The scooters of eCooltra are powered by electric energy. A friendly environmental transport that takes into account a responsible production and is exploring a new market related to renewable energies. It is also a service that contributes for a sustainable growth of cities and communities, investing in technology while supporting the concept of a sharing economy.
IPMI International Business School
Amelia Naim Indrajaya
Cooltra Group was founded by a German entrepreneur called Timo Buetefisch in 2006. The company, headquartered in Barcelona, is focused on two wheels mobility solutions. In 2016, Cooltra launched an app called eCooltra, a project that aims to provide a 2 wheels sustainable vehicle, embracing the concept of accessing instead of owning.
eCooltra is a revolutionary service that consists in a simple app that allows the renting of an electric scooter per minutes. The concept of the service follows the idea of a sharing economy plus a sustainable environment. The scooters are owned and provided by the company, they are spread across the city and the users only need to unlock the nearest electric bike through the app when they get close to her, then, they just need to use it, being their own drivers. After riding it, the drivers must park the bikes inside the operational area defined by the company.
This business contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN in many sides. First, the company is following the goal number 7: Affordable and clean energy; the use of electric motorbikes is a solution for the fossil fuels that doesn’t cause emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere. Secondly, eCooltra supports the goal number 9: Industries, Innovation and Infrastructures; the company is investing in transportation and technology. The innovation is an example of a high-tech product that contributes to the development and growth of cities, and the empowering of communities. Thirdly, the goal number 11: Sustainable cities and communities; is also influenced by the firm. Related to the previous goal, services like eCooltra provide the answer for some challenges faced by many cities. It allows the cities to grow in prosperity and in a sustainable way, fighting against problems like congestion, air pollution, etc... Fourth, eCooltra aims to the achievement of the goal number 12: Responsible consumption and production; the company is giving solutions for consumers but also doing it in a responsible way, investing in natural resources and sustainable vehicles. Fifth and last, the company supports the goal number 13: Climate action, the use of renewable energies is an action that contributes to mitigate threats like weather patterns changes, sea levels arise or another environment danger.
The motivations for the creation of such innovation were mainly two. Firstly, eCooltra is a service which shows that the concept of assessing is becoming more important than owning. As my interviewee said: “We are helping citizens to understand that there is a need on changing the perception of owning”. eCooltra is a shared mobility solution that is changing people´s mind about the mobility scheme in cities. In their view, having an own vehicle is mindset that is being changed by new concepts like this. In overall, this service is seeking the ideal of a sharing economy where customers have the possibility to share the accessing to goods and services.
Secondly, the company is following a sustainable goal related to zero emissions of CO2 through the use of electric energy. “We are trying to educate users on electric mobility, on its advantages and possibilities.”, eCooltra wants to explore a new type of consumption in transportation, their electric motorbikes show that it is possible to change the old fossil fuels for renewable energies. An example of “Doing well by doing good”, this second motivation for the company is related with the seek of building a sustainable world and investing in new energies is the way to achieve that.
In a short run view, so far, the business is in 3 different countries and 6 different cities. It has around 500,000 users all around these places, who embraced the app into their lives and use it every day. Some of those users are people that have changed their own vehicle for this moto sharing free-floating app, now, they are familiar with the concept of a sharing economy and care about giving a good contribution for a sustainable environment. It is also a way of discard the responsibility of taking care of their own vehicle and having access to a quicker transport. Of course, there is already some impact on the environment thanks to the use of the electric motorbikes, but we will see those benefits more evident with the growth of the company.
In a long-term view, the company is focused on consolidating the business in the places where they already operate. Those cities will be the first to see some environmental benefits in the future due to the early use of the electric motorbikes. Another plan for these countries is to provide them a sustainable way of transportation that will give them the chance to grow and prosper around high-tech solutions.
The business of eCooltra is not profitable yet. As my interviewee said: “eCooltra business is a just born market, where inversion is required”. This innovation requires big initial costs to launch the service into the market, such as, the cost of developing technology, the acquisition of the scooters (because the company owns the scooters), the building of the platform, etc.… So, all of these needs a huge initial investment, especially when expanding the business to other countries. However, the company keeps growing and believes that the profits will appear in the long run when the business becomes solid.
Cooltra group has more than 500 employees working for the company. Along these workers we can find: electric engineers, customer experience experts, mechanicals, IT developers, marketing savvy and so on. As a disruptive innovation in the market, Timo Buetefisch, the founder, always looked for the most curious and proactive team members, for him creativity was essential to have success in this business. The operational area of the business has been increasing since 2016. Now, the service is available across 3 different countries and 6 different cities, what is a big achievement for only 2 years. It started two years ago in Barcelona, and given the huge success, the company launched the service in Madrid, Valencia, Rome and Lisbon in 2017. This year, Cooltra group opened the business in Milan. The vision of the company is to keep growing next year and consolidate the current business areas.
The concept of eCooltra is oriented to the society. The company focuses on changing the people´s mind about “owning”. They believe that in a sustainable future of transportation the concept of “accessing” will become more important. That’s why according to their service once you have finished riding the motorbike, it is taken by a different user, maximizing the rotation and reducing the time vehicles spent parked. This is about efficiency and reduction of costs for both sides. The concept of a sharing economy includes innovations like this one, where people share the same access to goods and services. Also, they are providing a high-tech service that allows the society to grow along the technology advancements, educating people into a new and sustainable world. So, societies take many benefits from this innovation, such as, they have no longer a need to buy their own vehicle, less congestion, empowerment of technology in societies.
Evaluating the impact of the innovation on the environment, this has a huge positive effect. Electric motorbikes are powered by renewable energies, they are no longer prejudicing the environment, the company is contributing for a clean and affordable energy. The fact that people are switching from their own vehicles for using eCooltra scooters in their daily lives, benefits a lot the atmosphere around a city, and those benefits will be more evident in the long-run.
Almudena del Mar Muñoz, Communications Manager
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Business Website: https://www.ecooltra.com/en/
Year Founded: 2016
Number of Employees: 501 to 1000
eCooltra is a moto sharing free-floating app service that gives the customers the chance of renting electric scooters per minutes. Using the app as a key, we can drive any available scooter parked near us, powered by sustainable energy. The users just need to download the app, provide their motorbike license and start using it. The app shows the map of the area around the customer position and the free motorbikes parked nearby. The user chooses one and reserve it. The individual must meet the bike after this and unlock it through the app. After riding the motorbike, the customer must park it inside the operational area of the vehicles. The motorbikes offer two helmets and every trip is covered with insurance.