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Veo ‘temporarily pauses’ Seattle service, pledges to relaunch with refreshed e-bikes

Screenshot of a 2022 Seattle Bike Blog tweet with photos of a Veo Cosmo e-bike and text: I finally rode a Veo shared “bike.” It was zippy, sturdy and fun. I prefer it to Wheels, it’s closest competitor. But it’s definitely a scooter with pedals. I was surprised how low the gear ratio was. Above maybe 5 mph, the pedals do nothing.
Our review of the original Veo Cosmo-e bike when they first launched in Seattle.

Veo paused Seattle service as of March 1, but the company says they will return in “several weeks” with refreshed e-bikes and revamped operations.

With the demise of SuperPedestrian and their LINK scooter service as well as the ongoing bankruptcy of Bird, Lime has been eagerly gobbling up market share in Seattle. Veo, meanwhile, is not trying to compete directly with the stand-up scooters or traditional e-bikes, at least not yet. Instead, their Cosmo-e bikes land smack dab in the middle. They are essentially a sit-down scooter with a throttle but with bicycle pedals that don’t do much if anything. Veo does have a more traditional e-bike model called the Halo as well as a very interesting two-seater scooter called the Apollo, but the company is not planning on bringing those to Seattle at this time. When they restart service, they will be bringing revamped versions of the existing Cosmo-e bikes, according to a company spokesperson.

“We are making multiple upgrades to improve ride quality,” the Veo spokesperson said. “While refreshing our fleet of Cosmo-e vehicles is our current focus, Veo is excited about the possibility of bringing new vehicle types to Seattle in the coming years.”

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As a bicycle rider, the Cosmo-e is my favorite of the scooters because I feel much more secure when stopping quickly or going over big bumps. It is the only scooter I would feel comfortable riding down a steep cobblestone street (which I did, and it was totally up to the challenge). However, I much prefer a more standard bicycle with an adjustable seat and pedal-assist. But these are my subjective preferences, and scooters seem to be more popular among the broader public. In 2023, people took an average of 10,300 trips per day on 5,950 available scooters from all companies, according to Seattle’s micromobility data dashboard. That’s about 1.7 trips per scooter per day, significantly higher than the 1 trip per bike per day on 3,114 available bikes.

However, about 1,300 of those bikes were actually Veo Cosmo-e bikes, which are really scooters with pedals. Ridership on Veo’s bikes paled in comparison to the much larger and better-established Lime, clocking in at 0.7 rides per device per day on 1,332 Cosmo-e bikes in 2023. Lime’s e-bikes drew an average of 1.3 rides per bike per day on 1,755 of its bikes. The biggest factor is likely that Lime has both scooters and bikes, and many users probably choose whatever is closest. And because they have more, their app becomes many people’s go-to option to check first. As we have learned during this free-floating bike share experiment, the more devices are available, the more reliable they are as a transportation option and, therefore, the more rides per device they receive. At least this is true up to a saturation point. So the Lime e-bike ride figures could possibly be higher if more bikes were available.

So Veo has a steep hill to climb in order to carve out a competitive position against the surging Lime, which is reportedly considering a move to take its stock public. The Cosmo-e has its fans, but I can’t wait to see some of their more innovative designs reach Seattle. If Veo devices can do things that Lime’s can’t, things could get very interesting. I would love to see competition in device design in addition to pricing.

Here’s the official announcement from Veo:

During this pause, we are committed to the following:

• Making fleet upgrades: We’re excited to announce that we’ll be introducing refreshed Cosmo e-bikes equipped with upgraded technology. These upgrades will result in more available vehicles that are reliable, and will provide a smoother, more efficient riding experience for you.

• Optimizing operations: To better serve Seattle, we will use this pause to reorient all elements of our local operations. This will help us ensure quality vehicles are where you need them and maximize technician presence in the field to charge batteries, rebalance our fleet, and quickly respond to all service requests.

We’re thrilled to be working closely with the City of Seattle on these improvements. The City’s support and collaboration have been essential as we work to enhance transportation options for our community.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support. Right now, you can use the promo SPRING24 for $10 in ride credit so you’ll be ready to ride when we’re back. In the meantime, please make sure your Veo app notifications are turned on so you’ll know when our operations have reopened.

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