Dublin’s Zipp Mobility begins e-scooter trials in the UK

14 Aug 2020

From left: Will O'Brien, Ben Duffy, Robert Coyle, Charlie Gleeson, Síofra Brady and Lorcan Brophy. Image: Saiful Haque

Irish start-up Zipp Mobility has received approval to begin trialling its e-scooter transport system in the UK.

Today (14 August), Dublin e-scooter start-up Zipp Mobility announced that it has received approval from the UK’s department for transport to trial its e-scooter model.

The news comes on the back of Zipp Mobility’s €300,000 seed funding announcement in June, which was led by a London-based venture capital firm and private angel investors.

The start-up will now be testing its e-scooter system across the pond as part of the UK’s plan to accelerate trials of rented e-scooter schemes. These fast-tracked trials were introduced in response to Covid-19, with the UK government looking to explore methods of transport that could ease pressure on reduced-capacity public transport systems and allow for social distancing.

Several regions in the UK are now permitted to trial e-scooter sharing schemes in partnership with scooter companies, including Zipp Mobility.

Zipp’s e-scooters

Zipp Mobility was founded in 2019 by Charlie Gleeson. It is headquartered at NovaUCD’s Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs on the University College Dublin (UCD) campus and is recognised as a high-potential start-up by Enterprise Ireland.

Gleeson said that the approval for UK trials is a “hugely encouraging affirmation” of Zipp Mobility’s work.

“Not only does this confirm confidence in the safety of our e-scooter, it also reaffirms that our bid for a more sustainable, responsible and transparent approach to the industry is one that is being readily welcomed by authorities,” Gleeson said.

“The [UK department of transport] approval demonstrates our readiness to help local governments respond to issues that have restrained the true potential of e-scooters as a means of future mobility.”

The team has developed an e-scooter with an aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking and a wide base. The scooters are equipped with nano-septic handlebar wraps, which Zipp Mobility claimed can reduce the transmission of Covid-19.

According to the company, its e-scooters have a useful lifetime of more than two years, and the start-up runs maintenance of its vehicles through local on-the-ground teams with the goal of extending each scooter’s lifespan. The end-of-life plan for the e-scooters involves reusing and recycling parts.

Will O’Brien, head of growth and government affairs at Zipp Mobility, added: “The approval of our scooter by the [UK department for transport] brings us one step closer to our goal of providing a world-class scooter-sharing service to cities in the UK. Cities need scooter-sharing now more than ever due to the impact Covid-19 is having on public transport.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic