Up until now, Bird has simply slapped their stickers and logos on a consumer level scooter manufactured by Ninebot, a Chinese scooter company. This consumer level scooter was never intended to be a commercial vehicle, and never intended to handle a commercial vehicle’s heavy fleet use. Bird has been using consumer level scooters for commercial level purposes.
Since riders don’t own the scooters, they have no incentive to treat them with care. The scooters, which are left outdoors 24/7, against manufacturer’s instructions, take a beating by riders, by disgruntled community members who don’t like them and knock them over, or throw them off balconies, and by the weather.
Today, Bird announced that it will be rolling out in the coming weeks “Bird Zero” – a custom “rugged” electric scooter model. Bird says the new model will provide a smoother and more stable ride because it will have:
- Solid core tires instead of air filled tires
- A wider riding deck
- A longer wheelbase with a lower center of gravity to create a more stable riding platform across a variety of ground surfaces
- Better lighting for increased visibility
The speed of the Bird Zero will remain the same: 15 mph.
Will the new, more rugged, Bird model translate into fewer scooter malfunctions and fewer injuries to scooter riders? Time will tell. We certainly hope so.