Electric scooters, the new trend in mobility facing regulatory challenges
Paula Gallego, Spain Marketing Manager at VOI, joined ICCar Community to speak about electric scooters sharing in Europe.
The electric scooters have arrived to our cities. No one can deny that they are the new trend in mobility, and that’s why we invited VOI Spain Marketing Manager, Paula Gallego, to a Q&A session in IMPACT Connected Car Community.
VOI is a Scandinavian green mobility company offering electric scooter sharing in partnership with cities and local communities. They believe e-scooters can play a central role in changing how people move in our cities in the future. And they want to make sure that the transformation happens the right way — through real innovative technology, open and transparent dialogue with cities and Governments and by adapting their product to local needs.
Recently launched in the Swedish cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg in August, VOI has already arrived to Madrid, Málaga and Zaragoza, in Spain. Paula shared with ICCar Community members her experience at VOI and the challenges they are facing. Have a look at the questions and answers from ICCar Community members!
Why do you think there is a boom in electric scooters that has seemed to happen in the past months? What are their advantages for a user compared to other means of transport?
This is a new solution that is expanding so fast because electric scooters are great for every day trips in big cities. European cities are trying to reduce the use of private cars, as they have been proven to be very inefficient, and e-scooters are the perfect solution for that problem. They provide flexibility to start and end your trip where you need to, and they are fast.
What’s is different in your way of working compared to other electric scooters startups?
As a Scandinavian company, dialogue and respect is in our corporate DNA. This implies the way we work with city councils and how we operate in compliance with local regulation. That also involves partnerships with local businesses to be part of the city where we are operating. Our business model is around the idea of giving people the freedom to start and end the trip in the most convenient place for them.
What about the e-scooter user risk? How are the riders and vehicles insured?
We have civil liability insurance that covers any damages that may arise in the use of the scooter. This includes both personal and material damages up to a limit of €1.500.000. If you want to know more about the insurance in Spain, you can read our Terms and Conditions of Use.
Some of the insurers in the auto industry have begun providing incentives for “tracking” devices installed on the insured vehicles. These devices help the insurers assess the risk of the driver and thereby allow them to tweak their general risk model as well as the risk assessment per user. Have you thought about incorporating similar technologies onto the VOI’s scooters?
Well, as I said we are always open to innovative solutions so for sure it is something we could consider.
Does VOI do analytics on customers to profile their usage? Heavy Users, Peak Time Users, Off-peak Users, etc.?
Yes, we keep an eye of the use of the service so we can improve it everyday providing a better service for the city. We want to provide the best possible service and that can’t be done without paying attention to the behaviour of people in different cities.
Are you currently working under a MaaS business model as a basis standard in the sector, however have you considered applying a subscription economy business model in here?
There are different operators in many cities, VOI wants to provide a mobility solution that in many cases will be combined with other transport so it’s important to be part of MaaS platforms to make us available for more users. However, the subscription model is not something we are considering right now, will see what happens in the future!
Could you tell us something about your plans in the next 2 years?
We are growing so fast that it’s difficult to say where we are going to be in the next 2 months, but we are working hard and are on the path to be the biggest European player in the market. What I can also say is that in the upcoming months we’ll expand our service into Portugal, France, Italy and other countries in Europe.
The dialogue is in our Scandinavian corporate DNA so we also want to do this through a close collaboration with cities as we have done it until now.
Does the premium change based on the risk profile of the specific user? Will there be incurred penalties for those who do not drive responsibly?
Currently we don’t impose penalties for drivers, however the public administrations can impose fines to those that don’t drive responsibly. We have a street team every day in every city where we operate and provide recommendations through the app and the newsletter on how to drive safely and being responsible with the city. We prefer to educate users than to impose penalties, however this is something we could re-consider in the future.
We were also wondering about how you plan to address the distribution and parking type issues. Is it purely a case of educating users, or is there some motivation provided through discounts/penalties?
For now we prefer to focus on educating users, we are working hard on our street team and also working closely with city councils to work in their priorities. However, imposing penalties or gratifications depending in user behaviour is something we are already considering.
Is it mandatory to use a helmet when riding the scooters in Spain? If so, how does the company enforce the use of helmets (if at all)?
There is not a regulation for this applicable to all Spain. For now every city has its own regulation. In the cities where we operate now the helmet is not mandatory. However we always recommend to wear it and we are planning to give free helmets for our users. This is something we are working at at the moment, so you’ll hear something soon in our social media and communication channels!
Do you think that a common regulatory framework should exist in Europe to avoid limitative situations for SMEs/startups that want to expand internationally?
Having a clear regulation would make things easier and also better for citizens, companies and even the public administration. Sometimes regulation comes after the necessity, now that e-scooters are becoming so popular in Europe city councils are working to develop new regulations, but sometimes the lack of a regulatory framework is making their work more difficult. It is something different city councils agree on. At least it will be great to have a national regulation on e-scooters that can be a frame work for city council.
Here in VOI we are convinced that the lack of regulation doesn’t benefit anyone so we are open to collaborate with any institution to develop regulations. A clear example of this is that we hold our Madrid launch until the new “Ordenanza de Movilidad Sostenible” (“Sustainable Mobility Law”) was approved.
Can you please tell us a little of the challenges you face with regards to the daily geographical distribution of the e-scooters, motivating your customers to park in “good” places, and what type of problems you or other companies are trying to solve in this area?
There are many challenges in this field. Now, one of our main focus in Madrid is to make people park properly. The way scooters are parked is something that is generating concerns for both citizens and city councils so it’s something we need to work on. One of the main challenges is how scooters are placed in the side walks so they are not an obstacle for disabled people, for example.
Apart from regulation and educating users to park in the right place, what other challenges are you facing when working with cities, local communities and governments?
The lack of regulations is being the main issue to be honest. People see that this is a great solution for cities and users are very enthusiastic about it. However we also have a big challenge explaining the service to those to may not be willing to try it for the first time.
If you want to know more about VOI e-scooter sharing, drop them an email at email@example.com and they’ll come back to you within hours.