A year ago, Bird first launched, and today, the scooters, they’re on most every single block. They’ve expanded to dozens of cities across the country and really across the world, and many people now use them as part of their daily lives and their daily commute.
In this video, I was in Santa Monica, California, the home of Bird, where the scooter sharing craze first began. I took at look at their new scooter, and gave it a review. Check out the video and transcript below!
Scooter competition is heating up
Just recently, we’ve seen the launch of Lyft Scooters here in Santa Monica, and we’ve even seen Uber’s Jump Bikes starting to expand to some cities. Some of the stuff is the same technology with a different name slapped on, but there are also some really cool hardware innovations being rolled out on the streets.
Now, the thing to keep in mind is that when these scooters first hit the streets, these were all personal vehicles, so Bird and other companies have really adapted them to commercial use, and we’ve seen that. Some of the scooters in the past don’t have that long of a life, but I think this model today that we’re about to take a look at is really one of the first scooters we’ve seen that’s been specifically built for commercial use, and that really shows.
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You might’ve seen these new seen these new Birds out on the street, and if you’re lucky, you may have even gotten a chance to ride it. Everyone, almost everyone who rides these things describes it with a very specific word, “the tank.” I think we’re going to have to call this Bird, The Tank.
Bird is debuting a scooter by Electisan, we call it The Tank
The other scooters that we reviewed in the past and that Bird is using out there are the Xiaomi M365 and the Segway ES2. These are variations of consumer products, but the Bird Tank, it’s a little different and let’s find out why. Let’s bring in Ezra to take a look at some of the specific details of this new model.
The Tank over here is made by a company called Electisan. They also make personal scooters similar to the Segway ES2 that you’ve seen used by Bird and Lime as well.
Let’s take a look at this thing. It weighs 40 pounds, which is almost 50% heavier than a Segway ES2 or a Xiaomi M365, and it’s taller, longer, and wider as well. Now, everything about this scooter says heavy duty and high quality. It has a bright digital readout showing speed and battery level. It’s got that wide riding deck. And it’s got rubber tires and a mechanical break. Now, the battery is contained in the deck, and there is a small box on the front which likely holds GPS hardware. The charging port on this one is on the right side of the deck. There are no official specs out for the Bird Tank, so we decided to do a little testing of our own.
Some specifications we discovered about the new scooter
I found a nice little one-mile test track in my neighborhood. And the Bird Tank covered 13 miles and only used about 60% of its battery. So it still had 40% of its batter remaining. Meaning that for the average rider, we can assume a range of well over 20 miles, which is really impressive. The huge battery on this thing does equal a longer range, but it also means that it takes longer to charge, almost seven hours for a full charge. But I think what everybody wants to know is what’s it like to ride. Let’s go ahead and take it for a spin.
It’s a bigger Bird, it’s more stable. It’s got that nice riding deck in the back, especially if you’re a bigger person or you have larger feet or whatever, you just have a lot more room. It’s kind of like an SUV. It’s like the Escalade of electric scooters. It does have this nice mechanical brake. Some people don’t like the regenerative brakes as much, and most of your braking’s gonna be coming from the mechanical break on this one.
It is lacking a little bit in that initial pickup. I think it’s probably a safety mechanism because they don’t want anybody to just fly right when they jump on the scooter and lose control. You’ve got just a little bit of a delay when you floor that throttle over here. But otherwise it rides really nice and stable. You can corner and really lean into those corners because you have this nice low heavy center of gravity.
The Tank feels safer and more sturdy
I think what I like most about the tank is that it feels a lot safer when you’re riding. It’s got a nice big base and the scooter is a lot heavier, so when you’re going over those bumps and cracks and things like that, it feels like you’re not gonna fall off. I know at times on the other scooters it can be a little bit rickety. I like that I can also ride with one hand on this scooter so I can make my little turn signals and do everything by the book, use one hand, hopefully not using my phone. But definitely that’s what I’ve enjoyed riding the scooter.
What about Bird Chargers? How does the new scooter affect the experience?
We’ve ridden the tank. But what about charging it? For Bird chargers who collect, recharge, and deploy scooters every day, the Tank presents actually a whole new set of challenges. The first thing you notice is it’s a lot heavier than other Birds were used to dealing with. It’s gonna be a lot more difficult to load into and out of your vehicle. And when you’re transporting them, it’s also larger.
So if you do transport your Birds or your scooters in a vehicle, you won’t be able to fit as many. And then you also have to be a little bit more careful when stacking these because they do weigh so much that once you have five, 10 Birds in a stack, these could probably do some damage if they hit a weak point somewhere on something below them. So you have to keep that in mind.
The Tank takes longer to charge
And one of the other things you have to consider is because the batteries are much larger, they’re gonna take a longer time to charge and require more electricity. But, it’s not all bad news for chargers when it comes to these. They do have these new QR codes on them which scan really easily and better than other birds. And then also, the GPS tracking and connectivity on these are very reliable, so capturing and releasing these birds is easy. None of the communications issues you sometimes have with the other models, so that’s really nice.
With the extra time and effort and electricity required for charging these Tanks, you do have to think that Bird will probably consider paying a premium to chargers for taking care of these because it does take a little more time and effort to do them, and at the same time, since they have these longer ranges, they should be able to generate more revenue on these throughout the day.
Bird is evolving, and that’s good
We had a lot of fun riding these scooters around. And definitely for me, I feel that this version of Bird scooters is a lot safer. So I’m happy, and I think it’s also cool to see the evolution from one model to the next. In just a few short months and less than a year we’ve seen a few different models of scooters. And they’re clearly getting better in every aspect. If you guys have these scooters in your city I’d love to hear from you.
I’d love to know what you think about the new Bird model, the Tank, as we’re calling it. If you think it’s safer, if you think it’s better, definitely let me know below in the comments. And if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out.
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