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.


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.

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).


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.


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.


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.


The green dots represent 220 Volt Level 2 (fast) chargers with 3-6 hours for a full charge. 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, the 2017 Fortwo Electric Drive is estimated to go from empty to full in approximately 3 hours. At a conventional 120-volt household outlet, a full recharge is expected to take more 13 hours.


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.


Cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, (with a 230 mile range) are the way to go for solar charge stations. The Bolt’s 60 KiloWatt/hr battery can be fully recharged in 8-9 hours using a 240-volt AC outlet while a 30 KiloWatt/hr Leaf can be charged in 3-4 hours. Nissan selected AeroVironment to supply its charging network in North America and are commonly found all over Oregon.


The Tesla Powerwall comes with the AC inverter, so no extra labor is required to buy or install one.


The Powerwall 2 can deliver 7 kilowatts of power and has 14 kilowatt-hours of energy storage. For context, the average American household uses about 30 kilowatt-hours per day. No connection to grid power would be required in this standalone solar carport.


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.


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 480 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 533w. Not all of the energy that you put into the battery gets stored, however. A reasonable figure for lead acid is 85% so that gives 627.45w. Then there’s the charge station load, also running during those 5 hours, charging the bikes.


So 1200 watts of solar panels should charge the battery AND run the hub load with 5 hours of sun.


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.


The Lattis Smart Bike Lock lets you share the combination and change it anytime. 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. Bikes could be tracked and lock combinations could be sent to phones.


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. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Bluetooth 5 beacons, can push multiple payloads directly to the user rather than forcing them to visit a URL. 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.


If Biketown service is not planned for Hayden Island then a DIY shared bike service might not be as complicated as you might think.


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. Software development is a big unknown. 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 Internet of Things devices may lower development costs.


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.


What the city NEEDS is a Portland Autonomous Vehicle Plan for 2030.

– Sam