How long do those e-scooters last? Not long

Despite the popularity of electric scooter rentals that are proliferating in the Washington area and other big cities, profitability for the companies is challenged by, among other things, the need to constantly invest capital to replace them.

Scooter companies are beginning to address that challenge by investing in more durable scooters.

E-scooter company Bird, one of several companies with fleets of scooters deployed around the Washington, D.C. region, said when it first hit the streets two years ago, the consumer-grade scooters it was using lasted three months, at best, because of the abuse and constant use the e-scooters were getting.

Last year, Bird began upgrading its fleet with what it dubbed Bird Zero scooters, more commercial-grade versions built for sustainable use that it says will last on average more than 10 months in the sharing environment because of durability and increased battery capacity.

Now it is introducing even more durable scooters it calls Bird One, based on the Xiaomi Mijia M365 model.

“Bird One builds on the benefits and learning of Bird Zero, and is forecasted to last in the sharing environment for well over a year,” said Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden.

The Bird One also has battery life that lasts two times longer, giving it greater range between when the company needs to collect and recharge the scooters.

Bird is testing monthly scooter rentals in San Francisco, and monthly rentals may come to D.C. It has now moved into the business of selling its scooters. They sell for about $1,300

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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