Are Electric Scooters About to Become Legal in the UK?

Transport is changing.

How we move around has to change, a fact recognised by the recent Government report Future Mobility: Urban Strategy. Released in the summer of 2019, it sets out a vision for how we get around in busy cities like London. The days of relying on the car for urban transport are numbered but what is changing and why?

The car

model t car

The car became affordable to most working households from the 1950s onwards. The independence it offered was beyond anything we had seen before. We could go wherever, but more importantly, whenever we wanted.

Fast forward a few years and by the 1980s, the two-car household was common. With the liberation of women from the kitchen sink and into the workplace, the need for two cars became apparent.

Up until the 21st century, improvements in urban transport meant small, incremental changes to infrastructure such as by developing roads and public transport systems; more roads and railways were built, existing carriageways widened and ‘improved’ with minor changes in road layout.

But we can’t keep doing that. With issues surrounding air pollution in the city and the other pitfalls of congested streets, more roads is not the solution.

How does the electric scooter for commuting fit into the Urban Strategy vision for the future?

The electric scooter is divisive. Some see it as a nuisance with riders taking to the streets and pavement of the capital without a care for pedestrians and other road users. For others, the electric scooter is part of the solution. And it seems that the UK Government agree.

In its report, it talks of micro-mobility vehicles and how these can be trialled. Included in the definition of micro-mobility is the electric scooter.

There are many issues that need resolving when it comes to how we move around the capital. For example, the commute from the suburbs into the city is only one part of the daily commute. The first mile – the walk, bus ride or cycle to the tube station, for example – and the last mile, the stretch between the tube station and your workplace, are also an important element of how well we move around the city.

The assumption is that we ‘should’ walk. Or if it is a bit further and the pavements crowded, we ‘should’ cycle. The electric scooter is the solution to both the first and last mile of the commute.

What are the problems with introducing the electric scooter?

There are two significant barriers to introducing the electric scooter to the streets of London or any city or town in the UK…

1.    The law

donkey

Firstly, the Highway Act 1835 makes it illegal for anything else to be on the pavement other than pedestrians. The wording is strange but this 19th century law dictates that driving a mule (donkey!) as well as sheep along the pavement is illegal. Using this law, riding a bike on the pavement is illegal too, even if it is being ridden by a child.

Whilst some have championed this law as a reason why electric scooters should not be allowed, there are others who suggest that the law needs to catch up with modern technology.

In some ways, the government agrees, acknowledging that the safe trialling of micro-mobility transport, such as e-scooters is necessary to create a capital in which we can move around quickly and safely.  

2.    Attitudes

Change is unsettling for some but a great opportunity for others. In other words, there are winners and losers. On city pavements that are already crowded, introducing the electric scooter compounds the problem.

Riding them on the road is also illegal and yet riders are expected to follow the rules of the road. Accidents are thankfully rare but a recent tragic death in London followed by a serious accident between e-scooter and another vehicle a few days later have leant weight to the argument that ‘e-scooters are dangerous’.

Clearly, safety for e-scooter riders is important, just as it is for all other road users and pedestrians. But clearly, work needs to be done to change attitudes towards e-scooters as well as other modes of transport. We only have to look at the reaction to the recent Channel 5 documentary regarding cyclists in London to understand how deep divisions run. Headlines such as ‘the battle for Britain’s road is on’ are inflammatory and no help in changing our roads for the better.

Is the electric scooter about to become legal?

The report on urban mobility sets out several guiding principles as to how transport in London, and other urban centres, will change in the coming years. Whilst there is no explicit mention of making electric scooters legal, it is clear that they, along with other modes of transport are not being ruled out.

Several of the principles could be related directly to the development of electric scooters for commuting including new modes of transport being safe and secure by design and how innovation in mobility is advantageous not just in the capital but across the nation. Active travel, says the report, must remain the best options for short journeys and any transport methods must have zero carbon emissions, both of which the e-scooter fulfils.

But the report also goes on to talk of how innovation in transport and mobility services must and should be encouraged because, to emphasise the point again, how we get around in the city cannot stay as it is.

 

You can read the full report on the changing nature of transport in cities and towns here

fast electric scooter

traffic jam

Have you recently sat in traffic, stuck in an Uber or driving to work across one of the UK’s major cities?

In 70% of those journeys, you’re wasting your time.

New research from traffic information supplier Inrix has shown that electric scooters would beat a car in 70% of journeys typically taken in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield.

 

bicycle passing cars

Researchers evaluated trillions of pieces of data from connected devices including cars, mobile phones and road sensors and found that more than two-thirds of car journeys in congested urban areas are less than three miles (4.8km).

With scooters averaging speeds of 12mph, cities could “reap significant benefits” with current traffic jams slowing transportation speeds to a crawl across the UK.

Manchester was identified to be the UK city which would stand to see its journey times reduced most.

But while cars are legal, electric scooters, still, are not. As we know, an almost 200 year old piece of legislation (the 1835 highway act) still prevents this new technology from being utilised in public areas – with many riders fined £300 and given court cases to boot.

police vans

With many commuters looking for a better way to get to work – and growing sick of stressful morning jams on the tube and train, electric scooters for commuters are growing increasingly popular, despite crackdowns from the metropolitan police.

Transport minister Michael Ellis said earlier this summer: “We are examining whether they can be used safely on the road – and if so, how that should be regulated to ensure the public’s safety. However, companies must understand that reviewing laws does not necessarily mean laws will change.”

Report author and Inrix transportation analyst Trevor Reed warned that existing legislation and public awareness “does not do enough to encourage micromobility”.

He said: “The Government should review options to legalise e-scooters and assess the current opportunities to increase road safety for all users.

“We urge authorities to use more data-based decision making to ensure the smart deployment of these services.”

To be honest.. we’re inclined to agree!

Each year, inhaling particulates causes around 29,000 deaths in the UK, which, on recent evidence, may rise to around 40,000 deaths when also considering nitrogen dioxide exposure…

air pollution

One of the main causes for this? Internal combustion engines (fuel burning vehicles) on city streets. And how much air pollution is emitted by electric scooters we hear you ask? Well, none.

