New York City
March 12, 2024

NYC DOT and Newlab Launch E-Bike Charging Pilot to Create Safer, Accessible Charging Solutions

Newlab and DOT have chosen three startups to test their technology in the real world at five locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn with delivery workers.
Onboarding delivery workers at Cooper Square to test e-bike charging technologies

New York, NY – Newlab has teamed up with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on the multi-year DOT Studio. The Studio will introduce the city’s first public e-bike charging stations at locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. The first of the locations - in Cooper Square, Manhattan - was unveiled during a press briefing with DOT and FDNY leadership and City officials. The occasion marked the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort with the City, delivery workers and a global slate of startups to advance charging solutions suited to New York. 

Under the city’s "Charge Safe, Ride Safe" plan, the three startups selected to pilot - Swobbee, Popwheels, and Swiftmile - will generate important data and learnings to inform the city’s long-term strategy to advance outdoor safe, public e-micromobility charging options. The five pilot sites were strategically selected to cater to high concentrations of e-bike delivery activity. This initiative marks a pivotal moment in New York City's commitment to creating a safer, more sustainable future for its citizens, particularly for the 60,000-strong delivery workforce that the city depends on.

Up to 100 delivery workers will participate in this six-month pilot program, supplying ongoing feedback about their experience with the charging sites and technologies. The opportunity will help each of the three selected startups - Swobbee, Popwheels, and Swiftmile - hone their own go-to market strategies as they gain real-world experience with the end-to-end installation and management of their offering and ongoing feedback from users, DOT and FDNY.

  • Swobbee Swobbee, a German climate tech company focused on building multi-modal battery swapping stations, will provide swappable battery systems, allowing e-bike users who retrofit their bikes to exchange a drained, UL-certified lithium iron phosphate bike battery for a fully charged one.
  • Popwheels Brooklyn-based Popwheels is also providing delivery workers with on-demand access to safe and convenient batteries through a battery-swapping network and charging cabinets. For the pilot, Popwheels is providing drop-in compatible batteries for the Arrow-9 and Arrow-10 eBike models which comprise the bulk of the delivery worker fleet today.
  • Swiftmile Swiftmile, a micromobility startup offering public charging infrastructure for small electric vehicles, will supply secure bike racks equipped with charging capabilities, enabling participating users to securely park and charge their bikes.

Swobbee, Popwheels, and Swiftmile were chosen out of a global pool of startups worldwide. Newlab and DOT reviewed applicants with a focus on technology readiness, the relevance of their specific use case and pilot vision, FDNY input and fire safety considerations, confidence in the company and team to execute a near-term pilot in NYC, and how this opportunity aligns to the company’s own roadmap.

Looking ahead

At Newlab, we’re committed to helping create the right conditions to test new solutions that address urgent challenges critical to our sustainable future. Longer-term, this pilot aims to enable DOT and FDNY to see new e-micromobility charging solutions perform in-situ in order to make more informed decisions regarding policy, regulations and investment in multimodal, safe charging infrastructure.

Interested in partnering with Newlab for strategic insights and technology pilots? Learn more about how your innovation department can work with us.

See photos of the E-Bike Charging Pilot launch below:

The first install of five at Cooper Square. This pilot required the deployment of 11 technologies across 5 public spaces in New York City.
Installation Day at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, one of NYCEDC’s properties, which is a pilot test bed for the City. 
PopWheels transports their cabinet on install day at Plaza de Las Americas, in Washington Heights.
Both PopWheels and Swobbee getting bolted in and hooked up to power at Plaza de Las Americas, in Washington Heights.

(Next five images) Onboarding delivery workers at Cooper Square - we are recruiting 100 test users for this pilot, and were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of demand for these products. Workers were lining up hours before the event even began.

The public and delivery workers engage with the deployment at Cooper Square, showing how novel solutions can be easily absorbed into our sidewalks, plazas, and streets.

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