Premium e-scooter brand Inokim recently posted the following message on its website:
"We have been serving the UK market for quite some time now and with heavy heart we decided to close our flagship store in Holborn, London."
Inokim have attracted attention in the past due to their strategy of targeting the very top end of the e-scooter market; prices of their four-model product offering ranging from £749 to £1,999.
Inokim say their top of the range model, the OXO, is the "SUV of e-scooters" with a range up to 68 miles and a top speed of 38mph. It features a patented, adjustable dual suspension system.
The firm also claims to be the only e-scooter manufacturer that owns and operates its entire value chain, from design, to manufacturing, to direct-to-customer stores.
Inokim lay the blame for the store closure squarely with the legal situation in the UK. They said: "Unfortunately, the current situation in the micro-mobility market in the UK and especially the electric scooters with all the delays in legalisation for more than two years, made us reach this decision until further notice."
Delays and more delays
It's perhaps no surprise to anyone following the progress (or lack of it) of the government's putative plan to legalise e-bikes that Inokim have taken this decision.
Currently it is perfectly legal to buy an e-scooter yourself, though you can’t actually ride one anywhere in the UK other than on private property. Only rental e-scooters that are part of a government-approved share scheme can legally be ridden on public roads.
However, the current government has been promising for several years now that it would take a decision to legalise e-scooters for several years now and in May 2022 announced that would happen in the next legislative session - only for the promised legislation to evaporate.
In May of this year, Transport Minister Jesse Norman told the Transport Select Committee that his department still still needed more "non-pandemic large-scale e-scooter usage data" and more public consultation before drafting legislation.
In the meantime, e-scooters remain available for sale, despite manufacturers being given no clear guidance on safety standards. As ebiketips has previously reported, many in the British e-scooter industry have warned that investment is being “choked off” by the ongoing legislative uncertainty.
It's not as if Inokim is lacking apparent business acumen or sales drive. They have expanded outside their strong Israeli and European markets, opening logistics offices and warehouses in Miami, Florida, to facilitate their expansion in the United States. The company has committed to a goal of selling 60,000 scooters in 2023 using new channels, including via its website, Inokim.com, and Amazon.
Sadly, Inokim appear to have concluded that there is no prospect of e-scooter legalisation happening before the next election, which could be as late January 2025. Indeed the original e-scooter pledge was part of a much larger Transport Bill including major railways legislation that was dropped last October.