The race to roll out the e-scooter across the UK as a part of the trail has reached its peak. Voi, a Swedish micro-mobility company is preparing itself for launch in the UK market this summer after being selected to run an exclusive e-scooter trial across Northampton and Kettering by Northamptonshire County Council.
This is Voi’s second exclusive contract after it secured a contract to run a trial in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, earlier this month.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder, and CEO of Voi Technology said: “We are delighted to announce that Northamptonshire will be one of the first regions in the UK where people can use a Voi e-scooter and enjoy the benefits of this liberating new form of transport. People are keen to get out of their cars and want greener transport choices. Cities that are serious about cutting pollution and congestion see that this is a huge opportunity to introduce a mode of transport that can radically improve how we get around urban areas.”
On the other hand, the company also unveiled its fourth-generation e-scooter – Voiager 4 featuring indicators, proprietary IoT hardware which, in combination with GPS tech, AI technology, NFC reader, and much more.
He added, “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. We will make Voi the safest, 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.”
Smart Move Northamptonshire initiative
The trial is part of the Smart Move Northamptonshire initiative which is utilising new technology and innovative solutions, from business such as Voi, to help manage the transport network; provide better information to users, and offer more choice as to how they travel.
The trial, now approved by ministers, will enable residents and visitors to the area to leave their cars behind and benefit from a new, convenient, and low-carbon way to travel.
Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Place for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Northamptonshire is committed to improving access to greener, more sustainable, more affordable transport for the benefit of everyone. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Voi, Europe’s fastest-growing e-scooter operator, to bring this exciting new form of transport to residents and businesses across the region. We chose to partner with Voi because of its collaborative, responsible approach which is going to help us achieve our 2030 Climate-neutral target. In the short-term ‘post-lockdown’, we are keen to see how the use of e-scooters can help people get back to work, education, and training, especially with capacity restricted on public transport.” Right now, the Swedish e-scooter provider is now live in 45 regions and 11 countries.
As a part of the trail, Voi offers rides at £1 to unlock + £0.20 per minute. On the other hand, the company offers subscriptions for £10 a day/£40 a month alongside subsidised Voi-4-All Passes for low-income groups at £10 per month.
As per the company claims, it will create 50+ FTE jobs and support key workers with free rides and support local businesses to enable them to offer, or extend, delivery services. The company is also launching #RideLikeVoila, its online traffic school, for local riders, with incentives to encourage riders to take a course before they ride.
Richard Corbett, UK GM of Voi Technology, said: “As normal life resumes across the UK and people return to workplaces and shops, the need for quick, convenient, and COVID-safe transport is increasing. Cars no longer suit the way we live now. 60% of car journeys in the UK are between 1 to 3 miles, significantly adding to congestion. We estimate that 1 in 5 of these journeys across Northamptonshire could be replaced by low-carbon e-scooters with a minimum 24-month lifespan. E-scooters provide a compelling alternative that will outrun the car.”
200 deaths per year due to air pollution
On average, more than 200 deaths per year in Northampton alone can be attributed to air pollution with 45% of CO2 emissions coming from road transport. The partnership between Voi and Northamptonshire County Council will aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 tonnes across the region by August 2021.
Within the first three months of operation, Voi will assess and present recommendations to Northamptonshire County Council on any additional infrastructure requirements that it sees based on user feedback and user journey data, including feedback from disability group associations such as RNIB and Disabilities Move UK.
Shieldex Copper-Tape on handlebars
As a preventive measure against COVID-19 spread, Voi is rolling out Shieldex Copper-Tape tape on handlebars, designed to kill 99.98% of coronavirus on contact, and all scooters are disinfected every 24 hours.
Across the country, more than 50 councils and regional authorities are putting in place e-scooter pilots, which can run for 12 months. Cities including Liverpool, West Midlands (including Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, and Dudley), Cambridge and Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Southampton were amongst those to express interest in running a pilot.
Main image credits: Voi