Uber sends thousands of electric bikes to the scrapheap

Uber electric bike rental in Rome, Italy.

Gennaro Leonardi | Pacific Press | LightRocket via Getty Images

Uber is scrapping thousands of multi-million dollar electric bikes and scooters after selling its Jump unit to mobility start-up Lime earlier this month.

The company said it had decided to “recycle” the old models that Lime did not want after concluding that it would be too complicated to sell them due to the maintenance and technical support they needed.

User Cris Moffitt shared images of the distinctive red Jump electric bikes destroyed in a North Carolina recycling center on social media on Wednesday, angering bicycle enthusiasts around the world.

Emily Eros, who recently retrieved her own bike, said on Twitter that the images were “hard to watch”.

Companies offering the sharing of electric bikes and electric scooters – including Uber – have put forward their ecological credentials, claiming that their fleets are more environmentally friendly. However, this escapade is likely to undermine these claims, especially since it comes at a time when the world is more than ever dependent on other modes of transport.

Uber acquired Jump for around $ 200 million in April 2018 and in December it promised to double its investment in electric bikes and scooters in 2020.

Earlier this month, Uber led a $ 170 million investment in Lime. As part of the agreement, Uber transfers the Jump division to Lime.

Uber wanted to point out that while many bikes and scooters are scrapped, “tens of thousands” of new models are being transferred to Lime.

“As part of our recent agreement, Lime has taken possession of tens of thousands of new Jump bikes and scooters,” said a spokesperson for Uber.

“We considered donating the remaining, older bikes, but given many important issues – including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and the lack of quality consumer charging equipment – we decided that the best approach was to recycle them responsibly.

A Lime spokesperson said: “As part of the Jump acquisition, we have taken possession of tens of thousands of electric bikes – including spare parts and tools to repair them – and have already started to deploy them.

“We have not recycled any of the Jump electric bikes in our fleet and we are committed to evolving and using them during this critical period. Once the transaction is officially completed, we plan to work with Uber to find sustainable ways to donate and reuse. all remaining electric bikes in their inventory. “

Electric bikes and electric jump scooters in Europe are not affected, as the agreement between Uber and Lime is not yet concluded on the continent.

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