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Solar-Powered eScooters Coming To DC

Spin and Swiftmile are launching a pilot program in Washington, D.C. and Ann Arbor, MI, to test out an eScooter program. The 60-day pilot program will see dozens of electric docking stations installed, allowing riders to charge their devices, and giving them a designated place to park their eScooters.

Benjamin Fong, Spin’s director of business development, revealed that 40 solar-powered docking stations, built by Swiftmile, will be placed in Washington, D.C. over the summer, with 10 in Ann Arbor. The stations are currently only compatible with scooters from Spin, which has around 650 scooters in Washington, D.C. and 200 in Ann Arbor.

“We’re looking at partnering with all sorts of private property owners, including apartment buildings, office buildings, retail locations, restaurants and universities,” Fong said, according to The Washington Post. “The value is that this is a way of driving traffic to these locations, and it’s an amenity for building residents and employees because it will help people get around.”

He added, “It’s also a win for cities because it helps reduce the clutter of scooters on the street, and it’s a win for customers because it helps them find a scooter.”

Colin Roche, Swiftmile’s co-founder and CEO, explained that the stations take about three hours to charge an eScooter with a completely uncharged battery. Once a parked eScooter hits a certain battery level, the device will reappear on riders’ apps.

“These are solar-powered stations, and that means they will be 100 percent renewable power transportation,” he said.

Now, Spin has eScooters in 32 U.S. cities (and campuses), including Washington, D.C., Denver, Detroit, Charlotte and Coral Gables, FL. The devices cost $1 to rent and $.15 per minute to operate. Last year, the company was acquired by Ford for $100 million.

“We think scooters are genuinely wonderful solutions, but they’re not the solution for everything,” said Dan Winston, a general manager over Spin’s Washington operations. “They’re part of a strong transportation network, and can fill gaps and complement other modes of getting around.”

He continued, “The Swiftmile partnership is going to increase clarity about parking, and our team can work with them to figure out best practices for serving these stations,” he explained.

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