- Uber on Wednesday unveiled a new scooter model and an upgraded Jump bike battery.
- The new battery system comes as many of Lyft’s electric bikes have been offline since March – except in San Francisco where the company relaunched this week, it said. Some of the bikes in other cities will remain offline until at least September.
- See everything Uber announced at its Elevate conference this week here.
Uber appears to be taking the lead on rentable, electric bicycles.
On Wednesday, the company announced a new battery for its Jump bikes as well as a completely new scooter model with bigger, more rugged wheels and heftier brakes.
The new bike batteries can be swapped by anyone, even riders, instead of the vehicles needing a trip to a warehouse in order to be plugged in to a physical charger.
“This saves us a ton of time, allowing us to keep more bikes charged and on the road for users,” Rachel Holt, Uber’s head of new mobility, said on stage at the company’s Elevate conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.
Uber’s latest investments in the Jump system, which it acquired in April 2018, come as its closest competitor, Lyft, struggles with electric bikes. In March, after several riders were seriously injured on Lyft’s electric Citi Bikes in New York, the company voluntarily pulled the models from all cities where it operates, including Washington, DC, San Francisco, and more across the country.
Those bikes were reintroduced in San Francisco on Wednesday after the roughly three-month outage, a Lyft spokesperson said. The electric bikes are still missing from New York and Washington, DC.
Uber, meanwhile, is all-in.
Holt said that by next year the company hopes to have battery kiosks distributed throughout a city, where anyone, even riders, can swap waning batteries for freshly charged cells.
“A courier that has a few minutes before an order they could easily pick up a battery and swap,” Holt said, adding that Uber is “not just stopping with bikes and scooters. Our vision with Uber is to provide a truly multimodal transportation platform.”
This post has been updated to reflect that Lyft relaunched its electric bikes in San Francisco this week under new branding. They remain out of service in other cities, and were never present in Chicago.
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