Bike & Car Sharing

Biking is easy on Hayden Island. The island is flat and the Vancouver Waterfront is directly across the bridge. From the Expo Center Max train you reach Hayden Island on the pedestrian path along bridge over North Portland Harbor.


Here’s a Google tour of Hayden Island and a VR Walking Tour of the island. A proposed Comprehensive Plan included a 30ft wide bike path that would essentially demolish current homes on the waterfront, an idea that was deemed untenable since it would make 500+ island residents homeless.


Lotus Isle Park, a half-mile east of Safeway, has a south-facing beach, playground equipment and picnic tables. West Hayden Island, west of the railroad bridge, has a pristine and largely undiscovered public beach.


Portland Bike Maps and Vancouver Bike Maps (pdf) are available at Vancouver City Hall.

Vancouver Parks and Recreation Trail Maps, as well as information on regional parks are also available.


Too bad Hayden Island doesn’t have a bike shop. And what if you don’t have a bike?

Here’s a concept: Bike and Car Sharing. You provide a bike or car and make money off your unused vehicle.


A bike rental concept (pdf) would combine the best elements of city-run bike sharing programs and owner-driven bike sharing apps like Spinlister.com.


Nike’s BiketownPDX is not planned for Hayden Island, so a DIY shared bike service might be just the ticket.


Biketown bikes must be returned to a station or to a designated bike rack to avoid a $2 fee. Park a Biketown bike outside the service area — which still comes nowhere near reaching the entire city — and you’ll be charged $20.


The key to Mobike’s dockless system, the world’s largest bike sharing system, is their Bluetooth lock. Their bikes can be parked anywhere and unlocked with a smartphone. The Bluetooth lock, combined with GPS and QR code scanning, enables people to locate, pay for, and unlock a Mobike. Similarly, the Lattis’ Ellipse lock, using the same chip, offers keyless entry, theft alert, and a small solar panel that charges the lock’s battery. We will combine that with the Spinlister App, which is already available throughout Portland, which enables payment and phone verification.


Dock-less Bicycle-sharing systems are the way to go, since bikes can be tracked and located anywhere. They include Mobike, Ofo, Bluegogo and LimeBike.


Dockless bike sharing systems are designed so the user need not return the bike to a station. Instead, the next user can find a nearby bike by GPS. Our proposal favors a “hybrid” system where a centralized hub is encouraged by time or money “credits” to return the bike to the same hub- but not required due to the GPS tracking option.


Call it “RE-Cycle” (Renewable Energy Cycle) or BikePORT. It might utilize 1200 watts of solar and a 2400 watt hour battery (12 volts x 200 amp/hrs) and operate independently of the power grid.


Why 1200 watts of solar? Charging a 12v (2400W/h) lead acid battery, would require a total of 200 amps x 12 volts of energy in about 5 hours of sun. To do this would take about 500 watts of solar (times 5 hours) at the battery.


With optimum sunlight and an MPPT charger that is 90% efficient you need a minimum of 550w. Not all of the energy that you put into the battery gets stored, however. A reasonable figure for lead acid is 85% so that means about 650 watts. Then there’s the load from the drained bike batteries, which also need to be charged during those 5 hours. So figure 1200 watts of solar panels. More than that and we might have space problems. Five, 250 watt panels seems about right. A couple of old forklift batteries might work okay on a budget.


Seattle’s LimeBike and Spin both have monthly passes for heavy users with “free” 30-minute rides for $30 a month after Motivate’s Pronto system failed in Seattle. Spin has just launched in Seattle, Austin, and South San Francisco. This company is NOT the model I’m describing (although I’m not against it).


Instead, I’m proposing to use the Spinlister.com phone app, a whole different thing, and NOT Spinlister-provided bikes. Portland’s own bike stores or individuals would provide their own bikes and set their own rates in this concept.


London has developed a code for operators to know what is expected of them and ensures that dockless bike schemes complement London’s public transport network and support the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.


