KT partners with domestic firms to launch electric motorbike-sharing smart mobility business

By Park Sae-jin Posted : May 16, 2019, 12:38 Updated : May 16, 2019, 12:38

Electric motorbike Zappy [Courtesy of Daelim Motorbike]

SEOUL -- KT, South Korea's top telecom company, partnered with two domestic firms to kick start an electric motorbike smart mobility business targeting some 350,000 delivery workers who mostly use conventional motorbikes.

Electric motorbikes, introduced in South Korea about a decade ago, have been shunned by deliverymen because of their short traveling distance. The maximum traveling distance of clean-energy motorbikes is about 100 kilometers (62 miles), while an ordinary motorbike courier delivery worker travels about 200 km a day.

KT said in a statement Thursday that it signed a memorandum of understanding with Daelim Motorcycle, a domestic motorbike maker, and AJ Bike, a motorbike rental service wing of South Korea's leading car rental service operator AJ Rent-a-Car, to develop and operate a smart mobility business using electric motorbikes.

The smart mobility business targets the business to business (B2B) market. KT will set up control centers and a battery-sharing platform while Daelim and AJ Bike will jointly develop electric motorbikes with removable battery packs and establish infrastructure for rental services. The three companies would standardize the battery-sharing platform and actively promote the use of electric motorbikes.

"By combining KT's connected car platform, Daelim Motorcycle's manufacturing capability and AJ Bike's rental business, we will introduce a new shared mobility business," KT's Connected Car Biz Center head Choi Kang-rim was quoted as saying. After setting up infrastructure for their B2B smart mobility business, the three companies plan to operate electric motorbike rental stations for non-business use.

In the ride-sharing market for individual consumers, the Seoul city government runs Seoul Bike known as "Ttareungi," based on about 1,300 stations located mainly near subway stations and populated areas. Some 5,000 people use Ttareungi every day. Because of its growing popularity, Seoul plans to test operate 1,000 e-bikes this year.

Kakao Mobility, the mobility service wing of South Korea's web service giant Kakao, started the test operation of its electric bicycle-sharing service in two satellite cities of Seoul in March and received positive feedback from users.

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