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Charging stations vs battery swaps: What’s better for micromobility?

todayApril 15, 2021 8

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This article was written by Juan Btesh on The Urban Mobility Daily, the content site of the Urban Mobility Company, a Paris-based company which is moving the business of mobility forward through physical and virtual events and services. Join their community of 10K+ global mobility professionals by signing up for theUrban Mobility Weekly newsletter. Read the original articlehere and follow them onLinkedin andTwitter.

One of the pain points of micromobility operators is to figure out how to keep their dockless fleet charged and available to use. When it all started, this was carried out by gig economy workers who collected a couple of dead scooters and took them to their homes to recharge overnight on their own power supply. While this scheme is still being used by some providers, new solutions were needed when operations started to grow, service became formalized and cities imposed stricter regulations for companies to be responsible for their scooter clutter instead of depending on freelancers.

The battery-recharging scheme evolved to the next level when mobility providers undertook recharging operations in-house or even outsourced this business to third parties. Trucks and vans started being piled with a larger amount of scooters that were driven to hubs and warehouses for recharging and maintenance. This model still requires combustion vehicles doing the job at a limited capacity and makes the scooters unavailable for several hours while they are taken to recharge, reducing the opportunity for generating revenue. The current battery-charging scheme is difficult to scale, unreliable, expensive and unsustainable.