In what way is the electric bicycle long-term rental a future-oriented solution?

Electric bicycles for long-term rental or leasing are in full expansion. A system that encourages the transition towards the democratization of electric bicycles for all city dwellers, while enabling the city to be modern, attractive, green and committed to the Smart City transformation that residents are so eagerly awaiting. Features, advantages, weak points, return on the rental of electric bicycles for long-term contracts, a real system for the future of cities.

What are the measures proposed today?

In Europe, in France, mainly in large cities, electric bicycles for long-term rental have found their place. The rental of a HDV lasts between 6 and 36 months depending on the offer, renewable under the conditions specific to each model. There are two main forms of bicycle leasing, long-term rental (LLD) or rental with purchase option (LOA).

Electric bicycles for long-term rental

Among large HDV fleets, Veligo is a must. Ile-de-France Mobilités offers the rental of an electric bicycle on long-term rental for periods of 6 months renewable once for 3 months, to all Ile-de-France residents. Today, more than 10,000 city dwellers own their Véligo bike. The offer is a real success and continues to grow, with more than 20,000 electric bicycles available for long-term rentals in the near future. User satisfaction is there! With a long waiting list that is growing day by day and more than 65% of the 6-month long-term rental period renewed, Véligo will really mark a turning point in long-term rental. The system decided to go further by connecting its bikes to facilitate maintenance, obtain figures on performance, use and routes and to secure its vehicles against theft.

Decathlon also offers bicycles for long-term rental without commitment, currently being tested in Paris and Lyon. The objective is to extend it to other cities if the project works. Following the health crisis, they concluded that consumers preferred to have their own bike and not a shared bike. With this, they accept the inconveniences of theft, maintenance… They came to the conclusion that we were witnessing “a shift from ownership to use”.

Many players are launching this type of scheme: NoBelity, Holland Bikes, Aveola (Culture Vélo) and Swapfiets, which has more than 200,000 members in 50 cities in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, to name but a few.

Electric bikes for rent with option to buy

Renting with a purchase option simply allows the user to become the owner of his bike after a certain rental period. He or she deducts the rent paid to pay the balance due to acquire the bike. It is a device that allows the user to spread out the payments for a new EAB and then in very good condition, after having tested and experimented with it over several months to be sure of its purchase.

Why is this device promoting the mass adoption of electric bicycles ?

The fleet of electric bikes on long-term rental allows us to offer the experience to city dwellers by smoothing out the main brake on test, which remains the purchase price of a good electric bike. Indeed, without having really tested a daily use over several months (and therefore several types of weather for example), the user will not be able to plan on purchasing around 2,000 euros for a classic EVA and between 3,000 and 4,000 euros for the purchase of an electric cargo bike.

After a few months of use, he or she will be able to make a decision in full knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of daily bicycle travel: evaluate the time savings, economic gain and health and well-being benefits of using a bicycle, to make the long-term transition to this mode of transportation by making a purchase. The experience also allows you to refine your choice of e-bike compared to months of testing, encouraging you to move upmarket with a choice based not only on price but also on the bike’s actual performance.

During his LTC experience, the user does not have to worry about the maintenance of his bike and the risks related to bike theft. An overhaul is carried out after about 3 months, depending on the models and devices, to guarantee the condition of your bike. With a subscription that is often cheaper than a subscription to public transport or the use of a car or a two-wheeler, the user saves money and serenely tests this new lifestyle with a new or nearly new bike.
Each device is differentiated with additional services to provide users with safety and comfort on their journeys.

Price, maintenance, new equipment, insurance against theft, and the test period are therefore very strong arguments that appeal to city dwellers looking for solutions to get around cities quickly on short trips.

What are the weak points of this system today ?

Fleet models of electric bicycles for long-term rental are facing 3 major challenges in cities in France and Europe.

Today, the various local authorities offering this service have too few electric bicycles available to meet the demand of city dwellers. In addition to having been very well received by city dwellers, HDVs have generated very high demand and the unavailability of bicycles is creating frustration for the many city dwellers who would like to take advantage of this offer.

EAB fleet managers must take into account the maintenance difficulties and profitability of the devices in relation to theft, damage and incivility on bicycles, which require a solid and well-organized maintenance system. Véligo has chosen to connect its bicycles in order to optimize its maintenance costs and reduce the costs of renewing the fleet’s bicycles. Velco supported Véligo on this issue by proposing a connected tracker to be integrated into the bikes, which provides real-time data on geolocation, the state of the bike with maintenance alerts, the uses made of the bikes, etc… A fleet of connected bikes to optimize management, secure the vehicles and obtain clear performances to improve the device and push for the improvement of the infrastructures put in place in cities, which are in themselves a major challenge for this transition to soft mobility in France.

By knowing more about the paths used by the majority of city dwellers and identifying cycling deserts, the city can anticipate and compensate for the lack of bicycle paths or a lack of safety in certain dense, poorly equipped areas. The figures emerging from bicycle use will support political decisions to improve the city’s soft mobility offer.

Why do local authorities need to set up this system?

It would be appropriate for communities to set up fleets of long-term rental bicycles in order to further increase the use of bicycles and electric bicycles in cities. The objective of local authorities is to make cities attractive, to commit to a soft mobility policy and to meet the major expectations of city dwellers.

These bicycles are beneficial for the ecology, in fact, in addition to relieving congestion on roads that are much too busy to allow for the smooth movement of city dwellers, they make no noise and reduce the carbon footprint. Today, environmental mayors and political commitments to carbon-free mobility are increasingly present. This year, Europe écologie-Les Verts won 7 cities (Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Besançon, Tours, Annecy and Grenoble) with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Ecological mayors are increasingly present in the different cities of France. The mayors who are not labeled as ecologists are also part of this initiative to offer efficient, safe, fast and green mobility services.

The aim of these new creations is to offer a better living environment by reducing traffic by reducing the number of cars in city centers in order to increase the modal share of soft mobility. For example, the city of Metz is embarking on a mission for a 100% cycling city. Today, the development of soft mobility is one of the major expectations of city dwellers.