The Rise of Moped Sharing
Moped sharing services are typically easier to start-up, and cities with limited parking and congestion issues can benefit from hosting an electric scooter sharing service. This is a proven model in Europe, and is growing in North America as well.
Here’s a thought for you – moped sharing has been around since 2012, but it was only in the last two years where a wave of moped sharing services emerged1. There are now over 8,000 moped scooters on the road globally1, with over 4,000 running on the INVERS Shared Mobility OS. The number of shared mopeds are going to increase as this way of getting around becomes more widely adopted and operators begin expanding to both competitive and untapped markets.
Mopeds are an enticing option in the shared mobility world; they’re compact, two-wheeled and easy to use. These characteristics make mopeds attractive because they address numerous concerns:
Minimizes Carbon Footprint
Globally, 95% of shared mopeds are electric1. This is a huge advantage over carsharing services that mainly manage a fleet of combustion-run vehicles. Given mopeds’ compact size and speed suitable for intra-city trips, electric mopeds make sense. The typical operational obstacles of running an all-electric fleet are minimal with moped sharing – trips on a moped are typically shorter in duration and length than a vehicle, so there is less worry about the moped running out of power. The battery packs are also smaller, making it faster to charge and easier to swap out. As a result, operators are less reliant on the city’s charging infrastructure, or lack thereof.
In addition, we are currently experiencing an electric revolution. The dependence on non-renewable resources such as oil is decreasing, and electricity-run transportation options are steadily emerging. While we are a few years away from widespread adoption of electric vehicles, moped sharing services let users get around while minimizing their carbon footprint. Being green is fun, especially when you’re on a moped.
As with other shared mobility options like carsharing, moped sharing contributes to congestion reduction efforts. Having access to a moped encourages multi-modal trips, less reliance on a personal vehicle, and greater awareness on an individual’s contribution to congestion. Being part of a moped sharing service gives individuals the opportunity to weigh the cost and benefit of various transportation alternatives and determine which option meets their trip needs the best.
Ease of Parking
Compared to a standard motor vehicle, moped take up a fraction of the space. This makes them a great option in places where parking is limited or expensive. In fact, only 5% of moped shares are station-based and require on-street parking1. The other moped shares are free floating, meaning the mopeds can be parked almost anywhere, as long as it is not obtrusive to vehicles or pedestrians. The free floating concept provides another level of convenience for moped sharing users who now have the flexibility of being closer to their first and last mile destination.
Without the need to negotiate parking with city officials, free floating moped sharing services remove one of the biggest barriers to entering a new market. The headaches that come with securing designated parking spaces are avoided, making it a win in terms of lower startup costs and no recurring fees or tickets to worry about. Nonetheless, as a new business entering the city, we recommend that new operators discuss any new sharing scheme with city officials.
Mopeds are less costly to obtain, making the upfront cost more affordable and a less risky business endeavor. One important startup cost to keep in mind, though, is the team and technology behind the operations. If the team is knowledgeable and the technology easy to install, a moped sharing operation becomes much more viable. Bonus: if the technology is installed at the supplier level, getting ready for launch becomes even easier.
The ongoing costs of running a moped share is assessable: the maintenance, part replacement, and depreciation of the asset is low, making owning a large fleet of scooters manageable. In addition, the pricing structure members pay in a moped sharing service is similar to the rates of a carsharing, meaning operators will enjoy a healthier profit margin.
Given these characteristics of moped sharing services, it isn’t surprising they have thrived in cities that have already adopted carsharing services as well. Over 40% of the moped scooters on the road can be found in Berlin and Paris1. In these cities, one-way carsharing has been around since 2011 and continues to maintain steady usage2,3. What makes these sharing schemes successful is likely similar between the two services and two cities – the city is dense, public transportation is accessible, and owning a vehicle is not preferred.
Nonetheless, we’ve seen moped sharing thrive outside of Europe as well, with a growing presence in USA, Mexico, and Taiwan1. If we compare moped sharing and carsharing again, Europe led the growth of carsharing services years before it entered North America. Countries like Germany and France are great places to test out different business models, pricing schemes, and other aspects of a shared mobility service. As mentioned before, the density and multi-modal focus are great testing grounds to identify how shared mobility can serve other markets as well.
Now that moped sharing is beginning to mature in certain markets, it is time for other cities to embrace this new form of shared mobility as well. In Southern Europe, private moped use is commonplace, making it attractive as an untapped market, as people are already accepting of mopeds and know how to use them. The obstacle to overcome here would be similar to bringing carsharing to a car-dependent city: how to convince people of the benefits of sharing over owning.
Meanwhile, moped sharing in Asia may seem like a faraway dream, but the sharing economy continues to grow in those markets. From competitive bike sharing schemes to the birth of megacities in China, there is potential for moped sharing to thrive, especially for the benefit of congestion reduction. Even though people consider mopeds an asset to own and not share, there are numerous benefits to both cities and individuals to consider moped sharing.
In North America, cities are not as dense compared to Europe and Asia, and as a result there are less cities with carshares. However, density may not need to be as important a factor given the lower start-up costs enjoyed with a moped sharing operation. There will always be skeptics on whether or not moped sharing will work, but if carsharing is any indication, there is great potential with this two-wheeled form of shared mobility.
Moped Sharing in Action
With that said, there will still be risks to launching a moped sharing service in a new, untapped market. The risk is somewhat minimized from the more affordable cost of mopeds, but there are other concerns to consider as well.
There are one- and two-person mopeds available in the market, both of which can be found in existing moped sharing services. Those who have implemented two-person mopeds found more trips than expected with two people riding the moped. This surprised some operators who had originally only equipped the moped with one helmet! Soon-to-be operators therefore need to understand their market and determine what the demand for shared rides would be.
Mopeds are also open air, making the passenger vulnerable to Mother Nature. As a result, moped sharing is a slightly seasonal business, with peak utilization happening in the warmer months1. However, this does not mean that moped sharing only works in places closer to the Southern Hemisphere.
Taking Germany as an example, they experience mild winters but also have around 30% of the shared mopeds in their market1. Emmy, the largest player in Germany, still runs its operation during the winter and only closes when the streets are covered in snow, when it is unsafe for their members to travel on a moped.
When it gets colder people may also be less interested in going for lunch breaks across town, but taking a moped for the average 3 km is more attractive than walking. With the free floating concept, mopeds also have the potential of bringing individuals closer to their destination, as parking is easier to come by.
Ultimately, moped sharing is a growing part of the shared mobility pie. When evaluating potential transportation options, individuals look for cost-efficient, convenient options. Whether that trip is with one form of mobility or is multi-modal depends on where and when the trip takes place. Moped sharing has a strong use case for intra-urban mobility and quickly getting around the city. The adoption of moped sharing has begun to take off, and we’re looking forward to supporting the growth of this new shared mobility service.
If you would like to be a part of the growing world of shared mobility and launch the next moped sharing service, please contact us and we can help you launch your project!
- Innoz – Global Scootersharing Market Report 2017
- Innoz – Carsharing services with flexible, non-stationary offers are still growing
- Bloomberg CityLab – Paris Launches One-Way Car-Sharing