Musings on Scooters and EVs


Musings on Scooters and EVs

I know that you are probably tired of my looking out my window and reporting on what I see, but sometimes I can’t help it. I was reading in the parking media about scooter parking and the use of scooters (Bird, Lime, etc). As you know, I live at ground zero in scooter usage, the west side of Los Angeles.

I admit that I have seen a growth in scooter usage in the past few month, up from seeing one a week, to maybe one every other day. Frankly I don’t see this as a world class increase, but promoters will see it as a 350% increase.

The article to which I refer was written by two higher ed parking managers and a marketing manager from Lime. Let’s face it, higher ed is the location of scooter usage. Young people are the natural riders and colleges are filled with them. And I salute them.

But what about EV sales.

The numbers can be confusing. I googled “Percentage of ICE vs EV Sales” and found that EV sales are up a whopping 30%.  However when I drilled down into the numbers, I find that the vast majority of those sales are in Europe and China, while the sales in the US are up to 4%. Now granted that’s a 100% increase over 2% last year, but sill…

The problem is that the EV media is reluctant to actually tell you the whole story. The majority of EVs sold are hybrids, like the Prius, frankly because they don’t rely on an infrastructure that has a dearth of chargers and have no so called ‘range anxiety.’

So what is the point of all this. True electric vehicles work in small countries (like Norway and Iceland) and in Europe where distances are short. They also work in China where the government can mandate sales. However in huge countries like the US, Canada, and Australia it’s a different story. There are also cultural differences. Work that out for yourself.

Are we going to see an upsurge in scooter usage? I doubt it. Are we going to see sales skyrocket on EVs in the US? No, but look for a slow steady increase. I can’t predict when we will see 10 or 20% of sales in the US as EVs, but if I were to bet, I would put my money on later rather than sooner.

As I watched the EV ads during the super bowl I was struck by the fact that it looked like they were selling ICE vehicles with a different type of engine. I didn’t get the feel that they were selling cars, or trying to sell cars, that were different, with different feature and benefits for the owners. If the EV offers only great acceleration and the rest is downside (price, range, long term costs  – battery replacement – , and charging times) not to mention infrastructure issues, why buy them? And when the commercial for Jeep shows a charging station located in the boonies at the edge of a canyon, who are they trying to kid. Or maybe there was a more subtle message involved.

If you are forced to buy and EV because the government tells you to do so, is that a good thing?

You know the answer.


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John Van Horn

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