Meet The E-Bike Company Aiming To Provide Low-Cost Transportation To Those Who Need It Most
A UC entrepreneur looks to the West End, OTR and Walnut Hills to provide reliable and affordable transportation.
Lack of transportation is one reason some people claim they can’t climb out of poverty. How can they get to a job and make money if they don’t have a car or aren’t on the bus route?
“Somebody lost their job today, and because they couldn't get to work, right? And tomorrow, yesterday, that happened, that's going to happen,” says University of Cincinnati graduate Paul Perkins.
He hopes to change that when placing rental e-bikes in low-income neighborhoods.
Perkins is the CEO of ORION Electronics Company. He now has bikes to sell and rent. ORION’s test market will be Columbus in 2022 and in Cincinnati and beyond in 2023.
“We are headquartered here, (Cincinnati) but we've just honestly gotten a lot more support from the city of Columbus. And I think Columbus as a whole is going to be a great test city for us that will help us pilot Cincinnati and bring it down here,” he says.
Perkins eventually wants to take his company global to help pull people out of poverty around the world. He does think big. After e-bikes, Perkins has his eyes on electric cars.
"The millions of essential Americans who make less than $35k a year are the most in need of micro-mobility options but are being left out and overlooked by existing rideshare companies i.e., Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird and etc., who are typically not readily accessible in low-income neighborhoods and too expensive for students and young professionals,” says Perkins.
How It Works
Perkins says by using the ORIONGo® (OGO) App, riders can reserve a bike for as little as $10 per month or $60 a year for unlimited access, distance and time. He says he’s working to partner with residential communities, corporations and educational institutions to provide users “free” access to the bikes for a contractual fee.
Riders can also buy the bike, which starts at $899.
The micro-mobility market was on the rise pre-COVID and is now trying to recover. The most recent study by McKinsey & Company encompasses a range of lightweight vehicles including e-bikes, scooters and mopeds.
ORION says it develops affordable, innovative and eco-friendly products for consumers in underrepresented markets. Its vision is to develop a more innovative and sustainable future, a vision it calls the "Internet of Us™."
Perkins founded the company in China when he was studying abroad there.