The future of car sharing could include these fully-enclosed electric-assist vehicles that bridge the gap between electric bikes and EVs.
When it comes to getting a boost from electric motors for getting around, we've got a lot of options these days for personal mobility, from electric skateboards to e-bikes to full-on electric cars, but one approach that I find most intriguing is the electric velomobile.
We've written about them many times before, with both Sammie and Lloyd having covered the Organic Transit ELF in detail, and it seems as if these kinds of small electric-assisted vehicles could solve a number of key mobility issues (cargo space, enclosed vehicle, pedaling assistance). And we could soon be seeing another interpretation of personal electric mobility, as the VeloMetro team will be rolling out its own vehicle in Vancouver, as part of a forthcoming
car bike velomobile-sharing program.
The Veemo is VeloMetro's entry into the electric-assist 'velocar' market, which could help people replace many of their local trips in gas automobiles in favor of using a smaller and more efficient electric vehicle. These electric velocars seem to bridge the gap between an electric bike and a 'neighborhood electric vehicle,' and may help get people pedaling who otherwise wouldn't.
Here's a look at the Veemo:
"Veemo is a sophisticated, enclosed, electric-assist, smartphone-connected vehicle, ideal for urban and suburban areas. Veemo are human-powered, with electric assist to help on hills and over longer distances. The enclosure protects users from inclement weather and the cargo space provides practical functionality for running errands. Veemo replaces automobiles, not bicycles, and they overcome the shortcomings of bicycles with all-weather use, lockable cargo space, and anti-theft provisions."
The vehicles are technically classified as bicycles, not cars, so no license or registration are necessary to drive one, and are limited to about 32 kph (20 mph), which may also help widen their appeal to non-drivers. The Veemo are said to have a range of about 100 km (62 miles) per charge, and its slim size allows for it to easily fit in bike lanes and parking areas.
The public roll-out of the Veemo won't be until next year, after some beta testing of the vehicles in the City of Vancouver's fleet, as well as the testing of a pilot fleet at the University of British Columbia, and the company plans to offer a point-to-point rental of the vehicles for a flat rate of US$0.20 per minute (CAD$0.28) in Vancouver and other cities.
"VeloMetro envisions Veemo in multiple cities around the world, providing a practical solution for urban modal shift by getting people out of fossil-fueled vehicles and into electric-assisted active transportation. By providing Veemos via a low-cost sharing network, soon everyone could have access to personal transportation in the form of a modern electric vehicle." - Kody Baker, co-founder, VeloMetro
If you're interested in learning more about the Veemo or VeloMetro, see the company's website.