Electric bike hiring service launched in central London for last mile couriers | News Leave a comment


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An electric bike and scooter charging station and hire point has opened in central London, pitched at last mile delivery couriers.

Tech firm Port today launched what it calls a “dark hub” within a Leicester Square car park owned by Q-Park.

The hub allows individual couriers or delivery firms to hire the electric vehicles on a weekly or monthly subscription through the Port app, with the vehicle, parking, charging, maintenance and software provided by the firm.

The concept “empowers London’s last mile industry to switch to electric and reduce its vast CO2 footprint” and “removes all the courier companies’ electric fleet parking, charging, maintaining, financing and managing burdens”.

The platform is being offered to both independent couriers and delivery firms and is being pitched at the parcel, food and grocery courier sectors.

“Port’s dark hubs mean courier companies can automate currently labour-intensive fleet management tasks and unlock the full potential of EVs,” the company said.

“Once the courier has picked the vehicle from the hub at any time, they undertake their deliveries before returning the EV to the hub at the end of their working day. The vehicle is locked, parked and charged overnight and then ready to be rented the next day. The long range and battery capabilities of the EV means it can be used for an entire day of work,” it continued.

There are currently an initial 16 electric vehicles docked at the hub.

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The dark hub launch follows two years of R&D by Port, which has built all aspects of the dark hub platform – including the proprietary hardware and software – “from the ground up”.

Key to the system is what it claims is the world’s first patented universal docking station that can lock and charge any small electric vehicle.

Following successful trials in Madrid, the company is now taking its first steps to expand across Europe – with plans to enter the Barcelona market next.

“Electrification of the last mile delivery industry is both a great challenge and opportunity,” said Kamil Suda, founder of Port. “We want to bring Port’s solution to every major city to help the sector reach net zero and fully capitalise on the benefits of small EVs.”

The dark hub could also help courier firms recruit riders from the suburbs.

“Suburban workers are largely unable to cover the long distance between their homes and the city centre by e-bike or moped. The dark hubs will enable them to commute into the city centre and pick up their fully charged vehicle for the day,” the company said.





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