Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced that the company would be expanding beyond its traditional taxi rides with plans to roll out electric bike rentals in the German capital by the end of the summer, with more European cities to come.
It’s a move that raises eyebrows for a few reasons. European cities are already flooded with bicycles from electronic bike-sharing services like Obike, Limebike, and Ofo; Berlin alone has over 18,000 shared bikes from eight different companies.
Uber’s move to bring these bikes to Europe, along with the company’s announcement to launch the Uber Green electric car service later this year, look like moves to win back eco-friendly European markets that currently blacklist the company.
The electric bikes, where available based on indicated zones on the Uber app, are locked and unlocked with a pin sent by Uber. Their location is tracked via GPS. The bikes are dockless, so can be left locked at any public bike rack, which eliminates a significant infrastructure cost for Uber.