Electric scooters are lightweight, practical, easy to ride, and can get you to work even faster than your car in some cases. However, even though they sound so perfect, they have some cons, including the price. This article should help you to decide if you should buy an electric scooter or not.
Electric scooters are a very efficient way to move through the city. You can avoid traffic jams, the cost is much smaller than for a car or motorcycle, and it’s fun.
Electric scooters are designed the same way a motorcycle designed, and they come in different forms: from ones that have a seat to ones that don’t, and you stand on instead. Electric scooters are just a type of small motorcycle that has a battery and an electric motor.
The first commercially available mass-produced electric scooter was made by Peugeot and named Scoot’Elec. The history of electric scooters is longer than you might think and dates back to 1895 when the first patent for an electric scooter was submitted.
Later on, in 1919, the first prototype of an electric scooter was made. Now, we have all sorts of electric scooters available, some under only 22 pounds, with a range from 5-60 miles, and speeds up to 50 mph.
How come we get back to Electric Scooters?
Electric scooters are old, so why do we come back to them? Aren’t cars and public transportation fast and cheap enough? Well, they can be in perfect environments, but people like to get in and around crowded places.
A car is great for long distances but very bad for cities and crowded places. Most cars have only the driver inside, occupy a lot of space, and it’s hard to find a parking spot. If you have watched the Adam Ruins Everything show (Season 1, Episode 3), you already know why cars aren’t that great for the city.
Solution? Electric Scooters
Electric scooters can solve this problem in two ways.
Don’t need a lot of maintenance
An electric scooter doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, actually, almost none. You need to ensure screws are tightened properly once a month and lube it if needed. But, that’s all unless some parts break. In my experience, if you invest in a high-quality electric scooter, the parts are reliable. Even if you need to change a wheel, light, tire, or a broken mudguard, that’s nothing compared to the costs of owning a car.
Cars require a lot of maintenance, but we usually only compute the gas price. Wrong! Cars involve changing oil, tires, brake pads, fuel filters, and fixing broken parts. All of these can raise the cost per mile because car parts are expensive and not easy to change by yourself.
They are not expensive and operation is (almost) free. You can get a decent scooter for your commute for $600–700. If you use it to replace your 5-mile commute by car to work every day, you will save around $250 in a year just on gas. That does not count parking, the cost of your car, etc.
Cost per mile
We have a dedicated article to the cost of ownership and cost per mile for an electric scooter. Except for the buying price, which can be high especially if you already own a car, an electric scooter has an incredibly low cost per mile and ownership. As we said above, it needs very little maintenance compared to a car.
Electric scooters are pretty fast. You can read more about how fast electric scooters are in this article. Electric scooters are capable of delivering the same speeds as a traditional bike or e-bike but without peddling.
We discussed the lightweight and practical aspects of a foldable scooter, but there is one more huge advantage. You can get to work without having broken a sweat. Comparing it to a traditional bike, you don’t have to do any sort of peddling, which can make you change your shirt or worse.
It may not affect you directly, but, if we all use electric means of transportation, it will lead to cleaner air and environment. Cars, motorcycle, and non-electric scooters pollute the air, and this is observable in crowded cities. The air quality is very low.
If you don’t own a car, an electric scooter can be a good option to fill the first or last 1-3 miles to a public means of transportation. Choosing an eco-friendly vehicle you will help to maintain clean air in cities.
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t enjoy a scooter ride, but there may be some cases. Of course, a short ride doesn’t mean you are comfortable with riding every day, but it’s a start. Personally, I enjoy riding to work on an electric scooter. The feeling of freedom and fresh air is great.
If standing up isn’t for you, there are models which include a seat, so longer commutes are also possible.
Cons of Electric Scooters
The price is the main obstacle for many of us. Electric scooters are pricy, especially the high-quality ones. The reason behind the high price is the battery. Batteries are expensive and hard to produce, so scooters that offer a long range will be quite expensive.
If you don’t own a car yet, the idea of getting an electric scooter seems more logic. If you already have a car and pay all the taxes and maintenance, you can get a lot of gallons of gas for the price of an electric scooter. But, in the end, you will be eco-friendly if you choose an electric scooter.
