The Dublin Bike scheme is introducing 800 hybrid electric bikes, giving a sustainable and safe travel choice to the community

The Dublinbikes rental scheme is going electric, with half of the fleet of 1,600 bikes being converted to e-bikes.While the per-trip rental rates will not change, the annual subscription charge will increase considerably, to €95 for e-bike users, with those choosing to stick with standard bikes remaining on the €35 annual fee.

Half of the 1,600 rental bikes will be hybrid electric, capable of either being pedalled or assisted by an electric motor.Electric bikes have made a big impact on commuter behaviour in other European cities and the e-version of Dublinbikes joins a limited rollout in Dublin by the ebike rental company Moby.Subscribers to Dublinbikes will be able to upgrade their membership by paying an extra €60 a year on top of the regular €35 subscription to have the electric option.

Unlike electric bike rental schemes in other international cities, users will have to carry and recharge a battery to use the e-bikes.New Dublinbikes subscribers will have the choice of either a standard annual subscription or an annual subscription plus e-bikes, while existing Dublinbikes users can choose to add the e-bikes option to their current subscription.Once subscribers sign up for the electric option, a portable battery weighing 530g will be delivered to them, normally within two working days. Following a 2½-hour charge the battery can be used for journeys of up to 10km before requiring a recharge.

Blue basket

The 800 e-bikes are identifiable by a blue basket at the front of the bike which contains the slot for the battery. While e-bike users have the inconvenience of having to carry a battery, standard users have the benefit of still having all 1,600 bikes available to them as regular pedal bikes.The 500g battery, which when fully charge allows a 10km journey, the battery cuts out when the speed reaches 25km/h and the rider can also switch to pedal power.

While most Dublinbikes journeys are relatively short between 15 and 18 minutes and do not require significant exertion, the company said the e-bikes are likely to appeal to those wanting to get around with minimal effort.

The e-bikes do not have a throttle, so the pedals need to be rotating for the motor to kick in. The electric motor assistance is limited to a max speed of 25 km/h.Unlike the standard bikes that are fitted with a cable lock for locking between bike stations, the e-bikes have no temporary locking mechanism and must be returned to a station when not in use.However, operator JC Decaux said an electronic locking system, which will be activated using an app or by tapping an annual subscriber card on the handlebars of the bikes, will be enabled later this year.

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD said: “The expansion of dublinbikes to include a hybrid electric option will offer increased options for existing dublinbikes subscribers as well as an incentive to new users to join the scheme. The dublinbikes scheme complements existing transport solutions in the capital, bringing another sustainable and safe travel choice to the community.”

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