90 episodes

Micromobility explores the disruption to urban transport that comes from new electric, lightweight utility vehicles. Using the history of computing as a framework, we unpack how e-bikes, scooters and more will change how people get around cities.

Micromobility 5by5

    • Technology

Micromobility explores the disruption to urban transport that comes from new electric, lightweight utility vehicles. Using the history of computing as a framework, we unpack how e-bikes, scooters and more will change how people get around cities.

    Micromobility's Sweetspot - talking Electric Rickshaws in India with ThreeWheelsUnited

    Micromobility's Sweetspot - talking Electric Rickshaws in India with ThreeWheelsUnited

    In one of his favourite interviews to date, Oliver interviews Cedrick Tandong, CEO of ThreeWheelsUnited, a electric rickshaw or tuktuk financing and operations company based in Bangalore, India. With over 3000 tuktuks on the road, partnerships with the largest local manufacturers, Uber partnership and more, Cedrick and the team have found the sweet spot for Micromobility in what is a fascinating local niche.

    Specifically they dig into:
    * What is ThreeWheelsUnited and the multiple sides of the business - vehicle supply, financing, tech platform for payments and operations.
    * Cedricks background and how he ended up going from Cameroon to France to India.
    * How the unit economics are playing out with new electric tuktuks vs. existing models.
    * How to build out a low-cost recharging infrastructure for these vehicles.
    * The challenges and joys of working in India as a foreigner
    * The story of fundraising for a vehicle financing and tech startup - how that's gone, what they’re looking for and how they managed to get Techstars and Asian Development Bank money.
    * The climate impact that they’re having.

    • 56 min
    The fascinating, undiscovered world of the GBFS micromobility data formats

    The fascinating, undiscovered world of the GBFS micromobility data formats

    Micromobility data standards are the rails new micromobility juggernauts will be built on.

    In this episode, Oliver interviews Sam Herr, Executive Director of North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA), and Heidi Gennin, Shared Mobility Product Manager at Mobility Data, about the Generalized Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) data format.

    Admittedly, it sounds dry, and yet, it’s a fascinating episode, with Heidi and Sam doing a great job explaining both what it is and why something as simple as a data format can supercharge the development of non-car transportation in our cities.

    Specifically they dig into:
    - What is a Data format and why does it matter?
    - What is the GBFS and how does it connect to NABSA, Rocky Mountain Institute, and the GTFS.
    - How does the GBFS relate to the Mobility Data Specification?
    - Which countries around the world use the data standards for their bike shares, and why this is a rapidly growing space
    - What challenges they face in developing a global data standard
    - How they’re thinking about future open vehicle protocols, including ride hailing and car share.

    In the meantime, be sure to check out Horace’s upcoming keynote “Micromobility’s Moment” on the 10th of September at 12-1pm EST. It’s going to be amazing - an instant classic, with thundering narrative arcs backed up with detailed data about the State of the Micromobility World not just both before and after COVID, but in the wider context of our transport systems and a better world. Tickets are $20, and you can register here - https://vi.to/hubs/micromobility.

    • 48 min
    Revisiting High-End Shared Micromobility - The Bond Model with CEO, Raoul Stöckle

    Revisiting High-End Shared Micromobility - The Bond Model with CEO, Raoul Stöckle

    Exciting episode today with Oliver interviewing Raoul Stöckle, CEO of Bond. Horace and Oliver originally interviewed Corinne Vogel, their COO on as one of the first interviews in 2018 when the company was Smide, but with the recent announcement of a partnership with FreeNow and launches in a number of new cities in Europe, it was time to have them on again to discuss how their approach of high end shared Micromobility is going and why it’s different.

