Swedish electric scooter company Voi has won an exclusive UK contract in Northamptonshire.
The 12-month trial, awarded by Northamptonshire County Council, is designed to reduce congestion and pollution in Northampton and Kettering, and the contract will also create 50 new jobs in these towns.
In two weeks’ time, a fleet of 300 e-scooters will be on the streets, with the option to increase this to 2000 during the contract.
As part of the trial, Voi will offer in-app verification of driving licenses and will integrate fully with local public transport network providers. Energy generated from renewable sources will also be used to charge the e-scooters.
The partnership aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 tonnes across the Northamptonshire region by August 2021.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has also implemented additional safety measures, such as rolling out copper tape on the scooters’ handlebars, designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and all scooters are disinfected every 24 hours.
Following this announcement, the e-scooter provider now operates in 45 regions across 11 countries.
Voi harnesses AI to support e-scooter maintenance
Voi, the fastest-growing pan-European micro mobility startup, has also announced an updated version of its e-scooter model designed to be safer and feature more sophisticated technology.
Its fourth generation e-scooter, called Voiager 4, will arrive in the UK “within weeks” and features indicators, IoT hardware that allows scooters to be tracked within a metre, artificial intelligence to predict when a scooter needs maintainence and sensors that can detect when parking racks are nearby.
The scooter model will also include an NFC reader so that payment methods such as Oyster card can be accepted, and sensors that track noise and air quality levels.
In order to relieve pressure on transport networks by encouraging alternative modes of travel, the UK government fast-tracked trials of rented e-scooters in July, legalising rental e-scooters on UK roads for a 12-month period.
Across the UK, more than 50 councils and regional authorities are running e-scooter pilots. Earlier this month, Voi was awarded its first e-scooter contract in the UK by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.
“As we begin to launch our fleet across the UK, we are determined to lead the safety agenda for riders and all other road users and pedestrians,” said Fredrik Hjelm, CEO at Voi Technology.
“We will make Voi the most safe, sustainable and accessible scooter on the market and all of the new features – including indicators – support us in this ambition. As far as we are concerned a single scooter accident is one too many and we will continue to develop industry-leading e-scooters as well as collaborate with cities, traffic authorities, vulnerable groups and our users to make sure that our service and product is the safest on the street.”