Is everybody in Germany e-biking now?

This week, California wants to get rid of gas cars, France wants to get rid of big cars, and New York wants cars off the streets.

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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What you need to know this week

  • New York City is making outdoor dining permanent and year-round, unleashing what could be the largest transformation of the city’s public space since the advent of on-street parking. Over 10,000 eateries have already extended their operations onto the curb during lockdown. Now more will surely join. [Smash cut to restaurateurs stockpiling heat lamps and yurts.]

  • California, the fifth-largest economy in the world, will ban sales of new gasoline cars by 2035. The British government is expected to announce a similar measure soon, which will go into effect in 2030.

  • Meanwhile, France is thinking about the problem of automobiles differently. In addition to banning ICE cars by 2040, the country is considering a proposal to tax vehicles by weight, which would cut sales of SUVs, gas-powered or otherwise, and make streets safer for all. Sorry to anyone with a CyberTruck on preorder.

  • In a potential sign o’ the times, a group of former execs from Lime, Bird, and Scoot is starting a “one-stop e-ride shop” called Ridepanda where people can buy a variety of different LEVs online.

  • The number of German households that own an e-bike has tripled since 2015, reaching 4.3 million homes, or 11% of the population. The steady march from early adopters to early majority continues.

  • It’s not just e-bike companies that are thriving. Every node on the supply chain is swamped with orders right now, right down to makers of aftermarket fenders.

  • Last week, Echelon Fitness launched a Peloton-esque stationary bike called Prime Bike, which the company claimed was developed “in collaboration with Amazon.” Except Amazon now says this isn’t true and has removed the product from its site.

  • In not-fake Amazon news, the e-commerce giant is building an all-star e-bike delivery team in New York City.

  • Strava is making Metro, its data tool for urban planners, free for qualified groups that are interested in boosting active transportation.

  • A new climate study from the OECD’s ITF finds that, on a per kilometer basis, lifecycle CO2 emissions from ride-hail vehicles are way higher than private cars. The report also shows that shared scooters have become more efficient, but they still lag mopeds and e-bikes.

  • A new report makes a strong case for why cities should embrace e-cargo bikes. One particularly interesting stat: if Berlin converted just 2% of its car parking into bike parking, it could fit 300,000 new bikes.

  • Bike sales in Oregon increased 56% between April and June, compared to last year.

  • Harley-Davidson is exiting India, the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, due to the country’s high taxes on foreign manufacturers.

  • Brazilian bike-share operator Tembici is launching its first e-bikes, starting in Rio de Janeiro (population: 6.32 million)

  • Even car-centric cities are getting swept up in the pandemic bike boom. In May, the number of cycling trips in Houston and LA jumped 138% and 93%, respectively, year-over-year.

  • And bike traffic on New York City’s East River bridges was up 75% last month compared to March. Imagine how much higher it would be if the lanes on those bridges weren’t mostly reserved for cars.

  • Tehran (population: 8.69 million) is getting its first e-scooter pilot next month from Uride.

  • Acton and Navmatic have entered into a global partnership, marrying Acton’s scooters with Navmatic’s GPS technology to track vehicles to within three feet of accuracy.

  • Not only will Voi scooters in Britain soon come equipped with license plates to discourage “anti-social behavior,” the Sweden-based company is also funding increased police spot-checks to see if riders are breaking any rules.

  • Japanese designer Mikiya Kobayashi has created an electric scooter with a body carved from wood.

Mikiya Kobayashi designs electric ILY-Ai scooter made from wood
  • Chicago just completed a survey of its 2020 scooter pilot. Following the introduction of a “lock-to” requirement, complaints about sidewalk blockage fell 60% compared to last year.

  • Ad-based micromobility platform HumanForest is suspending e-bike service in London until next spring following hardware malfunctions.

  • Residents of Zurich have voted by a landslide to block cars from 7% of the city’s streets.

  • Joining an avalanche of new subscription micromobility offers, Voi is getting into the scooter leasing game.

  • If Vanmoof is the Tesla of e-bike makers, is Cowboy the Volvo? The Belgium-based startup is betting that commuters want something super safe, reliable, and practical with its third-generation model.

  • Transit leaders are coming around to the idea that micromobility is complementary to their goals. In a new interview, the GM of Portland’s TriMet praised e-bikes for getting people out of cars: “The e-bike phenomenon, I think, is here to stay. And it’s just going to be nothing but growth.”

  • Unagi has broken into brick-and-mortar with its first scooter store, located in Bird’s backyard, Santa Monica.

  • Neuron, out of Singapore, has jumped into the crowded European scooter market with a small pilot outside of London, making it possibly the first scooter operator in the region from Asia.

  • It is widely believed that Paris is the largest micromobility market in the world, but maybe don’t sleep on Seoul. The Korean city is home to 35,850 shared scooters from 16 operators, including Lime and Beam.

  • On average, it costs 31x more to ride transit than park a car in the US

Last call

If cities want to make the COVID-19 bike boom permanent, they need to invest in infrastructure. But are they doing enough to seize the moment?

Tomorrow at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern, we’re talking about bold micromobility infrastructure—bike superhighways, universal parking/charging, car-free streets—and how we get more of it, featuring smart-city thought-leaders from Kuhmute, Disability Rights Washington, and the City of Oakland.

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