Should You Get An Electric Bike or Scooter?
Micromobility has rapidly gained popularity around the world and has become a popular mode of transport for many users. Of these, e-bikes and e-scooters are receiving the most attention and favor.
Contrary to previous years, electric bicycles and scooters are no longer mainly for sports or recreational purposes. People now commute with them while carrying out their daily activities. This could also result from the pandemic rules and restrictions. People were mandated to maintain social distancing during the period. Since these transport modes are not always crowded as public vehicles, they become the next available options. However, you may wonder if there are any differences between e-bikes and e-scooter. Read further to find out more information.
Overview of E-Scooter
Electric scooters features are a combination of motor and bicycle, with a two-wheeled mechanism. Riders either ride with their power alone or combine their strength and motor assistance. The convectional scooter was typical in past years. Contrary to the popular e-scooter in operation today, the conventional scooter lacks an electric motor, battery, and other electronic devices. In this case, the main difference between the e-scooter and the convectional type is how they are electrically powered.
E-scooters have a wide turning radius that allows riders to maneuver safely while on a trip. They also use batteries as their power source. In most cases, manufacturers use the lead-acid battery type. You can tilt the scooter backward or forward or leave it in your preferred position. The two main technicalities of e-scooters are the brake operations. Once an e-scooter has been confirmed to have two brake systems, manufacturers go ahead to install the rear and front lights.
Overview of E-bike
Electric bikes are also equipped with a motor, which is able to offer assistance for riding. However, riders do not get this assistance until they request it. The exciting aspect is that every rider is allowed to regulate the assist level generated from the e-bike. They also have a controller, which is sometimes in the frame region. The function of the controller is to update you on the battery level as you ride. Electric bicycles usually have similar features to bicycles, but lithium-ion batteries stand it out. They emit no carbon, and riders can cover longer distances with e-bikes than an e-scooter.
An e-bike motor can either be installed as a rear hub or mid-drive. Meanwhile, the location of each motor system defines its category. The mid-drive motor is an installation focused on the e-bike’s central and crank. The Honbike newly launched Uni4 model uses a high ratio rear hub motor. The hub motor is highly effective and does not consume excess battery. This enables riders to cover more distances. Uni4 owners can be sure to cover 90km on a single charge.
What Are Differences?
Knowing what e-bikes and e-scooter are, let’s delve into their differences.
Although electric scooters are being adopted beyond recreational purposes, they are not used for commuting as much as e-bikes. It is rare to see e-scooters on sidewalks, but they are famous on-street bike lanes. On the other hand, e-bikes can be seen in bicycle areas and bike lanes. Manufacturers also design many different electric bikes such as mountain bikes, electric commuter bikes. electric folding bikes.
Convenience and Comfort Level
Generally, research has shown that more people prefer to use an e-bike than an e-scooter. The comfort or convenience level an individual gets from both sides varies with body weight. Some people may find it more comfortable to stand on an e-scooter, while others are more convenient with full balance while riding on the electric bicycle. Manufacturers install big tires and frames in an e-bike to support additional weights.
Riders can also choose from a wide range of available electric bicycles. Hence, there is a higher chance of selecting an e-bike that is best comfortable for you. It does not imply that e-scooters do not provide comfort as well. However, they will have a suspension system supporting the extra rider’s weight. Once these suspension systems are in e-scooters, they become more challenging to carry around. However, convenience is relative, and the purpose of commuting will determine the best option for you. If you are commuting to carry out several daily activities, you need an e-bike.
Generally, electric scooters are known to be more light-weighted than e-bikes. This is because e-bikes have additional electric components, such as the frame and handlebar. Most e-scooter users can also easily fold it and take it everywhere. Also, the weight of e-scooters is barely above 40lbs. As a result, an electric power bike that falls within this range will be considered highly minor. Meanwhile, product brand is a factor many people have failed to consider. It influences how an e-bike turns out to be, particularly the weight.
The HF01 model released by Honbike is foldable, making it easy for users to carry around, as they would have done with an e-scooter. The e-bike lacks a suspension system and uses a belt drive instead of a chain drive. It reduces the weight a rider would have experienced from taking a whole e-bike around. Also, this folding electric bike weighs 20.8kg. This is close to most e-scooters and lighter than many e-bikes you will see.
