June 8, 2024

Micromobility Europe 2024: Ride-Along Recap!

Did you miss Micromobility Europe in Amsterdam this year? We've got you covered! Ride along with Tyson for the attendee experience of the world's best conference for all things small vehicle: new technology, industry leader panels, and -of course- test rides!

I love going to events and tech conferences in general, but the absolute best is going to events that I'm officially involved with! That's just one of many reasons why Micromobility Europe 2024 was my favorite of all the events I've covered as a content creator. Yes, I might be a little bit biased... you'll just have to ride along with me and decide for yourself! Watch the below video to get the full "attendee experience", and keep reading for some of the highlights. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel as well, because all of the incredible panel discussions will be going up in the coming weeks. Companies featured in the video include Bo, E Mobility Rentals, VanMoof, Voltaire, FLIT, Hindsight, NAVEE, Metro Mobility, Superfast Scooter, and Segway Ninebot.

I'm the lead content creator for Ride Review which is part of Micromobility Industries, but I'm relatively new to the team so this was my first MMI conference. I did what I usually do at events, which is wandering around with my camera interviewing people, test riding vehicles, and generally trying to cover anything that looks unique or interesting. I've found this challenging at many other events; a surprising number of exhibitors don't seem to want to discuss their company and products at all, much less answer questions about them on camera. At AIMExpo I even had a brand representative tell me I was not allowed to film or take pictures at their exhibit at all... I won't name names, but let's just say I won't be reviewing their vehicles anytime soon!

By contrast, everyone I spoke to at Micromobility Europe 2024 was truly stoked to be there, passionate about their work, and could not wait to talk about it with me on camera. I actually had people queueing up for their turn to get an interview or have me ride their latest vehicles, which has never happened for me at any other event. Micromobility Industries has always excelled at finding the most passionate and and forward-thinking leaders from every aspect of personal electric transportation, and bringing them together to enable collaboration and real progress for a world that desperately needs it.

It was refreshing to discover new and exciting things that were, well, actually new and exciting!

I sought out micromobility exhibits at CES earlier this year, and was underwhelmed by the lack of creative innovation. There were exceptions --like Verge Motorcycles ADAS and Urtopia's ChatGPT-infused bike-- but most of the "new" tech on display was just an iteration of previous products. I think of this as "safe innovation", which certainly has its place, but tech conferences are the place for bigger leaps of imagination. Micromobility Europe 2024 certainly scratched this itch for me!

The Bo Scooter was one of the coolest vehicles on display, though it took some time to track down; they're only just beginning production, and only one Bo was actually present at the event. It's actually on its way to their first customer in Holland, who agreed to wait an extra day so the Bo team could show it off to MME attendees. It's a complete re-imagining of the concept of a scooter, with the most obvious difference being the unibody external chassis which gives it a unique profile and incredible stability. This separation of frame from steering column enabled better dampening (which prevents speed wobbles) and some sort of truing mechanism, which keeps the front wheel pointing straight ahead when you're not applying force to turn it.

I also discovered the Superfast Scooter prototype, which was as different from the Bo as it could possibly be while still being a scooter. The mad lads being Superfast wanted to make the "fastest and most fun travel scooter", with travel meaning you can take it on a plane with you (which is how they got their prototype to the event). Remember Iron Man's first hacked-together suit? The Superfast Scooter definitely has that vibe, rocking rough metal plates and exposed components, and powered by Ryobi power tool batteries.

Battery swapping taken a step further with cross-vehicle compatibility and service integration

E Mobility Rentals hails from Bucharest and brings some truly exciting innovation for how electric power is provided to micromobility vehicles. They use battery swapping stations which are already quite common in parts of Asia and Africa, but with a twist; they have one battery pack which can be used interchangeably in e-bikes, scooters, mopeds, and even micro cars! The last is particularly exciting, because most electric car manufacturers haven't bothered with battery swapping because their batteries are too darn big. E Mobility Rentals solves this by using a bank of batteries, with six of them being sufficient to power the little two-seater Glovo on display:

I personally think this is the solution which will finally allow micromobility EVs to reach parity with the power distribution of gas-powered vehicles. Until now, driving an EV --even a micro one-- has always required a measure of inconvenience. Finding a place to plug in and charge can be difficult, especially if your vehicle has a non-removable battery. This can be "solved" by putting charging stations everywhere, but I think this is a lousy solution; charging takes too long, and leaving to do something else brings the problem of security for your vehicle while you're away. This is precisely why so many people still drive ICE vehicles, because petrol stations are everywhere and you can be fully refueled and back on the road in just a few minutes. Battery swapping stations enable electric vehicles go from 0 to 100% in an equally short amount of time, and it removes the burden of battery charging, maintenance, and recycling from the consumer.

