OPEX for Shared Mobility

Augustin Friedel

Augustin Friedel: What Successful Sharing Providers Are Doing Right

October 14, 2021 | Reading time: 4 min

Augustin Friedel is one of Germany’s best-known Shared Mobility Experts. In this interview, he reveals not only insights into the current trends on the mobility market, but also what is important for long-term success as a sharing provider. He finds the optimization of daily operational processes particularly important.

You have been following the developments in the Shared Mobility sector for about 10 years and have been sharing your knowledge, insights and observations on LinkedIn as well as in smaller projects. Over the years, you have built a growing network that highly values your expertise. What is it about shared mobility that fascinates you so much?

It is impressive how quickly the individual sectors, such as micromobility, carsharing or ride services, have developed. But what drives me most is the potential that shared mobility services have in terms of improving urban mobility.

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Give us an insight into current trends in the mobility market: What is happening relating to topics of autonomous driving and micromobility?

After the disillusionment of recent years, autonomous driving is once again gaining importance. Automobile manufacturers and technology companies are stepping up their activities in China, the USA and now also in Europe. In the field of micromobility, it can be seen that providers of free-floating e-scooters or e-bikes are becoming increasingly active in long-tail cities, i.e. in smaller towns having a population of around 100,000. There, they have little competition from other shared mobility providers or dense public transport.

Population Settlement Structure in Germany

More than two-thirds of Germans live in densely populated metropolitan areas. Urban districts, which also include the so-called long-tail cities, offer particularly high potential for shared mobility providers. Population density is high there, but competition is still lower than in the big cities.

Settlement structure in Germany

How are cities responding to the increasing expansion of shared mobility services?

Cities are becoming more active in promoting shared mobility and adopting frameworks for sharing services. Simultaneously, more and more cities are working to reduce individual traffic and emissions generated by mobility and transportation.

These developments and local government efforts are making it easier for sharing providers to enter the market; and competition is growing. What should new sharing providers know?

Providers must be aware that they cannot operate profitably from day one. Depending on their own ambition and competitive environment, the financial resources must be available to fund vehicles, operations and growth. The choice of vehicles is important in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO) and the interaction between vehicles and software.

Developments in Smart Mobility

Augustin Friedel is an expert on the German mobility market and regularly publishes insightful analyses and status reports. He summarizes interesting findings and trends with vivid infographics.

Infographics Augustin Friedel

What are successful sharing providers doing right to survive, especially in cities with high competition?

Successful sharing providers respond to the local conditions and needs of customers. Mobility is "hyper local". A one-size-fits-all approach, which e.g. Uber or e-Scooter providers pursued at the beginning, was not sustainable.

In daily operations, it also quickly becomes clear that running a sharing service is a very operational business. The constant optimization of operational processes must be the focus in order to reduce costs and maximize vehicle utilization.

Can you tell the three most important steps that providers can take to get customers excited about their mobility service?

Step 1: Availability of vehicles. The vehicles must be available in sufficient numbers so that the user has short walking distances.

Step 2: The pricing structure provides an attractive offer. Sharing providers compete with each other as well as with private vehicles and public transport. A pricing structure that allows flexible and competitive usage is preferred by users.

Step 3: A hassle-free user experience across all touchpoints between the customer and the service. This starts with registration in the app, continues with the use of the vehicles, and extends to customer service and marketing.

Thank you for the interview!

About Augustin

After accompanying the launch of the U.S. service Uber in Germany, Augustin Friedel's career took him through positions at Blacklane and ioki, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, to Volkswagen AG, where he now works as a corporate and sustainability strategist. Driven by his great enthusiasm for intermodal mobility services, he also blogs privately on LinkedIn and Twitter about current trends and regularly publishes reports and analyses on the shared mobility industry. With several thousand followers, Augustin Friedel is one of the most influential mobility bloggers in Germany.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views published in this interview are his personal ones and are not related to his work at VW.

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