The benefits of controlling scooter design and manufacturing processes

December 09, 2020


Bolt is the largest European scooter operator to use custom-built scooters, built entirely in-house. This means that we have in-house design and hardware teams that control every single step of a Bolt scooter’s lifecycle.

In comparison, most scooter operators buy their scooters from external producers which leaves less opportunity for custom features and sustainable maintenance.

Bolt’s Valk 3 and Valk 4 scooters, however, are designed by our in-house team. This allows us to develop the safest scooters on the market with more efficient production and recycling cycles — all the way from conceptual design to end of life. Let’s take a look at why:

  • Design – The new Bolt 4 is the first scooter that uses sensors to detect accidents, falls, sharp braking, and unsafe riding patterns, setting a new standard in scooter safety;
  • Modularity — As the only operator with in-house developed hardware, we can source and repair 100% of scooter parts which competitors cannot do;
  • Construction — Bolt scooters are the lightest rentals in the world — 17 kg compared to an average 25-34 kg for competing models;
  • Maintenance — Transporting a 17 kg scooter around compared to a competing 34 kg model saves 50% in car exhaust and CO2 emissions;
  • Recycling — Bolt scooters are 100% recyclable;
  • Lifespan — Due to their modularity, Bolt scooters have a lifespan of 60 months +, far outweighing competitor models.

Bolt e-scooter London

These benefits are possible thanks to our in-house proprietary hardware, which allows us to repair every scooter. This is part of our low-waste initiative where no scooters are repaired by taking parts from another scooter. Scooter operators without in-house hardware are forced to do this, however, because they buy ready scooters from external producers and can’t replace every broken part.

Because we own the hardware, we’re able to source or produce any part of a scooter. This means less waste and less downtime for our riders.

In this article, we explore our supply chain, the benefits of operating this in-house and why Bolt scooters are developed with safety and efficiency in mind.

Design and engineering

Our in-house capabilities allow us to benefit from internal efficiencies while minimising environmental impact. And this all starts with our scooter’s design.

With operations in-house, our teams live and breathe scooters. They draw on years of experience and feedback that is all fed into our production process.

By avoiding the need for intermediaries, we can be agile and respond to changes at speed without adding further links in the supply chain. This makes our operations more efficient and cuts down on unnecessary waste through transportation.

Core to our engineering practices is the philosophy of using as little material as possible. We’ve introduced engineering solutions to minimise plastic and use recycled aluminium to build our scooter frames.

Such policies are possible because we own every step of the supply chain. And because this is all done in-house, we’re safe in the knowledge that our high standards and low waste initiatives have been adhered to, 100%.

Bolt scooter hardware

Manufactured for longevity and low-waste

Once again, and thanks to our in-house operations, this stage of the process receives quality assurance checks at every stage. From supplier final quality control (FQC) to incoming FQC to scooters leaving the production line, our Quality Managers monitor the process against our operating procedures.

These tests focus on visual integrity, electronics and ride functionality to ensure that each scooter is 100% street-worthy.

Thanks to our processes and raw materials, we have the lightest rental scooter in the world — 17 KG compared to an average 25-34 KG for competing models. Bolt scooters are 90% aluminium (one of the lightest metals in the world) and use partly recycled aluminium in their construction.

If you’re wondering what the big deal is about a few kilograms, though, then consider these scenarios…

  1. A person weighing 70 kg riding a 17 kg Bolt scooter moves 87 kg around, using a proportionate amount of energy and emissions to do so.
  2. A person weighing 70kg riding a 34 kg scooter needs to use enough energy and emissions to move 102 kg around.

In this example, the individual in scenario 2 uses 19.5% more energy and creates 19.5% more emissions.

Now consider this number for a scooter used multiple times a day over the course of 5 years. Bolt’s lighter scooters reduce energy demands not only while being ridden but also in their production, transportation and maintenance.

And when it comes to recycling scooters at the end of their lifespan, just picture a mountain of recycled 17 kg scooters. This is twice as small as a mountain of recycled 34 kg scooters!

Bolt scooters

Usage and maintenance — a focus on modularity

A common scooter criticism that graces headlines and conversations tends to go something like, “but what about when scooters break and are just left flung across our cities, creating obstructions and eyesores?”.

This is an important point and something we’ve addressed through our modular design which lets us replace parts with minimal effort, cost and time.

At the heart of this modularity is our zero waste initiative where no scooter is repaired by taking parts from another. We purchase and replace any faulty scooter part without needing to decommission another scooter (which would be a huge waste). This is possible because we own the whole supply chain and aren’t dependent on intermediaries.

When there is a physical issue, the scooter is repaired and fully inspected against various criteria before it’s back out in a city. All servicing and maintenance are conducted in-house by our local operations and repair teams at our maintenance hubs.

Because of this initiative, we start and finish the season with exactly the same number of scooters.

Bolt e-scooters

Yes, that’s zero Bolt scooters left discarded in bins or alleyways. Add in the fact that Bolt scooters are 90% aluminium (which is 100% recyclable) — and use 70% less plastic than other brands — and you’ve got a durable, zero-waste option.

This is reflected in our scooters’ lifespan which extends to 60 months and beyond — the longest in the industry.

Zero waste supply chain management

When it comes to the end of a scooter’s life, our low-waste initiative doesn’t end.

As discussed, our scooters are made of 90% aluminium (which is 100% recyclable) and other easily recyclable materials. So, if a scooter cannot be repaired and reused, it is decommissioned and recycled as part of our circular approach to sustainability (and per the European WEEE Directive).

This is further outlined in the Bolt E-scooter Sustainability Pledge which includes other steps we’re taking to make our operations more sustainable.

Bolt city escooters benefits

We then also work closely with energy storage companies to offer second lives for batteries no longer fit for riding but which can be used for peak energy storage applications.

And with that, we’ve gone full circle. From concept to decommissioning, our in-house development means that we can provide low-waste scooter operations for all cities to benefit from.

Choose a Bolt scooter for your next ride

Ready to try out our safe, zero-waste and affordable scooter rides? Download the Bolt app today and start contributing to greener, healthier cities!

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