Micromobility Industries first defined and now curates the future of urban transport that comes from new electric, small vehicles. The Micromobility Podcast was started by Oliver Bruce (Principal at Blackbird Ventures) and Horace Dediu both of whom periodically do new episodes. Ride On! is a weekly show by Julia Thayne (Sr Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute) and James Gross (CEO, Micromobility Industries/Ride Review). They take a few key events from our weekly newsletters (https://micromobility.substack.com) and also interview CEOs of companies on how they are changing the way we move.
Laura Kavanagh, Commissioner of the NYC Fire Department on how they are fighting battery fires
Laura Kavanagh was appointed Fire Commissioner by Mayor Eric Adams in October 2022. As Fire Commissioner, Kavanagh oversees the day-to-day operations of the largest fire department in the country, with more than 17,000 employees and a $2 billion budget. We're excited to have Laura Kavanagh on the show today to talk specifically about battery fires, where according to the FDNY, batteries have led to 180 fires (now 187) and tragically 14 people have died so far this year in NYC.
SummaryCommissioner Laura Kavanagh of the NYC Fire Department discusses her rise through the ranks and her leadership in handling various emergencies. The focus of the conversation centers on the rising incidence of battery fires in the city, attributed to small electric vehicles like e-bikes, used predominantly by delivery workers. There is concern about the modifications and underground markets around these devices, emphasizing the need for regulation, inspection, and collaboration with other departments and agencies to address the immediate and future challenges presented by these battery fires.Highlights
Laura Kavanagh, the 34th commissioner of the NYC Fire Department, has held various roles and oversaw the department’s response to several emergencies, including the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the Ebola outbreak in 2015.
The FDNY reports a substantial rise in battery fires, recording 220 in 2022, up from 30 in 2019, and has noted the prevalence of these fires in small electric vehicles like e-bikes, scooters, and mopeds.
Much attention is given to delivery workers as they are heavily reliant on these devices, which are often modified or altered to enhance performance or extend battery life, contributing to the risks and frequency of fires.
Numerous issues arise from modifications, DIY conversion kits, and unregulated devices entering the market, creating unsafe conditions and usage that go beyond the original intended design of these electric vehicles.
The challenge of inspecting and regulating these devices is intensified by the prevalence of underground markets and the inability to inspect private apartments where unsafe charging and alterations often occur.
The FDNY is collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to examine and address the public safety impacts, with considerations on future innovations, recycling, and regulations on electrification.
While government agencies are receptive and showing progress, Kavanagh emphasizes the urgency in expediting regulations and legislative actions to address the growing and immediate risks associated with battery fires in small electric vehicles.
News: Bloomberg shows how micro is the mobility solution for climate and more | Interview: Oonee CEO Shabazz Stuart
Win a Tenways CGO 600 Pro ($1,900 value)! Called "The Lightweight Champion" of electric bikes, the Tenways CGO600 Pro doesn't disappoint. Head on over to ridereview.com for your chance to win. https://ridereview.com/giveaway/win-a...
We’re incredibly excited to introduce the first round of speakers joining us at Micromobility America in the SF Bay Area this October! Manufacturers, operators, brands, policymakers, investors, media—and this is just the start. https://micromobility.io/events/micro...
00:00 - 3:10 Announcements and giveaways
3:11 - 7:47 Bloomberg says micro is making all the difference with climate
7:48 - 14:29 Utah Clean Air Partnership successful ebike voucher program and the failure of others
14:30 - 16:02 LATimes stands up for electric bikes
16:03 - 20:57 Encinitas update on state of emergency around Electric Bikes
20:58 Shabazz Stuart, Founder and CEO of Oonee
According to Bloomberg NEF, there are nearly 300M electric two- and three-wheelers on the road worldwide, and collectively, they displace about 4x as much oil demand as the entire global fleet of electric cars. The EV revolution has arrived… on two/three wheels.
Electric bike vouchers are increasing in popularity across the U.S. In Utah, the Utah Clean Air Partnership is working with Magnum Bikes to provide eligible residents with vouchers of up $1,200. The voucher program offers up to $800 off Magnum e-bikes and $1,200 for the cargo e-bike models. For income-qualified applicants, the voucher amount goes up to $1,000 and $1,400 for cargo e-bikes.
While the New York Times continues to bash ebikes as a menace to public safety at every turn, the LA Times is more discerning about the real problems affecting our urban road networks: “The focus on young ebike riders’ safety can obscure the bigger crisis: People driving cars and trucks are killing more people on our roads.”
