A new crop of scooter startups has emerged in the hope of capitalizing on the popularity of dockless rental services such as Bird and Lime. The latest is Unicorn, a stylish electric scooter of $ 699 from the co-maker of gadget tracker Tile.
Unicorn, based in Austin, Texas, wants to be a scooter company for people who prefer to own rather than share. In addition to a striking profile – the all-white look is really something – the scooter also comes with a lot of high-tech bells and whistles, such as GPS tracking and smartphone-enabled locking. Of course, this also includes integration with Tile, which uses Bluetooth to easily trace lost items, such as a wallet, keys or telephone.
"I am currently fulfilling the dream I had years ago with Tile to place objects in everything, and with Unicorn we do that with electric scooters," Evans said via email. "By integrating Tile into our Unicorns, we are continuing Tile's mission and also offering the easiest-to-use electric scooter on the market."
Despite its flashy appearance, the specifications of the Unicorn are fairly standard for an electric scooter. The scooter is manufactured in collaboration with Segway / Ninebot, one of the largest scooter manufacturers in the world. The Unicorn has a maximum speed of 15 mph, a range of 10-15 miles, a 300 watt motor and a 187 WH battery that needs 3.5 hours to charge. It weighs 28 pounds and can be folded in two for easy storage. It is priced at $ 699, which is a $ 549 discount as an introductory promotion.
But at $ 699, Unicorn hopes to get a price that is slightly more expensive than most Xiaomi scooters you find on Amazon, but not as expensive as some of the more robust, powerful scooters on the market.
So what about those bells and whistles? After you have downloaded the Unicorn app – of course there is an app – the scooter is unlocked and the light comes on as soon as you are within 10 feet. When you're done, the scooter goes into "Screened mode" and does not drive or drive for someone else. That said, you can still share access with someone else if you want to share. With the app you can share the scooter with two other people, or an unlimited number with a function called UnicornCare.
Because everything must be a subscription, UnicornCare gives customers access to a range of additional services for $ 29.99 a month. These include free repairs, replacements if the scooter is lost or stolen (with a deductible amount of $ 49), real-time LTE GPS tracking, unlimited sharing and premium customer support.
This should not come as a total shock. The other Evans company, Tile, has recently released its own subscription service, Tile Premium. For $ 29.99 a year or $ 2.99, customers get an unlimited number of Tile devices, extended warranties, and other premium features. As The Verge & # 39; s Ashley Carman wisely notes that subscriptions are one of the few ways that creators of gadgets can hope to make a profit.
Scooters sharing services, such as Bird and Lime, are struggling to make their unit economy work. But according to Evans, self-owned scooters still have a long runway, mainly because some of the smaller participating companies are faltering.
"Building a quality product and a sustainable brand costs much more than placing an order with Alibaba and striking your new hip logo and a noticeable four-letter company name on the side," he said. "It's about concentrating on the wishes and needs of customers and finding the best way to address them. How you get there must be ancillary to that goal."