Dec 4, 2018

Superpedestrian wants to sell scooters — to other companies

Photo: Superpedestrian

Superpedestrian, a Boston-based startup best known for its Copenhagen Wheel, a system that turns a regular bike into an electric one, now wants to sell a commercial-grade electric scooter to fleet operators.

The bigger picture: When scooters suddenly took over U.S. streets earlier this year, setting up a scooter rental company looked easy, thanks to manufacturers like Segway-Ninebot. But that’s not so much the case any more given the growing number of problems with the vehicles, including faulty scooters that were recalled, designs that couldn't sustain commercial use, and supply shortages.

Access to a large supply of scooters is becoming a real advantage for companies, and some are coming up with creative business models, such as franchising them.

  • Last week, Bird announced it’s rolling out a program through which small entrepreneurs or existing businesses can rent out a number of its scooters, label them with their own brands, uses a network of contract charging and repair workers, and keep 80% of the revenues.
  • Austin-based startup GOAT has a similar business model.

For its part, Superpedestrian says its vehicles can help scooter rental companies save money because they’re designed for heavy use that can sustain daily customers.

  • The company also touts its scooter’s ability to wirelessly self-diagnose and remedy a number of mechanical problems, such as resets needed for sensors, voltage or temperature, which constitute over half of common scooter repair needs.
  • Superpedestrian’s scooter costs about $500 (similar to what Bird and Lime spend per scooter), though the company won’t provide a specific price, and says each scooter can last between nine and 18 months. It says it already has scooter rental companies as customers but declined to name them.
  • Yes, but: As one scooter industry insider tells Axios, if Superpedestrian’s scooters do prove to be superior to other manufacturers, its customers are likely to want exclusive rights to the vehicle supply — a tricky situation for a company whose business model is to sell scooters to as many customers as possible.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes carrying protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 930,000 and the global death toll exceeded 46,000 on Wednesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 13,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 7 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. 1 future thing: Shifts to telemedicine, at-home diagnostics, and drone delivery are all likely lasting consequences from this pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases surpass 200,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Positive cases of the novel coronavirus passed 213,000 on Wednesday — nearly twice as many as Italy, per Johns Hopkins — as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders for Americans to curb infection.

The state of play: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 16 mins ago - Health