Uber is a brand that’s synonymous with taxis, and yet the company could soon be shifting away from the vehicle that has helped make its millions and instead be offering you an electric scooter or bicycle.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi admitted that while it wouldn’t be a “win” in the short-term, the move to scooters and bicycles was something that made sense for the company’s future.
Mr Khosrowshahi said that, “during rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-tonne hulk of metal to take one person ten blocks.”
Instead he believes that Uber is in a unique position where it can reshape how we choose to go from A to B, whether that’s hiring a bicycle or jumping on the electric scooter bandwagon that’s becoming a craze in certain US an European cities.
Uber’s ready to put its money where its mouth is as well, having already invested heavily in a US-based electric scooter company called Lime which allows people to remotely hire the little scooters directly through the Uber app.
Earlier this year the company bought its own electric bicycle hire company called Jump.
While the UK is no stranger to the idea of hire bikes, it might have struck you as odd that you haven’t seen nearly as many electric scooters and the reason for that is quite simple: they’re illegal.
Thanks to an unusual quirk in UK law, electric scooters (along with hoverboards) are classed as Personal Light Electric Vehicles making them illegal both on pavements and roads.
In fact the only place you’re technically allowed to use them is on private land, restricting their use as a method of commuting quite significantly.
This doesn’t mean Uber’s moving away from cars completely, in fact Toyota has just announced a $500m partnership that will see both companies work together to create self-driving taxis.