Lyft ups the motor power for first in-house rideshare ebike
The global pandemic has caused many commuters to rethink how they get to work, with micromobility booming as a result. But not everyone can afford the often high price tags hanging from the handlebars of such things as ebikes, which is where short-term hire comes in. Lyft has been offering shared ebikes for a few years now, but has just announced its first in-house model.
According to Lyft, more than 1.8 million riders took its bikes and scooters for a first-time spin last year, and though not all of those offered motor assist, two to three times as many riders hopped aboard a Lyft ebike compared to its classic pedal bikes during the same period.
After two years of research and development, including building prototypes for riders to try out and feed back suggestions, Lyft has ended up with an ebike built for year-round usage with fewer repairs and battery swaps, and designed to survive 10,000 rides.
The frame-integrated battery is reckoned good for 60 miles (96.5 km) per charge, and Lyft is about to pilot station-charging capabilities. And the single-gear ebike features a 500-W adaptive motor that's been tuned "for all speeds and grades of road" and automatically dials in assistance without riders having to mess with power levels or gear changes.
The LCD screen displays ride data such as speed and remaining charge, and the built-in speaker system can walk users through the basics of how to use the service, including tutorials on unlocking, parking up and other service operations. The ebike also rocks a bunch of lighting effects, including an illuminated ring dubbed the LED beacon that glows with a pink or bright white hue, to help riders be seen by other road users.
Further to that aim, Lyft says that it's developed a new kind of paint that will reflect car headlights at night, in the same way that street signs do. Other safety features include "top-of-the-line" hydraulic braking to the rear, and an onboard sensor suite that keeps watch over the ebike's sub-systems so that Lyft can make sure its available ebikes are all in tip-top condition. And according to Wired's Julian Chokkattu, who got to ride a prototype recently, the new ebike comes with GPS and Wi-Fi cooked in so that customers can locate an available ride on a map in the mobile app, while also allowing Lyft to fling over over-the-air updates or track misplaced ebikes.
Riders of various heights are accommodated by an adjustable seat with redesigned clamp and step-through frame, there's a handy cargo basket out front, and kickstand, fenders and integrated bike lock are included too.
The new ebike will begin public beta testing in San Francisco from next week as part of the Bay Wheels fleet, ahead of rollout to other cities, starting with the Divvy service in Chicago later in the year. And clearly the company believes that it's onto a winner, with Lyft co-founder John Zimmer saying that "few things create joy like riding this new ebike."