Debunking myths about sustainable transport and micromobility

Nov 3, 2021

The industry has made huge strides since 2018 when the first e-scooters arrived on European streets. In order to accelerate the transition towards equitable net-zero transport we urgently need to debunk some myths about micromobility and sustainability.

Myth #1: E-scooters only last a few months – FALSE

In the early days of e-scooter sharing, many operators launched with scooters that were not well adapted to shared use or intensive wear and tear. In Voi’s case, our first generation scooter performed better than expected but still only reached an average lifespan of one year. Since then, thanks to the excellent work of our engineers and city operations teams, we have extended our scooters’ lifespan to five years.

Our Durable Vehicle Program works across functions to reduce material waste and extend vehicle lifespan. Combining initiatives ranging from eco-design principles, maintenance, operations and second life, we have been able to extend vehicle lifespan five-fold over the past 3 years. Most importantly, we rely on our great teams in our cities who take excellent care of Voi’s vehicles to ensure they are safe and can be used for as long as possible.

Lifespan is an important sustainability indicator as vehicle production is the main source of our emissions. Longer lifespans lead to lower overall life cycle emissions. Currently, 90% of our Voiager 4 model is recyclable and we are working towards having 95% recycled material used in vehicle production by 2025. We also have a zero-waste policy, reuse spare parts and give vehicles and batteries a second life as long as they meet safety requirements.

Myth #2: E-scooters don’t help replace car trips – FALSE

Today, we have three years of modal shift data collected from thousands of Voi users around Europe. According to our global data (2020-2021), on average 15.4% of users are choosing to leave the car at home in favour of a scooter ride*. In the UK, this figure races up to 39%, in the first year of operation. In addition, we are seeing these figures grow every year in cities throughout Europe, with a 15.3% increase in car replacement rates in the last year. This indicates that as the service, infrastructure and regulations mature the potential for car replacement and decarbonisation will grow.

A recent survey conducted among our users in Oslo also revealed that 65% of riders feel they are less likely to own or use a car if e-scooters are available in Oslo. This shows that, with time, and more inclusive adoption, the potential of micromobility to replace cars is likely to grow.**


Myth #3 Micromobility, e-scooters and e-bikes, is not a sustainable mode of transport – FALSE

Micromobility, e-scooters and e-bikes,has been pegged by some as an unsustainable mode of transport. While there were issues in the early days, with reports of scooters not lasting very long, the industry has shown it can improve and innovate at an impressive pace.

Our Climate Action Plan was developed from the start, focusing on making our service more sustainable. It focuses on two key areas:

  • Circularity and zero-waste – improving lifespan and recycled materials used

  • Net-zero operations – transitioning to electric vans and cargo bikes powered by renewable energy for operations

Thanks to the commitment and efforts of our teams in all cities, we have been able to make tremendous progress and have reduced our emissions by 75% on average. In addition, Voi has set a target to have a 100% electric operational fleet by the beginning 2023 and is a member of the WEF’s Zero Emission Urban Fleet Network (ZEUF).

Today one km with a Voi emits 29g CO2 eq. on average. A comparison across modes shows that Voi’s emissions are lower than most other urban modes, except for walking and cycling of course, but on a par with many public transportations options.

Our latest in-app development, the Impact Dashboard, shows riders the estimated CO2 emissions they have avoided by opting for a journey by e-scooter or e-bike.

Myth #4 Electric cars will solve all climate crisis issues anyway – FALSE

Our cities, towns and urban infrastructure is becoming increasingly dated in that it is still heavily car-centric. Data shows that in London, for example, just under half of householders don’t own a car, and the numbers are shrinking all the time. It’s time to make parking spaces work for everyone, not just drivers. Even if they are electric cars.

Myth #5 Micromobility is a fad and only a small number of people are using e-scooters or e-bikes – FALSE

Despite being relatively new, micromobility is growing exponentially and is already playing a key role in supporting net-zero transport in many cities across the globe. Since launching operations in Europe three years ago, over 70 million trips have been taken on Voi’s bright coral e-scooters and e-bikes across over 70 towns and cities in 11 countries. Independent research showed that the adoption rate of shared e-scooters was four times as fast than shared bikes and e-bikes in Paris. This illustrates the tremendous potential of this new mode to transform how we move around cities.

*   Voi rider research, N = 30,798

** Oslo user survey, May 2020, N=2000

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