I think these belong to the embassy. If I'm not mistaken, the Swedes have some too.
By coincidence, the Post has a story on e-bikes. Charlottesville bought a few for city employees to use (are you reading this Kwame Brown?).
If Fabio had been driving a car, he might have sped past the tire pile without seeing it; and if he had seen it, he couldn’t have investigated until he found a place to park. Instead, he was riding an electric-assist bicycle, using both pedal power and its battery-operated motor to cruise at a practical 10 to 15 mph. His $1,800 Giant Twist Freedom model is one of two e-bikes the city provides to its zoning officers to increase efficiency while diminishing congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions.
Popular elsewhere in the world — about 20 million a year are sold in China, where they are licensed and regulated like cars — e-bikes are slowly gaining ground in the U.S. market. Some buyers like their green credentials; Charlottesville bought its e-bikes after signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. (The city considered Segways, but e-bikes were cheaper and allowed officers to get across town almost as quickly as they could by driving.)
I wonder who will offer public e-bike sharing first: CaBi, Zipcar or some other entity?