Pedal power gets an electric boost

electric bikes inclusive cycling

Published Monday 28 September 2015

Are electric bikes the answer to congestion, transport and health conundrums? Eleven new projects - including the New Forest - providing electric assisted pedal cycles could help Carplus find out.

Carplus press release

These schemes, selected by Carplus for funding from the Department for Transport, will put over 200 new electric bikes into circulation - including three in the New Forest National Park. The bikes have small electric motors which boost the riders’ pedal power and will be used in a variety of situations including: 

Electric bikes for hire in hilly towns and cities where riding pedal-only bikes is challenging

Cargo bikes with electric motors to help hirers transport heavier loads

A scheme providing transport for housing association homes in low income areas

Tourist areas offering electric assisted bikes on hire to encourage people onto bikes for the first time or back onto bikes after a long break

Around one in 10 bicycles sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland are pedal-assisted e-bikes; bike hire schemes in many cities like Madrid and Copenhagen now have electric fleets.

Carplus would like to support increasing interest in similar schemes in the UK. The project will follow the development of new projects to investigate the potential for shared electric bikes to: 

Help more people make door-to-door journeys on shared and public transport

Reduce congestion, demand for parking and pressure on the transport system

Reduce pollution, CO2 emissions and improve air quality

Encourage more people to try or return to cycling, and for people to cycle more often

Improve health and well being, whilst stimulating community cohesion

Antonia Roberts, Electric Bike Programme Coordinator, said: 'We will be using the data from these projects to find out what sort of people are attracted to electric bikes in different contexts, and why. It’s important for future planning to learn more about the sort of journeys might be appropriate for shared electric bikes and what sort of journeys people actually make using them. 

'We need to know whether shared electric bike schemes work in urban or rural environments and whether the bikes need to be based together, along rail corridors, in workplaces, leisure facilities or residential areas.'

The successful projects include a range of operating models including self service bikes, point to point hire networks, community led bike pools and schemes integrated with car clubs and public transport networks. 

For more information:

Beate Kubitz 0113 373 1757 / 07974 369240 


What are electric bikes?

The e-bikes used in these schemes are Electric Assisted Pedal Cycles – bikes which use small electric motors to boost the riders’ pedal power and help them ride. The electric motors will not work unless the rider is pedalling (unlike motor scooters). 

Electric motors help riders: 

Ride further without getting tired – and without worrying about running out of energy

Ride up hills easily

Carry heavier loads

The motors on e- bikes are powered by batteries and have a range of up to 60 miles before needing a recharge. 

Full list of schemes

Bristol: 24 e-bikes at four workplace hubs in self service sophisticated card openinged bike lockers bookable through the Co-wheels car club website or app available to employees in office hours and residents for weekends and evenings.

Exeter: 22 e-bikes situated at railway stations and business parks integrated with Co-Cars operations in partnership with Nextbike and First Great Western Trains.

Oxford: adding 16 e-bikes to the popular one way bike hire scheme run by Hourbike around in Headington and east Oxford, in association with Oxfordshire County Council.

Ryedale: providing 12 e-bikes for tourists exploring the areas of Malton, Pickering and the Howardian Hills. The bikes will be used in the wheels to work scheme over the off-season.

Rotherham: Expansion of 70 electric bikes to the Journey Matters bike scheme offering bikes to employees and the public via a popular mobile hub, aiming to attract commuters who previously do not cycle with short loans.

Isle of Wight: 25 Red Squirrel Bikes e-bikes located at visitor centres in Newport, Ryde and Cowes for tourists and public sector employees needing to travel round the area.

Hebden Bridge: 15 e-bikes including a cargo bikes for residents, local businesses and tourists to hire from the Hebden Bridge Alternative Energy Centre to ride in this hilly area. 

Housing developments: 18 electric bikes at trial sites in Sustainable Ventures backed housing developments in low income communities to combat transport poverty in the east of England.

Cambridge & Norwich: Cargo bikes on hire to  to local residents and businesses to transport larger loads from Outspoken.

Eastbourne: 20 e-bikes connecting the hilly route between the University of Brighton campus in Eastbourne and Eastbourne railway station.

Plymouth and surrounding area: Adding 20 e-bikes to a hire fleet of 60 bikes aimed at tourists and trials for local commuters reducing car dependency based around at park and ride sites.

New Forest National Park: New Forest National Park Authority and PEDALL scheme exploring the potential take up of cycling for a wider group of less able people anding an all ability cycle training programme with 3 adapted e-bikes.

The Carplus Shared Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) Programme is funded by the Department for Transport.

The scheme received 34 full bids.

More articles in the news archive.

New Forest National Park Authority news feed


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