Usain Bolt’s startup, Bolt Mobility, is no more. But his e-bikes are still there. In the streets of several American cities, the equivalent of several million dollars have been abandoned to the great displeasure of the ecology, the employees and the inhabitants.
At the beginning of the month, the company announced in a press release the cessation of its operations. In Portland, its activity stopped earlier, on July 1, after Bolt Mobility could no longer pay the city fees to be able to operate, as well as the necessary insurance.
Blame it on the competition, on a bad strategy most certainly, and on funds which – according to the outlook – will be difficult to find in the coming months. Indeed, venture capital is very important in these areas of urban mobility but in view of the economic situation, startups with low incomes and extreme dependence on investors cannot survive.
Several cities fell like Portland. We think in particular of Miami (where the startup was based) and Richmond. With each time hundreds of electric bikes still present and neglected.
“They disappeared, leaving behind unanswered material, emails and calls. We can’t reach anyone, but it looks like they have closed shop in other markets as well”said a transportation official in Portland.
The problem is that in order to be available for self-service, these bikes have a remote lock and cannot be easily moved or reused. To avoid bad publicity, the company behind the manufacture of these bikes came to lend a hand.
Remember to park your ebikes in our parking hubs and lock properly after your ride! #BOLTRichmondCA 😎⚡️
.#sustainability #ebikes pic.twitter.com/W6vQ8omDkz
— Bolt Mobility (@Bolt_Now) November 4, 2021
Objective: unlock the bikes
So Element LEV, which supplied the entire fleet of e-bikes to Bolt Mobility, contacted each municipality concerned to help them. The company manages to unlock the bikes and thus be able to move the hundreds of copies of each city more easily.
“We hate to see discontinued products and cities and universities without a working shared mobility system”a brand manager told Electrek. “Our team is stepping in to unlock these devices and working hand-in-hand with these markets to jump-start a healthy system”he added.
Everyone agrees that now abandoned, these bikes must imperatively be able to have a second life in view of their impeccable condition. “Finally, we want to help them bring their systems back to life, especially at a time when communities depend on shared mobility devices in their daily lives”added the head of Element LEV.