A new electric bike scheme will launch in Exeter this week with 23 bikes funded by a national Government competition.
From Thursday (13 October), the scheme will make battery-assisted e-bikes available by the hour from hubs at the city centre, its main railway station, the university, nearby Dawlish Warren and other locations.
The promoters said the scheme represents the first on-street, city network of electric bikes and the first public electric bike hire site at a UK train station.
It is being run by hire-by-the-hour car club Co-cars with funding from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) £700,000 electrically assisted pedal cycle sharing pilot scheme, the winners of which were announced last year.
Co-cars – a social enterprise – said there will be 23 ‘ultra-cool’ bikes available initially, but more will be added as the scheme grows.
Scheme members will be able to use the electric bikes using a ‘Click – swipe – Ride’ process of booking online, including with a smartphone, and scanning a QR code. Bikes can be returned to a different scheme location if required.
Non-members member will be able to turn up and book directly from the touch-and-pay terminals using a credit card.
According to Co-cars, each bike has a Dutch-style frame with a 250w Pedelec middle motor on the crank, integrated lights, comfort seat, on-board computer, front carrier, front suspension, disc brakes, integrated locking system and a smart cable lock which can be used to secure the bikes at any location.
The adjustable power setting on the handlebar allows users to get ‘the extra electric power you need to cycle faster or for longer, depending on the journey distance and hills’. The dedicated docking bays across Exeter provide charging into the frame, as well as secure, electronic locking.
The scheme is also backed by Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, Great Western Railways, Bikeplus and the University of Exeter.