François Hoehlinger on what’s driving the future of micromobility.

The market for mobility, and micromobility in particular, saw big changes in 2023. François Hoehlinger, former CEO of Troopy and co-founder of TOLV, talks to us about the obstacles facing the micromobility sector and explains how to enter an industry facing many challenges.

What new mobility trends did you see emerge in 2023?

In 2023, we saw some strong counter-trends in mobility, starting with the micromobility market, which suffered from the market downturn and the drying-up of financing.

Inflation has clashed with micromobility’s recent business model, but there are still some positives: last-mile delivery and cargo bikes. Trends are turning toward green mobility, and battery repair services have also made their mark on the market.

On the software side, companies are increasingly innovating to optimize existing and future mobility business models. In particular, we have seen fund-raising for solutions to optimize journey times and carbon reporting.

We can also mention the regulations governing electric scooters, which have become stricter in Paris and have led to the extinction of many players. Cities that have kept fleets of electric scooters have tended to reduce the size of these fleets to optimize their use, and other cities like Paris have cut off these types of services altogether, which is not necessarily the solution to adopt. If we want to make it work for everyone, we sometimes need to give ourselves the means to do so, notably by putting in place the right infrastructure and educating users. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.

It took public transport 40 to 50 years to carve out a solid place for itself in the mobility landscape. Emerging services in the micromobility market, based on ultra-fast models, will also take some time to find their rightful place.

What can we expect in 2024? Where is mobility headed?

For some years now, mobility has not been at the forefront of investors’ minds, as it’s a complicated model to finance, and not always profitable. We’re also seeing a contraction in the market, with fewer startups being financed than in the pre-COVID era. 2024 will be the year of consolidation, as demonstrated by TIER’s partnership with Dott in early January.

On the investor side, more flexibility is needed. Mobility business models take time. Look at Uber, which took a long time to stabilize and is now a key player in the market. It’s essential to give mobility players more time to make their way toward the “network effect” and profitability.

Today, governments need to agree on a common policy to enable regions and cities to roll out mobility solutions for their citizens, and mobility players to continue to exist. And this is undoubtedly what will take shape in 2024.

François Hoehlinger, co-founder of TOLV

Would you like to know more about the future of mobility? Discover the perspectives that will guide mobility in 2024.

Is there a particular micromobility service (e.g. electric bikes) that is most popular with users?

The e-scooter is a relatively attractive means of travel for users. Even if, from an ecological point of view, you’ll never do better than walking or cycling, in some big cities it’s simply not possible, or it would take too much time. The scooter is a good way to get around quickly, without too much effort, and at an affordable price.

As for the motorized scooter, it’s the best modal alternative to the car: not only can you cover long distances, but in cities like Paris, it’s much easier to get around than a car, especially during rush hour.

In Paris, the panorama of different means of transportation is vast, and to know what works best with users, we’ll have to wait for a little more insight, in order to better understand modes of transport and the actual modal shift away from individual car use.

Is collaboration between cities and micromobility operators growing as Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and multimodal travel becomes more popular? What impact is this having on the industry?

Micromobility players have built their businesses around their ability to get along with municipalities. Some cities, such as Munich and Stockholm, are pioneers in micromobility, while others find it more difficult to establish efficient collaboration with public authorities.

To overcome these inequalities between cities, we should now be able to offer them a catalog of solutions tailored to their specific mobility needs.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS), which enables users to plan, book and pay for an intermodal journey on a single digital platform, will bridge these inequalities or, conversely, sometimes complicate them by adding an additional technical layer to existing systems.

MaaS is a formidable tool, provided it is properly implemented in existing IT systems, but it is costly and complex to set up.

In France, regulations have become stricter, particularly for the rental of electric scooters. Do you think this will help improve safety on the roads? Or, on the contrary, will it slow the sector’s growth by discouraging users and players?

