Two French companies, Smoove and Zoov, having joined forces in April, aim to increase the uptake of cycling exponentially in all regions. They plan to do this by enabling cities to offer universal, integrated access to bikes to meet all the mobility needs of their residents.
For this reason, they are unveiling Fusion, a connected electric bike designed for both self-service and long-term leasing. Early-bird registration is open for users that want to take advantage of this new electric bike subscription in Bordeaux, an area in which Zoov has been operating self- service electric bikes since 2019.
Thinking bigger to improve the quality of life in our cities
There is no doubt that electric bikes are the most reliable and efficient alternative to cars. But, despite the significant uptake of cycling in affluent areas, it hasn’t yet developed enough in the areas where it’s needed the most.
According to an internal study of major French cities outside Paris, less than half of inhabitants live a 10-minute walk away from a self-service bike station. Additionally, ADEME and Indiggo find that three quarters of all self-service bike systems are in cities with over 50,000 inhabitants. We must accelerate the adoption of bicycles to all urban and suburban areas – to reduce transport- related CO2 emissions and noise pollution, to improve health and, ultimately, to make our cities more peaceful places to live.
“The key to the mass-adoption of cycling lies in a city’s ability to offer their citizens equitable access to efficient active mobility services that are always available, whatever the time, place and need. Smoove and Zoov intend to support cities and their elected officials in their mobility transformation, for the benefit of the lives of their inhabitants” says, Benoit Yameundjeu, CEO of Smoove.
An all-inclusive electric bike «as a service» offer from short to long-term use
Smoove and Zoov are advocating the implementation of Augmented Bike Networks that connect entire cities, and are interlaced with public transport to facilitate multimodal journeys. These bikes can be rented on an ad hoc basis or can be privatised at any time for more frequent use. With this in mind, the group is unveiling the self-service electric bike that is perfectly suited for long-term rental.
Fusion has a 65-kilometre range and, when being operated in self-service, can be recharged through the world’s most compact charging station. Each station accommodates up to 10 bikes, locked together with electromagnets which also allows for the transfer of energy from one bike to the next.
For long- term rental, the removable battery is secured by an electronic lock, giving the user the freedom to recharge when necessary and total peace of mind when leaving the battery in the bike. The custom-designed luggage rack ensures comfortable home-to-work journeys, and can also accommodate a baby seat.
The electric bike is controlled by a mobile app, allowing the user to:
- Sign up to, manage or cancel their subscription at any time
- Locate their own bike or a nearby self-service bike
- Unlock and lock the bike
- Unlock and recharge the battery (long-term leasing)
- Follow an integrated GPS route
- Receive theft or low battery alerts (long-term leasing)
- Speak to customer service
- And much more.
When operated in a fleet or shared bikes, Fusion can be unlocked from a payment kiosk or with a transport card thanks to RFID compatibility.
From the design of the bike and compact smart station, to the built-in intelligence and the mobile app, a high-quality user experience is at the heart of the mission to create long-term, committed cyclists.
“The first challenge we confronted was to build a bike that flourished at the crossroads of self-service and long-term rental whilst also remaining accessible, in terms of cost. The second challenge was to use connectivity and software to turn data-driven innovation into a seamless experience and provide a level of service that continually exceeds expectations” says, Arnaud Le Rodallec, chief product officer & co-founder of Zoov.
The all-in-one service created by Smoove and Zoov blurs the boundaries between bike-sharing and personal cycling, which allows cities of all sizes to offer a complete bike solution to all inhabitants from city centre to suburbs whatever the nature or duration of their need.
Amira Haberah, marketing and sales director and co-founder of Zoov, adds, “What completely changes the game is that each city can offer a complete service, addressing all use cases, with the same fleet of bikes. This generates strong operational synergies from the management of repairs and spare parts to human resources that drastically reduce the cost of access to the service.”
Subscription-based electric bikes arrive in Bordeaux
This autumn, the company will launch its inaugural long-term rental service in Bordeaux. The subscription includes a personal electric bike, a charger for the battery, insurance against theft and damage – and an on-demand maintenance/repair service (guaranteed within 24 hours).
The company already operates a fleet of 500 self-service electric bikes in the city, with a satisfaction rate of over 95% since its launch.