Sector trends

The UK micromobility market: a low-carbon opportunity

Micromobility is a key part of achieving net-zero emissions for transport. Here, we look at how innovations in the electric-powered micro vehicles market are creating opportunities for UK retailer Halfords.

Inclusivity: how electric-powered micro vehicles can play a significant role in future transport

There are huge social benefits from a rapid take-up. However, one of the biggest challenges for mass adoption is common misconceptions about the vehicles.  

In recent years Halfords has collected lots of data, including information on who buys vehicles, and the attitudes and opinions that underpin purchase decisions. The data shows people buying scooters are skewed towards the economically disadvantaged. 

Scooters can play an important role in democratising electric transport. Electric scooter buyers in the UK are generally younger and more likely to be financially deprived. If the cost-of-living crisis is here to stay, scooters can help the public travel for less than a car and are cheaper in many cases than public transport. 

We also need the new Transport Bill to make e-scooters legal. New legislation is the number one barrier to purchase for many people in the market

Paul Tomlinson
Cycling and Electric Mobility Director, Halfords

Reducing emissions from business travel and employee commuting

There are obvious environmental benefits. For many customers the environment is a huge purchase factor. For the UK to achieve its environmental targets, we need micromobility. 

We are seeing an encouraging mode shift, away from more polluting forms of transport, with 55% of scooter riders replacing taxi and car journeys, and a third replacing journeys that may have been made on public transport. That’s key when we think about a multimodal future for micromobility.

E-bike uptake is also rising, but attracts an older, more affluent, male demographic. This is partly because of misconceptions about e-bikes. 

Most people don’t know what an electric bike is, how it works, and how it can benefit them. Because of that many people focus on the negatives: they see it as cheating. This is why we launched our electric bike trials scheme, which is an opportunity for people to experience e-bikes firsthand.

Why barriers to micromobility uptake need to be addressed

There’s a lack of understanding about the products and how they work. We all need to act to overcome these. But we also need the new Transport Bill to make e-scooters legal. New legislation is the number one barrier to purchase for many people in the market. It’s a decision that is vital to broadening the appeal and the adoption of this technology. 

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