Zipbike: Host a bike-share in a car-share

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Just spotted the Volkswagen Bik.e Electric Scooter on Wired’s Gadget Lab blog. Aside from the whole no-pedals thing, it’s definitely an interesting concept. Charlie Sorrel says:

The Bik.e is actually a sidekick for your car, something you are supposed to remove from the trunk when you have parked up and can go no further on four wheels. The Bik.e is electric, and folds up to fit in the spare-wheel well in the back of your car. While sitting in the dark like a kidnap victim, the Bik.e recharges from the car’s electrical system as you drive, meaning it is always ready to go.

Skip past the techno-themed intro to see Bik.e in action.

This reminded me of an email that I sent to Zipcar a few years back. My suggestion was that they should store folding bikes in the trunk of each of their cars, and rent them out through a “Zipbike” bikeshare program. They could piggy-back on existing infrastructure: they have already secured bicycle parking (read: trunks) throughout many metropolitan areas, they have already built a robust software/hardware payment and access system for rentals, and their primary focus is transportation. I haven’t used Zipcar for several years, but at the time they had many VWs in their Boston fleet. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, but I never did hear back.

Seems worth suggesting again to the carshare programs out there: Why not run a bike-sharing program out of the trunk of a car-sharing program?

Update (2011/04/24): Just ran across Geely’s electric McCar concept, which is another concept car with an electric scooter in the back. Will be interesting to see if any of these concepts make it to market.