Movements | May 14th, 2020

The eBike explosion is here.

Issue #92  -  Brought to you by Michal Naka and Adam Feldman. Join thousands of others who receive this analysis and curation of emerging mobility news in their inbox every week.

If you’re finding this newsletter valuable, consider sharing it with friends 🤜🤛

Welcome to a special edition of Movements.…  You are in for a treat. We have mobility veteran Stephen Lambe as guest author of the newsletter this week!

Hi all, I’m Stephen, your friendly Movements guest DJ this week. I’ve worked on product and ops strategy at Mapbox, Nuro, and Skip Scooters. Before all that, I spent some time overseas as an Army logistics officer managing truck convoys. You can say hello on Twitter @stephenlambe.


  • Uber is leading a $170M investment in Lime, transferring their bikes and scooter division assets to Lime and getting an option to purchase the company in the future. Wayne Ting has been named Lime’s new CEO, notable given his history as a veteran Uber exec (and briefly Dara’s chief of staff). This puts both companies in stronger positions to weather the downturn. Lime gets one less deep-pocketed competitor and more potential users. Uber jettisons a cash-burning division when under pressure to curb losses. The future of JUMP’s ebike development remains uncertain after Uber simultaneously laid off the JUMP hardware team. However, Protocol reported, “Ting prefers Jump's bikes, though, so Lime will be adopting that hardware moving forward.” | Protocol

  • Lime plans to return JUMP bikes to service in Seattle soon (and already has in San Francisco). | BizJournals

  • Amazon is hiring a leader to run a delivery-focused e-bike program in NYC. | Amazon

  • Before Lime bought its ebike business, Uber was rumored to be taking over Portland’s Biketown bikeshare system in July. Contract negotiations between Lyft, the current operator, and Portland Bureau of Transportation recently broke down. Could cities get more involved in running their own systems as a result of this turmoil? | BikePortland

  • Ridehailing firm Bolt launched a new Estonian-designed custom scooter and announces plans to launch in 45 cities. Yev Podgayetsky rode and reviewed the scooter. | Reuters

  • Helbiz announces a monthly rental program “Helbiz Unlimited” for $29.99 a month. | Salvatore Palella 

  • The Delfast TopCop e-bike (top speed: 50 mph) gets rave reviews from the first police departments using it. The lines between e-bikes and electric motorcycles are continuing to blur (not a bad thing). | Electrek

  • Cowboy reports sales increasing 230% YoY for Jan-April. Notably, sales were also up 40% from March to April, even with many of their markets restricted. | Bikebiz

  • Bird is rumored to be replacing its gig worker “Flyer” charger program with a “Fleet Manager” program, creating mini-franchises. Fleet Managers take ownership of a small scooter fleet (~30-100) and are responsible for all operations (charging, maintenance, deployment, etc). In exchange, they get a significant revenue share. | Reddit

Product Launches & Updates

  • Riide unveiled the ‘Riide 2’ eBike. The subscription-based eBike features an 80 mile range, 28 mph (45km/h) top speed, and anti-theft technology. Users pay $299 down and $99 dollars a month with a minimum 6-month commitment. | Riide

  • UberEats launches shared deliveries, making it easier to send food to friends and family. | VentureBeat

  • Specialized announces the Turbo Vado SL ebike. This is a compelling bike from a top cycling manufacturer. Like VanMoof, it’s great to see the trend to more affordable yet better models. | Electrek

  • One we missed: Dutch bike maker Stella released the Muto, a sleek, flexible city ebike back in late March. It features an integrated (yet removable) battery and the “Click and Roll” system to change racks without tools in only a minute. | The Verge

Ridehailing, Delivery & Carsharing

  • Uber has made several big moves in its core ridehailing and food delivery businesses as COVID19’s effects grow.

    • It laid off 14% of its global workforce (3700 employees) | The Verge

    • Separately, Careem, Uber's Middle East business, cut 31% of its workforce | Reuters

    • It has been in acquisition talks with Grubhub for over a year. As Grubhub noted noncommittally: “consolidation could make sense in our industry”.  | CNBC

  • California’s Attorney General and several city attorneys are suing Lyft and Uber over the classification of their drivers as contractors rather than employees. | New York Times

  • Yandex reported significant growth in its food delivery service since COVID-19- users up 73% since early March. It also continues to invest in its grocery delivery service Yandex.Lavka, which offers 20-minute delivery from a network of 100+ drugstores in Moscow and St. Petersburg. | Seeking Alpha

  • Postmates transitions its delivery robot fleet supervisors to be able to work from home during COVID19 with Phantom Auto’s technology. | Bloomberg

Investment & Deals

  • Intel is buying the Israeli mobility platform Moovit for $900 million. Intel says this will help them “become a complete mobility provider, including robotaxi services, which is forecast to be an estimated $160 billion opportunity by 2030.” Skeptics have questioned the optimistic product strategy and the steep price tag. In contrast, Yehoshua Zlotogorski laid out a positive deal analysis. | TechCrunch

  • Chinese AV trucking startup Inceptio, partnered with truckmaker Dongfeng, raises a $100M round | BusinessWire

  • VanMoof raises a $13.5M Series B from Balderton Capital and SINBON Electronics, its Taiwanese bike assembly partner. Balderton asserted “The COVID-19 crisis served as a “catalyst” for the cities around the world ease lockdown restrictions and consider safer commuting options for people returning to work." | TechCrunch

Cities & Policy

  • Tampa, Florida is closing streets so restaurants can re-open with expanded outdoor seating. This will increase capacity while maintaining social distancing. Similar ideas are under discussion in other cities. | ThatsSoTampa

  • Vilnius, Lithuania is doing a similar move for 18 public spaces in its city center (via Oversharing). | The Guardian

  • 43% of Finns would use a Mobility as a Service offering, but expect a 36% discount from their current mobility expenses. David Zipper asks: “How is the MaaS operator supposed to make money?” | ScienceDirect

  • GBFS 2.0 launches, with support for deep app links that make for a better rider experience. | MobilityData blog

  • Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs division is exiting the Toronto Quayside project. CEO Dan Doctoroff explains: “as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in...the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan" | Sidewalk Labs

  • Related to the previous, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, led by two ex-Sidewalk Labs execs, is launching with $400M in funding from Alphabet and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan to make infrastructure investments across mobility, energy, water & waste, digital and social infrastructure. | Forbes

  • Italy’s Transport Minister announces a €500 subsidy for purchasing bikes, ebikes, scooters, and even hoverboards to all living in cities of more than 50,000 people. | Alberto Zanni

We would love to hear your thoughts. Give feedback.