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New Trends for E-Scooters: Docked and with Cargo

The e-scooter anarchy has inspired new ideas on both how to operate the shared service in a more orderly manner and how to extend its limits. Spin is now putting solar-powered docking stations around cities to reduce sidewalk clutter [1], and VeloMini has just brought a “cargo scooter” to the market [2].

The chaos brought by dockless shared e-scooters randomly parked on the streets has been around since their inception. Two American cities, Washington and Ann Arbor, have been participating in a 60-day pilot program which aims to bring some order to this business. Scooter company Spin and infrastructure supplier Swiftmile is the brains behind the idea. Swiftmile is building solar-powered docking stations that are going to be placed on private property to charge e-scooters in these two cities. Currently, the docking stations are only compatible with Spin’s scooters. Spin is seeking the collaboration of property owners by emphasizing the values brought by the foreseeable increase of traffic to these locations brought by the stations. “The Swiftmile partnership is going to increase clarity about parking, and our team can work with them to figure out best practices for serving these stations,” said Dan Winston, a general manager for Spin’s Washington-area operations.

Besides this new remedy for scooter parking, the design of the scooters is also becoming more innovative. VeloMini launched its first foldable cargo scooter, the VeloMini Scoot, which allows you to attach a 60-litre cargo trailer to it. The trailer, which can be detached from the scooter and used as a normal suitcase, can support a load of up to 30 kg. The author of [2] claims that the extra load that this model provides has made it possible for scooters to be seen as a car replacement. Yet, there are some negative impacts from adding extra cargo to the light-weighted scooters. As the scooter becomes heavier due to the additional load, it may be harder to brake and require longer stopping distances.

 

Personal comments

Under the pressure of the growing concerns about shared e-scooter services, companies start to look for ways to keep themselves alive in the cities by looking at existing solutions. As long as proper solutions to the problems brought by the “dockless” feature are missing, the old-school station-based solutions for shared mobility services are probably the way to go to keep the city out of anarchy. However, how users perceive this loss of flexibility and if more companies end up choosing the same method is worth following up.

The VeloMini Scoot and its T1-trailer is an eye-opening product that expands the limits of load capacity that we see with e-scooters today. However, how the trailer would affect the ride in terms of stability and safety and how much benefit it would bring to the users are still subjects to research. E-scooter innovation is rolling on at full speed.  

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-05-21. E-scooter company Spin will place dozens of startup’s solar-powered docking stations in two cities.

2. 2019-05-20. Review: VeloMini Scoot and T1 trailer turns an electric scooter into a truck.