Co-cars PAYG Car Club receives DfT funding for e-Bike Hire Scheme in Exeter/Exe Estuary One of the first hire-as-you-ride e-bike services in the country
30th September 2015
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Through this innovative scheme, members will be able to hire ultra-cool, battery-assisted e-Bikes by the hour, from dedicated hubs at/in Exeter St. Davids railway station, central Exeter, the University of Exeter, Science Park, Devon County Hall, Digby & Sowton and the Dawlish Warren tourism information centre. 

23 e-Bikes will be available initially, but more will be added as the scheme grows.


e-Bikes offer smart consumers 40-60 miles of adjustable, power-assisted pedalling at the flick of a switch. They will provide Exeter’s workers, residents and visitors alike with an easy, healthy and environmentally-friendly way to link and take advantage of the city’s ever expanding network of cycle paths, bus and rail stations, car sharing clubs and business hubs.


The scheme has been part-funded by the Department for Transport through Carplus, Devon County Council and Great Western Railway (GWR), and is actively supported by Exeter City Council.


Co-cars, a not-for-profit social enterprise, secured the funding due to its proven expertise in running financially successful shared transportation schemes, and Exeter’s potential customer base with more than 3 million rail passenger journeys a year, more than 30,000 business staff and students at targeted sign up locations, and 500 established sharing users of the Co-cars car club.


Mark Hodgson, founder and managing director of Co-cars said, ‘We’re really excited about this new offering. e-Bikes are the logical next step for us, increasing the great options of shared on-demand and low carbon travel to our members - and to the city as a whole. With one card you’ll be able to access both our e-Bikes and our low emission cars across the South West.’


Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Highway Management, said, ‘This scheme is another piece in the jigsaw of infrastructure improvements to support economic growth while opening up travel choices and tackling congestion. It builds on other work, such as the Devon Metro, to offer joined-up transport solutions across the city, making maximum use of the major assets such as the rail network.

‘The e-Bikes are a convenient and effortless way to get around on two wheels and we're pleased to be working with Co-cars on this initiative.’


Dan Okey, Regional Transport Manager of GWR, agreed, saying, ‘We’re delighted to work with Co-cars on this important project to give people an environmentally-friendly option for the “last leg” of their journey.’


The e-Bike

The e-Bike, provided by Nextbike, has a Dutch-style frame with a 600w Pedelec middle motor on the crank, integrated lights, comfort seat, on-board computer, front carrier, front suspension, disc brakes, integrated locking system and a smart cable lock which can be used to secure the bikes at any location.


The adjustable power setting allows the rider to gain the assistance they require to achieve their desired speed and workout-level, depending on the terrain, range and journey’s purpose. The dedicated docking bays provide charging into the frame, as well as secure, electronic locking.


How the scheme will work

The e-Bikes are fitted with a proven telematics solution. This allows members to simply scan a QR code using their combined Co-bikes / Co-cars smart phone app, or swipe their smart membership card, to both unlock the e-Bike and begin transmitting their travel information direct to their account for monthly payment. Meanwhile, new customers are able to simply turn up and book directly from the touch-and-pay terminals using a credit card.


Becoming a Co-bikes / Co-cars member is just as easy: customers can join online, via a smartphone app or at a dock’s touch-and-pay terminal. One membership provides access to a growing network of hire-by-the-hour cars throughout Devon, Dorset and Somerset (with Cornwall coming online in 2016), as well as to the new, national e-Bike scheme.


Exeter: leading smart mobility

Victoria Hatfield, Economy & Tourism Manager, Exeter City Council Exeter welcomes the new service. She said, ‘Exeter’s rapid and continuing growth has made cross-city travel and parking a challenge. This could threaten to impact people’s well-being, business efficiency and collaboration amongst our world-renowned knowledge economy, as well as air quality and the city’s desirability.


‘However, by developing an integrated, sustainable transport network – of which e-Bikes are a crucial part – we’re addressing all these issues, and fast establishing Exeter as a leading, smart “sharing” city that is the envy of many.’

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Dave B

Member since: 10th July 2012

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