A San Francisco-based electric-scooter-sharing service has started beta testing, with plans to launch its service to the public next year, GigaOm reports.

ScootNetworks will let subscribers rent battery-electric scooters out by the minute our hour by "unlocking" them with their iPhone devices. The scooters, which are made in China, have a top speed of about 30 miles per hour.

The company hopes to officially launch the service to the public next years, with subscription rates likely to be in the $100- to $150-a-month range for unlimited scooter access, GigaOm says.

Companies like ScootNetworks are taking their lead from car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Daimler's Car2go service, whose sales are forecast to grow as more people become familiar with the concept of car-sharing and are looking to cut transportation costs.

In addition to ScootNetworks, San Francisco will be the site of an electric-bike-sharing program that will be run by San Francisco-based nonprofit City CarShare and backed by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. That program will include 45 e-bikes in San Francisco and Berkeley by the end of the year, with a total of 90 slated by the end of 2013, the New York Times reported in February.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Peter
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wrong solution. In Montreal and now Ottawa and Toronto you can access a bike sharing (Bixi) where you (gasp) expend calories and not electrons to get around. There is a panier in the front for the groceries that is plenty for a litre of milk, some cheeze and a baguette, and if you return the bike to any of the stops within 30 minutes the usage is free. $9 for an hour and a half.
      porosavuporo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Their "iphone devices" ? I guess i'm out of luck, i have a google phone. Oh well, i guess i have to keep riding my gas bikes
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @porosavuporo
        Most companies are writing apps for both iPhone and Android devices. Considering how Android has a much larger market share, they'd be fools to ignore that segment.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Some companies don't want to support an inferior copy of a product from Apple...
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @porosavuporo
        LOL build your own ebike or escooter, dang it :) They are cheap to build and can be wicked fast.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Well thanks LTAW ;) I am strongly considering getting into the business. But i really do think building your own is easy. You just need support from people who know what they're doing. If it wasn't for internet forums, i'd still be mostly clueless. The time required.. yeah, it takes time, but otherwise you'd be working a job and paying someone else a bigger chunk of money to do it for ya. Guess it doesn't make much sense if you make more money than the guy putting it together. :)
          porosavuporo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I did that years ago. Was not happy with the service and warranty offered by manufacturer :)
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Not everybody has the time or talent required. The vast majority of people would rather buy/rent/lease/share an already assembled product with a warranty. Kudos to you for building your own. The rest of us are going to be your customer some day, so at least you can look forward to that. ;)
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      "The company hopes to officially launch the service to the public next years, with subscription rates likely to be in the $100- to $150-a-month range for unlimited scooter access, GigaOm says." At those prices, you'd be better off buying your own scooter if you plan on using the scooter regularly. Having a required subscription pretty much eliminates the tourist market, as well as eliminating those who might just want to use the scooter for the occasional trip.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Parking costs might be up there, but I agree that they need to target the tourist market and the locals who don't have a car and just need it once or twice a month. But, e-bikes would be the way I would go. And it needs to be easy to do the one time, or whole day rental. However, if you 'lease' this scooter (but can hop on and off any that you find), for $1200-$1700 year, maybe it would work?
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      This begs for more flexibility in payment systems. What if I only want it for 3 days a month for 1h each? What abour tourists? Besides, $150 per month is $1800 per year, you could almost buy one of these at this price.