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Bird Is More Than Just Scooters

The electric scooter unicorn, Bird, is widening its business to include electric “mopeds” in the service after its recent initiative to expand into several new business models including private leasing and retailing scooters to private users [1,2].

Bird is ready to start a new chapter in its history with its new electric Bird Cruiser, a blend between a bicycle and a moped. According to Bird, the Cruiser can function as an electric bike, offering power-assist when the pedals are spinning, but it can also simply be used as a moped. Although it is still not entirely clear which vehicle category the Cruiser would land in, it is said to be joining the shared fleet business among the scooters this summer. Furthermore, it will also be part of the Bird Platform program for entrepreneurs to start their own fleet business.

The new Bird Cruiser has hydraulic disc brakes, a padded seat, and a 52-volt battery which could last up to 50 miles on one charge [2]. There is no official number about the vehicle’s top speed. However, considering the vehicle should comply with local regulations and be able to be ridden in bike lanes, the Cruiser is likely to run as fast as its scooter peers. The Cruiser is going to appear in “selected markets” this summer, but information about the pricing model and to what extent this new vehicle will be rolled out is still not publicly available. Here is how Bird’s CEO Travis VanderZanden commented on the Cruiser: “an inclusive electric-powered option that is approachable, easy-to-ride and comfortable on rough roads.”

 

Personal comments

After the catchy Bird One and the new business model of retailing their scooters to private users, Bird is making magnificent efforts in striving to extend their business map, especially for the markets where shared scooter services are not welcomed. I am not exactly sure if the mopeds would help Bird to make peace with cities where scooters are disliked, but their attempts to offer a more dynamic fleet with a variety of vehicles appears to go in line with the trend of becoming a mobility service operator rather than a fleet supplier.

Shared moped services seem to be making a comeback on the market. For example, Blinkee City has started offering electric moped sharing in Stockholm since last year, Scooty is up and running in Brussels and Antwerp and YEGO in Barcelona. The car-free trend is definitely bringing more opportunities to the mobility sector.

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-06-04. Bird is launching a two-seater electric vehicle to become more than a kick scooter startup.

2. 2019-06-04. Bird is launching an electric moped this summer.