What are the pros and cons of an electric scooter?
There are plenty of pros and cons of an electric scooter, just as there are pros and cons with every mode of transport. Perhaps you’re trying to learn more about micro-mobility options — such as e-scooters and e-bikes — and how they’re impacting our cities.
If you’re considering buying your own e-scooter, then you’re likely weighing the costs and benefits before you decide. Whatever your reason for looking into the pros and cons of electric scooters, we’re happy to offer our professional insights.
As the UK’s first company offering electric scooter tours, we know a thing or two about the advantages and disadvantages of e-scooters. Given the strict requirements for usage, the changing legislation for permitted zones of use, and the changing nature of our urban communities, there is a lot of conversation around micro mobility transport these days.
We find ourselves in the midst of it all, and we’re quite happy to offer some education and insight.
Keen to try an e-scooter yourself? We’d love to have you join us! Feel free to peruse our E-Bike & Electric Scooter Tours in the UK to find available tours near you.
Pros of Electric Scooters
Electric scooters offer a variety of advantages and benefits to users. As tour operators focused on sustainable, creative tours in UK cities, one of our favourite benefits is the environmental impact of e-scooters.
Our cities are overly congested and polluted due to vehicle traffic; that fact hasn’t changed and won’t change until users shift their habits. We know the negative impacts of air pollution on our health and the UK government has studied and shared them often. Micro mobility transport is an example of how we can shift our habits to improve our environment and improve our health.
We love that micro mobility options like electric scooters and electric bikes allow city residents, workers, and visitors to move about without contributing to that traffic congestion!
Another pro of electric scooters is their compact nature. Whether we’re talking about parking areas or space taken whilst on the move, e-scooters are much more compact than vehicles. Their increased usage (combined with the decreased usage of vehicles) can open up space in our communities and relieve that congestion.
Electric scooters are also quiet. Whilst most UK vehicles are still diesel and loud, electric scooters are quiet and subtle. They don’t contribute to noise pollution the same way they don’t contribute to environmental pollution. It’s a win-win!
Another major benefit of electric scooters is their ease of use. Whilst you must have at least a provisional licence and be at least 16 years of age to drive an e-scooter in the UK, they are very user-friendly. With that low barrier to entry, electric scooters offer increased accessibility for city residents, workers, and visitors.
Lowered emissions, decreased noise pollution, reduced congestion, and increased accessibility…these are just a few of our favourite pros of electric scooters!
Cons of Electric Scooters
As with all things, there is a balance. There are also cons to electric scooters that we’re happy to point out. Nothing is perfect and this industry is still young, so there is, of course, room for improvement.
One of the primary disadvantages of electric scooters is the limited capacity for use in poor weather. Here in the UK, we are quite familiar with poor weather!
Electric scooters can still be used in the rain, but a proper downpour or near-freezing temperatures are obvious inhibitors to the use of electric scooters. Of course, in those types of conditions, nobody wants to walk, cycle, or be outdoors at all anyway!
Beyond the weather, there are other safety concerns for riding an electric scooter (just as there are for all modes of transport!). For general safety information, check out our E-Scooter Safety Tips to get up-to-speed on proper use and etiquette before you get started.
Another con of electric scooters is the battery life. Whilst technology has improved dramatically in recent years, the battery life is still limited for micro mobility options like e-scooters and e-bikes. Charging must be done regularly and there are limitations on mileage that you must be aware of before hopping onto your scooter.
If you’re thinking of traipsing all around London on an e-scooter, you’ll want to consider how many miles you can cover on a single charge. This won’t prevent you from exploring, but it is a consideration of course.
Another con of electric scooters is their restricted use at the moment. As of 2021, London joins a variety of other UK cities in permitting the use of e-scooters, but only in certain areas and according to certain regulations.
We fully support the rules and want to ensure the safety of all who use micro mobility transport as well as the pedestrians and other road-users. But, for now at least, there is a learning curve to using an e-scooter and knowing where you’re allowed to ride.
Using Electric Scooters in UK Cities
Speaking of use restrictions for micro mobility transport, there are certainly pros and cons to electric scooters in the UK right now.
As of 2020, privately owned e-scooters are illegal to ride on a UK public road, cycle lane, or pavement. You can still buy e-scooters, but you can only use them on private property (if the landowner allows you to do so).
Currently in the UK, e-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEV’s), which means they’re treated like motor vehicles and are therefore subject to similar legal requirements as other vehicles.
However, there are currently no companies in the UK that can provide the insurance needed to ride privately owned e-scooters safely. So that’s the crux of the issues as to why privately owned e-scooters are illegal in the UK.
Beyond that, some UK cities, like Cambridge, have easily adopted rental e-scooters and there has been little adjustment required. London, however, has seen more challenges and has only allowed rental e-scooter trials in certain boroughs for a 12-month period beginning in June 2021.
If you’re hoping to try out electric scooters in London, you need to use a rental app for now. We partner with Dott to offer London Tours by E-Scooter; Dott is a highly-reputable company currently operating in 17 cities across 6 different countries.
The benefits of using a rental app for electric scooters right now are that you can test out the use of micro mobility transport without having to invest in your own. You won’t have to worry about maintenance or charging. Instead, you can utilise the electric scooter for your quick trips around the city and test it out for yourself without any of the ownership hassle!
Wondering about other UK e-scooter rules and rental app details? Take a look at our Guide to E-Scooter Rental in the UK for a more comprehensive overview.
If you’re ready to try out an electric scooter, we would love to take you on a tour to explore some of our favourite places and tell some fun stories along the way. Take a look at our Hidden London Tours by E-Scooter to hear the lesser-known stories and uncover unique places in a city you probably think you know well! Or join us for a Cambridge E-Scooter Tour to enjoy seeing the city in a brand new way. We look forward to welcoming you to ScooTours soon!