On 10 January 2023, the European Parliament’s Urban Intergroup and Micro-Mobility for Europe hosted a debate on the role of micro-mobility in the New Urban Mobility Framework (NUMF). Speakers included MEP Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL) and Vice-Presidents MEP Fabienne Keller (RE, FR) and MEP Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT) of the Urban Intergroup, Daniel Mes, Member of the Cabinet EVP Timmermans, Jens Müller, Policy and Research Lead, Clean Cities Campaign and Welmoed Neijmeijer from Micro-Mobility for Europe.
Panelists discussed the opportunities created by micro-mobility, as well as the challenges that the sector is confronted with. The need for more and better infrastructure for micro-mobility users, better integration with public transport, better education for road safety, the existing patchwork of applicable traffic rules, and the lack of a harmonised technical standard were raised as obstacles.
However, already today the availability of micro-mobility reduces car dependency and complements public transport and is an innovation that helps cities to make urban mobility greener and smarter. Speaker Daniel Mes (Cabinet EVP Timmermans) stated that “banning micro-mobility in cities is not a desirable outcome from the point of view of a member of cabinet of EVP Timmermans”.
During the event, MMfE also released 2021 insights into industry-aggregated safety injury data of shared e-scooter riders. Fatality rates are twice as low as private e-scooters and the overall risk of incidents requiring medical treatment is 60% lower than comparable data from 2019.
While speakers acknowledged the important role that micro-mobility already plays in diversifying the urban mobility landscape by reducing congestion and emissions, they called for action on:
Improving infrastructure: more space and safe infrastructure encourages the safe use of micro-mobility and cycling
Working towards harmonised technical standards: to ensure an innovation-friendly framework, EU technical requirements for personal light electric vehicles is needed for e-scooters and e-bikes
Encourage multimodality: micro-mobility strengthens public transport via first and last-mile trips and by making the combination more attractive, car dependency can be reduced
MEP Andreas Schieder (S&D, AT) stated that “we can see an enormous amount of increase in the usage of e-scooters in the last year which is coming together with additional questions of infrastructure, safety and rules for parking”.
MEP Jan Olbrycht (EPP, PL)identified that there is a lack of definition when it comes to micro-mobility, which should be addressed. Furthermore, he highlighted that “we cannot solve problems of transport without urban policy”.
MEP Fabienne Keller (RE, FR)acknowledged that “sharing concepts enable citizens to try new services. We have to be careful with the rules imposed to not discourage their use” and noted that considering the weight of cars, “walking, cycling, e-scooter and e-bikes are a much preferred option”.
MEP Marcos Ros Sempere (S&D, ES) called for European funding to improve multimodal, sustainable mobility focusing on public transportation and shared mobility. Moreover, he asked for only funding for mobility projects that improve the urban mobility indicators.
Daniel Mes (Cabinet EVP Timmermans) stated that “banning micro-mobility in cities is not a desirable outcome from the point of view of a member of cabinet of EVP Timmermans.”
Jens Müller, Clean Cities Campaign, referring to car dependency stated that “We urgently need to use all available options to reduce the use of polluting cars in our cities. There are plenty of workable options available to mayors to make everyone’s life better and tackle the climate crisis by letting citizens jump on shared bikes or e-scooters, while putting in place measures that guarantee road safety and a fair sharing of scarce public space.”
Welmoed Neijmeijer, Micro-Mobility for Europe, emphasised that “to maximise the societal benefits of micro-mobility solutions, infrastructure is needed and authorities must move away from car-centric spatial planning”.
Today, Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE), the EU association of shared micro-mobility providers, is releasing the first-of-its-kind factsheet on incident data involving shared e-scooters in Europe.
Every safety incident is one of too many. By bringing transparency on the aggregated incident data of its six founding members (Bird, Bolt, Dott, Lime, Tier and Voi) in 2021, MMfE seeks to inform road safety policies that reduce incident risks for vulnerable road users, such as e-scooter riders, cyclists, pedestrians, in close collaboration with EU and local authorities.
Based on over 240 million shared e-scooter trips, accounting for over 461 million kilometers traveled, the collected incident data demonstrate that the overall risk of incidents requiring medical treatment is 60% lower than comparable data from 2019. In 2021, 5.1 injuriesrequiring medical treatment with shared e-scooters per million km were registered.
