Bird's Electric Scooters Go International

By Karen Rice — Published August 01, 2018

Bird's Electric Scooters Go International

If you live in a city, chances are that you've run into an electric scooter or two. So it is no surprise that with demand on the rise, electric scooter startup Bird is taking steps to expand beyond the U.S. and is now a global business.

Bird hinted at wanting to expand to Europe earlier this summer, however, today, the startup worth $2billion will be launching a pilot program in Paris. Paris is aware of congestion issues and is known for being willing to try different methods to fight it. "Paris is very forward-thinking in solving congestion issues" claims Patrick Studener, Bird Head of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He also went on to state that it is one of the cities "that's dealing with the most congestion and pollution." After launching their scooters in France's capital, Bird will be able to see how well their service operates in a city with more than two million residents. “This is not a short-term project. There are hundreds of thousands of cars coming into Paris every day,” he continues. “Paris already has great infrastructure, but there are gaps in that infrastructure, and I think there are a lot of innovative companies like Bird helping fill those gaps.”

Aside for developments with Paris, Bird is also in negotiations with Tel Aviv University as they gear up to deploy scooters in Tel Aviv. Bird will charge 5 shekels to start and then 50 agorot per minute which works out around $1.30 to start and 20 cents per minute.

 “In both cities, we’ve started conversations at the national and city levels with officials,” Studener said. “Our approach is to be very collaborative. Almost every city that I’m speaking to, their north star is very much aligned with our north star — and that’s reducing car ownership.” Pilot projects in both Tel Aviv and Paris will start with 50-100 scooters and then scale up from there.

Studener and his team are actually based in Amsterdam so it is rather surprising that scooters have not yet been deployed there. However, Studener seems to be taking things one step at a time. He seems to have numerous plans in the pipeline including introducing Bird to the South African. In response to a question about why he is looking to deploy scooters to South Africa, he stated: “I definitely am keen to get that solution there as well because there is especially a very young and innovative population there that are very quick to adopt new solutions.”

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