Mobike: New e-bike

Mobike, the largest bike operator in the world based on number of bikes, is launching its own line of e-bikes. The Beijing-headquartered bike operator that launched in Washington, DC in 2017 had so far been using regular bikes for their bike-sharing programmes, but, according to an article by Time Out Shanghai, they are now adding e-bikes to the mix. 

Mobike have also teased their new launch through a video posted on their social media. 

The bike operator was recently acquired by the Chinese web company Meituan-Dianping for $2.7 billion. The move to electric bikes may be a way of getting a leg up on the competition - primarily, the Alibaba-backed Ofo, which only operates regular bikes in China. 

According to a report by the website Pandaily, Mobike's new electric bikes will have an advanced diagnostics system, which monitors the condition of the bike in real-time and will weigh in at 25.5kg (56lbs), which is expected to be around 10% lighter than the average e-bike used by other bikesharing companies. Users are expected to track the new bikes using the same app used for the provider's current bicycles.

Along with the release of information on the new electric bikes, Mobike announced that it will be returning all the deposits held (totalling $150m) to its users - a direct response to Ofo doing the same thing earlier in 2018. Through this initiative, the two providers aspire to make their individual bike-sharing networks available to anyone, without commitment of a large, upfront sum. 

As the bikeshare wars are heating up in the US, with NYC recently granting operation licenses to five bike operators, it will be interesting to see whether Mobike will launch its e-bikes in the US, or stick to the regular bikes currently on offer in Washington, DC. Could a new, potentially more advanced e-bike from the Chinese provider lure Americans away from LimeBike, Jump, and Spin?

Photo Credit: Mobike

Andrew Kyprianides