Let’s note even mention the thousands of environmental protests around the world (with even Russia joining the Paris climate agreement), while the planet grows hotter still…

At Elka we strongly believe in the power of emerging technologies to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. Air pollution, climate change, mental health, before us lies a worryingly tall mountain to climb. But through sensible policy making, technological innovation and the collaboration between businesses, consumers and governments, there’s no reason why this daunting task cannot be accomplished.

two gender lights

Legalising electric scooters in the UK is just a tiny change in the grand scheme of the world’s events, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Join our growing community as we band together to take action on stressful commutes and climate change!

Electric scooter for adults uk

Hardly a day goes by these days when there isn’t a news article about the electric scooter. Some recognise this machine as being exactly what frustrated commuters need whilst others are unsure about its lasting impact on the city.

We know that the electric scooter will (and is) revolutionising the city commute. There are teething problems, as there are with all changes, one of which is making sure that the rider gets the right scooter for their commute, for the right price and for their riding ability.

And this is why we created the Adult Electric Scooter Buying Guide for 2019 because different riders need different scooters

Your daily commute may be short in mileage but long in time or you may face the double whammy of a long journey that takes a long time. The electric scooter for commuting is often touted as the ideal solution for today’s city commute – which it is – but at Ride with Elka, we are conscious that not every commuter needs the same scooter. Hence, investing in the right machine that will definitely last the distance is paramount to commuting success on two wheels.

There is an old saying, ‘buy cheap, buy twice’.

There are also many new companies springing up either offering electric scooters for sale or as city-wide sharing schemes. As you would expect, it is possible to buy a cheap electric scooter from China but you also won’t be surprised to discover that not all of these machines are of the highest quality. Unreliable and poorly manufactured, much to your frustration you will have wasted your money, and you will be at risk of road accidents. 

Reliability is key

One frustration of the daily commute is how unreliable the transport network in and out of the city can be. The electric scooter aims to resolve that by giving you the means to commute quickly to where you need to be. You’ll save cash too and you never know, you might find that the scooter makes the daily grind of commuting not only fun but also an adventure.

But you need the right scooter. And this means understanding what to look for when it comes to examining the growing range of electric scooters for sale in the UK. It means getting to grips with the technical aspects, like the capacity of the electric scooter battery and the mileage range it delivers, as well as other aspects like braking technology and tyres.

We’ll also take an unbiased approach examining the range of high-quality scooters, as well as pointing out all the good bits about the Elka Model T.

If you need any more help or info, we’re here to answer your questions. There is the live chat facility on the website or you can email the Elka team.

The Ride with Elka Team

Summer 2019

Choosing an electric scooter for the daily commute is a great choice. You’ll save cash and leave the stress of busy tube and train stations behind. It’s also far more fun to scoot to work! In this electric scooter buying guide, we examine all the important features to look for when buying a scooter.

 

Why an electric scooter?

Commuting problems are many and varied. Aside from the time spent commuting, it is also expensive to get to and from work, a cost that isn’t reducing any time soon. The average commuter in the UK spends £149 a month getting to and from work. In London, this figure rises sharply to £305 a month[i]. There’s also the stress of commuting, the psychological impact of which is increasingly being studied across the globe [ii]. And then there’s pollution, the effects of which are choking us and our cities.

 

Doing nothing about the stress, time and pollution of the daily commute isn’t an option. There are solutions, one of which is to enjoy the daily commute, save money and contribute far less in terms of pollution with an electric scooter.

Key features to look for in a scooter purchase

You need to be confident you have the right electric scooter for you and within your budget. An electric scooter must be reliable, giving you confidence and peace of mind that you’ll make it into the office on time – and home again!

THE ELECTRIC SCOOTER BATTERY         

Possibly the most important feature of the electric scooter is the battery simply because this is the ‘fuel’ that moves you from A to B. You need a scooter battery that delivers its charge over the range of kilometres so you can comfortably scoot to and from work without worrying it will run out of charge.

 

Electric scooter batteries are rechargeable but not all batteries deliver the same cycle performance.

 

*      The higher the battery ‘ah’ rating, the further the scooter should travel before it needs charging.

*      A bigger battery doesn’t always mean better, however. To save on charging costs and optimise charging time, opt for a battery that delivers the cycle you need it to. For example, our 36v 6.4 Ah rechargeable lithium battery delivers an average cycle of 15 km before it needs recharging, more than enough for daily city commuting.

*      Lithium rechargeable scooter batteries are considered the superior option as they retain their cycle performance for many years.

*      Check if the battery is replaceable. You don’t want your electric scooter to become obsolete if you can’t change the battery and it’s always useful to be able to charge without the burden of the scooter (that is, you can remove the battery and plug to charge).

*      Consider the charging time of the battery. The quicker it charges from empty, the better. A charge time of between two and four hours is considered the norm. However, some of the larger scooters can take 8-12 hours to charge.

 

THE ELECTRIC SCOOTER TYRES

The type of electric scooter tyre is important as it adds to the comfort of riding your scooter. There are different types of scooter tyre;

 

*      Traditional scooter tyres – comprising of an inner tube and outer tyre, this traditional design has one problem: punctures.

*      Hard, rubber tyres – also known as punctureless tyres, they sound great but because they are hard, they make for an unpleasant scooter ride as the suspension is compromised.

*      Vacuum sealed tyres – these are similar to the traditional tyre but because the tyre and inner tube are sealed, they offer unrivalled performance. Your comfort when riding isn’t compromised and punctures are rare (when was the last time your car got a puncture? Yep, it’s because they’re vacuum sealed.).

 

THE ELECTRIC SCOOTER BRAKES

You need a simple, yet effective braking system on an electric scooter. Different scooter manufacturers use different systems;

 

*      A footbrake is a rear brake used by pressing your heel down on the rear wheel ‘mudguard or fender. The resulting friction slows the scooter.

*      Software brakes are operated by the touch of a button. They can also come with specialised software solutions, like “autoguard” which guarantees the motor shuts off when the brake is pressed.

