The Double Wow

Electric scooter. Vintage styling. The double wow.

In Barcelona, you can rent an electric scooter that looks like a vintage Vespa. It’s called YUGO. No, this retro-fun scooter isn’t named after a former Communist bloc nation like its defunct automotive cousin. It’s a straight-forward combination of YOU + GO. And yes, you really can GO.


With the YUGO smartphone app, you can find a nearby scooter, book it before you get there, and when you reach the scooter it’s yours to ride. Just use the app to unlock the top case, and you have access to two helmets. Pop on a brain bucket and “start the engine” (this is a quaint expression, a left-over from those petrol scooters you had to kick-start in order to cause a wild cacophony of explosions inside the cylinder). You won’t need a key, thanks to the app. And remember, this scooter’s electric. So get ready for a zippy, quiet ride that produces ZERO emissions. Once you reach your destination, simply return helmets to the top case, and you’re done. Not bad for personal transport in one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. Which is precisely WHY you can rent a YUGO in Barcelona in the first place.


Benjamin, Luc, Yann and Tim. Four friends brainstorming after work in Munich, Germany. Corporate workers by day, incubator gladiators by night. Brainstorming was not a new process for the crew, three of whom had graduated from the same business school. Start-ups and accelerators were in their blood. One of them, Yann, had already boot-strapped a fledgling social network in France. Amidst all of the fun they were having those evenings in Munich, the spark of the idea for YUGO was ignited. It burned too brightly to be ignored. Plans were made. A city was chosen. Bags were packed.



Scooter riding in Barcelona is prolific. The weather is conducive most of the year, and easy on-street parking for an automobile is almost impossible to find. So the citizens of Barcelona have turned to scooters, which can be parked just about anywhere. As a result, SCOOTERS are everywhere. But there’s more to the story of electric scooters in Barcelona than simply meteorology and parking karma. The city also has pollution (among the worst in Europe), and it has population. Density, that is. Over 16,000 inhabitants per square kilometer. In addition, it also has a high road density. All of these factors played a part in the selection of Barcelona as the ideal location for an electric scooter rental company startup. (Ok, really it was the weather. The rest of the statistics fortuitously aligned to create the perfect excuse for living here.)


BESIDES, it is so much more fun to ride a scooter than take a taxi or an Uber. Or ride the Metro. Or walk your tail off (which a lot Barcelonans do). Silently scooting around Barcelona on a YUGO is not only enjoyable and efficient, it’s a fashion statement. It quickly broadcasts that you not only appreciate timeless, classic styling (taste), but you care about the environment (smart). No more stinking, noisy scooters for you.


YUGO’s business model is still evolving. For now, the company is simply charging a fee (pay by the minute) and gathering feedback. “What’s the behavior of people using it? How far do they go? How happy are they? Are they speaking about it?” asks Benjamin. “I think with that feedback, we will set up the true business model.” There certainly are a lot of logistics involved in making sure riders can find scooters that are not only nearby, but charged-up and ready to go (a removable battery pack helps solve this challenge). When asked why the crew picked the EMCO Retro Scooter, Tim explained that it was the only real choice. “Most of them (bikes) are built for electric, like, they didn’t think about the design and everything, just making it electric. We love also this really vintage or old school design. People say, ‘oh look it’s an old scooter and it’s electric.’ So it’s actually a perfect match for people. It’s a double wow.”

Electric scooter. Vintage styling. A double wow indeed.


“We make it accessible to people, to believe that there’s a way to move in the city being silent, being eco-friendly, and make it accessible to people – people that won’t actually think about buying an electrical scooter because all the pains that exist (with owning one). We think sharing our YUGO is a good way to make it accessible to people. To promote (the) electrical spirit that we can actually do something better for our environment, and our community and live together.” (below L to R) Luc Ougeot, Yann Sander, Tim Ougeot, Benjamin Viguier


Show your support by LIKING YUGO on Facebook. Visit the YUGO website for more details, and start packing your bags. It’s time to visit Barcelona and ride an eScooter. menu

robo Interview and Photos of Team YUGO by Robin Willis.
Written by Darrell Williams.

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