What if you could combine the versatility of a bike with the functionality of a car? Say hello to the Veemo.
From EV carsharing schemes to electric scooters and even electric aircraft, the increased spread of electromobility has the potential to revolutionise the way we get from A to B - reducing air pollution and offering increased flexibility and affordability. The latest innovative addition is the Veemo, a three-wheeled, electric-assisted bicycle that developers believe could one day replace cars on the roads of cities around the world.
Developed by Vancouver's VeloMetro, the Veemo is a closed-top velomobile with a pedal-electric drivetrain - meaning it relies on a combination of pedal power and electric battery, a bit like an electric bicycle. The big difference here though, to e-bikes: Veemo drivers are legally allowed to travel on both roads and bike lanes. And there are other cool "car-like" elements too, like the indicators, smart control locks, the fully-enclosed body (complete protection from the elements!) and the rather handy storage space in the back. A solar panel on the roof is said to extend the vehicle range by up to 20km per day.
The vehicles are specifically designed for shared use, and renting one can easily be carried out via app, just like other car and bikesharing services: locate the vehicle, reserve it, activate it and off you go. And because the Veemo is officially classified as an electric bicycle, there's no driver's licence required - anyone over 19 can rent it out. There's no sign-up fee, and a trip costs just 10 USD an hour. For shorter trips, it's a maximum of 28 cents a minute.
Autumn 2017 saw the first pilot fleet hit the campus of the University of British Columbia, where there are up to 65,000 students, university employees and residents that are eligble to use them. Heading next to Vancouver's city centre, Veemo's leadership hopes it becomes a fully-functioning rental service that spreads in popularity to other cities around the world.
It is unclear whether the current trend for shared mobility options will result in a move away from an attitude of ownership and toward the sharing economy. However, with more and more practical, green and accessible options like Veemo on the roads, it's easier than ever to imagine.
This is a translation by Marisa Pettit of an article which originally appeared on our German-language site.