*      Regenerative braking is a new braking technology that converts the rider’s kinetic energy into electric energy to recharge the battery. Although this sounds good in theory, in practice electric scooters struggle to generate sufficient kinetic energy that will result in any significant enhancements to battery range.

*      Disc brakes are considered to be a reliable braking system on an electric scooter. Depending on the manufacturer, you may have a disc brake on both the back and front wheels. You operate the brake by squeezing the lever on the handlebars, something you’ll be familiar with if you ride a bike.

 

Our electric scooters rely on disc braking. A proven braking technology, when you press the brake lever the scooter will slow. Press it hard and the scooter comes to a clean stop, something you will need on your busy morning and evening commute. Disc brakes are easy to maintain and won’t need replacing for years to come.

 

THE FOLDABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT ELECTRIC SCOOTER

The electric scooter for commuting solves what is referred to as the first and last mile commute problem. In other words, you might still need to take the tube into the city but for overground distance, you’ll use your electric scooter.

 

This means you’ll want a folding scooter and one that is light enough to carry. Our electric scooters weigh-in at under 13.5kg and is easy to fold and carry.

 

RUNNING COSTS OF AN ELECTRIC SCOOTER

The low running costs of an electric scooter will see you save significantly on the daily commute.

Buying the scooter

A very basic electric scooter will set you back no more than £150 which sounds great until you realise that your electric scooter for commuting continually breaks down, or the battery discharges quickly. On the morning commute, you need to be confident you’ll get to work and you certainly don’t want to entertain the inconvenience of a breakdown on the evening commute.

 

At the higher end of the market, you could spend way over £1,000 on an electric scooter but you’ll find that the features of an expensive model won’t deliver any more benefits than that of a mid-priced model. 

 

Mid-price range scooters, around £450 to £550, offer a range of fantastic key features including a rechargeable lithium battery, reliable braking system and sealed tyres. They are also lightweight, perfect for folding for the last-minute dash for the tube or bus.

 

Charging costs

You’ll also need to consider battery charging costs. Depending on the energy supplier and the charge per kWh of electricity, the average cost per charge, based on four hours active charge, is around 50p[iii]. 

 

Insurance

Insurance isn’t a legal requirement for riding your electric scooter but having said that, because the pavements and cycle lanes of London and other UK cities are swamped with people, cyclists, cars and HGVs, public liability insurance wouldn’t go amiss. The average UK premium for public liability for individuals starts at around £60 a year although like all financial products, you need to check what cover the insurance policies gives you.

Effectively, you are looking for a product that covers you against claims and legal costs should you be involved in an accident and are sued for personal injury claims, something that can and has happened recently, although not against a scooter rider but was a personal injury claim against a cyclist

You’ll also want to consider insuring your electric scooter against theft. Many insurers will also include eventualities such as fire too, although electric scooter fires are rare.

Where to buy public liability insurance? Use a reputable insurance comparison site to find the best insurance deals for public liability. Before you buy, always make sure you read the small print. You may find exclusions that means you are not covered when you think you are!

SAFETY

You can’t fail to have noticed the uproar around the introduction of electric scooters. An increasingly common sight in London, they are also growing in popularity in many cities across the globe. 

An issue that is raised is safety surrounding electric scooters, where and when they should be used. Tragedies are thankfully rare but there have been deaths reported after collisions between scooters and other vehicles. London saw its first electric scooter fatality in July 2019, followed by another serious electric scooter accident a few days later. 

There is a lot yet to be done to ensure that the scooter becomes an accepted and acceptable means of commuting in the city. However, we want to make sure that everyone who commutes using a scooter does so safely.

Whilst we wait for the Highway Act 1835 to be updated or repealed (does anyone still drive their donkey along the pavement in London or anywhere in the UK?), promoting safety means following the basic rules of the road and pavement etiquette:

  • We encourage our riders for the Model T electric scooters for commuting to be aged 16 or over.
  • Pavement etiquette is essential – being aware of your surroundings and people, commuting with focus and alertness, and a willingness to share the available space is essential for safe scooting in the city.
  • Ride your scooter with the right attitude – in other words, ride with consideration of others at all times, just as you should when you are behind the wheel of a car or cycling through the city.
  • Wear protective gear every time – this includes a helmet that is well-fitting, along with protective pads on elbows and knees.
  • Practice before you commute – riding an electric scooter is easy when you know how. That means on delivery of your new scooter take time to practice and get to know the machine, how the brakes works and so on.
  • Service and maintain it – just like other vehicles and bikes on the road, keeping your scooter ‘roadworthy’ is essential. That means replacing tyres when the tread is worn, making sure the brakes are in working order and that nothing is protruding from your scooter that could catch pedestrians as you ride past.
  • Be aware of your speed – excessive speed contributes to accidents and not just with scooters. Limit your speed in areas that are busy with pedestrians and other road users.

 

TOP SELLING, POPULAR ELECTRIC SCOOTERS FOR THE COMMUTER

We’re suitably proud of our Model T electric scooter. Its removable lithium battery, powerful motor and state-of-the-art braking system make it one of the best on the market but there are others, all of which could solve your commuting problems.

 

Xiaomi M365 Pro

Xiaomi M365 Pro @Vivescooters

Pros Cons
✔ Long battery life

✔ Simple to use

✔ Different riding modes

✘ Heavy

✘ Takes some getting used to!

✘ Non-swappable battery means the scooter must be charged indoors

 

is the Xiaomi M365 Pro, the latest model that boasts significant improvements since its predecessor the Xiaomi M365. The more powerful battery and slightly more powerful motor mean that this scooter has an impressive 28-mile range per battery cycle, perfect for the longer commute.

With a top speed of 15.5 mph, it is an impressive machine although there are a few drawbacks that reviewers of this new-to-the-market scooter pointed out. There is no suspension, for example, and so you are relying on the tyres to absorb the lumps and bumps of riding along, although it copes well with tarmac and concrete.

The ‘sports mode’ will give you a smooth acceleration,once you’ve got the hang of it. The small wheels and small handlebars make the ride unstable when you’re trying to alter the riding mode. The braking system is also effective (which is what you need!) but even experienced riders found that there is a need to hang on with both hands when braking sharply. 

