Micromobility

Micromobility

Micromobility explores the disruption to urban transport that comes from new electric, lightweight utility vehicles. Using the history of computing as a framework, we unpack how e-bikes, scooters and more will change how people get around cities.

Hosted by Oliver Bruce and Horace Dediu.



#14: Dediu’s Law and Franchising Micromobility

December 4, 2018 at 4:00PM • 46 minutes

In this episode we discuss the recent Bird Platform announcement, why this was predictable given the dynamics of the market, and how franchising might evolve in the future.

We also cover:
- Dediu’s Law: Horace’s thesis that we’ll see 10x growth annually for the next 5-6 years in micromobility trip numbers.
- how challenges related to social technologies like local bureaucracy/current scooter caps will be overcome.
- The VeloMetro/Veemo shared covered trike system that has emerged in Vancouver and whether this is likely to catch on.

Our sponsor for the show is Joyride, a software platform that lets you launch your own bike or scooter share system under your brand, with full consumer facing apps, and backend fleet management and integrations. Check them out at Joyride.city

As always, let me know what you think on Twitter - @asymco and @oliverbruce


#13: The environmental implications of micromobility with Dr Chris Cherry

November 28, 2018 at 10:00PM • 47 minutes

On today's episode, we're joined by Dr Chris Cherry (@drchrischerry), Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Tennessee and Director of Light Electric Vehicle Education and Research (LEVER) Initiative, an international academic/industry research consortium on lightweight and low speed EV's about the environmental and social implications of micromobility.

We discuss:
- How China's electric micromobility sector has grown to lead the world, and how Chris and his colleagues have worked to understand it.
- The framework that they use to understand the benefits that lightweight electric utility vehicles offer users - notably low cost, point to point, low emission transport.
- The emission and energy use of micromobility vehicles compared to other options.
- How to think about whether micromobility is additive or substitutive trips vs. incumbent modes of transport.
- What the role of fun plays in micromobility adoption.
- Which cities will benefit the most from the ride of micromobility and why.

Apologies for the slightly jerky editing - had a few audio editing issues.

Be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter at @asymco and @oliverbruce!


#12: The Scooter Ecosystem with Michal Naka

November 21, 2018 at 6:00AM • 43 minutes

In today’s episode, we’re joined by Twitter micromobility celebrity Michal Naka (@michalnaka), to talk about scooters, how they’re evolving in hardware and their interactions with cities and what the future might look like. It’s a packed episode.

Specifically we cover:
- How Michal ended up in micromobility through his skepticism of autonomous cars. (5:50->)
- How the most valuable miles travelled are likely to be addressed by micromobility and not autonomous. (9:20->)
- The history of the scooter supply chain.(13:00->)
- The tradeoff that companies are making between opex and capex. (25:50->)
- What future evolutions we’re likely to see in (29:30->)
- How cities are responding to these new business models, and what we’re likely to see in the future. (33:46->)
- How the diffusion theory applies to scooters and their evolution. (40:30->)

We are no longer publishing transcripts (but are working on something exciting related to that - more soon!). Please let us know what you think on Twitter at @asymco or @oliverbruce. Thanks!


#11: The Democratisation of Mobility: How Micromobility addresses Mobility Poverty

November 13, 2018 at 1:00PM • 50 minutes

On today's episode Horace and Oliver are joined by Winston Kwon, Assistant Professor of Strategy and Social Innovation at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

We discuss mobility poverty, why it matters and the role that micromobility could play in improving access to opportunities. We also touch on:
- The concept of Universal Basic Mobility (as put forward by Alex Roy) and how micromobility might enable it
- The importance of social inclusion - and how transport, specifically cars, impact it.
- How the homogeneity of suburbs is accelerating their infrastructural decline.
- Which cities/built environments will benefit the most from micromobility and which will be the most negatively impacted.
- Horace revises his estimates for the Total Addressable Market for Micromobility globally.

Many thanks to Joyride for being our sponsor again this week. We discuss on the podcast how their service is an intelligent solution for what will likely evolve to a set of hyperlocal transport markets. Check them out at joyride.city

We are no longer publishing transcripts (but are working on something exciting related to that - more soon!). Please let us know what you think on Twitter at @asymco or @oliverbruce. Thanks!


#10: Micromobility California Summit

November 8, 2018 at 4:15AM • 41 minutes

In today’s episode we unpack more about the latest data on micromobility adoption, what this implies for the total addressable market of micromobility and then run over the details of the upcoming Micromobility California event.

Specifically, we touch on:
- The speed of adoption curves for scooters compared to other technology platforms in the past.
- The environmental impacts that we might be able to imply from using lightweight electric vehicles.
- Who will be attending the Micromobility California event, as well as who might find it interesting.
- The details on who will be presenting.

Many thanks to Joyride.city, our sponsors for the episode. Joyride does a full stack solution for bike and scooter share systems, allowing companies to focus on what matters for dockless system operators.

As always, a transcript of the episode can be found on our Medium page, at medium.com/micromobility


#9: Why Micromobility Platforms Matter

October 31, 2018 at 2:00PM • 48 minutes

In today’s show, we examine the role of platforms in micromobilities rise, and what role they might play in furthering adoption.

