French startup Motto is launching an electric bike subscription in Paris. For €75, or $82 in U.S. dollars, a month, subscribers can rent a Motto electric bike. Powered by a 500W rechargeable battery enclosed in the seat tube, the bike has a motor in the rear wheel that lets riders go as fast as 25 kilometers per hour, or approximately 15 miles per hour. The bike comes in two styles: The Classic with a low bar – a step-through model, and the original – a step-over model with a high bar.
The no-commitment monthly subscription includes insurance for theft and damage, a GPS tracker, built-in anti-theft alarm, an Art4 padlock, care and maintenance, and repairs and assistance from the Motto team through the company’s app. There are no registration fees and all Motto services are included in the subscription.
Baskets and baby carrier add-ons are available for an extra €2 per month. Unlike ride share bikes, subscribers are considered the owners of the bikes throughout the length of their electric bike subscription. Want to try it out first? Prospective subscribers can book a 15-minute trial slot via chat on their website.
“The ebike is the future of urban mobility. Subscription, the best way to access it,” says Motto on their About Us page.”
“Offering a design and reliable bike was not enough, we had to reinvent the whole mobility experience. We thought back to all those times when we almost gave up taking a bike in the morning: flat tire, risk of theft, loose brakes, etc.; and have decided to design a complete offer that frees you from all these constraints,” says Motto.
“It is by offering an integrated mobility experience that we will transform travel habits and facilitate the adoption of electric bikes in the city. Our solution: a non-binding monthly subscription that includes a personal electric bike, theft and breakage insurance as well as a concierge service accessible via our app. It’s all included — you can ride with peace of mind and make every ride a pleasure,” the company added.
The fine print
In the fine print of the company’s FAQs, Motto says they will come to the aid of the subscriber in the case of theft or vandalism of their electric bike. However, after a theft, if the bike is not found after 14 days, the subscriber will pay €250, or $274 in U.S. dollars. It is not clear why the subscriber would pay this additional fee if Motto insures the bike.
After theft or vandalism, subscribers will then get access to a new bike, based on the circumstances of the bike and the company’s inventory. Another key factor to note is that subscribers must download the Motto app to unlock their electric bike.
According to TechCrunch, Motto has raised €4 million, or $4.4 million in U.S. dollars, in a seed round led by Cassius Family and Founders Future, along with several angel investors. Originally called Bloom, Motto has been tested with 200 users in Paris. The service will launch on a broader scale in April 2022.
There are competitors in the electric bike subscription space, but many of them have limited markets. For example, in February 2021, Revel launched electric bike subscriptions in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Dance is another European electric bike subscription service. They currently serve Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Parish and Vienna. They offer two ebikes and a Dance moped. In October 2020, Dance raised $17.8 million in series A funding.
As people become more environmentally conscious and frustrated with increased traffic and rising fuel prices, ebikes are an attractive alternative. Like the automobile subscription market, startups wanting to launch electric bike subscription services will need to test the market first, adapt and adjust, and then scale their operations based on results. Ebikes don’t fit every person’s lifestyle or location, but we anticipate growth in this arena, at least in major metropolitan areas.