Colin Roche is co-founder and CEO at Swiftmile, which builds micromobility charging platforms.
Recent months have seen many splashy electric vehicle (EV) headlines: Tesla continues to rise the ranks of the world’s highest-valued companies, General Motors announced its fleet will be fully electric by 2035, and President Biden committed to converting the federal government’s 645,000-vehicle fleet to all-electric.
With EV ownership gaining cost parity with internal-combustion engine vehicles, many agree we’re finally at the tipping point of a significant electric auto revolution. While this is directionally good for the climate, it’s far from enough.
We need to reduce vehicle miles driven 20% by 2030 to align with 1.5°C climate goals, according to research from Transportation for America and the Rocky Mountain Institute. No tool has been more effective to reduce car trips than light electric vehicles (LEVs) — one recent study found that 46% of e-bike commute trips in Portland, OR replaced car commutes. Worldwide, electric two- and three-wheelers are responsible for more avoided oil consumption than any other vehicle category, EVs included.
This is incredible progress, and it’s only the beginning. An INRIX Research analysis suggests e-bikes and e-scooters can replace about half of all car trips in major U.S. cities and up to two-thirds in European ones, given the large proportion of trips are under three miles in length. By adding e-mopeds into the mix, LEVs are well positioned to take on longer voyages of up to 10 miles, which represent approximately three-fourths of all U.S. car rides, and in some cases even lengthier trips.