Bird zips past Lime as top-rated app

Used bikes and cars are the new gold, China’s moped-riding food couriers get some relief, and urbanism’s latest buzz term is "six-foot cities."

Hello and welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, a weekly missive about mobility, mostly mobility in cities by small electric vehicles like bikes and scooters. 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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Our next guest is…

Transit is in trouble. Not only do bus and train systems need to bring back commuters to avoid financial ruin, they need to do so in a way that doesn’t put their health at risk. The challenge—how to make mass transit socially distanced—seems impossible on its face. Luckily, solving such imponderables is Rachel Haot’s speciality.

As the Executive Director of the public-private Transit Innovation Partnership, Haot has been procuring cutting-edge digital tools to help solve some of New York’s most intractable public transportation problems for years. On September 24, she will join us for a far-reaching livestream Q&A to discuss how global cities can use new technologies to bring riders back to public transit safely and efficiently.

Become a member—free for 30 days—to get access to this and all other virtual events.

Learn more

Bird overtakes Lime as top-rated scooter app

Bird has narrowly overtaken Lime as the top-rated scooter app in the world.

In August, Bird’s user rating sat at 4.85/5, which for the first time ever in our tracking, was slightly higher than Lime’s score, 4.84/5. Bird achieved this coup without actually improving its rating from July. Instead, Lime’s performance dropped a bit amid a wave of issues related to their day pass and payment system, while Bird’s stayed the same.

Read full report

Prabin Joel Jones is the CTO of BOND Mobility, a premium speed e-bike sharing operator based in Zurich.

Landscape 2.2

The latest version of the Micromobility Landscape, our ongoing effort to catalogue and classify every company in the lightweight electric vehicle space, has arrived.

This month’s edition includes 15% more firms as well as a brand-new section devoted to subscription services, which have been exploding as micromobility riders seek out alternatives to high-turnover shared devices.

View the full report and submit your company to be added next 👇

View report

What you need to know this week

  • Another study confirms shared micromobility’s ascendance on the eve of the pandemic. According to a new report by NABSA, North American riders took 157 million trips across 194,000 shared scooters and bikes in 2019. Thirty-six percent of those journeys replaced a car trip, offsetting 65 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

  • Much of that demand has shifted to owned micromobility since the pandemic hit. Several e-bike and e-motorcycle makers are on track to triple their sales this year, and Halfords, the UK’s largest brick-and-mortar cycling retailer, is reporting a 230% increase in e-bike and e-scooter sales.

  • An interesting new study aims to quantify the amount of CO2 that is emitted by cycling and walking in the form of food production required to support the physical activity. (We’d be very keen to see the math for e-bikes.) “The GHG emissions associated with food intake required to fuel a kilometre of walking range between 0.05 kgCO2e/km in the least economically developed countries to 0.26 kgCO2e/km in the most economically developed countries. Emissions for cycling are approximately half those of walking.”

  • The Pro’s Closet, an online marketplace for preowned bikes, raised $12 million in Series A round led by led by Foundry Group and Edison Partners. Relatedly, used-car prices in the US crept up 5.4% in August, the biggest monthly increase since March 1969. This rising demand for old cars is tightly correlated to growing inflation. “It contributed 40% to the core inflation index, which strips out items that tend to be volatile in price, like food and energy.”

  • HumanForest, a dockless, ad-supported e-bike platform based in London, raised $2.3 million in funding. In exchange for viewing ads in the app, users get 20 minutes of free ride time per day.

  • In a new study commissioned by Nuro, Steer Group forecasts that, between 2025 and 2035, last-mile AV delivery services will generate $4.1 trillion in economic activity, prevent 348,000 road injuries, and save 407 million tons of CO2 emissions.

  • On that note, Tortoise just teased a teleoperated delivery vehicle that is capable of carrying over 100 lbs of goods in modular containers.

ImageJuiced HyperScrambler 2
  • While we’re talking long-distance performance, France’s Red Electric debuted an electric moped with over 186 miles of range.

  • Former Tesla president and Lyft COO Jon McNeill is joining Tier as the head of a new advisory board. Also, York selected Tier for its first scooter trial. The Berlin-based operator is betting big on Britain and this pilot appears to be its first in the country.

  • Shared micromobility platform Hopr has launched a digital storefront for sales and rentals.

  • Bird and Lime have added 3.9 million and 2.6 million new users since May, respectively. While the two leading scooter startups are now seeing more app downloads per week than they just before the pandemic began, they gained fewer new users this summer than last.

Lime & Bird app downloads
  • Just a few days after debuting a new fleet of e-bikes, Portland’s bike-share system suspended service due to hazardous air quality caused by the Oregon wildfires.

  • Yulu has deployed light e-mopeds in Mumbai.

  • Google’s Waze is laying off 5% of its staff and shuttering its offices in APAC and LATAM.

  • Tarform’s new Luna is a high-tech e-motorcycle for people who cringe at choppers and leather jackets.

  • Spin is offering scooter passes, with one-hour, two-hour, and full-day rental options.

  • In a new report, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association explores six challenges of micromobility—oversight, funding, data collection, enforcement, infrastructure, and education—and the role State Highway Safety Offices can play to help address them.

Micromobility Fatalities
  • The British city of Leeds is offering residents free e-bikes for two weeks to get them out of cars.

  • Metz Mecatech, German maker of e-bike and e-scooter motors, is shutting down.

  • Former NYDOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is calling on urban planners to envision “six-foot cities” for the age of social distancing.

  • Imagine going 34 mph on an electric skateboard with almost no fear of falling. With the right suspension, Portugal’s Hunter Board believes it’s possible.

  • After Boris Johnson was photographed riding a Lime scooter last week, we asked our community if they could think of any other prominent world leaders who had been seen using a micromobility device lately. Then, a few hours later, this happened. Shoutout to to Henri Moissinac and Martin Lefrancq for tagging us.

Pod people

“I’d been searching for how to make a future happen where all micromobility vehicles talk to each other. I always thought this was about MDS but GBFS is where the action is.”

Find out why Oliver Bruce is so worked up about an arcane data standard on a new episode of the podcast, featuring Sam Herr, Executive Director of NABSA, and Heidi Guenin, Shared Mobility Product Manager at Mobility Data.

Listen here

Jobs to be done

Welcome to our jobs board, where every week we post new career openings 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.