ANTWERPEN, 23 January 2020 - Several players have joined forces in a serious attempt to get more people out of their cars and onto electric bikes. ConnectBike, as the alliance is called, wants to contribute to the improvement of air quality, the greening and livability of cities and the vitality of employees by offering partial E-bikes for the public and business markets.
Driving forces behind ConnectBike Belgium are Jim Briels and Max Machtelinckx of Cloudbike. Early last year, they successfully launched the public shared bike programme Cloudbike in Antwerp. "We see that municipalities, companies and organisations are very interested in well functioning E-bike sharing systems", says Jim Briels of ConnectBike Belgium. "This concept is extremely flexible and can be used for countless purposes. Think of it as a solution for the first or last mile, in business parks or for food delivery. We also see potential in the return on investment model. Hotels, for example, can easily rent the bikes out to customers without the hassle of keys, administration or maintenance. As an organisation, you are also implementing a sustainable mobility policy and contributing to clean air in the cities."
Koen Kennis, alderman for mobility in Antwerp: Thanks to the choices made by Connectbike and the cooperation of various partners behind it, this initiative takes a serious look at the future. There is always room in Antwerp for companies with such vision and innovative ideas'.
Alternative to car and public transport
ConnectBike is an initiative of E-bike2work, a social venture dedicated to improving air quality and sustainable mobility in and around cities, and Giant, the world's largest bicycle manufacturer. To be able to make a stand, ConnectBike has gathered around it a coalition of innovative scale-ups and renowned names. This includes AON, Allianz Partners and Arval.
By working together, ConnectBike is able to offer companies, business parks, organisations or municipalities complete electric bike sharing solutions as an alternative to the car or as a complement to public transport.
"Organisations often miss great opportunities to get employees out of their cars and onto their bikes," says Kenneth Erselina, co-founder of ConnectBike. "They do want to switch to a sustainable mobility policy, but don't want the hassle of broken bikes or complex sharing systems. With our offer we remove those obstacles."
ConnectBike offers a wide range of Giant electric bicycles, including one specially developed for ConnectBike Heavy duty E-bike which, thanks to its price, quality and service package, is particularly suitable for, for example, public share E-bikes, meal and parcel delivery companies or organisations that opt for shared bicycles for their employees. Restaurant chain Domino's Pizza and meal delivery company Takeaway, for example, are starting a pilot with ConnectBike's 'heavy duty' electric bikes in Antwerp, Leuven, Ghent and Brussels.
Until the full-service The solution offered by ConnectBike includes a well-functioning digital lock and platform. This allows different users to easily unlock, pause and log off the pedelecs. From mid-March, the NFC (Near Field Communication) solution will be introduced. Every card and smartphone with NFC technology can be linked to an online platform to unlock bikes. "Here we see enormous opportunities for hotels. They can easily link the smartkey that is currently used for a hotel room to a loan or rental bike, says Max Machtelinckx of ConnectBike Belgium. Also companies whose employees have a key card to enter the office or where the use of a smart phone is prohibited can benefit from this solution."
Finally, ConnectBike has a breakdown service developed especially for the E-bike rider. Within 60 minutes after the report, a repairman is on the spot to repair the bike, exchange it or bring it to its destination. This service is currently offered in Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven, and from the end of March throughout Belgium.
Vlaams Loodwezen and Xior first customers
In the meantime, the first customers have contacted ConnectBike Belgium. The Vlaams Loodwezen (Flemish Plumber's Office), for example, is going to use shared bicycles for their employees. Also Xior, a student housing company, is going to offer its employees electric shared bicycles.
ConnectBike is a collaboration between social venture E-bike2work and Giant, the world's largest bicycle manufacturer. ConnectBike aims to make a positive contribution to air quality, the greening of the living environment and the promotion of clean and accessible urban environments. We do this by developing and offering alternatives to polluting urban transport, commuting and business trips, using the E-bike as a starting point. In many cases, the E-bike is an excellent alternative to the car. And we do this by entering into cross-sector partnerships with organisations that opt for sustainable (mobility) solutions. ConnectBike customers also contribute directly to ecological recovery through our cooperation with sister company I Love Beeing.