The Xiaomi M365 Pro can be used on its own or with the smartphone app that also contains a handy feature called ‘motor lock’. It means drive away theft is impossible.

It also has a large screen that gives all the essential info you need including estimated mileage, total mileage, battery temperature and battery level too. 

For an electric scooter to be used for commuting, there is no denying the power and range of this model. 

 

Ninebot ES2 / Ninebot ES4 max

The Ninebot ES2 @PureScooters

 

Pros Cons
✔ Optional second battery

✔ Excellent smartphone app

✔ 3 speed mode

✔ Shock absorbers front and back

✔ Cruise control

✘ Low maximum weight

✘ Additional battery expensive


The Ninebot ES2 is a more powerful version of its older sibling ES1. If you’re wondering what the ES4 Max is, it is the same same electric scooter but with an additional, spare battery similar to the Elka Model T scooter. Officially, there are only two models of scooter – the ES1 and the ES2.
The similarities between the Xiaomi M365 and the ES2 are striking as they should be as the M365 model heavily influenced the design. It has all the impressive features that you would expect. You can set your own speed limit via the smartphone app. 

It’s the battery that is the main attraction with the ES2 easily managing 15 miles in one charge with ‘perfect conditions’ (that is, no harsh accelerating, not hills and so on). Invest in the second battery and, as you would expect, the range virtually doubles making is a popular scooter for the city commute.

Charging from 0 to fully charged in a little under four hours, this certainly a great scooter to take a second look at. With a powerful 700w motor, you won’t be hanging around either.

On the flipside, it does have a low maximum limit even though the review we’ve come across haven’t found a problem with a ‘heavier’ user on board, although acceleration was slower. The cost of the additional battery also has earnt it favourable reviews although if you are looking for a reliable, powerful electric scooter for commuting, the ES2 (or ES4) won’t leave you short.

You’ll get a pound change from £500 for the ES2 (although it’s always worth shopping around) with the ES4 coming in at around £680.

 

Zoom Stryder EX

Zoom Stryder EX @PureScooters

 

Pros Cons
✔ Super zippy

✔Kickstart can be set to optional

✔ Responsive braking (incs. emergency brake)

✔ Automatic headlight

✔ Brilliant battery life

✘ Riders complained of the ride feeling a little ‘loose’

✘ Cruise control hard to use

 

The rather niftily named Zoom Stryder EX certainly ticks plenty of boxes. Again, the stand out feature is the battery. A recent change in the battery has improved delivery of power no end, something that many reviewers use as forgiving it for feeling ‘loose’ in its ride (play in the handlebars, that kind of thing). While other scooters struggle to maintain its top speed charging up hills, the Zoom Stryder EX had no such problems, great news if you have an uphill on your commute.

It did drop speed as battery life was low and although this was expected, some rider felt that the drop in speed made it difficult to balance.

The Zoom Stryder EX is an example of a scooter using regenerative braking which although super responsive – that is, stops you when it need it too! – they do feel different to the disc brakes that your find on the Xiaomi M365 Pro, for example. It has an emergency brake which when used, was very effective. 

Battery range was good and generally, the feedback was positive. If you want a super zippy ride and have some hilly points in your commute, then the Zoom Stryder EX at £598.99 is worth a second look. 

Inokim Light

Inokim Light @VRZone

Pros Cons
✔ Great for beginners

✔ Speed limit settings of 8, 17 and 25 km/h

✔ Good battery life

✘ Acceleration good but takes some getting used to with the kickstart

✘ On the heavy side for carrying

If ever there was a scooter that could be described as middle-of-the-road for everything, it is the Inokim Light. That said, the name ‘light’ implies that it is although most reviews you come across say that for a short hop, carrying the scooter is not a problem but for anything longer, it is slightly too heavy. It does come with a handy carry strap, however.

Where this scooter does win is just how functional it is. There are no ‘bells and whistles’ on it as such which is why for the nervous scooting newbie, this is a great model to start with. It delivers what it says on the tin – it has an excellent battery life with a decent range of 25km to 30km, so perfect for the city commute. The battery charge quickly enough and although you won’t be winning any uphill races, this is a scooter that performs.

It has a three speed limit setting and although acceleration is good, you may find you wobble a little as you get used to the routine of kickstart and accelerate. 

It comes out top for style although you’ll find most Inokim Lights being sold second hand for anything between £800 and £900 as it has now been superseded by other models (take a look at the Inokim OX next).

Inokim OX

Inokim OX @InokimUK

 

Pros Cons
✔ A scooter for on and off road

✔ Adjustable suspension system

✔ Brilliant battery life and range

✘ Price

Everything is impressive about the Inokim OX. If you want more power, more miles, more grunt and more bite, you’ve got it. But you’ll pay more. This is a top end electric scooter, retailing in the UK at £1,800.

It has a 60v battery that delivers a range of up to 62 miles, so if you enjoy taking a detour on your way home or to the office, then this is the one for you. It has been described as the SUV of the electric scooter world so you should get a fair idea of what it’s like. 

It has a top speed of 29mph according to its impressive specification list which is perfect for off-road (ie. not for chasing through London’s streets and pavements!). Still very new, the feedback thus far is encouraging but the price tag might be off-putting for some. But sometimes, pay more, you do actually get more.

When it comes to buying the right scooter for you, as well as budget, you also need to consider whether it is geared towards an experienced scooter rider or a newbie, as well as battery and range.

AFTER-SALES SUPPORT

With your brand new scooter out the box, charged ready to go, your daily commute just got a lot more fun and a lot cheaper. Until that is, there is a puncture or technical malfunction. When you’re riding every day, there’s also the question of keeping your electric scooter in good working order with regular maintenance.

 

Not all electric scooter retailers offer after-sales support. At Ride with ELKA, we’ve thought hard about developing the most affordable maintenance options. Here are your choices; 

 

*  The Standard Package is perfect for when you want to buy the scooter upfront with repair support via our app

*  With the Commuter Package, you’ll pay for the scooter monthly with repair support via the app and any replacement parts sent by priority service and you’ll own the scooter after 12 months.

