We get it, running a shared micromobility business has a ton of moving parts, especially pre-launch. But we can help as we did multiple times with our partners all around the world! We’ve compiled our ten years of industry expertise and distilled it into a complete guide. We’ll talk you through the chronological steps leading up to launching your own e-bike sharing or e-moped sharing service or your free-floating business in Mobility-as-a-Service (Maas) fashion.
While it’s true outsourcing your software to a strategic partner like ElectricFeel can help you get fully operational in under three weeks, we like to recommend you aim for 12 weeks. This is the optimal time for fine-tuning your plan and ensuring your team, and vehicles, are ready for success. Below, we offer, both, guidance on strategic direction and tactical tips on everything from forecasting to operations. So, what are you waiting for? The clock’s ticking…
While this is a self-explanatory first step for any entrepreneur, there are 3 industry-specific directions we’d like to shed light on to help you save time. When defining your company’s mission, and what you hope to accomplish with your shared mobility service, ask yourself these questions:
This will not only help you define your proverbial “why”, but add clarity as you move through the strategy and planning phase. You can make better decisions, and rally your team around a unified vision, when you know what problem you’re solving and for whom. To explore which of the above directions is most relevant for your city, consider the competition:
Establish your custom segment and let it inform how you execute each of the following steps. Differentiate yourself from the other mobility as a service companies.
During the planning phase, it is important to get informed about the regulations that are in place and what impact it will have on your business strategy and operations. Because of the large influx of actors in recent years, many cities are creating more barriers to entry. These can often be unclear and fast-changing.
One of the most contested topics right now is where shared mobility vehicles should be parked when they’re not in use. As you explore which direction you want to take, consider:
This is why building a strong relationship with the city is critical to your success. While, at the very least, you should understand the legal requirements, we’d encourage you to consider partnering with your city for data-sharing, transparency around space usage, and how to enforce safety measures.
The vehicles you choose should be determined by the business strategy you’ve defined. Is your target rider a commuter who lives on the outskirts of town and travels the same route each day? Or is it an urbanite who goes short distances, multiple times a day? These travel patterns impact which fleet vehicle is best for you and your shared micromobility service. Consider some of the pros and cons of each vehicle in the context of a shared mobility service, e-moped vs e-bikes:
Now that you have an idea of their strengths, what is the vehicle criteria you want to consider?
Tactical tip: While e-mopeds tend to compete with trips between 4km and 6km, e-bikes are perfect for rides between 1.5km and 3km, and kick scooters for up to 1.5km. Consider that against their battery lifetimes: e-mopeds should be able to travel at least 50km on a single battery and some e-bike models can get up to 100km.
So you’ve established who your rider is and which vehicle would best suit their needs. So which parking method makes the most sense? There are 2 main models to fleet management: free-floating or hubs. While your city may already have regulations in place that you’ll need to abide by, there are other factors at play here. Both models have their own benefits. Which factors would best suit your custom segment?
Last but not least, don’t forget to factor in the mandatory accessories: batteries, IoT, and top cases and helmets.
We understand there’s pressure to get your pricing right given its impact on, both, your profitability and rider experience. Here are some specific suggestions on how you can tackle your shared mobility pricing.
First, get an understanding of the current landscape by pricing out existing mobility options. A recommended sweet spot is pricing lower than what customers would pay for taxi or ride-sharing, but higher than what they would pay for public transportation. Then, you can simulate some frequent routes and compare how much it would cost for your targeted customers.
Don’t forget to take into account your vehicle size and how many passengers it can transport. This can help you decide which pricing strategy to go with:
After a successful launch, you can start to understand common usage patterns and begin to introduce tools like subscriptions, promotions, and other offers to increase rider engagement and boost your revenue.
When you embark on creating a shared mobility solution, one of the most critical decisions you need to make is how you will set up your Operating System (OS). A good OS can define the success or failure of your service. So which is best: an in-house team or a partner solution?
The 2 main factors you’ll want to consider are time to launch and cost. But how do these options compare?
The main reasons people go this route is for the ability to customize every single aspect of the system and for the opportunity to build additional services in future.
The main deterrent for outsourcing used to be the need for multiple tools, however, this is no longer the case with the emergence of several all-in-one providers in recent years.
