🧮 Bird’s First Earnings Report
Plus, US advances ebike subsidy, Miami rugs scooters, and why the Netherlands may be the best country in the world for drivers.
Hi. You’re reading The Micromobility Newsletter. A weekly missive about battery-powered vehicles that are smaller than cars. That means electric skateboards, golf carts, and everything in-between. Hope you enjoy and subscribe.
A Modicum of Transport: The New Measure of Competition for Mobility
Meet the Modicum of Transport (MOT) - the horsepower of micromobility.
In a new article, Horace Dediu proposes a new metric to measure the energy and infrastructure cost of transporting one person one kilometer: 1MOT = 0.1kWh/kgkm
Full post on our blog.
What You Need to Know This Week
The case for why the United States should just give everybody an ebike, via the NYT, is pretty hard to refute: “Seriously, just give everyone a free ebike.” Many people are saying this…
The US probably won’t hand out free ebikes anytime soon, but it is trying to make battery-boosted cycling accessible to more people. The Build Back Better package passed by the House this week includes both bike commuter benefits and a 15% ebike tax credit. Because the ebike subsidy only applies to models that cost less than $5,000, the maximum credit available to commuters would be $750. Next up, we’ll see what the Senate does with the bill.
By gamifying commuting and giving out rewards those who walk, bike, or scoot instead of drive, a London suburb was able to reduce its morning traffic by 53%.
Here’s a hot take: The Netherlands is the best country for drivers precisely because it puts walking, biking, and transit ahead of cars.
Check out this extraordinary visualization of the 20th-century highway boom, which shows what happens when urban planners decide it’s more important for cars to be able to visit cities than for people to be able to live in them.
Honda is testing out a new technology in Japan that allows cars to text nearby pedestrians and tell them to basically get the hell out of the way.
The EU announced its 2020 road fatalities dropped 17% from 2019. Compare that to the US, where last year the number of people who were killed in traffic collisions jumped 7% to the highest total since 2007. Never forget, safer roads are possible.
Porsche is trying to get a piece of the ebike boom by acquiring Greyp, a Croatian startup that makes high-end pedelecs with carbon-fiber frames and premium components. Some might even call Greyp the Porsche of ebikes.
Miami suddenly cancelled its shared scooter pilot on Thursday, ordering operators to deactivate their fleets the very same day. The three-year-old program was nixed overnight due to safety concerns, even though the risk scooters pose to pedestrians is negligible compared to cars. Hours before the Board of Commissioners approved the ban, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was at the Comotion LA conference extolling the virtues of micromobility as a means to decongest and decarbonize urban road networks. Mayor Suarez, we have an idea for how you can help bring your city into the future: give people more freedom to ditch their cars.
In its first publicly reported earnings, Bird slightly missed third-quarter expectations, even though its revenue went up 63% year-over-year. Shared bikes and scooters accounted for nearly all of the micromobility startup’s total revenue. But Bird also has a growing business in selling LEVs straight to consumers. The company says millions of dollars worth of ebikes and scooters are on backorder due to supply chain disruptions.
Cowboy is launching a subscription maintenance service for its connected ebikes in 20 cities in the US and Europe. For $20/month, Cowboy Care covers cleaning the bike, tightening screws, replacing parts, and fixing flat tires wherever owners might be. With the addition of mobile support, Cowboy joins other DTC ebike companies like Rad Power and VanMoof that have raised millions to create networks of traveling technicians to do at-home repairs.
Boston’s new mayor proposed a plan for fare-free transit on her first day in office.
What a difference a little sunshine makes. Between Q2 and Q3, shared mobility usage (including bikes, scooters, mopeds, and cars) surged 25% in Europe, confirming once again that shared micromobility is most definitely a seasonal business. (h/t Julien Chamussy)
From Unagi to Ride Vision, more and more startups are looking to computer vision to enhance micromobility safety. Today Streetlogic announced a $2.1M pre-seed raise and launched preorders for an ebike ADAS system: “a surround-view camera that can predict front, side, and rear collisions and notify riders in order to prevent accidents.”
How Americans’ appetite for leather in luxury SUVs is accelerating Amazon deforestation.
Here’s an interesting thread in which transport experts debate Elon Musk’s claim that the concept of induced demand in highway planning is “irrational.” Tl;dr Musk is right that you technically could build past congestion by adding road capacity through tunneling, but the real-world costs would be unimaginable.
Map of parking reform in the US, Canada, and Mexico (h/t Henry Grabar)
Chip shortages are delaying deliveries of Ola’s much-anticipated S1 and S1 Pro electric mopeds.
Speaking of which, China’s Niu sold almost 400k e-mopeds in Q3 - up 58% year-over-year. Niu also teased plans to announce a new EV this week. Some are speculating that the company is going to officially launch its enclosed three-wheeler concept, the TQi.
When it comes to convincing people to drive less, messaging can make all the difference. A new study shows that 63% of Americans support “shifting trips,” while only 34% back “reducing driving.”
A team of architects were tasked with coming up with a proposal for a New York City street that balances the needs of all road users—from DoorDashers and wheelchair users, to ride-hail cabs and families with strollers—without going too over-the-top idealistic. Here’s what they came up with.
Let’s close with some fundraising news:
French mobility data startup Vianova has raised $3M in seed funding.
Estonia-based Ampler, announced it landed $8.6M to expand across Europe.
Berlin-based Avocargo, a free-floating service that rents e-cargo bikes on-demand, closed a “seven-digit” pre-seed round. (Related: Why the e-cargo bike is the new mini van.)
Zembo, a French startup that sells electric motorcycles in Uganda through a lease-to-own program, has raised $3.4M to scale up in Africa.
On the latest episode of the podcast, Oliver Bruce talks to micromobility researcher Enrico Howe and Alexander Gmelin of INVERS GmbH about the state of moped sharing globally. Some top stats:
🔋 97% of shared mopeds are now electric
📈 The global fleet has grown ~2x since 2019
🇮🇳 Indian two-wheeler makers gaining on the EU, China, and Taiwan
Jobs to Be Done
Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post open positions in hopes of connecting our talented readers with professional opportunities in the burgeoning world of new mobility. Find out who’s hiring below and sign up for the newsletter to view fresh listings every week.
Hit reply if you have a job that you’re interested in listing.
People & Operations Generalist (Tempe)
Real Estate Finance Analyst (remote or Tempe/Dallas)
Senior Software Engineer (remote or Tempe/SF)
Partnerships Manager @ NoTraffic (US)
Regional Operations Manager - Europe @ Upway (Paris)
Senior Project and Research Officer @ CoMoUK (UK)