Cycling News

Uber Trashes eBikes

The recent news about Uber’s investment into Lime, a micromobility company providing electric scooter and bike rentals, made sense as Uber had acquired Jump in early 2018. However, after the deal between Uber and Lime went through, thousands of electric bikes from Jump have been sent to the scrapyard, much to the dismay of many.

What Are Jump eBikes?

As there may be people who are not up to date on what Uber, Jump is an electric bicycle sharing program where people can rent a bicycle and then return it to a docking station. Riders use either the Jump or Uber apps to rent a bicycle, or electric scooter, which is then charged to their Uber account. The bikes are motorized, which means riders use less energy when pedaling. This is helpful if the rider has a hill to climb, or needs to move faster than on a regular bicycle. Jump’s eBikes can go up to 20 mph.

Uber’s Deal With Lime

Uber had sold its Jump e-bike division earlier in May to Lime as it was part of the deal to transfer the electric bike and scooter business to Lime. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, ridership has greatly reduced. In addition to reduced ridership, Lime did not want the older eBike and eScooter models. However, a spokesperson for Lime did say that Lime had taken into their possession thousands of the newer model e-bikes while recycling the older models.

Why Were The e-Bikes Trashed?

The trashed e-bikes were those of older models that Lime did not want. While Uber had considered donating the older bike models that remained, there were factors that accounted for their decision to recycle the bikes. These factors included:

  • Safety concerns
  • Maintenance needs of the bikes
  • Lack of charging equipment for consumers
  • Potential for liability

Due to their concerns, particularly with safety and the lack of charging equipment for consumers, Uber decided that the responsible thing to do would be to recycle the older models. Lime has also made the decision not to recycle the Jump e-bikes in their fleet and will scale them into their inventory. While not everyone owns a bicycle, not everyone wants to use public transportation that will take longer to get to a nearby destination, or don’t want to use a rideshare app. More people are choosing bicycles over cars, but some cities in the United States are still catching up to making bicycling a safe and easy transportation option

Photo by Twitter: @jankolario on Unsplash

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