Meet Moto, a new French startup that plans to introduce electric bikes in Paris. Instead of buying these bikes, Moto customers can rent them for a fixed price of $75 per month (about $82 at current exchange rates).
Buyers will receive a Moto-branded electric bike with a rear-mounted motor that allows pedaling up to 25 km/h. It has built-in lighting, a GPS tracker and an anti-theft system. It has a carbon strap and a removable battery.
The battery is built into the seat tube, so you can access the battery by removing the saddle and taking it with you. There are two different models: transition model and low penetration model. The frame is slightly different, but otherwise the same.
But the motto is not to stop at the hardware. Users don’t just rent a bike, they subscribe to the service. The monthly subscription fee includes damage and theft insurance, on-demand maintenance and repairs.
If something is wrong with your motorcycle, you can open the app and request a repair within 48 hours. In the near future, Moto plans to offer a baby carrier and front rack as subscription add-ons.
The startup raised an initial $4.4 million led by Cassius Family and Founders Future (€4 million). Some business messengers are also involved. Before the name change to Moto, the startup was originally called Bloom, with 200 users already testing the service in Paris.
And anyone can register and get a bike from April 2022. The startup will compete with other bike subscription services such as German startup Dance, Dutch company Swapfiets and publicly funded service Véligo.
More importantly, the startup is competing with public transportation, bike-sharing schemes, and buying your own electric bike. The bicycle-as-a-service model has a number of advantages.
First, you don’t have to pay a huge amount up front. Secondly, many bike owners are reluctant to buy an e-bike because of theft. Third, many people want to make sure they can use a bike to commute before buying a bike.
For all these reasons, it’s good to see that Bicycle as a Service is another interesting option for getting started in cycling. I still believe that we are at the beginning of an urban mobility revolution and that people will eventually use different modes of transport to get from point A to point B, especially in European cities. And many people should consider services like Moto to add electric bikes to their personal transportation.