What We’re Doing
Our team will pilot an electric bike loaning program for the Western community. We envision a long-term program focusing on loaning electric-assist bikes to faculty, staff, students and campus offices on a quarterly basis. For the pilot, we will recruit people to commute or make work trips on electric bikes, contribute to a collaborative blog, and provide feedback to the team. One bike will be kept on campus and checked-out on a short-term basis to people interested in leasing in subsequent quarters. The pilot will include a comprehensive package of accessories to facilitate success within a limited time-frame. The team will document lessons learned and costs, and develop pricing, maintenance and administration plans for a long-term ebike loaning program. This pilot project will end on June 15, 2018.
Why Viking eBikes?
The purpose of this project is to make electric bikes available to the Western community without the up-front costs, risk, and required equipment knowledge normally associated with purchasing an e-bike. There are two distinct areas where this program could facilitate reduction in car trips:
- There are members of the campus community who would like to bike to work, and probably would do so except for the hill, distance, initial investment, equipment knowledge and/or research. An electric bike loaning program could address these issues by reducing the barrier of distance/hill, eliminating the initial investment, providing an opportunity to see someone do it successfully, facilitating maintenance and charging, and eliminating the research and knowledge needed to choose equipment, and providing an exit strategy should they decide it’s not for them.
- Western staff currently use fleet vehicles to travel between campus locations, such as 32nd street and main campus. Electric bikes would provide a low-cost, low-impact alternative.
How Viking eBikes Serves the Sustainable Action Fund Mission
The electric bike pilot aligns with all three aspects of the Sustainable Action Fund Grant Program mission:
- Increase Student Involvement and Education: Provides an opportunity for student team members to apply strategies and best practices learned in the classroom and gain real-life project experience. Specifically, student team members will drive the market research, communications, and equipment & technology specification aspects of this project experience.
- Reduces the University’s Environmental Impact: Converts routine car trips made by faculty, staff and students to bike trips, decreasing carbon emissions and increasing campus community members’ overall health and fitness.
- Create an Aware & Engaged Campus Community:Raises community awareness of the electric bike as a viable transportation solution, pioneering ways to overcome barriers to sustainable transportation options.