Out with Air Pollution in Cities. In With The Sustainable Scooters

Amsterdam as we know it will never be the same starting 1st January 2018. The municipality of the Dutch capital city has already made its New Year’s resolution and is instating a new environmental zone banning petrol-fuelled scooters and mopeds built before 2011 within the entire built-up area of the city. Few exceptions will be made for two-wheelers with electric drives, handicapped vehicles and microcars in fighting air pollution in cities. Here at Etergo we have been preparing for this upcoming shift and are working towards the production of AppScooter to give riders a cleaner alternative without sacrificing convenience.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Why Now?

The purpose of these new regulations is to right air solution in cities, significantly decrease emissions and, along with future legislative amendments, reach emission-free traffic in 2025 by stimulating electric transport and retiring vehicles with the most negative environmental impact. By this time, the environmental zone is planned to be expanded, further aiding in reaching these goals. An even less distant target for 2020 is for Amsterdam to run on 20% more sustainable energy and simultaneously decrease its energy consumption by 20%.

Following the examples of cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and even countries such as Germany, governments around the world are planning on introducing restrictions on vehicles with conventional combustion engines to combat pollution and climate change, serious issues of our times. With global governments listing these changes so high on their agendas, local legislators in the Dutch metropolis are some of the first to implement such drastic measures to make Amsterdam a healthier and more eco-friendly city, as well as the second best rated country at adopting electric vehicles. It is no coincidence that Etergo has set up its new headquarters in one of the most progressive cities in Europe.

The upcoming regulations were an inevitable step as research upon research have revealed that scooters, particularly two-stroke engines, are major culprits in polluting cities, especially such scooter dense areas such as the Netherlands where some 1,000,000 scooters roam the streets on a daily basis according to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics. Approximately 77% of those scooters were built before 2011. A 2014 scientific study by Platt, S. M. et al. published in Nature, one of the most respectable scientific journals in the world, titled “Two-stroke scooters are a dominant source of air pollution in many cities” revealed that two-stroke scooters are up to 2700 times more polluting than a modern van, hence why the Dutch call them “fijnstofkanonnen”. The term, which means “fine dust canons”, became widely used after the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research conducted their own research in 2013 into the pollution levels caused by scooters, with the same results as the study published in Nature in 2014. As scooters are some of the dirtiest vehicles in society today, it is strange that emissions laws are much more lenient for this small class of two-wheelers. While cars and commercial vehicles are going into Euro 6, scooters and mopeds are only just reaching Euro 4. This does not make sense as we are not exactly comparing apples and oranges. It is clear that some catching up is needed in order to make all vehicles safer for our health and push towards speeding up a shift to sustainable mobility.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Time for Change

What does this all mean for the people of Amsterdam? Understandably, many scooter owners may feel quite inconvenienced by these new regulations, however there are several options to help them make the transition. Amsterdam Municipality’s official website have a comprehensive list of all the options available to scooter owners who will be affected by the changes of fighting air pollution in cities.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Retiring the vehicle

For those who have not already invested in AppScooter or another sustainable form of transportation the change will be greater as they will need to retire their scooter or moped from circulation if it was built before 2011. Surrendering the scooter must be arranged by the owner with a demolition company or a moped shop. The vehicle will be disassembled there and the owner will receive a certificate of proof for the RDW (Netherlands Department of Motor Vehicles) which will confirm the vehicle is no longer in circulation. This is an important step as those who do not comply with the new regulations will receive a warning letter during the initial grace period, however a €90 fine will be the penalty as of 1 May 2018.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Exemptions

Nevertheless, there is the possibility for owners of four-stroke vehicles with a Date of Admission (DET) between 1 January 2008 and 1 January 2011 which is not older than ten years to request an exemption. This exemption will expire automatically when the vehicle is 10 years old and, in order to receive it, an inspection is required at an approved dealer to confirm the vehicle has a four-stroke engine. Further exemptions will be possible for handicapped owners of vehicles falling within the category of restrictions and for owners of oldtimers (scooter or moped which is 30 years or older). Oldtimer owners who apply for the exemption will only be allowed to circulate on weekends and official public holidays in the Netherlands.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Modifying to comply

Electric scooters such as AppScooter will automatically be exempt from the new legislation as they are emission-free, regardless of their DET. Euro 4 two-wheelers will also circulate freely within the environmental zone as they comply with more strict emission standards. A final option for those who do not wish to retire their old scooter is to replace their old combustion engine with an electric motor or a Euro 4 engine. All exemptions for any type of case will cost the owner a fee ranging from €15 to €105, on top of the cost of meeting the requirements, depending on the sort of exemption due to an inspection which must be performed to prove the vehicle is compliant with the new regulations. Only handicapped applicants will not be charged for this.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Subsidy

Further provisions have been considered to alleviate the financial impact of these changes. A subsidy will be available for City Pass holders who do not qualify for any other type of exemption and wish to purchase a cleaner vehicle, provided they meet certain requirements. The subsidies range from €400 for e-bikes to €1200 for electric scooters. Etergo will also participate in this scheme once AppScooter hits the Dutch market to help make the change towards sustainable transportation.

Fighting Air Pollution in Cities: Manufacturer Responsibility

Until now, few options are available on the market which incorporate sustainable transportation and all the conveniences two-wheeler commuters want from their ride so it is understandable that, apart from the factor of cost, riders are reluctant to swap in their old scooters. At Etergo we believe it is our responsibility as an OEM to meet these criteria, but we also aim to exceed them by leading the market with innovations for safety and sustainability. The transition towards a cleaner environment is a difficult one and manufacturers need to keep the customer in mind and meet their needs before they even know them themselves.

We look forward to entering the New Year on the right foot and supporting both Amsterdam and its people to improve the city we live in and set the example for more cities and even countries to join in and work towards a sustainable future together.

To find out more about the new regulations please click on the links below to visit the official websites of the Municipality of Amsterdam and the RDW.

www.amsterdam.nl/scooter

www.rdw.nl/milieuzones

For more information on Etergo and AppScooter please visit etergo.com

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