Electric bikes will be available to hire in Cambridge and Peterborough city centres from January 12.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is rolling out the scheme with Voi Technology and eventually plans to extend the scheme to market towns including St Ives.
The e-bikes can travel between 50 to 100 miles on a single charge, and Voi will swap the batteries overnight to ensure they are powered up in the daytime.
The depleted batteries will be taken to a warehouse in Cambridge for recharging.
Details of rental costs, locations and operational areas in Cambridge and Peterborough are expected in early January.
It is the latest step in collaboration between the Combined Authority and micro-mobility company Voi, which has already brought a 12-month e-scooter rental scheme to Cambridge. These are charged at 20p a minute and free travel has been offered to NHS staff.
The number of e-scooters has already grown from 50 to 350, with more planned in the coming weeks and months.
The Combined Authority has revealed that since the trial began in October:
- More than 4,400 unique, active users have taken over 13,400 rides.
- The average ride length has been 17 minutes
- Riders have travelled a total of nearly 30,000km in Cambridge – a distance just shy of the entire length of the UK coastline.
The e-scooter and e-bike schemes could save between 48 and 115 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the course of the trial in Cambridge, the Combined Authority predicts, based on a forecast of 12 to 16 per cent of car journeys being replaced and “standard utilisation” rates.
Mayor James Palmer said: “Cambridge is renowned for being a cycling city and electric bikes have the potential to revolutionise travel, helping more people to go further and at their convenience.
“We are launching this in Cambridge and Peterborough city centres, but we plan to introduce them across the region in due course, including in market towns such as St Ives.
“E-bikes make fast, clean, and inexpensive journeys possible, helping to ease congestion, reduce pollution and allow for social distancing.”
To minimise transmission of Covid-19, Voi e-scooters are disinfected daily and the handlebars of each scooter have copper tape that inactivates the coronavirus on contact., although riders are also advised to wear gloves if they wish.
Riders download the Voi app in order to unlock and pay for their rides.
Richard Corbett, regional general manager of UK, Ireland and Benelux for Voi, said: “We are delighted to work with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority to bring our shared e-bike scheme to these cities early next year. Similarly to our e-scooters, shared e-bikes offer a green and socially distanced mode of transport and a great alternative to car journeys, reducing congestion and carbon emissions.”
Voi has just raised $160m from Raine Group to finance its ongoing expansion in European cities, including the UK.