E-scooter firms get the green light to start trials of up to one year on UK streets

In light of COVID-19 and social distancing regulations, the U.K. has been working on making it easier for people to get from point A to B in cities without resorting to buses and trains or bringing more cars to congested roads, and today that strategy took an interesting leap forward.

The country’s Department for Transport today announced that it would start allowing e-scooters, by way of e-scooter rental companies, to legally operate across the country initially in a trial phase starting no later than August. Councils and other authorities, including across London and other major cities, are working on putting together trials that could run for as long as 12 months under guidelines provided by the government.

The regulations come into force on July 4, the DfT said, with the first trials expected to begin a week later.

“As we emerge from lockdown, we have a unique opportunity in transport to build back in a greener, more sustainable way that could lead to cleaner air and healthier communities across Great Britain,” said Transport Minister Rachel Maclean in a statement. “E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing. The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things.”

There are some restrictions in place: E-scooters will not be able to go faster than 15.5 miles per hour, and they will only be able to use roads and cycle lanes, not sidewalks or other areas reserved for pedestrians. Users will need a drivers license (full or provisional). The scooters themselves will not need to be registered as vehicles but will need insurance. As with bicycles, users will be recommended — but not required — to wear helmets.

It seems that privately owned e-scooters will not be included in the rule relaxation, but it’s not clear what steps regulators will take — if any — to avoid the cluttering that we have seen in some cities overrun with too many dockless scooters crowding sidewalks.

The list of e-scooter hopefuls is long. From the word go, those that are looking to operate in the U.K. include Bird, Bolt (the ridesharing startup out of Estonia), Tier, Neuron Mobility, Lime, Voi and Zipp Mobility.

We’re contacting the DfT with our questions and will update this post as we learn more.

Electric scooters will now join the ranks of other shared transportation options that include bikes and e-bikes, as a complement to mass transit and of course walking or using your own nonautomotive wheels as an alternative to using cars. E-scooters have been seen both as an alternative for short distances (between 1 and 5 miles) but also as a last-mile solution in combination with other transport modes aimed at longer distances, like buses and trains.

The news today lifts restrictions that had previously been in place that classified e-scooters as motor vehicles and therefore required the e-scooters to be licensed and taxed, and for operators to have licenses to use them.

Those rules also meant that the e-scooters were illegal to use on sidewalks, with the only exception to all that being legal usage across select (and very limited) campuses on private land.

The moves come on the heels of a consultation in March to pilot e-scooter use in three regions of the U.K., along with a number of other initiatives including e-cargo carriers and using drones to transport medical supplies — the aim being to explore in quick order a number of new technologies to expand transportation options available to consumers, as well as essential businesses and the people who work in them.

The bigger trend has seen other cities also looking to relax rules to improve transportation options to people who wish to socially distance but still need to get around urban areas in ways that are quicker than walking. New York City is also expected to unveil its own roadmap for e-scooter pilots in the near future.

The news made official today had been something of a badly kept secret, specifically among transportation startups whose businesses have been in a holding pattern waiting for the regulator to ease up on restrictions that had been in place.

Just about all of those startups have been sending out alerts to journalists for over a week now with comments on the government’s widely expected announcements.

“We welcome the DfT’s announcement and are excited to be one step closer to the starting of e-scooter trials,” said Zachary Wang, CEO of Neuron Mobility, in a statement. “We are already in discussions with quite a few councils, as no two towns or cities are the same we look forward to partnering with them to safely introduce e-scooters in a way that best suits their individual needs. COVID-19 has led to a fundamental rethink of the way we travel and e-scooters have the potential to radically improve how we get around our towns and cities. We are delighted that people in the U.K. will soon be able to benefit from shared e-scooters. They will allow people to continue social distancing while also providing a more efficient travel option than gas-guzzling alternatives.”

Some have been waiting for a chance to operate for some time.

