Future of Electric Micro Mobility Solutions
Electric micro-mobility solutions (e-scooters or hoverboards and e-bikes) are among the recent innovations that have witnessed unexpected urban transport success. Electric scooters have become the fastest-growing transport mechanism across the world. Over the years, cities across Europe, Asia, and the US have observed a significant rise in micro-mobility solutions. Electric scooters have now become a part of the mainstream traveling alternatives for citizens in metropolitans worldwide. Other types of micro-mobility solutions are expanding as citizens opt for convenient and environment-friendly approaches for shorter distances. Besides, micro-mobility is contributing towards reduced emission and combating the growing concerns of noise and congestion. It comes as no surprise that micro-mobility is slowly and gradually shifting our lives towards a sustainable future.
The Shift Towards Micro mobility
The micro-mobility market is expected to witness a massive growth of $300 billion by 2030. A large number of startups in this sector is proof of the potential of this industry. With clean energy like rechargeable batteries, micro mobility solutions are considered the next-generation technology that contributes to the fight towards climate change and encouraging sustainable living standards.
Micro mobility solutions are offering solutions that address several problems of mobility in an urban setup.
Last Mile Transport Mechanism
The last mile transport is a constant challenge in the urban regions. This problem has been ongoing where city planners are constantly looking for cost-effective services for covering shorter distances. Shared mobility is, therefore, the cheapest and fastest provision for reaching a certain point. Mobike, a Chinese company offering a dockless bike-sharing system, has stated that they have increased the accessibility to jobs, education, and health care by covering areas that are more than 500 meters away from public transport and have offered their services to address those gaps.
Faster Mode of Transportation
While in terms of speed, it may not be the fastest, but cars don’t allow flexibility when congestion is peak. E-bikes or e-scooters are faster in traffic navigation and moving through congested spaces more efficiently with minimalistic effort.
One of the critical reasons for the popularity of micro-mobility solutions is renewable energy resources. There is no fuel burnt or problems of emission. It only requires an electric dock to be charged to its total capacity. As city planners are constantly thriving to achieve intelligent living solutions, it is only fitting that micro-mobility solutions play a significant role in adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Smart City Initiatives
Planned cities are already proceeding with the integration of intelligent solutions to support energy-efficient and green initiatives. With the citizens in these cities continuously looking for efficient resources to support their quest for a smart city, micro-mobility transportation becomes an essential factor in building and contributing to a smarter planet.
Significant Benefits of Micro mobility
The potential of micro-mobility extends beyond efficient transportation and saving transit time. Factors like efficiency are incredibly crucial for traveling shorter distances. While micro-mobility is already known to use clean energy, its capacity is no less. An e-scooter powered by a kilowatt of energy is sufficient for it to cover around 80 miles. These numbers prove the real efficiency as the dependency on gasoline-based cars can be minimized, and fossil fuel reserves can be saved for the future.
Cost and Space:
The rising oil prices become a burden for many, especially in the event of a crisis. Micro mobility costs are minimal, including maintenance instead of vehicle maintenance or the cost incurred on fuel consumption. Another aspect that favors the use of micro-mobility transport is the weight of the e-bikes and e-scooters. These micro-mobility transportation are lightweight and easy to manage. Locations that dominate shorter trips include colleges or large corporate campuses, which are well-suited for micro-mobility. The students or professionals need to worry about parking provisions as there are dedicated docks for them. Additionally, with such compact solutions, it consumers lesser space as compared to full-sized SUV cars. This allows saving more urban spaces as growing populations have resulted in citizens cramping for space and requiring more provisions by city planners to accommodate people, businesses, and growing industries and housing provisions.
Minimizing Noise and Congestion:
With the increased usage of micro-mobility solutions, the authorities can tackle the increasing concerns of the city’s growing noise levels and congestion. From careless parking to lack of maintenance of cars, leads to increased noise levels and lack of space. While it is already clear how the compactness and the build of these micro-mobility transport require less space, clean energy means there is the least amount of noise produced, while the use of smaller urban spaces ensures lesser traffic congestion.
