Commute Time Comparison – Electric Scooter VS Car VS Walking

About now everyone has heard the claim that you can cut down on the time it takes for you to commute to work, school, or wherever you want to go on a daily basis, by utilizing an electric scooter.

Whether it is a scooter from a ridesharing company or your own some people will be able to cut down on their travel time by as much as two-thirds.

In some cities, these rideshare scooters are to be found everywhere on the streets, in the parks, and even in places where there shouldn’t be any electric scooters. 

Whilst in smaller cities you might have a hard time finding a scooter rental company that offers their services. 

The question I aim to answer in this article is: 

“Do you really save time using an electric scooter in comparison to walking, driving, or using public transport?”

Birds of a feather, flock together?

The time it takes to commute using electric scooters, walking, driving, or public transport

Today I am going to find out exactly how well electric scooters stand up against other modes of transportation like a bus, cars, and walking.

During which circumstances are they the most helpful and what variables will affect the different commute times the most?

The average speed of an electric scooter

In order to measure something like the time it takes to travel a certain distance, we need to ensure we have a good estimate of the average speed when riding an electric scooter.

Luckily for us, I’ve tested many electric scooter models at this point, and I tend to track my usage on a regular basis in order to deliver accurate real-life data in my electric scooter reviews.

I’ve gone through my papers on the most common lightweight electric scooter models, the Xiaomi m365, and Segway ES1 + 2, along with a few others. Combined these models make up a large chunk of the most commonly used electric scooter rides today. Hence, they are great models to use when we calculate our average speed.

After checking my data on these popular models I conclude that the average electric scooter speed is around 9.3 mph. Note that, if you’re not a regular scooter rider you might get a lower average than me. This is especially true in cities with red lights, lots of start/stops, and a lot of other vehicles around you.

How to calculate the travel time of an electric scooter

Now when we have an avg speed we can easily calculate and compare the different modes of transportation.

Let’s start with the electric scooter.

For simplicity, we will use a commute of 5 miles to get our estimates. On the electric scooter, I ride at an average speed of 9.3 mph for 5 miles.

60 minutes / 9.3 mph = 6.45, that’s about 6 minutes and 30 seconds per mile(rounded up).

6.5(time per mile) * 5(miles) = 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

That means that we will be able to cover a distance of 5 miles in roughly 30 minutes on an electric scooter. 

Electric scooter travel time in comparison to walking

Comparison electric scooter to walking speed

Now let’s see how much time you can save per mile by using an electric scooter in comparison to walking.

The average human walking phase is 3.1 mph according to Wikipedia. By using the formula above we get a time per mile of 19 minutes and 20 seconds while walking.

That means that it would take us about 96 minutes and 45 seconds to get the same 5 miles if we were to walk the entire distance.

That tells us that if we were to utilize an electric scooter instead, we can expect to cut our travel time by two-thirds. Pretty nice right?

Electric scooter commute time in comparison to a car

Time comparison car VS Electric scooter

Now, can we straight up compare our electric scooter to the time it takes for a car to ride a mile?

Not really, all transports have various obstacles, and depending on where you ride, you will get different results. Cars are the category that gets impacted the most by these variables, such as a red light or traffic jam.

As an example I will use NYC, I can with a 95% guarantee even before our calculations are done say that an electric scooter will be faster in this example. Even faster than taking an Uber or a taxi, even though they are famous for taking risks we ourselves would never dream of while driving.

According to one study, the average New Yorker spends 92 hours per year stuck in traffic. With an electric scooter, I can guarantee that you will be able to get back those 4 days of your life you waste each year on congested big apple highways.

With this information, we can at least calculate an estimated time saved on an electric scooter in comparison to a car.

In NYC the average speed is around 7 mph after a study concluded that a drop had occurred in later years. That means you will be able to cover a mile distance in roughly 8 minutes and 35 seconds.

For every mile you travel on an electric scooter in NYC you will on average save about 2 minutes and 10 seconds.

There you go, an investment of $299 in a budget electric scooter(LINK) will bless you with not only shorter commutes and save you 4 days per year but also 2 minutes for every single mile you travel. If you live in NYC that is.

Note, I know NYC is far from the best example. I would even go ahead and say it might be one of the worst, after New Delhi. But there are many studies and a lot of information on car riding in NYC which helps us create a good example of a worst-case scenario. 

You can just compare your own calculated average mph to mine in NYC and get a good idea of how much time you could save(or not save) by investing in an electric scooter.

Variables to take into account while comparing

There are many variables to account for when calculating the travel time for various modes of transportation.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Parking a car – If you’re going by car you will definitely not be able to just leave it anywhere. You need to find a parking spot and walk whatever distance there is between where you parked your car and your desired destination.
  • Traffic jams – Walking, using an electric scooter, or a bicycle for that matter lets you squeeze through traffic jams, or avoid them altogether. However, if you’re in a car you’re only option is to get a monster truck, or sit and wait.
  • Keeping the same momentum – Say you’re walking or running. You might be able to take a set of stairs that would slow down the electric scooter. But on the other hand, will you be able to keep the same phase throughout, or will you lower the tempo after a mile or two?

Conclusion on electric scooters VS walking VS driving a car

While an electric scooter might not always be the optimal commute. Most of the time it will help reduce the time you spend getting from A to B.

But straight-up mph isn’t what makes the electric scooters such a valuable asset for commuters, it is their versatility. Depending on what type of distance you have to cover, there is an abundance of options to choose from. Some scooters can cover great distances of up to 80+ miles on a single charge, and those electric scooters also tend to have a very high top speed.

While others are more focused on providing a last-mile solution that you can fold and stove away easily when you arrive at your destination. These lightweight electric scooter models are simple to use and very basic. They’re even great if you use them in combination with other transportation such as a car or a bus.

You can easily put one in the trunk of your car and pick a parking spot a bit further away instead of roaming around trying to find one close to the office. The same goes for a bus, you can cut down on the travel time to and from the bus, and while riding the bus you can simply store the scooter in between your legs or underneath your seat.

So how about it, ready to save a few days or hours a year and do something more valuable with your new-found time? 

If you’re interested but don’t know where to start I have covered everything from the best electric scooters to the fastest models that are able to cover great distances. And hey, you’re not only saving time. You’re doing our planet a favor too by reducing your co2 footprint, and you’re making space for those who don’t have any other choice than to use a car or a truck due to their job.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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