UK-based HumanForest to launch its new fleet of e-bikes in London in early August 2021

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UK-based micro-mobility company HumanForest announced plans to launch its new fleet of electric bikes in London in early August 2021, following a pilot last year. The company is headed up by former-Cabify lead, Agustin Guilisasti, and backed by Cabify founders, Juan de Antonio and Vicente Pascual.

HumanForest was due to launch in the Spring, however, due to the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains and shipping, the bikes will now be available to rent from early August.

The rental e-bikes will be available in the London Boroughs of Islington and the City of London. Users will also be able to start and end their rides in the London Boroughs of Camden and Kensington & Chelsea. Additionally, there will be more borough openings shortly after the launch.

Appointment of Will Jansen as Head of Roots

Besides the launch, HumanForest has also announced the expansion of its team, appointing Will Jansen, former Head of Operations at Zipcar, as its Head of Roots – a newly created role.

He will be responsible for ensuring high performance amongst the fleet and will help to develop the blueprint for global expansion next year. He will take up the role from July 2021.

Speaking on his appointment, Jansen says, “Coming from a car-sharing background, I have experienced first-hand the positive impact offering viable transport alternatives can provide people. I believe micro-mobility has a major part to play in achieving the goals associated with the reduction of emissions, congestion and noise pollution and is currently only at the early stages of its significant growth potential.”

A “Human Forest”

Agustín Guilisasti, formerly of Cabify, moved to London to complete his Master of Data Science and wished to familiarise himself with his new city. Frustrated by the limited and expensive last-mile solutions available to him, he was inspired to create HumanForest, a sustainable transport movement that everyone can access and enjoy.

Video credit: YouTube (HumanForest)

To make rides affordable and accessible, HumanForest’s advertising revenue model means users will receive 10 minutes free every day. Customers will then pay £0.15 (approx €0.17) per minute for usage during the rest of the day. 

How does the Ad revenue model work? HumanForest partners with companies to enable the free ride. Riders receive advertisements when they open the HumanForest App and also when they end their ride. For the partners, this is a new communications channel that unlocks audiences, targets consumers based on location or other attributes and, most importantly, helps.

HumanForest’s new bikes have long-range features, with 80km swappable batteries, an in-built phone charger, and an application-based locking mechanism. The company estimates that its bikes will facilitate up to 7,000 rides and avoid almost 4 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted into London’s air every day.

According to the company’s website, currently, it has 14,000 active users which it claims are increasing at 46 per cent week-on-week. And has already covered 27K trips in two Boroughs through which it has avoided 10T of CO2 which is equivalent to more than 400 trees planted.

Speaking on the development, Agustín Guilisasti, Founder & CEO of HumanForest says, “We are so excited to be launching our new fleet of e-bikes this Summer. London is the perfect city for our bikes, with ambitious targets to reduce noise, traffic and pollution matched by our ethos of affordable and sustainable transport.” 

Commenting on the appointment of Will Jansen, he added, “We are delighted to welcome Will to the team at an exciting and busy time for us, as we prepare to launch in London, creating the blueprint for city expansion next year.”

Had to suspend services in London 

Last year in September 2020, HumanForest had to suspend their e-bike sharing service in London due to “mechanical” issues and a customer accident. Additionally, it also had to lay off some of its employees due to the service suspension.

In a statement, the company told TechCrunch, “We were not aware that the bike was defective. There had been problems of a similar nature which were suspected to be tampering or minor mechanical issues. We undertook extra mechanical checks which we believed had resolved the issue and informed the supplier. We immediately suspended operations following the minor accident. The supplier is now investigating whether there is a more serious problem with the e-bike.”

The startup had also mentioned in an earlier statement to TechCrunch that, “There was an accident last week. Fortunately, the customer was not hurt. We immediately withdrew all e-bikes from the street and we have informed the supplier who is investigating. Our customers’ safety is our priority. We have, therefore, decided to re-launch with a new e-bike in Spring 2021”.

Reportedly, there were no details provided by the company about the nature of the defect.