Polished and functional shared fleet innovations from Segway Ninebot and NAVEE

Segway is a titan in the micromobility space, producing everything from portable mini-scooters to massively powerful dune buggies. Their latest tech at this year's Micromobility Europe was all about shared fleet vehicles, which are the short-term rental e-bikes and scooters you've no doubt seen in at least one city near you. Shared micro has proven to be a challenging field, with many operators going bankrupt or merging post-covid as VC money has dried up and pilot programs ended with mixed results. Some of the biggest problems with shared mobility has been the vehicles themselves, which have been lacking in quality and utility, and the lack of infrastructure supporting them. For example, earlier shared scooters had non-removable batteries, and had to be charged by independent contractors who rounded them up in a truck, took them somewhere to charge them, and then re-distributed them to various points around the city. Not a great system!

Segway has partnered with Metro Mobility for compatibility with their ChargeLock stations, which (as you may have guessed from the name) both secure and charge vehicles with a single integrated cable. It's a clean and elegant solution compatible with both e-bikes and scooters from Segway Ninebot, and also solves that irritating problem of shared vehicles being strewn all about city sidewalks. I test rode one of the new e-bike models and it was excellent, comfortable to ride and even equipped with a responsive torque sensor! They also have a built-in lock so you can secure it during longer multi-stop trips.

Segway Ninebot also has new shared e-bike models for food delivery riders. Food delivery can be a great source of income (at least if you live in Europe where riders are fairly paid), but the cost to buy, secure, and maintain a quality e-bike is a major barrier to entry. Segway's new vehicles alleviate this entirely, and also enable longer work sessions since you can just swap to a new bike when your first battery runs low. This also opens up possibilities for companies (like Domino's, apparently) to have their own fleet of branded delivery vehicles.

Segway isn't the only company thinking about this, by the way; NAVEE also had an impressive fleet of shared vehicles on display, as well as their own charging and locking station that was impressively small and space-efficient. They're also focusing on standardizing parts between their e-bikes and scooter models, making it much easier for fleet operators to maintain and repair them. NAVEE is also clearly in touch with the fun side of innovation, showcasing a robot dog that drew constant attention with its various tricks. Not exactly a transportation solution, but it shows NAVEE's technical prowess and much tech from the robot dog can be applied to their electric vehicles. One of their scooters even featured an "AI Module" which included various sensors and a processing unit, although I didn't have time to learn what it will be used for.

Panel discussions featuring industry leaders, government officials, and journalists

Like any tech conference, a Micromobility Industries event facilitates new ideas and collaboration by simply bringing the thinkers and tinkerers of the micromobility space together to network. This effect is amplified greatly in the various panel discussions covering a broad range of topics, from "The Role of Big Box Stores in America's Micromobility Market" to "How to Get More Employees to Ride -Not Drive- to Work". This brings more people from diverse areas of expertise to the event, with many panelists only being required to speak in their one session, but sticking around to network for the rest of the conference.

That's a wrap for today! There was much of the event that I didn't have time to include in my coverage, so check out our social media channels to catch up on the rest!

Article by Tyson Roehrkasse
Photo of the author, Tyson Roehrkasse

Tyson Roehrkasse is a technical specialist who has worn just about every hat there is in the IT and software development fields. He began working with PEVs in 2018 as a developer for Electric Bike Review, and immediately became obsessed with learning about e-bike technology. He soon began creating his own reviews on the EBR platform and to date is the second largest contributor of review content there. After a five-year tenure with EBR Tyson moved on to work with other companies in the industry, building websites for other reviewing companies and e-commerce platforms for EV manufacturers. He also continued working as a freelance reviewer, eventually partnering with the Micromobility Industries to produce reviews and other content for their partner site, Ride Review.

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