Bolt, the ‘Tesla on two wheels’, has today launched a £1.36 million fundraise on Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, Seedrs. The European startup is on a mission to take petrol-guzzling, environmentally harmful scooters off the road, permanently. After successfully closing £2.8 million from larger angel investors to date and getting a lot of demand for smaller investment amounts, Bolt decided to do a Seedrs round to give people who don’t have 100k, also the chance to invest. The fundraise will be primarily used to get Bolt’s internet-enabled electric scooter, called “AppScooter”, ready to market in 2018.
The global sales for motorcycles and scooters reached 134 million units in 2016, with industry revenues reaching $90 billion, yet scooters, in particular, pose serious environmental problems. According to the University of Cambridge, scooters are up to thousands of times more polluting than a small delivery van and are responsible for 30 per cent of worldwide traffic emissions.
Due to this huge environmental damage caused by scooters, a number of European countries have put specific policies in place to deal with this problem. In Amsterdam, 77 per cent of all scooters on the roads will be subject to new legislation from January 2018 as petrol scooters manufactured before 2011 are phased out. France and Italy have also banned petrol scooter usage in some cities during certain days or times.
By contrast, it appears that the UK is lagging behind as the British government recently announced the decision to just ban the sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2040. They have not yet put similar legislation in place to deal with scooters, despite them being bigger polluters than cars, especially as poor air quality is also a growing concern in the UK. Currently, air pollution in Britain causes an estimated 29,000 deaths a year.
Bolt’s AppScooter explained
Ahead of ordering an AppScooter, customers can fully customise their electric scooter with options including: colour, motor and battery size, alloys, rims and other extras, including a windscreen. Specifications include:
Battery life. AppScooter offers the potential to store six battery modules, meaning the scooter can travel as far as 245 miles (400km) on a single charge, which is three times more than any other competitor.
Speed: The scooters are capable of going from 0 to over 25 miles per hour (45km/h) in just 3.3 seconds, making it the fastest accelerating scooter on the market.
Touchscreen. The AppScooter has a seven inch touchscreen that has a 4G internet connection, powered by Vodafone. AppScooter’s technology knows your location, answers your calls, plays music and navigates the best routes. It even texts your friends what time you’ll arrive, or more importantly sends an automatic ‘I’m driving’ response. The user interface can also be controlled via the handlebars, meaning drivers can focus on the road. This matters because over 70 per cent of people use their smartphone while driving, increasing the chance of an accident by up to 160 times.
Founded in 2014 by entrepreneurs Marijn Flipse and Bart Jacobsz Rosier, the Dutch startup is gearing up to be the scooter of choice for Europeans next year amidst uncertainty regarding petrol scooter laws. With £3 million in investment to date, Bolt is looking to raise another £1 million to accelerate production so the automotive startup can take its electric scooters to market in 2018.
Bart Jacobsz Rosier, CEO and co-founder at Bolt, says, “Scooters outsell cars by almost double with 134 million scooters sold annually, and we are truly excited to be at the forefront of a lucrative market worth over £30 billion a year. The plan is to have delivered more than a quarter million scooters to customers by 2020. We believe Bolt will pioneer the mass movement towards sustainable scootering and accelerate the worldwide adoption of other green technologies like Tesla cars.”
Edwin Berkhout, a Dutch venture capitalist and investor in Bolt says, “Bolt Mobility’s approach is revolutionary, as our scooters will be powered by clean, renewable electric and therefore potentially game changing on a global scale. Not only is the AppScooter the next step in helping the world reach its renewable targets, it is also how scooter driving should be. ”