Futuristic forecasters will tell you that we are in the early stages of a micro-mobility revolution, one that will result in a wave of new electric vehicles appearing on city streets in the coming years as people look for convenient alternatives to automobiles.
Many of those same experts believe 2018 was the year of the electric scooter. Will 2019 be the year of a new vehicle known as the Bird Cruiser?
Last week, the e-scooter giant — which operates in more than 100 cities around the globe — unveiled the latest addition to its growing fleet: a seated electric vehicle that can accommodate up to two adults, which will be released in certain cities beginning this summer, according to the company.
"Bird's introduction of shared e-scooters spurred a global phenomenon and mode shift away from cars," Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird, said in a statement. "To further accelerate progress on our mission to make cities more livable, we are providing additional environmentally friendly micro-mobility alternatives — including Bird Cruiser."
Resembling a hybrid between a heavy-duty dirt bike and a slimmed down moped, the Bird Cruiser includes hydraulic disc brakes, a 52V battery and an LCD Matrix Display that will presumably contain information about power usage and speed.
The vehicle's flat, rectangular seat will be padded, the company said, and include either a pedal-assist or peg depending on rider preference.
The company did not reveal which cities the vehicle will be released in, how much a ride will cost, or what speed it's capable of reaching.
The company's scooters can go more than 15 mph, but have their speed tailored to local guidelines.
Licensing requirements for e-bikes vary by state and generally depend on whether the bike has a throttle and can reach certain speeds. Reached by e-mail, Bird said that licensing for the Cruiser will depend on how local jurisdictions classify the vehicle.
In places where Bird Cruiser is classified as a motorized scooter instead of an e-bike, the company said, state law generally requires riders to have a driver's license.