Riders checking out Shared’s electric vehicles in Portland. (Shared Photo)
Seattle startup Shared is cruising into the tumultuous bike-and-scooter sharing space with a “micro-vehicle” of its own design, a sort of stripped-down electric-powered moped with burly, super wide tires. Internally, the Shared team calls it a scooter, but a new moniker is in the works.
So why reinvent the shared-vehicle wheel?
“When you ride one, you understand the advantages,” said CEO and co-founder Braydon Batungbacal.
The vehicle has a low center of gravity and the wide tires make it easier to balance than other two-wheeled devices. The tires also provide better traction in bad weather and can maneuver over uneven surfaces. The battery can go for 40 miles between charges. The vehicle can manage steep hills and speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.
The device is sturdy, making it difficult to steal compared to other lightweight scooters, while also creating a more comfortable ride for larger users.
The heft of the device is important for its other planned use: the self-driving, autonomous transport of goods.
“We see a future where micro-transport vehicles aren’t just littered everywhere for passersby to go from A to B, but where they’re autonomous, intelligent and capable of more than just transporting people,” Batungbacal said.
Shared team, from left to right: Thomas Chang, chief strategy officer; Alexander Mikhail, chief technology officer; Jason Atherton, chief business officer; and Braydon Batungbacal, CEO. Not pictured: Tarani Duncan, chief operating officer. (Shared Photo)
Shared launched in February and raised $600,000 in a pre-seed round.
The e-vehicle’s design is a riff on similar devices sold in Korea and China. Shared deployed 15 of the vehicles in Portland in June to see how they performed. The trial went well, and the company is rolling out 200 of the vehicles in the city by early August. Riders pay $1 …read more