*  The Commuter Pro Package is also a pay monthly option that includes repair support, priority part replacement service, a repair service at a time that suits you, spare battery and a safety kit. At the end of 12 months, you’ll own the scooter. The beauty of this package is that you won’t be ‘off the road’ for longer than a day. We arrange scooter pick up, repair and return within 24 hours, minimising disruption to your commute.

 

SUMMARY

An electric scooter for commuting is a fantastic investment that will save you money and make the daily commute less of a grind. Knowing what to look for in an electric scooter for commuting means you get the right one for you.

 

A lithium rechargeable battery is not only replaceable but efficient and reliable. Scooter tyres need to be robust and not prone to punctures. Brakes need to be easy to use and maintain and offer superior braking too.

 

Lightweight and foldable, an electric scooter for commuting will change your commute for the better.

 

 

 

[i] Source – https://www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/uk-commuters-will-spend-over-135000-by-the-time-they-retire/

[ii] Source – https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/urban-survival/201501/commuting-the-stress-doesnt-pay

[iii] Source – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1K29dR2jJfpajIVrNQRd7lXWWnNV34wxLW2aGYiZ6Tg4/edit#heading=h.5vz0cpqx3kc7 but swap for published blog link saving the cost of commuting one

 

Ride with Elka Image

It’s a drudgery no-one would wish on their worst enemy – the daily slog into the heart of London. We’re in love with the city – full of energy and jam-packed with culture and excitement, London is one of a few places that could rocket your career to interstellar heights overnight. However, moving around the city is not easy. It’s hard on your pocket, it swallows time and causes significant stress to London’s commuting population – with effects of commuting on mental health now an increasingly discussed topic.

The status quo of London commuting cannot remain. Pollution is choking, the streets stuffed beyond capacity, the Underground bulges at the seams and Londoners are spending X% of their take home salary simply to get to work! What’s the solution?

Costs of commuting in London

How much do you really spend on getting from your front door at home to the front door of work? Not all the commuting costs mentioned will affect you but the current costs of commuting in London paint a sobering picture of the cost of something many of endure daily: commuting to heart of the city.

·        Driving in the city

Driving in and around London daily is an expensive business. Aside from your fuel – March 2019 fuel prices according to the AA were 121p a litre for unleaded petrol and 131p a litre for diesel – there are other costs to consider too.

Parking costs are eye-wateringly expensive. Different zones have different hourly parking rates.  To park in the city, you’ll be looking at £3.70 per hour minimum. In Hyde Park, Marylebone and Fitzrovia, if your diesel car is pre-2015, you’ll be paying £7.35 an hour to park.

In addition to fuel and parking costs, you’ll also need to consider the London Congestion Charge. The £11.50 daily charge applies to vehicles being driven in the charging zone from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, so peak working hours in other words

There’s more. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) operates every hour of the day, every day of the year within the same area of London as the Congestion Charge. Vehicles driven in the zone must meet emissions standards. If they don’t, you’ll get whacked with another daily charge of £12.50.  This is only the start as there are plans to expand ULEZ in the coming years.

Aside from fuel and insurance costs, driving and parking in London working 5 days a week with 8 hours daily of parking in the heart of the city will add an extra £1,072 a month to your commuting costs, with the new ULEZ charge included.

·        Ride the tube

You could, of course, already be part of the 3 million commuters who take the tube. You can track how many others take your tube line every morning too, just for fun. Aside from the sheer volume of fellow commuters, there is the cost of it.

Adults without an Oyster card for a single tube journey in zone 1 will need to find £4.90 (there are other zones at different pricing structures). You can reduce the by half if you buy an Oyster card.

The average cost of catching the tube to work comes in at a £135, although some commuters say they pay much more than this, averaging £387 per month.

·        Take the bus

The red London bus is an iconic symbol recognised the world over and synonymous with the bustling, vibrant streets of England’s capital. A single journey is £1.50 or for a few pence under £850, you can buy an annual bus pass. Again, you may find that fares change depending on zones and frequency of use.

The cheapest way to travel any distance on a regular basis by bus in London is the annual ticket but that will still set you back £70.84 a month. Add to this the time it takes to get from home to work and vice versa, along with overcrowding on buses at busy times and you can soon see how the daily bus journey is no-one’s favourite.

Number crunching the electric scooter for commuting

You don’t need us to tell you how expensive your daily commute is. But you do need us to show you just how brilliant and affordable an electric scooter for commuting is.

Initial outlay is the amount you will spend on buying your foldable scooter. How much you choose to spend depends on your budget but you need a reliable scooter that has a strong robust frame and a reliable, high-performing  rechargeable battery. It is the battery, after all, that you’ll rely on to get you from A to B on your commute.

Around £450 (half that of an annual London bus ticket) will get the scooter you need: lightweight, foldable (for those unavoidable tube or bus trips), robust, stylish and a rechargeable lithium battery. You can choose to pay all at once or you can opt to pay monthly, a great way of spreading the cost. And because this is an interest-free option, you not paying any more for the convenience.

Of course, what we also need to consider is that with a monthly payment plan, after 12 months, the scooter is yours and no more payments. Our top commuter pro package comes with scooter and 24/7 helpline and breakdown cover, all for £68.60 a month for 12 months. If you spend £135 a month on a tube ticket, after only two electric scooter payments, your quids on. After 12 months, you have even more cash in your pocket!

Charging costs are an important consideration as you’ll need to plug in your scooter from time to time. Using an average hourly charge for electricity of 12.376p per hour (current figure from UK Power) and opting for the upper end charge time of 4 hours, it’ll cost you 50p to charge it. A 36v 6.4ah lithium battery, common on electric scooters, have an average run time of 15 kms or 9.32 miles so a daily charge over a 5-day working week will set you back in the region of £2.50 a week or just two single bus fares or half an hour’s parking in the West End.

Sneaky tip – buy an extra charger to charge your scooter at work for 0p!

Maintenance costs are a consideration too. Electric scooters for commuting have few mechanical parts but taking care of it, the battery and tyres, the less likely you are to face a ‘scooter breakdown’.