“We welcome today’s announcement from the government as it looks to get cities moving again safely and in an environmentally friendly way,” said Roger Hassan, COO of TIER Mobility, in a statement. “We already have more than 1,000 of our industry leading scooters in our U.K. warehouse, ready to be deployed and we will be shipping more over very soon. Everyone at TIER is looking forward to working with the government and with local authorities to make e-scooters in the U.K. a huge success story.”

While there had been restrictions in place before now, I should point out that they were often badly enforced: In London there have always been some private e-scooter owners zooming around alongside bikes and cars on the roads, and I’ve even stopped at red lights on my bike, with an e-scooter on one side of me and a police officer on the other, and not a word gets exchanged, just a simple shrug of “What can you do?” So decriminalising, as it has done in other industries, will hopefully mean better oversight, alongside better choice for users.

Startups – TechCrunch

European e-scooter giant TIER Mobility prepares for UK expansion and hires two of the industry’s top figures

TIER Mobility, a leading European provider of micro-mobility solutions, has just hired two senior figures in the ride-sharing and e-mobility sector as it gears up for its UK launch – Fred Jones as General Manager U.K., and Benjamin Bell as Head of Public Policy for Northern Europe.

Launched in 2018, TIER is a leading European provider of micro-mobility solutions and has already captured over 20% of global market share in its core business of e-scooters. The young company is headquartered in Berlin and operates in over 60 cities across nine countries and has more than 40,000 scooters deployed. According to TIER, they are the first fully climate neutral provider in the micro-mobility sector and its e-scooters are renowned for their safety-first design, with bigger front wheels, wider foot plates and a double-kick stand. In total, TIER already raised over €100 million in venture capital. We previously reported about their Series B funding in Q4 of 2019.

The two senior hires for the UK expansion, Jones and Bell, both previously worked at Uber and come with a decade of high-level experience in the fast-growing e-mobility sector. The hires come at a landmark moment and both are set to play integral roles in the company’s plan to bring its market-leading e-scooters to cities across the UK, following the Department for Transport’s move to fast-track trials in the wake of Covid-19.

As General Manager U.K., Jones will oversee the roll-out of TIER e-scooters in UK towns and cities, helping to establish the company as the leading provider in the UK. He joins TIER having spent five years in several top positions at Uber, most recently as General Manager of UK and Ireland.

As Head of Public Policy for Northern Europe, Bell will spearhead the company’s collaboration with central and local government in the run-up to trials, and oversee engagement with other public bodies and partners. Like Jones, Bell joins from Uber UKI’s leadership team, having spent over four years at the business, most recently heading up public policy across Uber and Jump nationally.

Lawrence Leuschner, the CEO and Co-founder of TIER Mobility stated: “Fred and Ben are already leaders in the e-mobility world and, as we expand across Europe, their years of experience at a hugely successful fast growth business will be invaluable. We are very happy to have both of them on board as we look to establish ourselves as the leading UK provider of e-scooters.”

Fred Jones, TIER’s new General Manager U.K., commented: “We are very much at the dawn of a new era and I believe that the introduction of e-scooters will have a profoundly positive impact on our towns and cities for decades to come. To this end, I couldn’t be more excited to join TIER as the company prepares to roll out its unique e-scooter model, which is unrivalled when it comes to safety, sustainability and user experience.”

EU-Startups

New Irish e-scooter startup aims to take on behemoths like Lime and Bird with its superior tech

Zipp_Mobility

E-mobility solutions for last-mile connectivity have captured the market’s attention. The industry further blossomed when people commenced actively opting for a more eco-friendly option over conventional ways to travel. However, the micro-mobility industry went through a slump during the coronavirus crisis, but it is ready to take off again. The Irish dockless e-scooter startup Zipp Mobility’s latest funding round is a testament to that.

How it all began

Zipp Mobility was founded in 2019 by Charlie Gleeson, a 24-year old who recently graduated from the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business. He completed University College Dublin’s (UCD) mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs and was also a finalist in the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme for startups. NovaUCD is the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD. 