Moreover, fatality rates on shared e-scooters are twice as low as private e-scooters. Although, with the lack of a standardized incident framework in the EU, which MMfE calls for, shared e-scooter and private e-scooter incident data is most often combined in incident reporting.
Overall, MMfE observes a similar risk of fatal incident for shared e-scooters riders as for cyclists.
As motorized vehicles, in particular cars and trucks, remain the biggest source of road traffic fatalities in the EU, the industry association concludes with a set of recommendations to improve the safety of vulnerable road users:
Investment in protected infrastructures
Harmonise incident reporting standards in the EU
Acknowledge e-scooter riders as vulnerable road users
Encourage rules enforcement by local authorities
MMfE is committed to improve road safety and remains open to work with authorities and other actors to achieve this common goal.
Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) is an association of shared micro-mobility providers such as e-bikes and e-scooters. Our members aim to transform urban mobility by creating a sustainable and safe transport ecosystem together with the cities in which they operate. Shared micro-mobility plays an important role in solving cities’ most persisting challenges: traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, by reducing car use and filling gaps in public transit networks.
On 01 January 2023, Micro-Mobility for Europe welcomed two new members joining the alliance: Hopp and Superpedestrian! Our growing membership shows that there is a need for operators to join forces on EU level with the goal of transforming urban mobility by creating a sustainable transport ecosystem together with cities.
With now eight members, namely Bird, Bolt, Dott, Hopp, Lime, Superpedestrian, Tier and Voi, MMfE continues to defend the interests of the micro-mobility industry with the goal of guiding Europe towards a global leadership position in the adoption of sustainable urban transport.
Eiríkur Rafn Rafnsson, Head of Government Partnerships at Hopp:
“We at Hopp are looking forward to a productive and fruitful cooperation within MMfE. The shared micro-mobility industry has seen astronomical growth since the first scooters were put on the streets a few years ago, making sustainable, urban transportation more accessible and flexible.
Hopp is operating in eight countries in Europe, focusing on smaller cities and towns. Micro-mobility is evolving very quickly while having a large impact on cities where it is being offered. In order for micromobility users, other commuters and the wider society to fully reap the benefits of shared micro-mobility, it is the duty of the industry to inform policy-makers and regulatory bodies of the latest research and insights gained from operating shared micromobility fleets. Hopp considers MMfE to be a powerful voice in that regard and we look forward to pulling our weight with the other leaders of micro-mobility in Europe.”
Haya Verwoord Douidri, VP EMEA at Superpedestrian:
“Superpedestrian looks forward to collaborating with MMfE members to establish the foundations of a sustainable micro-mobility ecosystem. This process and its outcomes are vital for the EU to meet its goals for our cities’ futures.”
On November 16, the Clean Cities Campaign (CCC) hosted by Transport & Environment, Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) and the Urban Intergroup of the European Parliament are publishing a Joint Letter outlining How Cities Benefit From Micro-Mobility. As it becomes increasingly clear that shared micro mobility services play a key role in achieving EU cities’ sustainable transportation goals, the three signatories are calling for a more collaborative and constructive regulatory approach between cities and private operators.
The three signatories emphasise that:
Micro-mobility plays an increasingly important role in achieving cities sustainable transportation’s goals and is one solution to cities’ persistent challenges like reducing traffic congestion and air and noise pollution
European cities should adopt a collaborative approach in regulating micro mobility, through open and constructive dialogue with private operators
Banning shared micro mobility services runs counter to cities’ stated sustainable transport goals and that there are better ways to ensure these services meet city’s goals while respecting residents and public space
Cities should prioritise the safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and scooters riders by investing in infrastructure that creates safer spaces on streets and reduces space from cars
CCC, MMfE and the EP Urban Intergroup call on local authorities to take an open approach to dialogue and to consider the adoption of a regulatory framework that fosters the uptake of micro-mobility – a sector that has great potential for improving the living conditions of European citizens and creating safer and more sustainable cities.
Micro-Mobilty for Europe (MMfE) was invited to present its views in the workshop on ”technical requirements and road safety of Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)’’ on 14 September, organised by DG GROW and DG MOVE.
