For anyone looking to find out if an electric-powered bike can make it up Telegraph Hill's Filbert Street in San Francisco, you'll soon get your chance.

The San Francisco Bay Area will be the site of an electric-bike sharing program designed to replace car trips in and around San Francisco and other local cities such as Berkeley, the New York Times reported.

The program, which will be sponsored by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and will be administered through the San Francisco-based nonprofit City CarShare, will include 45 e-bikes distributed throughout San Francisco and Berkeley by the end of the year and another 45 by the end of 2013, the newspaper reported. City CarShare will get $760,000 in grant money to run the program.

As part of the program, U.C. Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center will keep tabs on how often the e-bikes are used and how many car trips they're eliminating.

City CarShare, which charges members $10 a month for the right to rent cars for as little as $5 an hour, will charge about half that hourly rate for the bikes, the Times said. Additionally, whereas the car-sharing program allows renters to drop off the car at a different location from where they picked it up, e-bike renters won't have that option. So, if you start your ride going up a hill, as least you'll be going downhill upon your return.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      Jeff Zekas
      • 2 Years Ago
      No mention is made as to which brand/ make of ebike will be used... just curious...
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      The bikes better be very powerful, with the hilly terrain..
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        "geared" ebike motors are very popular out there and can definitely handle it, even with the maximum legal 750 watts. They have a very broad torque curve. An appropriate turn count on the stator will handle SF very well.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Meh. I worry that such e-bikes will be stolen relatively quickly.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        That's what i'm thinking as well. Electric bikes can be designed to be small and light enough to take inside the house every day. I have built them to be as light as 40lbs with a 20 mile range. Even my lady could carry that up the stairs. I only see this program as being useful for tourists.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          And yet the membership model and price are not good for tourists. I will find out how bike friendly San Fran is next month when I rent a bike. I will rent it for a day though, and will need a helmet and lock to come with it.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          hm, may be bike friendly but i've been there a few times and i'll tell you.. almost every other block there is a 5-12% grade, it is like a damn roller coaster out there and i could never ever imagine riding anything other than an eBike out there. It was scary as hell to drive my 4 cyl. manual trans cars in that area. I think every 50 miles is like a year off your clutch's life, lol. Check it out on google earth.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        As long as only registered users have access, and they keep a log of which user has which e-bike, theft by users shouldn't be a problem. As for any other potential "user" - well, a good locking system should be in order.
      • 2 Years Ago
      At $760,000 for 90 bikes, that's over $8400 per bike!
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      "U.C. Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center will keep tabs on how often the e-bikes are used and how many car trips they're eliminating." How do you know it is eliminating car trip as opposed to a BART trip?