The purchase of e-scooters benefits younger and economically disadvantaged consumers, according to the head of micromobility at Halfords.
In an article tracking sector trends for bank Natwest Paul Tomlinson, the director for cycling and electric mobility at high-street chain Halfords, said that scooters can play an important role in democratising electric transport, particularly if the cost of living crisis continues to tighten consumers’ finances.
Tomlinson said: “There are huge social benefits from a rapid take-up. However, one of the biggest challenges for mass adoption is common misconceptions about the vehicles.
“In recent years Halfords has collected lots of data, including information on who buys vehicles, and the attitudes and opinions that underpin purchase decisions. The data shows people buying scooters are skewed towards the economically disadvantaged.
“Scooters can play an important role in democratising electric transport. Electric scooter buyers in the UK are generally younger and more likely to be financially deprived. If the cost-of-living crisis is here to stay, scooters can help the public travel for less than a car and are cheaper in many cases than public transport.”
Tomlinson added that Halfords is seeing a considerable modal shift, as e-bike uptake is also rising, attracting an older, more affluence, generally male demographic.
But misconceptions about e-bikes may also be holding back e-bike sales, as many people consider them ‘cheating’, according to Tomlinson.
Halfords recently launched an e-bike trial scheme to let consumers try before they buy.
Tomlinson concluded that the legalisation of e-scooters on public roads is needed to help drive the increasing shift towards sustainable modes of transport.
Currently privately-owned electric scooters are illegal on public roads in the UK, but the Government has announced plans for a new low-emission, low-speed vehicle category in the upcoming Transport Bill.
This new category would pave the way for the legalisation of scooters, as retailers and campaigners have urged the Government to bring forward the legislation to help combat the rising cost of living crisis.