The three eras of micromobility

This week, Lime becomes the fastest mobility company to reach 50 million rides, Ford pioneers the self-braking shopping cart, and China’s bike town goes belly up, but first…

Rule of Threes

How fast did e-scooters take over cities? “Overnight,” according to virtually every news account in the last year or so.

While there’s no denying that the latest wave of lightweight electric vehicles did arrive suddenly, this overnight narrative has the effect of obscuring some of the salient technological, socioeconomic, and political trends that led to this moment.

In his first post in a new three-part series, Horace Dediu takes the longview of micromobility, identifying three distinct eras, which go like this:

  1. The dawn of station-based urban bike-sharing systems (led by Europe)

  2. The explosion of dockless bikes (predominantly in China)

  3. The emergence of venture-backed scooter startups (mainly in the U.S.)

Read the full article to learn—among other things—why Horace thinks the U.S. is maybe the last place one would expect the third phase of micromobility to have taken root.

And stay tuned for the next two installments in the series:

  1. Why Europe did not act as a foothold market for scooters

  2. Where we are headed with the fourth and fifth eras of micromobility (hint below)

“We are in the third ‘version’ of Micromobility… I think the sustainable business model might emerge by version 5.” - Horace Dediu


Curious what’s in store for Micromobility Europe (#MME)? The latest edition of the podcast offers a small taste of our events.

In this episode, we publish a live panel recording from Micromobility California featuring four scooter CEOs—Derrick Ko of Spin, Michael Keating of Scoot, Sanjay Dastoor of Skip, and Sergio Romo of Grin—in conversation with reporter Cory Weinberg of The Information.

Listen as these leading entrepreneurs compare ideas on all the hot-button topics in the world of scooters, from unit economics and product/market fit to helmets, seasonality, and vandalism.

For more of this kind of commentary, be sure to check out Micromobility Europe in Berlin on Oct. 1, which brings us to...

Vrooooom 💨

The remaining Early Bird tickets for our Berlin summit are going fast. Currently there are less than 100 left.

For those who want to come to #MME for the lowest possible price, it’s €395 for Early Bird now versus €800 for full price later. The choice is a no-brainer.

Book your Early Bird passes asap before they’re gone for good.

From Around the Web

  • Lime claims to have hit 50 million rides in the first 18 months since its launch. The same feat took Uber around four years.

  • Hoping to end the scourge of runaway grocery carts banging into cars, Ford is testing a prototype for a self-braking shopping trolley.

  • The NYT traces the changing fortunes of Wangqingtuo, China’s main bike-manufacturing city, amid the country’s turbulent bike-sharing boom.

  • Vancouver aims for two-thirds of all trips to be by foot, bike, or transit by 2030. Of the remaining vehicle trips, it wants half to be EVs.

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