Safety and Cost
Your transportation needs should also influence how much you are willing to spend on your electric vehicles based on personal preferences and tastes. Although electric bikes are more costly than scooters, it is an item that is worth every investment. It offers excellent services to users, and you can enjoy it for commuting as much as possible. On the other hand, there are some high-standard e-scooter.
Another aspect of cost to consider is the resale value. Investing in electric bicycle will likely yield more profit because you can resell them at a higher price than e-scooters. It is also much cheaper to replace an e-scooter battery than e-bikes because they mostly use lead acid. The lead-acid battery is also cheap but not as durable as the lithium-ion battery operated in most e-bikes. However, it may take a lot to maintain an e-bike compared to an e-scooter. Most e-scooter users only replace the battery once in a while.
In terms of safety, e-bike is better than e-scooter. The latter is pretty close to the ground, so moving vehicles barely see them quickly from afar. Also, the wheels of most e-scooters are usually small, so they do not respond well to road bumps. Since e-bikes are designed with much larger wheels, they can handle rough roads or bumps.
Generally, an e-bike will outrun an electric scooter, primarily when used among cyclists. However, manufacturers’ input also influences the weight of an e-bike. If the battery and motor added to the e-bike are heavy, it will affect its weight. The maximum speed an e-scooter can attain is usually lower than that of e-bikes. However, e-bikes‘ top speed varies with class and country.
The three classes of e-bikes are class one, class two, and class three. You should also find out the legal speed allowed to ride a particular e-bike class in your country. Most countries usually have a maximum speed range between 28km/h and 32km/h. For instance, the speed limit in New York is 25km/h. Hence, it beats the top speed for most countries and is also the best product for Europe residents.
Since electric bicycles and scooters have two wheels, it may be challenging to identify their differences. However, each has main differences that every prospective user needs to know before making a purchase. These differences have been highlighted above in this article, and hopefully, they will help you make the right choice.
E-Bikes, E-Scooters E-Mobility Devices
E-scooters are a popular mode of “micro-mobility” transportation in cities across America and now in Colorado Springs. The City of Colorado Springs has completed a one-year pilot program beginning October 2021; with the pilot program ending Lime has decided to stay on as the sole Scooter Share operator in Colorado Springs.
Read the Colorado Springs Public Radio article on the completion of the year long pilot project here
Veo’s departure at the end of this summer left two electric ride share companies for customers in the Springs: scooter company Lime and PikeRide, a local e-bike nonprofit.
The City of Colorado Springs revised Chapter 10 of our city code, taking additional steps to further define bicycles, E-Bikes and other E-Mobility Vehicles as well as on-street infrastructure developed for these uses. These update better address mobility devices, and…
Colorado Springs EBike Reference information
This City Urban Trail reference and Map describes types (tiers) of urban trails, note that some of these examples are inconsistent with the current trail network.
COS EBike Reference
The city EBike Page shows that some trails are open to e-bikes by name, excludes their use on “multi-use” trails, with a definition that is inconsistent with the Urban Trail descriptions. There is no definition of “system trails”, typically thought of as more narrow, soft surface walking/hiking trails in places like Palmer Park, Pulpit rock, etc.
TOSC Bikeway Map
This document was first produced by TOSC as a map showing where EBikes are allowed on Colorado Springs Trails. The map has since been change to the Urban Trail Map but is currently the clearest understanding that we have of where EBikes are currently allowed in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs E-MTB Trails
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Most trails within Cheyenne mountain State Park in the southwest corner of Colorado Springs allows E-Bikes including E-MTBs. According to state park policy ebike are treated as bicycles and allow on the same trails as any bicycle. Policy quote below
Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed the same access as road bikes and mountain bikes, while class 3 e-bikes are only to be allowed on roadways and in designated bike lanes.
