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Connected eBikes Popular as Ride Now, Pay Later Models Surge

man on electric bike

Consumers’ device portfolio has changed significantly over the years, largely due to technological breakthroughs and evolving consumer preferences in a world dominated by digital transformation. These changes have affected everything from smartphones and smartwatches to smart TVs and cars with connected capabilities.

PYMNTS Intelligence data shows that although customers’ usage of connected devices hasn’t changed significantly between 2019 and 2023, the kinds of gadgets they own have.

Take the electric bike (eBike), for example. As urban environments evolve alongside changing commuting dynamics, eBikes have swiftly emerged at the forefront of a transportation revolution. But it’s not just about getting from point A to B sustainably. Thanks to digital advancements, eBikes are turning into smart and multifunctional devices.

An example of this trend is Urtopia, an eMobility startup pioneering the integration of ChatGPT into its eBikes, which also feature a fingerprint unlock system to eliminate the need for traditional keys. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot integration is complemented by a responsive voice recognition system, enabling users to engage their smart eBikes with queries and receive personalized responses in real time.

A similar trend is taking place in the automotive space, where the integration of generative AI tools is ushering in a new era of intelligent and personalized in-car experiences tailored to drivers’ needs and preferences.

Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla recently replaced its voice command system with the Grok AI chatbot, enabling Tesla owners in China to engage in dynamic conversations with their EVs, per a Jan. 15 PYMNTS report. Drivers can also personalize their assistant’s tone and speech style.

Ride Now, Pay Later

Just as buy now, pay later (BNPL) has transformed the way consumers shop, a parallel trend is reshaping the landscape of transportation services — ride now, pay later.

In an age where flexibility and convenience are key, this emerging phenomenon offers a novel approach to commuting, allowing individuals to enjoy rides immediately while deferring the payment to a later timeframe.

Urtopia, for instance, offers users the opportunity to pay for their eBike purchase in four interest-free installments, which they can apply for directly at checkout.

Similarly, mobility company Magnum Bikes has partnered with FinTech firm Bread Pay to provide eBike riders with a range of financing options, enabling users to conveniently spread their payments over an extended period.

Meanwhile, startups like Friiway have taken the concept even further by offering a subscription plan that enables the “eBike curious” to lease a bicycle and explore its benefits for a month, half-year, or full year if they are not yet ready to commit to a purchase.

Initially available to Bay Area residents, the Friiway subscription goes beyond a trial, offering the added perk of applying a portion of the cost toward acquiring a new eBike from the user’s preferred retailer.

Looking ahead, the ride now, pay later trend is poised to redefine the future of transportation services, offering a glimpse into a more accessible, dynamic and sustainable mobility landscape. In this evolving paradigm, whether on two wheels or four, transportation devices are evolving into highly personalized and interactive road companions, marking a significant departure from traditional commuting experiences.