Road safety data shows that the number of e-scooters incidents in Germany were limited
Besides MMfE, representatives from Member States presented their views and provided information on the applicable national rules on technical requirements for light electric vehicles (LEVs). Member States also shared road safety data from their respective countries. Patryk Dudek from the German Transport Agency highlighted that their official national statistics show that e-scooters caused a very limited number of incidents compared to other transport modes, based on data from 2021 (i.e. bicycles and cars). MMfE welcomes the fact that EU Member States are monitoring road safety data on new modes more structurally, and would welcome the opportunity to contribute to these efforts.
The need for horizontal legislation for personal light electric vehicles
MMfE’s representative emphasised the need for a unified approach and called for horizontal legislation that is innovation-friendly, i.e. not too strict, to avoid hampering innovation and limiting the offer of sustainable mobility solutions. Furthermore, MMfE called upon the EU not to allow for deviation on a national level to offer legal certainty to producers.
The main issue discussed was the absence of central legislation setting technical requirements for “personal light electric vehicles” – which should include e-scooters and e-bikes with a design speed of up to 25 km/h. In the absence of horizontal legislation at European level, regulatory divergences at national level are expected to intensify. This will lead to barriers in the internal market, which is contrary to the principles on which the single European market is founded.
Hence, MMfE strongly supports the adoption of a common regulatory framework that creates a new dedicated category and that will establish technical requirements for personal light electric vehicles.
In the creation of a new central regulatory framework, it is essential that the EU does not impose measures that could be detrimental to the uptake of sustainable mobility options, like an obligation to homologate vehicles. There is no evidence that a type approval procedure involves an increase in security levels for users and third parties, in comparison to the current system based on self-certification, as identified by a TRL report. If a sort of type approval procedure is deemed necessary, the EU should propose a light procedure that is not too burdensome in terms of time and cost for the micro-mobility industry.
Furthermore, the imposition of regulatory measures to which motor vehicles are subject should be avoided such as the obligation of motor insurance and of the license plate for shared micro-mobility devices. These measures are designed for heavy vehicles (passenger cars and vans) and do not reconcile with the nature, size, and purpose of light electric vehicles.
Finally, MMfE seizes this opportunity to thank the European Commission for the invitation to the stakeholder dialogue. MMfE would also like to reiterate its willingness to work together with the decision-makers and other relevant players, for the establishment of an EU legislative framework that favors the healthy and continuous development of sustainable transport solutions across Europe.
We welcome the publication of the SUMP Guide on safe use of micro- mobility devices in urban areas and appreciate having been consulted in the process of drawing up the guide. Also, MMfE gladly acknowledges that best practices and recommendations on the integration of micro-mobility in urban planning have been identified and that those recommendations, by encouraging safer use of such devices in urban areas, will help Europe in delivering its Vision Zero strategy.
MMfE is convinced that the guide can serve as a basis for the safe deployment of micro-mobility services in cities, making urban transport systems more accessible, affordable and sustainable. At the same time, MMfE remains open to exchange and discussion with policymakers and other actors.
The SUMP Guides recommendation acknowledges that improving the safe use of micro-mobility devices requires efforts and collaboration between providers, authorities on different levels and other actors. In particular with view to the upcoming Commission Recommendation to Member States on the national programme to support regions and cities in the roll-out of effective sustainable urban mobility plans as announced in the 2021 New Urban Mobility Framework, MMfE is sharing feedback on the SUMP Guide to constructively contribute to upcoming measures that promote micro-mobility in the EU.
Safety and infrastructure
We fully endorse the ambition of integrating micro-mobility into Vision Zero. Research reveals that reliance on the private car is a considerable barrier to achieving the vision for a safer future. As such, the modal shift away from cars is a key objective in achieving Vision Zero. Reducing fatalities and injuries across the EU, regardless of the means of transport, should be pursued by all cities. Most of them have realised the importance of allocating sufficient space to pedestrians, cyclists, and users of e-scooters, to contribute to the overarching goal of reducing the numbers and use of private cars. Making the step from realisation to implementation is often challenging for cities. MMfE, therefore, calls on the European Commission to support cities in creating more space for these user groups, through infrastructure investments, by welcoming shared mobility operators, and through cooperation with local mobility actors.
