Brief guide for decision making about charging infrastructure.
Almost the whole world is well provided with private charging infrastructure, because just about every mains power socket is suitable for recharging pedelec batteries via the mains chargers which are usually supplied along with the bikes.
With this in mind one could say that there is no need at all for a public charging infrastructure. And this conclusion is apparently justified, because the pedelec has caught on swiftly over recent years - without any such infrastructure. But you can also look at it another way: the pedelec might have caught on even faster if there had been a suitable public infrastructure. Be that as it may, the fact is that in recent years large amounts of money have been invested in public charging infrastructure.
Electricity company bosses, mayors and tourism heads love to smile at journalists’ cameras in front of a public charging station for pedelecs. But practical experience has shown that such offerings are generally barely used. Moreover, using them can, depending on their construction, actually be dangerous for the user. So it is worth avoiding expensive, sometimes dangerous or illegal infrastructure.
So here is a brief guide which should help with any decision making about infrastructure:
Frequently asked questions about pedelec charging infrastructure
- Don’t invest in any infrastructure which is tied in to chargers or pedelecs from any one manufacturer.
- Caution is especially advised for automated pedelec hire systems because currently these are only available as proprietary systems which tie up high levels of investment and can then very quickly lose their attractiveness and value.
- Organise touristic hire in partnership with tourism stakeholders such as hotels, museums, restaurants, swimming pools etc. - with partners who see it as extending their own offerings and who are happy to take on the extra business.
- Invest in cycleways, signage, GPS maps and extra information. Ensure that hotels and restaurants are provided with cycle-friendly infrastructure such as safe parking facilities, drying rooms, washing facilities, puncture repair and shopping opportunities.
What does filling up a pedelec cost?
Generally between 8 and 15 Euro cents.
How do I pay for recharging?
Paying for the electricity is uneconomic because the transaction costs would be higher than the price of the electricity used. And if the current has to be metered, then the costs of the infrastructure rise considerably as a suitable meter would be needed. So only business models in which the electricity is not charged for are likely to catch on, and the provider of the infrastructure will profit only indirectly if, for example, more people visit their shop. The electricity and safe parking facilities are also ‘customer retention’ measures, as is for example a children’s play corner in a restaurant; they all ensure that the customers return.
You can find more detailed information about pedelec infrastructure at:
Translation: Peter Eland, prepared within the EU GoPedelec! project: GoPedelec! Handbook (German version), Go Pedelec! Handbook in Czech, Dutch, English, Hungarian, and Italian
Picture and online release: Angela Budde
20 September 2012
Updated: 5 November 2012