E-bikes, taxi apps, and carpooling are the options used often lately to meet the challenges of travel in urban areas where regulators around the world are trying to cut congestion and improve air quality. At present, e-bikes are a regional happening as of now and are hugely popular in US and European countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Belgium.
On the other hand, the shining light of the UK bike industry over the past few years has undoubtedly been e-bikes. A large number of the cyclist have been spotted riding e-bikes from Lime and the Chinese bike sharing firm Mobike.
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In a recent development, American ride-hailing company, Uber has kicked off its Jump shared e-bikes offer in London to accelerate hopes for a bicycle and scooter sharing app. Jump Bikes has released the e-bike fleet in Islington, North London and customers can rent an e-bike through the existing Uber app.
350 red e-bikes ready!
As a part of the pilot program, the ride-hailing firm debuted a fleet of 350 red e-bikes in Islington today. For the uninitiated, Jump creates on-demand electric bikes and scooters designed by expert teams in Brooklyn and San Francisco keeping the future of transportation and the cities in mind.
“There is now one more transport alternative for the 3.5 million people who use the Uber app in the capital,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s GM for Northern and Eastern Europe.“ Over time, it’s our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options – whether cars, bikes or public transport, all in the Uber app.”
The powerful electric bikes are built with a bright front electric light, strong brakes, and other safety features. According to the company, each bike is fitted with GPS tracker and can find its location easily through the Uber app.
Pedal assist with up to 15 miles per hour!
Furthermore, the e-bikes come with built-in cable locks, baskets and phone mounts. Notably, it has electric pedal assistance as well as which provides users assistance of up to 15 miles per hour (25km).
With this move, the company is directly competing with LIME in terms of pricing and scale. The Jump e-bike will cost £1 to unlock and £0.12 per minute, with the first five minutes free. On the other hand, Lime’s bikes initially cost £1 to unlock and an additional £0.15 per minute of riding time.
Uber acquired JUMP for undisclosed amount!
About a year ago, Uber acquired bike-sharing startup JUMP for an undisclosed amount of money. According to the company, the decision to sell JUMP to Uber came as a part of making operation at a large scale in a quicker way.
Having said that, it’s not going to be easy at all for the Jump, since LIME has a pretty solid foundation with over 1,000 e-bikes. This move comes a few days after Uber revealed it was adding public transport options to the app in a bid to reduce private car ownership and air pollution.
Setbacks for e-bike companies in London!
Seeing a new e-bike company is not new to Londoners since they’ve witnessed the launch and fall out of many e-bikes sharing companies including ofo, oBike and Urbo.
Earlier this year, the Chinese bike-sharing firm Ofo, known for its yellow bikes pulled out of London pinning the blame on a low revenue. oBike and Urbo have also both withdrawn from London since it didn’t go as the way they wanted.
Vandalism, theft and lighting!
Mobike, yet another Chinese firm backed by multi-billion dollars of venture capital investment faced problems like vandalism and theft of public hire bikes. In this case, depending on a profit on rides alone seems improbable when you factor in the costs of replacing vandalised and stolen bikes. As a result, the company has shrunk its operation zones.
Currently, some experts claim that some European cities (names undisclosed) have already met a break-even target when it comes to an e-bike.
Anticipating change of legislation!
At present, the UK currently makes it illegal to ride electric scooters on roads or pavements just like Segways and hoverboards according to the legislation originally written in 1835 for the horse and carriage.
But, e-bikes are legal, as long as they have pedal assist and the power output is capped at 250W. More powerful e-bikes come under the e-mopeds category, and it requires a driving licence, registration, taxation and insurance as well.
However, Uber and other scooter companies like the Bird and Lime are hoping to launch on-demand scooters in Britain if the laws change. Change in legislation in the U.K could unleash a new battle on Britain’s congested streets without a doubt.
Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.