Images of a scooter graveyard in China have been used to spread propaganda targeting electric vehicles

Statements

Posts on social networks: Many electric scooters left in the open in France. They are here because their batteries have expired and are expensive to replace. This proves how polluting electric vehicles are and how much they contribute to climate change.

Verdict

The footage for this video was shot in China, not France. They show electric scooters from the popular ride-sharing platform Meituan. The scooters did not end up in this lot because the battery expired. They have been left here due to strict restrictions on the number of shared scooters and bicycles in some Chinese cities after a critical proliferation of them on the streets. With no place for campaigns to store excess vehicles, they are simply left in huge lots on the outskirts of cities.

Lie detector comment

A low-quality video of a few seconds duration has been circulated on social networks. The users who shared it claim that the footage shows abandoned electric scooters that they have thrown away because their batteries have expired and it is simply not worth it to replace old batteries with new ones. The video was shared alongside messages denying climate change, advocating for a move away from electric vehicles and claiming that these vehicles are the biggest contributor to rising pollution.

Some social media users claimed that the video was filmed in France.

Misleading messages

© Screenshot

However, neither the location indicated in the messages nor the reason why the vehicles were left and forgotten correspond to reality. Using reverse image search, the lie detector was able to find out which campaign these electric scooters belong to and which country the video footage was shot in.

The yellow scooters belong to Chinese ride-sharing platform Meituan (HERE). This is one of the most popular companies providing these services. So, the video was shot in China.

On the left is a still from the video, on the right is an electric scooter belonging to the Chinese ride-sharing platform Meituan

© Screenshot

Although no more copies of the same video could be found online (apart from those shared by social media users with the same misleading captions), other similar footage of much larger EV graveyards abounds on the web, rather than a single shot showing those lined up the very yellow Meituan electric scooters.

Scooters didn’t end up in huge abandoned lots because it was too expensive to replace their batteries. Leaving vehicles to their own devices has led some Chinese cities to impose restrictions on the number of shared scooters and bicycles on the streets.

Similar ride-sharing platforms are very popular in China, but in the country’s major cities, authorities are determined to drastically limit their number or ban some vehicles, such as electric scooters. This is because vehicles left in various parts of cities sometimes lead to dangerous situations, for example, the media reported cases where a fire engine could not reach the scene of an emergency after being stuck in a traffic jam of electric vehicles.

in 2016 Forbes published an article (HERE) that discusses the popularity of electric bicycles in China, and also raises the question of why these vehicles are being removed from some cities. Among the main problems with electric bicycles are the following: drivers very often ignore the safe speed and take up the entire area of ​​​​bicycle paths and sometimes pedestrian sidewalks, in addition, electric bicycles do not require any license or training to drive, and they are equal to conventional bicycles in the general traffic.

When it comes to removing electric scooters from Chinese cities, a huge number of them have ended up in the southern Chinese city of Changsha. There are huge graveyards of sharing platform vehicles. It is said that there may be more than 40 such in the vicinity, but journalists and photographers manage to find only one other.

Chinese media announce that in 2021 according to data, there were more than 500,000 people in Changsha. scooters for sharing and 160 thousand bicycles, and this number exceeds the limits set by the city government for the number of such vehicles. Last year, there were 387.3 thousand people in this city. there are too many bike-sharing facilities, leaving unwanted bikes or scooters in huge lots, despite the fact that most of them are brand new or barely used (HERE and HERE).

Changsha City is by no means alone in severely restricting the number of shared scooters and bicycles. Across the country, thousands of vehicles are dying because of the new rules, but not all such lots are considered “graveyards”. Although open-air vehicles are subject to wear and tear and their useful lives are rapidly declining, some of them are in these lots waiting for the law to change before they can be used again. However, if you look at the footage of the video posted on social networks, it becomes obvious that some of these scooters will never hit the streets again.

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The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: Images scooter graveyard China spread propaganda targeting electric vehicles

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