Uber expands electric-bicycle rentals, enters Europe

The expansion comes after Uber bought Jump in April, the company’s first acquisition since Khosrowshahi joined the ride-sharing company as CEO last year.

By: | Updated: June 7, 2018 11:22 AM
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., left, presents the JUMP ride sharing hire-bicycle alongside Christoph Keese, chief executive officer of Axel Springer hy GmbH, during the Noah Technology Conference in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. announced it would roll out its on-demand electric-bicycle service to Europe, as it seeks to expand its international offerings to include more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation.Uber said Wednesday it aims to bring its Jump bike rental service to Berlin before the end of this summer, with other European cities to follow soon after.

"When you get onto these bikes and you pedal, you feel like Superman,” Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said at the Noah tech conference in Berlin as he was pushing a red Jump e-bike on stage. “This is potentially a replacement for Uber trips so that we can be bigger than just cars, we can be about mobility within a city, and we can help resolve the traffic issue every city is facing.”

The expansion comes after Uber bought Jump in April, the company’s first acquisition since Khosrowshahi joined the ride-sharing company as CEO last year. It fits into Uber’s wider strategy to branch out beyond offering traditional taxi-style rides, to include services such as food delivery to city travel in flying cars.

Uber will be entering a crowded bike-rental market. The German capital has a significant presence already from companies such as OBike, based in Singapore, China’s Mobike, and LimeBike, which also offers electric rides. These companies have moved aggressively into cities across Europe and the U.S. with app-based services that let customers find the nearest bike and leave it wherever they want after use.

Uber will also bring its UberGreen service of electric car rides to the German capital this year as it wants to promote the electrification of transport in cities across Europe.

The new products for Germany are an example of the "new Uber," the CEO said, which is trying to enter markets “through partnerships and dialog."

Germany has been a difficult market for Uber’s primary business units. It had to pull back its mainstay product of offering cheaper-than-taxi rides with private drivers amid legal challenges. Khosrowshahi, who has been on a charm offensive since he became CEO, pledged at a tech conference in Munich in January to expand more carefully in the country. It didn’t stop local taxi drivers demonstrating outside, whistling in protest over the competition from the U.S. giant.

The company already offers Jump bike rides in Washington D.C., San Francisco and other California cities, where customers can take 30-minute trips for $2 a ride on an electrically-assisted bicycle. Uber said it would provide more details on pricing for bike rides in Europe in the near future.

Similar fleets of bikes intended for short-term rental can be seen in cities worldwide, and sharing schemes of non-electric models have been in operation for decades. In London, about 11,500 public bicycles are available for an initial fee of 2 pounds ($2.68); some cities in China count their available two-wheelers in the hundreds of thousands, to the point that the popularity led to a government crackdown.

Do you know What is Automated Manual Transmission (AMT), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Anti-Lock Braking System, Power Steering? FE Knowledge Desk explains each of these and more in detail at Financial Express Explained. Also get Live BSE/NSE Stock Prices, latest NAV of Mutual Funds, Best equity funds, Top Gainers, Top Losers on Financial Express. Don’t forget to try our free Income Tax Calculator tool.

Get the latest cars price and upcoming bikes price in India exclusively at Financial Express. Stay tuned for new cars and bikes reviews, follow us on twitter, Facebook and subscribe us on YouTube for latest auto news.

Next Stories
12019 Jeep Renegade Facelift unveiled: Changes on most affordable Jeep and reasons that might make it a hit in India
2Maruti Suzuki Zen to return in a SUV avatar: Why Zen could be on Indian roads again
3Eye-catching modified Royal Enfield Himalayan that looks like the Triumph Street Twin!