Voi launches UK’s first wireless e-scooter charging trial
Success of Voi’s new wireless charging trial could help reduce operational costs, as well as make the integration of e-scooters into the street and transport infrastructure more streamlined and accessible.
Credit: Voi Technology
Voi Technology has announced that it has partnered with the University of Warwick (WMG) to trial the use of wireless e-scooter charging on campus over a six-month period.
As with the charging of electric cars, the charging of e-scooters is a challenge for the operators of extensive rental schemes. The batteries powering these zero-emissions e-scooters are often charged safely at its warehouse, where they are replaced when vehicles receive their regular inspections, or by the company’s in-field teams who visit each vehicle to perform battery swaps.
These processes can lead to high operating costs for all e-scooter businesses, as they can be both time-consuming and often resource-intensive by requiring additional warehouse infrastructure for safe battery charging, as well as transportation costs needed to perform swaps across the operating town or city. Therefore, Voi began exploring new charging methodologies that could provide the same user experience whilst also delivering a similar vehicle efficient and effective battery performance.
In partnership with Bumblebee Power, Voi is trialling the use of wireless charging pads by retrofitting a number of e-scooters with technology enabling the vehicles to be charged where they are parked. The University of Warwick campus’ ‘mini-city’ environment has been selected for this wireless trial as it provides an excellent ‘living lab’ environment to safely test this innovative transport technology.
Available to estate staff only, the e-scooters will be regularly used across the busy university environment by thousands of staff and students, to help them perform their everyday duties.
The success of the trial could mean not only reducing operational costs but making their integration into the street and transport infrastructure more streamlined, helping the modal shift to a convenient and flexible mode of transport easier for new and existing riders. The trial will provide data on the wireless system’s performance as well as user behaviour and interaction with the technology, which is crucial to any future large-scale deployment. If the trial proves successful, it could be expanded to cover more of Voi’s fleets across the UK.
Sam Pooke, Senior Policy Manager at Voi UK and Ireland, said: “Applying this (wireless charging) technology has the potential to not only reduce the operational impact of how we charge batteries for our vehicles but also in making an already convenient and flexible service even more accessible for new and existing riders. Over the coming months, we’ll look forward to working with our partners to maximise the innovative potential of this technology.”
David Evans, Lead Engineer at the University of Warwick, said: “Wireless charging technology for micro-mobility has the potential to reduce operational costs for fleet operators and provide a convenient charging solution for users. The University of Warwick campus is an ideal location to trial transport innovations such as these, providing a real world, mini city environment with world-class teaching and research facilities.”
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