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Diving in: startups go underwater to save their scooters

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Diving in: startups go underwater to avoid wasting their scooters

Tons of of e-scooters are picked up from waters round European cities yearly. In Stockholm, the lake cleansing organisation Rena Mälaren has picked up 355 in total within the final couple of years. In Paris one other organisation, Guppy, has picked up 235 over seven excursions.

“1 / 4 of all of the steel crap we choose up is electrical scooters,” says Sacha Kleynjans, the chief govt of Guppy, which has a group {of professional} divers who fish out waste for companies.

“1 / 4 of all of the steel crap we choose up is electrical scooters.”

That’s neither excellent news for the atmosphere — nor for Europe’s scooter startups.

Every e-scooter is price a couple of hundred euros and the newer fashions have a predicted lifespan of three to 5 years. Other than misplaced earnings, each time one is lobbed right into a canal or river it additionally damages the scooter operator’s relationship with the native authorities.

However one scooter startup has provide you with a brand new plan to deal with the issue: a drowning button.

Not waving however drowning

Voi, the Stockholm-based scooter operator, is within the technique of unveiling a brand new scooter with options comparable to indicators. Additionally it is prone to have a function which is the scooter equal of an SOS sign.

“That’s the plan. We simply must work out the performance,” says Kristina Hunter Nilsson, communication supervisor at Voi. She hopes the function is also retrofitted to Voi’s older scooters too. “A few of these issues are software-driven which signifies that we will add it to the older fashions as effectively. And it’s in everybody’s curiosity that we’ve that.”

When an electrical scooter leads to the water it loses its connectivity and is subsequently troublesome to seek out. The drowning function will alert Voi when a scooter finally ends up underwater and the hope is that, in lots of circumstances, it could possibly then be rescued earlier than an excessive amount of harm has been carried out.

However precisely how lengthy a scooter survives underwater is one thing that Hunter Nilsson can not say for certain. “That basically is dependent upon lots of issues and I wouldn’t need to provide you with a precise variety of days,” she says.

In Stockholm, the waterways should not too busy and the waters across the metropolis are fairly accessible. Nevertheless, in Paris, it takes lots of organising to dive for scooters within the river Seine, which may make it tough to rescue a scooter earlier than its time is up.

“The waters are very busy; there’s a boat passing each 10 seconds,” says Guppy’s Kleynjans.

“A drowning button sounds good however even when the e-scooters had a sign telling us the place they’re, it could be very troublesome to enter at such a selected level within the water.”

Vanquishing the vandals

Nonetheless, a drowning button received’t assist the electrical scooter firms find all of the previous scooters already hidden underwater — or forestall the “vandals” from chucking them in within the first place.

To scale back the variety of its scooters which find yourself taking a swim, each the Amsterdam-based startup Dott and the Berlin-based startup Tier have launched heavier scooters and a wheel-locking performance that makes it troublesome to maneuver a parked scooter. Like a number of different startups, in addition they use geofencing that makes it unattainable to complete a journey subsequent to the water.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t cease scooters ending up within the water. Voi’s Hunter Nilsson spent Monday diving for drowned scooters with Rena Mälaren within the waters round Stockholm.

“The mannequin that we picked out right now was a latest mannequin and had comparable specs to Tier’s,” she says. “The scooters right now are all heavier and extra strong and subsequently tougher for folks to throw in. I’m amazed that they nonetheless do it.”

Diving for scooters in Stockholm. Left to proper: Fredrik Hjelm, chief govt and founding father of Voi, Fredrik Johansson, diver and founding father of Rena Mälaren, and Kristina Hunter Nilsson, VP Communications at Voi.

Since February, Voi has joined forces with Rena Mälaren in Stockholm and Guppy in Paris and Marseille to fish out as many scooters as attainable. Additionally it is planning to companion up with different organisations in cities surrounded by waterways.

Tier and Dott have additionally been working with Guppy because the organisation began up. Tier’s rescued scooters are, for security causes, dismantled after which used as spare components, if nonetheless functioning. For Voi, the scooters which have solely been within the water a short while have one other future.

“The scooters we picked out right now [Monday] will probably be repaired after which return on the road,” says Hunter Nilsson. “But it surely is dependent upon how lengthy they’ve been underwater.”

“Clearly, scooters don’t belong within the water and we need to ensure that we will get them again up as rapidly as attainable. For us, each scooter counts and it isn’t okay to pollute the ocean beds,” she provides. Taking a diving tour in Stockholm is an opportunity for Voi to indicate simply how a lot it cares concerning the atmosphere — and a superb PR alternative as effectively.

Mimi Billing is Sifted’s Nordic correspondent. She additionally covers healthtech, and tweets from @MimiBilling

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