Cheyenne Canyon/Ntl Forest
Aside from state parks the only Colorado Springs singletrack Mountain Bike (MTB) trails that officially allow Electric Mountain Bikes (E-MTBs) are those that also allow Motorcycles. This includes the iconic Captain Jacks trail that stretches from North Cheyenne Canyon Park into the Pike National forest.
State County EBike Reference information
Colorado State EBike Law
Enacted in January of 2018 the State of Colorado adopted regulations defining ebikes and where they are allowed. While the state defined these rules EBike regulations are ultimately controlled by local jurisdictions.
Unless otherwise restricted, Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, and scooters are allowed on the same bicycle and pedestrian paths as conventional bicycles.
Local jurisdictions have the authority to prohibit the operation of electric bicycles and scooters on any bicycle or pedestrian path under its jurisdiction.
Local laws pertaining to electric scooters must be no more restrictive than those pertaining to class 1 electric bicycles.
El Paso County Parks EBike Regulations
EBikes are allowed on primary and secondary trails within the El Paso County park and trail network.
El Paso County EBike Regulation Text Class I and Class II Electrical Assisted Bicycles may use El Paso County Parks Primary and Secondary trails up to a maximum speed of twenty miles per hour. Class III Electrical Assisted Bicycles are not permitted on any County trail.
Colorado State Parks EBike Regulations
E-bike use on CPW Lands – Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed the same access as road bikes and mountain bikes, while class 3 e-bikes are only to be allowed on roadways and in designated bike lanes.
BLM/National Forest EBike Regulations
In August 2019, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued Secretary’s Order increasing recreational opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes (e-bikes). While the BLM intends for the rule to increase accessibility to public lands, e-bikes would not be given special access beyond what traditional, non-motorized bicycles are allowed.
The rule provides that authorized officers may authorize, through subsequent land-use planning or implementation-level decisions, the use of Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes on non-motorized roads and trails. The rule does not, by itself, open any non-motorized trails to e-bike use.
EBikes are an ever growing part of the bicycle market globally, in the US, as well as in the Colorado Springs Market specifically. EBikes and E-Mobility devices (Electric scooters, one wheels, Electric skateboards, Etc.) are also a growing piece of the urban mobility puzzle world wide and make a lot of sense in Colorado Springs. EBikes are an efficient, cost-effective and fun way to travel, and have been shown to change transportation habits. Nationally, 45% of all vehicle trips are 3 Miles or less, while trips over 6 miles account for 40% of all trips. This data shows that there is a large percentage of vehicle trips that are well within the range of an average bicycle rider, a distance that is that much more reasonable for people using an EBike. This is especially true in our city as we do have some challenging topography, EBikes remove that barrier as can be seen with the growth and success of PikeRide ever since our local bike share provider introduced EBikes to their fleet. EBikes make it possible to travel longer distances in less time, making EBikes a great solution for the sprawling nature of our city with fairly large distances between destinations. It’s been shown that EBike riders ride more frequently, which is one of our goals at Bike COS. EBikes remove barriers making bike riding more attractive so more people do it.
Official Colorado Springs E-Bikes, E-Scooter, and EPAMD Definitions
Below are the official vehicle definitions as outlined in the February 2021 revision of the Colorado Springs Traffic Code
BICYCLE: A vehicle propelled by human power applied to pedals upon which a person may ride having two tandem wheels or two parallel wheels and one forward wheel, all of which are more than fourteen inches in diameter.
ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: A vehicle having two or three wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor not exceeding seven hundred fifty watts of power. Electrical assisted bicycles are further required to conform to one of three classes as follows:
- CLASS 1 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
- CLASS 2 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling but ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
- CLASS 3 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-eight miles per hour.
ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICE or EPAMD: A self-balancing, nontandem two-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person that is powered solely by an electric propulsion system producing an average power output of no more than seven hundred fifty watts.
ELECTRIC SCOOTER: A device:
- Weighing less than one hundred pounds;
- With or without handlebars;
- That is powered by an electric motor; and
- That has a maximum speed of twenty miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor.
“Electric scooter” does not include an electrical assisted bicycle, EPAMD, motorcycle, or low-power scooter.
Please be aware, if your vehicle does not fall within the guidelines above it is not classified as a Scooter, E-Bike, or EPAMD below are definitions of other vehicle types covering addition electrically powered vehicles.
