[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Navigant forecasts modest growth in global e-bike market through 2020; China slowing
April 05, 2013
In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that the global market for e-bicycles will grow at a modest rate of 3.1% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 31 million in 2013 to nearly 38 million in 2020. North America, Western Europe, and Latin America will show signs of faster growth (9.7%, 9.1%, and 14.4% CAGR, respectively), the market research firm anticipates. Western Europe is currently the second largest market (behind China) with an expected 1.0 million sales in 2013 and growth to 1.9 million by 2020.
Navigant expects the China market will reach 28.0 million e-bicycles in 2013: 92% of the total world market. The e-bicycle market in China is slowing, however, due to a weakened economy, increased consolidation of manufacturers, and supply chain issues in the lead-acid battery market, Navigant says.
Mayor of London proposes $1.4B cycling plan for the city; “Crossrail for the bike”
March 07, 2013
Among other features, the plans would create a “Crossrail for the bike”—a route that will run for more than 15 miles (24 km), very substantially segregated, from the western suburbs, through the heart of London, to Canary Wharf and Barking. It would use new Dutch-style segregated cycle tracks along, among other places, the Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover. It is believed to be the longest substantially-segregated cycle route of any city in Europe.
Toyota, City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Cité lib, EDF launch ultra-compact urban EV car-sharing project; i-ROAD and COMS
March 04, 2013
|Concept of the Grenoble urban EV car-sharing project. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), the city of Grenoble, the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, car-sharing service operator Cité lib, and French energy provider Électricité de France (EDF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin by the end of 2014 a collaborative zero-emission ultra-compact urban electric vehicle car-sharing project in Grenoble aimed at addressing “last mile” transportation needs for those using public transportation.
TMC plans to supply nearly 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles for the 3-year project, including the COMS ultra-compact vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body (earlier post), as well as a new vehicle based on the Toyota i-ROAD concept vehicle. (Earlier post.)
Toyota unveils i-ROAD 3-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle concept at Geneva
|i-ROAD concept showing Active Lean in action. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota unveiled the new i-ROAD three-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle (PMV) concept at the Geneva motor show. Seating two in tandem and under cover, i-ROAD has a range of up to 30 miles (50km) on a single charge. Using “Active Lean” technology, it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.
The all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. Driving range is around 30 miles, after which the battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.
Daimler creates subsidiary for innovative mobility services; targeting €100M revenue within next 24 months
January 21, 2013
As part of its plan to significantly expand the mobility services business operations, Daimler Financial Services AG (DFS) has created a subsidiary known as Daimler Mobility Services GmbH (DMS). Daimler’s car2go, moovel, and other mobility services have been consolidated into DMS. The new company’s headquarters are in Stuttgart.
Daimler Financial Services is responsible for the provision of mobility services within the Daimler Group. In 2011, the company assumed responsibility for managing the car2go mobility concept developed by the Group’s Business Innovation department. In addition to car2go, the moovel smartphone app is another mobility service offered by Daimler Financial Services.
Avis Budget group to acquire car-sharing company Zipcar in cash deal for approximately $500 million
January 02, 2013
|Avis Budget sees car-sharing as a rapidly growing component of the mobility industry, with Zipcar well positioned for the opportunity. Source: Avis Budget. Click to enlarge.|
Rental car company Avis Budget Group, Inc. has agreed to acquire car-sharing company Zipcar for $12.25 per share in cash, a 49% premium over the closing price on 31 December 2012, representing a total transaction value of approximately $500 million. Founded in 2000, Zipcar operates the largest member-based, car sharing network in the world.
The transaction is subject to approval by Zipcar shareholders and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013. The Boards of Directors of both companies unanimously approved the transaction, and Zipcar shareholders representing approximately 32% of the outstanding common stock have agreed to vote their shares in support of the transaction.
Study examines potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to advance EV market
December 24, 2012
A new study by the RAC Foundation and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) examines the potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to kick-start the electric vehicle market. The paper, “Car Rental 2.0”, summarizes the findings from a joint seminar held by the RAC Foundation and BVRLA earlier this year on alternatives to car ownership: car rental, traditional and one-way car clubs, and ridesharing.
The paper also explores the role of local authorities and central government in creating the necessary policy framework for car clubs and the rental market to mature.
Toyota begins testing optimized urban transport system
October 01, 2012
|Ha:mo Ride EV-sharing station. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), in cooperation with the Toyota City municipal government, transportation companies and others, began testing of an optimized urban transportation system called “Ha:mo” (“harmonious mobility”). The system will select optimal means of transport for users based on the operational status of public transport systems and traffic conditions.
Vehicle-sharing stations are to be installed at four locations within Toyota City, providing a car-sharing service using COMS (“Chotto Odekake Machimade Suisui”, or “smooth, short rides into town”) ultra-compact single-occupant electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured by Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd. (Earlier post.)
LowCVP announces winners of Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge
September 04, 2012
The UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has announced six winners of the Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge—a competition to identify and promote low carbon innovations with the potential to cut carbon emissions and other environmental impacts arising from transport in cities.
