All posts in “bird”

Oh good, Bird now sells a pricey ‘electric rose’ e-scooter

Say goodbye to the early versions of Bird’s e-scooter. The fleet will soon be filled with scooters built for sharing with its newest model, the Bird One, introduced Wednesday. Limited-edition versions are also available for purchase, so you can have your very own Bird e-scooter.

The Bird One offers a longer-lasting battery with a range of up to 30 miles on a single charge. Its steel-reinforced aluminum frame is supposed to be more durable and give it a longer lifespan — Bird says it’ll be four times longer than the Ninebot ES scooters currently used in Bird’s fleet, which they will no longer buy. The One will first arrive in Los Angeles and will reach other areas in the coming weeks.

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The Bird One joins the Bird Zero, the model introduced last fall. Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said in an email statement that Bird Zero lasts for an average of 10 months and is “now profitable due to its increased lifespan and battery capacity.” The One is expected to last for a full year. VanderZanden told the Verge his company breaks even if each scooter lasts for six months; the Los Angeles Times found this week that LA-area Bird scooters lasted 126 days on average — so based on that set of data, they’re not quite there … yet. 

The One isn’t just for sharing — you can buy the scooter in limited-edition colors: jet black, dove white, and electric rose. Pre-orders open Wednesday with expected delivery by the start of summer. The scooter is a cool $1,299 — Ninebot and other Segway scooters normally start at around $500 — and comes with $100 in Bird ride credit for those times you don’t want to deal with your own scooter (whenever that is). The Bird app will be connected to Bird One purchases, so you can track and digitally lock your vehicle. 

Bird also offers monthly scooter rentals for $25 in San Francisco and Barcelona, which sounds like a better deal, but that’s a M365 Xiaomi model scooter, not the new One. Ad hoc rentals from the fleet in your city cost $1 to unlock and then start at 15 cents per minute of your ride. But if you really want that electric rose two-wheeler, you should start saving now.

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Bird’s new monthly e-scooter rentals skirt city scooter restrictions

Instead of a scooter share, Bird is offering a personal e-scooter monthly lease.

Starting in San Francisco and then heading to Barcelona, Spain, the personal rentals will be available for $24.99 for the month. Bird will drop off a Bird e-scooter, charger, and lock at a selected location. After the month is up Bird comes back to your location to pick up the vehicle, charger, and lock.

For users who want their own scooter without committing to buying one, you can request a monthly rental through the Bird app. Normally, renting a Bird scooter costs $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute. But for the month you’re on the hook for charging, storing, and keeping the Bird out of harm’s way.

Noticeably, the rental option is available in two cities where Bird scooter-sharing is not available. San Francisco only allows a fleet of scooters from the two companies in its pilot program, Skip and Scoot. Barcelona hasn’t approved Bird to operate there, either. Bird is in other Spanish cities like Madrid and Malaga. Bird scooters are available in other Bay Area cities like Oakland, San Jose, and Santa Clara, CA.

But e-scooters as a personal vehicle aren’t banned from either city, so riders can take out their e-scooters, whether they own it or rent it from someone like Bird. You still have to follow road rules and stay off the sidewalks even if it’s your own or leased scooter. Unlike the scooter-share vehicles, you can’t just leave your scooter anywhere once you’re done riding — hence the lock. 

More cities will have the monthly rental option available later this year. Last fall, Bird unveiled the Bird Delivery option for one-day rentals, so at this point your scooting needs are covered down to the minute.

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E-scooters aren’t going anywhere — in fact, their numbers are still growing

The scooters.... they're multiplying!
The scooters…. they’re multiplying!

Image: vicky leta / mashable

The number of scooters in cities around the world is quickly growing.

Though communities like San Francisco and Santa Monica, Calif. limited the number of scooters companies could offer for rent last year, other cities are still seeing a major increase in the number of available electric two-wheelers.

On Thursday, Lime announced that its scooters and bicycles reached 50 million trips since launching mid-2017. That’s enough mileage to circle the globe twice. Those trips come from a growing, global bike- and-scooter share network that reaches 100 cities in more than 20 countries, and five continents. The latest places Lime e-scooters have landed: Bogota, Colombia and Montevideo, Uruguay. Lime also said its had more than 15 million sign-ups.

In the U.S., Austin, San Diego, and Atlanta are just some of the cities where you can find scooters from a wide range of rental companies like Bird, Lime, Uber’s Jump, Lyft, Bolt, Ford’s Spin, and others. Portland, Oregon, is launching a new yearlong pilot Friday after the success of a smaller one last year. The program will start with 2,500 scooters and could increase by the end of the year to 15,000.

Even San Francisco last week doubled the fleet size for the two e-scooter operators allowed in the city. 

The National Association of City Transportation Officials, which tracks shared micromobility usage throughout the U.S., puts 38.5 million trips on e-scooters in 2018, surpassing bike-share trips (36.5 million trips) for the first time. Throughout 100 U.S. cities NACTO tallied about 85,000 e-scooters available for rent. Other companies are moving beyond American cities, like Bird throughout Europe and in Tel Aviv. 

Where all those scooters hang out.

Where all those scooters hang out.

Image: nacto

Scoot — known for both its red e-scooters and electric mopeds — expanded to Santiago, Chile, and Barcelona, Spain last year, moving well beyond the confines of San Francisco. Madrid has 18 different e-scooter-share companies operating within city limits. In Singapore, 14 scooter companies have applied to bring its fleets there.

William Henderson, CEO and co-founder of Ride Report, a software system that connects cities with scooter operators and scooter data, has watched bicycle advocacy fight for space and infrastructure in cities over the years, but with scooters, “all of a sudden we have this tremendous growth.” After working with different cities, he’s seen demand for scooter-share services continue and not just blip out after the first few months. “This is serving a real need to get around cities efficiently and affordably,” he added.

Lime also released more demographics about its U.S. riders, like how 33 percent are female and 36 identifying as people of color. One-third of Lime riders earn $50,000 or less, according to its rider reports.

A survey of San Francisco scooter riders (on Skip and Scoot vehicles only) released last week at city program’s mid-way point found some different breakdowns, with scooter-riders 82 percent male, 63 percent white, and 68 percent with an income of more than $100,000. 

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Bird will launch electric scooters in 50+ European cities

Bird is gearing up to launch in more than 50 additional cities throughout Europe this spring.

Bird began its expansion into Europe less than one year ago. Today, Bird operates its scooters in Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Zurich and other European cities. This launch will increase its European fleet size more than ten-fold.

“World class brands and companies have the perfect formula of economics and the ability to grow and scale,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a statement. “As we expand Bird’s global footprint, we will demonstrate unmatched innovation, commitment to riders, neighborhoods and cities and operational excellence while generating an explosive run rate. This formula will drive great impact and progress on our mission to make our cities and communities more livable.”

This comes about one month after Bird laid off between four to five percent of its workforce. The layoffs were part of Bird’s annual performance review process and only affected U.S.-based employees. Those laid off were eligible for severance, including health and medical benefits.

Bird has raised more than $400 million in funding to date and is reportedly in the midst of raising an additional $300 million.

New app shows you all the e-scooters nearby in one handy map

Bird, Lime, Spin, Jump, Lyft. The list goes on — these are the many electric scooter options you can rent in various cities throughout the U.S. For each company offering rentals to ride the electric two-wheelers, there’s an accompanying app with its own map showing where (just) its scooters are located. 

And then there’s Scooter Map, first created last year to help contract workers known as “chargers” find scooters they would bring home to charge up in return for a payment. Site creator Victor Pontis said in an email that his map has connected 60,000 chargers to scooters that need more juice.

As of Wednesday, the app can now tell not only chargers but also riders the location of nearby scooters, all on one map. The map also shows battery level and which company the scooter is from. A toggle on the map switches it from “rider” to “charger” mode.

Figure out your best e-scooter option.

Figure out your best e-scooter option.

Image: scooter map

The map app combines a lot of options, which is an approach that ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft are also using, and adding more transit options to the platform. Now through the Uber app you can order a car like usual, or rent an e-bicycle or e-scooter. Uber’s CEO said last year he wants the company to be the “Amazon of transportation.” Lyft offers a similar one-app system where it has scooters and bikes available. But each still only shows its own products available for rent.

Google Maps has attempted to incorporate the efficiency of Scooter Map with its Lime e-scooter integration. Within the navigation app you can see where Lime vehicles are available and start the mobile process of reserving and unlocking the device. But again, this is limited to one scooter company; you can’t see other options.

With Scooter Map, though, instead of a whole folder on your phone devoted to countless apps, you can finally see them all in one place. 

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