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A New Type of Electric Bike Enlightens Urban Mobility

One more new vehicle type is popping up on the market: a scooter-inspired electric bike named Oslo. The vehicle was brought into the light by Karmic, a startup that launched its first electric bike in 2015. [1]

Hong Quan, the founder of Karmic, said that the bicycle design of Oslo makes riding much safer compared to balancing on a scooter; however, it does look different from a shared bike with its slimmer design and a compact frame. The Oslo can legally ride in a bike lane and it has both pedal-assist power and throttle for those who are not keen to pedal. The company offers a shared model for people who cannot afford to buy one, but in parallel to this, it also has also begun to sell the new electric bike directly to users. According to Quan, for people who use it frequently, it is worth purchasing your own at a price of $1500 rather than using a shared bike.

Quan’s vision with the Oslo is in line with the transformation to car-free cities. Cities such as Oslo, Paris and Amsterdam are making driving more cumbersome. The new bike aims to bring a better experience of biking to the user and convince people to prefer a bike over a car. The possibilities it provides to avoid traffic congestion and reduce the costs of transportation is expected to push some drivers to the modal shift.   

 

Personal Comments

When electric bicycles hit the market a few years ago, many people were suspicious about the technology and they even thought it would demolish the sustainability of biking. However, after some years, they did somehow bring more and a wider range (in terms of age and health conditions) of cyclists on the roads [2].

After all, electric bikes might be one of the key elements in resolving mobility challenges in big cities. Paris is now thinking about giving a €500 financial aid for citizens to purchase an e-bike. The city is also boosting the number of e-bikes with a long-term e-bike rental program, aiming to release up to 10 000 e-bikes into the greater Paris area [3]. However, the long-term effect of subsidies is not promising. In Sweden, a dip of interest in purchasing electric bikes has been observed after the subsidies for e-bikes were taken away this year [4].

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-09-17. Could this half-bike, half-scooter create a new form of urban transit?

2. 2019-08-14. Elcyklister får lika mycket motion som vanliga cyklister.

3. 2019-09-16. Paris wants to give € 500 subsidies for e-bikes.  

4. 2019-08-26. Svalt intresse för elcyklar sedan premien togs bort.