An Importance of regulation is certainly evident in Amsterdam's Vondelpark: the morning hurry resembles chaos. Cyclists ride in each direction, a few ambling slowly, others pedalling furiously. Since e-bikes have been added to the mix the expression"granny-pace" includes a whole new meaning as riders--often the elderly or parents ferrying children--especially youthful racers without breaking a sweat. Crashes are still rare, but their number has been climbing. At the Netherlands last year a quarter of bike deaths happened on e-bikes, and the majority of the deceased were over 65.
Regulators have begun to react. Since July 2017 Dutch law Distinguishes between e-bikes whose motor allows riders to go slower or faster than 25 kilometres per hour. The quicker ones now require a licence plate and riders need to follow the same principles as those of mopeds, such has wearing a helmet and using insurance. Other European countries have introduced similar limitations. The city council of Santa Monica determined on June 12th to demand firms renting e-scooters to text customers if they have been riding unsafely.
How to Manage e-vehicle rental firms more generally is Another pressing matter. In summer this past year dockless bikes suddenly littered Amsterdam. In September the town council had tens of thousands removed from the roads and declared a temporary ban on bike-share schemes. It has since promised it will lift the ban, but in a restricted manner. The amount of shared bicycles will probably be limited to 9,000. Several American cities have responded to the invasion of e-scooters by throttling their introduction, though they reduce automobile pollution and traffic. San Francisco prohibited the vehicles in early June and is currently introducing a 24-month pilot program: the city is only going to issue permits to up to five companies and they will be permitted to operate a maximum of 2,500 scooters in complete. Santa Monica has opted for more versatility: a"dynamic" cap on the number of scooters every firm is allowed to deploy, which will depend on how much use its vehicles get. Its strategy could eventually become a model, expects David Sacks of Craft Ventures, an investor in Bird. As regulatory issues are worked out, the second big question is coming to the end: who will earn money with e-vehicles and how much? They are certainly great business for their manufacturers. Many e-bikes are driven by equipment from Bosch, a German conglomerate. It just started tinkering with the technology in 2009. Today the company provides drive units, displays and battery packs--that the highest-margin component--to over 70 e-bike brands.
The Bosch of all e-scooters is Ninebot, a Chinese company, which Also owns Segway, the maker of self-balancing"personal transporters". Most leasing firms started by purchasing off-the-shelf scooters from the company, which cost between $300 and $400. However, Lime, particularly, is increasingly deploying more customised vehicles which are more robust and have a longer battery life.
Yet even e-vehicles with a battery life may bring in Good cash, particularly scooters--which helps to describe the sky-high valuations of Bird and Lime. Both have claimed in pitches to investors that they are in a position to pay off every scooter over only ten to 14 days: they earn more than $20 per day normally. The revenues they generate across America alone could be huge. If 2m get deployed (a low prediction ), they could earn nearly $15bn a year. The firms having the widest offering--people able to provide access to all sorts of modes of transport--are likely to acquire. As well as e-scooters, Lime also rents out e-bikes as well as the normal kind of bicycle. Some forecast the likes of Uber and Lyft will emerge victorious by subsuming e-vehicle rentals. That raises the issue of who will control the information they create.
Bird, Lime and others are rarely using such information Other than to boost their solutions, for example by ensuring that their vehicles are well dispersed across a town. But data could become a negative product. Ofo, a Chinese dockless rental-bike leader, is amassing a lot of information and contains plans to market them to land developers and local retailers. Mr Sun of Lime believes that its scooters could one day become cellular detectors, collecting data on everything from pollution levels to road conditions.
Many companies and organisations may have designs such data. In Santa Monica, Bird and other companies have already agreed to supply the city with info so that it can see how frequently scooters are utilized and whether poor areas are underserved. Later on cities may need data to be fed into municipal mobility platforms to permit citizens to change easily between different ways of transportation. Vehicle manufacturers, too, are hoping to receive their piece of the digital pie. Bosch encourages customers to set up an program with extra features, such as navigation.
It is possible that e-scooters could turn out to be a fad And e-bikes prove to be better for many excursions. However, e-vehicles are certain to become a permanent part of the urban-mobility mix. And, who knows, e-bikes and E-scooters may both evolve farther. Work is currently under way to create them self-driving (think of a Segway on steroids). That will eventually bring way To the chaos around the streets of Amsterdam, Beijing and beyond.
Edited, Aug 1st 2018 4:41am by tuanbusku