News from Okai
Thank you to everyone who came to our first event, Okai Motion Show 2020, at our brand-new office at The Drivery in Berlin. In case you missed it, we officially launched the EB100 Electric Sharing Bike at the show -- you can learn more about it here.
Here’s what else is going on this month:
1. The Berlin team was just enriched by a new team member in the sales department.
2. The ES500, Okai’s first consumer product, is launching by the end of August. There’s still time to get a discount on your first order, if you haven’t yet.
The mainstream media had a full-on meltdown about e-bike safety earlier this month after TV star Simon Cowell fell off a two-wheeled electric vehicle and broke his back in California. There’s only one problem: Cowell wasn’t riding an e-bike. He was riding an off-road electric motorcycle capable of going four times as fast as the US speed limit for pedal-assisted bikes. So there’s that.
But since we’re having the safety debate anyway, we should point out that a new report from European cycling insurer Bikmo finds e-bikes pose a 38% lower risk than regular bikes.
Voi recently announced it raised $30 million at a valuation of nearly $270 million. After breaking even in June, the Sweden-based scooter startup says it’s on track to make an annual profit in 2021.
Out of 16 companies that applied, Paris selected Lime, Tier, and Dott to deploy 5,000 scooters each next month. Paris is arguably the largest market for micromobility in the world; last year, it was reportedthat the city accounted for 18% of Lime’s global daily revenue.
Look out Copenhagen, Bogotá announced it wants half of its total trips to be made by micromobility devices. The city’s ambitious “corona cycleway” network suggests it’s serious.
Bike-share is back in China, and this time, e-bikes are leading the charge. With urban residents looking for fast, cheap, and socially distanced ways to get around, Didi, Hellobike, Meituan, and Mebike are all investing in electrification.
What We’re Reading
💸A Marshall Plan for Cities
A story published by the World Economic Forum highlights how flawed urban design has worsened the effects of the coronavirus on a global scale. In particular, it cites “streets that prioritize motorized traffic over physical exercise” and air pollution caused by cars as systemic failures that have made COVID-19 harder to combat in urban environments. The piece concludes by calling on governmental and private actors to come together and invest in a new Marshall Plan or New Deal that will fund projects to make cities healthier and more resilient to future outbreaks.
📱MaaS Means Less
Like a lot of startup ideas, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is trendy, full of potential, and far from profitable. According to Bloomberg’s City Lab, MaaS platforms, or companies that aggregate ticket sales for multiple public and private transportation services in a single app, are struggling because they earn low commissions, don’t have strong backing from public officials, and have no control over local transportation planning.
🚂How Trains are Faring Without Fares
What’s it like running a mass transit system in the coronavirus era? Not easy. Wired looks at Caltrain, a cash-strapped commuter rail line in the Bay Area whose ridership has shriveled because of travel restrictions, as a proxy for transit agencies everywhere. What it finds is that Caltrain is facing a massive budget shortfall after its fare and tax revenue vanished. Not only that, but the rail line is shelling out tons of money to keep its trains sanitized. Now a debate is raging about whether to bail out Caltrain or potentially let it go under—a debate that will likely engulf many more public transportation networks in the near future.
🐋Bigger is Not Better
Americans’ love affair with SUVs became an all-out obsession during the 2010s, to the point where the US barely buys any normal-sized cars anymore. While the market for tiny vehicles, including two-seaters, is blossoming in places like Japan and Europe, in the US, light trucks went from half of vehicle sales to more than three-quarters in the last decade. Is it any wonder that US cyclist fatalities are the highest they’ve been in a generation?
🔮Look into McKinsey’s Crystal Ball
What do the disruptions caused by COVID-19 mean for the multi-billion dollar micromobility industry? It’s a mixed bag. McKinsey forecasts micromobility ridership will stay below 60-70% of pre-pandemic levels for most of 2020. But as things start to reopen and city-dwellers gravitate toward socially distanced modes of transport, the international consultancy predicts the use of personal and shared micromobility will grow (9% and 12%, respectively) and scooter rentals will become more profitable for operators.
Words of the Month
Excess weight or body fat gained due to emotional overeating
Chinese: 緣分 (yuán fèn)
The mysterious force that causes two lives to cross paths in some meaningful way