New mobility service seeks to persuade drivers to ditch their car

Sampo Hietanen, self-styled father of mobility and founder and CEO of fintech start-up MaaS Global Ltd (Mobility as a Service) sees the economics of mobility as being roughly similar in nature to the economics of paying for mobile phones.

The average revenue that a company providing telecoms as a service can currently draw from an individual consumer to meet their telecommunication needs, he argues, is about €30 per month. In the same vein, the average revenue that an equivalent operator, offering mobility as a service (rather than telecoms as a service), should be able to draw is ten times that amount: €300 per month.

Hietanen’s €300 is calculated by adding together the average capital cost of acquiring a car (roughly €120 per month); the average cost of running that car (also roughly €120 per month) and providing an additional allowance of €60 for public transport and other mobility services which individuals currently buy.

MaaS theorizes that if a driver can be persuaded to ditch the car, this would release €300 which can be used to pay for a superior mobility service which would provide a comprehensive array of already available app delivered transport services

MaaS theorizes that if a driver can be persuaded to ditch the car, this would release €300 which can be used to pay for a superior mobility service which would provide a comprehensive array of already available app delivered transport services (like ZipCar and Uber). The crucial difference between what is available now, and what he is proposing is that the charging model would shift from pay per use, to a single monthly fee.

He describes the business proposition in detail in his presentation, which was filmed at the International Auto Finance Network Conference in May 2016 in London. His proposition will almost certainly be of interest to those fleet leasing and other providers who have struggled with seeing total mobility as more than a great idea which lacks a firm financial foundation.

So what would it take to persuade someone to give up their car for a mobility service?

Hietanen aims to find out by testing his proposition in three regions during 2016. He suggests that one of these regions may well be in the UK. All being well with the tests he expects to be able to provide a full global service by 2020.

Like all good entrepreneurs Hietanen will start by testing the proposition on himself. He plans to sell his car this month to rely instead on MaaS in Finland.

Perhaps in acknowledgement of the barrier which needs to be overcome to persuade people to give up their cars, Hietanen confesses that his wife has threatened to buy it when he puts it up for sale. This is perhaps unsurprising given his personal circumstance. Hietanen lives in Finland with his wife and four children.