For the second year in a row, Sofia will have an e-bike rental service in the summer months. Till the end of October, citizens and visitors of the city could rent an e-bike from two locations in Sofia and go for a ride around the Vitosha mountain. Bulgarian startup ElJoy Bikes produce the vehicles.
This year the service will expand its capabilities by adding a new line of electric mountain bikes. To do that, ElJoy Bikes is partnering with E-Mountain Bikes, another Bulgarian e-mobility company, that creates bikes for cities and countrysides, with a custom develop frame, which is made in Sofia. The charging stations are provided by the Bulgarian E-Mobility company – ElDrive, which would also install station for charging e-cars and a dedicated area to Spark e-car sharing service.
The project is initiated by the association Green Sofia, that was initiated by the Municipality of Sofia, and Cleantech Bulgaria, an EU funded acceleration program for green innovation.
From idea, through production and now also a service
Founded in 2014 ElJoy, which is based in Varna, was part of the Acceleration Program of Cleantech Bulgaria and won Sofia Urban Challange with their technology that helps to reduce the air pollution in the city.
The idea of ElJoy was born from the practical issues that its founder Galin Bonev experienced every day. Back in the days, he was working in the center of Varna and had the daily hurdle of being stuck in the morning traffic jams and being unable to find where to park. Because of the distance and the steep roads on his way to work, the regular bike was not a good fit. So he came up with a solution to a battery-powered engine.
After four years of thinking onto the idea, Bonev decided it was the right time to start a venture. It all started as a workshop for remodeling of conventional bikes to electric ones. Five years late ElJoy has seven different models that are currently selling through distributors in UK, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria. Depending on the type of battery and the deviation of the track, a user can go up to 150km with a single charge, which usually takes four to five hours. Cells live is limited by 5 years or approximately 700 full cycles of charging and discharge, meaning more than 30K km before the user needs to replace them.
Last year the company partnered with the Municipality of Sofia to bring their products closer to citizens that want to have a daily trip in the mountains near Sofia.
How it works
A total of 15 bikes, ten of ElJoy bikes and five of E-Mountain Bikes, will be available for rent on a time frame of three hours. Depending on the model of the bike and the day of the week, the prices will vary from 15 to 20 BGN (around €7.5 – €10). The bikes can be rented from the parking lot in front of the National History Museums and from 1 “Nikola Gabrovski” str. in Dianabad district.