The situation in Paris has not been favorable to electric scooter services. We could have tried setting up test zones to make their use safer and encourage people to work with one another. We are now aware that this sets a precedent that will necessarily be negative for European cities.

The safety issue raised by the use of scooters is an important point; but what is the modal shift to buses or cars following the withdrawal of electric scooters? The aim of micromobility is to help open up cities; removing one of these new means of travel undoubtedly has an impact on citizens’ mobility.

If these micromobility systems exist and are to continue to exist, it is imperative that they be integrated into a single, comprehensive approach.

François Hoehlinger, co-founder of TOLV

A number of measures can be taken to provide a better framework for micromobility services.

With Troopy, scooter rental was only available to people over 21 years of age, who had to have a driver’s license and to pass certain additional tests, particularly relating to the vehicle’s motorization. Users who speeded repeatedly were excluded from the service.

Strict rules of use and prevention messages are essential. Let’s not forget that everyone is concerned by the use of the road and urban space, and so everyone needs to be educated, not just users of micromobility services.

In your opinion, is France a pioneer in micromobility compared to other countries?

France is a pioneer in the transport sector. Above all, we’re pioneers in terms of transport authorities such as Transdev and RATP.

The emergence of micromobility services was first seen in Northern European countries such as Norway, Sweden and Germany.

Take Stockholm, for example: the city’s bicycle lanes are protected and pedestrianized, and their bike-sharing system is one of the oldest in Europe. They also offer a Voi electric scooter service, a major player in the world of micromobility. Public space is very well shared, and this is what makes the difference between Stockholm and the way we operate in France today, where the approach is much more individualistic.

France has yet to find its own operating model for micromobility. This will require collaboration between transport authorities and mobility players. We need to make the most of our know-how, which has proved its worth to date, in the service of tomorrow’s mobility.

What are the major challenges facing micromobility players today? Particularly in terms of inclusivity and equality.

Today, mobility players are fighting to make inclusivity one of the spearheads of mobility in general. The various mobility services were created precisely to open up the countryside and the outskirts of cities.

The aim of micromobility is to enable citizens to move around freely, between metro lines for example, at a relatively accessible cost.

To convince the most reluctant on the topic, micromobility players will be relying on various aspects such as the safety of the vehicles made available, their availability at any time of the day or night and the speed of these means of transport.

What kind of solutions are micromobility players looking for to ease the use of their services?

A KYC solution like the one proposed by IDnow is extremely important in my opinion: it saves time and increases efficiency on the service side. Millions of micromobility journeys are recorded every year, which corresponds to thousands of accounts created that need to be verified to ensure the security of the services.

Eventually, the creation of unique identifiers to access different mobility services in the same city, as with MaaS, will be the order of the day.

François Hoehlinger, co-founder of TOLV

According to you and your market expertise, what makes the difference between a good KYC tool and a bad one?

Having compared several KYC solutions myself, the differentiating factors are time savings and the ability to deliver a high-performance tool. A good KYC tool should prevent fraud attempts and automate the identity verification process when an account is created on a platform.

How can someone enter into the mobility market?

As a company director, you can negotiate with the municipalities and work with the regulators present on the market to make your way, but it doesn’t work every time.

To offer a better structure to all European players, I have created, with the help of five expert co-founders, a free European network called “Intermobility” bringing together over 800 decision-makers in mobility, transport, logistics and energy.

But we’re not stopping there: in February 2024, we’re launching a French “think tank” specialized in these sectors. This think tank will bring together all the decision-makers in the ecosystem, from politicians to financiers, with the aim of restoring the image of the world of transport and making France an economic engine for mobility.

The aim is to bring together the different points of view and visions of mobility players. In the future, this will enable us to make appropriate proposals to move the mobility market toward greater social inclusion, as well as greater ecological and profitable, sustainable business models.


François Hoehlinger on what's driving the future of micromobility. 1

Mallaury Marie
Content Manager at IDnow
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