Paris is demonstrating a strong commitment to promoting commuting via electric bicycles. The city is set to rollout the world’s largest electric bicycle rental program, Veligo. The program will see up to 20,000 e-bikes rented out by the end of the month to local residents.
Veligo electric bicycle rental program
The state-funded Veligo program is designed to reduce congestion and pollution in the nation’s capital.
As part of the Veligo program, 10,000 electric bicycles will be rented out on a monthly basis. If the program proves to be a success, up to 20,000 electric bicycles could eventually be included in the program.
France already operates the short term rental program Velib for both electric bicycles and “acoustic” bicycles (as they are sometimes referred to in the industry). However, the Velib program is designed for short jaunts, not long term rentals.
As part of the new Veligo program, the electric bicycles will be rented out on a per month basis, and will stay at home with customers. According to Reuters, the electric bikes will cost approximately €40 per month. Additionally, commuters may be able to have half of the monthly fee covered by their employers.
Velib bikes already found in Paris
The Veligo program is set to begin in September of 2019. It will be operated by the regional transportation agency Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM).
The agency is hoping to increase the number of electric bicycle trips taken in the city, which currently stand at just 1.6% of all local commuting trips.
Electric bicycles are often seen as a viable alternative to cars and public transportation in crowded city centers. In areas with adequate bicycle lane infrastructure (which admittedly only covers part of Paris), they can cause a significant dent in the number of cars in crowded urban areas.
Paris is no stranger to personal electric vehicles. In addition to the current Velib electric bicycles, California-based Lime already operates a large electric scooter fleet in the city. Other smaller electric scooter companies have also begun popping up in Paris.
I love the initiative. When the Electrek team was in Paris in September covering the Paris Motor Show, we got around almost exclusively by Lime electric scooters.
While the scooters worked great, the cobblestones on many streets were rough on little scooter wheels. Lime’s new scooter with front suspension might help, but nothing beats larger wheels. Electric bicycles are one of the most comfortable personal electric vehicles because they can smooth out the ride while offering a fast and efficient commute.
In fact, in our own testing, we found that electric bicycles are often the fastest alternative to traditional cars or public transportation in urban commutes.
The long term rentals will also be a major key in the success of the Veligo program. By giving riders the experience of ownership, it can help convince more commuters that electric bicycles are an appropriate alternative for their own commutes. And for those that want the convenience of an electric bicycle without the ownership, you just can’t beat this deal. At €40/month, it would take years of renting before you would have been better off buying a €1,000-€2,000 electric bicycle.
What do you think of the Veligo program. Would you like to see a similar program in your city? Let us know in the comments below.