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October 10, 2023

ūüíł India Demands Refund from Scooter Startups

Plus: A Tiny Electric Delivery Van from Great Britain.


What You Need to Know Today

The Indian government is demanding that six companies return $60M in subsidies after discovering the firms sourced electric bike and moped parts from China in violation of localization regulations. The saga began last year, when a series of moped-battery fires led the government to investigate and discover that certain manufacturers were importing pre-assembled components, predominantly from China, resulting in limited control over the final product’s quality.

Twenty years ago, when China’s urban planners were designing larger cities, they were envisioning a future of automobiles, traffic jams, and urban sprawl, but what they got instead were massive amounts of electric bikes and mopeds. Today China has at least 360M registered electric two-wheelers and only 230M private cars. But navigating the country’s car-centric roadways can be extremely hazardous. In 2019, every hour an average of one rider died and five were injured.


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New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that U.S. road crash deaths fell 3.3% in H1 2023, year-over-year, but remain higher than pre-pandemic. 

The Washington Post highlights about 60 ebike incentive programs around the U.S. (our own count is higher). Looking at the list, what stands out is the sheer variety of funding sources, including cities, states, counties, utility companies, nonprofits, and more, that have lined up behind ebikes. 

Britain’s Helixx has released concept images of a commercial EV that, by the standards of your standard delivery van, is positively miniscule. The new four-wheeler fits one occupant, is 10.5 ft (3.2m) long by 5 ft (1.5m) wide, and has a 1100 lb (500 kg) weight capacity. In terms of where it belongs on the road, the Helixx occupies a regulatory gray zone in-between an L7e quadricycle and microcar. 

In Australia, a growing number of families are dropping their cars for ebikes. According to the Australian Automobile Association, transport costs for car owners grew by 8.8% in capital city homes, pushing families to find a cheaper option. Now the country is seeing a dramatic shift.

A neighborhood in New York City is introducing ‚Äúnoise cameras‚ÄĚ to deter sound pollution from cars and motorcycles, which has been linked to adverse health outcomes.¬†

Colorado legislators are considering creating a new automobile registration fee that would scale with the weight of a vehicle. The bill could raise up to $20M a year for projects to make the roads safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable road users who are endangered by over-sized trucks and SUVs.

The city of Glasgow is offering a free app that enables users to locate protected bike parking, make reservations, and complete payments.

Toyota is promising to provide ‚Äúmobility for all‚ÄĚ for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, offering¬†last-mile personal mobility devices¬†like the C+ Walk to visitors.¬†

On top of the Olympics, Toyota’s French dealerships will begin selling electric cargo bikes. The company will start with 170 dealerships in the country and hopes to grow that number to 300 sites.

The town of Vail, CO, is working to expand a new delivery program that is replacing full-size trucks with tiny electric carts.

Without explanation, BMW has lifted its ban on gasoline-powered motorcycles salesin North America. The short-lived stop-sale notice, which was announced last month, removed all BMW motorbikes from dealerships, except the electric CE 04. 

Shared micromobility company Bird, which recently acquired rival Spin, is initiating a round of layoffs to reduce redundancies. The extent of layoffs is not currently known. 

The German city of Hanover has a radical plan to rid the streets of cars. The new policy includes removing all street parking and reducing the speed limit to 12 mph (19 km/h) in hopes that the restrictions will be too much for drivers to bear. 

Amsterdam is setting speed limit reductions as well. The city recently introduced a speed limit of 18.5 mph (30 km/h) which will be slowly integrated everywhere to provide a safer, quieter urban environment.

How much quicker are electric cargo bikes than traditional delivery vans in cities? ManMaid, a London handyperson service, claims that electric cargo bikes are 10x faster as a delivery method, and cheaper too.

Revonte, a Finnish company that manufacturers ebike drive systems, is filing for bankruptcy and selling its IP after failing to secure new funding. 

Netherlands-based Umob, a MaaS app that aggregates public transit as well as shared cars, mopeds, and bikes, has raised $6M with an eye toward European expansion.

Meanwhile, the city of Brussels just rolled out its own app for booking local mobility services.

Electric trike maker ElectraMeccanica has announced that it has¬†terminated its plan to merge with Tevva, a hydrogen-electric truck company. According to ElectraMeccanica, Tevva failed to share ‚Äúmaterial information.‚ÄĚ


Free Stuff

Over on Ride Review, we’re raffling away a free Lectric XP Lite - one of the Arizona upstart’s most maneuverable, lightweight, and compact ebikes yet. The winner will not only get the bike but also a lock, phone mount and headlight. Enter to win here.


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