Electric Micromobility: A Sustainable Solution for Short Trips

The convenience of cars for short trips comes at a cost, both in terms of emissions and petrol expenses. In Australia, nearly half of all commuter trips are made by car, covering distances of fewer than 10 km. Similar trends can be seen in the United States, where a staggering 60 percent of car trips are under 10 km. However, there is a better solution worth considering: electric micromobility.

Electric bikes and mopeds, collectively known as electric micromobility, are becoming increasingly popular alternatives for short trips. Not only are they cheaper to purchase and operate than electric vehicles, but they are also more sustainable for the environment. Surprisingly, these forms of transportation are now displacing four times more demand for oil than all the electric cars in the world combined. This is due to their remarkable uptake in countries where mopeds are commonly used, such as China.

While electric vehicles have been praised for their zero tailpipe emissions, they still pose certain challenges. They require significant amounts of electricity to power them and their battery manufacturing process relies heavily on rare earth elements. Additionally, electric vehicles are costly to purchase, even though their running costs are considerably lower than petrol cars.

Electric mopeds and bikes offer distinct advantages in terms of energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact. They consume significantly less energy when transporting one or two individuals and are more affordable than electric cars. For instance, charging an e-bike for a daily commute of 20 km would only cost around $20 per year.

Furthermore, electric micromobility options like scooters and skateboards provide a solution to the “last kilometer problem” in public transport systems. These compact vehicles can bridge the inconvenient distance between home and public transportation hubs, improving overall accessibility.

The adoption of electric micromobility has the potential to significantly reduce urban emissions. Studies have shown that e-scooter trips produce up to 45 percent less carbon dioxide compared to alternative modes of transport. In the United States, expanding e-bike trips to 11 percent of all vehicle trips could result in a 7 percent decrease in transport emissions.

As petrol prices rise and battery costs decline, the demand for oil will continue to decline. Experts project that global oil demand will peak in 2028 and then gradually decrease. While electric vehicles will certainly contribute to reducing oil demand, our reliance on electric micromobility can also play a crucial role in achieving a more sustainable future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How do electric bikes and mopeds help the environment?

Electric bikes and mopeds produce fewer emissions compared to petrol cars. Their use reduces the demand for oil and helps combat air pollution.

2. Are electric micromobility options cost-effective?

Yes, electric bikes and mopeds are cheaper to buy and operate compared to electric vehicles and petrol cars. They offer significant savings in terms of fuel costs and maintenance expenses.

3. Can electric micromobility replace cars entirely?

While electric micromobility is suitable for short trips, it may not be practical for longer journeys. However, when it comes to daily commutes, school runs, or running errands in urban areas, electric micromobility can be a viable alternative to car usage.

4. How do electric scooters and skateboards solve the “last kilometer problem”?

Electric scooters and skateboards provide a convenient mode of transportation for short distances, bridging the gap between home and public transport hubs. They make it easier for individuals to access public transportation options.

5. What impact can electric micromobility have on oil demand?

As electric micromobility becomes more widespread, it will contribute to a decrease in global oil demand. While electric vehicles will play a role in this transition, the popularity and efficiency of electric bikes, mopeds, and scooters will also significantly reduce the demand for oil.