- Dockless scooter company Spin and charging startup Swiftmile will bring solar-powered docking stations to two cities — Washington, DC and Ann Arbor, MI — this summer, according to a report in The Washington Post.
- During a 60-day pilot program, docking stations will be installed on sidewalks to offer a place to park and charge scooters. The stations could also attract riders to less-trafficked locations within a city.
- Spin's director of business development Benjamin Fong told The Post that 40 docking stations will be installed in DC and 10 in Ann Arbor, and will only be compatible with Spin scooters for now.
In the time since dockless bikes and scooters have grown in use and popularity in cities across the world, the issue of clutter has become widespread as cities and companies look to find ways to prevent vehicles from blocking sidewalks, ADA ramps and other public right-of-ways. Docking and charging stations are way to control clutter and simultaneously charge scooters that are not in use.
In a similar vein to this announcement from Spin and Swiftmile, a new company, Charge, launched earlier this year pledging to build a network of stations for dockless bikes and scooters.
Those stations, which Charge said will be compatible with "most brands" of scooters and bikes, can fit 10 of the vehicles into a standard parking space and could be added to private property and parking garages. Parking management company FlashParking has a strategy of converting parking garages in cities into “urban mobility hubs” that serve multiple purposes, including for dockless docking and charging.
While the concept of a sidewalk-based docking and charging station is promising, getting riders to utilize the stations could present an obstacle. Much of the appeal of dockless scooters is the ability to leave them nearly anywhere on a sidewalk, so long as they're properly placed, therefore encouraging riders to seek out a docking station may be an uphill battle.