WE-cycle bike share harnessing the solar in new collaboration
Aspen’s bike sharing program, WE-cycle, has launched the state’s first off-the-grid, solar energy e-charging station for electrical bicycles.
In collaboration with Carbondale-based Skyhook Solar and PBSC City Options, a Montreal-based worldwide bike sharing system, WE-cycle rolled out the pilot program final week.
There are 25 blue e-bikes accessible to customers between WE-cycle’s charging stations at Aspen Valley Hospital and a location in Basalt.
The ability for the stations is generated by Skyhook’s bifacial photo voltaic panels.
Assembled and examined in Skyhook’s Carbondale plant, the technological adaption to PBSC charging stations has been in analysis and improvement for the previous 9 months.
“It’s been a real worldwide collaboration seeing if there was a chance to satisfy our organizational targets to proceed to stay 100% photo voltaic powered … and to display that photo voltaic powered e-bike sharing is feasible in a real plug-and-play capability the place there is no such thing as a infrastructure wants and utility hookup,” stated Mirte Mallory, govt director of WE-cycle.
Skyhook has been engaged on photo voltaic station expertise for electrical autos and e-bikes for just a few years.
PBSC Urban Solutions is the producer and provider for WE-cycle gear and software program. The corporate has 700 related applications all over the world, however they’re all related to the grid in some style.
Daniel Delano, CEO of Skyhook Photo voltaic, want to change that.
“I feel they’ve an incredible product,” he stated. “Actually there’s the potential that we might collaborate sooner or later in different places. It might be the renewable energy provide as an alternate to grid connection.”
Aspen and Basalt will function a testing floor this summer time so operators can gauge how a lot energy may be generated, how the provision holds and different operational points.
“Hopefully it may be developed on a bigger scale each inside our system and probably inside others as nicely,” Mallory stated.
WE-cycle piloted a program last year that had six e-bikes in its fleet however it proved to be operationally difficult to select them up and recharge them within the store, in addition to the truth that they have been offline throughout that point, Mallory stated.
So the three organizations banded collectively and got here up with the thought of adapting the PBSC smart station, which fees the WE-cycle e-bikes with a Skyhook photo voltaic station.
It’s the primary deployment of a photo voltaic charging e-bike share program in Colorado and the one mannequin operational within the nation, Mallory stated.
Delano stated it’s a huge step ahead within the trade.
“This mixture of modern merchandise is a big step in advancing renewable and versatile charging infrastructure within the e-bike share motion,” he stated.
The change is in keeping with WE-cycle’s mission to offer an e-bike sharing program with renewable vitality, and subsequently decreasing its collective carbon footprint whereas slashing greenhouse gases by getting individuals out of their automobiles utilizing different modes of transportation.
Mallory stated a survey of e-bike riders final 12 months indicated that 23% of respondents used WE-cycle to cut back their carbon footprint and 46% stated they might have pushed their automotive with out the bike sharing possibility.
The entire bikes in WE-cycle’s fleet are free for the primary half-hour and are designed for use for brief commuter journeys.
It’s $5 for every further minute for the blue e-bikes and 50-cents for the common, silver bikes. The pricing is ready up like that to disincentivize individuals from utilizing the WE-cycle bikes recreationally.
E-bikes may be docked at any of WE-cycle’s 49 stations however can solely be recharged on the two e-stations on the Aspen hospital and on the upvalley BRT bus cease in Basalt.
The WE-cycle operations workforce will redistribute e-bikes to allow them to cost on the designated e-stations.
Nevertheless, riders are requested that if handy, they need to trip one of many e-bikes to both AVH or the Basalt e-station to allow them to be charged for the subsequent consumer, Mallory stated.
Folks can join or renew their membership through WE-cycle’s web site, and entry the bikes via the Transit app.
Based in 2013, WE-cycle is ready to present free rides because of subsidies made by the town of Aspen, the city of Basalt, the Aspen Enterprise Heart Basis and the Neighborhood Workplace for Useful resource Effectivity.
The whole subsidy for this 12 months is $490,000 and the WE-cycle working price range is $700,000, in accordance with Mallory.
With out sponsors, native help and buy-in from the neighborhood ,WE-cycle’s progress and subsequent pedal stroke into the way forward for sustainability wouldn’t be potential, Mallory stated.
“It’s an actual testomony to the innovation that takes place inside this valley and ahead considering ideas and alignment when it comes to our sustainability targets within the valley to have a collaboration like this,” she stated.