Can Sodium Battery Tech Compete with Lithium?

Sodium-ion batteries are nearing parity in performance but lack commercial infrastructure.

Welcome to the Micromobility Newsletter, your weekly digest of important events and industry news in the world of personal transportation.

Before we begin: Ed Neidermeyer is out with a new article in Rolling Stone entitled, Elon Musk’s Big Lie About Tesla Is Finally Exposed. Ed was at Micromobility America a few weeks ago hosting a panel discussion with Waymo about Sharing the Road with Robots. What you can appreciate about Ed is he is pro-AVm while also being harsh on the technology that isn’t where it should be. 

We have covered safety extensively here and while we want to applaud Ed for his work and the NHTSA for this recall, which isn’t a recall as many micromobility companies have come to find out through CPSC ‘recalls’ (eg. Onewheel), this is an OTA software update to tell people to pay attention when they have smart cruise control or self driving enabled. Similar to our critique of the CPSC’s recall of Onewheel with the disastrous vehicles like the Chevy Silverado we have to wonder how much of this is politics which plays in inciting fear around new technology v. actually getting after the vehicles causing the real carnage on our roads. 

We can argue all day on where Tesla is on the journey of AV but we also need to agree that the future can’t be like the past and we must make our streets safer through technology. We will be covering this more and we hope to hear from you as we talk more about AV and the role artificial intelligence can play in making our lives safer, faster and free from the prior constraints of how we have had to move.

What You Need to Know Today

Lithium scarcity is helping to drive innovation in alternative battery technologies. Sodium-ion batteries offer significant advantages compared to lithium-ion: they’re less combustible and made from materials that are cheap and globally abundant. Unfortunately, sodium-ion technology lacks supply chain infrastructure, but that could change soon:

Another week, another Gogoro expansion story! The company’s popular battery-swapping GoStations are coming to India, along with a new electric moped model that will also be manufactured there.

Singapore’s trial run of motorcycle battery-swapping stations was also a success, with providers Gogoro and Mo Batteries being cleared for commercial operation starting in 2024.

Speaking of battery swapping: São Paulo startup Vanmo is looking to increase operation in Latin America after securing $30M in a Series A funding round.

Many cities subsidize traditional transportation agencies, increasing service availability and also ensuring a more smooth integration with city infrastructure. Should cities also start subsidizing shared micromobility services

India’s green revolution continues with an investment of Rs.800 Crore from Hindalco. Recognized as the world’s largest aluminum rolling and recycling company, Hindalco is building a new plant in Odisha to produce foil used in rechargeable batteries.

Shared mobility provider Dott reported a significant increase in use of its services across Europe in 2023. Notably, this includes a 50% increase in cost-saving pass purchases.

A twist ending for Superpedestrian; after raising $125M just 18 months ago, the shared scooter startup is shutting down US operations and exploring the sale of its Europe business.

Lime, meanwhile, appears to be playing the long game. The micromobility sharing company reported gross bookings of $250M in the first half of 2023, a 45% increase over the same period last year.

Motorcycle competitions have been resistant to electric vehicles due to performance disparities, but progress is being made in Australia. A new set of guidelines and limitation specifications  from Motorcycle Australia enables equitable competition between electric and ICE riders.