The downward spiral of shared electric scooters in Europe

The downward spiral of shared electric scooters in Europe

From great popularity to cold doors, in just three years, the shared electric scooter has experienced ups and downs in Europe.

In 2018, overseas shared electric scooters began to rise, and many manufacturers followed the market wave and joined the shared electric scooter track, and the scale of the sharing market, mainly in Europe, grew rapidly.

Italy has also been rapidly swept by the wave of shared mobility, with 40,000 shared electric scooters on Italian streets by 2021, making it the second largest market for shared electric scooters in Europe. Explore the best electric scooters for beginners.

However, as the market expands and competition intensifies, the shortcomings of the industry are gradually exposed.

Bird Global, the once highly regarded leader in electric scooter sharing, filed for bankruptcy protection on December 20 last year because of financial difficulties due to lack of funds;

Frequent safety accidents have also made consumers skeptical about the safety of such products, and Paris has even banned electric scooter sharing directly.

There are still a number of sharing companies out there, but they are far from the bustling scene they once were, and recently Italy’s leading sharing company Bit Mobility announced that it would cut the number of shared e-scooters by half by the end of March.

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    Decrease in the number of people using e-scooters

    According to a recent report by Amat (Agency for Mobility, Environment and Territory), in January 2024, the number of people using scooters fell by 30.98%.

    In 2023 alone, indiscriminate parking of shared scooters and electric bikes in the Piedmont capital resulted in up to 1,140 fines and 2,847 sanctions.

    The downward spiral of shared electric scooters in Europe 1

    According to 2022 Aci-Istat data, Italy had 2,929 accidents involving e-scooters in one year alone, resulting in 16 deaths, reaching a 78% increase in 2021.

    Safety concerns have made consumers shun such products, with more users turning to e-bikes, and according to the data, the number of shared scooter users is growing (+27.05%).

    The decrease in the number of people travelling on shared e-scooters means not only shrinking revenues for operators, but also an increased financial burden because they still have to bear the costs of daily maintenance(daily maintenance of e-bike), so they choose to recall their vehicles and reduce their launches to ease financial pressure.

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    Companies are leaving the market in droves

    In December 2023, 500 shared electric scooters provided by the American company Link in Turin were withdrawn.

    In Rome, 900 scooters circulate in the historic center: the three companies serving the capital have only 300 devices each.

    The tender for the commissioning of a scooter rental service by the Municipality of Palermo has also been suspended.

    The downward spiral of shared electric scooters in Europe 4

    Bit Mobility has informed the Municipality of its decision to terminate operations before the natural expiry of the contract (August 31, 2024), and following consultation Bit Mobility has chosen to halve the number of e-scooters to be offered for short-term rental(electric bike rentals near me) from the current 400 to 200.

    In 2023, not only the number of scooter rentals declined, but also the number of sales fell significantly (-70%).

    Consumer demand for such products is beginning to decline, and with safety concerns, investors are naturally more cautious about investing in the expansion of such vehicles.

    With fewer users using shared services and the number of devices available plummeting, the market is stuck in a vicious cycle.

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    Regulations limit users' access to

    Flaws in the products themselves have caused them to decline in the market, but government regulations have accelerated the industry’s decline.

    Last year, the Italian government announced it was adopting new rules that would ban electric scooters on city streets in an effort to reduce accidents and prevent their placement from interfering with sidewalk use.

    The Cabinet’s new regulations also require riders to wear helmets(best bike helmets) and have insurance, while e-scooters must be licensed.

    The downward spiral of shared electric scooters in Europe 3

    The various regulations introduced have raised the bar for the use of shared e-scooters, and users are turning to other means of transportation.

    The imbalance between enterprises’ income and expenditure is the main reason why shared electric scooters are gradually bidding farewell to the market.

    In order to accelerate market penetration, many companies have made large investments in IT equipment, infrastructure and systems, but the returns have not met expectations. Another problem is that no one uses them anymore.

    The number of scooter-related deaths has increased dramatically, and consumer skepticism about the safety of the product has led to a drop in demand, further reducing the popularity of this mode of transportation, and a product without people using it is just a castle in the air, even if the market is large.

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    Hi, I'm an experienced writer about mechanic and an expert on bike and e-bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. And of course, I love cycling.
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