Earlier this month we covered amazing story the sudden death of an e-bike rental company. Shared mobility brand Bolt Mobility has apparently shut down for the night, leaving thousands of e-bikes and electric scooters stranded in US cities.

The move was even more puzzling since these machines were probably hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, if not millions.

It started with five US cities who reported an overnight exit from Bolt Mobility, leaving behind derelict electric bikes and electric scooters.

Because public transport is blocked until the user pays to unlock them via the Bolt smartphone app, they are rendered virtually useless in their derelict state.

Bolt Mobility may have given up on personal electric vehicles, but their original maker wasn’t going to let them go so easily.

It turns out that they were produced Element LEV, a company that produces several models of electric bicycles, electric scooters and electric mopeds for mobility sharing companies. And the manufacturer did not want the vehicles that so many passengers rely on to turn out to be useless. So it went into action.

We spoke with Element LEV to learn more about what the company is doing to help cities that suddenly find themselves on the streets with hundreds of locked e-bikes.

Pete Ballard, Element LEV’s vice president of strategic partnerships, explained Electrician that the company is working to contact each city to help unlock the bikes for recovery. However, this process is not as simple as it seems, as Element LEV is not directly related to cities. It just happened to be the manufacturer chosen by Bolt Mobility, and now it’s trying to help clean up the Bolt mess.

As Ballard explained:

As the manufacturer of e-bikes such as Bolt, we hate it when products are abandoned and cities and universities are left without a functioning shared mobility system. We felt compelled to help and contacted many partners across the US. Our team is working to unlock these devices and work hand in hand with these markets to restart a healthy system.

He continued by explaining that the main goal is to ensure the safety of e-bikes first.

This is likely to be a difficult task as the nature of shared e-bikes means they are designed to roam freely around cities, often parked on pavements and other public spaces without physical blocking. like a typical private bike.

Step one helps make sure assets are safe, so we’re here to talk to any place that needs help.

After ensuring the safety of e-bikes, Ballard explained that the company is trying to ensure cities have access to parts and support to manage the bikes. The ultimate goal is to help cities get e-bikes back into service.

The second step is to ensure that these bikes have the right spare parts for safe operation, and we provide that support as well. Finally, we want to help them bring their systems back to life, especially at a time when communities rely on shared mobile devices for their daily lives.


Electrek’s Take

When I first reported this strange turn of events, I was concerned that these abandoned e-bikes would either become a free-for-all or become a pile of e-waste to be disposed of.

I’m really glad to see that the original e-bike manufacturer is actively trying to help cities solve this problem in a way that actually gets e-bikes back into service, rather than just cleaning up after the Bolt Mobility mess.

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