September 19, 2023

💃 Honda Got Their Groove Back. The Motocompacto is 🔥

Plus NYC Trade-in Program, Uber in Africa, New Vehicles, and More

What You Need to Know Today

Feeling nostalgic? Honda’s delightfully charming electric microscooter is a blast from the past. After a brief release in the 80’s, the Honda Motocompacto is back with 21st century tech and a classic, eye-catching design. The Motocompacto is designed for easy storage and, for city dwellers, portability on public transportation. The 41 pound frame garners roughly 12 miles (19 km) of range and takes about 3.5 hours to charge, meaning it probably won’t be the most reliable commuting option for many, but rather a fun little vehicle for shorter rides. The Motocompacto is one of many electric options to come from Honda as they continue to work towards a goal of complete electrification by 2040.

The New York City Council voted Thursday to establish a first-of-its-kind trade-in program to provide new lithium-ion batteries and devices like e-bikes and scooters. Owners can swap out their bikes for free or low cost replacements. According to the FDNY, batteries have led to 180 fires and 14 people have died so far this year in NYC. FDNY Commissioner, Laura Kavanaugh, will be at Micromobility America next month discussing her department's continued efforts to reduce and stop harmful battery fires. 

This trade-in program also comes on the heels of the Equitable Commute Project and the story out of the NY Times that the program is struggling. Since July, only three bikes have been traded in. Experts say the city’s 60,000+ delivery workers aren’t participating due to the cost of the trade-ins, and a slow and somewhat difficult approval process. If these programs aren’t simple and straightforward, as we have discussed on Ride On!, they are dead on arrival. Check out Julia’s short take on the situation:

 Shared micromobility has had a tumultuous ride, but Lime seems to have beaten the odds. The company reported an adjusted EBITDA profitability of $27 million and $250 million in gross bookings, a 45% increase over the same period last year. In an industry where few survive, Lime seems to have found the right recipe for success. The company is teasing an IPO in 2024.

Finland-based electric motorcycle company Verge Motorcycles has hired Alan Foster,a former McLaren Automotive manager with four decades of experience in the automotive sector, as their COO and Haydn Baker, another automotive sector veteran from McLaren, as CPO. The company’s restructured management is eying global expansion.

Uber is rolling out its first green bike program in Africa, bringing a fleet of 3,000 electric bikes to Kenya over the next six months. Uber says rides on Electric Bodas, the term for bikes in Swahili, will be up to 15-20% cheaper. The company seeks to make its platform emissions-free by 2040.

Equiticity’s BikeForce workface development program in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood is starting up again. The goal of the program is to teach participants, whose ages range from 15-19, about the mechanisms of electric bikes and scooters. The program will give participants the tools to be hired as a bike mechanic with an understanding of the battery aspects and various components of the electric bike.

Brussels-based company Cowboy, an innovative ebike designer founded in 2017, announced that July was its first ever profitable month, a huge milestone for the company. This is a big step furthering the company’s goal of achieving profitability on a full year basis in 2024.

Looking for your first electric bike or moving from the city to the suburbs? Over at Ride Review, the new Heybike Cityrun is a high quality, affordable option for ebike users new and old that can handle tough hills and long trips. The bike's hub motor reaches a top speed of 21 mph (33.8 kph) and a maximum range of 55 miles (88.5 km), giving users the freedom to leave their cars behind.

One neighborhood in Portugal is testing the future of urban design. Campo de Ourique, an area in central Lisbon, initiated a test phase last week to create a “superblock.” Modeled after Barcelona’s own superblock designs, the area is a convergence of several streets where all motorized traffic has been pushed out to make the area accessible for only pedestrians and soft mobility.

Longtime UK bike manufacturer Pashley revealed their designs for a new concept multi-trike with a chain-free drive. The chainless motor is powered by electricity generated from pedaling, removing the need for a normal heavy and often complicated chain. Pashley expects production of the new multi-trike to begin in the first half of 2024.

California-based bike maker Mokwheel hit the ground running with their new electric two-wheeler the Basalt. The all-terrain electric bike comes equipped with integrated power station technology to keep devices charged, a brushless rear hub motor that reaches a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph) and a range of 60-80 miles (96.5-128.7 km), and an array of other useful features including torque sensors and a flexible hydraulic fork.

Dance, a German startup that offers ebike subscription packages, has reached 10,000 active subscribers. Subscribers to the service get a personal electric bike bundled with repairs and insurance.

Call2Recycle and PeopleForBikes’ ebike battery recycling program has been responsible for collecting and recycling more than 43,000 pounds of batteries since November of 2021. Over 1,900 retailers participate in the program which works to keep lithium-ion batteries out of landfills.

Amazon’s commitment to electric cargo bike deliveries in New York City is not looking so hot right now. The company recently put their cargo ebike depot up for lease, which was seen to have dozens of ebikes sitting unused on the roof with more inside the facility.

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