E-scooters for a "green campus"?

Students in the Operations Management (MOM) master’s degree programme have clear ideas about a green campus.

Author: Maximilian Schneider

How important is it for the students at Reutlingen University to be able to move flexibly and sustainably on the large university campus? Can a university mobility concept make the campus even “greener”? Are these really topics and goals at the cutting edge and are they even feasible?  

These questions were addressed by a team of eight students in the master’s degree programme in Operations Management (MOM) as part of a project during the winter semester 2019/20. The degree programme at ESB Business School requires that student teams work on projects in self-organisation for a whole semester and present the results at a final event with representatives of the university, partners from industry and fellow students. 

A campus survey of approx. 700 university members on the topic of a “Sustainable Mobility Concept” revealed  that it is worth tackling this topic.  

No sooner said than done – the students of the team “ESB Electric Scooter Business” got down to work and developed a CAD prototype of an e-scooter. How should the scooters be made available on campus? How should they be charged? How can students rent scooters on and around the campus, how should they pay? Under what circumstances can the university’s own fleet of e-scooters pay off? All these aspects had to be thought through carefully. 

The campus concept, as a core result of the project, aims at the long-term in-house production of e-scooters in Werk150 – the factory on the campus of Reutlingen University and at a self-sufficient and sustainable energy supply. It is complemented by an innovative business model, making students an active part of the mobility network. In order to meet their own claim of feasibility, the students developed a business case with several scenarios for timely implementation.  

The topic of willingness of end customers to pay for e-mobility in a university context is also discussed in a paper published in the May issue of the ZWF (Zeitschrift für wirtschaftlichen Fabrikbetrieb) journal (https://www.hanser-elibrary.com/toc/zwf/115/4).

“The results of the MOM group are very promising, so that we are carrying the ideas forward and looking into actual implementation”, says Professor Dr Ohlhausen, project supervisor and professor at ESB Business School, after the final presentation in the plenary session.