Two European companies have teamed up to help break down barriers towards the adoption of electric bikes – and make it easier for converts to find a ride. Much like companies work to provide software as a service (SaaS), Smoove and Zoov are out to provide an “all-inclusive electric bike-as-a-service offer” called Fusion.
What makes it different is that Fusion can be collected and returned to the companies’ network of charging hubs, or used on a self-service basis where riders commit to longer-term use and manage the recharging themselves.
Now the companies are lobbying European cities to implement Augmented Bike Networks that connect entire cities, interlaced with public transport to facilitate journeys across multiple forms of transport.
While conventional bicycles can be shared with an app, collected at one location and locked at another, these bikes can be rented on an ad hoc basis or booked on a recurring basis – and more recently, on long-term rentals.
“The key to the mass adoption of cycling lies in a city’s ability to offer its citizens equitable access to efficient active mobility services that are always available, whatever the time, place and need,” said Benoît Yameundjeu, CEO of Smoove. “We intend to support cities and their elected officials in their mobility transformation, for the benefit of the lives of their inhabitants.”
The new electric bike subscription service was recently launched on a trial basis in the French city of Bordeaux, where self-service electric bikes have been available for two years.
The Fusion bike has a 65km range and – when being operated in self-service – can be recharged through the world’s most compact charging station, which can simultaneously recharge 10 bikes. For long-term rental, the removable battery is secured by an electronic lock, giving the user the freedom to recharge when necessary and total peace of mind when leaving the battery in the bike. A custom-designed luggage rack ensures comfortable home-to-work journeys, and can also accommodate a baby seat.
The Fusion team worked hard to create an electric bicycle that was perfect for both self-service and long-term rental whilst also affordable.
“The second challenge was to use connectivity and software to turn data-driven innovation into a seamless experience and provide a level of service that continually exceeds expectations,” explains Arnaud Le Rodallec, chief product officer & co-founder of Zoov.
Amira Haberah, marketing and sales director and co-founder of Zoov, says bicycle transportation reduces transport-related CO2 emissions and noise pollution in urban cities. “What completely changes the game is that each city can offer a complete service, addressing all use cases, with the same fleet of bikes. This generates strong operational synergies – from the management of repairs and spare parts to human resources – that drastically reduce the cost of access to the service.”
The companies already have 500 self-service electric bikes in the city, with a satisfaction rate of over 95 per cent since its launch.
Smoove and Zoov, which joined forces in April, collectively operate in more than 20 cities around the world, including Moscow, Vancouver, Paris and Helsinki.