LOW-POWER SCOOTER: A self-propelled vehicle designed primarily for use on the roadways with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, no manual clutch, and either of the following:
- A cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters if powered by internal combustion; or
- A wattage not exceeding four thousand four hundred seventy-six if powered by electricity.
“Low-power scooter” does not include a toy vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, wheelchair, or any device designed to assist people with mobility impairments who use pedestrian rights-of-way.
LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC VEHICLE: vehicle that:
- Is self-propelled utilizing electricity as its primary propulsion method; B. Has at least three wheels in contact with the ground;
- Does not use handlebars to steer; and
- Exhibits the manufacturer’s compliance with 49 CFR 565 or displays a seventeen character vehicle identification number as provided in 49 CFR 565.
TOY VEHICLE: Any vehicle that has wheels and is not designed for use on public highways or for offroad use. “Toy vehicle” includes, but is not limited to, gas-powered or electric powered vehicles commonly known as mini bikes, “” bikes, kamikaze boards, go peds, and stand-up scooters. “Toy vehicle” does not include electric scooters, off highway vehicles or snowmobiles.
Below is the updated Colorado Springs city code related to the use of bike lanes
The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to bicycles, and/or electrical assisted bicycles, and/or electric scooters, and/or low-power scooters, and/or EPAMDs and other authorized users of bicycle lanes and, in a bicycle lane and/or protected bicycle lane.
Electric Bikes vs Electric Scooters: Which One Should You Choose?
Micromobility has arrived. Personal electric vehicles are solving last mile problems and replacing car trips as major cities move away from car-centric infrastructure. Increasingly, commuters are realizing how much faster and easier it is to get to work on an electric scooter or e-bike than it is to sit through dreaded rush hour traffic or live at the mercy of unreliable public transportation systems.
When it comes to which personal electric vehicle is best, the choice between an e-bike or e-scooter might already be made for you by some critical factors, including portability and storage capacity. Can you fit a full-sized electric bike in your tiny studio apartment? Carry one up the stairs in your building with no elevator? If not, you’re probably leaning toward a scooter or a maybe a small, folding electric bike.
But there are many other considerations, especially if you’re just figuring out how to transition from more traditional modes of getting around.
Some other points of comparison include the need to access other modes of transportation easily or to carry larger loads; the distances you typically have to travel; or a desire to get some optional exercise along the way. Both energy-efficient options are excellent choices in their own right, but these are very different kinds of vehicles, as we’ll see.
Comfort and Convenience
If you asked 3-4 people to name the ideal personal electric vehicle you might get 3-4 different answers. Bodies and needs vary. Some people might find riding an electric bike challenging or impossible. For others, standing and balancing on a scooter or skateboard can be too difficult. For a number of riders, an electric bike may simply be the most comfortable option.
Most electric bikes have large frames and tires to accommodate the added weight of the battery and motor. Electric mountain and hybrid bikes also include full or partial suspension systems, which are as useful on bumpy, potholed city streets as they are on the trail. If comfort is your main concern, you might consider the huge range of electric bikes, which do come in lighter, folding options to better meet a need for portability.
That’s not, however, to say that electric scooters don’t offer a comfortable ride—they do. Many high-performance models even feature large pneumatic tires and suspension systems, though at the cost of a larger vehicle that may not be easy to fold or carry and can weigh as much as an e-bike. For most people, these heavy add-ons defeat one of the primary reasons for owning a scooter—convenience.
Most lightweight, durable scooters like Unagi’s Model One—which comes in at under 30 pounds in both its single and dual motor versions—ride smoothly and comfortably over level pavement and can easily be folded and stowed in a closet or carried onto public transportation. Electric bikes, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds.
But convenience is a relative term. If you plan on using an electric vehicle to do your regular shopping or move kids from place to place, there’s no better choice among the range of options than a heavy-duty electric bike with a large rack, extra seating, and cargo capacity. If you want to pound the pedals and get a workout on your commute, a lighter-weight electric bike might suit you best. If your ideal mode of transport is weaving through the traffic, traveling light, and having the option to easily grab a taxi or hop on a bus or train, a lightweight folding electric scooter should be the clear choice.
