Sustainable mobility

You probably came to because you either own or plan to own an electric scooter from the NIU product range. And because you’re looking for a sustainable mobility solution – specifically for short distances (>50km) which most likely means city mobility.
[Yes this post is full of metric values – sorry, I can wrap my mind around the MPG concept… you imperial guys feel free to put the converted values into the comments and I will update the post]

This post is a personal view and probably a good basis for (controversial) discussions in the comments below – the reason for this is based on bad luck:


Due to the current cold and bad weather I had to go by car… and an initial emergency break led to my car being sandwiched between the one in front of me and the van at/in my back :-/ So for the 14+ days needed for the repairs I got a rental car. A shiny Mercedes-Benz E300de… i.e. a hybrid (Diesel engine combined with an 90kW e-motor fed by a 13,5 kWh battery).
How does this perform compared to my N1s in daily use? Yes, it’s definitely comparing apples to oranges… but let’s just look at what it delivers for commuting in a city which was just declared being #1 traffic-jam city in car-crazy Germany. Because this is what the manufacturers are advertising the hybrid technology for: Electric drive for commuting, combustion engine for long-distances.
My ride to work is city-only, besides one overpass flat as a pancake but has lots of traffic-lights and is 9.5 kilometers one way. All I need is a backpack, so storage is not a concern.


Charging “the Merc” was easy, given its parks next to my NIU charging socket. It took ~5.5hrs to fill up that 13,5 kWh battery @ 220V. Calculating with the average price for one kW/h in Germany (0.30€), that’s 4€. You can speed-up charging to 1.5hrs if you own a wall-box or use a public charging station. But honestly, who does this for such a comparably small battery?
A N1s needs about 7+hrs to do the same to its 1,74kWh battery (0.52€)


When put into Hybrid/E-Mode, the E-Class generally uses the e-motor until the battery is flat or you’re putting the pedal to the metal. The on-paper 50km range is just marketing. Leaving my garage, the displayed range immediately dropped to 35 kilometers.
Moving its 2.1 tons though stop-and-go traffic emptied the battery quickly. Actually it was nearly empty when I returned home in the evening after effectively driving 19 kilometers.
Mercedes Benz officially claims a consumption of 25 kWh/100km in my scenario that’s more close to 50-60kWh. Doh! This means it’s 15€/100km for inner-city mobility! Double-Doh!!

OTOH the NIUs 2.4kW motor has an easy game with its 95kg (180 including this very passenger). Having covered the same distance on the same road the battery is still at 60% which is good for another day of commuting. Over the years of driving I calculated an average consumption of 3,5kwh/100km, resulting in roughly 1.10€/100km.


Ok, during my trial it’s been sub-optimal weather for an electric car. It’s February now and temperatures between 5-10°C- but using twice the amount of kilowatts of what the manufacturer promises is way uncool. And yes, when I have a heating, I certainly use it… if you e.g. look at the smaller, lighter, all-electric Renault Zoe, that consumes about 18kW/h at 0°C.
I know, you can transport a lot more stuff and people in that Merc, but that’s not important for commuting one person and a backpack. Having no roof and heating on a scooter is definitely a minus which can handled with proper clothing
But you certainly need more space for a car, can’t get in front of traffic-jams or take (legal) shortcuts. You never think about or pay for a parking-lot and did I mention that I pay 35€ tax/insurance per year for a NIU (45km/h)?

So for also covering city-mobility – in my humble opinion – a hybrid car is total nonsense. You’re moving unnecessary weight, consume more space & energy than actually needed and finally pay way more for the whole thing.
I would even dare to say a combination of a decent long-range car and a electric scooter is cheaper than believing a hybrid car could be a one-size-fits-all.

Do you have a different view on this? Put it into the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Sustainable mobility

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