There are endless apps for scooter- and bike-sharing. On top of that, there’s a long list of choices for electric bicycles, scooters, trikes, unicycles, skateboards, light-weight motorcycles, and mopeds. It’s a lot.
So Chinmay Malaviya and Charlie Depman, former execs at Lime, Scoot and Bird, built an online store dedicated to all rides electric, all in one place. Ridepanda launched Wednesday with curated e-rides for e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-mopeds. It’s built around custom searches based on preferences like price, comfort, ratings, or even weight. There’s also a quiz to find your personalized list of suggested rides.
Ridepanda is for riders who want to buy and own their device, so you won’t find suggestions to rent a scooter through an app. As the pandemic rages on, e-bike sales are through the roof, having more than doubled since last year. Figuring out which two-wheeler to buy, though, is overwhelming. “Today as a consumer it’s a noisy experience,” with so many options for e-bikes and e-scooters to parse through, co-founder Malaviya said in a recent call.
Vehicles on Ridepanda are sold through the company directly, so you won’t interact with scooter makers like Segway or Unagi. Ridepanda offers its own financing, warranties, and customer support for after your purchase. Its logo features a panda wearing a helmet and, sure enough, helmets, locks, and other add-ons are available on the site as well.
Not any scooter or bike can make it onto the new rides site. Every product is reviewed and vetted based on repairability, safety, performance, sustainability, and durability. As the co-founders noted, not all scooters on the market use reputable batteries or easy-to-find replacement parts. But the site is also limited, especially at launch. There are only 12 e-scooter options so far, so it’s far from exhaustive. For more niche e-categories, like electric skateboards or one-wheeled devices, you still need to do your own research.
Depman gives credit to ride-sharing apps like Lime, Lyft, and Bird for getting people excited about owning their own vehicle. The apps “introduced people to this new class of vehicle that’s eco-friendly and fun,” he said. “[It’s] whetting people’s appetite for ownership.” Just this week, scooter-share company Bird started selling its $600 Bird Air e-scooter at Target. No sharing necessary.