Replacing the lithium rechargeable battery is something you should think about, along with keeping an eye on the condition of your tyres.The tyres on your Model T- last for several thousand kms and so replacing them any time soon is not something you need to worry about.

The same can be said for the scooter’s battery. The long battery life means you won’t need to budget for a replacement just yet. Not keeping your scooter in a cold place extends battery life, as does charging it every 3 months when not in use. You can buy replacement batteries from us, when the time comes, for £90.

So, an electric scooter for the daily commute is the answer?

Yes, in part. Clearly it’s not meant for intra-city long distance travelling, but the electric scooter is making an impact in replacing the first and last mile commute – so the expensive bus journey or the two-stop tube hop could be a thing of the past. And if you live in the heart of London, it has the potential to replace both by cutting out public transport completely.

The electric scooter is not just a trendy item. It is a commuting workhorse, a smart investment that gives massive financial and lifestyle returns into the long term. Commuting in London is not just about expense: it’s about the time spent commuting, the drudgery and the pollution, three things that have affected commuting in the city for decades. Is the electric scooter part of the answer to commuting problems? Absolutely.

Ride with Elka Image

Electric scooters are a great way of getting around. Fact. With a decent reach in mileage per charge and quick charge time, the electric scooter for commuting is an increasingly popular choice for many inner city workers.

However, as with any form of transport, accidents can occur. To keep you safe, we’ve put together a helpful list of things to remember when out and about on an electric scooter.

@Stez Unsplash

#1 Practice makes perfect

Quick and simple suggestion – when your new scooter arrives, unpack it and take it for a short spin to get used to it, preferably where you can’t run into people or objects. Practice braking, stopping sharply, get the feel of it when you corner and how much of a lean it will take before you have to take a foot off. The better you know your scooter before you take to the crowded city pavements, the safer you’ll be.

#2 You are sharing the pavement

London’s pavements are busy throughout the day but with increased foot traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, the small strip of pavement is rammed from kerb edge to wall.

Harmony amongst all pavement users, pedestrians and electric scooter riders included, is key to free-flowing city pavements. Riding with this in mind means you scoot along with no problems at all.

However…

  • If it’s busy, get off.

  • Don’t zip in and out of pedestrians – the pavement is not your personal slalom track.

#3 Be heard and seen

Lights on your scooter are perfect for darker mornings and evenings, giving other pavement and road users more chance of seeing you. A bell, should be used to warn other pavement users you are there, so someone stepping out of a doorway, looking down at their phone would, we’re sure, prefer the gentle ring of a bell than colliding with a scooter.

#4 Make sure YOU are seen

Ok, let’s be honest– the idea of a high-viz waistcoat fluttering in the breeze as you scoot to work may not be your idea of the best fashion accessory.

We understand your reluctance. The high-viz vest is not the most fashionable item of outer wear but there are other choices, you’ll be pleased to hear.

  • Riding in light coloured clothing and in a way that gives everyone – pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers, bus drivers etc.- a chance of seeing you in good time.

  • In the depths of winter, a high-viz vest is a wise investment and certainly worth the four or five pounds that it will set you back. That said, there are come quite stylish waterproof ‘visible’ jackets on the market that look nothing like a workman’s jacket, worth a second look we would have thought.

#5 The basic rules of the road still apply to you

It’s just basic ‘rules of the road’ stuff…

  • Walk across the road rather than scoot.

  • Do the same at both pelican and zebra crossing.

  • Ride with caution – that is, looking ahead, taking action in good time to avoid street furniture as well as other pavement users.

#6 Respect the terrain

The likelihood is that most of the terrain on your commute is relatively flat and with a solid surface. Most electric scooters for commuting can handle a hill or two with no problem. But where electric scooters are not so good is uneven ground.

Forget off-roading – this is not what your scooter was built for – and take care with potholes in pavements and uneven surfaces.

#7 Consider a helmet

Aside from motorcyclists and their passengers, wearing a helmet on an electric scooter or bike is not compulsory. Yet.

It makes sense though, don’t you think, to protect the most important organ of the body with a helmet?

You may argue that you “won’t be going that fast” – touché – but flying off the scooter at its top speed of 28 kph (or 17mph) will do you some damage. And even at slow speeds, banging your head against a hard pavement is not recommended.

#8 Look after your scooter

@sonance Unsplash

Essentially, electric scooters for commuting are simple, efficient machines. Lightweight and foldable, they have the latest breaking technology that makes them a safe riding option, no matter your age or agility. With very few moving or mechanical parts, the risk of serious mechanical breakdown is minimal.

But, if you a. rely on the scooter to get you to and from work and back again and b. travel on busy city pavements, it makes sense to keep the electric scooter well-maintained. Check the tyres for wear and tear on a frequent basis, get it serviced (you’ll find that’s part of what we do) and if it doesn’t feel right/not riding as well as it used to, get it serviced.

#9 Have fun (responsibly)!

Electric scooters are for commuting and pleasure. The way we get around busy cities, whether that is San Francisco with its electric scooter share programme or the busy pavements of London, has to change.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the most harmful pollutant gases, irritating the lungs and nasal passages. As we walk or cycle through London, for example, we are exposing our bodies to this harmful gas. London is not the only UK city struggling to deal with the effects of pollution and so maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. Electric scooters for commuting is part of the answer.

And then there is the fun element. Whizzing along a quiet pavement, hearing the wind singing in your ears, just like when you were a kid… there is no better way of commuting through the hustle and bustle of the city.

Best Electric Scooter for Adults

There are few things in modern life that carry the same hysteria and notoriety as the morning commute. Sending shivers down the spine of many a city worker on Sunday night, the reality of the daily journey into the city can be a nightmare; frantic, packed and tiring – a distressing symbol of modern working life.

@josephbalzanodev Unsplash

The daily commute is a necessary evil. There is now evidence to prove what we have known all along – commuting is stressful. Ranking the tube stations across the London Underground network using commuter input and other data, Kings Cross St Pancras holds the unenviable title of ‘most stressful tube station 2017’. The London Underground is not the only source of commuting strain either – half of regular train commuters say it is a significant source of tension in their working day.

