In 2018, the introduction of dockless electric riding scooters easily infatuated the public with its portability and eco-friendly features. It paved the way for a newer alternative for transportation aimed at reducing traffic congestion. By 2020, expect an increase of emerging innovations that will revolutionize the micro mobility industry.
After its short-lived popularity, the micro mobility industry entered a phase of survival as issues regarding the safety of riders and pedestrians became a hot topic for debate. Questions focusing on whether the benefits outweigh the risks contributed to the current standstill of the micro mobility industry.
Companies are always finding ways to maintain a sustainable and profitable business. To survive in the highly competitive world of business, the micro mobility industry is in constant search of newer advancements that will revamp electric riding scooters and bring back its popularity. As the year continues, expect 2020 to be full of shakeouts as new businesses continue to emerge. Here are four predictions for the year ahead in dockless electric scooters:
Businesses will be Filtered
Mobilizing motorized two-wheeled alternatives into city streets require investing a huge sum of money. Since 2018, investment in electric bikes and e-scooters exceeded $6 billion. Bird, a reliable electric scooter rental service, only raked in about $15 million, as opposed to an expenditure of nearly $100 million. On the other hand, its rival company, Lime reported losses amounting up to $300 million.
With no profitable margin, companies shed out several employees to compensate for their losses. Over the course of 2019, Bird laid off approximately 60 employees from its establishment. Lyft had to force its shut down of their scooter operations in six U.S. cities and snipped off 20 employees. Lime was no exception as 100 employees lost their jobs with the termination of scooter services in 12 cities.
For a chance to grow market shares, a merger between two companies is inevitable. Such that in June 2020, Bird’s acquisition of Scoot is seen as a strategic decision for the potential growth of the business. If manufacturers continue to make electric scooters with no definite promise of better features than their previous versions, several businesses will face rejection.
City Regulations: A Win or Lose Situation
In 2018, electric riding scooters instantly became a craze as thousands of people swept stores in rush to acquire the newly introduced gadget. Several companies like Lime, Skip, Spin, Lyft, and Uber jumped on the bandwagon and enabled rentable electric scooters for the public. They were in hopes that these battery-boosted scooters will replace car trips and be more of convenience to city-dwellers.
As with every newly launched product, electric scooters also faced public backlash. With no allotted parking lots, electric scooters were dumped into sidewalks and pavements blocking pedestrians and wheelchair users. Riders who had no interest in adhering to safety rules and regulations wore neither helmets nor protective gears.
Even when just traveling around your local vicinity, it is still important to gear up safely. Recently, several countries banned the use of motorized scooters while some promulgated rules and regulations regarding its use.
Mixed opinions surrounded electric scooters as residents were either infatuation or infuriated mode with the new technological innovation. Electric scooters emerged as sidewalk bullies on cluttered and blocked pavements. This meant that 2019 was the year of city regulations, permitting schemes, and outright prohibitions. Local authorities utilized various strategies to regulate the use of electric scooters and at the same time, ensure safety to both riders and pedestrians.
In the U.S., for example, electric scooters are allowed on roads so long as they do not exceed the 25-mph speed limit. Also, a scooter will not require a registration or license if it has a top speed of less than 20mph and motor power below 750W. But in some European Countries, e-scooters are currently illegal for use on public roads.
Newer innovations will appear
Electric scooters were at its peak in the year 2018. They were an affordable solution for traffic reduction and ease of access in busy streets. Unfortunately, it became an overnight fad as more controversies surrounded the newly released product. While they offer a solution for traffic reduction, a range of questions emerged about their safety and self-sufficiency.
The integration of technological advances enabled manufacturers to redesign zero-emission motors for electric scooters. They made electric scooters available in varying sizes designed to fit the owner. There are available lightweight scooters with foldability and flexibility features that get the scooter to a very transportable and storable size.
Technological advancements drastically changed the transportation industry. Necessary modifications are done every day to better fit the needs of the consumers. Better features incorporated to augment functionality for its riders emerged. New transportation technologies are emerging to meet these challenges with the deployment of more robust electric mopeds, heavy-duty cargo bikes, and mini-cars. If this continues on, the humble little scooter may soon be forgotten.
Continuous Disputes Over Data-Sharing
A company will always strive to be better than its competitors. The owner will employ various strategic plans to make his business more profitable. Various disputes came into light such as privacy issues regarding data sharing. In some cities, Local authorities required companies like Jump and Uber to provide real-time data on all trips made within the city.
The companies refused to comply with the data-sharing rule implying that it becomes a form of government surveillance resulting in the breach of information gathered from their customers. Arguments continue to persist even among scooter companies and mapping apps and decisions have made a huge impact on shared-data between micromobility operators and cities.