Since the summer of 2018, Paris has become the epicenter of the global e-scooter movement. An independent 2019 study by the 6t bureau de recherche found that between 0.8% and 1.9% of all personal trips made within the city are taken by scooter. By comparison, it took almost 20 years for bike mode share in Paris to increase to 5% today.
But while the popularity of trottinettes électriques may not be in question, the novelty of the industry means that data detailing their sustainability impact has only recently begun to surface. And in a city that was recently scorched by the hottest temperatures in recorded history, where city-center transport is responsible for 24% of Paris’s greenhouse gas emissions, reliable information that can help change daily driving habits and mitigate the harmful effects of climate change is in high demand.
After a year of operations in the French capital, Lime and leading transportation planning firm Sam Schwartz Engineering paired up to do just that, measuring the sustainability impacts of dockless scooters on a world-renowned city determined to achieve carbon neutrality — and the findings are revealing.
E-SCOOTER USE AND CO2 REDUCTION
For starters, the sheer volume of micromobility ridership in Paris is worth noting. Since launch, an average of 32,000 trips have been made on Lime scooters every single day, totaling more than 12 million rides between late June, 2018 and early September, 2019. These, in turn, have replaced 1.2 million motor vehicle trips and kept more than 330 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.
To put those numbers in perspective, the emissions reduced are the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by planting roughly 5,000 tree seedlings grown for 10 years. Projections indicate that by 2030, the increasing adoption of e-scooters could prevent over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and 300 kg of local particulate pollution annually.
“Electric scooters provide a convenient, sustainable alternative to automobiles for urban travel,” said Andrew Savage, Head of Sustainability at Lime. “As major global cities like Paris seek to reduce car use and reach carbon neutrality — a must for our planet — micromobility can help curb carbon emissions and local pollution from day one.”
RENEWABLE ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS
In January, Lime partnered with renewable energy provider Planète OUI to power all warehouse operations with energy sourced entirely from French wind, solar and small hydro projects. This includes all scooters charged at Lime warehouses in France. To date, the company has purchased more than 163.5 MWh of electricity from Planète OUI, helping the City of Paris meet its goal of 100% renewable energy in transport by 2050.
The report shares Lime’s plan to establish an operations fleet that’s 80% electric by the end of 2019, and 100% electric as soon as next year. As a part of that effort, the company has committed to increasing its e-cargo bike fleet from 6 to 10 by the start of 2020, enabling Lime’s team of 50 patrol staff to perform daily field maintenance and scooter retrieval carbon-free.
SCOOTER LIFE SPAN AND END OF LIFE
Lime’s Gen 3 scooter model, which recently launched in Paris, is demonstrating a lifespan of more than 12 months. This increase is thanks in large part to enhancements in durability and modularity, including larger wheels, better suspension, more powerful batteries and easily replaceable component parts.
When a vehicle has reached the end of its useful life, it is broken down to be reused in other scooter repairs. Non-salvageable parts are recycled in cooperation with local French and Belgian recycling organizations, achieving a 97% landfill diversion rate.
Lime is currently undertaking a life cycle analysis of its scooters consistent with international standards, providing key insights for operational improvements.
“Paris has established bold goals for carbon neutrality and the use of 100% renewable energy across all sectors. This ambition will require a heavy lift across industries, and scooters have emerged as an important solution to meeting those goals,” said Lime’s Fanny Brulebois, Director of Government Affairs.
READ THE REPORT
The full Paris Sustainability Report goes into detail about each of the topics referenced above, as well as others including access to public transit and future product enhancements.