The UCD Nova start-up has been appointed to operate their first UK e-Scooter Trial Scheme

Zipp Mobility last week announced that the company will run their first UK e-Scooter Trial Scheme in Taunton. The 12-month trial will take place in the county town of Somerset, creating at least four full-time jobs in the locality. The Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council are set to commence the scheme in late October.

In contrast to the lack of legislation in Ireland, the United Kingdom legalised the use of e-scooters on select roads, cycle lanes and cycle tracks in July. 35 local authorities have since submitted bids to the Department for Transport in the hope of launching such a trial scheme. These schemes are key to the growth of the e-scooter market in the UK, with privately owned scooters still illegal in public spaces.

Pictured (l-r) at University College Dublin are members of the Zipp Mobility team; Will O’Brien, Vice-President of Growth and Government Affairs; Ben Duffy, Operations Lead; Robert Coyle; Investment Lead; Charlie Gleeson, Founder and CEO; Síofra Brady, Growth Associate and Lorcan Brophy, Investment Associate. (Photographer: Saiful Haque).

The e-scooter schemes are seen as a low carbon transport alternative. SWT Council has committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Cllr Peter Pilkington, the Council’s Executive Member for Climate, cited this effort in relation to the scooter scheme, “SWT is in the process of approving a district-wide plan as part of its commitment to tackling climate change”, adding, “E-scooters offer a cleaner, low carbon alternative to cars”.

Hygiene concerns of such a share scheme, particularly in the midst of a pandemic, are mitigated by the Zipp scooters’ cutting-edge technology. The anti-viral handlebar wraps kill 99.98% of coronaviruses, and near eradicating COVID-19 transmission risk. Pilkington also highlighted how the scheme will allow for social distancing throughout the pandemic.

Zipp Mobility e-Scooters. (Photographer: Saiful Haque)

Zipp Mobility’s Investment Associate and Economics and Finance student at UCD, Lorcan Brophy, is excited about the company’s latest venture. Speaking to The College Tribune, Brophy spoke of “a real buzz in the locale”.

“[We] spent the last number of weeks harmonising our service with the council, local groups, and safety authorities,” Brophy said. The scooters will now take to the streets of Taunton “in a matter of days”.

Not resting on their success, Zipp are set to announce further UK trials, including in Northern Ireland in the coming months, according to Brophy. In terms of success in the Republic, Brophy notes that legislation is “not quite there” for such schemes as of yet. However, the company are in “consistent engagement with TDs” and hope to first establish themselves on a number of upcoming private campuses in the future.

Conor Bergin – Business Correspondent