Oakland unveils city's first solar electric bike share station

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Oakland wants to make it easier than ever to get around on two wheels instead of four.

The new technology, a GenZe bike, unveiled Wednesday is being manufactured in the East Bay.

Oakland's mayor is getting lots of attention these days and not just about saving the Oakland Raiders. She also wants to save the planet.

"A solar-powered electric bike share station is so Oakland. This is us," Schaaf said.

Mayor Libby Schaaf cut the ribbon on a station in Jack London Square that charges shared electric bikes using only the sun as a six-month pilot program.

"It's a blueprint for what will happen in the world, which is the move toward electric transportation, which the Bay Area is already a champion of," said Danny Kennedy of Sungevity and California Clean Energy Fund.

The bikes can be manual, electric, or somewhere in between. They sell for $1,500. For twice that price, riders can buy GenZe's new electric scooter, which is specifically made for life in the city.

"You can change the battery while it's in the scooter, or it's removable as well," said Natalee Elmasian, a spokesperson for Mahindra GenZe.

Riders can park outside and charge inside and there's plenty of room to lock up belongings.

"The seat lifts up for extra storage. And then we have a port here where you can put a USB in there where you can charge your phone," Elmasian said.

There's even talk they could make good delivery vehicles for the new on-demand economy.

"It's going to be so much easier to get in and out of a grocery store, in and out of local errands in this vehicle than it will in any car," said Daniel Hamilton, Oakland sustainability manager.

It tops out at 30 miles per hour, but don't worry, the app will make sure riders won't get honked at.

"If you tell the app where you want to go, it maps out all the roads that are 35 mph or below," said Mahindra Genze CEO Vish Palekar.

Because as cities get more crowded, Schaaf says "we need to change certain things about the way we live, and dependence on cars is one of them."
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