Bird has a new electric scooter: it’s durable, comes in three different colors, and you can buy it

Image: Bird

Bird unveiled its next-generation electric scooter on Wednesday that it says will be more durable, powerful, and longer-lasting than previous versions. Dubbed Bird One, this custom e-scooter will also have a longer lifespan than past scooters — a key indicator if Bird ever hopes to become a profitable company. In a new twist, Bird will be selling it to anyone who’s tired of ride-sharing and is ready to enter the new world of scooter ownership.

Bird One will be hitting the streets about seven months after the company unveiled its first custom-built scooter for dockless ride-sharing, Bird Zero. When Bird launched in Santa Monica, California, in 2017, its fleet was comprised mostly of consumer scooters made by Xiaomi and Segway-Ninebot, which were never intended for heavy fleet use and depreciated quickly. Bird lost money on each trip, but it managed to scale up after raising millions of dollars in venture capital funding.

Bird Zero was intended to be a more rugged scooter that could take a beating and keep rolling for an average of 10 months, says Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden. With Bird One, VanderZanden predicts its latest scooter will stay in circulation for at least 12 months. The company plans to phase out all of its consumer-grade scooters over the summer; Bird says it will continue to use its Xiaomi M365 models for monthly personal rentals, and it will no longer purchase the Ninebot ES scooters.

Image: Bird
Image: Bird

Scooter companies have been struggling to turn a profit since bursting onto the scene almost two years ago. It all comes down to unit economics — how much revenue each individual scooter brings in for the company — and the most important number to consider is the lifespan of each scooter. The more trips and miles a single scooter can cover, the better it is for scooter companies that have to recoup the cost of each vehicle before they can start making money.

“The economics for scooters with Bird Zero are already working,” VanderZanden told The Verge. “But the exciting thing is, for every vehicle we roll out, we think the economics keep getting better and better. And importantly, because of economies of scale, the cost of the scooter goes down as well. So Bird One actually cost $50 less than Bird Zero, even though it’s a superior vehicle.”

Bird manufactured its Bird Zero scooters in cooperation with Okai, a Chinese scooter company. But VanderZanden wouldn’t say who they partnering with on the production of Bird One, citing an NDA. “I will say is we now use multiple manufacturers for vehicles,” he noted.

Bird is feeling so bullish about its new scooter that it plans to start selling them for personal use. It’s available in three colors: “jet black,” “dove white,” and “electric rose.” Preorders open today, at the not-inexpensive price of $1,299. Xiaomi’s Mi scooter sells for $448 on Amazon, while Swagtron retails for around $299. (“We think it’s a very attractive price,” VanderZanden said.)

Bird says its Bird One scooters will have a 473Wh battery, which VanderZanden says is twice the battery power as other e-scooters. That gives each scooter a range of up to 30 miles on a single charge. Other upgrades include GPS-enabled anti-theft device, 9-inch semi-solid pneumatic tires, and a digital lock that can be locked and unlocked from Bird’s smartphone app.

The scooter tops out at 19 mph, and it can carry a max weight of 220 pounds. There is no lock-to mechanism, though, which some experts have said could help reduce vandalism and prevent scooters from blocking the sidewalks.

If your scooter breaks down, VanderZanden said you can bring it (or mail it) to one of Bird’s service centers, located in North America and Europe. If the scooter is stolen, Bird’s “bird hunter” network of freelancers may be able to track it down and find it. These are independent contractors who hunt down missing Bird scooters for the company, either to charge or bring in for repairs. The company “can’t make any promises” about their ability to find your stolen or lost scooter, VanderZanden added.

After the winter lull, scooter companies are getting excited about the summer when they plan on rolling out new products and kicking their ride-sharing service into full gear. Bird is trying to get a leg up on the competition with a new scooter and new business models. It’s how it plans on staying at the head of the pack.

“Our goal is really to not just do sharing, but to do sharing, rent, and own,” said VanderZanden. “Really go after micro mobility generally, [and] to try to help people get out of cars and onto short-range electric vehicles like Bird One.”

Comments

I just bought a Xiaomi M365 in Canada. Got it through a Best Buy marketplace seller for $670 to the door (about $500 USD). $1,299 seems steep but maybe Bird is doing more QC and getting a higher quality standard from this model. The quality of the Xiaomi I got has surprised me – but then again it has only been two weeks.

