Podshare: the new eco-friendly method of transport
Podshare is the eco-friendly trike service. Guy Barkley, the founder of podshare, tells us, “we run the world’s first fleet of smart electric trikes here in Bristol” – the alternative to cars for all you green geeks out there.
“Our vehicles are unique in that they are brimming with tech”
Do you need to carry your heavy bag into work? Are you a delivery service business? Is cycling too physically exhausting on a Monday morning? Don’t fear! Podshare is designed to carry up to 150kg of weight (or two members of the TechSPARK team! – see right) and is electrically powered, so it’s easy on the legs.
If this isn’t enticing enough, the trike comes with an LED light design that you can change the colours on from an app!
Triking through life
Guy tells us how podshare all began: “My business partner Paddy Thomas and I started out as a couple of engineering nerds from the University of Bath, wanting to make cool vehicles, which impact the environment 95% less than cars.
“We were awarded grant funding from the Department for Transport as well as (both) winning innovation scholarships from the University of Bath to get the company off the ground and haven’t looked back.”
“Would you put your mouth over an ‘eco blue-motion green panda plus’ exhaust? (Forget it!)”
Podshare is now supplying its vehicles to hire for events as well as selling the trikes to delivery companies who are, “looking to differentiate themselves from the crowd” – and you’ll certainly be eye-catching on this trike.
The team came up with the idea for podshare after recognising the problems with traffic in heavy populated cities such as Bristol. “Lots of people in Bristol agree that cars and vans don’t work in cities,” explains Guy. “We have a solution that people actually want to use and that creates value for businesses and local people.”
Guy (pictured right) tells us he asked himself a series of questions that allowed him to spot an evident gap in the market: “How often is your car unused? (typically 90-95%), How long do you spend in traffic? (typically 65+% at peak), How often does your car have more than 150 kg of cargo on board? Would you put your mouth over an ‘eco blue-motion green panda plus’ exhaust? (Forget it!) How much does your car cost?
“The AA reckons for a ‘cheap’ £10k car, we spend ~ £4k a year servicing it. A good deal? We don’t think so at podshare, so we started with a blank sheet of paper.”
Armed with tech
Podshare’s trikes include electric assist to make the cycling that bit easier. Guy explains, “Our Beluga vehicles operate with 250W of pedal-assist to aid riding. And each mighty 432Wh battery is good for 20 miles, giving a range of the number of batteries you have multiplied by 20 miles.”
“Ultimately, we hope reduced pollution and less traffic on Bristol’s roads will be of benefit to everyone in our city”
Podshare wants to make things as easy and safe as possible for its users, so now offer free training for its clients!
These trikes really are cutting-edge. Guy says, “Our vehicles are unique in that they are brimming with tech. We install Wi-Fi chips, GPS and 300 LEDs which can be operated remotely through an app we’ve developed in house.”
The app allows you to, “mix a combination of any two colours, as well as choose the length and speed of pulsations along the vehicle, in addition to the level of blending.”
“We aim to expand the range of vehicle data we can take remotely, both live and at the end of the day over Wi-Fi, improving the service. This allows us to optimise the use of fleet, monitor battery levels in real time, map usage, enhance security etc. We’ll soon be able to update live over the air, similar to Tesla, as well as other cool stuff we have in the pipeline. Our vehicles are getting smarter and smarter!”
Podshare started out purely as a commuter vehicle, but businesses caught on to what it was doing and quickly became attracted to the idea. Guy says podshare aims to be, “a hub of the business community”.
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Guy tells us businesses of all sizes can benefit from podshare: “With vehicles as versatile as ours, we can facilitate most requests.” But, the company is seeking to expand. Guy explains, “We are also trialling delivering hampers to people’s homes after Xmas. Ultimately, we hope reduced pollution and less traffic on Bristol’s roads will be of benefit to everyone in our city.”
Podshare is embracing all that Bristol has to offer, “The city has a vibrant and open culture and a strong economy, which are vital attributes for businesses bringing new ideas to the table, such as podshare. We’ve had no trouble meeting lots of like-minded companies doing cool stuff and look forward to meeting many more.”
Guy adds, “And when you see us around in Bristol, feel free to say hello!”