Over the past few years, we have witnessed a monumental transformation in the field of personal transportation. Car and power sports manufacturers have made significant strides make electric cars their top priority, and some have even announced that they will soon stop producing internal combustion engines. Some European countries have also decided stop selling non-zero emission cars by 2030.

As this transition takes place, another ancillary aspect of personal transportation has also grown strongly—last-mile transportation. These include electric bikes, scooters, and mopeds that fill the voids that a larger electric car can’t.

What is micromobility?

Micromobility is commonly referred to as utilization small PEVs (personal electric vehicles) such as e-bikes, electric scooters or electric skateboards — go to work in the urban environment. ​​​​​​While size is more of a deciding factor as to whether a vehicle falls into the “micromobility” category, it is generally accepted that the maximum speed of these vehicles does not exceed 15-20 miles per hour.

Source: DrivingChange.org

Using a compact electric bike or scooter instead of an electric motorcycle or car is a much faster way to get around a congested city. A A report published by McKinsey & Company in 2019, it found that since 2015, stakeholders have invested more than $5.7 billion in micromobility startups, with 85% of that going to China. This is not surprising considering that residents of the world’s most populous country rely heavily on micromobility for their daily commutes. Report of Art World Economic Forum showed that 73% of the Chinese population use micromobility on a daily basis.

Are PEVs becoming more popular?

There is no doubt that personal electric vehicles (PEVs) are becoming more and more popular. In July 2021, the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility conducted a study that showed that 70% of its participants are willing to use micromobility vehicles for commuting. The pandemic has been a key factor driving interest in micromobility. When the initial restrictions were lifted, people were still afraid to use public transport and the only way out was to invest in private transport.

A man and a woman on electric scooters share a bike lane with a woman on a regular bike.
Source: Digi.com

A car or motorbike makes more sense if you are traveling long distances. However, an electric bike will be much easier to use for shorter trips. Bike-sharing companies, which allow short-term rental of PEVs, have seen a sharp increase in usage since the easing of Pandmeic restrictions.

PEVs are also quieter, less bulky and emit no harmful emissions, so it’s no surprise that environmentalists are enthusiastically embracing them.

What changes are PEVs bringing to transportation trends?

EVs and other types of transportation that can be considered micromobility are changing the way we think about owning a car or motorcycle. A 2019 McKinsey & Company study also found that all passenger trips under 5 miles account for 50-60% of total passenger miles in China, Europe and the US. Think about it and you’ll probably find that most of your travels fall into this category as well; your commute or weekly grocery run is likely just a few miles for which a PEV would be ideal.

A woman rides a CitiBike in New York City, with several other electric bikes parked in the background.
Source: GreenBiz.com

A A Stanford study predicts that by 2030, the number of private cars in the United States will decline by a whopping 80%. As a result, the number of passenger cars on American roads is expected to drop from 247 million in 2020 to 44 million in 2030. However, people will still have to get around, and that’s where PEVs and micromobility come in. Programs for joint trips will make commuting to work easier and more affordable compared to the car.

Are PEVs the future of personal transportation?

It’s hard to say whether PEVs will be the future of personal transportation, as they can’t fully replace the long-distance connectivity currently provided by more conventional modes of transportation. The solution to counter this would be to find a balance between the two. For example, when using a PEV to go somewhere a short distance, you can use a form of public transportation such as a bus stop.

Micromobility is no longer a buzzword micromobility trends suggest continued adoption of PEVs as a replacement for “last mile” transportation options. As cities become more populated, PEVs will reduce congestion and maintain order. With two-thirds of the world’s population projected to live in cities by 2050, reducing the environmental impact of transportation will be critical.

Electric scooters from a ride-sharing company are parked in a space designated for micromobility vehicles.
Source: Stan Parkford / Twitter

However, there is still a lot of work to be done before micromobility becomes a more sustainable form of transport. For example, ride-sharing aggregators will need a place to park their electric bikes or electric scooters with the ability to charge them or their batteries. In addition, countries around the world will have to equip PEVs with dedicated bike lanes and secure parking.