What is it that causes commuting stress?

#1 Overcrowding

The stand out feature between the most and least stressful tube stations are the number of daily entry and exits over the year. 97.92 million ‘entry and exits’ were recorded at Kings Cross St Pancras but at Barkingside, a mere 1.62 m annual ‘entries and exits’ were recorded. At peak travel times, upward of a quarter of a million people can pass through London’s busiest tube and train stations.

#2 Financial constraints

Londoners estimate they spend 20% of their income on commuting each month, not an insubstantial amount by any stretch of the imagination. The annual cost of the zone 1 – 2 Oyster card comes in at a hefty cost of £1,406, a figure that places the monthly cost of commuting in London as the most expensive in the world. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a two year freeze on TfL fares starting from January 2019 – a move that will go some way to alleviate the financial burden of commuting across the capital.

#3 Delays

Aside from worrying about how you will afford your annual ticket next year, delays are another major headache for commuters. Used in ranking London’s tube stations, it’s no surprise that the more delays commuters faced on their morning commute, the more stressful they rated it. Kings Cross St Pancras averaged 1,853 minutes of delays, compared to only 17 minutes of delays at Barkingside.

#4 Commuter behaviour

Most commutes are incident free. But there are occasions when commuter behaviour is unpleasant. From rarely making eye contact to not speaking, there are incidents on the commute that can leave people feeling fearful or vulnerable.

#5 Sensory overload

Heat, cold, noise… taking the tube at peak times is an assault on the senses. It is not uncommon for commuters to feel nervous about riding the tube. Combined with being underground and unfamiliar with exit routes whilst improvement works are being carried out in underground stations, the resulting anxiety makes for an unpleasant start to the working day.

To think that you have to do this every morning and every evening, five or six days a week… it can prove such a strain, your mental and physical health can begin to suffer.

You wait for one and they all turn up at once… @jacobshutler Unsplash

Commuting with a scooter is the answer

Finding another way to get to and from work is one solution. There are several options – driving to work is one, although London’s roads are increasingly congested. Plus, you’ll be adding to pollution as well as facing the congestion charge to drive in the capital.

You could hail a cab, but this is not the cheapest of options…

The bus is always available, but brings similar issues as commuting on the Underground…

You could cycle on congested roads, but there are no showering facilities at work… Who wants to start the day hot and sweaty?

Fast, cheap, convenient and stress free.. The scooter is the answer!

The electric scooter solves the ‘last mile’ problem

It’s a phenomenon that has proved unsolvable. Until now.

The last mile problem is the challenge of moving people from transport hubs, such as a tube station, to their final destination. When the gap between the transport hub and your final destination is over a quarter of a mile, our willingness to use public transport all but evaporates.

The commute is not just the tube ride but the walk to the office. It’s walking the ‘final stretch’ to the office, scrambling through busy streets or even a bus ride. The electric scooter for adults is a personal electric light vehicle that has the potential to transform the stressful  morning commute into a pleasant journey.

With a range of up to 25 km or 15 miles on a single charge, you could alight your tube train several stops before you reach your destination, taking a different route into work by scooting along the pavement. If you live within a 15-mile distance of the office, you could leave the London Underground behind completely.

Financially speaking, once you’ve bought your electric scooter, there is no further outlay other than the few pence it costs to charge it up. And with options to spread the payments, you won’t have to find a chunk of money to outlay either.

Commuting with a scooter means no frustrations about delays and certainly no sensory overload either. An understanding of pavement etiquette is all you need and after a bit of practice, you can easily navigate the ‘last mile’ or possibly ditch your usual commuting method.

The scooter for commuting is here

San Francisco welcomes electric scooters for commuting back to its streets in early 2019. An earlier programme ran into several issues, one being availability of scooters at key points and the inevitable dumping of scooters. The better option is to own the experience and invest in your own scooter for commuting.

For many inner city London commuters, the electric scooter will make a difference in reducing the stress of the daily commute. The electric scooter for commuting is here. And it’s staying.

Electric scooter adult foldable

In the past couple of years, hundreds of electric scooters for adults have come in to the UK market. Amazon’s now pretty saturated.. from the famous Xiaomi m365, to the sleek ninebot ES2, to the monstrous Condors, such a range of options can create a paradox of choice. We’re all familiar with this – it’s like ordering food from a 100 page menu… how can you possibly decide?

We’re here to help make this process a bit simpler, and help you to understand which adult electric scooter is best to suit your needs. Here’s a summary of things to think about:

  1. Purpose

We think the most important thing to keep in mind when electric scooter shopping is what you need it for! Are you a commuter, looking for a solution for your “last mile” problem? Or are you 72, looking for a quick ride to the bingo on monday evenings? It’s important to bear this in mind..

If you’re a commuter, folding up your scooter to take on the overground, you’ll need to prioritise weight. 15kg might not seem like a lot, but when you’re carrying it around train stations all day, it can get heavy.

Or perhaps you’re skipping out the overground entirely – in that case, you need to be conscious of your scooter’s range. Has it got the legs to get you to the office? The last thing you want is to run out of battery half way there!

N.B. most scooters are easily charged at the office – so you’ll usually just need the range for one leg of the journey.

Maybe you’re looking to purchase a scooter as a gift! In that case, think about what they’ll be needing it for.. You probably don’t want to be getting grandma a 40mph bullet scooter, but maybe that weird cousin of yours might like it? That’s for you to decide…

2. Important indicators

Great… you’re thinking… but how can I think about the purpose when I don’t understand the jargon? Brushless motors, regenerative technology, lithium batteries… it all seems a bit overwhelming.

Ultimately, we think the main indicators of importance in an adult electric scooter are the speed, range and weight. Focus on those as your main measurements, and leave the technicals for later. Industry standards are around 25kmph for a 25km range, at around a 12kg weight.

3. Extra specifications

Once you’re happy with the speed, range and weight, you might want to think about the motor power. The higher the number, (250W, 300W etc), the higher the torque – meaning your ability to accelerate and get up hills easily. If you live on a mountain side, you’ll be wanting a powerful motor so you don’t end up walking home!

Other than the motor power, there are a few useful gizmos to consider.

