Start installing free solar-powered electric bike charging stations
Would you like to use solar energy to charge your electric bike or scooter for free?The startup Swiftmile has done just that with hundreds of new charging stations in the United States and Europe.
But the idea of building these free charging stations will not happen overnight.Swiftmile founder Colin Roche first got involved with e-bikes a few years ago after winning a free Pedego in a raffle.
As he explained to cycling retailers, the new e-bikes helped Roche retire after years of knee injuries, allowing him to cycle again.
"I didn't think of myself as a cyclist until I was 35.At the time, I had developed severe arthritis of the knee from years of playing football.That's why for me it was an accident.It literally got me back on the bike with pedal-assisted bikes and opened my eyes that they were going to be disrupters who were going to reinvent cycling."
After discovering the joys of e-bikes, he began to think about the need for charging and the lack of public charging infrastructure for e-bikes.That tripped Roche up in anticipation, eventually leading to the founding of the Swiftmile.
Swiftmile has set up solar-powered charging stations that riders can use for free to charge their electric bikes and scooters.Charging stations are also being set up locally in the United States.
Startups use several different business models to make the concepts work.Public charging stations are free to all users, and the company makes money from digital advertising billboards on the stations.Cities can install them for free as long as they provide infrastructure access;Swiftmile does the rest.
The U.S. cities that currently operate Swiftmile include Austin, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington, D.C.Electric bike or scooter companies can also buy charging stations, which will then charge only for the company's models.
The goal, as Roche explains, is to make sustainable charging a win-win.
"Our plan with the city does not require them to pay anything.We only need to use the power supply and the appropriate position, can use the digital screen placement system.This is the key to making everyone win.Cities are free to get, advertising is paid for the system, and riders can use it for free."
Swiftmile raised $5 million from investors in July, adding to the company's previous $6 million.
The money will help the company grow by adding to the 200 charging stations Swiftmile already operates.