E-Micromobility: A Clear Solution For Cleaner Air

October 12th, 2019 by Guest Contributor on Clean Technica

By Michael Keating, President and Founder of Scoot

Californians love to be outside. But even on a clear, sunny day, we know that the air we are breathing isn’t as clean and clear as it looks, especially in our increasingly congested and crowded cities.

Air quality is a complex topic that is affected by the weather, the time of day, and events like wildfires. But one aspect of air quality is very clear: tailpipe emissions make air quality worse. When those emissions happen in cities, millions of people are exposed to harmful pollution.

Source: Google and Aclima.

The map above (from Google and air quality data company Aclima) shows how concentrated some pollutants can become around our busiest streets and freeways. This type of pollution is closely correlated to health challenges like asthma and hospitalizations for stroke and heart failure, according to Environmental Defense Fund and the Alameda County Public Health Department.

With so many new electric cars gliding down our freeways, you would think these pollution numbers would be falling fast, but there still aren’t enough electric cars to make a difference in the quality of the air we breathe, especially in cities. Despite many years of generous subsidies from the State of California and the federal government, electric cars are still too expensive for most people to afford, and even the people who can afford them can’t necessarily find a place to park them and charge them in the city.

Fortunately, there is a new form of electric transportation that is getting people out of their polluting cars and still getting them where they need to go: Micromobility. These shared, electric micro vehicles, like scooters, electric bikes, and mopeds, can be rented with an app in cities throughout California for just a few dollars per ride. They can be picked up on the street and left at your destination for the next rider to use without your having to return it to where you rented it from. And since most of the journeys Californians take, especially in cities, are just a few miles or less, people are choosing micromobility instead of taking their own car or a taxi or an Uber. And not just a few people. These little EVs are so easy and fun to use that they are one of the fastest adopted new forms of transportation EVER.

That’s great news for our cities, and great news for California, where the companies that invented this new way of getting around are mostly based and growing fast. We should be looking forward to much cleaner, greener cities from San Diego to Sacramento.

But there is a big question about the future of micromobility in California’s cities: Will the State of California support it?

The State of California has been a leader in electric cars for many years, allocating billions of dollars to making electric cars more widely available and affordable and requiring carmakers who sell cars in the state to sell a certain number of electric vehicles.

With the data we have now showing that in a city, a ride on a micro EV is often a substitute for a ride in a full-sized car, the State of California should support California’s cities, citizens, and companies that want to adopt micromobility by applying the same leadership and resources the state applied to electric cars. There is no faster way to get people using zero-emission mobility than by accelerating the deployment of micromobility. With the challenges of air-quality-related health problems in our cities, and the threat that emissions pose to our global climate, we need the solutions that can be most widely adopted as quickly as possible, with the full support of our government.

If California extends its leadership in electric mobility to this next-generation technology, millions of Californians will benefit immediately from better, greener, more affordable transportation options, and all Californians will benefit from the cleaner air they will breathe the next time they step outside to enjoy their lives in this beautiful state we call home.

Featured image: Scoot electric scooter in Barcelona. Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica.

** Broader

EV Companies Raise $10+ Billion In 2019, & Fortune 500 Companies Are Now Jumping In

October 12th, 2019 by Guest Contributor 

Companies like Tencent, Baidu, Amazon, Samsung, Google, IKEA, Goldman Sachs, Citi, Renault-Nissan, and many more are investing heavily in the field of electric mobility, according to The Global e-Mobility Funding Report for Q2 2019.

It seems like all Forbes 500 companies have awoken and now want to tap into an industry that is projected to have a value of over $500 billion in 2025. However, this promising growth market also offers strategic advantages and opens up new partnerships for Automotive, Mobility Providers, Energy, Utilities and Tech players.

EV sales show 46% growth compared to 2018

Recent sales results show that electric mobility is starting to get real momentum. Global EV sales volumes for H1 2019 show 46% growth compared to H1 2018 with an astonishing 1,134,000 units.

Global and local authorities, carmakers, energy companies, and investors have acknowledged that there is no ‘Planet B’, with a resulting push and related investments in EVs that is now accelerating rapidly. I dare to predict that the investments in e-Mobility startups and scale-ups will continue to grow and exceed $10 billion easily by the end of 2019.

