Electric scooters have become a huge success and can be seen on city streets around the world. They’re an attractive alternative to driving a car because people no longer have to worry about traffic or finding a parking spot.
Due to their increased popularity, micro-mobility companies such as Bird and Lime have trialled electric scooter share schemes in various cities, and people can scoot around for as little as a few dollars.
When it comes to renting or buying an electric scooter, both have their advantages and disadvantages. It depends on your lifestyle and preference, but in our opinion, it’s much better to own your own.
Similarly to renting a car, it is ideal for short trips but not when you need to drive one every day. The same principle applies to electric scooters.
Pros of renting an electric scooter
If you live in a city, chances are there’s an electric scooter to rent nearby. They are often placed near train stations, bus stops or high-density areas where people are more likely to use them. Some electric scooter rental companies have apps where you can find the closest one.
You will probably be asked for some basic details but registering is fairly straightforward and is only required once. Then you can hop on an electric scooter and away you go.
The cost per ride on a rental electric scooter is minimal compared to owning one. If you’re only going ten minutes down the road, riding an electric scooter is a much more cost-efficient way of getting around. However, while not all electric scooter models are expensive, good-quality scooters will cost $1,000 or more.
When you rent an electric scooter, you don’t have to worry about any additional maintenance costs, as it’s the rental company’s responsibility to maintain the scooters and make sure they’re safe to be on the road. You only pay to ride the e-scooter.
You don’t have to worry about charging the electric scooter when it’s a rental. It’s also the company’s job to make sure all their scooters are fully charged and ready to ride. When you own an electric scooter, charging the e-scooter is your responsibility.
Once you’ve finished your electric scooter ride, the vehicle itself stops being your responsibility. If the e-scooter is stolen or damaged by someone else, it’s no longer in your care. For people who own electric scooters, they have to think about keeping it safe when they’re going into a library or entering their workplace.
Pros of owning an electric scooter
The major advantage of owning your own electric scooter is that you don’t have to share it with anyone if you don’t want to. Buying your own e-scooter means it’s in your possession and you can choose to ride it whenever you want.
Anytime you want to ride your own electric scooter, it’s there and ready to go. When you want to rent an e-scooter, you’ll often have to walk to the closest one, which might be 5-10 minutes on foot. Owning your own scooter is much more convenient and you’ll feel more comfortable riding it because no one else uses it.
Having your own electric scooter means you have the freedom to do anything you like with it. This might include changing the settings to suit your style of riding, painting the scooter or even adding some stickers to it.
People don’t tend to look after property unless they own it. When it’s your own electric scooter, you’re going to look after it because you want it to last a long time. However, you may find that a rented electric scooter has more scratches, marks and has been battered around.
Sometimes you might go on an electric scooter rental app and find that there are no scooters in the vicinity. In this case, you might end up catching an Uber or public transport because you urgently need to be somewhere. When you own your own electric scooter, it’s always available to you (unless you forgot to charge it).
When you own an electric scooter, you’ll most likely be carrying your own helmet and protective gear. That’s probably not going to happen with a rental scooter. Often electric scooter helmets have been damaged or even worse stolen.
Is renting or owning an electric scooter more cost-effective?
In the short-term renting is cheaper, but in the long-term owning an electric scooter is much more cost-effective. Renting an electric scooter is great when you’re exploring a city as a tourist because you can see a lot more than being in a car or bus and it only costs a few dollars. However, with regular use, these costs will quickly accumulate.
For people who are using an electric scooter for regular travel, such as getting to work, it works out better to buy your own e-scooter. While the cost of buying an electric scooter may seem expensive, over its lifetime it becomes much cheaper per mile.
How much does it cost to buy an electric scooter?
Like most vehicles, the cost can range significantly from the cheapest model to the most expensive. You can buy an electric scooter for $200, but the higher quality models are usually $1,000 or more, with the most expensive ones reaching over $6,000. It’s just a matter of looking for an electric scooter that suits your needs.
How much does it cost to rent an electric scooter?
It depends on the rental company, but most electric scooter rental companies will charge a small fee to unlock the scooter and then a flat rate per minute. The fee to unlock the e-scooter is usually $1 and the cost per minute can be anywhere between 30-60 cents.
Is renting or owning an electric scooter more convenient?
Owning an electric scooter is much more convenient because it’s always available whenever you may need it. If you’re in a hurry and you’re trying to hunt down the nearest rental e-scooter, you will be wasting your valuable time. If you want a guaranteed fast electric scooter, then it’s more convenient to buy your own one.
Some rental electric scooters can also be in poor condition. They may be vandalised or found thrown into a river as some people have very little regard for public property. This is another advantage of having your own scooter.
Is renting or owning an electric scooter better for the environment?
Owning an electric scooter is a lot more beneficial for the environment. Private property generally gets treated better than public property, so the lifespan of a rental e-scooter is quite short. It can range anywhere from 28 days to 9 months, and then most likely end up in landfills rather than being recycled. Privately-owned electric scooters on the other hand, with proper care, can last for many years.
In addition, rental e-scooters have been found to end up in rivers or canals. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power electric scooters contain nickel which can leak out into the waterways and is highly pollutant for aquatic life.