The Lattis Smart Bike Lock lets you share the combination and change it anytime. Your phone’s GPS is utilized by Spinlister to identify users and their location. Anyone could securely place their own bike in a bike rental rack. Entrepreneurs would supply and maintain their own bikes. Each person can set their own rates.


Deeper Lock is operated from the user’s smartphone and features GPS tracking, unlimited range anti-theft alerts via GSM and a 110dB alarm, whilst twin solar panels ensure power by self-charging. The device is locked and unlocked using the app through an encrypted Bluetooth connection. Scanning the NFC/QR code on the lock, calls the owner of the bike or goes to their personalized website. If renters wanted continuous GPS tracking on their bikes, they could pay $25 (for monthly parking) + $25 (for monthly GPS tracking fees). Spinlister covers the financial transaction.


China’s leading smart bike sharing company, Mobike and Mobike’s smart lock, use Qualcomm’s MDM9206 global multimode LTE modem for delivery, scheduling, tracking and maintenance of the bikes.


The ‘Mobike smart lock’ integrates a Nordic Bluetooth chip. Mobike uses Nordic’s nRF51822 chip to provide Bluetooth connectivity between the bike’s wirelessly-operated smart lock and the user’s smartphone. To end the ride, users can park the bikes at an approved bike parking location close to their destination, manually lock the bike, and the completed journey is logged via the Mobike app, whereupon the bicycle becomes available to the next user.


Mobikes are powered by a small generator installed on the rear wheel hub to power a lock that goes through the spokes. Seattle’s Spin and LimeBikes also use GPS-enabled smart-bikes that can be used for a dollar and parked anywhere.


Mobike features including smart-lock technology, non- puncture airless tires, bike status sensors and built-in GPS locators. Users can download the Mobike app, find a nearby Mobike and scan its QR code to unlock.


Seattle selected Bewegen to launch their all-new electric-assist bike-share system, but then thought better of another city-run electric bike program after Motivate’s Pronto bike share system died and independents Spin and LimeBike moved in. Global bike share giant Ofo also received a permit from Seattle to launch 1,000 of its yellow bikes. Ofo was among the first-ever dockless bike-share programs to launch in China.


Alta Bike Share was bought by Motivate in October, 2014. Bay Area Bike Share (now Ford GoBike) plans on integrating pedal assist e-bikes along with their current non-electric Ford GoBike in 2018. The human-powered Ford GoBike is used by Motivate, under a 10-year contract with the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission.


BiketownPDX and Motivate operate 100 bike stations in Portland covered 8.1 square miles but they are concentrated near dense downtown areas. Biketownpdx uses Social Bicycles (Sobi) bikes in 27 cities including Portland. Biketown tracks bikes with GPS allowing Portland customers to park anywhere, even beyond system boundaries. Here’s how Biketown’s SoBi system works.


Sobi charges only $1 for 15 minutes of riding on their electric bikes. Similar e-bike rates could apply in Portland. Users get a $1 credit if they return the bike to a designated spot and are charged an extra $1 if they don’t. Perhaps the first 15 minutes of electric bike use could be free on Hayden Island.


Social Bicycles is rolling out their electric JUMP bikes which are now available in San Francisco. Scoots is a competitive shared electric Geneze scooter service in San Franciso. Most rides range from $3 to $5 for the first 30 minutes and $.10 a minute after that. Scoots with low battery are often FREE if you end your ride at a charging garage.


Will SoBi’s BiketownPDX offer ebikes as well? I don’t know but it does seem likely. The company has some 1,000 electric “Jump” bikes in San Francisco.


Seattle’s new Spin and LimeBike work in almost exactly the same fashion. Walk up to a bike and use its app to scan the QR code on its seat. An audible wheel-unlocking confirms that you can ride, and then you are automatically charged $1 for every 30-minute interval you’re using the bike. The wheel lock includes a GPS tracker.


Clearly, bike-share systems that use Internet of Things GPS tracking are the future, while Wi-Fi, Bluetooth beacons, and RFID can track people and things in the immediate vicinity of the hub (perhaps up to a mile with a Bluetooth 5 hub and external antenna). Combining the Spinlister app to conduct the business part with a resetable combination lock (electronic or manual) may provide enough security, without the need of a proprietary system and higher overhead.


