Big news today. Some good news, some not so good news, but all things you’ll want to hear.
New Unagi Scooter – the Model One Voyager
This scooter is actually the biggest refresh to ever come to the Unagi brand (also because of more news below regarding the Model Eleven). At the core of the update is a redefining development to one of the Unagi’s Model One’s two most significant historical shortcomings. All micromobility vehicles face tradeoffs and physics barriers, and Unagi is known for prizing ultraportable scooters that still look great and have some power and speed. This meant that range and ride comfort suffered.
With the Voyager, range is actually 66% better for an un-noticeable difference in weight (we tested a prototype and can verify this). There are also small changes such as the front wheel fork angle, which will improve ride quality, but this will only add so much. We’ll test everything for you soon.
To add, the Voyager is becoming more intelligent with IoT added and a new display board that provides more info to the user as well as more usability features.
One of the unmentioned changes you may only hear from us is actually that the horn sound is more pleasant, a subtle thing that truly makes a difference. Since this is firmware based, we expect some fleet-wide implications, especially as they done all this in a way that will allow the previous Model One to be receive the new IoT/display/handlebars.
This means the scooter can connect to Unagi’s new app, which will come with features you’d expect, as well as more interesting ones such as lock/unlock and climate offset calculations. What’s more exciting than what’s present today, however, is the new features that can now be extensibly added on moving forward.
You can distinguish the Voyager with its yellow reflectors (also good for EU regulations we’ll point out), more usable deck (David tells us in our interview about his size 13 feet fitting better now), and all the changes to the display (see in our product demo video coming soon after this news goes live).
We celebrate this major development for the industry. You may already be aware of Unagi winning two of our highest annual awards—specially “Urban Commuter” and “Zero Hassle.” The Voyager cements Unagi’s reputation in its core competencies and is a great signal for where things are headed for the electric scooter market.
Sunsetting the Model Eleven
Unagi unveiled the Model Eleven about a year ago—a $2000+ beautifully designed scooter with a (frankly unbelievable) level of software and intelligence features planned. It’s goal was to bring better suspension with dual swing arms while still keeping weight low, and this scooter has been one of the most anticipated scooter models ever. People tend to be skeptical of crowdfunding campaigns in hardware due to the tremendous difficulties in followthrough/delivery and large number of companies that have in the end not been able to deliver the product (Raine, Scotsman, Unicorn, to name a few top-of-mind examples, not to mention ebikes and other micromobility form factors).
We’ll get out of the way and quote David Hyman on the tough news:
“With the incredible wind in our sails around our subscription offering, and how this works as a superior business model for us as well as consumer adoption (where our daily subscriber count trumps our sales by 20 to 1), the Model Eleven priced as a subscription would have been prohibitively expensive for material adoption. This is because we always envisioned the Eleven to be a low margin passion project we’d sell direct only and not through retailers. But since we don’t believe it will work under subscription at that high price point, we’ve made the very hard decision to leave it behind. But we’re not leaving our backers behind! We’re providing three options for backers.
- A full refund
- A 3 year All-Access subscription to the Model One Voyager, with color choice, guaranteed new scooter, and theft insurance included. Scooter arrives in November. A month prior to formal release. (normal value of $2412)
- 2 Voyager scooters to own. Our standard 1 year warranty included. (normal value of $2390)
All backers are getting emailed directly today. We sincerely apologize and hope our make-up offers are amenable. We’re also confident some of the technology developed for the Eleven will trickle down into products that will become available in the future.”
We’re not going to pretend this isn’t a big disappointment for a lot of people, but we at least appreciate the boldness and aspiration of the vision, while still not leaving backers totally behind without concessions.
Let us know on YouTube, Twitter, and more what you think about this news! Our small team reads essentially every comment.
Subscription Service Growth
Finally, for the first time ever, Unagi has unveiled subscription growth numbers, saying they are in the order of magnitude of “tens of thousands.” Also note from the previous quote the 20 to 1 ratio of purchases to subscriptions. This is all very interesting following the 2021 expansion of the service option to the entire continental United States. On top of this, Unagi has expanded its partnership with Best Buy to include the ability to subscribe in store. This has already been piloted in the San Francisco store and is rolling out more widely in the network. Customers may also now subscribe on BestBuy.com and notably if one sorts by price, ~$50/month will really stand out compared to next ups at $500-2000 purchase price.
Today Unagi also debuted a partnership with PC Richards, a tech retailer more well known on the East Coast.
Employee Perks – First Google, now Unity
Much of Unagi’s growth is attributable to a major deal with Google where Google offers free subscriptions as a perk to all its 60,000+ employees.
Today, Unagi announced major software company Unity (known for game development) is also making this available to all its employees. We expect many other companies to start doing things like this to motivate more environmentally-friendly commuting and signal their values and the type of company they want to be.
What do you think about all this news? Let us know on Twitter, YouTube, or our Facebook Group (50k+ members and vibrant).