UT News Bulletin: Bird Announces New Shared E-Bikes
Micromobility Companies are Back on the Growth Grind with New Products
Hey folks - a quick bit of news this morning in the micromobility world: Bird officially launched an e-bike that will be a part of its mobility offerings in select cities later this year.
Here is how Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden described the news product in a blog post for the company:
“Shared scooters helped lay a critical foundation for a transportation future that’s both electric and multimodal,” said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird. “Together with our new, comprehensive bikeshare program that pairs our state-of-the-art vehicles with custom local integrations, Bird is uniquely equipped to meet the eco-friendly mobility needs of cities, riders and small businesses alike, both now and into the future.”
The BirdBike services aim to complement and expand on the companies shared-scooter business. Bird is partnering with cities to roll out the new product along with its mopeds and scooters.
Bird, which is almost synonymous with Scooters, continues to expand its offerings to reach customers who the scooter form might turn off. Notably, the consumer e-bike market during COVID boomed.
E-bikes have long been popular with delivery drivers in urban cities, but during the COVID pandemic grew in popularity for recreational activities and commuting. Bloomberg’s Ira Boudway covered this rise in popularity when he profiled Rad Power Bikes. The full piece is worth reading, but this stat sticks out:
“[In 2019], the U.S. imported about 270,000 e-bikes, mostly from China, says Ed Benjamin, founder and chairman of the Light Electric Vehicle Association. [For 2020], Benjamin expects the total will end up somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000. Even that won’t fully meet demand, he says, because the virus forced many Chinese factories to shut down in the spring: “There’s howls of frustration about getting more bikes.”
While Rad sells e-bikes directly to consumers, and Bird is launching shared e-bikes as the micromobility market remains increasingly competitive. Mircomobility operators Spin and Lime also continue to expand their product lines to reach new customers and markets. Lime recently expanded its electric mopeds to new markets, and Spin is announcing its first in-house-built scooter later today.
As cities and communities continue to recover from the effects of COVID, transportations companies across all sectors return to a growth mindset. Bird, which announced in May it was going public via SPAC, seems to be betting on bikes as a way to penetrate markets and cities that are anti-scooter.