Personal transport company Revel has just unveiled a scheme in New York which may hold a few clues as to how we will use small electric vehicles in the future.
The company, which is best known for its pay-by-the-minute electric moped rentals, has now developed a subscription scheme for e-bikes.
New York residents can now pay $99/month to have their own e-bike. The scheme, which is called Coast by Revel, includes drop-off and pickup of the e-bike, an included lock and any necessary maintenance or repairs. Revel promises that if the bike goes wrong a member of the team will have the bike on the road within 24 hours.
The bikes, which are mid-range models, supplied by WING Bikes, an NYC-based electric bicycle company, are capable of reaching speeds of up to 20 mph and users can ride for up to 45 miles on a single charge. They can also be pedalled like a standard bike should the battery ever run out.
So will the scheme work, and if so will others copy it? The big advantage for consumers is that they don’t shell out a lot of money to own an e-bike in the place. Or alternatively have to find one to rent in the street when they need one. E-bikes are pretty robust these days but the system does have the advantage too of ensuring that subscribers are kept on the road if things go wrong.
It is highly likely too that we will see a rush of e-scooter subscription schemes in the UK when they are finally legalised possibly later this year,
As Revel co founder and CEO Frank Reig explained in a statement provided to electric vehicle site Electrek:
“Revel’s mission is to electrify cities and our e-bike subscription program is the next piece of the puzzle. We’re excited to give more New Yorkers the experience of e-bike ownership without the hassles and to roll out our third product in our hometown.”
WING Bike’s founder Seth Miller also expanded on the partnership:
“WING Bikes designs and manufactures e-bikes that are built for city streets and make cycling easy and fun for urban riders. Revel’s new subscription model expands accessibility even further by lowering the barriers to entry for e-bike use, and we are pleased to partner with them to provide e-bikes to New Yorkers on a month-to-month basis. Our shared vision is to transform mobility and bring a low-cost, safe, fun and environmentally friendly way to move around cities.”
The subscription model for personal transport is not new to the UK. Hurrecane Bikes offers a pay-as-you-go service which costs from £1.65 per day. Like Revel, the bike is delivered to your door and all the upkeep is taken care of. Prices start at £60 a month for a mountain bike-style e-bike. Users also have to pay a £160 deposit.
Another company, Dash, has a subscription scheme that they are using to target employers, which sounds like a very smart move as we (hopefully) move slowly out of the Covid-era
The subscription offering will also work for people who spend an extended period of time working or holidaying in a new city, so Revel and Hurrecane have a pretty sizable market to aim for.
One potential problem the company might face is oversubscription in the summer months and significantly few riders in the winter. It will be very interesting to monitor how the companies fare.