• Green Transportation
  • Electric Mobility
  • Automotive Industry
  • Electric Scooters

Electric Scooters Are Taking Over Paris

Roberto Rodriguez Labastida
Nov 08, 2018

electric scooter

I was lucky to travel to Paris twice in recent months. On these trips, I noticed how simple yet innovative solutions can quickly alter how a city and people move. In less than 3 months, electric scooters passed from a novelty on the pavement with only a few being operated to an almost mainstream transportation option.

During my first trip to Paris, only Lime had started operations. By my return, Bird, Taxify’s Bolt service, and the European startup Wind had launched competing services.

The successful attraction of customers by electric scooter companies comes in a city that is by no means a transport choice wasteland. Paris’s Metro bus and train system reaches every corner of the city, and its point-to-point bikeshare system, Velib, has been around for over a decade. Taxi apps, carshare clubs, and private cars round out an abundant list of transportation options.

The growing variety of transportation options in Paris reflects the highly immature status of the larger mobility industry. Innovations are emerging and falling away quickly. For example, The Autolib’ group cancelled its contract with the French group Bolloré, announcing in July 2018 that it was closing its EV carsharing service 7 years after launching it. At its peak, Autolib’ had 4,000 battery-powered cars parked at over 1,100 self-service docking stations across the city and the surrounding suburbs. It is prudent to expect that more mobility innovations like Autolib’ will disappear as the market matures—and these electric scooters too. 

New Mobility Offerings Significantly Change the Future of Energy 

Without a doubt, the sector most affected by innovative mobility services is transport. As people adopt these new solutions, it appears they are moving away from some mass transit options. Earlier this year, the London transport authority Transport for London (TfL) announced that it is facing a £1 billion budget deficit due to a fall in ridership, mostly caused by new mobility solutions. How this trade plays will have a significant impact on the future demand of energy providers. If people use energy intensive services like Uber (compared to public transport), energy demand could soar. However, light alternatives like electric scooters could reduce energy demand per mile traveled.

The TfL story brings onto the scene another industry that will see a significant change in its future as new mobility options change people’s transportation behavior, the European power industry. The industry is going through a difficult transformation period, but it usually points toward the electrification of transport (mostly private cars) as a main electricity demand driver going into the future. While the electrification of cars is taking place, people’s behavior around transport options is going through its own transition.

In this new world, energy companies need to understand their customers. Not only should they determine how customers use power today, but they also must look at how behavior in other parts of their lives changes and how that can affect their long-term energy use. This way, they can avoid having stranded assets built for a future that did not come.