Dezember 20, 2018

Electric vehicles will soon take a leading role in the last mile mobility arena.

By the end of 2018, one can already talk about a "E-Scooter Hype" with new start-ups hustling into the free-floating e-mobility market every week, often founded with millions in the two-digit area. 

Until 2020, about 85 % of all share vehicles will be electric.

Why do we believe in station based when everyone is going free-floating?

Simply because free-floating concepts with simple bicycles already proved economically difficult to scale. Issues with vandalism, maintenance, public perception, weather and governmental agencies caused huge damages to the industry and operating free-floating bicycles became a nightmare for many operators. 

Going electric without rethinking the concept just worsifies the issues:

In addition to the issues above, electric mobility is challenged by additional problems:

  • Electric scooters need to be charged every 20-30 miles
  • Initial purchase price per vehicle is about 4 times higher than for a share bicycle
  • E-scooters are subject to legal limitations like age limit, driving licence and helmet requirements.
  • E-Scooter regulations differ country by country, making standardisation and relocation difficult (In Germany, e-scooter are entirely illegal on public roads.
  • E-scooters need more maintenance and service and they usually need to be replaced every 3 months

Just like with electric cars, electric micro vehicles need a viable charging and service  infrastructure to work in a rental environment. Using untrained personal as "chargers" is not a scalable solution and raises questions about liability in case of burning batteries.

Why do we use electric micro folding bikes when everyone uses scooters?

EPAC (Electric Pedal Assist Bicycles) are designed following a worldwide valid set of regulations, allowing them to be legally ridden as a bicycle in every country of the world:

  • EPACs can be ridden on bikelanes
  • No minimum age
  • No licence required
  • No helmet required in most countries
  • Legal on bike lanes
  • Up to 25 kph assist speed
  • 70-80 km of range as opposed to 20-30 km of a e-scooter

So we simply decided to design a unique, super light yet stable folding electric bike that is as compact and light as a e-scooter but enjoys all the benefits of a legal electric bicycle.

And because it is foldable, our Why.Taxi e-bike can be taken with you for free on most public transportation services.

But how about service coverage?

In theory, dumping millions of free-floating vehicles to the streets may on first glance offer enough coverage so that everyone would find a vehicle nearby when needed.

In reality, there are many limitations to that assumption:

  • Vehicles have a tendency to cluster-up at high traffic places (subway station entrances for example), creating overavailability on some places and leaving other areas uncovered.
  • Poorly parked vehicles create "dead assets" and need to be relocated
  • Cities start limiting the amount of vehicles, often below critical mass for a true free-floating coverage
  • Free floating requires large asset overcapacities, which may work with cheap bicycles, but is not viable for expensive electric vehicles.

Why-Taxi is designed to be profitable 

Our station based system is highly optimised in terms of locations, type of users and trips quality. Besides, our stations offer valuable route infos and infotainment on LCD screens, allowing us to make revenues even in bad weather conditions.