Saturday 20 October 2018

Uber jumps into Europe's electric-bicycle market

Dara Khosrowshahi and Christoph Keese, CEO of Axel Springer
Dara Khosrowshahi and Christoph Keese, CEO of Axel Springer

Natalia Drozdiak and Stefan Nicola

Uber Technologies announced it would roll out its on-demand electric-bicycle service to Europe, as it seeks to expand its international offerings to include more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation.

Uber said yesterday it aims to bring its Jump bike rental service to Berlin before the end of summer, with other European cities to follow soon after.

"When you get onto these bikes and you pedal, you feel like Superman," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at the Noah tech conference in Berlin as he was pushing a red Jump e-bike on stage.

"This is potentially a replacement for Uber trips so that we can be bigger than just cars, we can be about mobility within a city, and we can help resolve the traffic issue every city is facing."

The expansion comes after Uber bought Jump in April, the company's first acquisition since Mr Khosrowshahi joined the ride-sharing company as CEO last year. It fits into Uber's wider strategy to branch out beyond offering traditional taxi-style rides, to include services such as food delivery to city travel in flying cars.

Uber will be entering a crowded bike-rental market. The German capital has a significant presence already from companies such as OBike, based in Singapore, China's Mobike, and LimeBike, which also offers electric rides. These companies have moved aggressively into cities across Europe and the US with app-based services that let customers find the nearest bike and leave it wherever they want after use.

Uber will also bring its Ubergreen service of electric car rides to the German capital this year as it wants to promote the electrification of transport in cities across Europe. (Bloomberg)

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