New electric bicycle rental program kicks off for students and faculty

NV Energy supports commuter program through electrical and biomedical engineering department

9/7/2011 | By: Mike Wolterbeek  |

Ten new electric bicycles are available for rent at the University of Nevada, Reno campus this semester. They will be on display and available to test ride from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8 in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union as part of the University’s Sustainability Fair.

“This is a beautiful way to get to campus,” Mehdi Etezadi, chair of the electrical and biomedical engineering department, said. “You can pedal or, with a quick turn of the wrist, engage the electric motor and power up the hills.”

The comfortable cruiser-type bicycles are equipped with a compact electric motor powered by a small, removable battery pack on a rack above the rear tire. Top speed on flat ground is 20 miles per hour.

“If you live within 5 to10 miles you can just hop on the bike and cruise to classes,” Etezadi said. “If you live farther away you can plug the battery pack into the wall to recharge for the ride home. It might cost 15 cents for the electricity.”

Etezadi brought the bicycles to campus through a grant from NV Energy. Besides making the bikes available to students and faculty, he is interested in performance characteristics of these electric motors. As part of the regular curriculum, students learn about different types of electric motors, their performance and efficiency in the EBME electrical machine laboratory.

The electric bicycles can be rented through the Parking and Transportation Services Department located at 16th Street and North Virginia Street next to the West Stadium Parking Complex.

“You don’t need to buy a bike to commute to school,” Melody Bayfield director of parking and transportation said. “You can rent one of these bikes for $30 a month and save on gas and parking fees at the same time.”

For more information on renting the electric bicycles, contact Parking and Transportation Services at

The Sustainability Fair highlights for students the sustainable efforts of the University and opportunities within the community.

Several departments from the university will be participating in the Sustainability Fair, including Parking and Transportation Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Academy for the Environment and the Joe Crowley Student Union. Several community organizations, including the Kiwanis Bike Project, Sunrise Sustainable Resources and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful are slated to attend the Fair as well.


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