Lime President Says Scooter Boom May Make Germany “Most Significant Market In Europe”
Cities | August 6, 2019
When asked why he’s excited about the initial German response to shared e-scooter platforms, Lime's President Joe Kraus gets right to the point:
“Two of our top twelve markets are in Germany after just 30 days. Beyond that, we're already unit economic positive in Berlin and Hamburg, with others very close.”
In less than 30 words, the former partner at Google Ventures confirmed what many in the industry have been thinking ever since Europe’s largest economy gave electric scooters the green light back in May: with its insistence on quality and a history of transportation innovation, Germany’s embrace of micromobility is a very big deal.
And the numbers, at least so far, seem to bear that out. Not only have Germans been unlocking electric scooters at a record pace, but the public response to Lime’s First Ride safety events has been unprecedented. An estimated 3,500 attendees turned out for Berlin’s First Ride Festival in June, braving unseasonably hot temperatures to practice their micromobility skills on a test track and receive a free personalized helmet.
More recently, available reservations for the inaugural Lime First Ride Academies in Hamburg and Cologne filled up in as little as 8 minutes, with over 100 RSVP’s waitlisted. The city of Cologne even granted Lime the use of its “Traffic Garden” training course, complete with stop lights and the simulation of a real-life riding experience.
“From the beginning, we wanted to execute a deeply localized launch,” explained Kraus. “By bringing together ops, government relations, brand and business development, we’ve been able to make a strong integrated push into the market. I’m hopeful that our upcoming partnerships, including a recent collaboration with N26, will help drive rider preference even further.”
Ridership in Germany has been bolstered by a national law that legalized the use of electric scooters country-wide, creating what Kraus refers to as a “mostly consistent regulatory framework.” These clear operating guidelines, coupled with strictly enforced hardware requirements, allow scooter providers like Lime to launch and scale quickly -- provided they play by the rules.
“We believe that the long term market winner is determined by who is the first to scale,” said Kraus. “Lime concentrated our launches in four cities whereas our competitors spread their small early fleets across eight. We’ve increased that number to six cities, with even more scheduled to launch in August, and have already surpassed the one million ride mark with this strategy.”
Germany is considered by many to be a bellwether market for electric scooters, demonstrating what’s possible when government and private organizations commit to a well-defined strategy for implementation. The country stepped onto the micromobility scene 18 months after scooters made their global debut in the US in late 2017, a decision that gave elected officials ample time to study its impact in markets like Los Angeles and Paris.
“Germany is such an attractive market due to its size, high GDP, good micromobility infrastructure and strong legal system,” said Kraus. “Hopefully it serves as a regulatory model to other nations in terms of a flexible and consistent national law.”
Get these stories delivered straight to your inbox