Charge unveils plan for dockless vehicle charging, parking

June 3, 2019

Dive Brief:

  • A new business has dedicated itself to building a network of charging, storage and service stations for dockless bikes and scooters. Charge announced its launch late last week, stating it is looking to install its docking stations in privately-owned garages, as well as parking lots and on-street spaces.
  • The company said its stations will be compatible with “most brands” of bikes and scooters, and can fit 10 of the vehicles in the same area as a standard car parking space. Charge says it has already entered into "multiple agreements" with property owners and garage operators to install the stations in 2,500 locations across North America.
  • "[There] are significant problems with the dockless model, including unused e-vehicles cluttering city streets and sidewalks," Andrew Fox, Charge’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "Charge offers an elegant solution that provides users and ride share operators with a convenient place to charge e-vehicles, protecting the integrity of city streets and sidewalks, and keeping pedestrians safe."

Dive Insight:

As more cities face the dockless phenomenon, a major issue that has persisted is the clutter of bikes and scooters that are sometimes left strewn across sidewalks or in other areas that may cause a public nuisance. The companies themselves have emphasized their rider education programs and other ways to prevent that clutter, but some cities have taken matters into their own hands by designating parking areas to try and regain control over their sidewalks and prevent issues for other road users.

Charge’s plan looks to formalize parking for such vehicles, and it has struck up some strategic partnerships to help it gain a foothold in the market. Already, it has partnered with LAZ Parking, which operates more than 1 million parking spaces in 3,000 markets nationwide, partnerships that will be essential if Charge is to take off. In a statement, Alan Lazowski, CEO of LAZ Parking, said the company is "excited to partner with another pioneering company working to bring a new option to customers at our thousands of locations."

The company also emphasized its efforts in New York City, which is considering legalizing dockless scooters but appears to be struggling to get momentum behind its effort, as other nearby cities embrace the new mobility option. It said it has secured 400 locations across the city for its docking stations and is working to help craft legislation giving residents access to dockless vehicles while maintaining a safe environment. With the New York City Council debating a package of scooter bills and the conversation ongoing at the state level, Charge hopes this latest push can help get the effort across the line. "Charge docking stations will be a foundational piece of the coming micro-mobility revolution in New York City," Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center for Transportation at New York University, said in a statement released by the company.