Brake on buses, Metro muted: Sales of e-scooters triple in UK amid pandemic

  • With people increasingly looking at avoiding public transport options, e-scooters are emerging as a viable and affordable alternative.
A volunteer sprays an e-scooter with disinfectant as a means to protect against coronavirus during a trial of rental e-scooters by Ginger Teleporter in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, UK. (File photo for representational purpose) (Bloomberg)
A volunteer sprays an e-scooter with disinfectant as a means to protect against coronavirus during a trial of rental e-scooters by Ginger Teleporter in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, UK. (File photo for representational purpose)

The United Kingdom is currently witnessing a boom in sales of e-scooters and bikes as more and more people opt for cheaper personal mobility options and snub mass transit networks amid Covid-19 pandemic. Sales of battery-powered two wheelers have reportedly surged thrice over against figures from just a year ago.

Also Read : Pedal on! Coronavirus lockdown spurs cycling momentum in South America

A report in UK's Guardian and attributed to Halfords - a retail company dealing in car parts and bicycles, among others - states that Britons are increasingly looking at either getting new two-wheelers or opting to get their existing wheels repaired and ready to roll. The demand for scooters at Halfords has seen a 230% rise while the retail sales of bikes and cycling equipment was 60% higher when compared to figures last year.

E-scooters and e-scooter rental plans are gaining popularity in many UK cities. (Bloomberg)
E-scooters and e-scooter rental plans are gaining popularity in many UK cities. (Bloomberg)

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Some of the rise can be attributed to the British government's emphasis on cycles as a means of both transportation as well as exercise. UK PM Boris Johnson himself has been seen cycling in a bid to promote it as a viable alternative in current times of Covid.

(Related read: Boris Johnson takes ride in 'Made in India' Hero cycles)

As for the spurt in demand for e-scooters, UK is hardly the only country where people are increasingly looking at vehicles running on battery power. In mainland Europe, countries like France and Germany have rolled out incentives which have made EVs far cheaper than ever before, and the governments here are mulling further support for alternate modes of transportation.

As such, many European countries are now creating dedicated lanes for EVs and bicycles while some are even preventing entry of conventional vehicles at key junctions in big cities.

The demand for affordable e-mobility options is expected to continue growing in European countries and the UK, while it has not announced concrete EV incentive plans as yet, is expected to see the trend continuing as well.

First Published Date: 09 Sep 2020, 17:42 PM IST
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