Pictured at University College Dublin are members of the Zipp Mobility team, (l-r) Will O’Brien, Head 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).
Zipp Mobility, the Irish micromobility start-up, recently announced that the UK Department for Transport (DfT) has approved the company’s e-scooter model for use in trials across the UK.
The UK government recently announced plans to accelerate trials of rented e-scooter schemes as part of its strategy to explore less congested and greener methods of urban transport in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All UK regions are now permitted to launch e-scooter sharing schemes, in partnership with scooter firms, such as Zipp Mobility.
The company is currently engaging with a number of councils to secure e-scooter licences and provide a safer and more sustainable micromobility solution to commuters across the UK.
The Zipp e-scooter has been carefully designed with safety in mind. It features an aircraft-grade aluminium frame, 10-inch airless tyres, a swappable battery, dual braking, a wide base and a low centre of gravity. The scooters are also equipped with nano-septic handlebar wraps that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by 99.98%.
Zipp Mobility, founded by Charlie Gleeson (24) in 2019, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD). The company is also an Enterprise Ireland High-Potential Start-Up (HPSU) client company.
“Receiving approval from the DfT is a hugely encouraging affirmation of what we are striving for at Zipp,” said Charlie Gleeson, CEO, Zipp Mobility.
“Not only does this confirm confidence in the safety of our e-scooter, it also re-affirms that our bid for a more sustainable, responsible and transparent approach to the industry is one that is being readily welcomed by authorities. The DfT 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 urban mobility.”
He added, “Rapid urbanisation is a phenomenon that has aggravated a multitude of problems that city authorities face. However, it presents a fantastic opportunity for innovation, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic only proving further reason for new approaches needed. At Zipp we want to make sure the transformation to micromobility is a smooth, sustainable and collaborative one.
He concluded, “At Zipp we have dedicated commitment to the circular economy which we believe is the way forward for the industry. As the UK now seeks to accelerate the adoption of e-scooters, it is a fantastic opportunity to ensure reduced congestion and sustainable operations are key considerations going forward. At Zipp, this starts with our robust e-scooter.”
The Zipp e-scooter has a useful lifetime of over two years, compared to the estimated industry average of just three months. Rigorous maintenance through local on-the-ground teams will ensure this extended lifespan while the company’s end-of-life plan for its scooters forgoes landfill for actively re-using and recycling parts. In addition, Zipp’s electric charging fleet and swappable battery is 10 times more efficient than the widely-used gig economy model.
Will O’Brien, Head of Growth and Government Affairs, Zipp Mobility, said, “The approval of our scooter by the DfT 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.”
“We cannot let people revert back to car usage after years of progress in encouraging alternative modes of transport. If cities truly want to advance towards their carbon emissions targets in the post-COVID era, then socially distanced modes of transport like electric scooters must be considered as an integral component of urban transport strategy.”
In June Zipp Mobility closed a €300,000 seed investment round and expanded its team to target the UK e-scooter market. This seed funding round was led by a London-based VC and private angel investors.
Charlie Gleeson is a recent graduate from the UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business. In 2019 he completed NovaUCD’s mentoring programme for student entrepreneurs and the UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme run by NovaUCD for early-stage start-up companies.