Speed and Range
It’s true that the majority of electric bikes will outperform most lightweight e-scooters in top speeds, though there are, of course, exceptions. In order to keep weight down, scooter manufacturers equip their vehicles with smaller batteries and motors. Most electric scooters tend to top out at speeds of 22 mph, where electric bikes may reach speeds of up to 30 mph or more. But if you’re riding in heavy traffic or on crowded city streets, speed may not be a foremost concern.
E-scooters are sleek and nimble and can easily maneuver around cars and other vehicles that slow cyclists down. In a comparison between several different personal electric vehicles, one Electrek reviewer writes, “I rarely felt like needed to go faster than the scooter’s top speed because I had to slow down to pass cars anyways. With such a thin vehicle, it was easy to slide between and around cars that were stuck in traffic when on streets that didn’t have a bike lane.”
It’s also true that electric bikes will generally have much longer ranges and will therefore work best for longer commutes and adventures, though their larger batteries can take more time to charge. Many people who choose to purchase an electric bike live in low-density areas with lots of roads and trails and longer distances to cover. Scooter buyers, on the other hand, might tend to live in large cities where lower speeds and ranges are worthy tradeoffs for convenience, portability, and maneuverability.
Cost and Safety
Cost is certainly not the least consideration when deciding between an electric bike and electric scooter. If you need to haul things, spending the extra money on an electric bike may be the preferable (or only) option. That said, not all e-bikes cost more than high-end electric scooters (just as not all e-bikes are as harder to carry and store). The amount of money you’re willing and able to invest in a personal electric vehicle will greatly depend on your specific budget and transportation needs.
Price differences tend to be negligible between higher-cost electric scooters and lower-end electric bikes. On the other hand, some high-performance, specialty, and cargo electric bikes can set you back several thousand dollars. You can purchase an electric scooter of similar quality and durability, like the Unagi Model One, for under a thousand dollars. It’s also worth considering that the scooter will be far more theft resistant.
Electric bikes are at a much higher risk of theft because of high resale and because they must be left outside on most trips. This makes cost of ownership go up due to expensive bike locks and e-bike insurance. Electric bikes also require far more maintenance than well-made e-scooters, which may need no more than a battery replacement every few years.
When it comes to riding safely, an electric bike can be a better option on the road than an electric scooter. There are several reasons for this, some having to do with the design of the vehicles themselves: scooters are lower to the ground and their wheels are much smaller, so they don’t handle bumps and jolts nearly as well. Scooter riders are also less visible to drivers than cyclists are.
However, some significant reasons for the disparity come down to rider behavior, as the Electric Scooter Guide points out. We are conditioned from early childhood to take bike safety seriously, but “for 20 years we have ridden kick scooters” like the Razor “as a toy, and all-of-a-sudden we see one on the street, not realizing these new devices are more akin to a motorcycle than the toy we used to know.” Maybe for this reason, e-scooter riders are much less likely than cyclists to wear helmets, and thus more likely to be seriously injured.
As we’ve noted, the choice between an electric bike and an electric scooter (if you have to choose!) can depend on a number of variables that differ widely between individual riders. No personal electric vehicle is designed to meet every possible transportation need. When it comes, however, to cost, convenience, and ease of use, electric scooters might just be the best option for the majority of urban commuters and riders-about-town.
Electric Bikes vs. Electric Scooters: Which is Best for Commuters?
Since e-bikes do not have gas emissions, they would be useful for people residing in busy cities where roads are congested with fuel-powered vehicles contributing to ecological harm.
They would also be suitable for people with only small storage at home because some e-bikes are foldable which can fit in limited spaces. Lastly, e-bikes would help people get the same benefits as cycling but with less effort.
On the other hand, an electric scooter refers to a vehicle powered entirely by an electric motor or human power with two or three wheels, handlebars, and a floorboard that can be stood on when riding.
It has a handful of different components, but the battery, brakes, joystick, floor, handlebars, lights, transmission, stem, suspension, and tires are the main ones. The platform on which you stand when riding is the deck.
