Lots of companies are springing up to put forward the case of electric cars but what about the humble scooter? Govecs are a German company who believe that electric powered scooters are the future. Concentrating on sales to private enterprises rather than the average consumer, Govecs could revolutionise delivery services. Just imagine the reduction in emissions if every takeaway in Europe used electric scooters rather than the carbon equivalents that currently dominate the market. We chat to CEO Thomas Grübel about his vision.
What is the Govecs Group aim?
Our mission is to provide mobility solutions for all areas of industry. We are currently focusing on industrial usage for scooters with electric powered drive train systems that are at a cost advantage to fossil fuel powered products. Industry uses more of our scooters than the private consumer so most of our vehicles are used in sharing or delivery projects where scooters are heavily used.
We don’t have hybrids or fossil fuelled vehicles, Govecs is completely electric. We have the only plant in Europe of its size that is 100 per cent focusing on electric powered vehicles. We have implemented a drive train system into our scooters but we also offer our services to third parties.
Many critics see ‘range anxiety’ as a long-term downside for electric vehicles. How will you combat that?
Range is a concern for electric vehicles but looking at our products, it isn’t a problem for us. There are two homologation classes, category L and M. L is light vehicles with the largest being the size of a golf cart and the maximum speed of 100km/h. Essentially everything below a car. This is what Govecs is doing, larger and more powerful than a bicycle but clearly below the car industry. Range problems are felt much more in cars as people are used to travelling 5-600km on one tank. We don’t have this issue as most of our customers travel between 30-50km per day. We sell our scooters to the likes of Dominos and takeaway.com and they do up to 80-90km per day. We can easily provide that as our scooters can do a maximum of 140km per day. So it’s not a problem in our category.
Are you trying to carve out a niche in the transport industry?
It’s not really a niche industry. Think about how many products used today are powered up to 150cc. Millions of vehicles per year. Bicycles are too competitive an industry for us, especially in China and the car industry is a different league entirely. We’re between those two areas.
What products do you have on the market currently?
Currently we have a personal scooter and a cargo transport scooter. They look similar but they do differ in what they can do. We offer them both with built-in batteries but also changeable battery solutions, which are used in our sharing projects. We also offer three and four wheel versions to other providers but they run under a different brand ownership. In five weeks time we will announce to the press a whole new Govecs project. It will be an entirely new dimension for Govecs.
Do you look at the success of other electric vehicle producers like Tesla?
Yeah of course. At Tesla you are talking about £1-2 billion to build an entire company and a fleet while at a company like Mercedes or BMW, one programme will cost the same sort of money. We want electric vehicle companies like Tesla to be successful. Any negative electric vehicle story on the market is also bad for us. They would think the same way. A happy Govecs customer could become a happy Tesla customer later down the line. I’ve even ordered a Tesla car myself!
What is the future of Govecs and the electric vehicle industry as a whole?
I’ve been in the industry now for almost 20 years and when I started Govecs there were no components on the market. What Govecs is really good at is identifying electrical systems and putting them into vehicles. Configuration and integration. The problem in the last 5-10 years has been that large companies like Bosch and Siemens have not considered our market big enough to invest in. We’ve been forced to develop a lot just on our own. This is changing. Companies are now approaching us and providing systems to us. It will be much easier for us in the future to develop vehicles in much shorter times.