Published at 2/17/2023 – About unu
unu electric scooters on a mission: Let's talk about sustainable transportation
One of the biggest topics of recent years, and likely for many more to come, has and will be global climate change. We have seen all the sound bites from different media outlets covering the many alarming statistics that clearly demand a fundamental change from the top. In 2022, the earth overshoot day was on July 28th, meaning that we used up all natural resources the earth had generated for that entire year. The current systemic issues in how we address climate change are in clear need of reform, especially given the current trends that will only lead to intensify the problems we are already facing.
It is for this reason that unu is proud to do everything we can to further pursue change in cooperation with cities and those who inhabit them. This does not only mean that we want to provide a solution for the problem, which we do, but also bring more light into the shadows of sustainability in urban areas. Therefore, it is important to look at recent developments in urban cities, where space is limited and people are thriving for more greenery and the solutions that are accessible at this time.
New mobility and the footprint of electric scooters
Changing cities means that we have to change the way we move around in these areas. Especially in cities, a great number of different transportation modes can be found: public transport such as buses and trains, car sharing, several taxi services, kick-scooters, bike-sharing, and so on. A lot of these have been present for years, such as buses or trains. However, the new modes of transportation are accounted as new mobility.
A study on the Environmental Performance of New Mobility assessed different modes of transport, including the previously mentioned ones. The vehicles are broken down to greenhouse gas emissions per driven kilometre per passenger, meaning that a bus will be broken down into passengers to be able to compare the different modes. The average of greenhouse gas emission per person per kilometer is applied to the whole lifecycle of the vehicle, including production and an estimation on how long that vehicle will be in use.
Private bikes are the clear “winners” when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions – which makes sense as only the vehicle and infrastructure component apply for private bikes since there are no emissions for running the bike or a service such as for a shared bike. Almost the same principle can be applied for private e-bikes, kick-scooters, and e-mopeds, only that the fuel component has to be taken into consideration. However, all these vehicles emit less than 50 greenhouse gases per person per km, which is a fraction of what other vehicles emit.
As a comparison: a metro emits slightly more than 50 greenhouse gases per person per km. Hybrid electric vehicle taxis which can be seen many times on the streets of our cities emit the highest amount of greenhouse gases, over 250 grams.
To summarise, owning a smaller vehicle is not only good for space in cities, but also for the environment. If you want to get from A to B on a bike, kick-scooter, or e-scooter ultimately is your choice. However, by only switching a vehicle, the deal is not done. By taking care of your belongings, and treating them well, you will benefit from a long-lasting, sustainable vehicle.
Development of urban cities
After looking at different types of vehicles and their emissions, it is clear that the challenge of mobility in cities is not one that lives in the shadows or is hard to connect with; private electric vehicles that take up less space are beneficial for all urban dwellers.
Getting from A to B electrically produces half as much CO2 as using a petrol scooter. Driving electric is a sustainable choice as it is easy to maintain and has no emissions over the entire life cycle of the scooter. Scooters are compact compared to cars and hence take up less space in urban areas which leaves more space for greenery, recreation sites, and most importantly, people. These are just a few reasons why choosing a scooter over a car means leaving a smaller footprint.
Cities like Paris
To see urban change in practice, Paris can be taken as an example. Paris is one of the biggest cities in Europe and has recently set up plans for substantial change within the city's centre.
Paris has a rather radical approach to change their city and become more sustainable: the city plans to ban all cars from its historical centre. By banning cars, there is less pollution, less noise and more space for people. To maintain an accessible city centre, pedestrians, bikes, and scooters will be allowed to enter the area after the ban is implemented.
Mopeds that have been registered after 2018 will also not be allowed to enter the city anymore from 2024 on. Petrol scooters emit a much higher number of CO2 compared to electric ones. Everyone who sat on a petrol scooter before will know that talking with your passenger while driving is not possible, because of the ongoing, loud noise coming from the vehicle.
CO2 compensation and how unu is doing it
We as a company want to be part of changing urban mobility and want to go the extra mile. Therefore, we decided to compensate for CO2 emitted in our scooter production process. But what exactly is CO2 compensation and why are we doing it?
CO2 compensation is also known as “carbon offsetting”. According to the World Economic Forum, it’s the purchase of carbon credit which makes up for the amount of CO2 introduced. The money spent on these credits should be invested to support projects that offset the same amount of carbon emissions that were introduced.
By compensating our scooter production, we make sure that unu scooters are green scooters from the moment they are delivered to our customer’s doorstep – allowing people to start their new, green journey with us. Since we motivate all unu riders to use green energy for charging their battery-powered scooters, riding an unu scooter is one of the most sustainable transportation modes.
And we do not only want to make an impact with the products we’re building. See how unu is planning to become more and more sustainable by the day.