The standard scooter deck height is 14″ by 5″ inches and provides ground clearance of a few inches. The stem is a folding metal tube that links the front wheels to the handlebars.
The electric scooter’s suspension, like that on a motor vehicle or bicycle, improves the quality of your ride. Lastly, tires give you traction to accelerate or brake in an emergency.
- Convenient, fun, and easy to use
- Does not require you for a licensed plate and insurance bills
- Environment friendly
- Perfect for short distances
- Skipping traffic jams
- Less noise pollution
- Low maintenance costs compared to cars
- May increase the number of accidents
- May be left behind anywhere and may get stolen
- Overcharging and other battery issues
- No storage utility
- Only good for short distances
- High purchase price
- Relatively slow compared to electric bikes
The electric scooter is best for people with movement restrictions and people who choose to get to other places faster, persons with parking space, certain people who find it difficult to walk, and even children and adults. You can go anywhere you want and enjoy making local errands enjoyable, fast, and easy on roads and streets.
Best Under £1000: Electric Bike v Electric Scooter
E-Bikes v E-Scooters
Deciding what is right for you is entirely dependent on your preferences and requirements. Electric bikes are a better alternative if you need to cover longer distances promptly and want to bring a micro-mobility option with you. But if you want something to reach the nearby stop and vice versa, then electric scooters are a portable and handy option. Nevertheless, the final decision will be all yours.
Post by Trevor Fenner
About the Author: Trevor is the founder and owner of Electric Bike Paradise, a one-stop-shop for all your electric bicycle needs. He has been selling bicycles, electric bikes, and electric scooters online since 2010 and eventually established Electric Bike Paradise in late 2013 when he happened to meet a seller from Craiglist that introduced him to electric bikes. Ever since Trevor spent time searching for electric bikes online but couldn’t find a single website that offers a wide selection of bikes and informational articles. That is why he decided to start a website where everyone can shop conveniently, browse buying guides, and read educational posts.
Here’s how we solved the mystery of what this viral video truly showed.
Published Nov 30, 2022
A video shows a sea of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned because of the high cost of EV battery replacement.
On Nov. 28, 2022, the @Xx17965797N account tweeted a video with a misleading caption that claimed the clip showed a sea of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned because of the high cost of electric vehicle (EV) battery replacement. The tweet read, “Electric green scooters that have reached end of battery life. Due to the batteries being so expensive to replace, electric scooters are abandoned because disposing of them any other way is dangerous and expensive.”
This was not true, despite the tens of thousands of combined retweets and likes that the tweet received.
The same video upload from @Xx17965797N was also misleadingly reshared by accounts including @PeterDClack, @JamesMelville, and @MillerForTexas. The former two tweets received thousands of engagements, despite the fact that the information pushed in the original tweet was not true.
In cases like these where a caption is incorrect but the picture or video is real, we issue a fact-check rating of “Miscaptioned.”
The Origins of the Video
Days before the @Xx17965797N tweet was posted, the @ElevaBrasilES account also misleadingly tweeted that the same video was shot in France. The tweet went up on Nov. 21 with an incorrect caption that read, “Green energy… Cemetery of electric motorcycles in France. Now designated as a ‘biohazard zone.'” (Note: This mention of France reminded us of other rumors we’ve debunked in the past, in particular about two photos of other car graveyards. The two pictures showed false captions that claimed the cars had been abandoned due to the high cost of battery replacement, just like the video we’re looking at in this fact check.)
The oldest upload of the video that we could find came from TikTok user @smartsetting. The video was uploaded on Nov. 7 and by the end of the month had received nearly 5 million views.
Based on watching the video, the scooters appeared to be parked in a parking lot near a basketball court, perhaps in a university complex or public park. Several blurry Chinese characters were visible on the side of the bikes. At the end of the clip, a tall building could be seen on the right-hand side of the frame. Other than those pieces of information, we didn’t have much to go on.
