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Increasing vehicle lifespan has greatest reduction on CO2, study finds

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Increased vehicle lifetime has led to the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from shared micromobility since 2020.

The finding comes from a report by the International Transport Forum (ITF) which has recorded a reduction in the environmental impact of micromobility since its 2020 study.

Shared e-scooters and shared e-bikes have reduced greenhouse gas emissions per kilometre by more than 40% since 2020, and more than 50% for shared bicycles. 

“Increased vehicle lifetime enables more rides per vehicle resulting in less emissions per ride, as a significant part of the life-cycle emissions for micromobility vehicles are imputable to the construction of the vehicle,” Director of the European Transport and Energy Research Centre and co-author of the report Pierpaolo Cazzola told Zag Daily.

“These emissions get divided by a larger number of kilometres if the vehicle lifetime increases.” 

Shared e-scooters, bikes and e-bikes have approximately tripled their lifespan since the ITF’s 2020 assessment. The new analysis shows that the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this extended lifetime offsets the opposing effect from increased battery size and weight which is more material and emission-intensive. 

Recommendations from the report

The ITF recommends that micromobility operators continue to extend vehicle and component lifespan and design for modularity and repairability. 

Public authorities could consider conditional incentives including micro-subsidies for operators based on environmental impact indicators.

Furthermore, spreading awareness of the use of comparable, transparent and best practice lifecycle environmental impact assessment methodologies should be encouraged, according to ITF. By using trusted third-party verification, this ensures operator impact assessments are comparable and helps establish a level playing field. 

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