Micromobility is more than just jargon for electric scooters, e-bikes, and even electric skateboards. It’s a way to keep customers brand loyal even if they’ve ditched the car.
That’s why Mercedes-Benz is the most recent big-name car manufacturer to build its own electric scooter, the ultimate micromobility product. At the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany last week, the German company slipped in this nugget: As part of its EQ electric vehicle “family,” the two-wheeled battery-powered device would be added as the newest member. It includes the same EQ branding as Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Coming in early 2020, the scooter was one of many accessory announcements, like toy cars and headphones, separate from any auto news.
BMW announced back in May that its own scooter line would be coming soon this fall. Its City scooter (not an e-scooter but foot-powered) is made by scooter company Micro —the same Swiss company Mercedes is partnering with on its scooter. BMW gave much more information about its scooters, including pricing at 800 Euro for the E-scooter, 200 Euro for the manual City scooter, and 120 Euro for a kid scooter.
Dubbed the BMW E-Scooter (the Mercedes version is also simply, “Mercedes-Benz E-Scooter”), it has a 7.5-mile range and a max speed of 12 mph. It’s foldable and weighs just under 20 pounds, with a two-hour charge time.
Audi also timed its e-scooter with its newest electric vehicle, the e-tron. Named the Audi e-tron Scooter, it’s supposed to arrive at the end of 2020. It’s a bit heavier at 26 pounds, but with almost double the range at 12 miles. Unlike other e-scooters, this one is a one-handed concept, like a skateboard with a handle. It’s expected to cost about 2,000 Euro.
Volkswagen might not go as far to actually produce and sell its own e-scooter, but it has a concept scooter it unveiled earlier this year.
Other carmakers, like GM and Ford, have e-bikes and other non-auto vehicles available.
Traffic data company INRIX’s analysis from earlier this month found 48 percent of all car trips in congested downtown parts of cities could be replaced by e-scooters or other micromobility options for 3 mile or shorter distance rides.
It looks like big automakers are paying attention. If e-scooters and bikes are what people are actually riding to get around, it looks like that’s what the next big thing will be.