🤯 How big are e-bikes in China?

Plus, what Biden's infrastructure bill means for cities, how to reduce your transport emissions by 67%, and why WFH won't save the planet.

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by lightweight electric vehicles. The reason you’re reading this email is that you signed up on our website or came to one of our events.

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What You Need to Know This Week

  • Regular readers of this newsletter already know that e-bikes are massively popular in China, so much so, in fact, that electric bikes outnumber cars on China’s roads by about 20m. Now new data sheds light on the sprawling industry that is fueling urbanites’ demand for two-wheelers. In 2020, China’s e-bike sector had more than 50,000 manufacturers—an astonishing 83% increase from the year before—pumping out a variety of models that cost anywhere from $200 to $600. In total, 223,000 Chinese companies were in businesses related to the e-bike industry as of February.

  • Of all the proposals announced in President Biden’s sweeping infrastructure bill last week, probably none has received more attention than the plan to spend $174b on encouraging electric cars. But the bill also includes plenty to please those who don’t believe Americans should rely on cars to go everywhere, including doubling federal funding for mass transit, prioritizing repairing roads rather than building them, allocating $20b for Vision Zero, and more.

  • Millions of ABC viewers were introduced to the concept of e-cargo bikes in a recent episode of Shark Tank in which Aaron Powell of Texas-based Bunch Bikes pitched two-wheelers as a sustainable solution for last-mile deliveries. In the end, the startup landed $250k from Barbara Corcoran and Robert Herjavec.

  • Choosing a bike over a car just once a day reduces an average person’s carbon emissions from transport by 67%, according to an Oxford researcher.

  • In 2020, the number of users on Seoul’s public bike-share service rose by 24% from the previous year to reach 2.78 million.

  • Google Maps is rolling out a bunch of new features, the most interesting of which is indoor AR directions for malls, transit stations, and airports. The latest update also includes a feature that gives drivers the option to take a longer but greener route to their destination.

  • Saudi micromobility startup Gazal has raised $2m in seed funding.

  • European cities that added bike infrastructure during the pandemic saw cycling increase by 11% to 48% more than cities that did not build new bike lanes.

  • Too bad the U.S. seems to be taking a different approach. According to a Boston University survey of 138 American mayors, most cities either did not add bike lanes, outdoor dining, wider sidewalks, or open streets during the pandemic, or if they did, they do not plan on keeping them permanently.

  • An Irish mechanic in London has developed a kit to transform classic Vespa mopeds into clean-riding electric machines.

  • More evidence that WFH isn’t going to save the planet: A new study from California finds that telecommuters actually drive more overall than those who commute to work.

  • Every year an estimated 5.3m people die from causes related to inactive living—a catastrophic health crisis that urban design can help solve.

Pod People

The latest episode of the podcast focuses on the software layer of micromobility, with Oliver Bruce interviewing Jameson Detweiler of Fantasmo about the challenges of geolocating vehicles with GPS, the emergence of camera-based positioning systems, and Fantasmo’s newly announced parking verification technology for scooters and bikes.

It’s a great, in-depth discussion for those whose work touches on geolocation or parking compliance. Check it out below.


Jobs to Be Done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post open positions in hopes of connecting our 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.

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