Canberrans buy e-scooters for commute after rentals take over city


E-scooters have taken off in Canberra but are they here to stay?

While time will only tell if the shared vehicles will keep up their popularity, the mode of transport has inspired some, such as Chris Allum, to fork out the cash to buy their own with e-scooters becoming a regular sight during the weekday commute.

It has only been a few weeks since the public servant purchased his e-scooter, but, with his workplace recently moving to New Acton, he said using the e-scooter to ride to and from public transport, has meant he's avoided parking fees and traffic.

"It's definitely worth it. You just have to pick one that works for you," Mr Allum said.

"For me, a lot of it was regarding height capability in that regard.

"I'm six-foot-five and a lot of the scooters are limited to smaller people. I think up to about six-two/six-three most of them are fine. But once you get past that it's slightly awkward to find ones that are tall enough in their handle.

"Aside from that, having an extra battery life is always good."

However, there is more to e-scooter specifications besides height and battery life. The more one researches e-scooters, the more one sees similarities to cars and motorcycles, with speed, brakes and suspension coming into decision making.

If there's anyone who knows how one e-scooter differs from another it's ION DNA owner Rob Ogilvie.

The Fyshwick electric vehicle showroom has seen an increase in sales over the past few months, with ION DNA stocking not only the basic models but also the high end e-scooters.

ION DNA's e-scooters can range up to $3950 in price, with that model reaching speeds of 90 kilometres an hour and can go off road.

"It's scary fast," Mr Ogilvie said.

"The guys that ride that are basically in motocross gear and they've got their full helmets. They've got full car brakes. There are massive brakes on them, all the good stuff that they need to be able to stop because that was my main worry with electric bikes, is that they were still building them with normal brakes.

"But there are plenty of options in the lower end of the market. The sub-$900 end."

And it's those models which have been making up the majority of ION DNA's sales, with people opting to buy them for work transport or even just to ride in their spare time.

Mr Ogilvie said he believed the amount of people using personal e-scooters - particularly for work transport - is only going to increase as people start to return to the office after COVID.

"It's the ease of taking it up to your workplace and the ease of putting it on a tram. It just gives you the flexibility," he said.

"They talk about the last mile commute and that's how a lot of people are seeing these things now. For the last two, three kilometres you can have one of these. While you could and probably should walk to work, in some ways, if you want to halve or quarter that time, this is the option.

"I don't think they're replacing bikes and I don't think they're going to replace cars. I just think they're in addition to it and I think when COVID finishes, I think we'll see a lot more of those on public transport. And it will be the solution to get you know that that last kilometre-and-a-half."

The Canberra Times 

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