Members of San Francisco and Berkeley's non-profit car share service City CarShare can now go electric - either in the car or the bike they choose.
Last August City CarShare announced that it was adding an electric bike sharing service to its lineup. The non-profit was waiting for some grant funding (the program is reportedly to cost $2 million for a three-year pilot), and has now gone ahead with what it calls a 'pre-pilot' program.
The two electric-assist bikes in the pre-pilot are small, sturdy and bright orange and white, produced by Juiced Riders of Chula Vista, California, and A2B of London, and have back racks, lithium ion batteries, and heavy duty kickstands.Riders can reserve the Juice Rider or A2B bike as they would a car, and use their member 'fob' to check them out at the Bike Station.
"We are testing eBikes from A2B and Juiced Riders. The bikes vary in motor location, wheel size, electric assistance, etc. The test will gather member input on various functionalities and help guide us in further development of the eBike program." - Dedrick Roper, City CarShare
They can be pedaled as a normal bike would be. Alternatively, with the Juiced bike, a rider can throttle to greater speed, hit a 'cruise control' button and then continue to pedal with that higher level of motor assistance. With the A2B bike there is a pedal-assist and a throttle mode.
It was reported that City CarShare plans to deploy 90 of the bright bikes to 25 pick up locations around the city. The bikes have a range of approximately 30 - 40 miles.
Electric bike sharing is one of the next generations for bike sharing, with Copenhagen pilot testing an e-bike sharing program. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville implemented one of the earliest e-bike sharing programs, pioneered by Dr. Chris Cherry. Though a small program with just 14 e-bikes, CycleUshare's two electric-bike stations are 100% solar powered.
Note: This article was modified to correct some facts. We apologize for the confusion this could have caused.