DEAR CRYSTAL BALL: What do you think is the next BIG THING that will disrupt the mobility industry?

January 2, 2020

Welcome to year 2020! 🎉

The past 10 years had been a great one for the startup ecosystem. Many changes have happened in the tech scene, but two exciting things that we can all take away from the decade is the rise of ride-hailing services & sharing economy and how it influenced many other aspects of the tech industry!

So, what’s next?

As we happily jostle into the year 2020, devastating news about how climate change has intensified Australia’s bushfires continuously streamed in. People around the world are shocked by the extent of the Australian bushfires that has killed an estimate of almost half a billion (480 million) animals and more than 60,000 sq km have been burnt across the country - an area roughly twice the size of Belgium! Global awareness on climate change problems, such as rising vehicle carbon emissions from congested cities, are adding pressure on politicians and making way for the next wave in tech disruption, and that is… smart & cloud-enabled Micro Electric Vehicles (Micro EVs).

Total market of Micro EVs, including e-bikes, e-scooter and e-motorbike will easily exceed $40 billion by 2025.


Most urban cities are designed to be highly concentrated with mixed activities. Therefore, 60% of the distance travelled within a dense urban landscape are less than 5 miles (~8km). So, why take a car in a dense urban environment when Micro EV is lower in cost and consumes far less energy & space? Why contribute to global warming, or pollution, just to move a short distance? Ditch that hassle of spending half-an-hour just to find a car park lot and unnecessarily being stuck in traffic already! If you want to move quickly within the bounds of your community and your workplace, without wreaking havoc, the answer is simple, Micro EV.

I thought a Micro EV was just a really small electric car? What is it, really?

Innovations have been moving fast, and it will be even faster in this decade to come. While cities are still struggling to regulate electric kick-scooters, there are industry players who already have plans to move forward for the next step with better hardware that has bigger wheels, stronger frame and different form factors. In the coming years, we will most probably see a diversification of Micro EVs e.g., improved e-scooters, e-bikes, e-mopeds, e-cargo bikes, one or even up to four-wheel hoverboard, amphibious e-bikes, flying pods. All shapes and sizes that come with various permutations of specifications, in terms of speed, weight, dimension, motor controller power. Given these trends, we foresee that the lines will be blurred between classifying various Micro EV types. It will be getting harder to set a standard regulation framework to catch up with innovation.

For a long time, cities have been trying to encourage cycling culture while at the same time being supportive of autonomous vehicle technology to solve urban congestion issues, but not without challenges. The natural adoption of Micro EVs is bridging the missing gap and becoming the next big evolution in the mobility industry  — simply because they are electric-powered, thus the ability for IoT (Internet-of-Thing) to be attached into the vehicle. This means that Micro EVs are cloud-enabled, making them smarter with sensors to communicate with one another. Real-time data can be collected through the sensors to achieve the next evolution — V2V and V2X, which is the ability to communicate between vehicles and everything that surround the vehicles. With such an ecosystem, User-Based Insurance (UBI) and collision avoidance feature can be implemented to make cities a safer place for all.

Eventually, with data collection & machine learning, full autonomous capability is just a matter of time. We see beyond what Micro EVs can do for us in the future: a safe, liveable and sustainable environment. And this is the exact same goals that cities around the globe are striving to achieve.

Prohibiting any of such a useful mobility solution should be the very last resort, neither do we want to over-regulate such that it becomes unattractive for usage since it is our best bet for technological advancement in the mobility industry.

We are very fortunate to be living in an era that is witnessing a revolution in urban mobility, just like what happened 100 years ago when cars disrupted the mobility space — where the arrival of cars shared the same streets with pedestrians and people were outraged by the children & adults being killed. It is hard to believe that there were actually calls to ban cars about a century ago. Yet, cars can be seen everywhere in today’s world, and cities have been built to accommodate more cars ever since. Ironically, they are the ones polluting our cities now. With the rapid growth of urbanization and population, this 100-year-old-technology is no longer sustainable in the long run. A new breakthrough is therefore not only natural but also necessary.

And the next question is - are we ready for a new breakthrough? We do not want to kill the innovations, but cities have to step in to ensure cities to be safe. So, how can cities strike a balance between regulations and innovations? What are the measures to take in order to overcome new technology disruptions in the mobility industry and not get caught off guard again?

In the next article, we will be covering all these questions. Follow us on LinkedIn for the next post. Stay tuned.

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