Are there mobility start-ups with opportunities?

Famous and highly rated mobility start-ups tell the story of the brave new world. On the side of the road lie billions in losses, questionable environmental balances and precarious jobs. But there is another way.

The streets are full of e-scooters and the industrial buildings of the big cities, which have been converted into office space, are home to hip start-ups. They all have a common story. They want to offer a new service, reinvent mobility and make transport more sustainable. Saving the world! At least. But hardly anyone succeeds. Many even achieve the opposite.

Free from e-scooters and air taxis

With this short series, we want to show that there is another way. We present eleven hand-picked start-ups from germany in the mobility sector, which could become more than incredibly expensive marketing gags with electric drives. Completely free of e-scooters and flying cabs. Often, the stories that are told are not the most interesting ones. Sometimes it is the stories that are not told.

The story of moia is currently not being told. Moia is a subsidiary of volkswagen. It offers shared cab rides in hamburg and hanover. Naturally in purely electric buses (the piece for about 250.000 euros). About a year ago, the plan was still to greatly expand the service. Moia was soon to be active in up to 50 more cities. Nothing has remained of it. The manager had to go, the new one is mainly to reduce costs. 50 more cities? Probably moia is happy to be active in two more cities at all. Moia is not the only subsidiary of an established manufacturer that has hit the wall with its mobility idea. Sharenow and freenow (once drive-now, car2go and mytaxi) are clogging up the balance sheets of bmw and daimler with monthly losses in the tens of millions of euros.

Vw, bmw and daimler have managed one thing above all: they have brought more cars into the city. The reason for this is that their services compete more with public transport than with the private car. No one sells their car just because they can now make short trips in a shared cab.

Car drivers are not likely to switch to e-scooters

The latest idea to revolutionize urban mobility is e-scooters. They are supposed to reduce the number of cars in the city. The dream is that city dwellers will save the climate if they only ride e-scooters. The problem is similar to that faced by moia and co. Have: e-scooters do not replace cars, but walking and public transport, according to a study by strategy consultants nunatak showed. It’s not car drivers who are switching to e-scooters, it’s the fubgangers. But because the production of these cheap scooters is extremely energy-intensive and many of them break down after just a few months, the environmental impact is devastating.

In order for the scooters to be able to drive at all, "juicers" are also touring the cities – an english euphemism for a precarious job. Somebody has to charge them. Bird (once the first e-scooter rental company on the market) and its copies tier and lime don’t even make a profit on them. On the contrary. They burn the money. The companies exist because venture capitalists pump money into them. 700 million dollars for bird alone since its founding in 2017. 275 million of that was added in the fall of 2019, because otherwise the company would no longer exist.

More cars on the road

Good cue for uber. The vision of travis kalanick, the founder, was once that a fleet of autonomously driving electric cars would take passengers from a to b. That would indeed be a mobility revolution. Currently, however, uber is nothing more than a high-deficit app that brokers private cab services and has led to more cars on the road.

The manager magazine determined that there were about 0.8 billion cab rides in the u.S. In 2016. Plus 1.9 billion uber rides (for a total of 2.7 billion shuttle rides). In 2018, there were only 0.6 billion cab rides, but 4.2 billion uber rides (totaling as 4.8 billion rides). That’s an increase of 78 percent.

Also, uber is only around because venture capitalists initially poured money in, and in may 2019, borsengang reeled in a whopping $8.1 billion in cash. Money needed to make up for escalating losses. Uber, bird, tier and lime have in common that they have not invented anything really new, but a marketing concept. They serve market niches that don’t exist with money they don’t own at the expense of people they don’t know.

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