Have you considered ditching your four wheels for two? If you haven’t already, a spin around Little Haiti-based e-scooter company Fluidfreeride might convince you.
While the store has a brick-and-mortar presence in Miami and New York, Fluidfreeride reports that the lion’s share – roughly 95% of their business – happens through their e-commerce store, which sells a range of around 15 different e-scooter models to clients around the US.
Julian Fernau (pictured above) is at the helm of Fluidfreeride. The German native launched the company in 2018, about a year and a half after he left the sales job at international marketing conglomerate P&G that had originally brought him to the Magic City. Fluidfreeride’s store is at 7101 N Miami Ave, Suite 103, and is open Tuesday to Friday from 12-7 pm.
Importing e-scooters from China began as a side hustle for Fernau, as he tried his hand at a variety of other entrepreneurial endeavors. But “the amount of passionate energy and creativity that e-scooters gave me was completely different,” Fernau told Refresh Miami. “Still to this day, my passion hasn’t stopped.” Now with 15 employees, the company continues to expand considerably.
Fernau’s excitement for e-mobility is infectious, even as he spoke via Zoom from a studio inside Fluidfreeride’s Miami headquarters. This location is the central hub for their e-commerce business. The warehouse includes hundreds of spare parts for each and every scooter that rolls out of their front door, plus a small showroom. Their New York City location also has repair and sales facilities. That’s significantly better service than you can expect when buying an e-scooter from a big-box store or large e-commerce retailer.
While you will likely catch Fernau scooting around town, he acknowledges that Miami isn’t the best scooter city. “I’m scared, and I don’t like riding around here,” Fernau said. “Driver capability is very, very low.” He also noted that bike lanes cut in and out, causing issues for riders: “It would be very easy and cheap to at least paint the bike lane green, little by little, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority at all.”
Fernau takes issue with how the city is managing e-scooter usage more broadly. “I don’t think the city is managing this process,” said Fernau. “Why do we need to have seven or eight [scooter] sharing companies in Miami? It feels like, ‘okay, everybody come – and then we’ll deal with regulation later.’” (That said, Fernau also acknowledged that “without the sharing companies, [Fluidfreeride] wouldn’t be in business,” since the apps offer an inexpensive way for people to try the alternative mobility option.)
According to Fernau, this situation in Miami stands in stark contrast to his micro-mobility experiences in New York, for example: “New York is much more applicable for the product.” The city is one of the few in the US with an extensive system of protected bike lanes, which Fernau suggests that e-scooter riders use.
This market fit is reflected in Fluidfreeride’s top line. “Our sales in Miami are 5% of our New York sales,” Fernau said. “In New York we have trouble keeping the scooters in stock.”
Fluidfreeride has something for everybody, from commuter-companion lightweight scooters to heavier scooters that go upwards of 50 miles per hour (for those, Fernau recommends a full-face helmet). Prices for scooters start at around $500, but surpass $4,000 for the higher-end models.
Is this the future of mobility? For his part, Fernau said that e-scooters are “not just a gadget, but useful for enhancing people’s lives,” and a great choice for Miami’s hot climate, which makes “biking not the best option.” And of course, there’s the clear environmental benefit of swapping out a trip in a gas-guzzler for a lightweight, more sustainable vehicle.
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