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Bird’s New Scooter for Sale to Private Users

Last Wednesday, Bird unveiled its new scooter model Bird One, which is supposed to be more durable, powerful and longer-lasting than the older versions; moreover, it will be more than a fleet vehicle: purchasable for everyone [1].

Short lifespan has been widely discussed as the factor that tips over the e-scooter sharing business. The unit economy is worrying: E-scooters in the fleet have not been able to earn enough revenue before their end of life, which has therefore led to significant hinders for the business to generate profits despite the sky-high venture capital investments.

Bird kickstarted with scooters made by Xiaomi and Segway-Ninebot when their scooters landed in Santa Monica in 2017. The scooters they had then were never intended for heavy fleet use and broke down after a short period of time. Bird has been working on its own customized scooter models in cooperation with various suppliers ever since. Bird Zero, which has a bigger battery and should last for 10 months, came out last year in cooperation with Okai [2]. Travis VanderZanden, Bird CEO, believes that the new Bird One is able to last for at least a year of commercial use.

Bird One will have twice the battery capacity of other e-scooters, which gives a range up to 30 miles on one charge. Bird is also exploring another business model of selling the vehicle for personal use at a price of $1,299, which is more than double the price of Xiaomi’s Mi scooter. The new business model also offers services to help customers repair the scooter and track it if lost. “Our goal is really to not just do sharing, but to do sharing, rent, and own.” said VanderZanden.

 

Personal comments

Scooter companies are now characterizing themselves through unique models. The Swedish company VOI is also developing more robust and easy-to-manoeuvre models to potentially make rides safer and more enjoyable [3].

It is fascinating to see the Bird One that comes with a very smooth design with no loose cables hanging outside of the body, a much more powerful battery and a regenerative brake system. But what caught my eye was Bird’s new intention to sell the scooters for private use. From a circular economy perspective, we are expecting a transition from owning a vehicle to sharing one for more effective use of resources. However, Bird came into the system offering a sharing service with a product that was not built for commercial use, but now it is expanding its business to encourage private ownership for the purpose of, possibly, increasing its revenue. Will this be the right way to go for Bird? Will the promotion of ownership affect the e-scooter sharing business? I keenly await the answers.

 

Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.

 

Sources

1. 2019-05-08. Bird has a new electric scooter: it’s durable, comes in three different colors, and you can buy it.   

2. 2018-09-25. Bird’s electric scooters are getting more rugged to handle heavy use.

3. 2019-05-14. Vi har kollat in Vois nya elscooters – rejäla rackare!