Uber’s new shared scooter is bigger, tougher, and stops faster
Uber has previewed a second-generation version of the Jump electric scooters it rents out in cities around the world. The new scooter looks mostly similar at a glance, bathed in day-glo red with “Jump” written in big, white block lettering. But this new scooter is bigger and made with a more durable frame. It also has bigger wheels for a more stable ride, and better brakes. Uber says the new scooter will start showing up in US cities on June 24th, and will make its way to Europe “later this summer.”
The scooter was previewed at Uber’s third-annual Elevate conference, which is dedicated to showing off the tech and ideas being built up for the company’s planned air taxi service. Uber also showed off a new swappable battery system for the e-bikes on its Jump shared network. (Uber bought Jump in April 2018.) Uber says that’s part of the next-generation version of the bikes, which the company plans to roll out “later this year.”
One of the biggest overhauls to the new scooter is the braking system. The thumb-lever brake on the first-generation scooter has been replaced with a type of hand brake more commonly found on bicycles. When squeezed, the hand brake will now stop both wheels, making it easier to slow down.
Uber didn’t offer any other specifications about the scooter when asked. Regardless, any effort to toughen up existing scooters could go a long way toward shoring up the business side of this service. Scooter sharing companies are bleeding money almost as fast as Uber and Lyft’s main ride-hailing businesses, and a big reason is that some of the scooters only last about a month or two under heavy use. To counteract this, most of these companies are partnering with new manufacturers to design custom scooters that are better suited for constant riding. Uber’s new scooters will likely change that calculus a bit, but it will have to hit the road before anyone knows how much closer the company is to making money on them.