BEIRUT: Probably only a few sharp eyes have noticed the slick new e-scooters testing on the streets of the city thus far.
A partnership of Berytech and the Loop startup have been running electric-scooter trials of a small fleet for just over a month, with Loop expecting that e-scooter sharing will be a hit app.
Like the ubiquitous bike shares in many European capitals or the electric AutoLib cars in Paris, the Loop electric scooters can be booked through a smartphone, unlocked used and returned to what is eventually planned to be citywide network of drop-offs. The scooters are equipped with telematics, a booking app to which users can subscribe to receive a PIN number that unlocks the scooter, and allows them to be parked at dedicated docking stations.
On the money end, Berytech Fund II invested $1.3 million in Loop s.a.l – a licensee of Vancouver-based LOOPShare – and the initial funds are being used for trials.
"Loop s.a.l. has the resources to proceed with the field trial to its full extent," said Mira Raham, General Manager of Loop local. "These are exciting times for us where the interest by potential subscribers was truly astounding despite the fact that we have only run a few scooters in the streets of Beirut for technical testing purposes."
Raham added, "The market seems to be positioning the Loop service in a positive manner. I expect, and my team will work, towards meeting our objectives successfully within the field trial term."
A larger partnership is forming to support the entire endeavor of buying more e-scooters, deploying them to base stations around the city and starting a full-time business for summer of 2017. Loop scooters said the goal is to offer a self-service riding plan for city-wide trips, with the e-scooters available for use by commuters and tourist.
Raham told Annahar that "there has been lots of interest, and indeed demand, during the trial phase when only company staff are doing test rides." While riding fees still-to-be determined, she said expectations were that the scooters would be "very affordable" for rental.
Looking at such a plan from an outsider perspective there is the possibility of helping to relieve car congestion, if just for various inner sections of Beirut. And the service will give Beirut a bit more of a contemporary veneer on its tourist amenities.
Raham added, "This project is based on a green concept and eco friendly, complimenting the many initiatives taking place on a nation wide scale."
"The Loop Sooter has been custom designed for an electric scooter fleet sharing deployment", said Anwar Sukkarie, president and CEO of LOOPShare, Vancouver. "Being our first deployment (Beirut), on a field-trial basis worldwide, LOOPShare will invest the necessary resources and skillset needed to ensure a successful trial and provide for a full rollout to over 165 scooters in due course."
LOOPShare aims to deploy field trials in other cities worldwide, also followed by commercial rollouts planned for 2017, as in Beirut.
LOOPShare Ltd., a Vancouver company established in 2009, is a wholly owned subsidiary Saturna Green Systems Inc. which has commercialized a first generation, a wireless ruggedized 7-inch touchscreen dashboard with Telematics functionality for electric inner-city vehicles.
The company says its highly specialized display enables a broad range of services for consumer, tourism or commercial use.
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