After reading this article you might also be interested to find more info about how to get a Globber scooter, so check our article on that. If you live in a big city, chances are you’ve seen a lot of electric scooters lately. This article is here to explain a bit about how these scooters work and how they get charged.
How it all started
The business of electric scooter rentals started when companies that were offering bike-sharing services began seeing the new opportunity. Lime was one of the first companies to do that and the company nearly abandoned its bike-sharing agenda, and it’s now making great profits with the help of electric scooters.
There are lots of new companies emerging, with big players like Ford Motors entering the market too. Razor, which was one of the first scooter companies, also got into the game. There are brands from all over the world that try to tap into this new craze of rental scooters. Uber and Lyft saw that scooters cause them to lose some customers, so they jumped on the opportunity too.
One of the most successful brands to implement this riding system was Bird. The brand somewhat pioneered the move and it is now a leading force in the domain. Lime and Bird are the two unicorn companies that take full advantage of this transportation system (unicorn meaning a startup that is valued at more than $1 billion).
Who makes the scooters?
The vast majority of these scooters, however, aren’t made by the companies that offer them for rental, but they are produced in China. When the people at Bird started to work in this domain, they didn’t really know how the general public would react to them, so they just ordered some electric scooters that were made for the general consumer.
Those scooters worked really well and the other companies took the example. None of them waited for electric scooters that were made especially for this business. That is why most of the scooters you find on the streets of your city today are very similar to the ones used initially by Bird. It’s just that each of them is customized a bit to have the logo and style of the rental company.
The main company that supplies these scooters is Ninebot, a brand from China funded by Xiaomi, a major Chinese electronics manufacturer. The company also owns the Segway brand, so if you see any of these names on an electric scooter, they all come from the same company.
Most of the companies already producing scooters have started to create new working spaces to increase their productivity, but industrial grade rental scooters are not yet available, so the product is still in its early form.
How does charging work?
As you might know, these electric scooters are powered by batteries placed in them. They are lithium-ion batteries that are very similar to the ones you find in your smartphone or laptop. People rent the scooters, they ride them, and at the end of the day, the battery gets depleted if the scooter was used long enough.
However, nobody likes a scooter with low battery. When there isn’t too much power left in the battery the scooter goes extremely slow. Furthermore, when the battery is fully depleted, you can’t ride the electric scooter, as the wheels get locked in place. That is why when the battery drops below a certain percentage, the rental companies have a system in place that prevents users from riding that scooter.
This means that somebody needs to come and charge those electric scooters. And whoever does that needs to do it fast, during the night, so the next day the scooters are ready to be ridden again. An army of employees that charges the scooters during the night would be too expensive, so rental companies do it another way.
Who charges the scooters?
Each brand has its own “chargers” that collect the scooters and charge them overnight. Bird and Lime are the biggest in this business, so they work with freelancers, relying on contract workforce to pick up their scooters and charge them overnight.
Almost anybody can be a charger or a juicer as Lime calls its freelancers. You can apply on the respective company’s app and once you’re approved you can start collecting scooters and charge them, and you will receive a payment.
You can even be a charger for more companies at once, and you’ll be happy to know that the electric scooters use very similar cables, so you can charge a Lime scooter with a Bird charger. The way you collect scooters is you first see them on the app’s map. The map shows you which scooters need to be picked up and charged.
You also see information about how much you get paid for each scooter. There are some scooters that have been missing for a while, and they’re thus harder to find and they get you a better payment. However, finding those scooters is most often dangerous.
Some other companies including Uber use their own workers to charge the scooters and they pay them on an hourly basis. These companies charge all of their scooters in a single place, most often a warehouse rented for this purpose. As you might expect, there are good and bad parts to both of these charging methods. A mixed method would be best if employed successfully, as this ensures the chargers are paid well and they’re also safe.
If you’re looking to become a charger, the main thing you need to charge an electric scooter is a charging cable. But you need more than one if you want to be profitable, especially because companies require you to charge at least 3 scooters per night. That is why companies send you 3 or 4 cables when you start.
The process of charging the scooters is a straightforward one, you just plug them into your power sockets. You can charge more scooters per night with the same cables if you have the time. Charge one scooter and then use the same cable to charge another one. But this process can be annoying as you need to wake up to change the scooter that’s being charged.
So instead you can buy more charging cables, and if you’re fortunate, you can buy some from the rental companies for an advantageous price. There are also stores where you can find these cables.
You can use some other gear if you wish, but it’s recommended that you start off with few things. Just begin your experimentation with the cables that you get first, and see if it’s for you. When you feel that you can really turn in a profit charging electric scooters, you can go on and try to get more scooters each night, ramp up the numbers.
If that’s the case, you should also have some reflective gear, to make sure people can see you during the night, just in case you’re picking up a scooter that’s too close to traffic. Gloves are also a good idea, as you never know where the scooters have been. Flashlights can be used to find those hard-to-find scooters, while wagons can be used to carry those that have a totally depleted battery.
Can anybody be a charger?
There are some mandatory requirements that you need to comply with in order to become a charger. The first of them is, of course, that you need to have a place where you can charge the scooters. You also need a permit to work in the US, a bank account for you to receive the money, and you need to have free nights.
Although those are the basics, you will do a lot better if you have a car, or better, a van or truck. Having a friend to help you pick up the scooters would be great as well.