News Treehugger Voices Zoomo's Subscription Model Makes E-Bikes More Affordable Riders can choose a monthly subscription or a rent-to-own agreement. By Katherine Martinko Katherine Martinko Twitter Senior Editor University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated April 27, 2021 12:38PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Zoomo's subscription model is a convenient and affordable way to enter the e-bike market. Zoomo News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Ever since I got my e-bike, numerous people have expressed a desire to try riding it. They have heard about the technology, but haven't had a chance to experiment because it's not yet commonplace. And because the bikes are so expensive, many are disinclined to go out on a limb and buy one without having ridden it for a prolonged period of time. One interesting company addresses these barriers to entry: the unfamiliarity and the cost. Called Zoomo, it now operates out of several major cities in the United States — and is coming soon to Toronto — offering e-bikes on a monthly subscription basis. This model makes it highly accessible to anyone who wants to try out an e-bike without committing upfront. Zoomo began as a side hustle in 2017 when co-founders Mina Nada and Michael Johnson saw a need for riders in the gig economy to have a safer, more efficient, and reliable mode of transportation. "We would purchase electric bikes, modify them with delivery purposes in mind, and rent them out to gig economy workers in the food delivery sector," Nada tells Treehugger. The pair went full-time in 2019 and saw tremendous growth throughout the pandemic. Its mixed clientele of both couriers and casual riders grew rapidly as delivery orders increased and people wanted to avoid public transit. Companies are also motivated to adopt greener fleets, all of which have translated to a significant rise in e-bike use, particularly in the United States. It seems like Zoomo is in the right place at the right time. As Nada says, the company's mission is to "supply the smartest and most reliable electric bikes on the market, at a time when policymakers are turning to micro-mobility solutions to relieve traffic congestion and lower carbon emissions." Zoomo offers several different plans for riders. The basic Lite plan for commuters goes for $20/week with a 50-mile weekly limit. Subscribers get an e-bike with a battery and charger, two styles of lock, and full support for repairs and tune-ups. The courier plans start at $35/week with several different bike options and mile limits (including unlimited). There are no lock-in contracts, and customer support is available 24/7. When asked about the benefits of rental over ownership, Nada explains that purchasing an e-bike is a big investment. "We want to reduce this entry cost and make e-bikes immediately accessible to all, which is why we provide riders with options that work best for them – including outright purchase, on finance, or subscription," he says. Riders can opt for a rent-to-own option, where their weekly payments build equity in a bike, although purchasing a new or used bike outright is also possible. Reviewers recommend trying a bike first to see if it's something you like — though I have yet to meet anyone who tries an e-bike and is not blown away by it! The subscription model offers significant peace of mind. Nada says: "A subscription model like ours lowers the barrier of price to those who are after last-mile and alternative forms of clean transport, but also enables flexibility and peace of mind through inclusive servicing." "Our subscription service is also designed with safety front of mind, equipping riders with all required accessories they need to keep them safe, like a helmet and U-Lock," says Nada. "Riders who take up our subscription model are able to take advanced e-bikes home with regular maintenance offered by qualified mechanics and critical roadside assistance and insurance – a bonus that would traditionally come at a considerable cost for owners." With the weather warming up and people slowly returning to their places of work, Zoomo could be a great option for anyone in New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, or Toronto who wants to be more physically active. You too can join what Nada describes as the "extraordinary" uptake of e-bike technology and "embrace the wonders of micro-mobility." Chances are, you'll wonder how you survived so long without it, and you'll never want to take your car anywhere again.