Revel targets Uber, Lyft in ridesharing wars

Pras Subramanian
Producer/Reporter


Go to any medium to large city in America — think Nashville, Denver, or Washington, D.C. — and you’ll notice an infestation … of electric scooters.

Electric, motorized scooters from companies like Bird, Lime, Skip, Scoot are talking over the precious sidewalk and curb space on city streets. Even South Park has gotten around to a lampooning the latest urban blight.

But maybe there’s a better way to get around town, that’s potentially safer, more controlled, with on-the-street parking.

An electric scooter of US company Lime lies on the pavement. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Enter Revel. Like Bird and Lime, Revel uses an app for people to rideshare a fleet of electric mopeds along the lines of a Vespa and not a battery-powered Razor-like scooter.

Revel is available in the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and the company just received approval to expand in Washington, D.C.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: A Revel brand moped sits parked on a residential street, June 18, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

These stylish all-electric mopeds zip around pretty quickly — at speeds up to 30 mph. In fact, I have the Revel app and have tried the service — it’s pretty seamless. Here’s how it works:

You download the app and register with Revel. Once you’re approved, open the app, and it shows you where Revels are located near you. You can reserve a Revel ahead of time or just walk up to one to unlock it with the app. Then, all you do is hit “Start Ride” on the app, and because it’s electric, the Revel just turns on, and you’re off.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: A Revel brand moped sits parked on a residential street, June 18, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Remember Revels are still technically electric scooters (or mopeds as they’re called here in New York), so therefore you don’t need an M-class license to ride them on the streets as you would a motorcycle, and as such, they are parked on the street, not the sidewalk. So the blight, if you will, of Lime and Bird scooters isn’t an issue here. Those who illegally park the Revel on a sidewalk or similar area will be penalized or have their membership revoked.

Revels are also the kind of self-transport that riders can use to go for longer trips than with a scooter, think 3 miles or so, Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said on The Final Round. And that means a bigger target when it comes to Revel’s piece of the rideshare market. “When I think about our competition, I think about Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) rideshare,” Reig says. “I don’t really think about bikes or scooters.”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: A Revel brand moped sits parked on a residential street, June 18, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

And that opportunity could be huge. We throw around the acronym TAM, or Total Addressable Market, a lot on financial TV when it comes to evaluating startups and the size of a potential market. And it when it comes to urban transport, I think we can safely say the market is huge — and there can be many players.

In the U.S. at least, the market addressable by moped of scooter users is still in its infancy. “With the mopeds I think about a vehicle that works in every single country around the globe — rich, poor, Europe, Asia, South America it doesn’t matter — this vehicle is the preferred vehicle in any major city,” Reig says.

But in America, it’s an opportunity Reig is confident in tapping, since there’s actually nothing new from a usage viewpoint, just an availability standpoint. “It’s new in America, and I can tell since we launched in Brooklyn and Queens, people love it,” he says.

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Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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