Electric Scooters, “Dock-less” or Disposable? 

Rideshare has been hailed as the green

alternative to automotive transportation by providing affordable and efficient last mile logistics with electric scooters in 100+ cities in the United States. As the electric scooter market has rapidly increased; acclaimed electric scooter companies have driven their value up to billions of dollars from funding, however, the unknown reality of these dock-less electric vehicles is the environmental harm that has started in the backyards of its local communities.

The basis: large e-scooter companies are abusing their cash stockpiles. These companies with deep pockets have mass-produced electric scooters with a “park-and-go as you please” business model flooding public walkways, littering rivers and roads, and ending up in landfills. The mass production paired with the short lifespan of these dock-less electric vehicles is causing irreversible damage. 

This environmental travesty started in China over the past decade producing over one million electric scooters and bicycles that ended up in landfills. The combined plastic, metal, rubber and battery components of a scooter can take up to 50 years to break down. The impact that plastics have on the environment is well documented, however, the real killer is the lithium batteries.

The exact combination and number of chemicals inside an electric scooter’s battery vary but the list includes cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, lithium, and electrolytes.  As the battery casing corrodes, chemicals leak into the soil and make their way into our water supply. Eventually, they reach the ocean. Improper disposal of batteries can cause the lithium to react in a volatile way when exposed. Lithium can cause landfill fires that can burn underground for years, according to Battery University(?), the gases and smoke released is mainly carbon dioxide (CO2) and become health risks at human exposure. How will all of this affect our planet? Have any precautions taken place? This is the unseen secret that the public needs to know. 

Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ, and its neighboring cities are a few of the many victims of these negligent acts. Cities have been overrun by e-scooters manufactured by big companies with the sustainability of a month-long lifespan. Thousands of e-scooters have been left unaccounted for from city institutions that big companies haven’t bothered to collect or properly fix and maintain. Are “dock-less” e-vehicles the real solution when its lifespan is equivalent to the shelf-life of yogurt or are companies repeating the same mistakes as China by wasting billions of dollars to flood the market with “disposable” e-scooters? 
One small rideshare company in Tempe, AZ has addressed this issue and believes to have the real solution for cities and communities across the nation. Zapp Rideshare has been in operation since March 2019 with the same fleet they first launched with. Zapp is taking their stand during one of the fastest growing environmental battles of the century and their weapon of choice is responsibility and respect.

Respect to the planet. ASU alone has over 2,000 impounded e-scooters that have been left unaccounted for by noncompliant scooter companies. Zapp met with city officials and university representatives to work with the community and prevent vehicle littering and confiscation. Zapp’s special technology features and old-fashioned hard work has proven to be the sustainable method when you compare scooter lifespan and the relations they’ve established with the community. 

Respect to cities. Zapp complies with the city and university hand-in-hand to create the rideshare solution. Zapp requested permission from the city on the first day they arrived, paid city taxes, and prevented scooter-littered streets by designating specific drop zones for all riders. The Smart City of the future should be a full revenue partner to this opportunity and the responsible rideshare company will respect that.

 Respect for employees. There have been numerous complaints about the larger companies not having background checks in hiring third-party crowd chargers. Not only does Zapp not let third-party crowd chargers charge their vehicles but is staffed with trained road crew members that maintain their custom vehicles. Zapp road crew employees keep e-vehicles charged with batteries that can be swapped on the road rather than taken off the road to charge.

Respect to Investors. Can anyone fathom why investors let existing rideshare companies leave hundreds of thousands of scooters in city locked premises? Maybe the venture capital firms don’t care. Who are their investors? A full list of Bird investors

Respect to rideshare riders. There have been complaints that large companies have been ignoring damage reports sent from both third-party crowd chargers and riders. Zapp stands up for their riders by providing bright lights on their vehicles, helmets on all vehicles, onboard cameras to record all rides and talking scooters that share information about the local businesses. It is the way rideshare should be.

It is imperative to stop the mindless abuse of what can be a force for clean transportation. Support the David of rideshare companies and hold the Goliath giants to account. Get mad, speak out, take action, share this article.