The Swedish electric scooter landlord Voi has completed another round of financing. Just last November, the company raised 44 million euros. This time, 26 million euros will go to the account of the mobility startup. Lead investors are the Berlin VC Project A and Creandum. The old investors, including Balderton Capital, are also involved in the round. It is still unclear with what number of vehicles and in which cities Voi will start.
Voi concludes the financing only a few days after the finalization of the Electric Vehicle Regulation (EKF) by the Federal Ministry of Transport. The paper is now available for approval from the European Commission, which has three months to do so. The Federal Council will then decide so that the regulation could enter into force in May.
Even twelve-year-olds are allowed to ride the scooters
As reported, the ministry has revised the regulation: The originally planned license requirement was canceled, the walkway ban partially lifted. What is new is that there should be two classes of electric scooters: Vehicles with a top speed of twelve kilometers per hour (km / h) are allowed for drivers over the age of twelve and are allowed to drive on sidewalks. Scooters with 20 km / h top speed for drivers over 14 years must use bike paths, and if they are not, roads.
The compulsory insurance was maintained. A helmet obligation should not exist. “Micromobility – such as e-scooters and hoverboards – has enormous future potential,” said Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU), who likes to show off the new means of transport in the corridors of his ministry.
The regulation finds a mixed echo in the scene of mobility startups, as the look in social networks shows. It is generally accepted positively. Nevertheless, some ask themselves the question of whether it required a 50-page document, which defines the size of the license plate even with millimeter precision in German thoroughness. “In other countries, this was easier regulated,” says Voi, but also acknowledges that such a regulation “no wish concert” was.
Accident reports from the USA
From the US, where scooter riders have been conquering the roads for a year now, there is an accumulation of major accidents involving fractures, and over improperly parked scooters blocking sidewalks because the rental companies are insufficiently caring for their fleets. San Francisco therefore resorted to drastic steps and deprived companies of operating licenses for three months.
At least at Voi such problems have not yet occurred, which may be due to the good infrastructure for two-wheelers in the home market Sweden: Accidents and insurance claims are there so far unknown, says Claus Unterkircher, who is responsible for the German business of Voi.
Dialogue with authorities
The danger of vandalism has arrived, at least for some industry representatives, who warn their customers about the careful use of the new means of transport. For example, Voi agrees to conciliatory tones, admonishes customers to considerate and signals willingness to cooperate towards the municipalities.
Fredrik Hjelm, CEO of Voi, states in a communication “Dialogue, Transparency and Sustainability” as maxims of his entrepreneurial actions. Voi wants to save himself the trouble that Chinese bike rental companies have acquired worldwide in the past year.
Bikesharing provider: Open deposits, insolvency administrator orders – Obike in crisis In Munich, the rental bikes had caused trouble. Now, two bankruptcy trustees for Obike have been appointed at the Singapore office. The startup is silent.
The new vehicles provoke a distribution struggle for tight public space. The Fußgängerschutzverein foot warns of the risk of accidents due to the silent scooters on sidewalks.
The assembled in the ADFC cycling lobby, however, polemises about on Twitter, because they would like the bike paths would like to be alone. The barely controllable subdivision of vehicles in two tempo classes is likely to be the biggest weakness of the EKF – especially since you can delete the preset tempo limit with a double-click, as “computer image” showed.
Controversial business model
Apart from all these regulatory issues, it remains to be seen whether the rental companies’ business model will pay off. The vehicles used today by sharing services were not designed for professional operation, according to the industry. Rental companies expect a maximum shelf life of three months. A data analysis known at the weekend speaks of only 28.8 days to scrap maturity.
It would be difficult, in this short time the purchase price (a scooter Ninebot ES2 costs 619 euros in the online shop), service and maintenance and ideally a profit for the landlord to retract. Recently, even a manager of Ninebot manufacturer Segway had expressed doubts about the business model.
Voi believes rental scooters are more sustainable than private scooters because of their frequent use – and even more so as cars. However, the startup is developing a more robust model, which is more expensive to purchase, but also keeps longer.
The average driving distance is two kilometers
Acceptance is increasing and the average distance has risen to two to three kilometers, says Germany boss Claus Unterkircher. In Scandinavia, where the startup is at home, you can see more and more suits standing on the scooters.
Voi takes on a rental one euro entry fee and then 15 cents per minute and is thus very different from the competition. That sounds a little at first, but adds up quickly to a cost factor. Anyone who covers the “last mile” with a scooter on every working day in this context will quickly lose 50 euros per month. This is hardly less than a monthly ticket at the Berlin BVG (64 euros in subscription) costs.
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Startup Voi rejects takeover
Investors are sensing big business when electric scooters flood the German market this spring. They’re pumping millions into European startups, of which the successful ones have good chances of being bought or merged among billion dollar US industry giants.
Talks have also been made with Voi, as CEO Fredrik Hjelm confirmed. “However, given our current momentum and market leadership, we are determined to expand as an independent operator,” Hjelm replies on request. “We have ambitious plans to bring our service to the cities of Europe this year.”