Does your electric scooter offer an app interface? Many in the industry do this, so you can track trip time, distance, remaining range etc. These are usually connected to pretty simply via bluetooth.

What about regenerative technology? This means that you’ll be saving power when you brake – more efficient for your transport needs, better for the environment. But it’s not critical to a good ride.

If you like to cruise effort-free, have a look to see if your electric scooter offers cruise control. (Note, “effort free”, not “hands free”!).

Conclusion

That’s a simple breakdown of how to choose an electric scooter that fits your needs in 2019.

If you’ve got any questions, on our scooters or any others on the market, you’re always free to drop us an email at support@ridewithelka.co.uk.

Enjoy the ride!

Electric commuter scooter for adults

As the day draws to a close and the sun settles over the horizon on the west coast of America, Dave the ‘bird-catcher’ swoops around picking up any electric scooters he can find and bundling them into his truck. It’s just another day for Dave, who makes $5 for every scooter he can find, charge then return in the morning, ready for the commuters.

Scooter sharing has been blowing up all over the place. For just $1 to unlock then $0.15 per minute you can hop on an electric scooter and fly around town. Wait… hold up, doesn’t mean paying $2.50 for 10 minutes? Well, we guess it’s worth it if you’re about to miss your train and have no idea when the bus is going to arrive…

The plus side of owning your own electric scooter is that you can use it whenever, wherever, rather than having to use an app to locate the nearest scooter. And then you realise it’s going to take you 5 – 10 minutes to get there. Suddenly the whole experience seems a bit pointless as you realise it’s probably quicker to just hop on a bicycle, or even walk…

But hold up, this is an interesting debate… Would you rather own your own electric scooter and be free to use it wherever, whenever, whilst taking responsibility for charging it and taking it around? Or would you rather pay per usage and enjoy the convenience of dumping it when you are done, but have the uncertainty of finding a scooter as well as the high cost of usage?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts ?

Electric commuter scooter

As I sit, perched on a cramped South West Train service on my way to Waterloo station at 08:12AM on a dark January Monday morning, whilst being held at a red signal for nearly half an hour, I can’t help but ask myself, does this pain that I seem to be experiencing on a weekly basis spell the beginning of the end for commuting as we know it?

From last minute service cancellations to surprise increases in train fares, sporadic red-signal hold-ups to awkward stepping-on-toes, it’s easy to feel like another sausage on a conveyor belt, optimised for maximum return on investment. As 21st century customers living in a highly competitive world, don’t we deserve more than this?

We need more options to choose from as we plan our daily commute. An option that doesn’t require you to be stuffed into a metal underground box that closely resembles a can of tuna. At least one option that doesn’t incrementally charge you more whilst reducing the quality of service over time. Please, just one option that doesn’t try to squeeze every last drop of ‘pounds per square human’ out of the space that is available.

In fact there is a better, more affordable and time efficient way to get around London. And not only does it save time and money but it saves the planet too. By investing in your own personal electric scooter you can take control of your commute, save hundreds a year in London Underground travel fees oh yeah and the trees will be happy too. It’s fun, efficient and good for the environment!

So hop on and join the crowd of adults that seem to have ‘never really grown up’. Or perhaps they could argue that they’ve just got their heads screwed on 😉

Elka uk

The electric scooter is a complex marvel of engineering, honed over thousands of years of human evolution. Since the dawn of time, humans have pondered the futility of walking; while early cavemen bemoaned the uselessness of two-footed travel as they were hunted by predators, we too break out in sweats at the prospect of a 20 minute morning walk to the station. If only there was a better way to get around town, they wondered… An electric powered way…

Not really… We reckon that cavemen were too busy hitting each other with rocks to be worrying about the complexities of urban transport. But even they could have understood the extraordinarily simple engineering under the hood of an electric scooter. It can seem confusing, but they too would marvel at the incredible efficiency of regenerative braking technology, or the frictionless acceleration provided by a 300W brushless motor… All it takes is a little explanation.

There are 5 main components underpinning the tech that keeps you zooming around the local area.

1) The first, and arguably most important, is the battery. No battery, no party. We’ve constructed ours from lithium ion – the most recent generation of battery technology. Coming in at 32V, we’ve tried to balance power with weight, so that you can maximise ride time while the electric scooter remains lightweight and portable. It’s a win-win.

2) Next up, the motor. This is gives power to the vehicle and keeps the wheels turning. Pretty important. It takes energy from the battery and converts it into power – 300W of power, to be exact. We’ve constructed ours with brushless technology, meaning that there’s zero friction inside the motor – as opposed to the old “brushed” design which reduced efficiency and required more power. Keeping it high tech! The cavemen would be proud.

3) Now for one of our personal favourites – regenerative braking technology. Essentially, when you step on the brakes in your car, you’re losing energy. We know from Newton’s first law of thermodynamics that energy cannot be destroyed – so where’s it going? Mostly it’s released in heat and sound energy. Pretty useless – up until now. This cutting edge tech, pioneered by Tesla in the modern market, means that when you engage the brake the energy that used to be wasted is stored back into the battery – making the whole system more efficient. That’s right, it’s lean AND green.

4) Coming in at number 4, the wheel design. There are two main tyre constructions used in electric scooter engineering – soft, and hard. Pretty simple, and each has its pros and cons. The soft, with inflatable tubing (like you find on a bicycle) means more shock absorption and the tires last for longer. However, you are prone to getting a puncture – not an issue you get with hard (solid rubber) tires. It’s a trade off, but the choice is yours; we’ll customise the tires for you – just let us know what you fancy when you make an order.

5) The last piece in the puzzle is the interface bringing all the components together. On your LCD display you’ll get real time indication of your remaining battery life and current speed – and much more if you download our app and pair via Bluetooth.  You’ll get access to features like cruise control, superbright LED lights and statistics on ride time and distance travelled. (Your lights can also be activated by double pressing the power button).

That’s pretty much it! Simple, right? We hope you think so too. If you’ve got any questions, or still a little confused, you can always drop us a line for further info at support@ridewithelka.co.uk .

Enjoy the ride!

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