Bolt bolsters Irish e-bike fleet to meet future demand

1 Mar 2023

A row of Bolt e-bikes. Image: Donal Hackett

Bolt is bringing 60 new e-bikes to its fleets in Sligo and Kilkenny, with more parking bays planned for each town to support the scheme’s growth.

Mobility company Bolt is bringing more e-bikes to its regional schemes, in anticipation of demand in the coming months.

The Estonian start-up is bringing 60 new e-bikes to its fleets in Sligo and Kilkenny, bringing the total in each town to 100 and 80 respectively.

The company said both towns have successfully utilised more than 40 designated parking bays, thanks to support from town councils and local businesses. Bolt said 10 more parking bays are planned for each town to support the growth of these e-bike schemes.

Bolt claims that more than 120,000km have been travelled on its e-bikes in Ireland since it launched the first of its Irish e-bike schemes last Summer. Last June, the company shared plans to invest up to €5m in its e-bike rental roll-outs across Ireland, along with plans to significantly expand its head office in Dublin.

The mobility start-up has been making plans to expand its Irish operations. In January, Bolt announced that two electric bike schemes are heading for Wexford and Bray, which will bring 200 new e-bikes to Ireland.

The company’s operations manager for rentals in Ireland, John Buckley, said the company plans for its Irish e-bikes to travel 300,000km by the end of the year.

“We have been thrilled by the success of our shared electric bike schemes in Sligo and Kilkenny,” Buckley said. “With the additional parking bays in place, Sligo and Kilkenny are ready for the final tranche of electric bikes.”

Buckley said the company agrees on a max number of bikes with local authorities and “gradually ramp up supply” based on how riders and other road users become accustomed to the scheme.

Sligo councillor Marie Casserly said the feedback around the e-bike scheme has been “universally positive from locals and visitors alike”.

“To see these bikes being used so often is heartening,” Casserly said. “There is a positive progressive image with the inclusion of the Bolt electric bike scheme.”

Bolt first launched in Ireland in December 2020, rolling out its taxi-hailing product to compete with existing apps Free Now and Uber. Bolt expanded this service to Cork in March 2022.

In 2021, the company promised to roll out 10,000 e-scooters in Ireland after draft legislation paved the way for the regulation of e-scooters and e-bikes on Irish roads. When the regulation was published in October 2021, Bolt was one of several micromobility start-ups that said it was eyeing the Irish e-scooter market.

However, a policy plan published last year indicates that e-scooter operators will have to wait until later this year to get the green light to launch in Ireland.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic