Does Germany Welcome the Electric Scooter?
When I visited Cologne, Germany in late October 2021, I noticed one thing. There were a lot of electric scooters in and around this beautiful and picturesque German city.
Even though there were restrictions due to the pandemic, people were still comfortably riding about on both hired and personal electric scooters a fair bit. By my own eyes alone, they were really popular. They were everywhere. The German people loved them!
Germany is one of the most sustainable industrial countries in the world with electromobility being a key feature in their road to sustainability. By 2030, the Federal Government, estimate that between seven and ten million electric vehicles will be registered in Germany.
With this in mind, the German folk are turning to eco-friendly low-carbon methods of personal electric transport. With a definitive increase in e-bike use, more forms of single-person transport are appearing in Germany. With the popular electric scooter being one of them. So, does Germany welcome the electric scooter?
What is an Electric Scooter?
An Electric Scooter falls into the bracket of a single person electric vehicle. Like the electric bike, the electric scooter has a motor and a battery installed. The battery gives to motor power, and the motor then powers the wheels so that the scooter glides along. Simple right?
Some electric scooters, such as the HT-T4 Max Emoko Adult Electric Scooter have a larger battery fitted. This allows it to go on longer journeys of up to 70km. Other e-scooters, such as the Xiaomi Mi Essential Electric Scooter has a more modest range of 20km. It's good to note that the larger the battery, the longer it takes to charge it up. The InMotion L9 Electric Scooter has gotten around this by adding dual charging ports. A normal charge on the InMotion L9 takes 7.2 hours. However, because of the twin charging ports you can fully charge it in just under 4 hours!
The more powerful the motor the quicker it goes. The Nanrobot LS7+ Electric Scooter has two powerful 2400-watt motors. This allows a crazy top speed of 88+ Kp/h, quicker acceleration and a greater hill-climbing angle than the simpler fun design of the AOVO ES Mini Electric Scooter which has a smaller, less powerful 250-watt motor.
All Electric Scooters need to stop. Right? Luckily most electric scooters come with some sort of braking system. Most come with the simple braking system of a rear foot-controlled manual brake to a more advanced system of disc brakes. Similar to those you'd find in a modern car or motorbike. Probably one of the most important pieces of features you'll find on an electric scooter. Especially if you're whizzing through the streets of Berlin or Munich. Stopping safely is essential!
Other important features of the humble electric scooter include front and rear lights. Ideal for those of you that like to see and be seen during your nighttime escapades. The e-scooters also come with solid or pneumatic tyres. Some come with one of each! All treaded for sticking to the paths and making your cornering and stopping safer.
The footplate usually has a grip-like surface so that when you're out and about on your electric scooter in the German sun, you stay steady on your feet.
Apps are available from most of the e-scooter brands, such as Inmotion. These can be downloaded and give you extra features and upgrades to your scooter like ride distance, battery life, and locking your scooter.
Are Electric Scooters Legal in Germany?
Yes, they are. On June 15th 2019 electric scooters were allowed to be ridden legally on German roads and streets. However, naturally, it came with some restrictions and rules to make them safer for both riders, drivers, and pedestrians.
The German law classes electric scooters as 'small electric vehicles' and the regulations are:
- The maximum speed of the electric scooter must not exceed 20 km/h. Although a lot of e-scooters can go faster, they must be restricted to that speed.
- They must have a front light and side reflectors fitted. Makes sense for nighttime riding.
- The scooter must have two brakes, front and rear, that work independently.
- The scooter must have a bell or horn for letting other road users you are there.
- The minimum age for riding one is 14 years old.
- You must use bike paths or trails. You non are present, then you can use the road.
- The electric scooters must have an insurance badge and a small square number plate which is visible on the scooter.
- Drinking alcohol and riding is exactly the same as cars. Nope, no, never.
These rules and regulations help keep the streets and pathways of Germany safe for all users.
Can you hire Electric Scooters in Germany?
Absolutely! Electric Scooters are not only available in most of the major cities in Germany but have arrived in some medium-sized cities (200,000 inhabitants or less) such as Erfurt and Ingolstadt.
There are six major companies amongst the cities that hire electric scooters, Circ, Lime, Tier, Voi, Jump and Bird. There are also some smaller companies arriving as well. Berlin and Hamburg have the most electric scooters available for hire
The idea of introducing hired electric scooters into cities is to relieve congestion, reduce the emissions that combustion engines kick out, and allow people to move freely and efficiently through the city.
The cost to hire an electric scooter in Germany differs for each city and each e-scooter provider. It can range from €0.15 per minute to €0.25 per minute. Most have a €1 initial hire charge on top of this. To help improve rider safety Voi have introduced traffic courses which not only help you ride more considerately but earn you free minutes with your hired electric scooter.
How many e-scooters are in Germany?
Germany has the highest amount of electric scooters to hire in all of Europe with a huge 150,000 plus available around 86 towns/cities. Berlin is the city with the most electric scooters available to hire with about 30,000 accessible e-scooters.
The Future of Electric Scooters in Germany
With more of us becoming more environmentally in tune and wanting to do our bit for our country and the world, the future of electric scooters in Germany is looking bright. With a simple yet effective rule system and the easy accessibility of e-scooters in and around Germany, more and more people are using the scooter as daily transport for the daily commute or a trip to the shops. The range and price of electric scooters are great. With some models, like the Decent One Electric Scooter being just over €400, the affordability of owning a personal electric scooter in Germany is more of a reality.