The Deutsche Post continues to see traction with its new StreetScooter brand with an order from the German startup UZE Mobility for 500 StreetScooter Work and Work L trucks.
The new vehicles will be set up as a car-sharing network for UZE Mobility to allow private citizens to use the StreetScooters to move larger items around town. In a curious twist, the new network aims to make the trucks available to customers at no cost, though initially there will be a fee as UZE Mobility ramps up its operations. Ultimately, the company plans to generate revenue through advertising and data gathering from customers which would enable customers to use the vehicles without having to pay.
UZE Mobility selected StreetScooter because of its proven track record of performance. An UZE spokesperson said that, “The StreetScooters are the ideal vehicles for our business. They have enough range, are robust and the operating costs are low. Above all, they have already proven themselves in practice.”
More specifically, UZE Mobility plans to sell advertising on screens mounted in the vehicles that will dynamically change the content being displayed depending on who is in the car and where it is in the city. Maybe the possibility of offering a discounted meal or free drink at a restaurant around the corner isn’t the worst thing, but can it support a day’s rental of the truck?
Starting up a new business with 500 vehicles on the shoulders of a financial model that has not been proven could just be a sign that investors are more accepting of risk in exchange for the potential for a faster ramp-up and higher returns. UZE has work to do before it can determine that its data and ad-supported vehicle model actually works. If not, a paid car-sharing model would not be the end of the world and would still find traction with customers.
Investors in UZE Mobility include some of Daimler’s largest partners in Germany, including LUEG AG, which dropped a cool million into the startup earlier and is now jumping on board as an operational partner in the venture. UZE Mobility is a startup being spun out of RWTH Aachen University and aspires to kick off much larger deployments than the 500 vehicles and in far more locations as well.
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