Charged up in Fremont over speedy food deliveries on bikes

A Fremont electric bike and scooter company is teaming up with DoorDash in an experimental venture to reduce vehicle emissions while speeding up on-demand food deliveries.

GenZe, based in Fremont’s Innovation District about a mile south of the Tesla factory in Warm Springs, produces a bike that can travel as far as 18 miles propelled by an electric throttle.

DoorDash, founded in Palo Alto and headquartered in San Francisco, will provide GenZe bikes to “dashers” who don’t have cars or prefer bikes over scooters when delivering food.

DoorDash said the bikes will allow dashers to avoid the hassle and time of having to find parking in crowded metro areas where it plans to debut the pilot program, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Vancouver.

For the experiment, dashers can use one of the bikes free for a little over a month. Usman Cheema from DoorDash said in an interview this week that if the program gets expanded beyond the initial cities, the bikes will be available on a day-by-day basis.

From a dasher’s perspective, time is money, Cheema said. “The more dashes they can complete in a given day or a given shift, the more they’re able to take home.”

Cheema said DoorDash has seen that bikes and scooters tend to be more efficient in getting food from point A to B. The company hopes adding the electric boost will increase efficiency even more, resulting in more money for dashers and faster food delivery for customers.

Tom Valasek, GenZe’s chief marketing officer, said the location in Fremont’s Innovation District has been helpful, especially since the Warm Springs BART station opened, making it easier to bring in employees.

Fremont has tried to attract cleantech and biotech firms as well as hardware and software tech companies to the roughly 850-acre area in its south end, where thousands of housing units and more retail are planned.

Valasek said GenZe also will partner with the city for a Bike to Work Week ceremony in May.

GenZe’s mission is to expand awareness of electric bikes and scooters as viable, clean transportation options, and Valasek said he hopes the partnership with DoorDash will help show the effectiveness of the zippy bikes.

“It allows people with physically different capabilities to be able to take on a new opportunity to work for DoorDash too,” he said. “It could be really anybody.”

The battery on the GenZe bike, which retails for $1,499, lasts between 30 and 50 miles per charge if used with some pedal-assist from the rider.

Seema said a handful of dashers have been brought into the test program so far, and the rollout of the pilot program will ramp up in the coming weeks.

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

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