Uber have been slammed for allegedly dumping as many as 20,000 useable Jump e-bikes. It's thought the reason behind this is due to an older generation of the bike being incompatible with the technology included in the latest version, of which the fleets worldwide are now being managed by Lime following a £136 million deal.
‼️RT to MAKE A CHANGE‼️— Cris Moffitt (@CrisMoffitt) May 22, 2020
Hey @JUMPbyUber, why is this happening? TEN semi loads of good bikes🚲trashed⁉️ Let's collaborate on a non-profit to repaint & repurpose these. Give kids transportation to their first jobs👧👦@Casey want to help?🙏 pic.twitter.com/N8Uv82tr1B
The row began in late May, when Cris Moffitt uploaded footage to Twitter that alleged to show perfectly good Jump e-bikes being scrapped. Since then, a tangled web unfolded in which Lime were accused of doing the scrapping, before Uber admitted in a statement to NBC that they decided the best way to dispose of the older generation bikes was to "responsibly recycle" the bikes themselves, while having the electronic components disposed of.
The full statement from Uber read: "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."
According to bikeshare advocates Bike Share Museum, the problem is that the older Jump 5.5 models cannot work on the same system as the new 5.8 models. Not only this, but the 5.8 has firmware that was designed fully in-house by Jump engineers employed by Uber, who the company then let go when they sold Jump to Lime. The system was problematic, so Lime are now allegedly left with new e-bikes that they must get working smoothly themselves with no user manual. They weren't able to repurpose the old bikes because of the numerous concerns outlined by Uber.
Bike Share Museum describe the scrapping as "disgusting" and claim the bikes could have been used, saying: "The Li-Ion (battery) problem can be solved by removing the pop-out 36V battery pack (while not user swappable, the 5.5’s battery pops out from the side with a small key). This allows for responsible cell recovery and eliminates the additional risks of a motorised bicycle."
Loads. Almost back to pre-virus levels. pic.twitter.com/IEAgNbE6PD— Pedal Assist (@pedal_assist) May 24, 2020
So, what next? Various people have noticed that Lime e-bikes are once again popping up around London, rumoured to be plugging the gap left by Jump's older e-bike models. We've asked Lime for a comment.