Last year we saw a UK Volvo dealership offer bicycles as loaner vehicles when customers' cars are in for service, and recently one of our spotters alerted us to something similar in Spain. Specifically, Fiat now offers owners of its Fiat 500 an electric bike option while their car is in the shop.
Launched in May, Fiat's offering is now available in its Barcelona, Valencia, A Coruña, Sevilla and Madrid locations through a partnership with bicycle maker Trek. There's no charge for borrowing the electric bikes, which have a 70 km range and recharge during braking as well as through plug-in power. The motivation for the move, Fiat says, is to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable mobility; the company also offers an eco:Drive service to help consumers use their cars more efficiently.
If the electric-bike loaner program proves popular in Spain, Fiat will reportedly extend it to other European countries as well. Other car makers and dealerships: what about you? And since this is a relevant and appealing way to let consumers try out a product that's still unfamiliar to most consumers, electric bicycle brands would do well to seize the opportunity and initiate similar partnerships. (Related: Bicycle trailers on loan at IKEA.)