SmartHalo ($150) turns any bike into a smart bike with built-in navigation, light, and alarm. Plot your destination on your phone, Smarthalo shows the way.


QR Code and NFC signage provide instructions and bike ID. Bluetooth 5 beacons can push multiple payloads directly to the user. Make a “virtual tour”, downloading multi-media at different locations.


In this proposal, which encourages a bike hub but does not demand it, a Bluetooth connected U-bolt is added for better security. Bike owners may also attach a GPS tracking wheel lock to their bike for a one-time fee of $100 or so. Your phone unlocks both the wheel lock (which has embedded GPS) and the U-Bolt (for enhanced security). Your phone’s GPS tells spinlister.com your location when you lock or unlock the bike.


Then a $1 fee could be imposed if you leave it at the Yellow Max line after taking it from the Taco Truck hub near Safeway. A $1 credit provides an incentive for anyone at the Yellow Max line (at the Expo Center) to ride it back to Hayden Island. The reverse would also be true. That would tend to even out the bike distribution…and commuters may get their ride free (even make $1).


At the Expo Center, the Marriott hotel suites on North Portland Harbor may be a sponsor since bike sharing could provide an easy way for guests to reach the Expo Center or Delta Park, popular destinations.


You can set up a Chrome single-app kiosk using a Google device management account to manage and monitor a fleet of devices using the Google Admin console.


A rental bike hub with solar power could keep a 400 watt/hr electric bike charged up and ready to go — and generate self-sustaining revenue. Of course most of these programs rely on heavy VC or government subsidies in their start-up phase.


An 835 Watt/hr bike battery with built-in GPS tracking, such as in the $2000 Juicedbikes Crosscurrent S, would have superior capacity and their live GPS tracking could not be defeated (without deactivating the battery).


Electric Bike Company’s Model S can have a 1000 watt/hr battery with integrated charging, 12 volt DC out, and GPS tracking. If you spend $2500 for an e-bike with accessories, how long would it take to pay off?


If an e-bike was rented an average of 10 hours/week at $10/hr, that’s $100/week or maybe $5K a year. The e-bike could also supply power in an emergency, such as after a subduction zone earthquake.

Sway’s Electric Three Wheeler is another option ($5000-$8000). Their $8000 LithiumPlus features a 5.7kw (96v, 60ah) battery pack with a 10kw motor and belt drive. Sway can accommodate a passenger and up to 4 cubic feet of locking storage. Could you cross the Interstate Bridge on the sidewalk? Probably not. But with a Top Speed of 55 mph, you might get on the freeway. Sway Lithium is categorized as a Motorcycle. Four to ten neighbors might share one. At $50/month, it may save money.


The City of Portland and various electric vehicle stakeholders might partner in a Solar Charge Station that provides emergency backup power in the event of an earthquake. An 800 Watt/Hr bike battery delivers about 100 watts for 8 hours while a 5.7 Kilowatt/Hr scooter battery provides about 700 watts for 8 hours.


Electric bike sharing could be introduced in two phases:


  • Phase I. Four, user-supplied Bikes are locked to a simple bike rack ($600) using a Lattis Smart Bike Lock ($200). It uses a phone’s GPS system and texts the combination to the user. The Ellipse Smart Bike Lock ($200) transform bike sharing by making it easier for organizations to build and manage bike fleet programs.

  • Phase II provides two electric bikes with additional security and convenience with a live camera, free community WiFi, and solar panels. GPS bike trackers can provide live tracking of each rental bike. The Phase II rack provides for two, company-supplied electric bikes ($10/hr), plus space for two user-supplied bikes (they set their own hourly rates).

The phase I system might cost $2,000 using a simple rack ($600) and 4 x $150 locks ($600). A $30/month fee covers the lock and GPS tracking service for people who want to share their own bikes. The phase II system might cost $10,000 with two electric bikes, solar panels, a live camera and hotspot sharing. If the two electric bikes were rented for a total of 20 hours a week, that’s $200/week. It might pay for itself in a year or so.

