Ultra-competitive pricing leads Bolt to fly high above other electric scooter startups in European cities



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In May, Bolt, the Estonian start-up, launched its electric scooter service, saying the rollout was the biggest of its kind and challenging rivals with ultra-low pricing. Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, offer rides on their electric scooters for as little as 0.05 euros per minute with no unlocking fee, undercutting competitors who typically charge 1 euro per trip plus 15-25 euro cents a minute.

Bolt's 27-year-old chief executive and co-founder Markus Villig told Reuters, "We think that's a price point where really everyone can start using the service." And he’s not wrong, according to Airnow’s Data platform, Bolt is flying high above all its competition, with 4.5 x more downloads than its next closest competitor Voi last month, a trend that has been present since Bolt’s release in May.

Bolt is part of a crop of so-called micromobility startups, including Tier, Lime and Voi and many others, seeking to replace cars in city centres with more flexible and sustainable transport.

Active in more than 40 countries, Bolt already has 130,000 e-scooters on Europe's roads. Asked how Bolt could compete so aggressively on price, Villig said it was able to spread the cost of services including ride-hailing, electric bicycles, food and parcel delivery and car sharing across its technology platform.

Bolt also aims to offer superior reliability with its latest Bolt 4 scooter model, which comes with a modular, easy-to-repair design and which can be fully recycled. More broadly, Bolt is looking to expand its presence in 150 European cities this year as part of a 100 million euro investment strategy, which it said would make it the region's largest micromobility provider.