Uber has scrapped thousands of electric scooters and bikes after selling its Jump unite to the e-scooter company Lime earlier this month. The destroyed vehicles were older models that Lime did not want.
Footage of the red Jump e-bikes being destroyed at a North Carolina recycling center was shared on May 27 on Twitter. Bike enthusiasts around the world expressed their anger and questioned why the vehicles could not have been donated.
According to CNBC, Lime didn’t want the older Jump bikes and scooters because the company concluded it would be too complicated to give them away due to the maintenance and technical support they’d need first.
Companies like Uber and Lime, which offer e-bike and e-scooter sharing, have previously talked up their green credentials and have said their fleets are more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation and ridesharing. Destroying thousands of vehicles, however, is likely to undermine those claims.
Uber acquired Jump for $200 million in April 2018, and the company has now transferred the division to Lime after investing $170 million in the company. Uber and Lime both responded to questions regarding why the vehicles had to be destroyed and what plans are for any remaining bikes and scooters.
According to Uber, “As part of our recent deal, Lime took possession of tens of thousands of new model Jump bikes and scooters. We explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes, but given many significant issues — including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment — we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them.”
A Lime spokesperson had this to say: “As part of the Jump acquisition, we took possession of tens of thousands of e-bikes — including the spare parts and tools to fix them — and have already begun to deploy them. We have not recycled any of the Jump e-bikes in our fleet and are committed to scaling and operating them during this critical time. Once the transaction officially closes, we plan to work with Uber to find sustainable ways to donate and re-use any remaining e-bikes in their inventory.”
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