If you choose to go with a software partner for your shared micromobility business, here are the criteria we suggest you review in detail:
Tactical tip: While software is the linchpin for the efficiency of your operation and a critical part of your customer experience, surrounding yourself with knowledgeable partners ensures you’re making the right strategic moves—the first time. Some all-in-one solutions, like ElectricFeel, can use their industry expertise and network to steer you toward the best hardware and vehicle suppliers too.
Once you’ve identified your business focus, it’s time to determine how best to serve those needs geographically. Will you choose to serve the metropolitan center or include the outskirts too? Centralizing your e-bike and e-moped sharing service in the city center typically results in higher fleet utilization because of the population density—key to amortizing assets and building a healthy business case.
But there are plenty of reasons for expanding your service to periphery zones, like:
As you compare and contrast your options, don’t forget to consider the vehicle availability for your riders, how you can improve their user experience, and the opportunity to boost recurring usage for your bottom line.
A well-managed operation will be a core pillar of your business success. And that operation should comprise 3 main parts: in-field operations, facility operations, and strategic operations. Each of these will require a well-trained and well-structured team. So what are their main functions and size?
Field operators spend time in the field, swapping batteries, performing preventative maintenance, bringing vehicles and batteries into the warehouse for repairs and charging.
This team covers all fleet operations activities that happen within your facilities including two core activities: battery charging and fleet repair and maintenance.
The strategic operations of your business will identify levers that will support your long term growth and profitability across day-to-day, medium term, and long term operations.
We share more insights on how to accelerate revenue and profitability of shared micromobility business in our guide.
Your in-field operations team, if empowered, will increase the availability, quality, and efficiency of your fleet, while improving the experience for riders. Running a reliable system depends on their day-to-day duties including:
While these are the mandatory responsibilities of an in-field operator, we’ve found that building out sustainable and efficient processes will impact your profitability, drastically.
Tactical tip: We recommend you go a step further and train your field team to execute light maintenance during their battery swapping shifts, like checking brakes, tires, top case, lights, and helmets. This extends the life of your vehicles (and thus your investments), mitigates the burden on your maintenance team, and improves availability for your riders.
In a perfect world, things wouldn’t break. They would work with little involvement. While ideal, that’s not reality. It’s vital you have a maintenance facility and fleet of service vehicles up and running before there’s a problem. Their main goal? To maximize productivity while keeping incidents to a minimum. But this requires a well-designed and equipped space, defined workflows, and a skilled team.
What criteria should you plan for in building out your maintenance facility?
Tactical tip: Ahead of entering a market, you can forecast the number of service vehicles you’ll need. For example, we can use industry averages to formulate the following scenario for an example city: Average ride distance of the e-moped ride (example: 5 kilometers), multiplied by average number of rides per e-moped per day (example: 6), divided by the range of the e-moped based on its battery capacity (example: 80 km). With these assumptions, the operator can expect around 75 daily battery swaps for a fleet of 200 e-mopeds.
Once you’ve received your inventory of fleet vehicles to your maintenance facility, first checks should be underway. Have the in-field and facility team do dry runs to practice your processes and triage opportunities for better efficiency. Here are some questions to ask yourselves:
Maybe your team is highly specialized in one area, but can use some additional support in another. Identify these areas before you begin to scale your service.
Part of why “practicing in public” can be such a valuable tool at this stage is because of the pre-launch promotion your branded vehicles creates. You can stir up a buzz just with the presence of your fleet and service vehicles on the city streets. Don’t miss out on the free PR by practicing incognito.
Your last month leading up to launch is really a continuation—and solidification—of all the decisions and processes you’ve already put into place. This is your opportunity to soft launch and “kick the tires,” as they say. Ideally, you should already be moving from theory and planning to action. Here, you can start to collect early data, and learnings, that your team can triage and begin to implement fixes in time for your hard launch. This is your opportunity to see what your operation actually looks like in practice—make the most of it!
Tactical tip: This is also where a strong software partner can make all the difference. In-built optimization features in your OS can help flag operational inefficiencies or leverage innovative AI to suggest points of improvement.
For example, if you have an operational area that is being underutilized. Your software should signal this discrepancy in your fleet performance. This allows you to react with a rider communications campaign or pricing incentive to improve rider engagement.
Have you found this launch summary useful? Want an even deeper look at the criteria you should be using in your decision-making? Everything from defining your areas of operation to choosing your software and the specifics of setting up your service facility are covered in the in-depth version of this guide you can download here; it even includes your own launch checklist!
Or get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss where you need support.