Driving change

New company scoots into Austin with electric mopeds for rent on demand

New company scoots into Austin with electric mopeds for rent on demand

Scoobi moped
Hit the road without contributing to Austin gridlock or CO2 emissions. Courtesy of Scoobi

For Austinites at a crossroads about how best to navigate through the streets of the Capital City without contributing to the area’s increasingly vexing traffic problems — or further worsening the ongoing environmental crisis with automobile-producing carbon dioxide — the newest innovation to roll out in our bustling metropolis might be just up your alley.

Scoobi, a Pittsburgh-based mobility company founded in 2018, is hoping to drive some change in Austin with its fleet of 200 zero-emissions electric mopeds, which just hit the streets.

The rentable Scoobi mopeds, which rolled out in key locations around Austin on Friday, November 5, aim to provide a new mobility solution for students, professionals, and tourists amid the city’s rapid growth.

“Our mission is to provide an efficient, alternative mode of transportation for Austin’s residents and visitors in order for them to experience the vibrant culture of the city in a fun and sustainable way,” says Mike Moran, CEO of Scoobi.

The company’s entry into the Austin market marks its only offerings outside of Pittsburgh, where, according to Scoobi, 46,000 registered riders have saved more than 388,000 pounds of CO2 and traveled 353,000 miles on the electric mopeds.

According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Austin-area commuters spent 48,435 hours in traffic in 2020 — despite pandemic-driven stay-at-home decrees that removed a great deal of vehicles from the roads for a significant amount of time. Given such statistics, and Austinites’ more green-minded ways, Scoobi is likely to be a welcome addition to the city’s streets.

The Scoobi electric mopeds, which have a top speed of 30 miles per hour and a range of up to 30 miles on a single battery charge, can be rented by any rider 18 or older with a valid driver’s license.

Riders simply access Scoobi’s app, which provides GPS directions to help locate available mopeds, then reserve their chosen vehicle for 10 minutes free of charge before renting. (The vehicles can also be rented by scanning a QR code on the bike’s screen when in the app.)

The Scoobi app displays the battery life for each moped and allows the vehicle to be started via the rider’s mobile device. Once it’s activated, users can access a lockable trunk that contains two different-sized helmets, along with a phone mount and phone charger.

Germ-sensitive Austinites (isn’t that all of us these days?) can rest assured that Scoobi’s field technicians sanitize the helmets and mopeds as well as change batteries throughout the day every day. And a local customer service number is printed on each moped’s trunk so riders can easily get help with any issues.

Riders can keep track of how many miles they’ve driven and how much CO2 they’ve saved over driving an average passenger car.

The electric mopeds are also reasonably affordable, giving locals another incentive to drive green. They cost $2 to unlock, 36 cents per minute while riding, and 18 cents per minute when paused in the app. Discount packages are also available.

Adding to its appeal, Scoobi has inked an agreement with the City of Austin that allows for free metered parking for its street-legal mopeds, which are prohibited from bike lanes and sidewalks, in order to help alleviate parking and congestion issues.

And Scoobi says it intends to work with local businesses to place charging stations in various locations throughout Austin.

A map on the Scoobi website shows the electric mopeds are available from the Hyde Park neighborhood to downtown and across the river to South Austin, as well as in portions of East Austin. Get more info and a link to download the Scoobi app for iPhone or Android devices on the company’s website.