NABSA Members Showcase Innovative, First-Of-Their-Kind Developments in Shared Micromobility Electrification

On Thursday, June 23, 2022, NABSA hosted a webinar about the innovative projects and strategies NABSA members use to incorporate electrification into shared micromobility systems. Some topics discussed include the growing popularity of e-assist shared micromobility, implementing shared micromobility charging stations, and e-assist shared micromobility’s impact on equity. Laura Mallonee, NABSA’s events and membership manager, moderated the panel, and panelists included:

  • Cara Bader, Senior Public Policy Manager – Lyft
  • Helen Bradley, General Manager – Madison BCycle
  • Sara Khalil, Director of Operations – POGOH

Here are some of our key takeaways:

The popularity and demand for e-assist vehicles are influencing operations and helping cities. The number of cities with e-bikes grew from 28% in 2019 to 44% in 2020. Since becoming the first US bikeshare system to switch from classic pedal bikes to 100% e-bikes in 2019, Madison BCycle has shifted its operations to accommodate the unique needs and challenges of e-assist vehicles. They stated that operators could expect increased utilization and trip numbers and lengthier trips – factors that can help cities progress towards equity, climate, and accessibility goals.

Charging stations for shared micromobility are necessary for sustainability and scaling systems and benefits. Earlier this year, Lyft installed the first shared micromobility charging stations in the US capable of charging their e-bikes within the Chicago Divvy system. Battery swapping has been the go-to method for maintaining e-assist vehicle availability so far. All panelists made the point that charging stations help to lower operational costs and vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Charging stations also bring benefits to communities through reliable vehicle availability.

“E” is for electrification and equity. E-assist shared micromobility increases access to essential services and improves transportation equity by being a flexible option for those without access to a car. In order to realize the full benefits of this, there are strategies that can be utilized to accommodate different user groups, especially underserved populations. Equity programs can be established that use methods such as discounts and partnering with community-based organizations as an entryway to access to make electric micromobility more accessible for those who need it.

Only a portion of the total stations needs to be electrified to reap the benefits. According to Lyft, electrifying 10-15% of their stations is enough to improve operational efficiency and offset the majority of operational vehicle miles traveled (VMT). POGOH currently has 20 charging stations – the most in the US – and aims to have around 20% of their total stations be capable of charging.

Charging stations may require trenching, but connecting them above-ground may also be possible. Trenching to set up charging stations is cost-intensive. While there are pros and cons to each approach, dollars can go farther by making above-ground connections to the grid when possible. For example, POGOH worked with the City of Pittsburgh and the utility provider to make above-ground station connections to light posts as a source of power for the charging stations.

Co-locating charging stations with existing electrical infrastructure increases efficiency and lowers costs. Prioritizing locations where electrical connections already exist can help expedite the implementation and expansion of e-assist shared micromobility charging infrastructure. For example, panelists discussed the benefits of locating charging stations within three feet of light posts where a connection to the grid already exists.

Strong local partnerships are vital. Strong partnerships between operators, cities, and utility providers are critical for scaling e-assist shared micromobility services. For example, Madison BCycle worked with city partners to secure TAP grant funding to support the expansion of the system to address changing use patterns and POGOH leveraged its strong relationship with Pittsburgh Regional Transit to install charging stations that are co-located with the expanding bus stop network. Additionally, POGOH and Lyft both worked with their utility partners for station siting to ensure access to grid connections through light posts or trenching.

Thank you to all our panelists for contributing to the discussion and to members who attended the webinar! In our recent blog post here, you can learn more about the importance and growing trend of electrification in shared micromobility.

NABSA members can view the discussion recording by logging in to their Member Center account and clicking here. Not a NABSA member? Learn more about membership at