Riese & Müller and carvelo2go rethink urban mobility
26.07.2019 | Mobility
The mobility sector faces enormous challenges particularly in metropolitan areas. With urbanisation on the rise, more and more people are now living in major cities. Conventional urban transport systems are being pushed to their limits. In order for mobility in cities to become fit for the future and thus more climate-friendly, healthier and faster, urban mobility concepts need rethinking and need to be made more sustainable and flexible than before.
For these reasons, Riese & Müller has for years been involved, hand in hand with other strong partners, in innovative mobility projects aiming to further advance the mobility transition. One of them is the Swiss carvelo2go platform for E-Cargo bike sharing, which has worked with Riese & Müller as an exclusive partner since the project’s founding in 2015. carvelo2go is a platform from the TCS Mobility Academy and the special fund Engagement Migros. Boasting around 300 E-Cargo bikes in over 70 cities and municipalities, it is the largest E-Cargo-bike-sharing system in the world. The collaboration venture with carvelo2go is an important step for Riese & Müller in helping to actively design a flexible and sustainable mobility network. The success of the project shows that an increasing number of people, when presented with reasonable mobility alternatives, go about their day-to-day lives without the use of a car.
In the following interview, Dr Jörg Beckmann, Director of Mobility Academy, talks about the importance of E-Cargo bikes for the mobility of the future, the decision to opt for Riese & Müller as their exclusive technology partner and why the project has been so successful for years.
Dr Beckmann, how does carvelo2go work?
carvelo2go is a station-based sharing platform for electric cargo bikes. One important factor is its community link: the “Carvelo” E-Cargo bike can be rented at an affordable hourly rate and can be picked up and dropped off again at the premises of a “host”, e.g. your favourite bakery. Users can check availability, pay for and reserve bikes quickly and easily via the carvelo2go website or app.
For what purposes can carvelo2go be used?
We have found it is being used, in about equal measure, to transport children and cargo. Many of the hosts, by having an allowance of free hours, are also using the bike for their own commercial purposes. We have also found that around 40 percent of the journeys had previously been made by car so the bikes are indeed serving as a fast, cost-effective and emission-free alternative to owning or sharing a car.
Why did the TCS in particular – as an automotive club – advocate this kind of project?
The Mobility Academy is an independent subsidiary of TCS that acts as a think-and-do tank, tackling future-oriented, sustainable forms of mobility and providing an unbiased space for creative thinking and action regarding transportation issues even outside of the organisation’s own walls. In this capacity, we address three major trends in the transport sector and turn them into viable projects: the decarbonisation of motorised individual traffic through electrification, the deprivatisation of individual mobility tools in the context of the sharing economy as well as the demotorisation of urban traffic and a renaissance of the bike. The carvelo2go project interlinks all these aspects in a particular way.
While other cargo-bike-sharing providers also rent out non-electric cargo bikes, carvelo2go relies exclusively on electric cargo bikes. Why is that?
Cargo bikes with electric drives are much more user-friendly than conventional cargo bikes for day-to-day use, and are also very practical considering Switzerland’s topography. Particularly when the bike is intended to replace a city car, users of electric cargo bikes are much more flexible both in terms of range and transport options.
300 Packster 60 models are currently in use at carvelo2go. In the coming weeks, an additional four Packster 40 models are to be put into operation. Why has carvelo opted for Riese & Müller as their technology partner?
Riese & Müller has the best business model for the project and our customers. To keep maintenance costs low and ensure maximum safety, it was clear from the beginning that the cargo bikes had to be of premium quality. We found that these quality standards were fulfilled by Riese & Müller E-Cargo bikes. Furthermore, we were won over by the close-knit dealer network, which ensures professional, uncomplicated maintenance and quick servicing when needed.
In 2015, carvelo2go started out with 18 rental stations in Bern. Their offering is now available throughout Switzerland, and has over 15,000 registered users. What makes the concept so successful?
A key factor in its success is certainly that we work closely with all partners involved. Whether it be with the cities and municipalities themselves or with Riese & Müller, dealers and hosts. What’s more, with carvelo2go we are providing clear value to two groups: to municipalities, whose traffic is reduced and made more sustainable by the sharing system, and to our clients, whom we offer an easily accessible, healthy and emission-free alternative to driving which is convenient for everyday needs while also being fun.