🤘 Rad’s Big Raise
Plus, Austria’s go-anywhere ticket, Build Back Better’s glaring car bias, and Onewheel’s cool new rideables.
Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles, like e-bikes, scooters, and mopeds. 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
The latest version of Biden’s Build Back Better package is out and, on the matter of EV incentives, it’s a bit of mixed bag for micromobility enthusiasts.
The good news is that the deal restores the electric bike subsidy back up to 30%, after the House of Representatives tried to whittle it down to 15%.
The bad news is the subsidy for e-bikes is capped at $1,500 and will begin phasing out for purchases of more than $5,000 and for single filers who earn more than $75k/year. So we’re back to means-testing climate action, unfortunately.
The salt in the wound is that, by comparison, the reconciliation bill is insanely generous toward electric cars. Under the current proposal, an individual earning less than $400k/year would be able to claim up to $12,500 in tax discounts to purchase an electric vehicle (assuming it’s American- and union-made). Put another way, the US government wants to give out 8x more cash to spur electric car adoption, even though electric bikes create 30-60x less pollution. The incentives are all backwards.
The push to give people more money to buy cars is especially distressing in light of new data released by the USDOT this week that shows road fatalities spiked 18.4% year-over-year in the first half of 2021—the largest six-month increase ever recorded. More than 20,000 people died in motor vehicles crashes between January and June, a situation that DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg rightly called a “crisis.” So where’s the urgency to reduce the number of cars on the street?
Later today we’re co-hosting a digital panel with Curbivore about how cities are dealing with the legacy of 2020’s streatery, parklet, slow street, and bike lane boom. We want to know, can all this new infrastructure be made permanent? 🚧 🚲 🤔
Has any nation embraced the personal ownership model of micromobility more fully than the Netherlands? Despite the global proliferation of bike-share services in recent years, a new report by the Dutch government shows that rental systems only account for less than half a percent of all cycling trips in the bicycle-loving country.
China’s major bicycle manufacturers saw their profits surge 46.4% year-over-year in the first eight months of 2021, according to the Chinese government. Meanwhile, electric bike makers saw their profits swell by a respectable 23.9%.
Transportation expert Carlton Reid argues that, based on historical precedent, electric scooters will almost certainly be legalized in the U.K. following trials.
Rad Power Bikes has raised $154M from investors. The latest round makes Rad the best funded e-bike company in the world, a title VanMoof claimed for itself a little more than a month ago as investments in e-bikes boom.
A group of cities and mobility startups, including Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, and Spin, have agreed to 7 guidelines to keep rider data private.
How will regulators greet the emergence of ultra-fast e-bikes like VanMoof’s forthcoming 37mph “hyperbike?” “The longer they fall into a regulatory no man’s land, the higher the risk of a popular backlash that leads to regulatory overreactions or misidentification of the safety issues at stake.”
Aventon is planning to build a “highly automated” e-bike factory in the US, noting that high shipping costs from China have made on-shoring production more economical.
Onewheel has launched updates to its entry-level and flagship electric rideables: the Pint X and the GT. The utility-focused Pint X now has 12-18 miles of range (+2x), can reach speeds of 18mph (+2mph), and costs $1400; the sportier GT has 32 miles of range on a full charge (+60%), 50% more torque, and costs $2200.
Trip planning startup Moovit is now showing Bird scooters and e-bikes in its app.
A group of veteran micromobility operatives is pivoting from sharing e-scooters and e-bikes to selling them, launching a DTC startup called Mixte.
Relatedly, micromobility retailer Vene just launched a crowdfunding campaign to add 100 brick-and-mortar stores by 2024.
Opibus, a Kenyan EV startup, has raised $7.5M to begin large-scale production of motorcycles and buses in 2022.
Our pal Oliver Bruce breaks down why New Zealand is on the verge of a micromobility revolution. “If I told you that next year New Zealand will import more electric bikes and scooters than new cars, would you believe me? Probably not. But it’s true.”
Lyft and Washington DC are offering free 30-day Capital Bikeshare memberships to all residents while the city’s Metrorail system is operating at reduced service due to safety issues. Love to see bike-share and transit supporting one another.
Speaking of innovation in mass transit, Austria’s new Klimaticket, or climate ticket, has finally launched. The annual pass offers seamless access to all public transport nationwide for just $3.50 a day.
If you use shared mopeds, you are almost certainly contributing to the fight against climate change. A new report by INVERS and moped researcher Enrico Howe shows that a whopping 97% of the global moped-sharing fleet is currently electric, up from 77% last year.
Our co-founder Horace Dediu spoke about the future of micromobility, including city design, investment, safety, and more, as part of a panel on the Futureperfect podcast this week - check it out.
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.
Senior Electric Engineer @ Dance (Berlin)
France Operations Manager @ Upway (Paris)