Matthew Harding recently completed his degree in Industrial Design at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. For his final project, Harding designed an Electric Bike Share System, which he describes below:
“My initial goal of the project was to encourage cycling in Melbourne, which is very much a car dominant city. I wanted to design the next generation of bike share systems, so I decided to integrate electric pedal assist into the bicycle to allow non-cyclists with the ability to ride greater distances with less effort. This matches Melbourne’s sprawled urban layout.
The Harvolt bicycles dock to electrical poles and to dock banks which provide a node to hub system. The bicycle has been designed to last longer between servicing by reducing the amount of on-going maintenance with the gears and drive shaft motor internally housed. The process and experience of getting a share bike are improved through the integration of Smartphone’s. This modernizes share bikes and utilizes technology that people carry with them every day.
The issue of share helmets is solved by storing the share helmets on the bicycles at all times. Every bike will have a helmet and helmet liners stored in the container above the rear wheel.
As the current examples of share bikes have little aesthetic styling, there was huge scope to improve this aspect of share bikes. I developed a contemporary design style revolving around geometric profiles complemented by large radii on corners.”
The idea of an electric assist bike share system is not new, but a couple of details in this design caught my attention. The dock system which includes dedicated stations, as well as supplementary nodes that attach to electrical poles, is interesting. the nodes add flexibilty, and seem like a way to expand the system easily and inexpensively.
I am also intrigued by the idea of including a helmet (with liner) in a cargo compartment on each bike. Not everyone will want to use the helmet, but it will be there for those people who wouldn’t use the service otherwise (and I have been hearing that concern quite a bit in regards to our local bike share service). Of course, a helmet included with each bike could be easily lost or damaged. People might want to use the helmet compartment for storage and set the helmet aside at the station. It is an interesting design problem though, and I like the fact that Harding addressed it with his concept. I would love to hear thoughts from others on ways to provide helmets within a bike share system. Share your ideas in the comments.