Adelaide City E-scooter trial extends to added carbon savings in venture with EcoCaddy

An EcoCaddy cargo trailer picks up and repositions Ride electric scooters around the Adelaide CBD, as well as swapping their batteries.
Image courtesy EcoCaddy

Two electric scooter companies, Singapore-based Beam and Melbourne-based Ride, begin operating a six-month trial across Adelaide CBD in 2019. They were chosen by Adelaide City Council ahead of Californian company Lime that run a four-week pilot program with 500 scooters used for 140,000 trips during the Adelaide Fringe.

The shortlisted operators were assessed on criteria, including ability to restrict an e-scooter’s speed and braking. The council said Lime didn’t meet requirements of the evaluation because it would not force its e-scooters to stop if they went outside the council-imposed boundaries. GPS-tracked and operated with a smartphone app, the new e-scooters operating in Adelaide were required by the council to reduce to a speed of four kilometres per hour.

The new permit is limited to the CBD, bounded by West Terrace, North Terrace, River Torrens, East Terrace and South Terrace. If riders go beyond this geo-fenced area (or into Rundle Mall no-go zone), Beam and Ride’s e-scooters will slow to a stop. Restrictions also applied to Hindley Street on Friday and Saturday nights between 6pm and 6am. The Beam and Ride trial would help decide permanent regulations for e-scooters in Adelaide.

Ride scooters has become a partner of Adelaide-born micro-mobility company EcoCaddy that operates a pedal-assisted electric bike passenger service, concentrated mainly on the CBD.

In a deal that maximises their common aim of reducing carbon emissions, Ride scooters and EcoCaddy developed a battery swapping system. Instead of a truck picking up scooters each day to move them to in-demand pickup points or take them to the depot for recharging, the batteries are swapped by a mechanic on an EcoCaddy bike. An EcoCargo trailer was designed to carry scooters around.

The partnership worked so well that Ride scooters and EcoCaddy were looking to take it to the national level.

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