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Micromobility Doesn’t Have To Be Short-Term Rentals

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With rare exception, there are two ways to use micromobility devices: rent them for a relatively steep per-minute or per-mile price, or buy and own it yourself for hundreds to thousands of dollars. This isn’t ideal for users, because the cost is high either way. Paid by the minute or mile, and you end up spending more every month than you’d spend buying your own scooter on a credit card. On the other hand, buying one and then not using it often can be even more expensive per mile.

Micromobility companies have their own challenges with per-mile rentals. If the scooter isn’t yours, there’s not much incentive to take care of it, and the cost of repair and replacement for neglected scooters has been a great challenge to the profitability of scooter companies in the past. Plus, the unpredictability of scooter utilization makes it harder to plan deployments and other business decisions.

It would be great if there were a way to rent micromobility devices by the month, or even better, to buy them outright and then sell them back to the company when you’re done with them. This could provide a more sustainable business model for scooter companies, and it would be much more affordable for users.

Fortunately, there’s a company that has experimented with that, and it’s been successful enough to expand the program. Wheels, a micro-mobility operator with electric scooters that riders sit on to ride, is bringing its long-term rental option for its device to Miami allowing riders to have their own scooter for personal use.

“The long-term rental option is the perfect solution for the dilemma faced by car-conscious city dwellers,” said Wheels CEO Marco McCottry. “Wheels’ sit-down scooters are easy to operate and allow for the flexibility of car ownership in a way that is more sustainable and less expensive. This offering has been available in New York City for some time, and we see the same opportunity and need in Miami or any similarly dense, urban market.”

As a last-mile, shared electric mobility platform, Wheels is changing the way we think about dockless transportation. In addition to being seated, its devices have a low center of gravity and 14-inch wheels to help navigate uneven pavement surfaces. The integrated helmet system is the first of its kind and gives riders physical access to a shareable helmet with every ride they take.

Wheels recently entered into a Merger Agreement with Helbiz, during which time it developed its new patented vehicle in-house. The sit-down scooter model is easy to use and ride, making it a safe alternative to other options on the market for new riders.

Helbiz strives to make getting around more convenient and eco-friendly by offering a fleet of micro-mobility vehicles that include e-scooters, bicycles, and mopeds. Its software employs artificial intelligence and environmental mapping to optimize operations for convenience and sustainability. With over 50 licenses in cities all over the globe, Helbiz hopes to become a go-to option worldwide. Helbiz is rapidly expanding its lifestyle products and services for city-dwellers to now include live streaming capabilities, food delivery, and much more — all of which can be easily accessed through their mobile app.

The subscription fee for a scooter rental in Miami is $129.99 per month, and you can cancel it anytime after returning the vehicle, so there’s no long-term commitment despite the ability to lock in a low monthly price.

Featured image provided by Wheels and Helbiz.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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