Ready to ride electric scooters again? Here’s why they’re bigger and more expensive.
Electric scooters are on the rise.
As the next generation of commendable electric scooters roll out, operators are building in-house designed vehicles instead of putting logos on pre-made Xiaomi scooters. These new designs are inspired by years of vandalism, aggressive driving, rough city life and elusive profits.
That’s why, on Wednesday, Ford-owned Spin became the latest operator to unveil its next-generation electric scooter, the S-100T, which features a massive foot brake. It will first be deployed in Sacramento, Calif., In the coming weeks before other U.S. markets later this year.
At an unveiling event in San Francisco last week, the S-100T was available for testing in the neighborhood. Immediately noticeable was the width and the imposing shape. It didn’t look like something you could break in half. Spin executives have stated that the T stands for ‘hard’.
There is hardly any wiring or protruding parts that people can play with, and the long rectangular neck is sturdy and thick. Spin said the towering device had undergone rigorous testing and was essentially beaten to mimic life on the streets.
The bloating trend has occurred throughout the scooter industry. Lime’s newest scooter, the Gen4, is also wider and thicker for a more stable ride, and Bird’s newest scooter is more square than its original slim design. These scooters have to last.
Maxime Veron, vice president of products at Spin, pointed out that the more durable scooter “lasts twice as long” as the older versions which had a lifespan of around a year. It’s “better for business,” he noted. With easier-to-replace parts, an exchangeable battery, and 36-mile range, it doesn’t cost Spin that much to rent every scooter. Longer battery life means less maintenance for recharging or swapping.
Lime had its first profitable quarter at the end of 2020. It then unveiled its most imposing scooter to date, designed to last more than two years on the streets of the city. It was first available in Paris.
As scooter software company Superpedestrian reported years ago, electric scooters have to be able to withstand a lot to make economic sense. Otherwise, operators are just spending money to constantly repair or replace new devices.
It’s a big scooter.
the New York TimesKevin Roose outlined Bird’s new pricing and design strategy based on a recent investor presentation:
Losses from the pandemic, coupled with the pressure to make a profit, forced Bird to cut corners. It has increased its prices – a Bird now costs as much as $ 1 plus 42 cents a minute in some cities – built more sustainable scooters and revamped its fleet management system.
Bird was losing $ 9.66 for every $ 10 he earned on rides, as Roose reported. Now, more durable and resilient models, coupled with higher per-minute charges, keep Bird more than $ 10. As the NYT reported, Bird was making $ 1.43 for every $ 10 ride by the end of 2020 instead of just 34 cents.
Spin’s technical director Benny Wong said the new, bigger scooters won’t cost more than the older scooters in the fleet, and post-pandemic prices won’t go up like the Uber and Lyft rides.
“We know it’s difficult for people right now,” he said. But, he quickly continued, “we have to do what’s right for the business.”
Bigger is always better. Right?