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Car manufacturers are definitely jumping on the new mobility bandwagon.
If when Uber began to operate its own scooters and shared electric bicycles there was fear that it could walk towards cannibalization, that is, eat part of its own business, it seems that now the big brands of the automotive industry have left that fear behind. What there is no doubt about is that they are starting to bet on new modes of transportation.
“It’s a bit of a complementary business. We have a customer that is much younger than the rest of the brands. If in recent years you analyze the trends of what is happening with young people, on the one hand, there is a delay in the age to get a driver’s license, and the economic crisis has made it increasingly difficult for young people to access this type of vehicle,” explains Nuria Domínguez, director of Open Innovation and Strategic Alliances at Seat, in a conversation with Business Insider España.
“So it’s about offering a portfolio of vehicles that is complementary, that allows you to reach people who otherwise would not. Our motto would be accessibility to urban mobility and to young people,” he says, an idea with which they also seek to “promote multimodal mobility in all cities”. Domínguez explained the company’s position when asked about Seat’s initiative to launch electric scooters and motorcycles on the market for private consumption.
The Spanish automaker will sell its scooters in 7 European markets during the first half of 2021, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Sweden, Greece, and Spain. It is a motorcycle, the Seat MÓ eScooter 125, 100% electric and has a removable battery, which is manufactured by the Catalan firm Silence and costs about 6,300 euros. At the same time, it will also expand the distribution of its electric scooters for private use (which now cost 800 and 450 euros, depending on the model).
The shared scooter business is also attracting car manufacturers.
“In the more forward-looking scenario yes we would like to have sharing scooters, in fact, our scooters are already robust for that type of use. But we want to do it with conditions, in a very orderly way, with a design together with the cities”, explains Domínguez. Seat does not plan to ride the sharing wave for now, at least in the short term, but it is among the projects of its rival Ford.
The U.S. manufacturer announced this month that its Spin scooters will start operating with the Tortoise company’s software in different U.S. and European cities this year. It is a vehicle that has given rise to talk because with them Spin is going to test a technology that allows parking and redistribute the scooters by remote control, miles away.
These 6 young Spaniards have left the European scooter giant Voi to create their own electric scooter startup that in its first months has already raised 900,000 euros.
Ford’s shared scooters do not yet operate and have not yet operated in any Spanish city, but they were presented to the Seville contest, which Voi and Reby won. Likewise, in September the brand communicated that it was establishing in the city of Seville its center of reference in southern Europe from which it wanted to become carbon negative by 2025.
“A critical aspect of achieving our carbon emissions reduction target is to accelerate a modal shift. Spin looks forward to continuing to work with cities to create streets better designed for alternative mobility to cars,” Kay Cheng, Spin’s Director of Policy Initiatives, stated at the time, in the same vein as Seat.
“Spin has always been committed to working side-by-side with cities and campuses to implement micromobility solutions in a responsible, safe and sustainable manner,” added Brett Wheatley, director of Mobility Business and Mobility Partnerships at Ford, insisting that the brand is “a core element of Ford’s mobility business” and that its goal is to “further demonstrate the importance of micromobility in achieving a sustainable transportation ecosystem.”
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