We have no shortage of shared mobility services, almost every day a new carsharing, ride-hailing and scooter-sharing services are launched around the world, as existing companies continue to grow. Evangelos Simoudis, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford, talks about the reasons for the current boom of the market and how to make mobility more sustainable and profitable.
Among the main reasons for current success, Simoudis mentions growing economies (with historic low unemployment rates, consumers are willing to spend more on transportation), relaxed regulatory environments (new technology and its benefits have made public administrations slow in regulating the market) and induced demand (high amount of private and corporate capital flowing towards mobility has enabled companies to launch subsidized mobility services).
Despite these greenhouse conditions, profit remains a difficult topic. Simoudis outlines two main ways mobility companies have tried to increase revenue: through additional services, like 3rd party data gathering, ads and in-cabin commerce, and through additional modalities, providing other mobility services, like scooters or bikes and cooperations with public transportation systems.
Simoudis argues that the key to sustainable and profitable mobility services will be the reduction of costs through increasing density of demand (pooling), automation, agile vehicle fleets (consisting of various types of smaller fleets), and full-time employee drivers that would allow for a stable supply of the service.
Mercedes announced an e-scooter
Mercedes-Benz quietly debuted its first e-scooter at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The announcement about the first scooter was buried among other products the company launched last week, including over-the-ear headphones and a toy versions of EQC SUV. Mercedes says the new e-scooter will belong to its EQ brand and was developed in cooperation with micro. The scooter will come co-branded with micro, Mercedes star, and EQ logo. The new vehicle will be launched on the market in early 2020.
No additional details are known – no info on the range, speed, battery life. According to the company spokesperson, the new scooter will be sold directly to customers.
Lime shuts down car sharing service
Micromobility company Lime, known for its kick-scooters and bike-sharing, will be shutting down its car sharing service LimePod. The short term car rental service was launched in Seatle in November of the last year. The company will slowly remove its cars from the city and entirely shut down the operation by the end of the year. According to Lime data, 18,000 people took 200,000 trips in LimePod vehicles within the year.
The reasons for not extending the carsharing pilot program were not given. In the statement about the shutdown, the company said it is committed to electric mobility and it was not able to find the right partner for its LimePod electric fleet.