Parliament prepares for micromobility with new group

19 August 2020

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A trio of tasty British stories this week as Westminster gets a new all-party group to examine micromobility topics, bicycle maker Brompton plans a new subscription service and famed F1 and engineering group Williams builds a bonkers racing electric scooter.

1: Cross-party parliamentary group for micromobility created

What: An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been launched to focus on micromobility.

The group’s stated aims are:

  1. To review evidence, research, and best practice in the micromobility sector.
  2. To assess the extent and success of initiatives and developments that promote increased uptake of micromobility, including the government future of mobility strategy.
  3. To develop recommendations resulting in changes to government policy and practice at national and local government level, based on our findings.

The group is chaired by Elliot Colburn, the MP for Carshalton and Wallington, and already includes representatives from both the Conservative and Labour parties.

“I’m delighted to be the chair of the APPG on Micromobility, especially at such an inflection point for the industry caused by COVID-19. We are looking at innovative and green transport solutions that keep people mobile whilst keeping people safe and easing pressure of public transport at a time where it is limited.” 

Elliot Colburn MP

Why it matters: The Big News for the next six months or so will be electric scooters but there’s so much more to the micromobility segment.

Cargo bikes – and their electric equivalents – are seeing a real surge in popularity and there are all sorts of other weird and wonderful devices that fall into this category which have yet to be regulated.

Getting government acquainted with new types of transport will be a key step to achieving consensus on how and when to incorporate low-carbon options into the UK transport mix. and that’s where APPGs come in.  RR

2: Zipp-a-dee-doo-dah for DfT approval

What: Another week, another DfT e-scooter approval. This time, it’s for Dublin-based startup Zipp, a company so new its founders are barely out of university.

Why it matters: Zipp was planning to target university campuses but now sounds like it’s switched focus to muscle in on DfT trial programmes. Giving councils additional options can only be a good thing but the tiny scale of Zipp’s resources, stock and experience compared to the industry’s household names will give pause for thought in pitch meetings.   RR

3: Williams will build eSC’s racing electric scooter

What: British engineering firm Williams will design and build the outrageous electric scooter that will be used by all teams competing in new racing series.

The Electric Scooter Championship (eSC) is delighted to announce that Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) will develop and supply the series’ first eSkootr model. The deal will see the British technology and engineering services business – which originated from the renowned F1 constructor Williams – exclusively developing and supplying the eSkootr chassis, battery system and powertrain for the eSC’s first two seasons.

WAE has already begun development of a high-performance electric vehicle prototype capable of truly breath-taking performance levels: it will achieve speeds of more than 100km/h (60mph) and accelerate faster than most road cars.

Why it matters: Williams has form when it comes to electrified racing projects.

It was Williams that designed and built the first-generation battery for the groundbreaking all-electric Formula E racing series in an unbelievably short timeframe, with learning applied from its partnership on the Jaguar CX-75 hybrid prototype supercar. The engineering firm has since gone on build the rugged batteries for the forthcoming all-electric off-road category Extreme E.

Oh, and Williams happens to build F1 cars, too.

In short, if you want to not only build a brilliant bit of electrified kit but also show the world how serious you are about doing it properly, having Williams on board as the technical expert is rather a masterstroke.  RR

4: Brompton gearing up for monthly subscription service

What: Fans of the British folding bicycle company Brompton will be pleased to hear that a new subscription service looks likely to be rolled out in September. Customers will be able to hire a bike for £30/month on an annual contract or £42/month on a month-by-month basis.

Why it matters: Brompton bikes are beautiful but their purchase prices aren’t for the faint-hearted, beginning at around £900 and rising to more than £3000. Not only is the new subscription model substantially cheaper when it comes to initial outlay, at around £360 for the year, it could work out even more cost effective is users choose to rent a bike only for some months of the year, such as the summer. If that gets more people onto bikes and puts more money in their pockets, that can only be a good thing for our streets and our economy.  RR

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