Jump is testing charging stations!
9 October, 2018
Are Jump Bikes turning to a dock-based solution??? Yes and no. In order to better manage the battery charging of its bikes, Jump designed a docking station allowing to return and charge the fleet. It kind of goes against the “dockless” option but …
We can see with Citi-Bikes, Vélib or Capital Bikeshare, that there is a huge demand for E-bike-share: in all these mixed E-bikes/non E-bikes projects, there is a real shortage on E-bike availability. So operators have to make it available and in a financially sustainable way. This charging station might be an answer as it allows better efficiency in battery charging management. Having staff dedicated to picking up, charging and deploying the bicycles might complicate the scale up.
More flexible than dock-based solutions, more organised than dockless ones, hybrid solutions are THE option. It is the idea that many cities are implementing by painting “parking zone” boxes on the pavement (Singapore, Minneapolis, Seattle…). Yes it’s a more expensive than paint, but those stations are materialising “parking zones” as well.
Jump have build a strong partnership with Sacramento to implement and test its solution in various strategic public locations (Universities, government buildings, public transit stations). 50 docks have already been installed, with a goal of 300 by the end of the year:
“We’re partnering closely with public entities including the Sacramento Regional Transit District, Sacramento Council of Governments and California State University, Sacramento, to make e-bikes a viable option for everyday use, whether that’s commuting to your job or getting to and from public transportation,” Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO.
Technically, the bicycles are guided into the docks thanks to 2 guidance rollers at the front wheel axle, to ensure that the 3 electric contacts on the front of the right arm of the fork are aligned with those of the docks. This small scale launch will also test the reliability of the system.
The information I miss to evaluate the solution is the charging monitoring: can one rent a bicycle that have just been plugged in? If so, it can have an impact on the battery life, and put at risk the business model. The battery life management is a priority to avoid any extra-cost for shared E-bikes schemes. It might impact some companies in the coming years.