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    American sharing e-bike Wheels launched in Brussels

    Credit: Wheels

    Wheels, the American sharing e-bike system launched its services in Brussels on Tuesday, by placing 50 bikes in the City of Brussels.

    Wheels is a hybrid between a scooter and the classic e-bike, and has no pedals. “All the user has to do is download the app on their smartphone and scan the barcode on the bike,” Axel Lindner, vice-president of the company, told Bruzz.

    “We will start in the city centre, and hope to expand to other municipalities in Brussels in August,” said Lindner. “Within a month, we should have 500 bikes. After that, we will continue to expand,” he added.

    The wheels are bigger than those of a typical scooter, which means it has a lower centre of gravity, and a saddle as an extra contact point.

    “It makes it easier to keep your balance. All Wheels are also equipped with built-in Bluetooth speakers that can be connected to the user’s GPS for voice navigation,” Lindner said, explaining that users can focus on driving safely.

    The cost of a ride on a Wheels e-bike is “in line with the competition,” according to Lindner. €1 when you unlock the bike, and €0.35 per minute of use.

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    The bikes have interchangeable batteries, meaning they do not need to be recharged, but the batteries need to be replaced, reports RTBF.

    Brussels is the fourth European city to welcome the American start-up, after Madrid, Stockholm and Vienna.

    “We chose Brussels as the fourth European city because it is the capital of Europe,” Lindner said. “But the 40km extra cycle path built by the Brussels government was also a strong indicator for us,” he added.

    The departure of the Uber Jump sharing bikes has nothing to do with the arrival of Wheels, according to Lindner.

    “Before the departure of Jump, our plans for Brussels were already fixed. Now that e-bike use is on the rise due to the coronavirus crisis, we want to give the customer the right offer,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times