Home Business Insights & Advice Beyond EV: The growing role of micromobility

Beyond EV: The growing role of micromobility

by Sarah Dunsby
4th Jul 24 2:16 pm

How do we make daily travel more sustainable? For the most part, the discussion has revolved around building a better public transportation infrastructure, adopting EVs, and setting higher emission standards for petrol vehicles. All of these are good ideas and worth implementing, as long as we don’t become so enamored of them that we see any of these as ideal solutions. We must also be willing to expand the conversation beyond this. These aren’t the only viable solutions. It’s time to include micromobility in the conversation.

What is micromobility?

Micromobility is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of smaller vehicles used to transport individuals over shorter distances than standard vehicles. They usually operate at lower speeds than standard vehicles. Most are intended to transport just one person, but some micromobility vehicles can carry passengers.

While laws vary from place to place, many micromobility vehicles are not subject to licensing and registration fees. Some vehicles in this classification can use infrastructure that is reserved for bicycles.

What are examples of micromobility vehicles?

Micromobility vehicles are often powered by electricity or human effort. However, some vehicles in this classification use petrol. Here are some examples:

  • Bicycles
  • eBikes
  • Mopeds
  • Stand Up Scooters (electric or manual)
  • Sit Down Scooters
  • Electric Motorcycles
  • Autocycles
  • Go Karts
  • Golf Carts
  • Electric Skateboards
  • Skateboards
  • Electric Unicycles
  • Electric or Petrol Driven Surreys
  • Tandem Bicycles
  • Mobility Scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Enclosed Scooters

While many of these vehicles have been available in some form or another for many decades, the concept of micromobility is fairly new. It began as a reference to bike-sharing schemes in Europe.

How and why people are using micromobility

People are increasingly incorporating micromobility into their lives. Some are investing in these vehicles or leasing them for strictly recreational purposes. Others are attracted to the practical applications of these vehicles. Many of the vehicles listed above are an excellent choice for in-urban or neighborhood transportation.

For example, you may have a neighbor who regularly takes an e-bike to the local grocery store, or who uses a scooter to commute to the office. If you live in an area where tourism is popular, you may be familiar with businesses that lease out bicycles, autocycles, and other alternative forms of transportation to tourists who don’t want to rent an automobile.

Why should we be talking about micromobility

To solve the climate crisis, we have to fix the way we approach transportation. No, micromobility isn’t the only solution, but it should be part of any viable strategy.

Who is embracing micromobility

People across a wide spectrum of demographics are adopting micro-mobility solutions. Urban dwellers are finding that it may be less expensive to own one of these vehicles than a standard car. The environmentally conscious Millennials and Gen-Z certainly see the appeal. Even “preppers”, outdoors enthusiasts, and people who live in the countryside are embracing micro-mobility for practical and recreational uses.

The 50 and older crowd have also been enthusiastic adopters of this new option in personal transportation. If you are a senior who would like to meet romantic partners who have an interest in micromobility, you can find true love at your local retirement village along with eBikes, enclosed scooters, electric wheelchairs, golf carts, and mobility scooters that function more like traditional cars than ever.

Micromobility and sustainability

Let’s dive deeper into sustainability. Across the globe, people living in urban areas are subject to noise and air pollution because streets are full of vehicles that are loud and produce excess emissions. All of these vehicles lead to traffic issues and lower quality of life.

EVs are touted as a solution to this, but they are cost-prohibitive to people who can’t afford to spend between 30K and 150K on a vehicle. Some cities haven’t established an adequate EV infrastructure either. Further, replacing standard cars with EVs does absolutely nothing about the traffic congestion caused by cars, nor does it make room for better public transit.

Meanwhile, the vehicles that fall under the category of micromobility can be quite affordable. Those that are operated manually have little to no environmental impact after manufacturing. Even the vehicles that run on petrol have significantly better fuel economy than full-size cars.

Micromobility and accessibility

Micromobility has created a level of access that did not previously exist for people with mobility issues. While their options were once limited to mobility scooters and wheelchairs, people with disabilities can use:

  • Golf carts
  • e-Trikes
  • Sit down scooters

Additionally, traditional mobility tools have been improved greatly. For example, there are now mobility scooters that can navigate steep inclines and carry passengers. Additionally, there are electric wheelchairs that can navigate rough terrain giving people access to natural spaces that had been off-limits for them.

Potential business opportunities in micromobility

Like any other solution, micromobility must be economically viable before people will think of it as anything more than a novelty. Fortunately, there are business opportunities that exist including.

  • Development of micromobility infrastructure solutions
  • eBike Scooter and eTrike leasing and rental
  • Bike and scooter sharing platforms
  • Micromobility and business integration
  • Micromobility fleet rental and management
  • Compact EV leasing
  • Micromobility retail and fleet sales
  • Customization and repair of micromobility vehicles

While EV tech is exciting and has plenty of potential, we cannot rely on a solution that is expensive and environmentally problematic as the sole replacement for petrol vehicles. We simply must start talking about micro-mobility.

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