European Business: For 80 years, the name Metz has stood for a medium-sized company that was closely linked with photography and consumer electronics. Where did the idea come from to launch a completely new business segment with e-scooters?
Lauri Jouhki: The core business of Metz mecatech, the market for photography flash units and accessories, has been declining for several years. This is mainly due to smartphone photography, which is becoming increasingly popular. In 2016, we decided to set up another business unit outside the camera business: electromobility. Our Metz moover is now the first product in this new division. For us, it is not unusual that we react in this way to current and future-oriented markets: for 80 years, Metz has been synonymous with ground-breaking innovations and has helped to shape the market for radios, televisions and photography flash units over the years.
European Business: The legal situation regarding e-scooters is confusing in many ways: are you allowed to ride them on the road or a bike path, do you have to wear a helmet or need a driver's license? To what extent are these open questions an obstacle to your business?
Lauri Jouhki: In contrast to many other e-scooters, the Metz moover may be driven on roads and cycle paths thanks to a special permit issued by the Federal Motor Transport Authority. In this special permit, the other points from your question are clarified: the wearing of a helmet while riding the Metz moover is not compulsory, but we do recommend it. You must be at least 15 years old and have a moped license to ride the Metz moover.
European Business: Many companies offering last-mile mobility solutions tailor their concepts to the respective city. Metz, on the other hand, offers the end customer a standard solution. Why is the final location not a factor for you?
Lauri Jouhki: The Metz moover may - unlike other e-scooters - be driven in all German cities and is not bound to a specific city. We have tailored it precisely to the needs of city dwellers and commuters: The Metz moover makes it easier to get to work and allows city dwellers to travel short distances quickly, legally and comfortably. This applies without exception to all metropolitan areas and beyond.
With the Metz moover, the commute to work is made easier and city dwellers can use it to cover short distances quickly, legally and comfortably. Lauri Jouhki
European Business: Depending on the dealer, your moover costs up to 2,000 EUR. A bus ticket or a bicycle would be the much cheaper option. Why is the investment in a moover still worthwhile?
Lauri Jouhki: Commuters using the bus are always tied to specific routes and travel times. With the Metz moover, you are much more flexible: you can choose your own routes without having to stick to departure and arrival times. We do not want to replace the bike with the moover but complement it. On longer journeys, the bicycle is the much better option. On short trips, on the other hand, our moover is more practical: it fits into the trunk of a car, can be folded up to carry into the office and you do not have to lock it up like a bicycle at the front door.
The need for alternative and clean transportation has never been as high or as urgent in city centers as it is right now. Just take the diesel scandal for example. Lauri Jouhki
European Business: There have already been some potential game changers in micro-mobility - take for example Segways. None of them has ever really been able to reach the mass market. What goals and target groups have you set yourself with the moover?
Lauri Jouhki: Our target groups are city dwellers, commuters, mobile home owners and everyone who has to cover short distances every day. When we developed the moover, we wanted to create an everyday means of transportation for short distances that is of high quality and legally sound. While there have been products in the micro-mobility segment for some time now, the need for alternative and clean transportation options has never been as high or as urgent in city centers as it is right now. Just take the diesel scandal for example. Before the Metz moover, there was no comparable product on German roads, which one was legal on the roads and at the same time was suitable for everyday use and both portable and compact enough to put in a car trunk.
Interview: Julien Miller | Photos: Metz mecatech GmbH