We’ve been reporting on the Bird Cruiser a fair amount lately as we keep getting clues about its imminent release. The format has proven to be popular with the masses, and everyone wants to know when Bird’s electric moped will be released to the public. But as it turns out, Scoot has beaten Bird to it, and rolled out the first rentable electric mopeds based on the Bird Cruiser platform.
When I say “based on the Bird Cruiser platform,” what I basically mean is that this is a Bird Cruiser with Scoot branding.
Which makes sense, as Bird acquired Scoot earlier this summer with the goal of expanding its scooter-sharing business. Scoot also offers electric kick scooters for rent, but its main vehicles have been the GenZe 2.0 electric scooters that take on a Vespa-style seated riding position.
Now we’re seeing the first Scoot Cruiser electric mopeds on the streets, despite Scoot making no public announcement or even acknowledging their existence. But there are already a few of these Scoot Cruiser mopeds parked at curbs around Los Angeles, and they are reportedly rentable using the Bird application.
A Scoot Cruiser electric moped — photos by Instagram user @tkseward
All clues point to this being a soft launch for the new Scoot Cruiser as the company slowly begins testing the new electric moped platform with the public.
The Scoot Cruiser can reportedly reach speeds of 20-30 mph (32-48 km/h), with the exact speed being limited depending on city regulations. Because Scoot has not yet made any announcements regarding the launch, details are a bit fuzzy. But one source familiar with the vehicles indicated that pricing is around 16 cents per minute, making it an affordable ride that can travel faster than most shared e-scooters.
We’ve reached out to Scoot for comment, but haven’t heard back by the time of publication.
Is this the hottest new e-bike platform for 2020?
The Bird or Scoot Cruiser uses a moped-style platform, even if it lacks any functional pedals. It is powered by a rear hubmotor and a 52V lithium-ion battery. We don’t have full specs on the battery, but it is likely a nearly 1 kWh battery offering approximately 30-40 miles (48-64 km) of range per charge, perhaps more if ridden at slower speeds.
The electric moped lacks front suspension but sports dual coilover shocks in the rear. Combined with the fat tires and plush bench seat, it looks like a fairly comfortable ride for a little motorbike.
That long bench seat also offers something that Bird and Scoot’s kick scooters don’t: The ability to carry a second rider.
Pillion pegs on the back provide foot rests for the passenger, and Bird’s app even includes a hidden video tutorial for the Bird Cruiser showing two riders on the Cruiser at once. There are also grab handles near the rear of the seat.
The moped-esque platform is becoming a common one that has drawn significant interest from manufacturers and customers alike in the last few months.
Juiced Bikes, a popular Southern California e-bike manufacturer, also unveiled a similar 30 mph (48 km/h) electric moped-style e-bike last month.
If it looks similar to the Bird or Scoot Cruiser, that’s not accident. Juiced Bikes apparently worked with Bird to develop the cruiser using a similar platform.
Other companies like ONYX are also seeing success with electric mopeds.
ONYX ran a successful crowdfunding campaign last year for its 30 and 60 mph (48 and 97 km/h) electric mopeds. ONYX’s electric mopeds are so popular that they’re already bringing in celebrity clients, recently completing a custom electric moped for Snoop Dog.
Again, if these mopeds look similar to the Bird Cruiser, there’s a reason for that as well. ONYX’s original founder and designer Timothy Seward was hired by Bird to design its new vehicles after they saw his success with building electric mopeds at ONYX.
There are also a number of other e-bikes on the market as well that adopt mini-bike or moped style frames. Amazon has a slew of them from various Asian exporters. Rad Power Bikes recently released the RadRunner electric utility bike that uses a design similar to these moped-esque electric bikes. And other companies such as Super73 have helped grow the resurgence of this e-bike style. Check out my review of a Super73 e-bike below:
While electric kick scooters likely aren’t going anywhere soon, this new electric moped-style format holds a number of advantages. These vehicles are more stable, can carry passengers, travel at higher speeds, and have less chance of being swallowed up by a pothole.
In my opinion, these attributes are a big improvement over common electric scooters.
I still believe smaller standing scooters have their place. But the safety and comfort improvement of the Bird Cruiser-style vehicles can’t be ignored.
I think we’ll be seeing a number of new designs like this in 2020, and not just in rentables. Juiced Bikes is already selling their own e-moped, and I expect to see more manufacturers and retailers jumping on the e-moped bandwagon soon.
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