Ford GoBike To Launch Electric Fleet in S.F.

The company just announced an e-bike pilot program, to add to its already contentious bike-share system.

Ford GoBikes, often seen vandalized or dismantled around the city will be giving its riders an electric boost this spring, the company announced Monday.

Motivate — the company behind the Bay Area’s bike-share system — used the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to unveil a year-long pilot program of e-bikes beginning in April to help cyclists pedal up those laborious hills. The bikes are made by GenZe, which usually cost between $1,600 and $1,900.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is a partner in the program, saying in a statement that it gives residents and visitors another option to get around while reducing congestion. At 18 mph, the pedal-assisted e-bikes can help those who don’t already have eggplant-sized calves from regular biking or walking up steep hills. 

“In many ways, e-bikes are ideal for bike-share programs because they make local, short-distance cycling easier for people,” says GenZe CEO Vish Palekar in a statement. “Our e-bikes can go anywhere a conventional bicycle can go, including shared lanes and cycling paths – allowing riders to commute greater distances with no traffic and zero emissions.”

Ford GoBikes launched in June 2017, sparking the ire of tourist bike companies, neighbors with less parking spaces, and an outright ban on the Mission District’s Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.

The company, however, has a definitive bright spot with its Bike Share for All program — which charges low-income residents $5 for the first year and $5 each month for their second year. While regular riders will eventually have to pay an undisclosed amount more for the e-bikes, Bike Share for All members won’t ever face any extra costs for using the new bikes, Motivate says. 

Renting Ford GoBikes usually costs $9.95 for the day or $3 for the first 30 minutes of a single ride, which can be unlocked through Clipper cards. Like the regular bikes, users can find the new e-bikes through Ford’s GoBike app.

Since it launched, Motivate says its more than 2,600 bikes at 262 stations have generated more than half a million rides. It expects to have 7,000 bikes at 546 stations at the end of 2018. 

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