To be honest, when Bird started the e-scooter sharing boom, the first versions of e-scooter fleets were lacking and this had a huge impact on the fleet operator unit economics. First versions of Segway and Xiaomi kick-scooters were not meant for sharing. Scooters were designed for private use and not meant for riding 24/7. The ride is bumpy, brakes are bad, batteries don't last and most of all - they break down very easily. Simply put, the longer your e-scooter lasts, the more money you make. In addition, when a lot of the operators are offering the same model of e-scooters, a better scooter helps you to stand out and differentiate you from the competition.


First versions of e-scooters. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bird-Rides-Inc_018_350466.jpg


What do you need to consider when choosing the right kick-scooter?

    • Weather conditions:

      • Is it hot or cold? Temperature resistance is different for every scooter, especially the battery life.

      • How often does it rain? E-Scooters have different levels of insulation and water resistance.

    • Road conditions:

      • What kind of roads do you have in the cities you operate? In Europe, there are a lot of cobblestone roads and in other places the tarmac might be bumpy with the addition of a random potholes. These conditions regulate whether you want soft or hard tires on your scooter.

      • Are there hills in your area? If it is hilly like San Francisco or Lisbon, you need an e-scooter that has more torque and power.

    • Competitors:

      • Is there more than one operator in you area? If yes, then make sure you have an e-scooter that is at least in the same category or better. Meaning, you can compete with others or offer an even better performing kick-scooter, which automatically increases your value offer for the end-user.

    • City regulations:

      • Does your e-scooter meet the city regulations? This matter has been a make or break for many operators. Some countries like Germany have very strict regulations and some don't have any regulations. Therefore, make sure you have an e-scooter that is within regulations.

    • IoT provider:

      • Does the e-scooter come with a built-in IoT? Lots of the e-scooters come with a built-in IoT, but their functionalities are not suited for fleet operators and if you run into problems (which you will) there is no customer support.

      • Does the built-in IoT work? Since, we are an IoT provider, we know the ins and outs of the industry and the unbiased conclusion is that there is not an e-scooter available yet that meets all the requirements and needs to run a successful fleet. Therefore, we strongly recommend to build your own hardware (resource demanding and very difficult) or hire an IoT company to make sure your e-scooter is connected and customers can easily find and rent them via your App without any glitches.
      • Which IoT provider should you consider? All depends on how much resources you have and how much in-house IoT knowledge you have. In our experience, customers turn to us mainly because they need the full IoT solution: hardware, API, firmware and middleware. Very few operators have specialists in-house to deal with all the components. With a number of the IoT providers you will get a good hardware, but all other aspects of the full vertical integration are missing. This is especially painful when your operations are stopped due to an IoT issue that you are not equipped to solve. Finally, make sure the IoT has very good GPS accuracy (end users can find your kick-scooters) and that the hardware doesn’t consume too much of your e-scooter battery.


    What is the best e-scooter for sharing in 2019?


    Segway MAX e-scooter for sharing. Source: COMODULE

    So far, Segway has sold the most e-scooters and therefore has also got the most feedback and insights what they need to improve with the newer models. Nevertheless, there are more and more e-scooters coming out and after testing the best ones we can share our top recommendation for the time being (autumn 2019). It is the new Segway MAX e-scooter that in our field-tested opinion is the best e-scooter at the moment. Here are the main reasons:

    • Larger 10 inch wheels with inflatable tubeless tires allowing more comfortable ride on uneven grounds. This improvement makes sure you can ride rather smoothly on rougher terrain and cobblestone streets.

    • Although, being heavier and more bulky, the ride feels lighter and more stable than any other leading sharing scooter we have tried.

    • In comparison to other e-scooters meant for fleet operators, it is the most cost-effective.

    • More power, which solves the issue of riding steep hills. The new motor has a maximum output of 700W, but that doesn’t mean more reckless riding, but a smoother acceleration and better hill climbing capabilities. With other e-scooters we have noticed that the throttle might create the front wheel to spin. Thanks to the rear wheel drive, there is no danger of a wheel slip, making it safer and easier to ride.

    • One of the most important changes is the large battery Segway has fitted to the new MAX model. That means doubling the distance with earlier models up to 60 kilometers (depends on riding conditions).

    • To improve your fleet unit economics, MAX comes with a larger and sturdier frame. They have strengthened the mechanical structure especially meant for sharing and fleet operating conditions. This update is well received by the operators due to improving the lifespan of the e-scooters.

    • Better brakes. Earlier versions only had electronic brakes, but now they have fitted both front drum brakes and rear electronic brakes, making it safer and more stable.

    • Segway has improved the waterproof level of the vehicle meant for harsh conditions.

    • Lastly, Segway MAX has received German e-scooter certificate and is allowed to operate in cities all over Germany. 


    New Segway MAX e-scooter with COMODULE IoT module for sharing. Source: COMODULE

    To sum up, there are many improved vehicles yet to come, but right now the Segway MAX can be a winner for many sharing operators. COMODULE is compatible with the new MAX model and if needed, can offer IoT to run a successful operation. We offer full vertical integration from hardware to firmware and take away the hassle of troubleshooting all the connectivity related issues, so you can focus on running a successful fleet. Be sure to contact rivo@comodule.com with inquiries.

    MAX manufacturer has already opened orders for the e-scooters and promising to start deliveries in September 2019. Also, if you are located in Europe, Segway has a warehouse in the Netherlands for a cheaper and faster shipping. Finally, COMODULE has new IoT and telematics hardware compatible with the MAX e-scooters rolling off the production line as you are reading this post.


    Happy and safe e-scooter riding for everybody, stay tuned for more light electric vehicle and IoT updates!

    Contact for fleet and sharing operators:
    Rivo Riistop - Business Development Manager
    rivo@comodule.com