In an exclusive interview with Silicon Canals, Gleeson revealed, “I saw the launch and success of e-scooter start-ups on the west coast of America in 2018 and immediately knew it was something we needed in Ireland and the UK. The level of demand compared to that of bike-sharing was phenomenal.” 

Zipp Mobilty’s Seed investment will targeting UK’s e-scooter market 

Zipp Mobility secured €300,000 in seed investment in its latest funding round, which was led by a London-based VC and private angel investors. These fresh funds will be employed for scaling the company’s team, which currently consists of six people, and prepare for their launch in the Irish and UK market. Depending upon the number of licenses it procures, Zipp Mobility could increase its team size between 10 to 15. 

Investment for Zipp Mobility comes after last month’s announcement by the UK government. The government announced plans to accelerate trials of rented e-scooter schemes to any region of the country that wants to introduce a scheme in partnership with scooter companies. While these trials were originally planned for June 2021 in four areas of the UK namely, Portsmouth and Southampton, the West of England Combined Authority, Derby and Nottingham, and the West Midlands.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, all regions in the UK are now permitted to launch e-scooter sharing schemes. This is the UK government’s plans to explore less congested and greener methods of urban transport in response to the pandemic. Gleeson says Zipp Mobility expects to operate in more than four cities by the end of this year. 

Competing with industry behemoths like Lime and Bird 

Micro-mobility is an extremely competitive space in Europe currently dominated by established companies such as Lime and Bird. Any new entrant in the scene would require more than competitive pricing to onboard new users. Gleeson says identifying gaps in the competition’s offering and fulfilling it efficiently is crucial for success. 

“We’ll be able to compete with our different selling points. Our centralised charging model creates full-time employment in the local area and avoids any ethical risks associated with the gig-economy,” says Gleeson. “We will deploy cargo e-bikes to swap battery packs on the scooters to keep the operation lean, and further reduce congestion and carbon emissions in the city. Maintaining lean business and increasing our gross margin will result in profitable operation in smaller markets over our competitors. Therefore, we see opportunities in markets where our competitors don’t.” 

Zipp Mobility’s scooters are touted to feature superior technology, which is said to prevent poorly parked e-scooters and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. 

Sustainable growth and regard for local authorities

Gleeson reveals that the company’s goal is to build long term relationships with its partners and offer undivided focus on the needs of local authorities. The company is also adopting a Centralised Charging and Redistribution Model, which invests in local charging infrastructure to provide local employment opportunities and high-quality service. 

Gleeson says, “This differentiates Zipp from its competitors who, in some cases, have an unsustainable growth model due to high cash burn rate and expansion which happens too quickly. Our approach is also in contrast to other companies who place an excessive focus on expansion, leading to disregard for local authority’s rules and regulations. As for our Centralised Charging and Redistribution Model, many competitors use a Gig Economy Charging Model with zero investment in infrastructure and high staff turnover.”

The post New Irish e-scooter startup aims to take on behemoths like Lime and Bird with its superior tech appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

[Superpedestrian in Mass Transit] Superpedestrian launches LINK, expanding into shared e-scooter operations

Superpedestrian has acquired Zagster’s scooter business and raised additional funding, allowing the company to offer its shared vehicles in cities.

Read more here.

The post [Superpedestrian in Mass Transit] Superpedestrian launches LINK, expanding into shared e-scooter operations appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

[Superpedestrian in The Verge] Superpedestrian is launching a shared e-scooter service called Link

Boston-based micromobility startup Superpedestrian is launching a shared electric scooter-sharing service called Link, which is built around the super durable and smart e-scooters the company announced in late 2018.

Read more here.

The post [Superpedestrian in The Verge] Superpedestrian is launching a shared e-scooter service called Link appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

Britain is launching e-scooter trials ahead of schedule. These are the start-ups racing to take part – CNBC

Britain is launching e-scooter trials ahead of schedule. These are the start-ups racing to take part  CNBC
“startups when:1d” – Google News