SF to Scooter Startups: Please Break Our Rules
This week, Uber is doubling down on Jump outside the U.S., the first scooter startup unionizes, and micromobility operators are overloaded in Paris, but first…
Seasons greetings, friends.
We wanted to let you know that from now until January 1, tickets to Micromobility America are just $350, which is $600 less than the General Admission price.
If you’re interested in coming our largest-yet Bay Area show on April 22 & 23, now would be a good time to book.
Our Slack chat is divided as to whether or not people give conference tickets as gifts, but if they do, this would be the perfect thing for the bike-shop head, urban policy wonk, or scooter superuser on your list.
This year we took one step closer to critical mass at Micromobility Europe. From heart-pounding Pecha Kucha presentations to once-in-a-lifetime CEO summits—and from hands-on test rides to hands-off self-driving scooter demos—the Berlin show was a watershed moment for the industry.
Now you can see what went down in Berlin by watching our new highlight reel.
P.S. If you’re curious what Micromobility America will be like, picture a macro-sized version of the German event. More speakers, more attendees, more exhibitors, more vehicles, more days, more everything.
What to Listen to This Week
Over at the podcast, Oliver Bruce caught up with Bharath Devanathan, VP of expansion at the well-funded moped startup Bounce Mobility, to discuss the rise of first- and last-mile options in the context of India’s overburdened transport systems.
Longtime followers know that Horace Dediu believes micromobility will be biggest in countries like India. Find out why.
What You Need to Know This Week
Leading off, the city of San Francisco says it wants shared mobility companies to move slow and fix things, yet its actions suggest otherwise. Earlier this fall, the SFMTA denied an operating permit to rule-abiding scooter startup Skip, in part (although not entirely) because of a formatting error on its application. At the same time, the agency awarded licenses to other companies that previously flouted the city’s authority by launching without official permission. Now Skip is laying off employees while it awaits an appeal hearing scheduled for January 23. So remind us again, what kind of behavior is the city trying to encourage here? | SF Chronicle
Related: San Francisco gave permission to its four permitted providers, Jump, Spin, Lime, and Scoot, to increase the city’s total fleet size by about 750 scooters. | SF Examiner
Deloitte predicts global ebike sales will increase by 130 million and the number of people who commute by ebike worldwide will climb one percent between 2020 and 2023. File this under more evidence that the defining transportation narrative of the next decade will be electric bikes, not electric cars. | The Verge
Micromobility operator Wheels announced that its funky-looking seated scooters will soon come equipped with a shared helmet on the rear rack that can be unlocked via app. Not only will the helmet be free to use, the company is encouraging customers to wear it by offering a one-time 20 percent ride discount. Before you ask, yes, the helmet comes with a disposable, biodegradable headliner. | The Verge
Following a rocky IPO this year, Uber plans to “double down” on the European two-wheeler market in 2020 as part of its bid to reach profitability by 2021. The ride-hailing company says Europeans outpaced Americans in micromobility trips over the last eight months, racking up a total of 5 million rides. In addition, it says Jump’s biggest market is Paris (followed by Seattle and Sacramento) and its delayed moped partnership with Cityscoot will arrive in the French capital by early 2020. | CNBC
Circ is branching beyond rentals and starting to sell scooters. Some observers have noticed that the company’s first DTC model, which costs $886, looks very similar to the Segway-Ninebot Max G30D. | E Scooter Blog
Charging dock startup Charged will roll out pilots in Paris, Lyon, Lisbon, and Milan in early 2020. | Yahoo News
And Voi is installing private scooter racks at popular destinations in Stockholm, like museums and hotels. | Digital
Similarly, Spin is partnering with commercial real estate owners to put charging stations and scooters on private properties in cities such as Chicago, Tampa, and Washington, D.C. The Ford-owned company plans to have 1,000 of the dock-based systems, known as Spin Hubs, set up by the end of next year. | Fortune
Honolulu—which, depending on how you look at it, may be the best city for micromobility in the U.S.—passed a law that will require scooter operators to pay $500 for a permit and $30 per vehicle, annually. | Intelligent Transport
Lime is partnering with BMW to provide kick scooters at the automaker’s HQ in Munich. | Fabian Ladda
BMW is also teaming up with Cooltra to offer station-based electric moped rentals in Barcelona. Bosch, meanwhile, is in the process of shuttering its European emoped-sharing service, Coup. | Automotive World
Two updates from Latin American micromobility startup Grin: First, the company is offering a $4-per-month subscription plan that allows users to bypass unlock fees in São Paulo; second, it is now offering scooter rentals in Guadalajara. | Contxto
Robotics startup Refraction launched an autonomous food-delivery pilot in Ann Arbor, Michigan. | FreightWaves
VIDEO: Watch Refraction’s CEO address the future of microautonomous at our Berlin event.
