The UK’s leading retailer of electric bikes and scooters is to open a store in Plymouth city centre – even though e-scooters remain illegal to use in public.
Pure Electric has taken a lease on the prominent and quirky Rotunda building, at Charles Cross, as the company continues its rapid expansion throughout the UK and across Europe.
Only founded in 2019, Pure Electric will make Plymouth its 18th UK outlet, the nearest being in Bristol, and has already opened in several European cities such as Paris and Madrid, targeting 500 stores by 2028. In 2020 Pure Electric took over 11 Halfords’ Cycle Republic stores that had been earmarked for closure
In Plymouth, branding has gone up at the Rotunda, which became vacant when Evans Cycles moved to larger premises in New George Street in 2020.
Joanne High, who heads the Plymouth office of property consultants Vickery Holman, confirmed the letting and said the firm wanted to wait until signage appeared before announcing their arrival.
“They are a nationwide firm and are expanding quickly,” she said. “They sell electric scooters and bikes.”
However, the latter remain illegal to use on public roads, pavements, parks or car parks in the UK, and in Plymouth a man recently pleaded guilty to driving one of the vehicles whilst disqualified and without insurance.
Police, who have received an increasing number of reports of e-scooters being used illegally, have threatened to seize the vehicles with owners potentially receiving fines and penalty points.
The Government is currently conducting a year-long trial for rented e-scooters in a number of locations, including Bristol, Bath and Yeovil, but not Plymouth.
Pure Electric, which has yet to respond to requests for more information, is pressing for the law to be changed and a statement on its website says: “E-scooters are currently illegal to use on UK public roads and pavements despite being legal in many other European countries.
“We make sure that we inform all our e-scooter customers of the current legal position so that you can decide for yourself where you personally stand on this sensitive issue.
“Pure Electric firmly believes that the UK’s current road and transport legislation is outdated and ready for a much-needed update with a legalisation of all e-scooters.
“This process has begun with the trial of rental e-scooters, and that may pave the way to a cleaner, healthier future for us all.”
The company, which stresses it only stocks e-scooters and e-bikes that have been tested and approved by its expert technical team, said that while it is “encouraged” by the trial it remains “concerned that the trial process will take too long to see e-scooters legalised quickly enough for the challenges we face today”.
Pure Electric stocks market-leading ranges of e-scooters, e-bikes and accessories, including the e-scooter brands Xiaomi, Ninebot, Unagi and Razor.
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The firm said it aims to make “a real, meaningful positive impact on the way we all travel every day”, and also has e-bike demo centres in selected showrooms, plus service and repair centresfor e-scooters, e-bikes and conventional bikes.
It works directly with brands and manufacturers to bring “the reality of a cleaner, healthier future closer than ever before”. It stressed that many e-scooters “simply aren’t made for British weather” so it has created its own water resistant, more durable, premium build e-scooter.
“Where we believe the market isn’t making the best products available, we will fill the gaps through research and innovation, and our Pure range will develop over time,” the company said.
Pure Electric was founded by entrepreneur Adam Norris, who believes electric scooters and electric bikes can play a pivotal role in reducing society’s reliance on cars, lowering air pollution and congestion in cities across Europe, alongside walking and taking public transport.
“I set up this company to help humankind,” he said, in a statement on the company’s website. “Pure’s goal is to help bring about a personal transport revolution and have a positive impact on our planet, benefiting society now and for generations to come.”