While bicycle sharing schemes are now commonplace in the world's major urban centers, the city of Barcelona in Spain is giving the idea a jolt by adding electrification to the equation. The scheme called Motit was launched this European summer with a trial run that includes 50 all-electric scooters which, as well as being quiet and producing no tailpipe emissions, add a dash of purple to the Mediterranean city famous for its funky street life.
The locally-produced bikes can reach an top speed of 65 km/h (40 mph), have a range of 40 to 60 km (25 to 37 mi) and include an on-board screen for navigation. The plan is to increase the number to 500 bikes by mid-2014. Users have the option to pay for a single trip or buy monthly and tourist packages. The first step is to download the free Motit app from the App Store or Google Play in order to book the point-to-point service. Users must be at least 21 years of age, have a car or 125cc motorcycle license.
Going Green, the company behind the project, has tried to keep the cost of the scheme relatively low. Local people who use the service frequently have access to priority (€0.45/km, $0.59/h) and standard reservations (€0.55/km, $0.73/h). If they opt for the hourly rate it costs €4/h ($5.27/h) and €5/h ($6.59/h), respectively, while tourists will pay €6/h ($7.91/h) for an hour-long ride. For frequent users, a round trip fee of €54/h ($71.16/h) per month is available, besides other options.
The bikes are approved to carry a passenger and in order to ensure a safe ride, Motit provides helmets. Insurance is also included, but the user is responsible for the first €50 ($65.89) of damages.