Over the past decade, the world has seen many of its most populated urban areas adopt bike-sharing programs. For people living in dense urban environments, bicycles offer people a means of escaping the traffic, parking, high cost of car storage (in cities like New York), and also reduces one’s carbon footprint.
If you’ve ever spent ten minutes driving through an American coastal city at rush hour, then you fully understand why someone would give up the “luxury” of an automobile for something more flexible, like a bicycle.
But while bike-sharing programs have been slowly spreading across the world’s cities, gaining popular reception, light electric vehicle technologies have been quietly evolving. While bicycles are great for small town and urban commuting, e-bikes and electric scooters are better. Not only do they move faster, but they require little physical contribution from the rider. No one wants to poo poo exercise here, but when you’re commuting to work the last thing you want is to arrive soaked in sweat and in need of a shower. An e-bike or electric scooter possesses all of the traffic-avoidance benefits of a bicycle while cutting out the sweat and effort – getting you from point A to point B in half the time!
It’s no wonder we now see electric scooter programs popping up around the globe. Let’s take a look at some of the cities moving forward with electric scooter share programs.
Cities with Electric Scooter Shares
In the Dutch city of Amsterdam, a new startup named Felyx intends to bring a fleet of electric scooter rentals to the city, which can be reserved via smartphone at a cost of 30 cents per minute to drive.
The company has cited Car2Go and other car-sharing services as inspiration for their venture, claiming electric scooters have the added benefit of not requiring a parking spot.
While this is exciting news, Amsterdam is also currently considering banning mopeds from cycle lanes entirely, which would put a damper on Felyx’s plans.
Taiwanese electric scooter share company, Gogoro, plans to expand to Berlin in 2017. Gogoro will work in partnership with Coup, a subsidiary of electronics company Bosch.
The Gogoro Berlin program will initially roll out in four neighborhoods, where riders can rent an electric scooter via mobile phone for low cost. The Gogoro scooter, while capable of 60 mph speeds, will be limited to 28 mph within Berlin city limits.
The Gogoro scooter will also have a digital dashboard and mobile application for sound and light control.
This will be Gogoro’s first expansion outside their origin city of Taiwan.
Japan recently completed an experimental rollout of an electric scooter share program in Okinawa. LoopShare Ltd. is a Vancouver-based subsidiary of Saturna Green Systems, and received subsidies from the Japanese government agency, JETRO.
The rollout proved a success. The mobile application and other aspects of the services exceeded expectations.
The government of Japan has plans to expand services to other parts of Japan in the future.
Paris recently rolled out the largest electric scooter share program in the world, including 1000 scooters. Private company, Cityscoot, drives the program. They had previously completed a successful pilot program of 50 electric scooters in the city.
Paris is especially poised to embrace alternative ride-sharing programs as they deal with some of the worst pollution in the world. Their pollution crisis is due in part to the preference for diesel-fueled automobiles in the country.
The share program will operate under a pay per use model. They plan to expand to other parts of France in the future.
Rome and Milan
Italian company, Piaggio, has successfully rolled out their MP3 three-wheeled electric scooter share program in both Milan and France.
The first fleet of 150 scooters was put in Milan and the second fleet of 300 was then unveiled in Rome.
The electric scooters have a max speed of 56 mph and range of 20 miles. They cost .39 cents per minute for the first 31 miles.
They also feature GPS and front/rear cameras in case of accident. A mobile app is available for locating and reserving the electric scooters.
In Vancouver, electric scooter company Saturna Green Systems has successfully rolled out a share program.
The company’s goal is to transform Vancouver into a scooter culture, similar to Italian metro areas.
The scooters have a top speed of 45 mph and come with helmets and sanitary headwear.
You can opt into the share program by paying a monthly fee. A mobile app allows you to locate and reserve the scooters.
Last city on our list is the liberal mecca of San Francisco. The San Fran company Scoot opened its doors in 2011 and has been providing the city with a shared electric scooter program ever since.
The city is notoriously difficult to get around. Not only is it super hilly, making walking difficult, but it also has less than satisfactory public transit system.
Since 2011, Scoot has added some 700 electric scooters to its fleet, available via mobile app all around the city.
The scooters can reach speeds of 25 mph and have a range of 20-25 miles.