Electric Scooters

In the Before Times, I used to commute to San Francisco by car or train, drop my son at preschool in one part of the city, and take a short ride on an electric scooter to my office in another part of the city.

I really enjoyed the scooter ride, although I can’t defend why I would never purchase a motorcycle but I gleefully navigated a scooter through San Francisco traffic.

So I read with some interest a story in City Monitor called, “The future of transportation is small and electric.” The story is largely about the potential of electric scooters to dramatically reduce pollution in Asia.

“In India, people purchase 17 million motorcycles and scooters every year, and only about three million cars and trucks. The motorcycles can be quite cheap — and getting people to switch to electric can be strongly influenced by subsidies, tax advantages and other promotional policies.”

I’ve only taken a few trips to southeast Asia, but I have always been overwhelmed by the volume of motorcycle and scooter traffic. India, in particular, has some of the worst air pollution in the world due to these vehicles.

“It’s clear that getting gas vehicles off the streets can make a quick difference in air quality. Delhi, India’s capital, discovered this phenomenon in April, just a few weeks into the first Covid-19 lockdown. With most of its 5.5 million motorcycles sidelined, the city, deemed by the World Health Organization to be among the world’s most polluted, experienced something it hadn’t seen in decades — blue skies — and levels of harmful particles in the air fell by close to 60%.”

I look forward to a future world of blue skies and no (or at least much less) air pollution.

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