Veemo electric bike-share launches at UBC
Vancouverites now have a new way to take advantage of the city’s extensive bike lane infrastructure in the form of tiny pedal-operated electric vehicles.
VeloMetro Mobility launched their Veemo electric bike ride-share at UBC on Tuesday, where they showed off the bizarre yet adorable three-wheeled machines.
The service operates similar to a car-share where customers reserve the bikes through a mobile app and pay by the minute. The only difference is that these vehicles don’t have engines—they have pedals.
“We get a lot of rain here and there’s a lot of students who don’t have driver’s licences,” said Ben Cornwell-Mott, vice president of VeloMetro. “And there are a lot of bike lanes. So it’s a perfect environment for the vehicle.”
The electric bikes have a motor to assist on hills and long distances. The rider can set the motor to make pedaling easier or harder.
They’re enclosed in a light-weight body to protect against rain and are complete with headlights, turn signals and windshield wipers. They even have heated hand grips.
“They’re much safer than a bike because … there’s a body around you, so cars give you more space than they would a bike,” said Cornwell-Mott. “And they treat you more like a car.”
He said one of the advantages is that users can take roads and bike lanes for the fastest route.
Only one person can ride at a time, but there’s room in the vehicle for personal luggage like groceries or books. Pets are allowed too, as long as they’re in a carrier and don’t leave hair behind.
The company ran a pilot project with UBC students last year, and is now opening up the bike share to the general public. On its website, VeloMetro says it hopes the vehicles will allow more Vancouverites to choose human-powered, environmentally friendly transportation.