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Tier Launches Battery Swapping in Sweden, Partners with Convenience Stores

As of Wednesday, users of Tier’s electric scooters in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala can change the batteries on their vehicles at 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån in exchange for discounted rides.

After announcing its plans back in February to allow its users to swap batteries, Tier has finally launched this service in Sweden, starting with those four cities named.

“We are convinced that micromobility and electric scooters are part of an integrated sustainable transport system in the future. Today's investment is a natural step in that direction. Now we take help from customers with swapping batteries. They will in turn be rewarded with free ride time", says August Svedenstedt, Sweden manager at TIER Mobility, in a press release.

The collaboration with the two convenience stores is part of Tier's investment in building a charging infrastructure for micro-mobility under the name TIER Energy Network, which will be available throughout Europe in the long term. Tier eventually wants to open the energy network so that other electric vehicle operators can use it to power their own batteries.

The so-called Swapspots, where you can replace discharged batteries with fully charged ones, will be scattered throughout the retail cities, cafes and other easily accessible places. Tier has an initial target to install battery charging stations in 4,500 shops around the world where it currently operates.

Personal Comment:

A new type of collaboration between retail and mobility takes form. 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån already resell public transport tickets, but now expand their engagement in mobility services to also include battery swapping for e-scooters. For Tier, it makes sense since the two convenience store chains combined have around 200 stores in the four pinpointed cities. This provides a fitting infrastructure for battery swapping stations, at least in Stockholm and Gothenburg where most of the stores are located. For 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån, the idea is to attract more potential customers to their stores. According to Tier, their data from a month-long trial of battery swaps in Tampere, Finland in 2020, suggests that convenience stores can increase revenues by approximately 20,000 euros a year due to increased customer purchases.

However, battery swapping may not even be the main aim here. It’s a lot more difficult to reposition electric scooters than it is for a technician to replace the batteries where they are parked, as repositioning them requires stacking them onto vans or trucks and then also lifting them off again. So I suspect that this scheme could be just as much about respositioning the scooters as it is about charging the batteries. This will also make Tier’s model more of a hybrid model between free-floating and station based, by nudging its users with the incentive of free ride times. This could fit well with their approach against using the gig economy (which we’ve previously covered), as it plugs that gap and relieves the pressure on their own staff and contractors to move and charge vehicles. It will be interesting to follow how the business model pans out. A sure sign of its success will be if their competitors such as Voi, Bird and Lime start adopting this too.

Written by Göran Smith & Bobby Chen,
RISE Mobility & Systems / Electromobility