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E-scooters move over — new tech-enabled vehicle spotted in SF

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A Veemo is an electric-assisted, pedal-powered tricycle made by Velometro, a transportation manufacturer based in Canada. (Courtesy Velometro)

Electric kick scooters, mobile-phone enabled bikes, self-driving cars, and pseudo-hover boards.

San Francisco is already awash with new-fangled technological transportation options, and now another new vehicle has graced The City’s streets: Veemo, a pedal-powered electric tricycle, with a lightweight enclosure resembling a car’s exterior.

A photo of a Veemo parked on a Market Street sidewalk was tweeted last week by Marke Bieschke, arts editor and publisher of 48 Hills. The vehicle was instantly pilloried on social media as the newest oddball contraption to potentially beleaguer city residents, much as the e-scooters drew rancor after their launch earlier this year from pedestrians wary of two-wheelers blocking sidewalks.

“Good grief, now they are just dumping entire electric-pedal cars on the sidewalks and letting them use the bike lanes?” Bischke tweeted. “Soon you’re going to have to walk around entire Ford trucks to use the sidewalks.”

VeloMetro spokesperson Anthony Miller confirmed company staffers were in San Francisco for “strategic meetings with multiple shared mobility companies,” but added the company is not planning on launching the company’s Veemo vehicles in San Francisco “any time soon.”

Instead, the first launch is set for Vancouver, BC next summer, though it ran a limited pilot at the University of British Columbia earlier this year. VeloMetro describes the three-wheeled Veemo as an “electric-assist” velomobile, essentially an enclosed pedal-powered vehicle. Because it is a bicycle-like vehicle, VeloMetro says Veemos are allowed to use bike lanes and no driver’s license is required to pilot them. The company’s Veemo sharing service allows members to rent them via smartphone app.

While Miller was not specific about which “mobility companies” VeloMetro was in town to see, the photo posted by Bieschke showed the Veemo outside 1455 Market St. — Uber’s San Francisco headquarters.

Uber declined to comment on any meeting with Veemo.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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