🚢Su$tainable Mobility, Volume 20
This bi-weekly newsletter aims to separate the signal from the noise for making money in all things sustainable transportation: Electrification, mode shift, active and public transit, and mobility aggregation, across both people and goods movement.
This week we have so many Quick Hits that there’s no room for a Deep Dive.
Disclaimer: This newsletter represents individual thoughts and not those of any employer. I will always disclose when I have a financial relationship with a company cited.
🛴Ford’s Spin unit is exiting e-kickscooter markets without permit caps. An interesting turn of events versus a few years ago and one that underscores how certain mobility models only become profitable with regulation.
🚌 French city Montpellier cancels order for 50 hydrogen buses and goes electric. The business model for hydrogen fuel cells (as opposed to electric) in the bus segment was never the most compelling.
🇮🇹Milan moves to build a huge cycling network. The 750km network of bike lanes will include digital infrastructure for motion-sensor lighting.
🇯🇵Honda continues to struggle to grasp the electric opportunity. We’re heading into the Nokia meets iPhone moment for a lot of car manufacturers. It’s not clear that Japanese manufacturers are getting the memo as clearly as their Chinese, American, and European counterparts are.
🇸🇦Lucid commits to building a factory in Saudi Arabia. Lucid’s biggest investor is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, but even with the full support of the Saudi government, it’s going to be hard to make Saudi Arabia a hub for auto production.
🪨Tesla signs first deal for nickel supply in the US. The deal here is for 75k tons versus the 42k tons in French New Caledonia profiled in issue 19. The new Minnesota mining project aims to include carbon capture.
🚐 Amazon is buying electric vans from Stellantis too. Rivian stock dipped on this news, but the bigger story may be that Amazon is crowding out nearly any other would-be customers. Small fleets that want electric vans in the next few years will be shut out by Amazon purchase orders.
🙊US greenhouse gas emissions bounced back sharply in 2021. Coal and vehicle emissions were the culprits.
🐞Early Rivian driver feedback is coming in. Getting these early bugs worked out quickly is the difference between life and death for an emerging automaker.
🇧🇪 Capping the speed limit in Brussels to 30 km/hr cut fatalities in half (article in French). Travel times stayed roughly the same. This is a great idea for every city.
🔌 Sales of EVs surpassed diesel vehicles in Europe for the first time in December. This is a great testament to how quickly things can change. When Dieselgate hit in 2015, diesel accounted for about half the European market. Six years later, diesel just dropped below 20% market penetration.
🌊 GM recognizes California’s regulatory authority. It’s a long-overdue reversal of an ill-advised decision to placate former President Trump. The reversal will put GM vehicles back on the approved list for California government fleets purchases.
🚲Rivian may be getting into e-bikes. A century ago, car manufacturers like Peugeot were born from bike manufacturers. Today, the reverse is true. Still, there's a world of difference between dabbling in biking versus taking it seriously.
🚢Maersk is bringing its carbon-neutral goal forward by a decade to 2040. Maersk has been ahead of the curve in maritime transportation; this step will further cement a competitive advantage.
⚠️The new World Economic Forum Global Risks Report is out and it’s all about climate. Experts surveyed assessed the most severe risks on a global scale over the next 10 years; half of the top 10 were environment-related.
⚡️eDock (Belgium): Multimodal micromobility parking and charging hardware solution
🚤 Epoch Boats (Pennsylvania, USA): Manufacturer of electric leisure boats
🤳🏽Go4Zem (France): Rental platform for e-mobility bundle access (bike, car, etc)
📵Revco (Brazil): Hardware + software solution for wayfinding while riding micromobility
🚲 Whee! (Norway): e-cargo bike subscription service