Earlier this year, the Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) announced a grant opportunity for projects promoting beneficial electrification. Beneficial electrification means powering something with electricity that was not previously powered or was powered by an alternative source. Doing so can reduce emissions, lower energy costs, improve quality of life, and promote a robust and resilient electric grid.
Dakota Electric applied for a grant to support electrifying bicycles used by the Dakota County Sheriff‘s Office bike patrol deputies and park rangers. Traditional bicycles provide deputies and rangers with a quick and nimble mode of transportation and, when compared with a vehicle, they offer increased visibility and a higher degree of connection with the community. With 42 miles of greenway trails in the Dakota County Regional park system, e-bikes can be used to further enhance safety and security in neighborhoods, parks and trailways.
We worked closely with the sheriff’s office to understand their specific use cases and how an electric bike would fit their needs. Eventually, we selected an e-bike model that could aid them in their day-to-day patrolling.
While the grant funding was ultimately not rewarded, we felt strongly that e-bikes would improve patrol performance and increase safety throughout the community. With assistance from Great River Energy, Dakota Electric purchased two TREK Allant+ 7S e-bikes from Freewheel Bike in Eagan, a Dakota Electric member, and donated them to the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office.
E-bikes look and feel a lot like regular bicycles. However, they include an electric motor and battery that can propel the bikes to speeds of up to 28 mph. Deputies and rangers can now ride farther, faster and with less fatigue. E-bikes improve the deputies’ and rangers’ ability to serve the community quickly and safely.
Since the donation, the e-bikes have traveled more than 250 miles on trails throughout the county, have been used to respond to over 280 calls and utilized at multiple community events, including the Dakota County Fair.