    Specifically:
    - The Bond model of high end Micromobility and why they chose that strategy
    - How and why they decided to go for custom vehicles, and what that has entailed
    - The operational efficiencies they’ve been able to unlock with smart incentives, swappable batteries and faster vehicles
    - Why how far a customer is willing to walk determines a huge amount in terms of capital costs, and why that’s tied to a vehicles speed.
    - What the impact of COVID has been on the business
    - The high percentage of users who have integrated the service into their commute
    - Why they charge on a per-km, not per minute, basis

    In the meantime, be sure to check out Horace’s upcoming keynote “Micromobility’s Moment” on the 10th of September at 12-1pm EST. It’s going to be amazing - an instant classic, with thundering narrative arcs backed up with detailed data about the State of the Micromobility World not just both before and after COVID, but in the wider context of our transport systems and a better world. Tickets are $20, and you can register here: https://vi.to/hubs/micromobility

    • 51 min
    Talking subscriptions and premium brands with David Hyman, CEO of Unagi Scooters

    Talking subscriptions and premium brands with David Hyman, CEO of Unagi Scooters

    This week Oliver interviews David Hyman, CEO of Unagi Scooters about their new subscription service, Unagi All Access, as well as a wider discussion about the state of owned micromobility and the vehicles therein. It’s a great conversation - David’s got a great perspective on the industry, backed up with studies commissioned from the Haas Business School about the opportunity for scooters beyond just renting them via shared schemes like Lime and Bird. Hope you enjoy!

    Specifically, they dig into:
    - A quick review of Unagi scooters and their history as a premium ‘iPhone of scooters’ brand
    - Why Unagi has chosen to pursue a subscription model and who that will open them up to
    - What an end-to-end subscription needs to include
    - Why subscriptions may offer one of the cheapest daily transport options for most people
    - Why they have so many musicians and celebrities riding their scooters, and why Andrew Yang is a fan
    - Why David can’t wait to give Annie Hildago, mayor of Paris, a scooter (anyone know her and want to help?!)
    - Who David most respects in the Micromobility game

    Apologies about the audio - we had an issue and needed to go to backup.

    For those tuning in new, you might also enjoy this earlier conversation with David about the history of Unagi and premium scooters (Episode 45).

    Also, as mentioned in the news, Mina Nada and the Bolt Bikes (now Zooma) team have raised an $11m Series A. Check the interview we did with them out (number 66).

    • 50 min
    Measuring Micromobility and Talking Hypercars

    Measuring Micromobility and Talking Hypercars

    This week Horace returns with Oliver for a great discussion about why what we measure in micromobility, and transport in general, matters so much. They also dig into the recent announcement of the T50 supercar from Gordon Murray, and explain why they, two micromobiltiy nerds, got so excited about a preposterously expensive car.

    Specifically they dig into:
    - The history of the rise and fall of infrastructures
    - Why what we measure about transport - be it track length, unit sales, passenger kilometres or trips - determine how we think about planning, infrastructure spending, and all of these second order effects.
    - The open question about Micromobility measurement, and what is up for consideration
    - The origins of the Micromobility podcast, and it’s connections to Gordon Murray
    - Why Oliver and Horace have both bought cars that Gordon Murray has recommended.
    - The intangibility of maniacal focus on user experience, and why that matters as much in micromobility as it does in cars.

    Check out the launch of the T.50 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqKQ6uUUmsw

    • 1 hr
    The Dott Model - talking European micromobility with co-founders Maxim Romain and Henri Moissinac

    The Dott Model - talking European micromobility with co-founders Maxim Romain and Henri Moissinac

    This week Oliver interviews Henri Moissinac and Maxim Romain, co-founders of Dott. Dott are interesting - they’ve done things differently since they launched, kept their head down and stayed relatively unknown in wider micromobility circles. That is until they won the tender for Paris and Lyon recently, and asserted themselves as a player to really be taken seriously in the Pan-European micromobility landscape.

    In this interview they talk about:
    - The origins of Dott, and Roman and Henri’s history together at Ofo
    - The landscape to date for both funding and city tenders, and why Dott’s slow and steady approach has really helped them develop into a profitable business.
    - Their plans for an Ebike, and how they’re thinking about hardware in general
    - The importance of operational excellence, having internal employees and systems for learning.
    - Why they have pursued a largely large-city-only approach
    - What factors contribute to successful city permits
    - Henri makes an impassioned argument for why Micromobility’s success is inevitable
    - Bonus - Henri talks about his experience at the Micromobility Conference in Berlin and how it felt to him like the early days of mobile

    • 47 min

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