Jeramey Jannene
Transportation

Forget Scooters, Bird Debuts Electric Mopeds

Dockless, rentable "Bird Cruiser" will debut this summer. Will it come to Milwaukee?

By - Jun 6th, 2019 03:52 pm
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Bird Cruiser. Image from Bird.

Bird Cruiser. Image from Bird.

Before the State of Wisconsin can legalize electric scooters, venture capital-backed mobility firm Bird may be on to the next thing.

Bird, one of the leading rentable scooter operators, dropped off approximately 100 smartphone-enabled scooters on Milwaukee streets last June. The surprise move, which prompted an acrimonious case between Bird and the City of Milwaukee, resulted in a truce that the company would pull back its scooters and return when the state created a legal framework for them.

But Bird has already winged off to another idea. The company announced it is releasing an electric moped this summer.

The vehicle, through its inclusion of pedals, appears poised to avoid the legal pitfalls the scooters have encountered, but a final version is not yet available. It has many similarities to electronic-assist bicycles increasingly spotted on Milwaukee streets.

“To further accelerate progress on our mission to make cities more livable, we are providing additional environmentally friendly micro-mobility alternatives—including Bird Cruiser,” said Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden in a statement. “Designed and engineered in California, Bird Cruiser is an inclusive electric-powered option that is approachable, easy-to-ride and comfortable on rough roads.”

The vehicles can accommodate two riders, a change from scooters or dockless bikes.

The electric mopeds come with 20-inch wheels, disc brakes, a 52-volt battery and a custom motor designed to handle hills. But how fast can they go? The company isn’t saying for now.

The company promises to release the vehicle to a few test markers this summer. The California-based company currently operates in more than 100 cities across the world.

Similar to the scooters, the Bird Cruiser will be dockless. The company envisions it being parked anywhere a bike can be parked. The scooters are available via a smartphone application for $1 per ride plus 15 cents per minute.

Meanwhile in Madison, a bipartisan proposal to legalize the scooters continues to make its way through the Assembly and Senate. For more on that proposal, see our coverage from May 8th.

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More about the Bird vs Milwaukee Controversy

Categories: Transportation

One thought on “Transportation: Forget Scooters, Bird Debuts Electric Mopeds”

  1. Jeffjay60 says:

    Having been a moped owner, I have to say speed is important. A cruising speed (not the same as top speed) should be at least 45mph.
    What does one of these things retail for?

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