A man using his electric scooter.

Solving the biggest problem of light electric vehicles: Charging

Leon Mobility
8 min readSep 13, 2020

‘Electric Vehicles were meant to make us greener and more flexible. Instead, they created clutter and high charging costs. We have developed a solution to fix it.’

In current times where everyone is talking about smart solutions and sustainable practices for a better ecosystem, the chaotic conditions in the cities prove the situation to be quite the opposite. The intention behind electric vehicles was to foster a greener environment, however, it is nullified by free float sharing and the clutter that results from it. From a mobility provider’s perspective, charging so many light-electric-vehicles is impractical and takes time and effort. You see many workers required on the streets every day to collect the scooters, recharge them only to put them back on the streets for next day usage. And there is no stop to this tiresome and unsustainable cycle.

From the user’s perspective, the current charging system does not let one become spontaneous with their rides. What happens when you run out of battery? You stop to change the vehicle rather than finding a slot immediately to charge (having a lunch break or while taking a stroll around the city) and continue with your ride. This inconvenience draws a gap between the planning and execution of the trip and deprives you of the major joy of being flexible.

These are a few issues at hand that made us ponder over how urban mobility can be improved by equipping our cities with smart and useful furniture. We, at LEON Mobility, are passionate about micro-mobility and the enormous potential that it has. We are founded by two guys with significant experience in the e-mobility sector: Mat, who invented and founded also the electric-scooter sharing company Coup, a corporate venture of Bosch that operated in Berlin, Paris, Madrid and Tübingen, and Marc, who developed Flynn, the lightest and most advanced e-scooter in the world. Having realized that the cost of charging the batteries is incredibly high and is one of the biggest problems for economic success, we quit our jobs and started working on our solution: the nubsee.

The nubsee is not only a compact charging station for the light electric vehicles but it also serves as a medium for digital outdoor advertising, an area with numerous possibilities given its wide reach. We have designed it to be a lightweight cutting-edge technology that can be mounted on walls, lamp posts, bus stops and other places without creating additional hindrance in the cities.

The nubsee mounted on a wall.

Who is our market and how will it benefit from nubsee?

The market we address is huge and if we refer to the actual statistics, the US and European markets for shared e-scooter services are expected to reach at least US$12 billion by 2025.

The number of light electric vehicles in sharing offers will increase five-fold. This cumulates to a total addressable market of 31 billion euros. Though this market is huge, the companies and light-electric-vehicle users struggle to find a robust charging system which is clean and sustainable. Another segment is that of digital out of the home advertising which continues to grow rapidly (according to Statistica). Let’s talk about these individual target segments and how we want to make micro-mobility and advertising simpler for them.

1. Urban mobility providers

At LEON mobility, our team has a vision to make micro-mobility easier and practical for the mobility providers and fleet operators. To be able to do that we need to introduce changes in the city’s infrastructure to support, mainly those that are not damaging to the environment.

What we inferred is that charging the electric vehicles is not only inconvenient and unsustainable (generating carbon emissions as these vehicles are carried by diesel transporters) but also highly expensive for the companies. Believe it or not, but the sharing companies spend almost HALF of their turnover on charging the vehicles. This is insane! Given that there is a charging solution like nubsee for light-electric-vehicles at every few miles, the mobility providers will save huge costs and the hassle of going through the charging effort every day.

2. Digital out of the home advertisers

We find that digital outdoor ads are practical and crucial to the smart city concept. This is because traditional modes of advertising are worn-out, and their reach and benefits just fall pale in comparison to that of the digital ads. It is the time of programmatic advertising where ads update themselves according to the needs of the customers. These ads are to-the-point and capture the right audience of the product/service.

Our nubsee will provide a platform for digital out of the home advertising where it makes very accurate estimates about its targeted consumer through its display and sensors. Advertisers can pick slots depending on these estimates to promote their product to the potential customer.

3. Sustainability and access — for private users

When we think of urban mobility, sustainability immediately takes top priority because it is the only way to keep going in the long run. Though the topic is largely speculative, we believe that certain concrete steps taken in the right direction can help improve the quality of life for private users. Our cities are getting busier and the installation of bulky stations for charging is questionable at the moment. This would disturb the life of citizens by altering the city’s infrastructure. And without easily accessible charging stations, there is no way for private users to become spontaneous while using light-electric-vehicles. The nubsee network would provide maximum ease of access to the private users and at the same time they can read the weather forecast or details on an upcoming event. Also, what would be better than nubsee giving you information about coffee discounts as you wait for your train. Amazing, isn’t it.

