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.