Uber is synonymous with cars, but according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, that will likely not always be the case. Rather, he sees electric scooters and bikes as the future the company should be fighting for.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Khosrowshahi told the paper that the nature of cities makes cars and even carpooling an awkward fit and that bikes and scooters make a lot more sense.
“During rush hour, it is very inefficient for a one-tonne hulk of metal to take one person ten blocks,” he said. “Short-term financially, maybe it’s not a win for us, but strategically long term we think that is exactly where we want to head.”
The company has made moves in this direction, purchasing San Francisco electric cycle startup Jump earlier this year as well as investing in electric scooter company Lime. Nonetheless, this is the first time the company has acknowledged that this advancement may be at the expense of the car business it became a household name with.
Related: Best Uber alternatives
Indeed, Khosrowshahi acknowledged that as the bike and scooter side of the money costs customers less, it could potentially hit the company’s bottom line. But in the long run, he believes it will be a boon to Uber, with customers taking more short journeys while saving the long ones for its regular car service. “We are willing to trade off short-term per-unit economics for long-term higher engagement,” he said.
For now, Jump bikes are only available in eight cities in the USA, but a European launch in Berlin is said to be imminent, with other countries to follow. Until bikes and scooters roll out more widely, Uber will have to rely on its regular drivers to turn in a profit for the company.
Would you prefer to rent an electric bike for your short cross-city journeys, or do you prefer your Ubers car-shaped? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter: @TrustedReviews