Hangzhou bicycles get electric upgrade

Updated 2017-05-19 11:00:41 China Daily
Riders test newly designed rental bicycles that use electrical power to supplement human pedaling, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. Su Bin / For China Daily

Riders test newly designed rental bicycles that use electrical power to supplement human pedaling, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Tuesday. Su Bin / For China Daily

Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, is planning to upgrade its public rental bicycles from strictly pedal power to electric hybrids.

The first batch of 5,000 hybrid bikes will be rolled out in three months, offering a faster option for bike riders, said Wu Guoxiong, deputy manager of Hangzhou Public Bicycle Traffic Service Development Co.

Hangzhou has 85,800 bikes for public rental, including 56,300 from Wu's company.

"We plan to replace all our regular bikes with smart bicycles by the end of next year," he said.

Traditional bikes have limitations, he said. "According to our data, people will ride 33 minutes for about 3 kilometers, on average, for each use. They will feel uncomfortable or tired when the time or distance exceeds that."

The new bikes will give people another choice. By inserting a portable battery, the human powered bicycle easily converts to electricity, so riders can extend their riding distance to 10 km and raise the maximum speed to 15 kilometers per hour, he said.

The State-owned company came up its plan for a bi-functional bicycle two years ago to meet the needs of residents whose jobs are 7 to 8 km from home. The plan and model were discussed and revised many times until it was agreed that the new shared bikes would have a removable battery.

People can choose to either rent a bicycle, or rent a bike and a portable battery as a package. The battery port is beneath the bike's front basket, along with an LED headlight, integrated power supply and control module.

The bike gets an electrical assist from a drive mechanism designed as part of the rear wheel hub - which is designed in the shape of an osmanthus, Hangzhou's city flower.

Thousands of photovoltaic power stations will be built and connected to the public bicycle stations, providing continuous energy to charge the batteries.

Bike rentals will follow the previous standard - no charge for the first hour, 1 yuan (.15) per hour for the next two hours, and 3 yuan per hour for time over that. Battery rental is 1 yuan for half an hour.

People will be able to rent a battery from a cabinet installed nearby, and the cabinet works as the battery charging station. Each cabinet can hold 24 batteries. As a bonus, the battery can be used to charge a cellphone, too.

The company has applied for patents on the innovative technology for the hybrid power bicycle.

"It is not about competition. We are in the public welfare business. This innovation could increase residents' efficiency, saving them time," Wu said.

"The charge for portable batteries may even out the rising manpower cost."

Wu Lei, a 33-year-old salesman in Hangzhou, told China Daily, "It is good news for me. I will definitely choose the smart bicycle."

Wu works about 12 km from his home. Currently, he usually drives to work. But parking and traffic jams are a headache.

"It will save me time and money," he said.

Hangzhou was one of the first to create a public bicycle transportation service in China. It has had bike rentals since 2008.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58November 22 2017 03:19:27

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16November 22 2017 03:19:27

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18November 22 2017 03:19:27

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

Most Watched

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords