All posts in “E Scooter”

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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Usain Bolt promotes e-scooters in New York, where it’s illegal to ride them

The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, stood on the steps of New York City Hall on Tuesday to promote the national launch of e-scooter sharing company, Bolt Mobility.

The two Bolts share a name, so it only made sense that Bolt the company would bring Bolt the human onboard as its official brand ambassador. At the conference, standing next to Bolt the man was the company’s newly unveiled “Chariot,” a scooter model large enough to store a rider’s bags and comes complete with two cup holders. 

Bolt Mobility brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses atop the "Chariot" model e-scooter, which he could not actually legally ride at the New York press conference.

Bolt Mobility brand ambassador Usain Bolt poses atop the “Chariot” model e-scooter, which he could not actually legally ride at the New York press conference.

Image: matt binder / mashable

The Olympic gold medalist stood on the Chariot for photos, but he didn’t ride it. That’s because he can’t. E-scooters are illegal in New York.

While the conference promoted Bolt Mobility, its new line of e-scooters, and Usain Bolt’s role in a scooter sharing company, the focal point — even when it wasn’t specifically being talked about — was the scooter’s legal status. And it was clear that Bolt Mobility wanted to highlight it. Why else would a startup put together a big product launch with a world-renowned athlete on the steps of New York City Hall?

The company, along with its celebrity brand ambassador, even released a new online commercial today. The video features Usain Bolt practicing how to safely ride an e-scooter in a big city where its presumably legal. At the very beginning of the clip, a billboard clearly labels the location as New York City.

“There’s a major traffic crisis in New York City,” said Bolt co-founder and co-CEO Dr. Sarah Haynes to reporters, referencing the city’s MTA woes. “We’re excited to be able to help solve that problem in an environmentally friendly way.”

“I have run in cities all over the world, and I can tell you first hand that traffic is getting worse and worse in every city on every continent on earth,” said Bolt ambassador Usain Bolt. “The air quality is also getting worse, and I feel that now is the time that we must do something about it.”

Bolt's new "Chariot" e-scooter at the national launch in New York.

Bolt’s new “Chariot” e-scooter at the national launch in New York.

Image: matt binder / mashable

E-scooter sharing is having a moment. On the west coast, scooter companies like Bird and Lime are becoming almost as ubiquitous as Uber and Lyft. In fact, both taxi ride sharing companies are now in the scooter business as well. Uber is even interested in acquiring one of the two biggest e-scooter companies.

However, e-scooters have had their share of controversies, even where they’re legal. Injuries to riders and the fact that the scooters are dockless, leaving customers to just litter the sidewalks with e-scooters when they’re done using them, have already given this relatively young industry a bad name.

Usain Bolt and Bolt Mobility co-founder and co-CEO Dr. Sarah Haynes promote the company's national launch in front of New York City Hall.

Usain Bolt and Bolt Mobility co-founder and co-CEO Dr. Sarah Haynes promote the company’s national launch in front of New York City Hall.

Image: Matt Binder / mashable

The Miami Beach-based Bolt Mobility already has a fleet of scooters available to rent via smartphone app for 15 cents per minute in cities like Fort Lauderdale, Florida as well as in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. Bolt also launched a new website today touting how its worked with these cities to form a mutually beneficial relationship for residents and local government alike.

However, riding an e-scooter in New York, the U.S. city with the biggest and most heavily used public transit system, can result in a $500 civil penalty. The rider’s scooter will also be impounded.

But, that may soon change. Governor Andrew Cuomo now supports e-scooter legalization and the scooter companies have hired lobbyists to make sure it happens.

Speaking to press at Tuesday’s event, Bolt Mobility’s executive vice president of operations Will Nicholas made it seem like the company was hoping to curry favor with the people of New York in the legalization fight. Perhaps learning from one of Amazon’s missteps in pro-labor New York, the Bolt VP mentioned how the company would be “open-minded to New York’s labor community” in regards to the unionization of its employees.

There are currently bills at both the city and state level looking to legalize e-scooters in New York, which could very well be just months away.

“We’re on the precipice of major mobility change in this city,” said Nicholas.

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NYC might actually eventually allow e-scooters

Riding in NYC could eventually be a thing.
Riding in NYC could eventually be a thing.

Image: bob al-greene / mashable

New York City has been a holdout in the electric scooter craze, but after a city council hearing Wednesday, that could finally change.

The city’s Committee on Transportation introduced four bills concerning e-scooters and electric bicycles. Companies like Bird and Lime that rent out the motorized scooters haven’t been allowed to operate in the city’s five boroughs, despite a growing international presence.

The four bills include a pilot program for shared e-scooters and legalizing e-scooters that can only go  up to 15 mph. A similar bill would allow for the use of e-bikes with a max speed of 20 mph, while another creates a conversion program for throttle e-bikes to become pedal-assist e-bicycles.

Previously, a 2004 New York state law banned any motorized scooters. Last year, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio lightened up the rules with an exception for electric-assist bicycles that still require pedaling to move. This was seen as an overdue win for the courier and delivery-worker community that relies on the bicycle’s extra boost. The mayor isn’t the biggest fan of motorized vehicles zooming around the city. 

Now the fight moves onto e-scooters.

Council member Ydanis Rodriguez has been vocal about legalizing electric transit options, along with council members Rafael Espinal and Fernando Cabrera. The three members held a rally before the Wednesday meeting, where the four bills were introduced. 

The meeting went on for more than five hours weighing what seemed like every aspect of bringing in new motorized vehicles from charging infrastructure, to protected bike lanes, to the impact on congestion and the environment. 

A spokesperson for council member Rodriguez said this is the first meaningful step to allow the battery-powered devices on city streets.

Now that the council and community members were able to discuss the bills, the council will take more public comment and input from agencies and others involved in e-scooter legalization. It looks somewhat optimistic that e-scooters could be allowed in NYC — eventually, and likely with many caveats.

E-scooter company Lime is obviously eager to enter the new market and has a Manhattan event with its next generation e-scooter planned for later this week, noting it as a chance for “New Yorkers to experience the possibilities that Lime offers to everyone.” The Facebook invite says city leaders will attend.

Back in November, the package of e-vehicle bills were technically first introduced, but were held up until the state gave the go-ahead. Now that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given the OK for cities to figure out for themselves what to do about e-scooters, NYC is doing just that. But until the state budget is passed later this year, NYC might have to wait before the electric vehicles start zooming around. 

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Lyft and Lime are rolling out new scooter models

Mama’s got a new set o’ wheels.

Cities with Lime and Lyft scooter share programs will soon see some new models scootin’ around the city. The companies are rolling out new designs in the coming weeks, which they will integrate into their fleets over time. Both of the models emphasize sturdier designs and company branding.

Lyft’s new scooters are Segway-Ninebot’s Shared Scooter Model Max, which are specifically designed for share scooter programs. They debuted at CES 2019, and Lyft will be the first company to employ the new model — Bird and other competitors also use Segway-Ninebot. 

In addition to longer battery life and a design meant to better withstand a lot of riding under many weather conditions, the wheels — like the Lyft mustache — will be pink.

Pretty cute.

Pretty cute.

Image: lyft

Lime showed off its Generation 3 scooter back in October, with similar features like bigger wheels and fancy upgrades such as the ability see if you’re in a no-parking zone. Now, the scooter company is ready to bring them to the streets, complete with accents of Lime’s signature green.

Scooter vs. Potholes: who wins?

Scooter vs. Potholes: who wins?

Image: Lime-S

With both new designs, there’s a clear emphasis on both safety and differentiation through design. Lyft is also adding scooter docks, so riders will have the option to park scooters in a designated location if they wish. That’s a move Lyft may have imported from the docked bike share company Motivate that it acquired in July 2018.

Neither company has shared what cities the new scooters will be coming to specifically, or when, beyond the coming weeks. Lyft declined to state what it would do with the old scooter models, and we’re still waiting to hear from Lime on that one. Hopefully, the old models won’t just end up on the garbage heap.

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Segway-Ninebot to show off new e-scooter, delivery robot

For anyone with enough open space to race against your friends, Segway-Ninebot has the product for you. 

On Thursday, the electric personal vehicle company known for its e-scooters used in share programs around the world unveiled a series of new machines to get around — or at least play around with. 

The line of “last-mile” transportation devices will be on view next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. E-Skates and a GoKart are some of the products that will be available to buy later this year after the show. A new electric scooter model and a delivery robot will be introduced for the first time.

The e-Skate Drift W1 — self-balancing electric-powered wheels you put under each foot — and the Ninebot GoKart Kit both raised millions through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. The e-Skates, that even light up and last 45 minutes and push you along at a 7.5 mph max speed, were announced last year, but now they’re coming to the masses. The GoKart paired with a Ninebot S modified scooter base (that’s why it’s called a kit) lets users ride up to 15 mph. It too came out a few months ago, but only for those who pre-ordered.

E-Skates to awkwardly ride away.

E-Skates to awkwardly ride away.

Image: segway-ninebot

The Ninebot S can be used as a standalone device or paired with a GoKart kit.

The Ninebot S can be used as a standalone device or paired with a GoKart kit.

Image: segway-ninebot

A new battery-powered scooter intended for scooter-share companies like Lime and Bird is the Model Max. This new scooter is supposed to be more comfortable and last longer than other models and is highly customizable. It’s actually intended to be part of a fleet. More about the new scooter will be revealed next week.

A delivery robot for all your things.

A delivery robot for all your things.

Image: segway-ninebot

The Loomo robot transporter is another Indiegogo darling that’s now arriving as a delivery vehicle. The Loomo transporter isn’t rideable like its predecessor, but instead intended for food deliveries and package drop-offs to fuel our online-shopping addiction.

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Expect to see more variations of motorized scooters at CES 2019, like Razor’s EcoSmart bicycle-like scooter with huge wheels, a large frame, and padded seat and basket. The scooter reaches 15 mph and is available in San Diego, California and Tempe, Arizona, coming to additional U.S. cities after the electronics show.

The e-scooter craze is continuing into 2019 and promises to make a big showing at CES. 

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