As more owning a scooter – there might be 3 in the city as a whole right now and I get a lot of looks but it is the single most convenient mode of short-term transportation I am ever used, and it is not even close. It is fast, fun, you aren’t sweaty, don’t have to worry about it getting stolen because I bring it up into my office, and it is dead simple to use. Wonderful product and I imagine even at $1,299 they will sell a fair amount of these.

Am I misreading this? "With Bird One, VanderZanden predicts its latest scooter will stay in circulation for at least 12 months" and "the not-inexpensive price of $1,299" – does this mean I’d be paying $1299 for something that lasts a year? That seems crazy, so I am sure I’m just being a moron about what this means.

I think that 12 month use range was how long they expect it to last in their fleet out in the wild.

Unless you are letting the whole neighborhood use it your personal one would last longer

OK, that makes much more sense, thank you.

If you’ll read reviews on Mi scooter on Amazon, a lot of them fail within a year (weak structure, loose joints, etc.) even when used for personal commute on daily basis.
Good commuter/hybrid bicycles cost $700-1000 for a reason, meanwhile cheap Chinese bikes cost in $200-400 range and have same fatigue failures.

He means 12 months in their fleet. Something that lasts a year if it’s abused by randos and runs almost nonstop for 8-10 hours. The other off the shelf scooters they had only lasted a few months before becoming unusable

Got it, thanks. I knew I had to be wrong about that.

Affordable my a*s. Overpriced for 1300 $. You buy 2 xiaomi for that money and I don’t believe there’s that much difference to justify the money.

The xiaomi has a 30km range, i don’t know what this guy is talking about that Bird one has double. It has 30 miles range, which is about 48km. That’s just 18 km more. Just get a second battery for xiaomi and you have 60 km range.

Why buy these? They are successful because I can hop on in the city to travel a few miles and then just leave it, grab another one when I leave, and repeat.

For the same reason people buy cars? I rode a Bird for about 2 miles and it cost me about $6. If that was my commute to work, even a $1300 scooter would pay for itself in 4 months.

Sure it doesn’t make sense for everybody but there should be a market out there.

Because some of us live outside the city and use a personal one to get to the public transit and then use it again once in the city

My city is the biggest city in our California county yet we don’t have bike or scooter services.

What an odd price. It doesn’t seem that much better than a Xiaomi scooter and is worse than other scooters in that price range. The Speedway mini IV has the same 30 mile range, is faster with a top speed of 28 mph, has a higher weight capacity and is $200 cheaper.

They are probably hoping brand recognition helps sell these.

220lbs max weight?

I’m not very familiar with scooters, but that seems low.

220 is the standard for all the rentable scooters out there. They’ll handle more weight but at a reduced range and uphill power.

If you want something a little more rugged, look at NanRobot. Their D4 Scooter costs the same ($1,300) but has a max weight of 330lbs. It also has a 2000Wh battery so it’ll take you 45 miles at speeds up to 35 MPH.

highly relevant username for this comment

I bought 2 Xiaomi scooters from Amazon for a grand total of $998 "We live in Hollywood and my wife uses the scooter every day to get to the Metro station as she works in Downtown and takes the metro everyday – this was 2 years ago before the scooter craze in Hollywood. Anyway our scooters are absolutely fine. only problems we had was flat tires which are a headache in which we found someone to repair when that happens aside from the flats – some loose bolts need to be tightened every so often from the vibration like a bike. So my point is that these scooters are built well and hold up well no need to buy every year maybe every 2 years like a phone because of the battery. I recommend looking at some other more expensive options → this youtube channel – "This guy reviews so many electric scooters its a great place to see what you can get !! there are sooooo many great scooter and electronic ride options.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHX5BIyrLZddYmJ1O-8xj3g/videos

They aren’t talking about a year for personal use. They are talking about a year of fleet use.

Buy it? for $1300? No way. My first was cheaper than this.
But would love to rent.

$ 1300 US? For an electric Razor-style scooter? That’s just nuts!

You can get a full-sized electric scooter you can sit on, with storage compartments, a 60 Km range, and a 32 Km/h top speed for less than that. Same no-license requirement, same bike-path uses, but a lot more convenient (other than "parking").

That’s just $99 sign & drive scoot, folks!
$99 down and 84 monthly payments of $13
Taxes & fees additional. WAC.

Man, I think my first car cost that much (in the 1980’s, without the undercoat).

Does that price include a helmet?

For people who are taking these with them for the whole journey, having a folding mechanism seems like it would be important.

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