Micromobility America Moves to Southern California this Fall

Plus Bosch Ebike Systems is blaming lack of demand for canceled Slovakia production plans, J.D. Power study shows decreased dependability for most car brands, and more.

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

Exciting news: Micromobility America is moving to Southern California in 2024 🇺🇸

The world’s largest event for small electric vehicles will return on Nov 14-15, and for the first time, it will be held at the iconic OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA.

This massive indoor/outdoor venue, which has hosted a number of a top auto and powersports events over the years, is located 10 minutes from John Wayne International, or about 1 hour from LAX.

Micromobility America’s move to Southern California—one of the largest and most dynamic markets for micromobility in the world—will enable us to bring to together more innovative brands, retailers, operators, media, and manufacturers than ever before. Expect two highly programmed days of test rides, vehicle launches, media opps, networking, and more.

In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll have more exciting news to share about the programming, exhibits, and demos. For starters, we are excited to introduce our Retail Awards, a first-of-its-kind competition designed to showcase and honor the most state-of-the-art vehicles in micromobility in front of expert judges, composed of leading retailers and distributors. Learn more about how to get involved here.

  • Early Bird 🎟 For the next 4 days, we’re selling Early Bird tickets for only $95. Get full access to our largest event. Register now.

  • Want to put your brand and products in front of the industry’s top reviewers, buyers, and leaders? Book your booth now. 

What You Need to Know Today

All over the world—from Pasadena to Portugal—climate-minded policymakers are experimenting with incentive programs to help make it less expensive for residents to buy electric bikes (a phenomenon we’re following closely with our Global Incentive Tracker). Now new research offers interesting insights into what kinds of rebates are the most effective. Immediate point-of-purchase rebates are shown to be 30% more effective than tax credits; the optimal rebate level generally lies between $200 and $800 per purchase. The analysis also finds that the efficiency of rebates diminishes for wealthier individuals and for cargo e-bikes.

Pressure is growing for U.S. officials to pass meaningful legislation restricting the sale and use of unsafe lithium-ion batteries (read: batteries that aren’t UL certified). All eyes are focused on New York City after a battery-driven fire caused 17 injuries and claimed the life of journalist Fazil Khan.

To that end, NYC is opening its first public e-bike charging station which will be available to 100 delivery workers. An additional four stations are expected to open soon. The program is testing a variety of technology including secure parking docks and battery swap networks.

NYC’s Charging Technologies will be provided Swobbee (pictured), Swiftmile, and Popwheels

The topic of battery fires is also front-and-center in the UK as the Department of Transport considers increasing the maximum legal limit of power for electric bikes. The proposal would double allowed motor power to 500 watts with the goal of making e-bike riding more attractive; critics worry about increased risks since more powerful motors are generally used with more powerful batteries. (Our take: Battery size is a moot point, as even a poorly made smartphone-sized battery can cause dangerous fires. What matters is ensuring that all batteries have proper safety certifications).

Bosch is officially pulling out of Slovakia, winding down existing production and canceling expansion plans. That expansion was announced in 2022 and was supposed to add at least 4,000 jobs to the Prešov region; Bosch blames a lack of demand for electric bikes, while local politicians point fingers at each other.

New York City is planning to add curbside charging stations for electric cars to many streets starting in 2025. That sounds like positive news for electrification, but it could have devastating effects on micromobility by committing too much curb space to large vehicles. Once chargers are in place it becomes very difficult to add protected bike lanes, for example.

📡 New Webinar Alert…

Our next webinar is coming up soon, and for anyone seeking to understand how micromobility uptake will reshape our cities, it’s a can’t miss…

Our own Horace Dediu—coiner of the term “micromobility”—will be joined by Kersten Heineke and Darius Scurtu at McKinsey & Company to explore how the mobility shift from private cars to traditional and electric bicycles could help cities to achieve their mobility targets. They will explain how such a shift might impact urban mobility and social welfare, and take a deeper look at current consumer sentiment.

Last week we shared how the cost of cars is outpacing inflation by a hefty margin. A new report by J.D. Power shows that cars are also becoming less dependable, with increased problems reported for two-thirds of major brands. Electric vehicles are also the most problematic, with infotainment-console-related problems topping the list.

India-based Yula, a shared micromobility provider, has raised $19.25M in equity funding, provided by existing investors Magna and Bajaj auto. The company plans to expand its fleet of electric two-wheelers and add new areas of operation. A Series C round is expected later this year.

Electric rickshaws accounted for 54% of the three-wheeler market in India last year, representing significant growth over the last decade (just 12 were sold in 2014). The EV takeover in India is gaining momentum, with the most potential growth in the two-wheeler sector (which represents over 70% of all vehicle sales).

EV and ICE sales by vehicle type (Photo credit: Bloomberg)

Asia’s progress forms a stark contrast with Europe and the US, where decades of car-centric planning has created a more challenging environment for micromobility to take root. Augustin Friedel provides excellent insights into the differences between the East and West in this writeup.

Somerset will be home to a new gigafactory for Tata, manufacturing batteries for both cars and motorcycles. It will be the largest such factory in Europe and create roughly 4,000 jobs, but construction isn’t slated to start until 2026 with full capacity projected for the 2030s.

London-based Delivery Mates delivered 2.5 million parcels via cargo e-bikes in 2023. Now the company is considering the use of electric water shuttles, which can transport cargo to the city center and eliminate the use of trucks on London’s congested roadways.

Urban delivery chain evolution (Photo credit: ZAG Daily)

Vietnam’s reliance on motorcycles represents a huge opportunity for electrification, and Samsung SDI is getting in on the action with plans to manufacture batteries for motorcycle swap stations. This is part of a partnership with Selex Motors, a motorcycle manufacturer that currently operates 50 such swap stations.

Battery swapping also continues to grow in India with a new strategic partnership between Quantum Energy and Battery Smart. This will enable Quantum’s commercial moped fleets to use Battery Smart’s swapping network, which has nearly 1,000 stations across 25 cities.

Iconic e-moto maker Cake declared bankruptcy in February, and has now been thrown a lifeline in the form of acquisition by Espen Digernes, the CEO of a car dealership in Norway. This acquisition primarily concerns the brand’s assets in Sweden; it’s unclear how it will affect Cake properties in other countries—or previous employees who are still waiting to be paid.