By: Nick Gambino
Lyft unveiled their new e-bike users can rent to zip around the city. Electric-powered transportation is quickly becoming the new norm. Tesla (and virtually every automotive company) is pumping out electric vehicles that, as soon as they become more affordable, will dominate the streets.
E-bikes are likewise quickly becoming popular. Though I don’t see them replacing good ol’ classic bikes, there is a market for e-bikes that offer pedal-assist, helping you to zip up hills and take a break when your legs are ready to give out. This makes the most sense when you’re renting a bike to help you travel around town.
There are services like Citi Bike in New York that allow you to rent classic bikes on the fly, but Lyft plans to dominate with their new fleet of e-bikes. For now, it’s just a pilot, so you have to stumble upon them somewhere in the city. They’ll be hard to miss what with their shiny decal and prominent “Lyft” sign.
Lyft is offering two primary designs. The first sports the black and pink signature Lyft colors, while the Classic bike harkens back to the late 80s/early 90s with an electric twist.
Now, these are electric bikes which means they’re heavier than what you’re used to. The 80-pound bike is about 20 pounds heavier than the previous Lyft two-wheeler. Blame that on the new battery that does most of the heavy lifting, with a range of 60 miles. Adding to the power is the resident 500W motor.
“There are a ton of mom and pop as well as large-scale consumer vendors for e-bikes,” Gary Shambat, Lyft’s product manager, said in a statement to Tech Crunch. “But a fleet e-bike is a drastically different thing. They might look similar on the outside, but the wear and tear and the vandalism cases are so supremely different that you can’t just take an existing product, patch it up in a few ways, throw on a connected module and call it a day.”
Lyft is offering an annual or monthly membership plan or you can just pay for individual 30-minute rides.
They’re currently piloting the e-bike rental program in San Francisco with plans to move into Chicago and New York soon.