Los Angeles is so much at the heart of mobility innovation that, despite its car-capital reputation, my fiancé and I decided to live here without vehicles of our own. Our choice often draws stunned reactions from many of our famously vehicle-dependent fellow Angelenos. But we make it work by taking full advantage of the city’s robust mobility options, such as scooters and car-sharing. Our calculus: It helps to have some skin in the game when building the bold mobility future our communities deserve.
It’s in that spirit that I helped Wunder Mobility – Europe’s fastest-growing mobility technology company – choose Los Angeles as home of its U.S. headquarters, with plans to expand throughout North America. Gridlock-snarled streets and freeways may shade the city’s identity, but within that congestion lies a huge opportunity to reimagine how we get around. The popular wisdom is that if mobility innovations can crack the code here, in the city known for its 10-lane freeways, they can make it just about anywhere. And that’s what our company seeks to do with our forward-thinking technology.
Based in Hamburg, Germany, Wunder Mobility offers platforms and operational support to leading mobility firms around the world. We serve customers in 100 cities on every continent (except Antarctica!), with more than 100,000 vehicles using our technology and 1 million devices connected to the Wunder Platform. We believe it’s only the beginning.
We offer a vehicle sharing platform and consumer-facing app – one that distinctly has never crashed – back-end systems, as well as fleets of scooters, bikes and mopeds. Those technologies embody our core principles: speed and reliability. When Covid-19 turned the world on its head, we made swift updates to our app to meet the growing changes for our customers. One such creation was an icon to indicate whether or not a car-sharing vehicle had been disinfected. We work hard to understand and adapt to our customers’ needs in real time, to make them as successful as they can be.
A native of Orange County, I’ve known my whole life the transit challenges that hang over Southern California. But as a veteran in the mobility space, I also know how rapidly the world can change if we work together and dream big. Look at how quickly ride-hailing, scooters and electric bicycles emerged and became centerpieces of the urban mobility landscape. The only way to fix bumper-to-bumper traffic and to cut carbon emissions is to invest in alternatives and to work hand in hand with cities to create the infrastructure around it.
Like many of our peers, we understand that America’s second-largest city is the most important market for mobility innovation. People use these services every day here because of the city’s sprawling nature and unforgiving congestion, and that means greater opportunities to gather data and insights on what works and what doesn’t. As operators throughout the mobility space flock here to scale in this market, we’re excited to be here to support them. Groundbreaking technologies need not originate in Silicon Valley.
Moving forward, Los Angeles must continue to build infrastructure to support better mobility options. That means advancements such as widespread and functioning charging stations for electric vehicles, more designated lanes to ensure commuters on scooters and bicycles are safe when they travel, and a creative approach to public policy that allows new mobility concepts to flourish. A broad commitment to mobility will create the space for people to eagerly adopt alternatives to the traditional gas-powered car with just one passenger inside. Then perhaps more people will have the desire and confidence to ditch their vehicles like my fiancé and I did.
This line of work appealed to me from the beginning, because it’s an opportunity to create and promote inclusive, interconnected communities, where we move forward together. From our U.S. headquarters in L.A., we’re excited to blaze new trails throughout North America and beyond.
By Melika Jahangiri, Vice President of Global Key Accounts and Head of Americas at Wunder Mobility
Melika Jahangiri is the Vice President of Global Key Accounts and Head of Americas for Wunder Mobility. She joined the company after serving as Ridecell’s Director of Growth. Additionally, she has also held positions at Ford Motor Company within their Ford Smart Mobility division and at car-sharing companies Envoy and Borrow. She recently received the “Rising Star of 2020“ award in Automotive & Tech from TU Automotive.