Scoot: IoT Good News for Automotive Industry

The Internet of Things presents great opportunities and no long-term threats to the automotive industry.

That is the view of Mar Pallàs Poy, vice-president of European market development at Scoot, a San Francisco electric scooter ride-sharing start-up that also operates in Santiago, Chile and Barcelona. In an exclusive interview with TU-Automotive, Pallàs claimed the IoT and its use by car-sharing companies meant fewer cars would be bought but automakers would have to make more of them as shared cars experience more frequent use than privately owned ones. She also predicted some e-scooter companies would expand into car-sharing and that the e-mobility sector would soon experience consolidation.

Internet of Things

“With the IoT, it is possible to share vehicles. People will start changing their habits, they will be consuming fewer private cars to own entirely but this can be an opportunity for the automotive industry to produce cars for sharing. A shared car is used more. A private car is idle 96% of the time and only used 4% of the time. A shared car is supposed to be used the whole day. Therefore these cars need to be replaced more often. What we may perceive as a threat to the automotive industry as it is today can be an opportunity in a few years because there is a need for fewer cars when they are shared but they can also be used more often.”

“Also there will need to be more maintenance of them so the IoT will open up job opportunities to many people that don’t exist today like all the maintenance jobs, all the logistics of operating a ride-sharing industry. It will also give the opportunity to the automotive industry to include several new things in the car. For example, if in the future, the cars will be autonomous, then it means people will have a lot of time to use within the car because they won’t need to drive anymore. Therefore the automotive industry can research applications for vehicle occupants to use while waiting to visit somewhere.”

Multi-modality

Pallàs said there had been a huge growth in the number of e-mobility operators over “the last couple of years”.

“At the beginning, there were companies focused on scooters, focused on bicycles, companies focused on kick-scooters. In each of these years, we saw a rise of one type of transportation. So electric scooters, bicycles, and in the last six months, electric kick-scooters have appeared in many places. Also what we see is that now, companies are starting to become multi-modal. More companies that started with bicycles are providing kick-scooters and vice versa.”

On the issue of whether this multi-modality would extend to some of these companies offering car-sharing services, she said it would. “At the end of the day, companies will do what they think is best for their business. More companies have the same vision. This is something that will happen.” However, Pallàs added that while some e-scooter operators would expand into car-sharing, many others would not. She also called for ride-sharing operators to “be integrated with public transportation with people paying a monthly fee in order to take whatever type of transportation they need.”

Consolidation

“In the next few months and couple of years, we will experience a consolidation of the [e-mobility] market. Companies will start bargaining between each other and some mergers and acquisitions will happen. Currently, in Madrid for example, there are 25 kick-scooter companies that are interested in operating there. Out of these 25, there are some that won’t succeed, some that will succeed, others that will merge or be acquired. At the end, we will have a model where there are a few companies that are quite big and multi-modal and can be found in several countries.”

“Competition authorities will have to get involved in each of these operations. In some markets, it won’t be a problem because there might be three or four operators but in others, if there are two existing companies and one acquires another to become a monopoly, it may be that the regulators prevent the transaction from happening.”

 

 

 


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