To achieve complete integration of micro-mobility as one of the significant aspects of modern urban transportation requires a well-planned infrastructure. The problem arises because micro-mobility is not suitable for car lanes and neither on the sidewalk. Therefore, if a city doesn’t have specific bike lanes or parking spaces, micro-mobility transport is likely to struggle. Hence, in specific countries where the traffic is highly congested with bare minimum area for sidewalks, the adoption of micro-mobility is visibly low. The micro-mobility adoption faces the problem of mindset, as certain countries are favorable towards its adaptability. At the same time, other countries don’t consider these solutions to be an elite means of transportation. Therefore, there is a lack of interest and infrastructure that those city planners consider.
Although micro-mobility is minimalistic, there is still a significant amount of hardware that is required. Docking stations, locking systems, trackers, and battery charging stations to be installed in different areas across the city. This requires the workforce to manage a large number of docking stations. Another challenge is harsh climate conditions. In cities where there is heavy snowfall during the winter, micro-mobility is not suitable during these climate conditions. Heavy snowfall may disrupt the docking stations or the e-bikes and e-scooters.
Additionally, it has not been tested about the safety of using micro-mobility on the snow-covered streets as these transport mechanisms might not provide the grip, thereby causing accidents or damages. Thus, some cities have seen the micro-mobility solutions be entirely abandoned during those seasons. The same problem arises even for heavy rains or heat as citizens do not like to be exposed to harsh sun or get drenched in the rain. Therefore, climate conditions play a significant role in maintenance and usability.
Micro mobility is gaining popularity, but it is not yet being achieving complete acceptance for sustainable profit-making. Labor cost, investment in setting up infrastructure, and technology hamper the profit with only a marginal section of society relying on micro-mobility transportation. Some of the micro-mobility startups have shut down due to inadequate cash flow. A crisis like the covid pandemic has further hit the profitability of these companies as people are more cautious of using public or shareable transport services.
The micromobility approach is still new and has not reached the maturity stage. As such, there are no regulations around this trend. It becomes challenging for the administration to keep track of any undesirable activities or theft and vandalism. Although some cities have started developing regulations, it will require comprehensive guidelines on its usability and strict compliance for micro-mobility to gain momentum.
Roadmap of the Future of Micro mobility
Micro mobility is gaining popularity, and it is evident in the number of startups in this sector. E-stralian is based in Australia, that are offering affordable micro-mobility solutions. They offer e-bikes on sale or lease for commuting with comprehensive insurance cover for theft and damages. The company also offers navigation and roadside assistance to their riders, and they aim to address the first and last-mile commuting challenge.
Tilercharge is another company offering micro-mobility e-bike charging systems. The startup aims to develop smart infrastructure for micro-mobility solutions. The company offers complete installation and maintenance services for the users.
Lime is perhaps the most well-known company that is offering micro-mobility lifestyle solutions. The startup provides a mobile application for users to access and find the e-bike or e-scooter easily and unlock it for use. There is also a provision to find the nearest location for the availability of a vehicle. The product ranges from the electric moped, electric scooter, and electric bike.
With growing investment in this sector of micro-mobility solutions, it is more apparent that the future of mobility is transforming. Given the potential of this innovation, several benefits work in favor of the cities and their citizens. There are significant challenges to finding the right balance between public demand and fostering the power of innovations like micro-mobility to make transportation broader in the urban landscape. It is highly essential for building trust in all the major players in the urban set up such as administrators, third parties, and most importantly, the citizens. However, with an environment-friendly solution like micro-mobility, it is bound to transform mobility in urban spaces. Finally, it is a journey towards a new ecosystem of mobility solutions that will require plenty of challenges to address. Still, with the relevant regulations and a framework in place, micro-mobility will become the key contributor in reshaping our cities in making them cleaner, greener, quiet, accessible, and more livable- perhaps leading to the much-needed sustainable urban lifestyle.