Bird launches shared e-bikes and opens its app to local shared operators – TechCrunch


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Bird has announced the launch of shared e-bikes to its fleet of e-scooters, which it says can be found in over 250 cities around the world. The shared micromobility provider is also launching a so-called ‘Smart Bikeshare’ platform that allows local shared bike and e-moped providers and transit apps to integrate with Bird’s app. 

“Shared e-scooters catapulted shared micromobility to the center stage of eco-friendly transportation in cities by providing more than 150 million zero-emission trips globally,” said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird, in a statement. “We are launching our shared Bird Bike and Smart Bikeshare platform to meet fast-growing demand from cities and riders for more sustainable transportation options while expanding our serviceable addressable market by 5 billion trips per year.” 

This announcement comes just a month after Bird dropped its new Bird Three scooter with better battery life. The micromobility giant’s shared e-bike will roll out later this year, with Cleveland, Ohio, being one of the first markets, according to a spokesperson for the company. In a statement, Bird said the bike will be available in select cities throughout North America, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland and France this year. Bird did not say how many e-bikes it would be launching or give a more specific launch date.

Bird also did not respond to whether or not the e-bike is designed or manufactured by the company, and if not, which manufacturer the company is working with.

The Bird Bike is built on a 75-pound frame with a step-through design that can drive riders up hills with as much as a 20% grade, according to the company. It’ll have a front basket, large pneumatic tires and all the on-board geofencing and diagnostics that you’d expect from a Bird vehicle. 

The Bird Bike is not Bird’s first bike. In the summer of 2019, the company unveiled its Bird Cruiser, an electric cross between a bike and a moped that could seat up to two people. But they decided to pause the pilot last year at the onset of the pandemic, according to a spokesperson for the company.

Bird’s bikeshare platform has already kicked off in Italy with local e-moped company Zig Zag, displaying the Italian company’s vehicles alongside its own in the Bird app. Bird says it wants to collaborate with other micromobility companies around the world and is in talks with groups like the North American Bikeshare Association to do so in the U.S. 

Bird did not answer questions about whether it would receive a cut of local operators’ profits if booked through the Bird app.

In a statement from the company, Bird’s bikeshare platform makes the company “the first scooter operator to integrate with local shared bike and e-moped providers.” Bird does not currently have plans to integrate third party, e-scooter providers into their app, according to the company.

If Bird isn’t collaborating with local e-scooter providers, sharing its platform with e-bike and e-moped providers allows it the chance to have more of a multi-modal presence without doing the heavy lifting of actually launching multi-modal fleets. At the very least, these collaborations will also give Bird a better idea of where and how riders are using different vehicles, which could help the company decide on new mobility modes to invest in, while also informing its own expansion plans, especially in Europe.

Bird did not confirm whether this is a part of its bikeshare platform strategy.

 

 

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