GEM, a leader in the Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) industry in the US, has announced that it is teaming up with Joyride to make its electric vehicles rentable as part of the larger shared micromobility market.
You’ve probably seen GEM’s electric vehicles before, even if you didn’t realize it. They’re those bubble-car looking vehicles that seem to be ubiquitous around airports, hotels, malls, sporting centers, and other major venues. They’re classified as LSVs, which is a distinct category from traditional motor vehicles in the US that allows these smaller vehicles to be street legal without meeting all the regulatory requirements of most passenger cars.
While GEM’s LSVs most commonly used in fleets and by commercial operators, they’re also available for purchase by consumers. They’re a bit pricey as a private vehicle though, which makes today’s announcement interesting to everyone out there who doesn’t own a hotel chain or airport.
Thanks to Joyride, you might be able to soon rent one of these vehicles when you need one – just like you would a Lime scooter. In fact, that’s what Joyride does – they make software that companies can use to quickly setup a shared micromobility fleet. I could buy a pile of e-scooters and use Joyride to make my own Bird or Lime competitor, if I was so inclined.
Or perhaps more critically, I could now do the same with GEM’s vehicles. They’ve worked with Joyride to make the IoT-compatible LSVs ready to roll with sharing software.
As explained by Paul Vitrano, Senior VP & Chief Legal and Policy Officer at GEM’s parent company Waev:
Teaming up with Joyride will make four-wheeled, street-legal GEM LSVs IoT-connected for the first time. Having GEM vehicles networked this way will make it painless and profitable to start or maintain a shared-use deployment capable of being controlled and managed by mobile devices.
Vince Cifani, Joyride’s founder and CEO, elaborated on the environmental impacts of the partnership:
With their compact footprint and low-speed travel, LSVs are efficient, sustainable and fun – while capable of transforming urban mobility and shared-use applications. Partnering with Waev on their GEM products furthers our global mission by providing shared mobility operators with a new option – and increased vehicle capabilities – in sustainable travel.
Joyride’s software is quite advanced, making it easy for a new operator to get set up with a shared micromobility fleet without the need for starting a billion dollar company like Bird (at least back when Bird was valued at a billion dollars). The software covers all of the fleet management concerns, offers geofencing and analytics, and even includes features like a sobriety test consisting of an in-app game that someone too drunk to operate a vehicle presumably couldn’t complete. The software covers all of the aspects of fleet management from payment gateways and verification to operating tools and customer service.
Those wanting to test out one of GEMs vehicles can do so at the Micromobility America show in San Francisco today and tomorrow, where the announcement was just made.
I love it!
If you know me and my coverage, you’ll know I love LSVs and microcars. GEMs vehicles are the most popular LSVs in the US, and this could help them find even more drivers. As car replacements in urban areas, a vehicle like a GEM is hard to beat – if you don’t need to go over 25 mph (40 km/h). Considering traffic often moves at much less than that in crowded city centers, an efficient GEM can be a great alternative to a heavy, dangerous car. As a driver, I’d rather drive one of these. And as a pedestrian, I’d rather get hit by one of these than a “real” car. I guess I’d rather not get hit at all, if I have the choice, but at the rate that pedestrian deaths in the US are increasing, it seems many don’t have that choice. So smaller, lighter, and more efficient car-alternatives are a great move for everyone.
Joyride also deserves some props here, too. That software is a great way to democratize shared micromobility, and it means you don’t need to be a massive organization with a room full of programmers to begin getting these vehicles out into operation. I’ve never been prouder to wear my Joyride socks I got for free at the last Micromobility trade show.
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