The e-scooter as a sharing model is likely to launch in June after the Bundesrat approved Friday (May 17, 2019) the use of e-scooters in Germany. E-scooters are already registered in some European countries and are common sights in U.S. cities. Quiet, easy to manage, and environment-friendly, the scooters are already in use at the DESY campus in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld. The vehicles have sparked interest among other Hanseatic companies keen on launching their micro mobility offers.
E-scooters from 14 years permitted on bike paths
Andreas Scheuer, Germany’s Minister of Transport, noted: “We want new ways of modern, environment-friendly, clean transport in our cities.” Micro mobility has enormous potential for the future. Together with public transport, it is a real alternative to the car, ideal for the last mile from the underground, suburban train or bus stop to home or work, Scheuer added. However, the German government has to implement the Bundesrat’s amendments before the ordinance can take effect. Contrary to the original plans, the e-scooters will not be permitted on footpaths but only on cycle paths. Electric vehicles will only be allowed from the age of 14 contrary to the ordinance which foresaw the use from 12 years. Although users will not have to wear a helmet or have a driving licence, insurance is a must. At present, the use of micro-vehicles is permitted only in private or on company premises across Germany.
Tests of e-scooters on DESY campus
In April, the e-scooter provider Hive launched a pilot project on the DESY campus allowing 3,000 employees and scientists to try out a total of 100-electrically powered scooters. Hive is an electric scooter brand of a joint venture between BMW and Daimler and is part of the Free now ride-hailing area, which also includes MyTaxi. Hive’s electrically powered scooters are based on WunderCar Mobility’s technology – a Hamburg-based software provider. Users simply download the Hive app on a mobile phone. “We check the charging status of the scooters in our backend. Then we recharge them. We want to use only eco-electricity for this,” said Dennis Heinert, Head of Communication at MyTaxi. Hive launched e-scooters as part of a pilot project in Lisbon last December and the company also does business in Paris, Athens, Warsaw and Wroclaw and most recently in Vienna. “The e-scooters will be rolled out to a total of 20 European cities this year,“ Heinert added. The e-scooters are expected to reach a top speed of up to 20 km/h with a range of around 50 kilometres in Hamburg.
Three-wheeled micro-scooters for the last mile
Oliver Risse of E-Floater (formerly Floatility) is working on three-wheeled micro-scooters and a corresponding app in an old shipping container on the MLove-Campus opposite HafenCity. A glass-fibre, reinforced plastic frame allows the user to “float” and shift their bodyweight as the scooter glides through the streets in flowing, undulating lines creating a feeling like skiing. In 2017, Risse launched several hundred ultra lightweight scooters in Singapore in 2017 and on the European market.
Risse now wants to use e-scooters to tackle the “last mile” and to complement transport offers in Hamburg. The mini vehicles are particularly suitable for short commutes to work and back again. “We will offer free sharing in the city of Hamburg area, so the e-kick scooters will not have to be handed in at specific stations afterwards,” the company told Hamburg News. The e-scooter’s batteries can be changed every day. Electric cargo bikes are to be used for maintenance work.
Working group in Brussels
Florian Walberg, founder of Walberg Urban Electrics, began working on e-scooters in 1999 and set up his own company in 2011. From his base in Speicherstadt, Walberg and the 18-strong workforce has been developing and producing the foldable electric scooters and have sold more than 50,000 scooters all over Europe. Meanwhile, Walberg has initiated a working group in Brussels to collaborate with other manufacturers and distributors on standard guidelines for electrically powered urban scooters.
Turning mobility around from Hamburg
E-scooters can play a key role in turning mobility around. Micro-mobility on the last mile, for instance, is crucial to Hamburg’s strategy in the run-up to the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) World Congress, which the city is hosting in 2021. The strategy foresees eight fields of action including “mobility as a service”. Low-emission e-mobility is part of the 2015 Hamburg Climate Plan adopted by the senate and terms electro mobility one of its main projects.