The phase II bike rack provides a 24/7 live camera, a cloud-controlled hub & hotspot, solar panels and cellular backhaul. Google’s $199 WiFi OnHub (right), supports 802.11ac, Bluetooth Smart Ready devices.

One electric bike rack could be placed near the Expo Center by the Yellow Max train. The other rack could be placed opposite the Safeway store near the Taco Truck. Then residents could pick up a bike at Safeway and bike to the Max, or go from Max to Hayden Island. First 30 minutes free.

The concept is based on Portland’s Open Bike Initiative, with a goal of designing, developing, and disseminating a model for bike sharing based on open hardware and open source software. OBI was conceived to develop a low-cost device that incorporates a GPS/cellular module and locking mechanism that attaches on to standard, off-the-shelf bicycles. Social Bikes uses a SoBi lockbox with an electronically controlled U-Lock with real time GPS and 3G GSM connectivity.

UPDATE: It turns out this is exactly the system Nike has used in their bike sharing program (which does not extend to Hayden Island).

This proposal utilizes off-the-shelf Bluetooth and Internet of Things devices to monitor bikes.


This concept of a bike sharing hub is an improvement over Spinlister.com (which lists owner rental bikes thru an app) and City-run bike sharing programs, such as Portland’s bike share initiative planned for 2016.

Unlike Spinlister, where bikes are stored at the owner’s residence, bikes could be located near high-traffic transit locations. Unlike bike sharing programs like the one planned for Portland, it eliminates the high overhead and membership fees because they are owner-supplied, while available near high traffic areas.

In high traffic areas, bike renters might earn $100-$400 per month. Bike Petal itself might generate $100-$400/month per hub (at $50/mo rack storage for each user-supplied bike). That would cover basic operational expenses. Owners participate at their own risk and are responsible for their bike maintenance.

Locations could expand upon proof of concept.

Low power Bluetooth U-bolt bike locks ($150) or Bluetooth-based “Tile” RFID trackers ($25) may also be helpful. While not fool-proof, the live camera archive and low-power Bluetooth trackers can create a geo-fence without a monthly fee. A Bluetooth-powered, $25 “Tile”, glued to the bike, could also monitor when the bike leaves and returns to the rack as well as location on the island (via other Tile app users). Renters must return bikes to the same rack when finished.

The risk with these measures seem manageable, but the outcome is uncertain, which is why this concept is being proposed as a test.

Project Overview:

1. Bike rack. The “Bike Petal” bike rack would hold 4-8 bikes in a 10′ x 10′ space. Built like a mushroom or a large umbrella, the top shields the bikes from inclement weather.

2. Solar power. The “leaves” on the Bike Petal are solar panels. They charge a 200 a/h battery and run a free hotspot with a live camera (3 amps at 12 volts total). A 260 watt panel produces an average of about 15 amps per peak sun hour, or about 90 amp-hours per day. With a 24 hr day cycle (3 amps x 24 hrs = 72amp/hrs day). Power may have to be constrained or more batteries/solar added for winter operation (WiFi power draw), or simply plugged in. It’s similar in operation to the solar trees at the Yellow Max stop by the Coliseum. A 12 foot umbrella may accommodate a total of 260 watts with Portland’s SoloPower offering flexible panels and SolarWorld providing more efficient rigid panels.

3. WiFi Hotspot with Zigbee controller. The Almond + 802.11ac hotspot is also Zigbee compatible. It links to sensors such as LED lights, motion detector, dead lock bolts and even an alarm. The Hub provides free public WiFi (with a Bike Petal/splash page) and the wireless backhaul.

4. The 24/7 security camera. A $70 Foscam C1 camera can provide continuous day/night surveillance on Sensr.net, and available to anyone. Sensr.net costs just $10/month for live streaming and 24/7 archiving for 30 days.

5. GPS Tracker. Bikes can be provided with GPS trackers that cost under $100 and fit inside a tailight. A monthly service fee around $10/month enables real-time tracking.

