Bird, the electric scooter startup that sparked the shared micromobility boom, is doubling its personal property. Over the weekend, the company unveiled its new Bird Air foldable electric scooter, which retails for $ 599.
It's not the most powerful scooter on the market, with a top speed of 25 km / h and a range of 25 km. At $ 599, however, the Bird Air is significantly cheaper than the company's first retail scooter, the Bird One, which retails for $ 1,299. This puts the Bird Air in the same category as other mid-price electric scooters like the Razor E Prime III or the Max from Segway Ninebot.
The Bird Air was developed in-house by Bird's team of “aerospace and automotive engineers”, although the company does not disclose its manufacturing partner. The company made its Bird Zero scooters in partnership with Okai, a Chinese scooter company, and previous Segway Ninebot scooters.
Bird first switched to selling scooters in mid-2019. When the company was founded in 2017 in Santa Monica, California, its fleet consisted primarily of consumer scooters from Xiaomi and Segway Ninebot, which were never intended for use in heavy fleets and were quickly devalued. Bird lost money on every trip but managed to grow after raising millions in venture capital. Bird also offers its scooters for monthly rentals.
Bird announced that it raised $ 75 million in a Series D funding round last January. Since then, the company has lost two of its citywide permit bids in Paris and Seattle and won one in Chicago.
Initially, COVID-19 brought the scooter sharing industry to a standstill. The number of drivers fell as scooter companies tore their vehicles off the city streets. Bird and Lime, the two largest companies in terms of fleet size and rating, have seen mass layoffs and eliminated around 580 full-time positions. Uber moved its joint bike and scooter business from Jump to Lime as part of an investment that would drop Lime's valuation by nearly 80 percent.
However, the industry is slowly recovering as interest in cycling and other alternative modes of transportation re-emerges. City dwellers also use scooters for longer journeys when they are looking for safe ways to get around. Last week, Lime reported that scooter rides have been an average of 34 percent longer and 18 percent farther away since the pandemic began.