How We Researched the Rumor
In order to find the truth behind this video, we first used Adobe Media Encoder to export a JPEG file for each and every frame from the video. The results of this export were 440 individual images from the 14-second video. We then performed numerous reverse image searches with these picture files using Google Images and TinEye.com. These reverse image searches provided several clues as to where other users had reposted the video. However, we did not find any further details from these searches.
Next, we tried several searches on Google. and YouTube with phrases such as “electric scooter China” and “electric bike graveyard China,” among other terms. This helped to find several reposts of the video. The searches also showed results for many of the sites in China that are the final resting places for massive stacks of bicycles dumped by bike-sharing companies with failed business models. Perhaps the most striking video we found was titled, “No Place To Place——The Wonders of Shared Bicycle Graveyards in China.”
At one point in our research, we stumbled upon an AFP video from 2021 that appeared to show the same yellow color and model of electric scooter bike. The caption for the clip said that it was captured “outside the city of Shenyang.” The end of the video showed a stadium with special colors for seating zones.
After an exhaustive search, we were able to find this same stadium by using the map tools on the Chinese website Baidu.com. Unlike Google Maps, Baidu.com has street-level views of nearby roads. However, this part of our effort wasn’t very helpful. It remained unclear if this was the same location where the viral clip was shot.
Finally, a Lead
In the end, it was going back to TikTok that helped us find the origins of the video. A search on TikTok for “electric share bike China” brought us to this video from @evstevepan. The video showed the same kind of yellow electric scooter bike with a similar logo. A scan of the logo using a mobile phone camera and Google Translate revealed the company name Meituan, which is known as an “all-encompassing platform for local services.”
The logos appeared to be similar. (Courtesy: @smartsetting/@evstevepan on TikTok)
We then searched the internet for Meituan and electric scooters, which produced plenty of pictures on Shutterstock.com. For a moment, the two large characters on the side of the scooter didn’t seem to match those from the viral video. We then horizontally flipped a still-frame from the viral video, which led us to discover that it had been mirrored, meaning that all words and numbers were backward.
It’s blurry, but it’s a match. “App” appears on the left, too. (Courtesy: @smartsetting/@evstevepan on TikTok)
All of these developments in our research led us to news articles that helped to show our findings were lining up.
Meituan ‘Walked Away’ from Bike-Sharing
In April 2018, news broke that Meituan had purchased the company Mobike for 2.7 billion. According to the story, Mobike is “a Chinese startup that helped pioneer bike-sharing services worldwide.”
But by November of that same year, TechCrunch reported that Meituan would be “[walking] away from bike-sharing and ride-hailing,” as there wasn’t enough demand from customers for the supply of its bike-sharing venture:
In April, Meituan entered the bike-sharing fray after it scooped up top player Mobike for 2.7 billion to face off Alibaba-backed Ofo. Over the past few years, Mobike and Ofo were burning through large sums of investor money in a bid to win users from subsidized rides, but both have shown signs of softening their stance recently.
Mobike is downsizing its fleets to “avoid an oversupply” as the bike-sharing market falters, Meituan’s chief financial officer Chen Shaohui said during the earnings call. Ofo has also scaled back by closing down many of its international operations.
During its third quarter that ended September 30, Meituan posted a 97.2 percent jump on revenues to 19.1 billion yuan, or 2.75 billion, on the back of strong growth in food delivery transactions. The firm’s investments in new initiatives – including ride-hailing and bike-sharing – took a toll as operating losses nearly tripled to 3.45 billion yuan compared to a year ago. Meituan shares plunged as much as 14 percent on Friday, the most since its spectacular listing.
Just as so many electric bicycles from bike-sharing companies had piled up across China, so had electric scooters like the ones seen in the viral video.
In sum, social media users falsely claimed that a video showed tons of lined-up electric scooter bikes that were abandoned in a “graveyard” due to the high cost of EV battery replacement. All evidence pointed to a simple answer: supply and demand. The number of electric scooter bikes and bicycles far outnumbered the number of people who requested to use them (or else they went missing or were stolen), which resulted in downsizing by some companies, and the closure of others. The clip appears to have been shot in China, although its precise location is unclear.
We reached out to Meituan for comment on Nov. 29 but did not receive a response in time for publication.