Last year Solihull Council partnered with local e-moped dealer Silence UK to offer commuters from Dickens Heath the chance to test one. After an initial taster session, people were given the option of an extended, free trial to see how commuting by e-moped would work for them in practice.
The scheme is part of the council’s low carbon future mobility project and is an effort to show how electric mopeds can reduce both carbon emissions and the number of single-occupancy cars on the road.
Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Planning and Housing, commented: “We know that 39 per cent of all carbon emissions in the borough are currently attributable to transport, with road traffic accounting for nearly all of this. Making the switch to electric vehicles, including e-motos is going to be an essential part of our journey towards net-zero.”
Around 80 per cent of those who took part in the taster session said it had made them consider how they get around and the majority felt they would be able to replace up to half their car journeys.
One person who took up the offer of a longer trial was Nick Chadaway who sometimes works from home but otherwise commutes to Digbeth in Birmingham by car.
Chadaway said he’d really enjoyed using the e-moped and that his journey times had been noticeably quicker.
“Before taking part in this trial and taking my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) I had never thought about using an e-moped, but it was very easy to pick up and just a lot of fun to ride.
“Another positive thing to come out of the experience is that I feel like it’s helped to make me a better driver when I’m in the car. Although I felt safe, riding an e-moped forces you to think ahead a lot more and really look for potential hazards on the road.
“I’d definitely consider getting one of my own, but in the meantime it’s made me think about my overreliance on the car and encouraged me to dust off the old push-bike for some commuting in the better weather.”
The average running cost of an e-moped is just 1p a mile and Chadaway really noticed a difference in that area too.
“Despite energy bills going up, the cost of charging my e-moped at home was almost negligible compared to prices at the fuel pump and even switching vehicles for just three weeks has saved me some significant money,” he said.
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, said: "I’m really pleased that residents like Nick have had the opportunity to give the e-mopeds a go and I’m encouraged to hear that the experience has been such a positive one.
“Electric mopeds clearly have wide applications for couriering smaller items and food delivery but they also offer a clean, practical and affordable means of personal transport, and crucially an alternative to many shorter car journeys.
“This project is all about giving people the opportunity to try something different and see if they can be encouraged to leave the car at home. E-motos have the potential to cut congestion, improve air quality and, as we have seen, save commuters money."