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Bird flies east

A Bird scooter

Bird has its eye on cities in Europe and the Middle East

Electric scooter sharing company Bird has moved beyond its home market for the first time.

On August 1, the US company started operations in the French capital, Paris. This will be followed by a launch in Tel Aviv in the coming weeks.

Bird will start with a small pilot programme of 50-100 scooters, but has plans to add more if the operation is a success.

The scooters will initially be available in just three districts in the centre of Paris and on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Bird will gather data on how the vehicles are used and collaborate with city officials before deciding on a longer-term presence.

A month ago, Bird was valued at US$2 billion in its latest funding round, ahead of rival Lime, which was recently valued at US$1.1 billion.

However, the electric scooter rental market has been controversial. As a number of new companies seek to establish themselves, this has seen piles of electric scooters build up on pavements of a number of major cities.

Local governments have fought back, forcing the companies to scale back operations or even abandon whole markets.

Bird has given officials in Tel Aviv and Paris advance notice of its plans to rent outs its scooters in their cities in order to avert possible regulatory battles.

Bird will have to compete with smaller competitor Lime, which entered Paris in June and already has hundreds of scooters available there.

With a combined value of over US$3 billion, Lime and Bird, along with their many smaller rivals, will have to work hard to expand and prove that their not overvalued.

This will come as city governments try and regulate this new industry. Their efforts could ultimately restrict the ability of EV hire companies to operate, which will see a number of operators go out of business.

Bonjour Paris! Prêt pour l’envol?

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