Standing electric scooters have arrived in the first European cities.
European roads may be getting a makeover in the coming months. Standing electric scooters that have enjoyed wide adoption in the US this past year have now arrived in the first European cities. The two big contenders, Bird and Lime, US-based startups backed by major venture capitalists, have serious expansion plans.
“Paris is our first big-scale deployment in Europe, we have big ambitions in Europe,” said Lime France director Arthur-Louis Jacquier, also announcing plans to launch in 26 European cities this year.
The market for electric personal transportation alternatives in Europe is ripe. Sales of electric mopeds have soared, seeing 51% growth in sales over the past year in Europe, while their gas-powered counterparts have seen a drop.
Bird and Lime are hoping to add yet another alternative with their dock-free scooters. Europe is a market that has jumped on e-bike and electric moped sharing apps. According to the Innovation Centre for Mobility and Societal Change, although scooter sharing originated in San Francisco, today Berlin and Paris alone represent 41% of all global electric scooters in the sharing market. No big surprise then that both Bird and Lime chose Paris as the first European city to roll out their first fleets.
Expanding sustainable mobility options in big cities is a priority for many governments to improve transportation and help achieve climate goals. Officials have long dealt with problems of congestion and resulting pollution in major European cities and these startups hope not only citizens and tourists, but also municipalities will welcome them as a solution. While the scooters may address existing problems, they will also present many questions around regulation, as they have in cities where Lime and Bird have boomed, such as San Francisco and Santa Monica.
Electric mobility has wide support from the EU, who invested EUR 41.8 million in the Green eMotion initiative which set the foundation for wide deployment of electromobility across Europe. As the EU is working to achieve its energy agenda, an increasing proportion of its energy mix is coming from renewables, doubling renewable energy production since 2004. This makes electric mobility a clean and reliable solution and, be it private, public or shared, a huge sustainability win.