The UK General Manager of Swedish electric scooter hire firm Voi, Richard Corbett, has appeared before the Transport Select Committee to answer questions on how e-Scooters will be trialled in the UK from September.
Corbett told MPs e-Scooters have the potential to provide a quick, affordable, flexible and environmentally-friendly solution to the transport problems faced by UK cities, citing one in five car journeys could be replaced by an e-Scooter trip.
“MPs today rightly focused on how e-Scooters could safely be introduced to UK streets,” he said. “We want to make it clear that safety is always our number one priority. We don’t agree with other operators that e-Scooters should be aligned with e-Bikes.
“This is an opportunity to raise the bar when it comes to road safety and go above and beyond the basic government requirements, which is why Voi will give all our UK riders comprehensive insurance. This is the biggest change to the way people travel in a hundred years and Voi is here to help make this a safe transition.”
Voi Scooters were the first to receive accreditation in Germany, and has launched an online traffic school #RidelikeViola, which is certified by the European Institute for Road Safety and The National Society for Road Safety in Sweden. The UK’s version of this initiative would give formal instruction on the rules of the road, while pop-up stands will teach riders technique and safety as the trials launch.
“As normal life resumes across the UK, the last thing most people want to see is more gridlock and pollution from traffic,” Corbett continued. “With people returning to workplaces and shops, the need for quick, convenient and Covid-safe transport is increasing.”
With 60% of car journeys in the UK between one and three miles, Voi estimates that one in five of these journeys could be replaced by low-carbon e-Scooters with a minimum 24-month lifespan. The firm is confident it can provide 100,000 e-Scooter rides a day across the UK.
Voi’s latest e-Scooter, the Voiager 3, features a swappable battery enabling it to last at least 24 months, which is double the lifespan of early scooters and consumer models. Consultant EY calculated improvements to scooters and the introduction of swappable batteries has led to a 70% improvement in scooter sustainability.
Corbett added: “Voi is talking to local authorities around the UK and believes it can bring real benefits to communities up and down the country, including priority for NHS and key workers, low cost fares and the ability to connect places that would otherwise need significant new infrastructure to be connected to existing public transport routes.
“We can have our scooters on the streets within two weeks of the green light from a local authority.”
A number of e-Scooter hire firms are bidding for UK street space ahead of the trial rollout. Active travel experts, local authorities and operators have been discussing the impact e-Scooters may have on the UK’s modal mix, including safety checkpoints and the potential impacts on active travel.