How do scooter and bike sharers gain permission to operate in a given locale? Many municipalities base their decision, in part, on lucrative revenue sharing requirements, a practice that some experts say is creating a “negative cycle” for both operators and cities. → need standardized agreements
We have Shabazz Stuart, Founder and CEO of Oonee
Oonee builds, finances, and operates automated bike parking infrastructure that humanizes public spaces. It is driven on changing the mobility game in cities by building a network of smart, modular, pods that provide secure parking for bikes and scooters on the interior while providing public space amenities on the exterior.
NYC enforces traffic cameras but falls down on their eBike replacement project | New vehicle launches | Interview with Patrick Wirth at Baloise Group
We’re incredibly excited to introduce the first round of speakers joining us at Micromobility America in the SF Bay Area this October! Manufacturers, operators, brands, policymakers, investors, media—and this is just the start. https://micromobility.io/events/micromobility-america
We are giving away some GOFLUO gear. Leave a comment here and head on over to ridereview.com for your chance to win. https://ridereview.com/giveaway/win-a-gofluo-bodyflower-and-bag
00:00 - 5:20 Announcements and giveaways
5:21 - 8:59 NYC enforces traffic cameras
9:00 - 14:18 NYC Equitable Commute Project off to slow start
14:19 - 17:18 Lavoie buys Vanmoof
17:19 - 19:52 Kenya shipping electric motorcycles at scale
19:53 - 31:58 Vehicle Launches!
31:59 Interview with Patrick Wirth at Baloise Group
NYC has speed cameras cranking
Here’s a novel idea for reducing car deaths: enforce traffic laws. One year after introducing its new 24/7 automatic traffic ticketing system, New York City speed violations have reportedly dropped by 30%.
Small mode shift leads to big gains
A good argument for why motorists should want to see more ebikes on the road: “Studies have shown that a mere 10% shift from car drivers to bike riders has resulted in a 40% reduction in traffic congestion. Even if you never touch an ebike, you would benefit from supporting their increased use.”
Lavoie buys Vanmoof
Cult ebike brand VanMoof has been bought out of bankruptcy by Lavoie, a company that makes high-end scooters based on McLaren Applied’s Formula 1 technology. VanMoof’s bankruptcy earlier this summer had left its more than 190,000 riders in limbo.
NYC Equitable Commute Project can't get off the ground
New York City’s ebike trade-in program—designed to help delivery workers swap low-quality, fire-prone bikes for safer, industry-certified models—is off to a rocky start. Since July, only three bikes have been traded in. Experts say the city’s 60,000+ delivery workers aren’t participating due to language barriers, cost of the trade-ins, and a slow and somewhat difficult approval process.
Kenya is making the US programs look silly.
Kenya has revealed the details of its ambitious new plan to encourage electric motorbikes adoption through a manufacturing partnership with the African startup Spiro. “[President] Ruto said Kenya currently had 1,000 of the new bikes, with another 10,000 on their way, and that Spiro had established a plant with the capacity to assemble 1,000 of the vehicles daily.”
The new V13 Challenger from Chinese manufacturer InMotion is a thrilling new electric unicycle that reaches a staggering top speed of 87 mph (140 kph), powered by a 4,500W motor with a maximum torque of 300 Nm.
Speaking of Specialized, the company just launched the new Globe Haul LT electric cargo bike, a heavy duty hauler equipped with a throttle and a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph). The $3,500 bike has a carrying capacity of 176 lbs (80kg), a 700W hub motor equipped with a torque sensor, and a UL-listed 772 Wh batter with a range of up to 90 miles (96 km).
Cannondale’s Cargowagen and Wonderwagen Neo are two newest additions on the electric cargo bike scene. The Cargowagen is a longtail that can haul up to 80kg, while the Wonderwagen has a giant front bay that can carry 100 kg, plus another 27kg on the rear rack. Both models are powered by capable Bosch motors, giving them a top speed of 28 mph (45 kph).
Interview with Patrick Wirth
Today we have Patrick Wirth on the show. Patrick is the VP of Mobility at Baloise Group. Baloise, is a European insurance company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. Founded in 1863, the company offers a range of insurance and pension solutions, as well as investment products. VC. It is very cool to see an insurance company get into VC and take a different approach to not only investing but also the ongoing relationship these companies might have with an insurance company.
Julie Vets of GOFLUO, no more ugly yellow vests!
We are doing a GOFLUO giveaway, leave a comment here and enter to win at Ride Review: https://ridereview.com/giveaway/win-a-gofluo-bodyflower-and-bag
Meet Julie Vets, Founder and CEO of GOLUO, https://gofluo.com/, and learn how she is inventing the category of high visibility gear for everyone that is moving.
