Update: This story was updated on Tuesday August 20.
Electric push scooter company Bird is set to launch in Australia imminently, with the US mobility startup on the hunt for a local general manager.
The scooter company has developed a reputation for dropping hundreds, even thousands, of battery-assisted dockless scooters on city footpaths in the US, the Middle East and Europe, with more than 100 cities having seen Bird's scooters show up. And the tech startup will soon start doing the same in cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
It's a similar strategy employed by competitor Lime, which has thousands of electric-assist bicycles on Sydney city streets, and Lime has rolled out a dockless scooter network in Brisbane, which launched in November 2018. More scooter rollouts are expected in Australia - Singapore-based Neuron scooters are also on Brisbane streets, while Adelaide has seen the rollout of Beam and Ride e-scooters as part of a trial in the CBD area.
Bird relies upon workers to collect and charge scooters before replacing them on the streets, similar to how Lime runs its e-bike fleet. However, in some markets, Bird offers the option to buy, rent or share scooters under its aim to "reduce traffic and pollution". Lime already has a program like that in place, with "juicers" paid to recharge its scooters while the brand's own operations team top-up its e-bikes.
The brand's current scooter fleet allows users to access their vehicles by using a smartphone app. You can search maps to find your nearest scooter, scan the QR code on the scooter, throw a helmet on, and scoot away.
There's a thumb-operated throttle on the right side for electric acceleration, though you need to push to start the scooter rolling. Braking is by way of a left-hand lever.
Stay tuned for more on Bird's plans in Australia.