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Our 2023 micro-mobility prediction • TechCrunch


It’s been a tumultuous year for micro-mobility, both in the shared and private spheres. As we predicted last year2022 is followed by an increase in e-bike sales, the adoption of smarter e-scooters that can detect poor driving behavior and a source of venture capital for scooter and scooter companies. exhausted pedal.

We are also seeing further consolidation taking place in the shared micromobility industry, e-bikes and e-scooters starting to make a dent in the delivery and logistics networks. as well as a number of promising policy initiatives that could help people move away from cars and into smaller form factors.

With 2022 in the rearview mirror, we can now look at how technology, policy and public sentiment will drive the micromobility trends of 2023.

E-bike companies will begin to enter the mass market

E-bike maker Sondors filed for an IPO in October 2022. If and when the company goes public, it will be the first e-bike company in the United States to do so. Can other e-bike manufacturers follow suit in 2023 and beyond?

James Gross, co-founder of Micromobility Industries, told TechCrunch: “The mass market is focused less on the biggest and worst tech and more on something that is perhaps simpler and has been proven to bring benefits. profit back. “Companies going public right now are the ones that can show cash flow.”

Sondor’s S-1 indicates a company is operating at a net loss, but has the potential to become profitable. And unlike many electric vehicle companies that have gone public through special purpose acquisitions over the past few years, Sondors has built and delivered vehicles.

Gross also speculates that Rad Power Bikes may be coming to the mass market soon. In November, founder Mike Radenbaugh stepped down as CEO and took on the role of chairman, bringing in the former chairman of Sony Electronics and Dyson America in his former seat. Gross says it’s a “very strong evidence of mass marketability.”

More mass-market bike companies could help fuel the narrative around electric bikes outselling electric cars in the US.

“Part of the publicity is professionalizing the catalog, and the report shows that there are more things being shipped, maybe we should pay attention to them,” says Gross.

Consolidate further in shared microspace

2022 is a year and a half for the shared micro-mobility space, and it starts with at least one major acquisition.

Born after the acquisition of Wind Mobility’s Italian subsidiary and Germany-based bike-sharing startup Nextbike Tier Mobility acquires Spin from Ford Motor March. With each purchase, the market reach of the Shared micromobility Superior increases. Another notable purchase in 2022 is Helbiz buys Wheels in October.

In addition to M&A, consolidation has happened to those who default to win or who are stuck around. Bolt Mobility ceded some ground this year after it up and disappearand Bird had to tighten his belt considerably to escape several dozen US marketsas well as Sweden, Germany and Norway.

Simultaneously, we have seen from Bird and Helbiztwo mass-market micro-mobile companies, that this is a difficult market to make a profit in. And Tier, despite pushing hard into the US through Spin, has really decided withdraw from some US markets because they are not profitable.

So who will survive? The team is getting smaller, but we think there’s still room for cuts. Only a handful of operators will remain by the end of 2023, and these operators will be deeply attached to their markets.

Shared companies will force cities to adopt better regulation

One of the main reasons shared micro-mobile companies are shutting down is because it is an unsustainable business model. There are certainly ways to reduce CapEx and increase ridership, but nothing will help turn revenue into profit if the relationship most operators have with cities remains hostile.

Shared companies are starting to think that the riders are the customers, when really their customers are the government. Many companies have realized this, but they are still in the marriage phase of the relationship. Operators have failed to placate cities and win licenses in a competition for land, and as a result they often find themselves in over- or under-regulated markets and loss operations.

2023 could be the year these companies set some ground rules for cities and their ridiculous RFPs so they really have a chance to be profitable.

“Most scooter auctions are trial or a year or two,” says Gross. “Most of the time, when you sell to the government, you sell projects that last 5 to 10 years. The idea that we would start with these short-term projects and see how they played out didn’t work very well. It leads to a very difficult structure for you to invest in.”

“Imagine you’ve been in the tender for a year and now they want six pieces of new technology on a product,” Gross continued. “Did you predict that? Have you budgeted for that? It’s really hard to build a business that way.”

Previously, governments knew these companies were pursuing a VC-backed growth model, so they could ask for whatever they wanted. But now, as operators are actively leaving unprofitable markets, they will have to oppose governments and refuse to fill out request requests that will lead to much of the same.

Ownership Tendencies

We already know people are buying e-bikes, and that is estimate that by the end of 2023, sales in North America will be up 46% compared to 2021.

Scooters – a cheaper electric mobility option that can be folded and carried upstairs and on the subway – will see an increase in sales next year. According to one Research Future Market Insights, the folding e-scooter market is predicted to grow from $626.8 million in 2022 to $806.3 million in 2032. That growth is in part due to rideshare companies that have brought scooters become a popular trend. Now if you ride an e-scooter around, you don’t look like that much of a dork.

As we see more scooters hit the market for private ownership, we’ll also start to see better premium scooters. For example, Taur makes a front scooter that is fun and stable to ride (I know from experience) that costs $1,500. Carson Brown, co-founder of Taur, told TechCrunch that despite being expensive at first, Taur’s scooters will pay off on their own within a few months and provide the comfort and safety people need to rely on scooters for everyday use.

More subsidies at the grassroots level

In April 2022, Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability & Resilience sponsored an e-bike rebate program through a $9 million contract that was convened. City Council approved. The program aims to fund e-bike incentives through 2024, but in less than six months, Denver residents have claimed all available grants. The programme will return in 2023 thanks to its huge success.

While President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act includes Discounts when buying electric cars, electric bicycles and other small form factors are not used in the language of the bill. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a future for electric bike subsidies in the US The Denver program can and will be a model for other cities and states looking to advance sustainability goals and get people out of the car, and we hope to see more programs that encourage The same is introduced at the grassroots level. In addition to Denver, Rhode Island already has a statewide e-bike subsidy program, and states like California and Connecticut are also rolling out the program.

Advanced rider assistance systems on private bicycles

2022 will see an increase in the number of shared micro-vehicle operators implementing scooter ARAS — a system that helps detect and prevent sidewalk riding and parking. That same kind of technology is slowly transitioning to privately owned e-bikes as the industry seeks to transform who will become riders.

“There is a huge convergence going on where bicycle technology is rapidly catching up to automotive technology. Will White, co-founder of Mapbox, an online map provider, told TechCrunch that more and more connected bikes hit the market every day. “Bicycles are already starting to ship with built-in ADAS features like radar to detect vehicles behind, but this is just the beginning. Soon we’ll start to see more technology for driver safety and comfort, including AI-equipped cameras for hazard detection and intelligent turn-by-turn navigation. more to guide the driver on the most comfortable route away from danger.”

White says safety and security are a top concern for potential e-bike buyers. In addition to warnings about road hazards, features like navigation to avoid dangerous roads and asset tracking to deter thieves and enabling recovery of stolen bicycles will help drive adoption. use more.

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