The winning ideas proffer solutions to the problems posed by the need to travel in crowded urban areas. The proposals include a lightweight, driverless electric bus; a system to improve the efficiency of urban freight transport; a bus-taxi hybrid (a “buxi”); a low carbon, community-managed car club; plus two variants of lightweight, single seat electric vehicles.
Daimler invests in ridesharing network carpooling.com
July 26, 2012
Daimler AG is investing in the ridesharing network carpooling.com GmbH. The main shareholders will continue to be the company’s three founders, as well as venture capital firm Earlybird. The capital investment will serve primarily the development and expansion of carpooling.com’s mobility solutions.
carpooling.com is the leading ridesharing network, with 4 million registered users, transporting 1 million people a month across Europe. The platform is available on the Internet, on smartphone apps and Facebook. The company brings together ride-sharers for both medium- and long-distance trips, as well as for commuting. Profiles and ratings give users some insight into with whom they are traveling. In addition to rides, the company’s platform also offers bus, rail and airline tickets.
GM OnStar and RelayRides introduce peer-to-peer car sharing for GM vehicles
July 17, 2012
|RelayRides reservation app. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors’ OnStar subscribers can now rent out their idle vehicles through the RelayRides marketplace, leveraging OnStar connectivity already active in their vehicles (Earlier post), and with no need to hand over their keys.
RelayRides’ renters can unlock reserved OnStar-enabled cars simply by using their smart phones. RelayRides is the first third-party developer to integrate with GM OnStar’s proprietary application program interface (API) that will be available to other developers later this summer. RelayRides is backed by more than $13 million in venture capital funding from investors including Google Ventures and GM Ventures.
Ford developing a strategy to address urban personal mobility globally; a mobility company, not just an auto company
July 15, 2012
|Rough map of Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility. Click to enlarge.|
Ford Motor Company is mapping out a strategy to address the requirements for personal mobility in the context of the megatrend of increasing global urbanization, both in mature economies as well as in emerging markets. If Ford thinks of itself as a mobility company, rather than just an auto company, said Ford Chairman Bill Ford at the recent, second annual “Go Further with Ford” trend conference, “that really opens up possibilities.”
The Ford chairman had already begun talking about the future of urban personal mobility in the context of ever-increasing congestion at the TED2011 conference in Long Beach. During his keynote address at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, he outlined a plan for connected cars to help avoid a potential future of what he called “global gridlock—a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources.” (Earlier post.) At the Go Further with Ford conference, he expanded on a broader vision for personal urban mobility supported by an integrated network of different modes of transportation optimized for cities of the future.
Honda unveils UNI-CUB electric personal mobility device; evolution of the UX-3
May 15, 2012
|the new UNI-CUB. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled the new battery-electric UNI-CUB personal mobility device. Featuring a compact design and comfortable saddle, UNI-CUB is designed to offer the same freedom of movement in all directions that a person enjoys while walking.
Representing the evolution of the U3-X personal mobility device that Honda announced in 2009 (earlier post), UNI-CUB features Honda‘s proprietary balance control technology and an omni-directional driving wheel system: Honda Omni Traction (HOT) Drive System. These technologies allow the rider to control speed, move in any direction, turn and stop, all simply by shifting his or her weight; the system is designed to provide an omni-directional freedom of movement similar to human walking.. Since the rider can freely move forward, backward, side-to-side and diagonally, he or she can quickly and easily maneuver among other people.
Audi introduces sport e-bike concept at Wörthersee
May 11, 2012
|Audi e-bike Wörthersee. Click to enlarge.|
One of the highlights on the Audi stand at the 2012 Wörthersee Tour in Austria (an annual gathering of Audi VW, Seat and Skoda enthusiasts) is an electric bicycle technology concept: the Audi e-bike Wörthersee.
The prototype cycle—described by Audi as a high-end pedelec made for sport, fun and tricks—combines an electric drive and muscle power. The permanent magnet synchronous electric motor is located at the lowest point on the frame and drives the bottom bracket shaft directly; the rear wheel is driven by a chain. Maximum torque delivered to the rear wheel is 250 N·m (184 lb-ft). The electric motor generates a maximum output of 2.3 kW, a new world best for e-bikes.
Pike forecasts sales of electric two-wheelers in Asia Pacific to reach more than 65M units in 2018; China dominates
April 30, 2012
|Electric two-wheel vehicle sales by country, Asia Pacific: 2012-2018. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research forecasts that annual sales of electric two-wheel vehicles (e-scooters, e-motorcycles, and e-bicycles) will show robust growth and reach more than 65 million units in 2018. Sales will be dominated by China, where annual sales of electric two-wheel vehicles will reach more than 60 million units in 2018 at a CAGR of 6.6%.
On a cumulative basis, forecasts Pike, sales in China will reach more than 355 million units by 2018, with cumulative electric two-wheel vehicle sales in Asia Pacific will reach more than 381 million units in 2018.