An innovative Warwickshire business which has developed a safety-focused e-Scooter is stepping up a gear after securing a grant to help make its plans a reality.

Hilo EV, which is based at 1 Mill Street in Leamington, successfully claimed £5,750 from Warwickshire County Council’s Digital Creative Recovery Co-Investment Fund.

Co-founders James Browne and Robin Harris used the funds for the Proof of Concept stage to develop a Native Android Auto Mobile App for the Hilo One e-Scooter which can be folded and put in the back of a car.

The smart-looking Hilo One e-Scooter was launched at Micromobility Europe 2023 and has a halo light to illuminate riders to increase visibility, and has a large front wheel for a smoother drive over bumps and holes in the riding surface.

Although e-Scooters are yet to become legal in the UK, the company is seeing increasing demand for their products across other parts of the globe. Pre-orders are now being taken and the first customers will take delivery of their e-Scooter towards the end of this year.

The business is currently working on the URB Accelerator Programme which aligns with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 strategic plan which aims to make Dubai a cycle-centric city.

James said the grant from Warwickshire County Council had played a crucial role during the development stage of the Hilo One e-Scooter.

He said: “Since our team has a strong automotive background, we thought there was an interesting opportunity to develop an e-Scooter which could be folded and put into another vehicle to continue travelling in an environmentally-friendly way.

“The project was focused on how we could integrate an e-Scooter with an electric car to allow for seamless integration, and we knew we needed to work with a technology partner to move the navigation information from the car to the screen on the e-Scooter.

“EVware has been brilliant and we have developed an app on the front of the e-Scooter which we wouldn’t have been able to achieve within the timescales of launching this in June without the grant from Warwickshire County Council.

“The grant has been instrumental because it allowed us to embark on a partnership that we wanted, and to carry out all the necessary tests to ensure there was an appetite for what we were doing.”

Robin added: “We recognised that there are significant safety concerns throughout the industry not just for e-Scooters but also for e-cargo bikes and a new generation of electric delivery vehicles.

“Improving safety has been at the core of what we have been doing because we have come up with different ideas such as a bigger front wheel, illumination and AI technology, and the screen which we developed as part of the grant.

“It looks at information connected to the road such as directions, speed and range along with warning indications such as to keep your hands on the handlebars and the charging status.”

The Warwickshire Digital Creative Recovery Co-Investment Fund will deliver over £450,000 in grants to small and micro-sized digital creative businesses in the county, to help with product development and accelerate growth.

Cllr Martin Watson, Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place at Warwickshire County Council, added that it was fantastic to help innovative digital creative SMEs such as Hilo EV to flourish and grow in Warwickshire.

“We started this fund to help digital creative businesses who had struggled through Covid because they had had to put their expansion plans on hold just to survive,” he said.

“The digital creative sector is thriving in Warwickshire and Hilo EV is a great example of the innovation which can be achieved with extra financial support.

“Often the biggest barrier to businesses achieving their dreams can sometimes be knowing about the support that is available, so I hope more entrepreneurs will get in touch with our team to find out how we can help.”

To find out what other support is available, please call CW Growth Hub on 0300 060 3747.

Caption: Robin Harris (left) and James Browne (right) from Hilo EV with, from second left, Simeon Lee, Louisa Smith, Isobel Woods and Stacy O’Connor from Warwickshire County Council