Micromobility Newsletter: 💳 2023 Will Be a Good Year to Buy an eBike

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Micromobility Newsletter for December 27, 2022

This post was originally published in the weekly Micromobility Newsletter. For more insights, analysis, and news about the future of urban mobility, subscribe here.

👋 Before we begin, a quick heads up that this will be our last edition of the Micromobility Newsletter for 2022. Thanks to all of you read, liked, subscribed, and shared our humble missive this year!

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What You Need to Know

If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to buy an eBike, 2023 may be your time to shine. With pandemic-driven supply chain issues receding, retailers are struggling with excess inventory for the first time in years: “With demand slowing—[a Utah store-owner] says it’s already 10 percent lower than last year—he expects spring 2023 inventory to arrive long before he has sold most of the just-arrived 2022 models, which will lead to more storage issues, more discounts, slimmer margins.”

The CSPC is urging eBike makers to comply with relevant safety standards after a rash of battery-related fires in the U.S. Product safety is highly important, but there is also an economic dimension to this issue. eBike fires are overwhelming caused by low-quality, cheap batteries, which people buy for the simple reason that they cannot afford a safe alternative. Our own James Gross proposes a new approach to fighting eBike fires: “I think the very easy solution is subsidizing riders who could maybe use some help with the cost of the vehicle. We continue to pass incredible legislation to incentivize electric car purchases. Why do we continue to prop up a lot of the automakers? I think that’s where the conversation should go.”

… in other words, no regulation without subsidization.

Experts are learning much about scooter control and stability from the high-performance racing series eSkootr Championship.

What’s next in the world of micromobility sports? Possibly electric bike road racing.

eBike subsidies are proving to be successful at reducing driving. People who took advantage of Denver’s massively popular rebate program earlier this year report they replaced 3.4 car trips each week with bike rides.

Scooter app Bird Global will merge with Bird Canada—an independently owned and operated company that licenses Bird’s name and software—in a deal that is expected to deliver $32M in new financing. (That is close to how much money the struggling scooter business recently said it needs to stay afloat.) Unlike Bird Global, Bird Canada is reportedly full-year EBITDA profitable. As part of the deal, Bird Canada’s CEO Stewart Lyons will take over as president of the merged entity with the aim of turning things around.

Automotus, a software company that helps cities automate curb management for things like delivery, transit, micromobility, and ride-hail, has raised a $9M seed round to fuel growth.

image of curbside space in city

A new study from the Netherlands finds that mandatory helmet laws cut demand for eBikes in half. Among people who intend to buy an eBike, 50% say they would “definitely” or “probably” change their mind about purchasing one if helmets were made compulsory.

San Francisco and Oakland will finally be connected by a bike and pedestrian trail along the Bay Bridge… in 2030.

A New Yorker writer goes eBike shopping and discovers a dizzying variety of hub-drives, mid-drives, DIY kits, DTC brands, pedal-assist, throttle-assist, delivery workhorses, and $85k luxury transports made for “rich uncles.”

Netherlands-based BAQME, a shared electric cargo bike company, has raised $1.4M in crowdfunding with plans to branch into subscription. (Video: How BAQME is building an on-demand app that lets you rent cargo bikes like kickscooters).

A new British company offers to independently audit the operational safety standards of shared micromobility companies.

Los Angeles is getting $200M to improve active transportation, including new eBike charging, bike lockers, cycleways, crosswalks, shade trees, and more.

Battery swapping is fueling the rise of electric motorbikes in Kenya.

You may know Weel from the viral videos of its Cybertruck-like eBike driving without a rider. Now the startup is prepping to ship its first product in early 2023. On the latest episode of our Micromobility Podcast, Oliver Bruce talks to founder David Hansen about his dream of building a computer in the shape of a bike.

Scooter and eBike rentals are gaining steam in Japan, and one domestic company has a clear lead.

At least 119 people died while riding electric scooters and bikes in America between 2017 and 2021, according to a new study by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Nearly 200k people were killed in car crashes in the U.S. during the same period.

Rising energy prices in Europe mean that, in some cases, filling a tank with gas has become cheaper than charging an electric car. If only they made smaller electric vehicles that cost less money to power…

If SUVs were a country, they’d be the sixth-largest emitter of CO2.

Browse dozens of the best jobs in micromobility—and post your own—on our Jobs to Be Done board.

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