An important point to add here is that nubsee does not save any user data (collected to generate info/ads) and complies by the privacy bounds contemplated by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). GDPR has wide-reaching implications around which industries will have to model their internal data privacy and protection playbooks. As IoT solutions continue to permeate throughout the globe, so will the challenges of keeping sensitive data secure so we are on it.

A man and a woman riding their light electric vehicles.

What makes our company/product different in this market?

1. The practicality of our idea

We bring in the nubsee re-volt to the cities because this device is not only easy to install but also does not require a traditional billboard permit. Things are pretty simple here; unlike bulky stations the nubsee just needs 220 V normal power and small installation area as of an A3 sheet. When talking about competitors, it is evident that they provide big stations focused only on the charging aspect. They want to charge as many vehicles as possible at the same time. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to get such stations in relevant numbers into the public area because the approval procedures are hefty. The nubsee in contrast is easier to implement in the market.

2. Our reach

We have specially taken into account the needs of all urban people and not only the ones living in metropolises. You see this common issue that everything associated with a smart city concept would rather only be for the big cities. The reason why companies do not want to go for the charging effort in small cities is simply because it is not profitable. With nubsee we are creating a great opportunity to enable light-electric-vehicle sharing in smaller cities — for all people, wouldn’t that be great? Besides, we see nubsee as an IoT sensor cluster with countless possibilities for the future — right now the nubsee focuses on information (weather predictions, train delays etc.) and advertising.

3. Programmatic advertising is the need of the time

Our own estimates infer that around 5% of the digital-out-of-home space in Germany is currently controlled by programmatic adverts. Programmatic Advertising promises better controllability of advertising and finer data for audience tracking, which makes the user’s preferences more transparent. The nubsee does not show random ads to the user rather enables them to find the right kind of information targeted to their needs. We also fully support the G8 Open Data Charter with our nubsee so that our applications such as air quality measurement, noise level maps, and others are strongly supported by the city.

Why should cities be excited about the nubsee network?

We believe that nubsee would change people’s life in terms of micro-mobility. The nubsee is dedicated to upgrade the cities technologically and remove the chaos by reducing the number of rented scooters in the streets. Every street lamp can be converted into a smart city lamp with an energy saving concept providing real-time information via display. Moreover, it would help the cities to generate additional income.

For the smart city concept, it would be an inherent part of the city’s infrastructure which is why it needs to earn its place in terms of quality. The nubsee conforms to the highest quality standards and once its network is incorporated through the entire city, citizens would be less worried about the charging issue and would be more eager to use light-electric-vehicles.

Our Main Challenges

  1. Doing business with cities can be a little complex, which is why we don’t just focus on public infrastructure but use proven concepts to make the installation as a LEAD generator interesting for private infrastructure. Our focus is 60 percent private scalable infrastructure and max. 40 percent scalable public infrastructure. We are using a best-of-breed approach: We look at other areas to see how we can scale up fastest. Early experience and intensive discussions have taught us that franchisees, retail and real estate developers can be a good lever.
  2. Another challenge that we are trying to overcome is battery replacement. On one hand you need a lot of additional batteries — at least 40% more and on the other hand the acquisition of these partners is not easy but expensive and non-scalable. Last but not the least we aim for our device to be vehicle agnostic i.e. any vehicle regardless of its brand or type can be charged with it.

Our upcoming endeavors!

With our great partners, we are excited to announce the launch of our pilot towards the end of this year with the city of Stuttgart. Stella and the Stadtwerke Stuttgart are among the first partners to join us and will be able to enjoy the free charging of their fleet. Stella is an e-roller sharing company focused on economic and flexible sharing of scooters which are also environment friendly. So, it will be exciting to assist them by simplifying charging and making micro-mobility more accessible.

Furthermore, through our advertising partners, we bring to the cities an amazing opportunity to integrate a smart city network with numerous possibilities focused on high quality standards and sustainable practices. This is only the beginning and we believe that collaborating with the cities in the long run will help them transform into a more advanced version of themselves.

The launch of our pilot would draw us closer to the proof of concept and allow us to anticipate a scalable market entry. By 2021, we want to start accordingly in the first city with around 300 nubsees and by a fair estimate, we expect to break even in 2024. So there is a lot to look forward to, both for us and for you.

Follow LEON Mobility on LinkedIn to stay tuned for the further developments or contact us directly through mat@leon.mobility.com.



Leon Mobility

Combining charging services for micromobility with digital outdoor advertising.