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Revue TELECOM 181 - Floatility The next generation short distance sharing technology

Articles Revue TELECOM




The next generation short

distance sharing technology


Par Daniel Priem et Olivier Risse dans la revue TELECOM n° 181

“By 2050 the UN predicts that more than 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities”

Looking at the current transportation systems in the big cities of the world, it is challenged with air pollution, congestion and inefficiency. Individual car transport is still dominating the streets and is a mayor cause for the problem. By 2050 the UN predicts that more than 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities1.
This situation calls for action now.
One of the buzz words related with mobility trends in big cities is #sharingeconomy. Mobility is just one segment of the shared economy (goods, accommodation, services, money, etc.), but according to the study “Think ACT” 2 it is the fastest growing segment of the shared economy in terms of revenue.
Today there are already many modes to move around in the city and current options like public transport, cars, bikes are extended by car -, ride- and bike sharing options, e.g. the famous Paris bike-sharing system Vélib. They all differ in terms of distance-fit and price.

“Too long to walk, but too short to drive”

The majority of the solutions are for middle and high distances, but what about the distance between your home and the metro, the office to the bus or even to the next car-sharing vehicle. These short distances which seem too long to walk, but too short to drive make the commute still a hassle.
Floatility realized this challenge as an opportunity and looked for a vehicle which can serve the last mile in an easy, convenient and safe way. We came to the conclusion that a light electric kickboard, categorized as PLEV by the European Union (Personal Light Electric Vehicle), is a great solution. When analysing the huge market for PLEVs we found vehicles that were available to purchase, but were either too small, too big, too fast, too slow, too expensive etc.

Roland Berger Bike Sharing 4.0

The idea was born to design and manufacture a light electric vehicle by our self, the e-floater. The e-floater is a born sharing economy PLEV which is smart in terms of communication through telematics and has a sleek, urban design – it gives the user the sensation of floating through the city.

We configured the e-floater with a maximum speed of 25km/h and a battery range of 15km. As the weight of the e-floater impacts the vehicle’s energy consumption and range it had to be as light as possible. Therefore we work together with BASF who provides us with composite and plastic materials that we use in the production models and help us with the right material mixture. This keeps the weight of the e-floater to around 12 kg.

MaaS - Mobility as a Service

Floatility calls itself a Mobility Service provider (MaaS) for the last mile and therefore not only the product is key, but also the system and infrastructure. We took a very good look at the existing sharing systems, especially the bike-sharing systems, to learn and adopt the recommendations directly into our next generation system.
Roland Berger did a study with the title “Bike Sharing 4.0” and some of the key recommendations for the next generation sharing systems are:

1. Flexible or virtual stations
2. Intermodular
3. Electric
4. Green Energy
5. High density and availability
6. Easy check-in/out

This lead to the point, that Floatility is aiming for a free floating scheme, meaning there will be no fixed pick-up and return station. The e-floater instead can be picked up anywhere in the business district. This makes it easy to combine with other forms of transport. The integrated controller communicates in real-time with a server back end, so when the batteries run on low they will be swopped by the operations team, ensuring that the e-floater always has enough electricity. Additional there will be a couple of solar charging stations well placed close to important transport hubs, where the user can dock the e-floater and will be given free minutes in return. The typical amount of e-floater will be around 500 / cluster (cluster is 7.5 – 9km2).To use the e-floater you have to register as a customer, download the app and than pay as familiar on a cent/min base.
The combination of hardware and software makes the e-floater an IoT (Internet of Things) solutions and allows an efficient network operation.

Platform overview

Hamburg – Singapore based

Floatility is a Hamburg-Singapore based startup with 6 employees and currently preparing their injection moulding production from a small batch production to a serial production. So far the parts for around 30 e-floater have been produced and assembled with a MakerLab approach locally in Hamburg and Singapore. The first projects are planned for Q3 2016. The next months will be exciting for Floatility as Singapore has just presented a new regulation for light electric vehicles, which allows the use on bicycle lanes. In Europe the e-floater is already permitted in Switzerland and Austria and other countries are about to implement the new regulations soon. In the meantime Floatility is test riding, fine tuning and getting ready for the first commercial projects and hopefully we will soon see an e-floater soon in your city! 


2/ Roland Berger Think Act Shared Mobility July 2014

Les auteurs

Oliver Risse CEO and Founder of Floatility.
Oliver is a cleantech fanatic and worked the last 15 years in the field of clean energy investments, smart city technologies, electric mobility and sustainable design. He loves the high pace early stage venture space to accelerate businesses with a positive impact.
Since more than 9 years Oliver lives in Singapore and travels between and Asia and Europe to set-up businesses and supporting early stage companies. Floatility is his latest ventures with offices in Hamburg and Singapore and the aim to solve the last mile transportation problem.

Daniel Priem Vice President Europe
Daniel is a Green Technology Evangelist. He studied environmental and business management and worked more than 13 years in the renewable energy industry for international companies, mainly in BizDev, Sales and Executive Management. Afterwards he was working as a Startup Consultant focusing on Green Technologies. He is part of the Floatility story from the very first beginning and is responsible for the operations in Europe.
Daniel calls Hamburg his harbor, where he loves and lives the concept of sharing economy.



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