6. Bluetooth enabled lock with GPS. Locks could be Bluetooth powered and enabled by a smartphone. The current combination for the mobile bike lock would be sent via text message to the user. Integrated GPS tracking enables a one-piece, $130 solution.

Bitlock’s Bluetooth U-bolt lets you share bikes with their enterprise solution.


Signage explains operation. The space rental fee might be budgeted for $100/month. Ideally it would be provided at no cost by local businesses, the city’s DOT or the Parks department.

Oregon State Parks wants to create a network of covered bike facilities they call “bike pods” and “bike hubs”, with 19 of them throughout the state. It address the growth in State Parks visitors arriving by bike.

Bike hubs in state parks might be supplemented by these bike rental stations, located in Vancouver, Hayden Island, Portland and elsewhere, for added synergy.


Economic Sustainability

With an estimated $200-$400/month income just from bike storage (and sponsorship), the non-profit organization is expected to break even after 6 months with a flat $50/month storage fee (times 4 – 8 bikes).

Condominiums, local businesses and grants could provide initial financing for a one year test. Memberships and advertising may also generate revenue. Phase II, with electric bikes, may be implemented after demonstration of demand of owner-supplied rental bikes on the island.


Summary

This concept is certainly not fool-proof. Bikes WILL get stolen and vandalized. But the live 2-way cameras, GPS tracking, and electronic locks appear to make the concept of user-supplied bike rentals feasible while commodity IoT devices will lower costs.


Clearly a turnkey system will soon be available from GPS-embedded bike locks, like the Deeper Lock that will allow individuals and small businesses to start their own bikesharing programs. The lock may cost $200-$400 and the GPS system would utilize Narrowband IOT cellular channels for $10-$12/month.


If Spinlister doesn’t want to offer their bike sharing software with insurance, financial logistics and fleet management, others will. Bike tracking will be affordable and easy. We are simply preparing for a turnkey solution that is inevitable.


Community benefits include free public WiFi, cell phone charging, benches, voice search, entrepreneurial opportunities and cost/effective bike rentals.

More info on bike sharing is available at BikePortland.org, BikeShare.com, Bikesharing Blogspot and BetterBikeShare.org.


A Car Sharing System using Electric Cars
Carshare Portland was the first car sharing operation in the United States. Portland resident Dave Brook launched Carshare Portland in 1998 with one car and a few neighbors. In 2000 Zipcar and Seattle’s Flexcar were also formed and eventually Zipcar merged with Carshare Portland and Flexcar. Today, car rental companies like Zipcar and Car2Go compete with on-demand ride services like Uber and Lyft and personal car sharing firms like GetAround and Turo.


The problem with personal car sharing is the same problem with personal bike sharing … there’s no convenient centralized hub. You have to track down the owner of the car unless it’s permanently located at a relatively expensive parking spot at the airport. We think a small central hub could offer as many as four bikes and four cars more conveniently, perhaps across the street from the Safeway Store on Hayden Island.

The draft proposal (above) is for a solar powered bike and car share system for Hayden Island, based on OMSI’s 8.2 Kilowatt charge station. Here’s another pdf proposal for a bike-only solar canopy (BikePORT).


EV4’s fast charge Solar Canopy makes money through fees, advertising, and licensing agreements.


The MAX Orange Line shelters incorporate 30, 200–watt Bifacial solar panels (6 kilowatts). Solar bus shelters can be ordered off the shelf.


By 2020, plug-in cars could account for as much as 20 percent of new vehicles sold in Oregon. Oregon provides rebates of $2,500 for vehicles with a battery capacity of 10 kWh or more.


Turo and Getaround.com offer a platform for car owners and renters to connect with each other, resulting in reduced rental costs compared to traditional car rental services. Turo covers vehicles with up to $1 million of liability insurance to protect car owners against lawsuits for injuries and property damage. Cars listed must be 2005 or newer with an odometer reading below 130,000 miles.


