News from Okai
The year 2020 is rapidly coming to an end. Foremost the whole Okai family is wishing you and your family health, happiness, peace, and prosperity this Christmas and in the coming New Year. Secondly, we want to share a couple company updates with you:
- Due to the high demand, we must inform you that all orders placed now will ship after Chinese New Year.
- For 2021 we will have an updated price list. This is due to the fluctuation in currency exchange of USD to RMB and the increased cost of raw materials such as copper (up 50%), aluminum (up 20%), etc. Please check with your point of contact at Okai to see how this will impact your current and future orders
- Our German subsidiary received the first batch of ES500, so EU customers can get them now.
- Winter may be coming, but things are only heating up in Europe. Voi just raised $160 million in a round led by The Raine Group. And Estonia-based TNC Bolt recently announced it will allocate $118 million to launch 130,000 scooters and bikes in 100 European cities next year.
- China’s revenue from bicycle exports hit $1.1 billion in Q3, eclipsing the $1 billion mark for the first time since 1995. The country exported a total of 41.66 million bikes during the first nine months of this year, an increase of 3.9 percent year on year.
- Sign o’ the times: The Netherlands is replacing ash tray posts with ebike charging ports at train stations.
- Lime claims it was largely profitable last quarter and is on pace to be full-year profitable in 2021, excluding EBIT. Meanwhile the company’s main rival, Bird, is said to be exploring going public via SPAC.
- Cycling in US cities is up 21% compared to 2019. Interestingly, the biggest surge in ridership is coming from smaller cities, not big metros.
- Many scooter companies are boosting rider training programs to reduce accidents—and placate city officials.
- New York City is considering paying people to report motorists for parking violations.
What We're Reading
🇪🇺 So cobblestones aren’t a dealbreaker after all
Investors are going wild for European scooter startups in 2020. So far this year they have showered European micromobility firms with $687 million, while injecting only $371 million into their American rivals. Many VCs are now betting on Europe because they believe its density and willingness to restrict automobiles make it a better product-market fit for micromobility. While this might sound like bad news for US players, it’s important to remember many of these companies operate globally. For example, California-based Lime claims to be the market leader “by nearly every measure” within Europe.
🙅 Won’t get fooled again
According to a new piece in Wired, city officials’ contentious first encounters with ride-hailing companies in the early 2010s shaped their response to electric scooters a few years later—even though shared scooters are an entirely different vehicle and business model. “Cities generally have authority over their sidewalks in a way that they don’t over ride-hail vehicles. After the first, and sometimes unannounced, introductions of scooters on streets led to public backlash, many city governments chose a new approach: They slowed everything down.”
💥 How to keep bikes boomin'
Prior “bike booms” in the United States—in the 1890s, the mid-1930s, and the early 1970s—all ultimately faded because they were not backed by a concerted effort by the federal government to lower car use and rebalance street space. In a new proposal, mobility policy wonk David Zipper details how President-elect Joe Biden could capitalize on the recent interest in cycling spurred by COVID-19 to triple the number of commutes made by bicycle by 2024. Specific recommendations from Zipper’s very realistic plan include eliminating tariffs on bike imports, building fewer roads, and requiring states to publish up-to-date maps of their cycling infrastructure.
🛣️ A slow streets slowdown
Car-free neighborhoods have emerged as the latest front in our cities’ culture war. In the UK in particular, the government’s efforts to boost active transportation as a safe alternative to mass transit amid the pandemic have sparked heated controversy. In addition to motorists, who object to ceding road space to cyclists and pedestrians under almost any circumstances, some activists are concerned that low-traffic neighborhoods will only divert congestion and pollution from affluent areas into low-income communities.
🔋 Mining the new oil
California’s Imperial Valley contains perhaps one of the world’s largest deposits of lithium. As the world rapidly transitions to EVs and LEVs powered by lithium-ion batteries, OEMs’ demand for the metal is surging. As such, many in the energy industry believe this sparsely populated, barren part of the state, which they’ve branded “Lithium Valley,” could be key to the global clean mobility revolution. Additionally, America’s leaders see the region’s lithium reserves as strategically important to making the nation into a force in the battery industry on par with China. However, no one is sure yet whether the Imperial Valley’s lithium can be extracted in a commercially viable way.
Words of the Month
Freedom from danger, a feeling of security and safety
Chinese:xiào shùn 孝順
Someone who is dutiful, respectful, and takes care of their parents in their old age.