Uber is scrapping tens of thousands of its electric jump bikes, reports The Verge, weeks after offloading the bike share division on mobility firm Lime.
The deal came about as a result of a new $170 million funding round led by Uber which saw Lime acquire Uber’s bike and scooter business, Jump. The news of the funding round was first reported by The Information, which noted the deal would value Lime at $510 million – a 79% drop from its previous valuation.
By absorbing Jump, Lime is helping Uber to shed a significant portion of its cash losses. Lime’s scooters will be available to rent in Uber’s app, and vice versa with Uber’s Jump bikes and scooters in Lime’s app.
In a statement, Uber claimed it was ‘recycling’ many of Jump’s older bikes and scooters after transferring thousands of the newer models to Lime. However photos and videos of the scrapping circulating on social media have angered bike enthusiasts. Bike sales, and e-Bikes in particular, are booming in the US, which is currently facing a nationwide shortage of bicycles due to disruption to the global supply chain as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Uber, donating the Jump bikes and scooters en masse would prove too difficult due to the components requiring specialised technicians to maintain.
In its own statement, Lime concurred it had taken possession of ‘tens of thousands of e-Bikes’ as part of its deal with Uber. The firm said it had not yet recycled any of the Jump e-Bikes in its fleet and would instead scale and operate them during this time. Lime went on to confirm it planned to work with Uber to find sustainable ways to donate and re-use any remaining e-Bikes its inventory, once the transaction officially closes.
Uber acquired Jump for $200 million in 2018 in a bid to become a one-stop-shop for urban mobility, with the division owning 12,000 bikes in 40 cities and six countries. Uber launched Jump in London in May 2019, which quickly became the firm’s leading European city.