The operating cost of an electric car is already about 1/4 that of a similar gas car. As battery prices fall, electric cars with 200 miles of range will be price-competitive with gasoline vehicles around 2025. When that hockey stick hits there’s no going back. Nissan selected AeroVironment to supply its charging network in North America and are commonly found all over Oregon.


PlugShare is a free IOS, Android and Web app that allows users to find and review charging stations, and to connect with other plug-in vehicle owners.


Currently, the entire length of the 1,350-mile Interstate 5 corridor is recognized as an Electric Vehicle Charging Corridor, the longest in the nation. For normal electric vehicle charging (up to 7.4 kW), a charging cable supplys 220 volt AC current. Using a 240-volt Level 2 station, a Fortwo Electric Drive can go from empty to full in approximately 3 hours. Using a conventional 120-volt household outlet, a full recharge may take 13 hours.


The Powerwall 2 can deliver 7 kilowatts of power with a capacity of 14 kilowatt-hours. No connection to grid power would be required in this standalone solar carport.


DC Superfast chargers use 440 volts and take 20-40 minutes for a full charge. For quicker charging (22 kW, up to 43 kW and more), manufacturers commonly convert AC current into DC current and charge the vehicle at 50 kW (e.g. Nissan Leaf) or more (e.g. 120-135 kW Tesla Model S).


Ikea now offers a 3.3 kilowatt-hour Lithium home battery (similar to Tesla’s Powerwall), with prices starting about $4,000 USD.


Tesla Superchargers are a proprietary network of 480-volt super-fast charging stations that allow Tesla cars to be fast-charged in less than an hour. Those Supercharger stations are expected to soon use solar power.


An AeroVironment 32A fast charger ($600) includes WiFi, Voice control via Amazon Alexa and is compatible with most all Electric Vehicles.


StorEdge was designed to work with the Tesla PowerWall but their hardware will also work with many battery manufacturers like an LG 10kWh energy storage unit.


In the StorEdge system, unused solar power is stored in a battery (or electric car) and used when solar production is insufficient. When there is a power outage, a combination of solar and battery is used to power important loads such as the refrigerator, TV, lights and AC outlets, day or night. The Tesla Powerwall comes with the AC inverter, so no extra labor is required to buy or install one.


The South Shore clubhouse at Hayden Island’s Manufactured Home Community, features a full kitchen, bathrooms, and space for several hundred people. It has a large, unencumbered south-facing roof at a 30 degree tilt angle. A 3.5KW solar installation could cost $3500 (after rebates) while the 14KWh Powerwall with electric car charger ($7000) might pay for itself. Grants could cover most of the front end cost.


Another possible location for a solar charge station on Hayden Island is by the Menjiro Restaurant on the Columbia Crossing Canopy.


SolarEdge’s Level 2 integrated charger is up to six times faster than a standard Level 1 charger and adds solar boost while reducing the cost and hassle of installing a separate standalone EV charger and a PV inverter. You can set it for no export (reselling) of power to the grid to meet requirements of some power companies.


A fully installed 7 Kilowatt/hr battery storage system with the ability to charge electric cars and be used for back up power during a blackout could cost over $12,000. A 3.5Kilowatt solar array might add another $12,000 (but after rebates could cost about $3,000. So this neighborhood insurance policy could cost $15,000 (before the electric car). Could it pay for itself?


Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, (with a 200 mile range) have a 60 KiloWatt/hr battery that can be fully recharged in 8-9 hours using a 240-volt AC outlet, supplied with this system. But a new 30 KiloWatt/hr Leaf can be charged in 3-4 hours while a 5 year old, 24 KiloWatt/hr Nissan Leaf, probably has at least 15 Kilowatt hrs available for 50 mile trips and costs around $8,000.


Anyone can rent out a car via Turo. Rented for $25/day, for 20 days a month, that’s $500/month income generated for an energy storage system.


An organization might pay off a used $7K Nissan Leaf in one year by generating income of $6K/year, plus electricity saving of about $1200 a year. It’s a profit center after 4-5 years while creating a valuable asset for the whole neighborhood. Everybody wins.



– Sam