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SMI Partners with re:Charge to Drive Electric Micromobility Innovation

Updated: Feb 23

The bike share industry is ever-changing and often needs new innovative technologies to keep up with the times. New inventions have made operating bikeshare systems easier and more efficient while continuing to streamline the user experience. At SMI, as continuous creators, we engage in the culture of innovation by piloting new technology products and helping develop solutions to eventually get to market. This includes hardware and software of electric micromobility and other shared vehicles. 

SMI’s history began with the launch of Buffalo’s first carshare program, one of the first carshare programs in the nation. At the time, carsharing was a new concept and the technology to operate the system was still catching up to the needs of the industry. 

Since 2020, SMI has partnered with re:Charge, an Albany-based technology innovator,re:Charge, to test universal on-street wireless micromobility charging stations within our Buffalo-based shared bike fleets. These novel stations are the first of their kind, allowing operators to use different types and models of devices in their fleets without the need to plug the device in. The technology ensures operators will no longer need to operate with different racks for each device type in their fleet or spend copious funds on staff to perform battery swaps in the field. SMI had the opportunity to test one of the universal wireless charging stations in the summer of 2023 at Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus’ parking lot EV charging station.

In recent years, private and public sector funding has been invested in on-street charging infrastructure for cars and shared micromobility alike. Electric car infrastructure works well for single-person car trips and carpoolers as well as making electric car share programs much easier to operate. 

The rapid transition toward infrastructure electrification creates a significant need for innovation in the shared transportation space. The increasing availability of micromobility products dramatically expands the availability and overall use of shared electric micromobility and other forms of clean transportation. Increased sustainable transportation options has led to changes in transportation habits and will result in cleaner air, less traffic congestion, safer streets, and healthier communities .

With a deep history of driving innovation within the shared mobility industry, SMI will continue to partner with companies like re:Charge to ensure micromobility technologies continue to evolve and improve, and are able to meet the needs of the community. We’ve learned many lessons along the way. Here are six tips for electric micromobility operators on testing out new technologies.

  1. User Experience Testing: Evaluate the technology from a user's perspective. Check the user interface for intuitiveness, accessibility, and overall user experience. Identify any potential usability issues that could affect adoption and satisfaction.

  2. Performance Testing: Assess the performance of the technology under different conditions, such as peak usage, varying network speeds, and different hardware specifications. Measure response times, system resource utilization, and scalability to ensure optimal performance.

  3. Security Testing: Prioritize security testing to identify vulnerabilities and potential risks. Check for data encryption, authentication mechanisms, and any potential security loopholes. Addressing security concerns early in the development process is essential.

  4. Compatibility Testing: Ensure that the technology works seamlessly across different browsers, operating systems, and devices. Test for compatibility issues that may arise in diverse environments to guarantee a consistent experience for all users.

  5. Continuous Monitoring: Implement continuous monitoring mechanisms to track the technology's performance over time. This includes monitoring for potential security threats, system performance, and user feedback even after the initial launch.

  6. General Understanding: Understand that tech startups may be at different stages of growth and could over-promise, under-deliver, and/or miss deadlines. Give startups ample time to complete projects to successfully navigate the working relationship and ensure continuous innovation of shared mobility programs.


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