Scoot is upgrading its scooters and network in San Francisco

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 10.51.31 PM

You can now find Scoot’s electric scooters in 8 new locations in San Francisco, and the service is in the process of switching all its scooters to lithium batteries.

Started in 2012 with 4 locations and 10 electric scooters, Scoot has been growing regularly. It has now over 60 scooters (and one Zero motorcycle), 23 locations in parking garages and 8 curbside locations. Equipped with lead-acid batteries, the scooters had a limited range of up to 25 miles. Their 2 hp motor allows for a 30 mph top speed, but that also will change starting January 1, 2015, when a new law will allow for 4 hp motors.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 10.47.59 PM

How does it work? A Scoot app for iPhone or Android smart phone let’s you see what scooter is available and the state of charge of its battery. The smart phone then unlocks the scooter and becomes its dashboard. A helmet is available in the trunk of the vehicle. When you are done, the phone shows you at what station you can drop off the scooter. In the parking garage locations, you will then plug in to recharge the battery.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 10.34.20 PM

The network now includes 8 curbside stations that don’t offer the possibility to recharge the battery. With the greater range of the lithium batteries, these upgraded scooters don’t need to be recharged after each rental.

Several subscription plans are available. The basic plan costs $5 per month, and offers rentals at $3 for the first ½ hour, and then $1.50 per additional ½ hour ($0.25 from 8pm to 8am).

Scoot says it has also been working on upgrading the smart phone connection, which did not always allow for the recharging of the phone battery. This was often a serious limitation, resulting in double range anxiety where one was left wondering which of the battery, the scooter’s or the phone’s, would be empty before reaching the drop-off station…

As an occasional user of Scoot, I have to admit that the more I use the service, the more I like it. And the Scoot team has always been very helpful and accommodating. Let’s hope that Scoot can soon expand to other cities!

Written by
Leave a comment