Has the Covid-19 pandemic killed the electric scooter market?
Most micromobility startups have struggled to make a profit in 2019 and in 2020, especially due to the Covid-19 impact. But evidence shows that there could be a post-pandemic rebound. So is an electric scooter or e-bike still worth buying in 2021 or is the hype gone?
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the shared and public transportation very hard because people stayed home. This was a very hard blow for many business which struggled to make a profit even before the pandemic hit.
As people were reluctant to use public and shared transportation, spending on shared bikes and electric scooters suffered the most out of all transportation methods with a drop of almost 100%, according the NY Times. During the spring lockdown Lime had to lay off 13% of its workforce and its valuation went down by 79%, which forced the company to withdraw from almost all foreign markets.Lime's rival Bird had to lay off 30% of its employees in March of 2020.
But very quickly the market started to recover when it April 2020 nationwide e-bike purchases were up 85% relative to March 2019 and the sale of adult leisure bikes went up threefold.
Asian has seen an increase in the demand for micromobility with electric scooter trips going up by 14% in South Korea. For Hellobike nationwide e-bike purchases increased by 85% in March 2020, when compared to March 2019 in the United States.
The data shows clearly that the negative impact that electric scooter companies experienced in March-April of 2020 was just temporary. There are many reasons why you should buy an electric scooter in 2021 if you didn't in 2020.
Reasons to Buy an Electric Scooter in 2021
1. Electric Scooters can save you time and money in 2021!
It is obvious that city congestion in most cities around the world is increasing. Existing transportation methods, such as trains, cars and buses, are unable to keep up with the growing population.
For example Americans lose an average of 99 hours per year due to being stuck in traffic, according to the 2019 INRIX National Traffic Scorecard. On top of that the cost of being stuck in traffic was in total of 88 billion dollars or $1,400 per driver.
Cost per mile of electric scooters versus cars
Many cities need to work really hard to solve their transportation issues and micromobility has emerged as one of the best alternatives for this.
Most people use rental electric scooters to get around, which costs an average of $1.50 permile. Owning an electric scooter will save you much more money in the long run with a much lower 9 cents per mile.
The cost of car ownership is much harder to determine because it depends of lots of different factors. A study conducted by AAA called “Your Driving Costs” found that the average sedan costs 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 a year. So 9 cents per mile compared to 60.8 cents a mileis a big difference, especially considering that you can get a quality commuter electric scooter for less than a $1000.
Electric scooters can also be more efficient than other modes of transport. One kilowatt hour of energy can only get a gasoline-powered car to travel 0.8 miles, according to Wired. An electric vehicle can travel up to 4.1 miles under the same conditions. However, an electric scooter can travel 82.8 miles using the same amount of energy.
The cost of purchase of an electric scooter: Priced at around 1% of the electric car, one of the most affordable choices to go green.
2. Number of Dockless Rental Electric Scooters Will Grow in 2021
Dockless electric scooters first appeared in the city streets on Santa Monica, California in September 2017. Hundreds of dockless electric scooters were dispatched by Bird, which caused backlash from city official and citizens.
In the early years, despite many problems and issues, dockless scooter craze witnessed aggressive growth. Many US-based scooter-sharing companies achieved unicorn status very quickly as big investors poured millions of dollars into the space, though growth has since slowed given Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 70% of Americans living in major urban areas view e-scooters positively, according to a 2018 survey. In 2018, electric scooters overtook shared bikes as the preferred method of dockless transportation. Presently, dockless bikes have largely disappeared from cities. For example, Uber acquired Jump Bikes in 2018 but transferred it to Lime in May 2020 as part of a larger investment. Lime has since scrapped tens of thousands of Jump’s older bikes.
Although Covid-19 did have a significant impact to electric scooter rental services in 2020, the trent is expected to further increase in 2021 with more e-scooter rental companies coming out. People post-pandemic prefer to ride electric scooters instead of public transport so the future looks bright for electric scooter rentals.
3. Electric scooter are becoming legal
One of the major drawbacks of electric scooters was and is, is that they are illegal in many places. Micromobility as such is a new trend and the laws and regulations are slow to catch up but this is slowly changing.
The growing number of rented and privately owned electric scooters and the associated safety concerns prompted the authorities to use the winter recess to draw changes in the rules for the use of such vehicles.
In many countries across the world electric scooters would be put in a new category of “light-duty” vehicles alongside electric skateboards, hover boards, Segways and the like. In this way, users would be treated by the law as “pedestrian drivers” and would be subject to similar requirements as apply to car drivers, including a ban on driving while intoxicated.
A “light-duty” vehicle is a single-person vehicle, propelled by an electric motor with a maximum power rating of 1 KW and a maximum speed of 25 km/h. The vehicle must have a functioning break system and a signal bell, as well as reflectors or lights, with some exceptions applying to vehicles with a steering wheel. Drivers aged 10-15 would need a permit to ride a bicycle and must wear a helmet while riding.
Electric scooters, rented and privately owned, would remain confined to sidewalks and cycle lanes.
It might take some time for the laws and regulations to take an effect but eventually people will adopt them, which will make it legal to ride e-scooters. Different countries and states will have different regulations, which can make it a bit tricky.
4. More electric scooters to choose from in 2021
More and more companies started to make their own electric scooters in 2020. Many well-known electric scooter companies, such as Xiaomi, Segway Ninebot and Hiboy came out with new models as well. So there is much more electric scooters to choose from. The increase in competiton has reduced the prices of e-scooters greatly, while the quality as gone up.
Electric scooters are a mixture of the best elements of traveling by foot, bike and car. They work on engines, like cars, enabling short travelling distances without hassle. There is no road congestion, much like bikes, enabling faster travel.
- Electric Scooter market is expected to reach $41.98 billion USD by 2030, accoring to Grand View Research Inc.
- Electric Scooters and Bicycles sales have reached reach 50 million units by 2020, according to the reports by Statista.
- By 2025, eScooter and motorcycle market will worth $13, 864.0 million
- 129 million units of eScooters and motorcycles will run on the roads by 2028
- E-Scooter market will account for 8% of overall two-vehicles on the road by 2023
As you can see electric scooters are not a passing trend but are here to stay. Riding an electric scooter is fun, saves you money and time, plus it is better for the environment. 2021 is going to be a very good year for electric scooters and micromobility in general.