Electric bikes (e-bikes) have huge potential for Bike Share Schemes but it brings a new level of management challenges for operators. Over its manual counterpart, e-bikes need to be fully charged for each rider, every time and that requires efficient distribution.
E-bike is a pedal bicycle with an electric motor. It assists the rider with additional electric power whilst offering many of the same characteristics as traditional bicycles. Many e-bikes are legally classified as bicycles and subject to the same local laws.
E-bikes can be a great way to travel. It can reduce door-to-door time of commutes with a lot less effort and makes transport more accessible to the new or less-experienced cyclists. For operators, it delivers new opportunities to compete in the industry and win new riders.
In the recent CES 2018 event, we saw many operators reveal their plans to incorporate e-bikes. Limebike, Spin, Ford GoBikes and Social Bikes all announced the introduction of e-bikes within their operations. It marks the shift in the industry that caters to the end users and their Bike Sharing experience.
E-bikes are a convenient way to get from A to B but it is faced with challenges in the market that limit its growth. The perception of e-bikes as ‘cheating’, the added weight of the battery pack to cycles and the cost of purchasing and repairing one all affect e-bike adoption with the public.
Manual pedal bikes are also much cheaper and easier to purchase, build and maintain for operators. It makes it simple for operators to grow fast and grow far. It’s one of the reasons why we are seeing thousands of pedal bikes being launched globally and at such a rapid pace.
For operators, the key is to deliver a service that people will want to use regularly and e-bikes offer a solution that removes the limit on how and when riders can use the schemes.
One major concern I see is in how operators manage their e-bike schemes. The demand for e-bikes is likely to be higher than the current pedal Bike Sharing schemes. It will put pressure on operators to deliver each and every time.
E-bikes will also need to be charged at the end of the trip and ready to be used by the next rider. That requires seamless management of resources and expert understanding of the local market.
Bike Share operators will need to have a strong management process in place to not only handle the challenges of e-bike sharing but to also take full advantage of the many opportunities it looks to bring for operators. Operators will be required to match local demand with efficient redistribution to succeed in the market.
At Stage Intelligence, we are using our expertise in Bike Share management to address the challenges of e-bike sharing. We are incorporating new e-bike technology within the artificial intelligence platform. Our processes enable us to add new features and functionality to cater to the dynamic Bike Share market.
To find out more about how Stage Intelligence can support and simplify your Bike Share Scheme operations, please contact tom.nutley(@)stageintelligence.co.uk