E-scooters, designed to make traffic in cities calmer, faster and environment friendlier are collected at night and loaded onto diesel-powered trucks over Hamburg, which is not in keeping with climate protection goals.
More efficient and sustainable than trucks
The Hamburg-based start-up Nüwiel is keen to alleviate the situation and has joined forces with Dutch e-scooter manufacturer Dott. Thanks to their collaboration, up to five electric scooters can now be transported and distributed using just a single electric-bike trailer. Dott offers its electric scooters in Munich, Brussels, Paris, Lyon and Milan. “That is faster, more cost-efficient and more sustainable than using a truck,” said Natalia Tomiyama, co-founder of Nüwiel. The cargo trailer can be coupled to any bicycle, parking spaces do not have to be tracked down and traffic jams are avoided. The trailer can also be uncoupled swiftly and pushed through pedestrian zones and into buildings, said Tomiyama.
Original cargo trailer modified
The base of the e-scooter trailer is not unlike the original cargo trailer, but the body has been customized for Dott’s purposes. The e-scooters are easier to charge, steadier and are not damaged during the journey, Tomiyama pointed out. The sensors on Nüwiel’s trailers make for continuous synchronization with the bicycle. The control system brakes automatically on downhill routes and accelerates so that the driver does not notice the weight of the trailer and scooter on an uphill route. Now that the test phase in Brussels has ended successfully, Dott uses five load trailers to transport electric scooters.
Funded by European Commission
Founded in 2016 by Tomiyama, Fahad Khan and Sandro Rabbiosi, the trio received initial backing from the Start-up Dock at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and funding from InnoRampUp, the Climate-KIC and most recently from the European Commission as one of the most innovative European start-ups. “There are lots of solutions for passenger transport, but hardly any for urban logistics,” according to the founders. The funds from the European Commission highlight the importance placed on efficient and sustainable mobility concepts for Europe.
Co-operation with UPS, IKEA and Airbus
The company already co-operates with UPS parcel delivery services and with seven branches of Ikea in Germany, France and Denmark. Customers in Altona, for instance, can transport their furniture home free of charge using Nüwiel’s trailers. Meanwhile, Airbus in Finkenwerder uses the trailers to transport small parts e.g. brushes and sandpaper for final assembly. Plans are currently underway at Nüwiel to modify the trailers to tranport food with two other partners.
“We want to develop alternative transport routes in the city. Our trailer has many possibilities,” said Tomiyama. And the trailers may soon be available to private users. Nüwiel and the Danish online platform Freetrailer are forging plans to to rent out trailers in Hamburg and in Scandinavian cities in future.