Posted 08 Jun 2020
Reading time: 5 Minutes
2020 should be a successful year for electric scooters for Lime, Bird, TIER and Co. Just when winter seemed to be over and the first e-scooters could be seen on the streets of our cities again, a worldwide lockdown commenced. Bit by bit, the providers got their e-scooters off the streets to minimize their operating costs. TIER Mobility, on the other hand, launched HEROES, a unique program that allowed rescue workers, police officers, nursing staff and also supermarket employees to use the electric scooters free of charge. In the meantime, more and more loosenings ensure that our everyday life normalizes step by step. But what does that mean for scooter providers like Voi, Circ or Jump? What happens after the lockdown with the electric scooters? Are the scooters already being used again? We take a look at the current status quo.
The losses suffered by e-mobility providers in the first months of this year were immense. The global lockdown forced most vendors to pause their business in the short term to comply with government orders. Closed shops, deserted streets and millions of people in the home office caused providers such as Lime, Voi and Bird to literally took their e-scooters off the streets. But since the first easing on corona restrictions was decided, the e-mobility market is starting to come back.
The e-mobility market is slowly beginning to recover. Since people are allowed back on the streets, the number of users of e-scooters and e-mopeds has increased again. It is therefore hardly surprising that both national and international providers are following the latest developments in the government with great interest. Although the easing is still at a very different level worldwide, the recently launched e-scooters are already very popular in European countries such as Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. According to information from the e-scooter sharing platform Dott, the use of e-scooters in many cities is already at the level of before COVID-19, if not significantly higher. In Paris, every scooter is already making four trips a day - and that number rising.
The Berlin provider TIER Mobility is now focusing more on the German market instead of the international market. TIER's operations remain closed in countries such as Spain and Italy. The Berlin-based company wants to score points in a completely different way. With the takeover of the Bosch company Coup, TIER bought around 5,000 electric mopeds and is now trying to take a multimodular approach. Little by little, TIER is now bringing its e-scooters and e-mopeds back onto German roads in order to finally boost business with shared mobility again.
The American scooter provider Lime, who had completely withdrawn from the streets of Europe in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, had a similar experience. Since the middle of April, however, the first 100 scooters have now been ready for rental again. The Swedish provider Voi also felt the dramatic decline in scooter utilization. Thanks to the Europe-wide easing, the company has now announced that the occupancy rate is increasing visibly again. In addition, according to Voi, the duration of each individual trip has doubled compared to before the pandemic. For example, the Swedish supplier's e-scooters are currently used on average for 18 instead of 9 minutes per trip. Lime also confirms the increase in driving time, albeit not as clearly as the Swedish competitor. This could be due to people preferring to stay away from public transportation.
In order to draw people's interest to the topic of electromobility and at the same time to stand out as an attractive provider, Voi uses a loyalty program. With this program, users who frequently use e-scooters benefit from reduced prices the more often they use it. In addition to Sweden and Switzerland, Voi will soon be positioning its scooters in a completely different country: Great Britain. However, Voi is not entirely alone with this idea: TIER as well as other European roller start-ups want to win the British as new customers and enter the competition with Voi. Lime, on the other hand, focuses primarily on Italy and Poland in addition to the German market. With scooters in Rome and Kraków, they want to boost their business more and more and secure their position on the battlefield of e-mobility competitors.
The easing after the lockdown due to COVID-19 is a blessing not only for the population, but also for the providers of electric scooters and shared mobility. People are taking to the streets again, going to work and meeting, albeit still limited, with family or friends. And so, fortunately, the occupancy of all those white-green, red, white, black, turquoise and orange scooters increases day by day to hopefully soon return to normal.