Bank Privada Andorra (BPA), national energetic company Forces Electriques d’Andorra (FEDA) and Pedaland company announced the beginning of new rental vehicle type usage in Andorra – electric bikes (e-bikes). This type of bikes requires neither petroleum nor diesel fuel, it should be periodically recharged from a socket. A driving license for e-bikes is not required. Riding skills are the same as for ordinary bicycle. The main difference is that a biker can combine mechanical operation mode (by means of pedaling) with electric one. This is convenient, for example, in case of sharp or long-term riding up the hill. That was the main reason to launch this project in Andorra, where the main landscape is a cross-country terrain.
The project was launched last week in two districts of Andorra: Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany. For the moment 16 e-bikes are brought into operation, 4 docking stations are functioning.
Andorran officials were the first to try new transport (among them were the Minister for Tourism and Environment Francesc Camp Torres and the Heads of Administration of Andorra la Vella and Escaldes-Engordany, Rosa Ferrer and Trini Marin).
The starting point of the first route became one of the central and busiest streets in Andorra – Avenida Meritxell. Citizens and tourists curiously watched the high-rank officials moving around the city center by bicycles. Meanwhile, at the press conference dedicated to the event, it was announced that this new means of transport was designed for everyone. For the first four days of test e-bikes were available for free. From Monday, July 28, one should purchase a special card that will allow to use the bikes in accordance to the following rates : 15 minutes – 0.2 euro, 30 minutes – 0.5 euro. The operational life of electric motor is limited to 40 km (depending on the bike manufacturer), recharge will take half an hour at the docking stations.
According to the head of the Andorran company Pedaland Alain Bernard, the pilot project will proceed 5 months. If the project is successful, the number of bikes will be increased up to 300 and the number of docking stations – up to 80. It is assumed that e-bikes will be used in such areas, as Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany and Santa Coloma. “I have no doubt that bikes will become a real alternative to the public transport,” – he said and continued, – “he mainstreaming of environmentally friendly transport is certainly a positive fact”.
The main sources of air pollution in our country are cars as far as there is no industrial production here”, – said Francesc Camp. He added: “In the long term perspective, the project should be implemented comprehensively, as far as it presents interest not only for the citizens of Andorra, but also for tourists.” This means that bikes with electric motor may be available at all 7 communities (parròquias) of the Principality.