In the electric vehicle world, scooters are making a comeback. Through hindrances like low battery power and the COVID-19 pandemic, e-scooters have seen better days. However, alongside the new scooter from Bird, the industry could be seeing new growth.
Bird has already released electric scooters, like Bird One, that fare well in the market. This new e-scooter, though, Bird Air, is less expensive, making it a viable option for anyone interested in this form of transportation.
The electric scooter company started as a partner for other brands, but with this new path for selling its own scooters directly to customers, the possibilities are opening up.
Origins of Bird
Bird is a relatively new company, having gotten its start in 2017. With its roots in Santa Monica, California, the company initially worked with Xiaomi and Segment Ninebot to sell e-scooters. However, the downside during this phase is that these electric scooters failed to make a lasting impact. The industry was getting off to a rocky start — and Bird needed to change its business model.
In 2019, that’s exactly what the company did. Instead of focusing on other companies’ electric scooters, Bird released its own. From there, the company has been honing its production. Bird Zero was the first scooter out of the gate. The company’s goal ever since has been ridesharing, where people use e-scooters in the same way that they do bikes, for rent. Users can get a scooter, then take it for a spin and return it when they’re done.
Bird wasn’t done yet, though. From there, the company moved on to Bird One — the high-end e-scooter with an elegant look and substantial power. Instead of renting, consumers could now buy Bird’s scooters to keep. This path was working well for Bird until COVID-19 disrupted the world.
People stopped wanting to go out and focused on the need for social distance. Renting or ride-sharing scooters became a dying market throughout the United States. Bird needed to jump into action and adapt to the new world. Thus, Bird Air emerges.
Introducing Bird Air
Now that Bird is fully in the market of selling its own products, its scooters are getting a revival. As the United States gradually works on opening back up and learning more about the pandemic, people feel more comfortable going outside for activities.
Fresh air makes for a perfect environment to use scooters during the pandemic, too — either in small groups or individually. Bird Air now comes at a perfect time. Less expensive than its older sibling, Bird Air is looking like a positive change for the company.
At $599, this electric scooter falls right into the mid-range of e-scooter prices. Ones with lower prices are typically around $300 and higher-end ones can reach into the thousands. Bird Air is an optimal middle ground for almost anyone looking to purchase an e-scooter.
With a 36 V, 5.2 Ah battery at a capacity of 180 Wh, this scooter will reach up to 16 miles on one charge. It also accelerates to a maximum of 16 mph. At 30 pounds, Bird Air is light and folds for easy traveling. Additionally, it holds riders that weigh up to 220 pounds. The aircraft-grade aluminum adds to the aerodynamics, creating a smooth ride all around.
Furthermore, Bird’s mobile app adds Bluetooth connectivity for users to enjoy. Originally, the app served to help users rent Bird’s scooters. Now, it can also track distances, connect to smartphones and help with location services in the event of theft.
The new e-scooter comes in jet black or sonic silver. It’s available on the Bird website or through Target.
One thing that Bird must account for during the expansion with the new scooters is safety. For instance, many locations are opening up traffic laws to be inclusive of electric scooters. In Seattle, the city council approved legislation to treat e-scooters the same as electric bikes.
That way, users can ride their scooters on roads and in bike lanes. The same ideas, though, then apply regarding safety. Bikers sometimes have difficult times on the roads and in their lanes, with obstacles and cars being prominent dangers.
E-scooter companies will have to integrate safety precautions into their products to account for these potential problems. With accidents possible at any moment, the company could become liable for injuries.
However, Bird seems to be a step ahead with its safety precautions. With Bird One having 31 safety certifications that apply in the United States and internationally, the new Bird Air is sure to follow with the same regulatory compliance.
Which Scooter to Buy
Finding the right scooter to purchase requires some consideration and planning. People who are looking for a couple rides here and there may be better off renting — in a socially distant and safe way.
However, those looking to get more use out of their scooters will want to make a long-term investment. The purchase will depend on a few things.
First, do you want one with more battery power and range? If so, then Bird One may be the best option for you. It costs around $1,300, but it travels up to 25 miles on a single charge.
If you don’t need that kind of range, though, the 16 miles from Bird Air will suffice as the mid-range option.
However, the renting option could be ideal because it costs around 15 cents per minute during your ride. It’s ultimately the user’s choice to consider how much they’ll use the scooter and how far they want to travel. Also, there are plenty of other e-scooter brands on the market to compare the Bird models to.
Bird’s New Flight
The direction that Bird is headed seems to be promising. From starting as a partner with other e-scooter companies to manufacturing its own products, Bird has established itself as a leader in the industry. What it does next is sure to keep the market moving forward and continue the innovation Bird is becoming famous for.