EV startup investments reached $6.3 billion in 71 transactions in H1 2019

According to the report, investments in EV startups reached $6.3 billion by the end of June. Compared to Q1 capital injections in e-Mobility companies increased with over 200% to $4.4 Billion for Q2. The overall transaction volume per quarter grew from 29 in Q1 to 42 for Q2. This brings the total transaction volume that we tracked to 71 transactions through the end of June.

The most popular EV industries to invest in are vehicle OEMs (36), battery manufacturers (11), charging station OEMs (5), and EV service providers (5). Investments in e-Mobility fleet sharing solutions grew from 0 to 3.

Top raisers: NIO, Tesla, & Northvolt

With $1.45 billion, NIO registered the largest funding round in Q2 followed by Tesla ($800 million) and Northvolt ($600 million). Rivian barely missed the top 3 with again a $500 million investment powered by Ford and Amazon. However, Rivian holds the overall number 2 position for this year, having also raised $800 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Let’s now jump into more detail regarding the rationales and stories behind some companies listed in this Q2 e-Mobility Funding Report.

Northvolt & Volkswagen get married

It’s been an amazing ride for Swedish Northvolt so far. The company was founded in 2016 by former Tesla VPs Peter Carlsson and Paolo Cerruti. They have the dream to build Europe’s largest lithium battery production company and are indefinitely on track to accomplish this mission.

The company has hired over 400 people already and plans to build two gigafactories; one in Sweden and another one in Germany along with Volkswagen. The battery startup recently established a joint venture with Volkswagen AG, which acquired 20% of its shares in June. Besides Volkswagen, strategic investors like Scania, BMW, and Siemens also acquired a stake. Goldman Sachs and IMAS Foundation (IKEA) also supported this round from a financial investor perspective.

Wolfsburg’s split on betting on the right horses

The rationale for VW is clear; get access to enough battery production capacity to support the huge upcoming demand for the following years. Volkswagen now has to focus on three supply tracks (China, Europe, and US) to establish its role as leading electric mobility provider by 2030. Volkswagen’s bigger goal is to sell 22 million electrified vehicles in 10 years’ time. The company from Wolfsburg aims to sell 11 million cars via its Chinese JVs with Saic, FAW, and JAC.

Currently, Volkswagen practically fully relies on Chinese battery OEMs just like Daimler, BMW, and some other leading brands. Last year Volkswagen secured its lithium supply for 10 years with Gangfeng, the world’s largest lithium supplier.

By the way, in case you’ve missed it, China will register up to 60% of all global EV sales up to 2025. So if you want to understand where electric mobility is heading to, start your Chinese language courses on a short notice.

Shortage in lithium production in Europe from 2025

At the same time EV manufacturers also have to secure enough ‘power’ to ramp up their production on the European mainland and in the US. If the Volkswagen Group follows their own strategy, they will already need 150 GWh capacity by 2025. And there you find the reason where Northvolt comes in. Northvolt plans to start production by 2023/2024 with a capacity of 16 GWh and will increase this to 24 GWh.

We can (again) conclude that the investments so far in battery production on the European mainland won’t match with the rising demand from 2025. We probably need another 5 -10 Northvolts to also meet the demand of other European EV carmakers like Renault-Nissan, Peugeot, Citroen, BMW, and Daimler.

Rivian: The unpolished but promising EV diamond

OK, enough about the challenges in Europe. Let’s finalize this article with great developments on US ground. As already mentioned earlier, Rivan raised a total $1.2 billion in just 2 quarters this year. Those are amazing investments for a company that aims to start the production of its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV by 2021.

CEO RJ Scarange and his team worked in stealth mode for the past 10 years, and since last year they have stepwise opened up their treasury box. In addition to a great design, the company also presented Amazon and Ford as its lead investors. A few months later the eCommerce giant announced it aims to operate 100,000 electrified vans, produced by Rivian, in 2030.

We’ve seen this before when Deutsche Post acquired StreetScooter in 2014 and claimed that it would electrify its 70,000 delivery vans. Deutsche Post/DHL is on track since they have produced 10,000 StreetScooters so far. And the story continues since Chery, one of China’s largest carmakers, invested $551 million in a Chinese Joint Venture with StreetScooter.

Within a few years’ time, StreetScooter also plans to enter the US, so Amazon and related companies will have something to choose from.

Anyway, it was a great move by Mr Bezos. I truly hope that this will positively influence the Trump administration concerning their poor environmental policy… or at least inspire others.

You can now download the full Global e-Mobility Funding Report for free. Enjoy reading!