Scooter maker Unagi is prepared to offer free scooter subscriptions to all
Google is ready to return its staff to the workplace this week, and as an extra treat, it will provide them with free electric scooters to help them adjust.
The internet giant is collaborating with e-scooter manufacturer Unagi to introduce a new program dubbed “Ride Scoot,” in which the majority of Google’s US-based employees will be paid for the full cost of a monthly subscription to Unagi’s attractive Model One scooter. The $990 Model One is a lightweight dual-motor scooter with a peak speed of 20mph and a range of 15.5 miles.
According to Unagi founder and CEO David Hyman, the goal was to assist Google employees in getting to work — or even just to the nearest bus stop. (Google notably provides free shuttle bus service to its Silicon Valley employees.)
“They are aware that there is concern among staff,” Hyman added. “People become rather acclimated to working from home.” And they’re really doing everything they can to improve the experience of returning.” (A Google spokeswoman did not reply to a request for comment.)
Employers are doubling down on office real estate two years after the pandemic disrupted work habits, putting them at odds with a workforce that has become accustomed to working from home. Google spent billions of dollars growing its reach throughout the epidemic, indicating that it is confident that people will eventually return to work. And, just in case, Google has demonstrated a readiness to spend money on amenities to attract staff to return.
“PEOPLE GOT REALLY ACCUSTOMED TO WORKING FROM HOME”
Google has settled on free scooters as one possible reward, and Unagi has agreed to be a willing partner. In addition to obtaining more than $10 million in venture capital investment last year, the Oakland-based firm also introduced a subscription model as an alternative to ownership. Customers in select locations may get one of Unagi’s Model One delivered to their door for $49 per month. A $50 sign-up fee is also required, although maintenance and insurance against scooter theft or damage are included in the monthly charge.
Unagi won’t just be handing out free scooters to every Google employee, though. Unagi plans on setting up booths at various Google offices to sign up employees for a monthly scooter subscription at the discounted rate of $44.10 per month, plus the $50 enrollment fee — the total of which will be fully reimbursable by Google. Scooter subscriptions will also be added as a transportation option to Google’s internal employee portal. And Google and Unagi will host demo days for employees to try out the Model One at various office locations.
Employees must also use the scooter for at least nine commutes per month to get fully reimbursed for their monthly subscription. (Google plans on using the honor system and won’t be tracking employees’ scooter usage.) In addition to Google’s main headquarters in Mountain View, other eligible locations include Seattle, Kirkland, Irvine, Sunnyvale, Playa Vista, Austin, and New York City.
“EMPLOYEES MUST ALSO USE THE SCOOTER FOR AT LEAST NINE COMMUTES PER MONTH TO GET FULLY REIMBURSED FOR THEIR MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION“
Hyman said that Unagi has made deals with other large employers, including Salesforce, to add electric scooters as a possible transportation perk for employees, either as reimbursement or at a discounted rate. He is also working with a number of hotels and residences to place Unagi’s scooters in the lobby for customers.
“What we hope is other companies follow suit,” Hyman said. “We think it’s a great office perk.”