Uber Debuts JUMP Scooter Upgrades at Aeromobility Conference
At the aeromobility-focused Uber Elevate conference in Washington, D.C. this week—an event focused on the company’s ever-expanding efforts to make flying air-taxis a real thing—a very terrestrial gadget sat tucked in between multirotor helicopters and drone-based food delivery tech: A scooter.
The bright-red electric ride was a new version of Uber’s JUMP Scooter. Introduced on stage by Rachel Holt, head of Uber New Mobility, the upgraded scooter is a more robust and safety-enriched model than the previous version, which debuted last fall in what are now 20 or so cities around the country. It includes a more robust frame and larger wheels that help eliminate the tendency for scooters to trip over obstacles or jackknife themselves if the rider isn’t careful. It also includes a beefier bicycle-style hand brake that grabs both wheels.
The scooter’s appearance at Elevate coincided with the reveal of several new “vertiport” designs, several of which have designated stations for e-bikes and electric scooters. The Volary concept by Humphreys & Partners Architects includes accommodations for 150 of each, as well as a maintenance center for the rides. The idea, of course, is that the center become a mobility hub, with passengers flying in on the electric air taxis then using the scooters and bikes for their last-mile commutes to the office—repeating the process in reverse in the evening.
At the same time it unveiled the new scooters, Uber also announced an improved swappable battery for its JUMP e-bikes. Previous models could already be swapped, but only by maintenance personnel due to the complex connections required. The new version can be easily removed and replaced by riders themselves, allowing them to continue using the bike for longer periods by simply riding over to a battery station rather than having to hunt down a completely new bike.