Had your fill of all those dockless electric bikes and scooters littering the streets of cities across America? Hankering for something new, something different, maybe even something that looks sillier than a scooter? Gotcha, the bike- and scooter-share service, has got you to covered. (Pun intended.)
Gotcha, which operates bike and scooter-sharing services on dozens of college campuses, is adding a new vehicle to its product lineup: a three-wheeled, battery-powered trike. It can seat two people at a time, has a top speed of 25 mph, and a range of 40 miles per charge. The company expects to begin adding it to its fleet later this year.
Gotcha CEO Sean Flood calls it a “reimagined moped.” “We wanted to make something that was a more approachable device and that was different than scooter,” Flood told The Verge.
There is growing interest around three-wheeled EVs among investors and venture capitalists, with startups Arcimoto and Electra Meccanica garnering the most attention. Gotcha, a 10-year-old company based in Charleston, SC, has mostly flown under the radar as a ride-share operator thanks to its university-heavy business model.
In addition to the trike, the company also operates a small fleet of 100-mile range EVs as a shared ride service. The new vehicles are a kind of mix between Uber, a bus and a taxi. Riders can arrange a ride through an app or simply hail them from the street.
To promote the new product, Flood is taking one of his company’s trikes on a multi-state road trip, from one of Gotcha’s facilities in Tallahassee, Fla. to Austin, Texas, for SXSW. The 979-mile journey is expected to take seven days traveling at the trike’s top speed of 25 mph.
Since starting the company 10 years ago with his wife, Flood as watched it grow to over 110 corporate employees and to 65 markets. But the costs associated with operating such a diverse range of products is high, he admitted. Lifespan is a key factor in bike and scooter unit economics, with investors dismayed by the poor unit economics of these sharing companies. But Flood said that Gotcha’s trike is “beefier, and more fleet ready” than most of the other vehicles out there.
“Just a scooter company?” he said. “To me, that’s the more dangerous bet.”