How Practical are the New E Scooters Really?

Posted 23 Jul 2019

Reading time: 6 Minutes

E-scooters are the new trend on the roads! 

  • Are you really avoiding rush hour traffic and thusly are you getting to your destination faster? 
  • Can you get from school to university faster and more safely from A to B and save on car expenses? 
  • Are the vehicles really that easy to transport?


E-scooter Test

Just two wheels and a handlebar, the popular electric scooter has become widely popular in the last two years. Let's do a hypothetical, everyday test: Imagine, you are a young student and live in Augsburg and have to commute every morning from Munich to Augsburg and back again. This is of course in addition to the everyday commuter traffic and everyday life in the university.




The Practicality

For a moment let’s discuss the practicality. Does it make sense for the student to buy an e-scooter or would a car be more practical? The journey from Munich to Augsburg is not long and there are no hills. This eliminates any problems that the batteries might experience when going uphill. The student can fold the e-scooter, due to its relatively lightweight and foldable concept. They can then easily carry it with a strap over their shoulder in her apartment or in the basement.

For another example of the practicality of an electric scooter we can discuss a professional. A lawyer is annoyed by the eternal commuting and the endless rush hour traffic in everyday life. The lawyer goes to the road and starts their electric scooter, they can drive past all the waiting cars that are stuck because of rush hour traffic. In doing so they can now comfortably drive to work. The model owned by the lawyer is very large with more safety features that make it not collapsible or not foldable. With this, also comes a significantly higher dead weight. Their journeys are not long, but with a car it would be much longer due to congestion and commuting. 


Our own test results in terms of practicality, weight, routes and other aspects:

The scooter reduces my commute time from one hour to 15 minutes and it's just an incredibly fun way to get to work or university in everyday life. I am looking forward to it every day. It has also reduced my Uber and taxi consumption. I have traveled to places that felt a bit too long before when I was just a pedestrian. I can go to the grocery store, meet for coffee at Starbucks, and even get to medical appointments in Westerland, all in less than 30 minutes. Only recently I drove from Westerland to List without a break, before my e-scooter had no battery!


All advantages at a glance

One of the advantages is the ability to fold the electric scooter in the middle and place it in the trunk of a car. This means that I do not have to plan exactly how I will get home, as I can always go somewhere and then decide to take back an Uber or a taxi. This could be because it is too dark, too cold or too far. This is one of the main advantages of an e-scooter over a bicycle. I used to ride a bike all the time, but coming home after an evening event was often a pain and getting stuck in a taxi in a rush is just not nice.

The folding function and the light weight also has the advantage that you can usually take the e-scooter to any location. You can pick up the e-scooter and carry it for short periods of time or you can easily put it under a desk or a restaurant table in your everyday life. 

A final benefit of the electric scooter is the ease with which I can hop on or off. I usually use the road when traveling with my e-scooter in everyday life, but I can also walk over pedestrian crossings or quickly dismount if there is a situation that requires it.


Disadvantages of an e-scooter

However, one of its drawbacks is that there is not really a way to shut off and secure the e-scooter in the same way as you can lock a bike. When you own an electric scooter you can not go anywhere, finish and then wander. You can not go to a mall, lock up and then go shopping all day. 

There is the possibility of an app that could protect against theft. I've turned on the setting that makes my phone ring when someone tries to use the electric scooter without my permission. In my opinion, it is not safe enough to prevent theft, as it is not difficult to pick up and carry away the e-scooter without even turning it on. The app would not respond in this case.

Next, I tried whether it is possible to drive safely with one hand and to give hand signals to other road users. My conclusion, driving one-handedly in everyday life and during commuter traffic feels a lot more difficult than on a bike, to indicate a curve or to give a hand signal to other drivers.


E-scooter vs. Bike

The built-in lights are really handy! One thing that got on my nerves when cycling was that I had to remember to keep my lights charged while I'm at school or university. I do not have to worry about the electric scooter. The lights are there when I need them and the battery does not go limp.


General conclusion:

The main problem of the e-scooter that I encountered during the test is the handling of badly paved roads. It is not very pleasant to ride with shocks due to poor road construction and too narrow tires of the e-scooter.