Leave it to the French to show us how to do it right. Sure, they already gave us French fries, the French dip and French’s mustard (okay, we’re not totally sure about the last one) but now they’re giving us the model for perhaps the most ambitious e-bike initiative the world has ever seen. It’s a pretty exciting time for those of us who are watching and waiting for the world to go Electric and this is just the next huge bit of news we can cheer for.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well we’re going to tell you!
Velib: The Current Program
Currently, France operates a short-term rental program know as Velib for both Electric Bicycles and “analog” (or as we like to call them, “old school) bicycles. This is a similar program to CitiBikes or LimeBikes that we have in the United States and is more geared towards short rides around the city and certainly not for long-term, monthly rentals.
Much like other urban hubs (and smaller cities) in the United States and elsewhere, Paris has a strong hand in the light electric vehicle rental game. While also running the Velib program, California’s Lime has their massive electric scooter fleet in the city along with some other, smaller competitors beginning to enter into the market.
Although, Veligo, the new initiative takes the entire program a giant leap forward in lessening the city’s carbon footprint.
Veligo: The Future
Amazingly, the entire venture, known as Veligo, will be funded by the state (something the US should certainly consider doing) with the aim to reduce congestion and pollution in the capital city.
To start, Veligo will put 10,000 electric bicycles on the street to be rented out on a monthly basis. As long as all goes to plan, and the initiative turns out to be a success, the state has mandated that up to 20,000 electric bicycles could then be distributed to buffer the existing stock of bikes.
The electric bicycles will be rented out by the month basis, so once the customers are done for the day, they just take their bikes with them, lock them up and store them in their own home. According to Reuters, the bikes will cost just in the neighborhood of €40 (about $45 USD) a month. Incredibly, there is a deal in play to have employers help cover half the cost of the bikes bringing the price down considerably and making the program accessible to more of the city’s 2.2 million residents.
Considering that a quality electric bicycle costs around €1,000-€2,000 (about $1,100 – $2,100 USD), having a bike for a low monthly fee is a real boon. These long-term rentals will be what make the Veligo program successful.
The regional transportation agency Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) is handling oversight of the rollout and is hoping to increase the number of electric bicycle trips taken in the city, which currently stands at just 1.6% of all local commuting trips. The agency is hoping to get the Veligo program on the ground by September of 2019.
What Can We Do Now?
Obviously if you’re a regular reader of our site, you know that we’re passionate about light electric vehicles and their future but not all of us are going to be in Paris for the rollout of his ambitious program. This then begs the question: what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint here at home?
The first step towards this would be to invest in light electric vehicles now even if just personally. Especially with the holidays coming up, there is no better time to consider e-bike ownership. If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, take a look at some of our e-bike buying guides. From cool toys for kids to serious commuter bikes for adults, we’ve got you covered.
If electric bicycles aren’t your thing we’ve also got great guides for purchasing electric scooters, electric skateboards and even electric hoverboards.
Either way, we should all do like the French and start moving towards an all-electric future. The health and safety of our planet, and the next generation that will inhabit it depends on it.
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