City planners need to develop smarter cities that can transport an additional 2.7 billion urban commuters by 2050. As a result, micromobility (transport using electric-powered personal-sized vehicles like e-scooters and e-bikes) could be an 'iphone moment' for personal mobility.
Approximately 30 trillion passenger miles are travelled per year globally. 60% of current trips are below 5 miles. Our Research analysts estimate that by the mid 2020s 1.1 trillion of those passenger miles travelled (PMT) could switch to micromobility (MM), defined as electric-powered personal-sized vehicles weighing <500kg that can be owned or shared, is connected using AI and can be used for utility purposes. The change is happening because compared to full-sized autos, MM is:
Source: Barclays Research, US National Household Travel Survey
Micromobility suits consumer demand for greater affordability, accessibility and availability whilst also adding velocity and vivacity (the 'fun factor').
Speed should enable micromobilty significantly more than cost and the lower 'hassle' of micro may allow operators to increase pricing to deal with customer demand. But even at the current cost/mile (US$1.4/mile in US, $1.55 in EU and $0.50 in ROW), our analysts estimate a US$800 billion revenue opportunity for micromobility operators in the near term.
Micromobility is already booming, with startups like Bird and Lime showing a growth curve faster than ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft. At this rate, we expect investment implications for many sectors, with the most acute impact on infrastructure, property, leisure and autos.
Source: Barclays Research does not cover Lime or Bird, company data
The revenue opportunity and modes of micromobility will likely differ greatly by geography and depend both on consumer appetite and government will. E-scooters could proliferate in the sun-belt states in the US, e-bikes in Europe and e-moped and e-trikes in developing Asia and Africa, or we could see a combination of all modes in all regions. Some will be owned, but many more will be shared.
Each region has unique obstacles in terms of regulation, consumer habits from traditional transport, and what - if any - early adoption they have experienced. These will steer what types of MM vehicles are likely to have the most penetration.
*PMT = Passenger miles travelled
To achieve 1.1 trillion PMT, our analysts estimate the number of micro vehicles in operation could reach close to 300mn vehicles, or 0.9 billion riders.
With congestion worsening and spending on vehicle infrastructure rising substantially, city planners may move from disapproval to positive encouragement of a mode of mobility that requires significantly less infrastructure, helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can support existing public transport infrastructure by providing seamlessly integrated multi-modal mobility.
City planners hold the power to adapt regulations and allocate mobility permits but will need to be flexible to encourage innovation. Likewise, micromobility will have to work hand-in-hand with urban regulators to ensure accurate data sharing and greater vehicle safety, to adapt supply to demand and to ensure greater integration of payment systems across the entire mobility ecosystem.
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