There are many variables depending on your situation such as your way to work and the money you are willing to spend on an electric scooter. If you want to read more about range and cost of ownership I left a link to those articles as well.
You have a short way to work
If you have less than 1 mile to work, you can always walk that distance, so getting an expensive electric scooter doesn’t make much sense. If you really want one, get a low-range scooter that is less expensive. As you have only 1 mile, it will do its job.
You have a long way to work
If you have more than 5-6 miles to work, a car can be a more reliable and fast alternative to electric scooters. If you have 5-6 miles, the ride will likely be much longer than with a car. But if you work in a crowded place, it may make sense to get an electric scooter as a last-mile vehicle.
As stated above, you won’t give much effort to ride an electric scooter. If you have a short ride to work, a bike is a really good and less expensive alternative to electric scooters.
Range and environment
If you decide to buy an electric scooter, pay great attention to the specified range. It’s always advised to buy one with a slightly bigger range than stated by the manufacturer. This way, you will always reach your destination even if the battery or temperature outside is not the most favorable.
So, should you buy an electric scooter?
Here are my criteria:
- You will use it as a last-mile vehicle because you work in a crowded area
- Have a distance between 2-5 miles to work/school if you want it for the full ride
- You live in a favorable environment (no long winter seasons, which are not recommended for electric scooters, lots of rain, snow etc)
- You should think twice if you already own a car as a good electric scooter is not that cheap and could pay for a lot of gas instead
- You want to move fast through the city and avoid traffic jams
So, these are my criteria if I would need to decide if I should buy an electric scooter or not. Yours can be different. If you are not convinced take a look at pros, cons, and the cost of ownership article.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an electric scooter depreciates over time?
There are two measurable variables when it comes to electric scooter depreciation. Electric scooters depreciate with time and the number of miles on board. Since I don’t have a machine learning algorithm to give you exact predictions of depreciation, I searched my electric scooter to see how much it goes second hand. If you don’t already know from the About page, I own a UScooter Booster.
UScooter Booster Depreciation
a decrease of 33.93% after 1 year and 2299 miles or 3700 km
a decrease of 32.14% after 1 year and 658 miles or 1060 km
Is it worth to but a used one?
It’s not advised to buy an used one unless you are sure of the origin of the electric scooter, it has low mileage and the seller is trustworthy. The thing is that electric scooter’s acquisition cost is relatively small, so I advise you to get a “fresh” one. Batteries are expensive and if the scooter has high mileage it would be your turn to change them!
What scooter to buy?
That’s a question that deserves a more detailed answer. I will probably write in-depth articles that you can read in order to buy the best scooter for you. (I wrote it! Here is my list of top e-scooters for commuting in 2019)
Until then, my tip is to buy a high-quality scooter and avoid the cheap models. Most cheap scooters are not solid enough to be reliable for a daily ride to work, don’t have spare parts available, or any service facility.
A good electric scooter will be reliable for years, and it’s a good investment if you use it daily.
Where should I ride my scooter?
You can ride an electric scooter on the road and bike lane. Depending on local laws and regulations, there are exceptions to this rule, but most often sidewalks are too small and made for pedestrians only. Check out the rules and where you can ride them in this article. Also, read our safety tips.
How fast is an electric scooter?
This question was answered in this post. Usually, electric scooters have a top speed between 12-20 mph. There are exceptions to that of course, which you can read in the article.
Can I ride it in rain or snow?
I have entire articles dedicated to this, and I will link them below. The short answers are that you can ride an electric scooter in light rain, and it’s not recommended to ride on snow.
Electric scooters have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your particular situation, you may decide for yourself if you should buy an electric scooter or not. My opinion is that electric scooters are efficient for distances between 3-5 miles or as a last mile vehicle.
Always consider the cost of ownership and cost per mile, especially if you already have a car. Do the math and choose wisely.
Do you have in mind other advantages or disadvantages of electric scooters? If you are ready to buy one make sure you check our list of top e-scooters for commuting in 2019 in this post.