrations (City Councils, Autonomous Communities and the Central Government) sponsor their purchase to promote modes of mobility with 0 emissions. The rental companies that we have already mentioned are also an economical alternative when it comes to making use of these modes of transport.

 

DGT (Spanish Traffic Directorate) regulations for electric scooters and motorcycles

Because of the proliferation of these vehicles in our Spain, the DGT specified a series of requirements, which have been in force since March 2022. Here is a summary of the main points:

  • These small electric vehicles are restricted to use on the roadway in urban areas. That means that they should not be used on the pavement, interurban roads, crossings, through roads and motorways. In certain towns and cities they can be used in the bike lane.
  • Scooters and electric motorcycles can only be used by the driver. It is not permitted to take passengers. A helmet should always be worn.
  • Headphones may not be used when driving any of these small electric vehicles, since they affect the ability to hear, they are a distraction and this affects the driver's reflexes.
  • The regulations with regard to alcohol and drug consumption that appear in the highway code are applicable to drivers of motorcycles and electric scooters.
  • And the maximum speed is 25 km/h.

Additionally, from 2024, these vehicles will need to have a road traffic certificate.

 

Are there specific regulations for the use of small electric vehicles?

Although we have already commented that each City Council has specific regulations for these vehicles, the most common are as follows:

  • Obligation to wear reflective clothing at night or when there is reduced visibility.
  • They must have a horn or a bell, a white front light and red rear light, and a reflective catadioptric system that is white at the front and red at the rear. They should also have a braking system and a so-called kickstand for support.
  • They should have a visible brand plate with information regarding the maximum speed, serial number, certificate number, and information on the year of manufacture, make and model. They should also have an label on the rear of the vehicle.
  • It is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to ensure that it is in perfect condition, and it should be regularly inspected to guarantee good maintenance, paying special attention to tyre pressure. It is also advisable to have third-party liability insurance.

When charging the vehicle, it is recommended not to allow the battery to discharge completely (it could be damaged and its charging capacity reduced). It is very important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer and your energy retailer before charging.

 

How much does it cost to charge a small electric vehicle?

The cost will depend on how long it takes to charge the vehicle. For example, electric scooters typically have a battery capacity of 6,000 mAh and a voltage of 37 V. With these data, the approximate consumption would be 0.222 kWh. The charging time is decisive, since it can vary from 3 to 8 hours depending on the model. With a charging time of 5 hours and a price per kWh of €0.27 euros, it would cost €0.29.

The price to fully charge an electric motorcycle ranges between €0.59 and €1.20, depending on the model, the autonomy and the electricity tariff contracted. It is very easy to calculate, you just need to multiply the battery capacity for your motorcycle or electric scooter by the price per kWh.

Endesa offers an electricity tariff which enables you to have two hours free electricity consumption every day. A perfect excuse to use this free time to charge the battery of your motorcycle or electric scooter, this way it will always be ready and you will save on your bill. 

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