Specifically, we cover:
- What an entry into the micromobility space might look like for Apple, and how their experience in interface stepchanges puts them at a unique advantage.
- How autonomous cars are analogous to wormholes vs. a more tactile engaging experience of the world with micromobility.
- What a platform built on a micromobiltiy fleet might look like, and what it might enable, and what names we might give to these experiences in the same way that cars have crusing, drivethrus and cinemas.
- The stage of the market, and the parallels to the Playstation vs Xbox and Android vs iOS arguments.
- How the network effects of micromobility sharing platforms are inverse to the traditional car infrastructure.
- Horace introduces his new research paper looking at modal shifts with the introduction of e-mobility in a cities transport mix.

As always, transcript of this show is available on our Medium page.


#8: The Total Addressable Market for Micromobility

October 17, 2018 at 10:00PM • 52 minutes

Micromobility has an addressable market of more than $1.4 trillion dollars annually just in the US, a figure that makes it more valuable than longer distance transport addressable by cars.

That's the message in this episode where we run through the talk 'When Micromobility Attacks' that Horace gave at the recent Micromobility Summit in Copenhagen.

We look at:
- how US trip data typically exhibits log-normal disibutions (and an explanation of what this means!)
- how many of the 2 trillion vehicle trips taken in the US annually would potentially be served by micromobility (min 20)
- how Marchetti's constant (one hour of travel a day) relates to micromobility's benefits (min 23)
- how adoption of micromobility would impact car demand, and why this is relevant to automakers (min 26)
- why these high volume, short trips are actually more valuable than average car trips on a dollar basis. (min 30)
- how time spent travelling will actually drive adoption of micromobility in highly congested cities. (min 34)
- Why 3 times more time is spent on short trips than longer trips in vehicles, and the implications for micromobility (min 36)
- The impacts this explosion in micromobility might have on carbon emissions and how we can measure that (min 42)


Be sure to check out the slides here (https://www.slideshare.net/asymco/when-micromobility-attacks) and the transcript on our Medium page.


#7: The Dutch cycling experience and je ne sais quoi

October 10, 2018 at 4:00AM • 53 minutes

In this episode, we look at the history of the Dutch cycle infrastructure, the symbiotic tension that we'll see between micromobility and autonomous vehicles, and the intangible quality of cities with vibrant micromobility ecosystems. We also cover:

- the recent spate of news re: the dawning scooter wars (Bird, Lime, Jump)
- San Francisco's highway history
- the cost comparisons for cycling infrastructure vs. car infrastructure, especially when compared to modal share vs. landuse in European cities.
- How the rollout of cycling infrastructure parallels (or doesn't) the rollout of cellular infrastructure in both the US and Europe.
- the creative tension that will exist between micromobility vehicles vs. autonomous cars (walkable neighborhoods vs. exurbia sprawl)
- the 'experience' factor of micromobility, and the unquantifiable value of the thrill of riding a scooter/e-bike vs. passive A-B transport and how this is influenced by the European vs. American views of the world.

The transcript for this episode will be up on our Medium page very soon!
Also worth checking out the Micromobility Summit that Horace will be hosting on January 31st in the Bay Area. Check out Micromobility.io for early bird tickets. More on that next week. Cheers!


#6: Going Premium: The iPhone of bikesharing with Corinne Vogel of Smide

October 1, 2018 at 8:30PM • 40 minutes

On today's episode Horace and Oliver are joined by Corinne Vogel, head of operations at Smide bikeshare based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Smide is a high-end e-bike share system, with speed pedelec bikes that travel up to 30mph/45kph. It's using a completely different approach to the rapid blanket approach from e-scooter rollouts we're seeing elsewhere. It's a fascinating discussion.

Specifically, we touch on:
- who and what their customers are, why they choose Smide over other options and how this parallels to iPhone market positioning.
- the importance of having good relationships with cities (and how they're loved by the governments they work with)
- their unique crowdlending model for financing the launch of new cities
- how they deploy user incentives to help load-balance the network, and the importance of having vehicles that go >70km / 50miles per charge

As always, please find the transcript of the show on our Medium page, or let us know what you think on Twitter at @asymco or @oliverbruce. Thanks!


#5: Scooters and transport ecologies

September 25, 2018 at 2:00AM • 58 minutes

In today’s show we cover the rise of scooter sharing and how different localised constraints result in different micromobility solutions blooming. Specifically:

- The scooter sharing model that Bird pioneered, why it emerged in Santa Monica and why it might not apply to other contexts.
- The history from the Segway to the hoverboard, Boosted Board and on to the current scooter form factor.
- The local variables that need to be considered for micromobility fleet operators.
- The parallels of the rise of micromobility with early cellular, and the Galapagos scenario of ecosystem development.

Note - aware that the last 9 minutes of audio from this episode were mistakenly added (as a hidden gem!) to the end of last week’s podcast. Not everyone caught it, and contextually makes far more sense here! Apologies for any confusion.