Bird will now sell you a high-tech, modestly-priced, lightweight electric scooter.
The new model is called the Air. Designed by former aerospace and automotive engineers, it’s made from the same type of aluminium that is used for building planes, has tyres which will vigorously avoid deflating and weighs less than 14kg, which makes it suitable for lugging up the stairs.
Despite being light enough to float away, the Air can carry up to 100kg, which is a decent-sized rider plus small bag. Top speed is 16mph, range is quoted at 16 miles and there are LED lights front and rear. The American price tag is USD $599 (around £470).
The Air is a pretty funky-looking thing and its price tag and battery capacity compare well with the other model you can buy from Bird. The Bird One, a heavier-duty unit that’s instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the shared e-scooter systems that Bird has pioneered, comes with 25 miles of range but asks for 999 greenbacks (around £780). That’s 300 dollars for nine miles of range and a few more frills.
This new model is designed to deal with short urban commutes that would otherwise be spent in a car or crammed into a public transport space too small to socially distance. Of course, those are exactly the journeys that Birds’ rental models are designed to service. At an average ride cost of £3 each way on a shared scooter, a rental customer who takes two trips a day would have parted with the cost on an Air inside four months.
But the company is so convinced that micromobility can help transform our pollution-choked cities that it doesn’t mind if you buy or rent an Bird e-scooter. The new Air will also update itself via the cloud, just like a Tesla.
The bad news (apart from the fact that you can’t legally ride one of these on public roads in the UK right now) is that the new Air won’t be available to international buyers until November. Boo.