Case study: reducing carbon emissions with Bolt scooters

September 11, 2020

Case study: reducing carbon emissions with Bolt scooters

In September 2019, we made a commitment to reduce the ecological footprint of Bolt as a company. Our Green Plan was born.

As a first step, we set about offsetting the CO2 created by all our European Bolt rides. Next, we promised to work towards reducing the impact on the environment by enriching our cities with more sustainable and greener means of transport.

As a company with experience in both the ride-hailing and rentals space, we had a unique opportunity to assess the impact of the shift to more environmentally friendly urban travel. So, we asked ourselves, how much do we really cut down on carbon emissions by shifting from cars to scooters?

Cutting down emissions with Bolt scooters

To evaluate the impact on the environment, we needed to understand how the availability of e-scooters affects the number of ride-hailing car trips in that market. So, we collected such data on the three Baltic states — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

To analyse the data, we defined 3 groups of users:

  • Ride-hailing users who have not ridden a Bolt scooter;
  • Occasional Bolt scooter users, i.e. people who use Bolt ride-hailing services and have used a Bolt scooter 3+ times during the scooter season (ca. April-October);
  • Active Bolt scooter users, i.e. people who use Bolt ride-hailing services and have used a Bolt scooter 10+ times during the scooter season.

Cutting down emissions with Bolt scooters

As it turns out, scooters do have a very positive impact. A lot of people gladly choose to ride a scooter instead of requesting a car ride when given the chance. Here are two key takeaways from our study:

  • After introducing scooters in each of the Baltic markets, we’ve seen a 6% drop in ride-hailing trips among Active Bolt scooter users;
  • For short trips (less than 3km), the drop in car rides is even more significant, 8.8% for the Active scooter users.

relative drop in short scooter trips

Let’s do some creative maths based on our Baltic data.

In a city with 2,000 Bolt scooters in operation, this drop would mean up to 100,000 saved car journeys per year.

Under the same scenario, scooters would reduce at least 2.5 kg in exhaust emissions of PM2.5 and PM10. PM2.5 and PM10 are terms used for inhalable pollution particles found in the air, the difference lies in their diameter. In addition, non-exhaust particulate matter would also be cut to zero thanks to scooter use.

To further reduce unnecessary car rides, the Bolt app automatically suggests that users rent an electric scooter for trips shorter than 3 km, which make up more than a quarter of all ride-hailing trips.

It’s not all about the rides, however. It’s also about making the scooter itself sustainable.

A green scooter for a green future

Generally speaking, electric scooters tend to degrade due to overuse, poor infrastructure, weather and vandalism. Their short lifespan creates the need to produce more hardware to fill the gap, and more production leads to bigger carbon emissions. It’s a downward spiral.

To represent our green mindset, we built a long-life e-scooter that’s lightweight, environmentally friendly and safe-to-use.

A green scooter for a green future

To make the electric scooter durable, yet convenient to use, our in-house hardware team kept a keen eye on every step of the building process, from start to finish. And here’s what makes this model so great:

  • Early data indicates that Bolt scooters last about 60 months — well beyond the lifespan of other sharing scooters on the market.
  • Thanks to its modular design, the scooter is easily repairable and replaceable in a cost-effective way.
  • Bolt’s scooter is 90% aluminium, which is 100% recyclable. Also, we cut down on the usage of plastic and our vehicles have 70% less compared to other scooters.
  • It’s significantly lighter than other ride-sharing scooters on the market, the Bolt scooter uses 15% less energy to transport a person and 43% less energy in maintenance transportation.

In addition to creating a greener vehicle, we’re actively looking for ways to cut down the emissions created during the collection and distribution of scooters.

Scoot to keep the air clean

So, according to our findings, Bolt scooters have a significant role to play when it comes to reducing the number of unnecessary ride-hailing trips.

The next time you’re running late for work or thinking of hailing a ride to catch your next train, consider taking a scooter instead. You’ll get some fresh air and help to keep the city clean. Just download the app and get going.

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