Zag Daily takes a look at some of the British startups shaping the future of micromobility with innovations and product launches on display today at the UK’s only in-person, dedicated micromobility event – Micromobility UK 2023.
What: With more than 270,000 customers worldwide – including Tier, Lime, Deliveroo and Just Eat – Flare detects incidents and offers safety intelligence for micromobility operators and last-mile logistics companies.
Today, the firm revealed its new ‘Rider Safety Score’ and ‘Maintenance Index’. This gives customers the ability to score riders on their prevalence of incidents and risky riding behaviours, as well as provide operators with the ability to understand the overall health of their vehicles.
Why it matters: “Until now, operators and local authorities have relied on hospital and police reporting of incidents to understand rider safety risk,” Charlie Wilson, Chief Commercial Officer, told Zag. “This is not only under-representative but also inconsistent across countries and cities. This makes it harder to make policy, governance and operational decisions, so this is what we’re looking to address.
“These features also improve profitability by allowing businesses to make more informed decisions about rider education/customer support, as well as customised scheduling of vehicle maintenance and repair.”
What: Calderdale-based Shed Rides has unveiled a utility-cargo e-motorcycle – the Shed ONE.
The startup is part of WMG and NatWest’s Clean Transport Accelerator Hub cohort and is on target to launch a series of 10 Shed ONE’s to follow on social media as a springboard to larger production.
Why it matters: The e-motorcycle is based on three pillars – versatility, circular economy sustainability and rider safety. It comes with upgradeable modules, a build-on frame and re-manufacturing by default. Optional add-ons will include trailers, side cargo platforms and power take-off up to 240v for running other devices.
“Adapting, modding and farkling motorcycles has always been part of motorcycling the world over and our thing is to build bikes that encourage adaptation, whether it be bolting on customised load-carrying hardware, just configuring the digital dials or anything in-between,” Andy Trainor, Shed Rides Managing Director, told Zag.
City Angel Alert
What: Cycle Angel Alert unveiled a cycle-to-vehicle communication system that alerts drivers who have the startups’ app to the exact whereabouts of cyclists and other vulnerable road users (VRU’s) in their local vicinity who use the app.
The app is free for all cyclists and VRU’s, while fleets and private drivers pay a very nominal fee, said the startup.
Why it matters: CEO Paul Ripley told Zag: “It shows drivers exactly where the cyclists (or other VRU’s) are on the road scene and gives a countdown of how far away they are, even if they cannot be seen by the driver because of blind junctions, blind crests on country roads, or blind spots for example. This allows more time and space for the driver to react and be more aware and pay attention to the moving hazard that they are about to meet, so they can plan safer passage for cyclists, earlier than before.”
What: Escend has developed the first electric inline rollerblades for the last mile commute and leisure purposes that offer comparable advantages to other modes of micromobility transport and introduce a new way of getting around.
Why it matters: Part of WMG and NatWest’s accelerator programme, Escend’s Co-Founder and Head of Product Development, Anton Larin, told Zag: “The current urban commute is unsustainable and requires drastic changes. At Escend, we are trying to accelerate the shift to micromobility by developing innovative and convenient personal transport solutions. These inline skates are a truly fun and innovative product, with a compact design for a lighter, agile commute.”
What: Vialoco, a distributor of high-end micromobility vehicles in the UK, is showcasing a SwiftyOne Marine-e foldable ‘kick assist’ e-scooter, and AER’s scooter “reinvented” – the AER 557. Co-designed by bicycle and automotive engineers, the 557 is based upon proven bicycle geometric principles, and features a unique drivetrain with a German manufactured motor controller.
Why it matters: “We are ecstatic to launch the AER 557 this summer,” said John Irving, CEO of AER. “It’s unlike anything you’ve ridden before. The 20 inch tyres combined with the wide bamboo deck, unique drivetrain and patented folding mechanism make the 557 the ultimate commuting vehicle in the luxury space.”
Swifty Scooters Co-Founder Camilla Iftakhar, said: “We continue to make scooters with our tried and tested geometry and 16 inch wheels, the MARINE is our top of the range product and weighs only 13.6kg. This allows for the excellent stability and control that Swifty’s are known for, and at the same time it’s ultra-portable. The polished alloy frame really is stunning!”
Cambridge Electric Transport
What: Cambridge Electric Transport has built an innovative, lightweight electric vehicle prototype called the CitiPod. It comes in two versions, the CitiPod Cargo for last mile micro-deliveries aimed at the fast-food and rapid grocery market, while the CitiPod Passenger is primarily for families and older users for short localised journeys, and micromobility operators to expand the range of vehicles in their fleet with protection from the elements.
Why it matters: Currently on WMG and NatWest’s accelerator cohort, Sean Moroney, CEO of the company, told Zag: “In our opinion, it is the most accessible vehicle on the market filling the mobility gap between bikes and cars. It is easy to access, with a simple design and controls, and has a 100 kg load capacity, perfect for light deliveries. The passenger version can accommodate two small children and has room for shopping too.”
What: On display from Manufacturer Kidvelo Bikes, which is on WMG and NatWest’s accelerator cohort, is its Kidvelo convertible balance to pedal bikes for kids up to the age of eight.
Why it matters: With an estimated one in five children not being able to ride a bike (YouGov study), Kidvelo have designed top-quality bikes that start as a balance bike to teach a child the skill of balance, before easily converting the same frame into a proper lightweight pedal bike. This saves parents money as they do not need to buy two bikes, and by offering larger balance bikes, the company helps older kids that have not learnt to ride.
“We launched the 14 inch and 18 inch convertible balance bikes in October 2022 and received raving customer testimonials,” said Karen Wood, Founder of Kidvelo. “We heard from parents that were told their children would never be able to ride a bike, and now they could! Sales exceeded expectations and sold out completely within eight weeks. We are expecting new stock any day so it will be rewarding to be able to fulfil our back orders and help more children.”