Last month, Uber imported around 8,000 e-Bikes to the US from China within a span of two weeks, as reported by USA Today.
The ride hailing giant seems to be preparing for a significant expansion of its cycle fleet, putting its production on “fast forward.”
It’s likely that this mass importation was related to an increase in tariffs that took place on 1 January this year, as a result of Trump’s ongoing trade war with China, which saw the cost of importing bikes rise significantly.
As of the start of this year, tariffs have increased to 25% on $200 billion worth of imported goods from China to the US, including $1 billion in bike products.
According to USA Today, shipping invoices indicate the bikes were made by Hong Kong’s Progear China Co. and imported from China, with many initially destined for warehouses in California, however it’s unclear when and where Uber will roll out the e-Bikes.
The shipping invoices reveal the bikes were imported through a limited-liability company known as Social Bicycles; part of the dockless bike-sharing firm Jump, which Uber acquired last year.
Uber announced in October that it had started to trial charging stations for its shared e-Bike scheme in California, focusing on key locations such as stations.
According to statistics from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the US had more than 100,000 bikes in ride-sharing networks at the end of 2017, with JUMP’s rivals including: Limebike, MoBike, Ofo and Spin.