Discarded Electric Vehicles

July 26, 2022 by Joshua
in Visualization

If you make a polluting system more efficient, you pollute more efficiently. People don’t get that making one element of a system more efficient may lower pollution locally while increasing it overall. We like to think of prices dropping making technology more available, democratizing it, but by its fruit do you know a tree and the fruit of our culture is poisonous garbage. Technology augments our culture.

I’ve written before how I expect that as electric vehicle technology becomes cheaper, unless we change our values, it will create more pollution, not less. First I wrote Prediction: cars will become disposable; then the news conspired to bring an article corroborating my prediction in More disposable cars: Ignoring unintended side-effects.

EDIT (April 2024): Why I made this post: Check out this short video about ebike waste in China by CBC: Inside one of China’s hidden bike-sharing bicycle graveyards.

A quote from it: “The smaller piles have about 40,000 or 50,000 bikes. And the larger ones have over 200,000 bikes.”

Here are a couple stills from it. First a closeup:

A view from above, where you can barely see individual bikes:

I see more electric vehicles treated as disposable all the time. I’m going to collect pictures of them in this post.

Here was the first, an electric scooter I saw broken and left in the gutter on Sixth Avenue about a month ago:

The second, an electric scooter left by Washington Square Park a couple days ago, maybe July 24th 2022:

Another abandoned scooter, this time a bigger one I saw yesterday, July 25:

Any bets on how many I’ll find to take pictures of by the end of 2022?

July 28: Not a discarded scooter, but since it was a few feet from the first scooter, I’m sharing a picture of a syringe, another technology that was supposed to help us but, like all technology, augments our values. If we want to change our world, we have to change our values, including taking responsibility and not saying it’s someone else’s problem.

September 7: I couldn’t tell if this Citibike was electric but someone trashed it.

November 5: here’s one I saw trashed outside a park while riding my bike in the Bronx (from the wonderful Drew Gardens, where I attended a workshop led by native Americans on their culture and the first Thanksgiving). What a lovely lesson for the children playing in the park, sadly devoid of grass or plants, yet full of iron bars and fences like a prison.

My bike is at least ten years old, maybe twenty. This electric vehicle looked like it lasted one or two years.

November 11: In Soho:

May 2023: It looked abandoned with its flat rear tire and not parked in a charging station.

June 2023: Sorry for the low-quality picture. I saw this one on the way to Washington Square Park after the Pride March and Queer Liberation March, anticipating the pollution they’d leave behind. Sadly, they left a lot.

October 2023: Not sure if this junked cycle was electric or gas, but there it was on Sixth Avenue:

December, 3 2023: West Farms, the Bronx, near Drew Gardens

January 21, 2024: Washington Square Park. It looks abandoned and it looks like a broken ebike:

February 16, 2024: Waverly Place between Washington Square Park and the 6th Avenue West 4th Street subway stop:

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter