SoftBank-backed Tier plans to charge its e-scooter batteries in shops

LONDON – Tier, the Berlin mobility start-up backed by Japanese tech behemoth SoftBank, has a grand plan to keep its rental scooter batteries full of juice: power them in local stores.

The company is planning to use some of the $250 million it raised from SoftBank and other investors last November to install battery charging stations in 4,500 shops around the world in the next 12 months.

“We already have signed up a lot of stores,” said Lawrence Leuschner, CEO and co-founder of Tier, in an interview with CNBC.

The 37-year-old entrepreneur said the required charging pods, known as PowerBoxes, are roughly one meter squared, and can run off a standard plug socket. He added that Tier will pay for the electricity that the shops use to charge its batteries. Tier claims the PowerBoxes can charge four batteries in three hours.

To swap a battery, users must open the Tier app on their phone and check if the battery of the scooter they are riding or the battery of a scooter nearby needs to be swapped, which is indicated by a lightning icon.

They must then ride to the nearest “SwapSpot,” which is shown in the Tier app, remove the battery by pushing a button, go into the store, and exchange it for a fully charged one. 

What’s in it for riders and shops?

European rival

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