In what it says is a global first, a local startup launched its electric-assisted, velomobile-sharing service at UBC on Tuesday morning.
Launched by VeloMetro, customers can share the Veemo, a transport device that blurs the line between a vehicle, a bicycle, and even a tricycle.
“Veemo hits the sweet spot between bikesharing and carsharing with its compact and
environmentally friendly design,” says Kody Baker, CEO of VeloMetro. “We saw an opportunity to create a fun and affordable active transportation alternative that fits people’s urban needs.”
Tuesday’s launch, said Baker, “is just the beginning. We have big plans to expand our fleet and offer the velomobile-sharing service across Metro Vancouver, our province, and eventually throughout the Pacific Northwest and the world.”
Outfitted with familiar bicycle handlebars, pedals and hand brakes, Veemo velomobiles are intuitive and easy to use. A full enclosure, including a door, power windows, comfortable seat, heated grips, navigation unit, and a cup holder provide many of the comforts of a car.
Sustainability is at the forefront of the design, notably in the patented electric pedal system and rooftop solar panel that powers the electric battery.
VeloMetro recently completed its testing of the velomobiles at UBC, with the intention to track how the vehicles help students move around campus quickly.
With almost 400 test riders logging over 2,700 km and 630 hours in trips, the successful
test prompted the launch for public use.
Users find, reserve, and enable their Veemo rides through a smartphone app—no keys required.
Since it is legally classified as an electric bicycle, users do not need a driver’s license and are able to sign up online and ride within minutes without having to wait for motor vehicle driver record checks.
Similar to existing car-share and bike-share models, Veemo operates on a pay-per-minute system with other billing options to come.
Membership is currently free, and for the first two weeks of launch, Veemo is offering a promotional rate of just 10¢ per minute.