The Status of the Billion Dollar Kick Scooter Sharing Industry
In fact, besides Bird, Lime, Spin and Skip nobody has actually launched a working fleet yet, but there are a lot of them coming and at the moment it is a race who gets there first.
We at COMODULE provide the technology to offer a full eco-system to sharing operators in order to manage their fleets. The past 2 years we have helped several operators to launch sharing & fleet platforms in Europe and Asia. As we are seeing the rise in e-scooter sharing industry, we wanted to give everybody an update what is currently going on in the market and share the latest insights.
Current status of the e-scooter sharing industry
The only sure thing at the moment in the electric e-scooter sharing industry is that it is changing by the minute. The status as of early August; these are the most important things to know:
Front runners of the e-scooter gold rush
According to one of the early birds of the booming industry, Founder and CEO of Bird - Travis VanderZanden: “This is a huge opportunity right now to have a huge impact on transportation”.
Other companies besides Bird are joining the e-scooter sharing gold rush. The other front runners with live fleets in the U.S. are Spin, Lime and Skip. In addition, there are rumblings that many more are coming and even some of the giants of the transportation industry want in on the action.
For instance, Lyft partnered up with one of the biggest U.S. bike-share operators - Motivate. Lyft’s biggest rival Uber is also teaming up with one of the e-scooter industry players Lime, to create an even bigger platform for all your transportation needs.
European market is catching up
The first e-scooter fleet was launched in Paris by Lime, now in Switzerland and Germany. Just recently Bird also arrived in Paris and plans to test the market in Tel Aviv, China and Latin America. Nobody else has publicly launched a fleet yet, but being close to the industry we at COMODULE can say that there are many e-scooter fleets coming to different parts of Europe.
Besides the big players from the U.S., there are a lot of startups and other light vehicle companies launching their fleets in the next year. The question remains, who will be the first company to scale successfully in Europe and the rest of the world? Or, will every country in Europe launch their own local fleet? One thing is for sure, Europe is next in the electric e-scooter gold rush.
Conflict between e-scooter fleets and local governments
Since Bird rolled out their dockless e-scooters fleets in San Francisco back in March 2018, there has been a lot of criticism from the people and the local officials. Main reason being that people are leaving their e-scooters so that they block roads and disturb other commuters.
In addition, most cities don't have the right regulations in place nor have the infrastructure needed to support the new way of “last mile transportation”.
Back in April things got so bad that the San Francisco City Attorney said that: “San Francisco has had enough of the mantra - move fast and break things.” Currently, the city has issued a temporary ban on e-scooters until companies are properly permitted. Most likely, there will be around 5 e-scooter operators who get the permit and also a restriction on how many e-scooters are allowed.
The backlash from both the media and San Francisco officials haven't stopped the companies from rolling out fleets in other cities. Bird, Lime and similar companies have flooded the streets of L.A., Detroit, Louisiana, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Nashville, Portland and others. The feedback from the people and cities vary, some take a similar approach to San Francisco and temporarily ban the vehicles to update the regulations, some are more flexible like Seattle, who already approved new permitting regulations.
It is still a long process, but fast adaption by cities and its policies should be expected. The new billion dollar industry is not showing any signs of slowing down, so most likely we keep seeing more cities joining the gold rush of e-scooters.