You can also see Julie present at Micromobility Europe 2023: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7br1CqOz3EU&t=43s
Wombi Brings Subscription Cargo Ebikes to the USA
James Gross interviews entrepreneur Dan Carr about the U.S. launch of Wombi, an all-inclusive electric cargo bike subscription, in Culver City and West LA: https://wombi.us/
Wombi aims to encourage people in Los Angeles to drive less, be more active, and enjoy their city. They offer electric cargo bikes as an alternative to cars, addressing issues like traffic, social isolation, and fluctuating gas prices. Wombi started in Australia as Lug+Carrie and has a history of helping people find car alternatives.
Customers can pick a Wombi bike that suits their lifestyle, customize it with accessories, and enjoy free delivery. The subscription includes full bike maintenance, insurance, and the flexibility to adapt to changing needs, such as adding child seats or pet carriers. There are two ebikes to choose from, the Tern Quick Haul and Tern GSD, with over 20 accessories.
00:00 - 03:50 Why subscription + cargo ebikes is a game-changer
03:50 - 07:12 Backstory of the brand in Australia (Lug+Carrie)
07:12 - 13:45 Wombi's launch in SoCal
13:45 - 18:12 Lowering the barrier to entry with subscription
18:12 - 20:55 Why Wombi uses ebikes from Tern
20:55 - 23:03 Improvements in theft prevention
23:03 - 30:46 Incentives for families, schools, cities
30:46 - 35:09 Future growth plans
Onewheel Interview with Founder and CEO Kyle Doerksen, Vehicle Launches and more!
Win a lectric XP 3.0, comment here and enter the contest here: https://ridereview.com/giveaway/lectric-xp-3-0-giveaway-
We announced the Ride Expo in the San Francisco Bay Area on October 20th! Register now for a $10 ticket. https://lu.ma/yvv4158o
Wondering where you can and can’t drive your new low-speed electric vehicle? GEM’s new app shows every road in the U.S. with posted speed limits of 35 mph (56 km/h) or lower. Here is our interview with their CEO. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtqX6s1CyXg
NABSA just released its fourth annual Shared Micromobility State of the Industry Report for North America, which finds that ridership in North America has returned to pre-pandemic levels with 157 million trips taken in 2022. 401 cities = all-time high.
James' interview with Ed Niedermeyer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HTfjKCoijw
Bengaluru-based Ola Electric is coming out with four new electric motorbikes, with sales and deliveries starting in a year. Among the latest additions is the S1-X, which the company claims will be one of the most affordable mopeds in India at $1,085.
… on the other end of Ola’s new product spectrum is the outlandishly edgy Diamondhead. While little is currently known about the futuristic supersport’s performance, based on the teaser video, internet sleuths have deduced the bike is a center-hub steered machine.
Trek just announced the Ponto Go, its first moped-style electric utility bike, through its Electra brand. The Ponto Go is outfitted with a long rear rack, an extended bench seat with foot pegs for a second rider, pedal forward geometry, and high rise handlebars. The tandem vehicle can reach a top speed of 26 mph (42 kph) with pedal assist and has a max range of 60 miles (96 km).
Indian manufacturer Mahindra’s new electric rickshaw, the e-Alfa Super, is a modern utility vehicle with 59 miles (95 km) of range on a single charge. (But if you do run out of juice, the vehicle comes with access to 10,000 charging stations across India). Mahindra claims the new three-wheeler is “best-in-class” for its safety and comfort features.
Electric trikes truly come in all shapes in sizes. Take, for example, the new Vook, which looks likes a cross of a gokart and beach cruiser with its low center of gravity and swept-back handelbars. The tiny vehicle, which just launched on Indiegogo, promises a remarkable top speed of 40 mph (64 kph).
We have Kyle Doerksen on Ride On! Founder and CEO of Onewheel
Future of transport
The future of transportation is a large ecosystem of small electric vehicles and the Micromobility podcast is the premier place to hear directly from the thinkers and entrepreneurs in the space.
GREAT podcast of the ever changing early scene of the electric bike/tiny car/last mile/sharing economy. Think of the automobile scene of the early 1900s when there were hundreds of different car manufacturers and lots of different design ideas. I only wish they’d upgrade the audio quality. Oliver the host’s audio sounds like the equivalent of low res 8 bit arcade graphics, constantly breaking into bits and burps. Add to that the fact he’s a “quick, low talker” at the end of his sentences, it DRIVES ME CRAZY. It’s an audio product with consistently poor audio. 5 STARS OTHERWISE. Please invest in better recording infrastructure guys.
A must listen for anyone interested in micromobility
Mind blowing insights, week after week, that prove micromobility is the true disruptor in the transportation sector