A Different Kind of Commute

Some consumers—a growing, albeit still small, number—are considering alternatives to gas-guzzling cars as a means of getting to work. As a result, relevant corporate licensors have been taking a closer look at commuter scooters as a potential brand-extension category. This segment includes high-end and street-legal vehicles such as foot-powered kick scooters, Segway-like personal transportation, electric ride-on cycles, and the like.

Some examples:

  • Ford licensed OjO Electric earlier this year for a co-branded Ford OjO smart electric scooter in a variety of color combinations. The three-speed vehicle can reach 20 miles per hour, can go up hills with as much as an 18% grade, and has a battery range of 25 miles. It features an on-board charger, Bluetooth speakers, LED lights, a USB phone charger, and a wireless key fob with an alarm system.
  • BMW teamed with German bicycle maker ZEG in 2017 for the X2City kick scooter, sold through bike shops. The high-end vehicle has a range of up to 22 miles and a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, and weighs about 44 pounds. It folds to fit into a car trunk.
  • In 2016, Goodyear announced a deal with Suprimmo/iTrike.emobility for two electric three-wheel scooters, the foldable, stand-up e-Go 1 and the sit-down e-Go 2, for the European market. The vehicles have a range of about 60 miles and a top speed of 28 miles per hour, and are sold through car and bike dealers.

These sorts of deals represent a counterpoint to recent moves by the big car companies to eliminate many of their passenger cars as they focus on SUVs and trucks that require more fuel per mile. It is hard to say if licensed scooters of this type, still few and far between, will become more numerous over time, as the science on climate change seems to become increasingly dire, or whether they will remain attractive mainly to a small niche of commuting consumers.

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