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Federal Government funds Pedelecs in Stuttgart

As co-winner of the national competition "Innovative Public Bike Rental Schemes" of the German government, the city of Stuttgart will receive €2.7 million in federal funding for its initiative Call A Bike Pedelec, Wolfgang Tiefensee, federal minister of transport announced on 10 August 2009.

Stuttgart was one of a number of cities which received funding for their innovative plans to promote pedelecs.

The project's objective is to gradually extend the existing Call A Bike System to also include pedelecs. That is also the aim of the project of the city of Stuttgart and DB Rent GmbH.

On the initiative of mayor Wolfgang Schuster, the regional capital Stuttgart entered the competition for projects supporting climate-friendly and energy-efficient mass transport systems, such as bike rental systems.

The federal government handed out €10 million to the most innovative projects and an additional €2.7 million to projects specifically focussed on pedelecs. To qualify for the “extra money” special requirements had to be fulfilled, such as that there had to be hills in the city. Stuttgart is a typical pedelec city, with altitude differences of up to 300 meters between the city center and its surrounding suburbs. In a press release Stuttgart named the energy company EnBW and public transport providers SSB and VVS as partners in the project.

„These subsidies will literally give Stuttgart's bike traffic the boost it needed," said Matthias Hahn, mayor for urban development and the environment.

„Cyclists can conquer the hills around Stuttgart with pedelecs."

 However, the first aim is to raise the general use of bikes Stuttgart, especially in combination with public transport. Therefore, DB Rent GmbH and the regional capital joined forces in a so-called “development partnership” to expand the bike rental system Call-A-Bike (established in 2007) into a rental service for pedelecs.

The use of bikes varies considerably within the city. Around the comparatively flat area of the river Neckar and on the Filder plateau people cycle more than in the hilly parts. The existing “Call A Bike Fix” project provides 400 bikes for rent at 65 stations throughout the city. Renting these bikes is quick and easy. Between April and December 2008, 60,000 rides were registered.

The newly-allocated subsidies will be used to develop a pioneering rental system for pedelecs with integrated charging stations. The existing “Call A Bike” system will be redesigned to make space for pedelecs next to regular bicycles. The partnership with EnBW AG opens up the possibility to use renewable energies as well.

The new approach also brings the opportunity to expand the system. So far, the project is limited by the city borders and neighboring Bad Cannstatt. In future, the hills and Filder plateau will be included, also taking into consideration the public transport systems. The rental stations will mostly be situated close to bus and train stations. “Since pedelecs will become more visible soon, we hope cycling will grow in the city in general and expect eco-friendly mobility to be boosted,” said mayor Hahn. So, the effort is aimed at people who might leave their cars at home and cycle, when it can be done effortless, such as is the case with pedelecs.

The new pedelec system will be built in stages. Early in 2010 Stuttgart will provide 1,000 pedelecs and Call A Bike bicycles at 120 rental stations.

The University of Stuttgart will accompany the implementation of pedelecs scientifically. Together with DB Rent GmbH, the focus will be on monitoring the impact on urban mobility. The scientists will concentrate on questions such as whether rental bikes help reduce the use of cars, or the public transport system.

Stuttgart has been collecting experience with pedelecs for some time now. The city leased 20 pedelecs from LeaseRad of Gundelfingen, branded in the city´s black and yellow, for their staff. The fleet will be increased to 110 in the next two years, if enough money is available. Especially for short distances in the center, it is reasonable to use the staff bike, instead of a car. Naturally, pedelecs are much cheaper to maintain than cars.

ExtraEnergy has supported the pedelec activities of the city for years now, with promotional activities such as the Pedelec Race at the Bike World Championship in 2007. Then, seeing pedelecs climbing hills faster than any cycling professional changed people´s attitude towards electric-assisted bikes in the car capital of Stuttgart.

Based on a press release of the city of Stuttgart dated 18 August 2009.

Translated by Nora Manthey

More about Pedelecs in Stuttgart

Pedelec Showroom in Stuttgart open for Test Rides

Company Pedelecs instead of Rental Stations

Article in GoodNews Stuttgart (German)
Stuttgart's Pedelec Model in Two Steps
Pedelec Leasing Scheme - Pilot Project in Stuttgart
Green Light for Bike Doping
Pedelecs in the Spotlight - for one Month in Stuttgart



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