European scooter leaders Voi, Circ, and Tier are not planning major service suspensions this winter, although all of them will mothball some vehicles and disable the rest if the weather gets too treacherous. Sweden-based Voi seems the best prepared, with winter plans that include lower speed limits in the snow, partnering with local plowing companies, and restricting riders to plowed and heated streets. | Quartz
In an industry first, Spin’s San Francisco workforce—all of whom are W2 employees, including juicers—have voted to unionize. | Mashable
Joining a wave of emoped manufacturers, Italy-based Nito will soon start selling its NES model in the U.S. | Electrek
Related: Segway-Ninebot announced it is getting into the sit-down electric scooter game and will unveil its first models at CES in January. | The Verge
Aiding India’s national effort to electrify road transport, Bengaluru-based startup Meladath is offering a kit that can be used to retrofit any conventional moped into a battery-powered one. | Economic Times
Lime is offering U.S. riders unlimited no-fee unlocks for both scooters and bikes for $5 a week. | Engadget
More details for Seattle’s upcoming scooter pilot have emerged. SDOT will issue permits to deploy a combined total of 20,000 scooters and bikes next year. The speed limit for scooters will be capped at 15mph and riding on the sidewalk will be prohibited. | Geekwire
A Lufthansa Innovation Hub study of carbon emissions by transport type finds that dockless scooters are only the 14th most “green” option. | Sifted
READ: New technologies improve fastest in their infancy and dockless scooters are getting more energy-efficient by the day.
A former Hargreaves exec says he plans to pump $66 million of his own money into his London-based scooter retail business, Pure, even though scooters remain illegal to use on public roads in the U.K. | Telegraph
Sacramento Transit District and Jump partnered to offer free train rides to anyone who used a Jump bike to connect to a light-rail station last week. | Mass Transit
San Diego’s city council voted to ban scooters on the city’s boardwalks. | Fox
New York City politicians are attempting to bypass the state government to legalize throttle ebikes for delivery workers at speeds of up to 20mph. | Streetsblog
As the Paris transit strike enters its third week, scooter, moped, and bike rental systems are struggling to keep up with heightened demand. Between charging, repairs, and vandalism, there are 25 percent fewer shared vehicles on the street now than there were on the first day of the strike. | Fluctuo
Tier CEO Lawrence Leuschner says the scooter startup is focused exclusively on the European market and that he sees it primarily as an operations company. “This is not a software game,” he said. “This is an operations game powered by technology. And the company who wins this is the company who has the highest efficiency.” | VentureBeat
VIDEO: Watch Lawrence Leuschner talk unit economics, operational efficiencies, and more at our Micromobility Executives Roundtable in Berlin.
Jump is bringing both dockless scooters and ebikes to Auckland this winter. | NZ Herald
There are now 91 cities with Bicycle Mayors all around the world. The U.S. has one. | Quartz
Nevertheless, some are arguing that U.S. bike-sharing is this decade’s biggest transportation success story. | Curbed
Note: The Micromobility Newsletter will not be published on its regular schedule during the holidays, but we will send one final email update before the end of the year. Enjoy the break!