Infrastructure and speed
One way to rethink and reallocate urban space is by introducing pop-up bike lanes, which is one step towards redistributing urban space equitably. Ideally, these bike lanes are separated from traffic with more than just paint. After all, paint is not an infrastructure and does not protect vulnerable cyclists or users of e-scooters or e-bikes. Protected infrastructure empower urban dwellers to pursue sustainable mobility solutions. It is important to ensure that the speed set for e-scooters reflects the infrastructure available and who e- scooters share the road with. For example implementing a speed limit that is much slower than average bike speeds can cause risks by disrupting traffic flows. Also, excessively slow speeds can be dangerous for e-scooter riders and increase the likelihood of a safety incident occurring.
While we welcome the findings on safety and infrastructure in the guide, a greater emphasis should be made throughout the guide on the need for better infrastructure for micro-mobility. We strongly believe that the focus should be on prevention rather than protection. Cities can prioritise prevention through the creation of divided and stand-alone infrastructure which separates e-scooters, and other vulnerable road users from cars. Even though prevention is the most powerful way to protect vulnerable road users from harm, MMfE is aware that there will inevitably be situations where they and motor vehicles will need to interact.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, due to the inevitability of some accidents, we strongly recommend our users wear a helmet. This should however not be made mandatory, as this is known to limit the uptake of shared and sustainable modes of transport, which in turn makes riding less safe due to the safety in numbers phenomenon.
It is common knowledge among cycling advocates that imposing a helmet requirement may do more harm than good. When municipalities implement a helmet requirement, ridership drops significantly. Fewer micro-mobility riders mean less safety for the fewer riders on the road, because less investment is made in safe infrastructure and cars do not learn or expect to share the road. Introducing a bikeshare program, for example, is associated with a decrease in the absolute number of bicycle accidents, even though the number of people riding bicycles increases and a smaller portion of those riders wear helmets (see here).The United Kingdom determined not to impose a helmet requirement for bicycles because it found that it was ineffective and negatively impacted ridership (see here); it is applying the same logic to e-scooters.
Driving under influence
We strongly support that intoxicated users of micro-mobility services should be treated in the same way as users of other vehicle types, which requires both awareness raising and enforcement by the police.
Importance of training
With the increasing availability of micro-mobility services, MMfE welcomes the recommendation to engage with vulnerable road users to understand their concerns and to offer a platform for exchange, for the benefit of the citizens and the urban mobility system. Beyond these exchange opportunities, we encourage the offer and promotion of training for micro-mobility and road users, to inform them about risks and rules. MMFE welcomes the recommendation to educate both micro-mobility users and other road users on how to safely interact with new modes of transport. This should be done by both national bodies as well as operators. This should start at the primary school level, to ensure that future road users are familiar with the different vehicle types that they will encounter when independently navigating our cities’ streets.
Micro-mobility data and insights
Data from micro-mobility services offers potential for cities and authorities to better understand mobility patterns and weaknesses of the local transport system.
It has the potential to support human-centric urban planning based on observed mobility patterns and demand. It is in this context that MMfE members share data with a large number of cities they operate in.
Nevertheless, based on MMfE’s experience, we have noted that the full potential stemming from micro-mobility data is still untapped. Cities do not consistently have the capacity to manage our data efficiently, which has resulted in our data primarily being used to monitor the micro-mobility operations instead of supporting cities’ urban planning and traffic management tasks to encourage the uptake of greener transport modes.
Furthermore, the absence of standardized framework or performance indicators for how micro-mobility data can support cities’ sustainability policy objectives has made data-sharing an inefficient task overall. Some member states and cities have initiated the design of tailored standards for micro-mobility data sharing instead of using existing industry-wide ones or have very specific data requirements. MMfE members also noted that the privacy safeguards needed to share micro-mobility data in a GDPR- compliant manner are not always fully clear to city authorities.
We strongly believe that the aforementioned points and challenges should be addressed at EU-level in order to leverage the potential that micro-mobilty data presents in shaping sustainable urban environments.
Finally, we also advocate for introducing a systematic and universal methodology to monitor accidents across Europe, with a clear distinction made to incidents that happen with privately owned and shared vehicles, for all vehicle categories.
We endorse the Guide’s recommendation that European institutions and standardisation bodies should agree on the classification and safety standards for micro-mobility devices. This would create consistent safety standards and provide micro-mobility providers with clarity as regards investment in new vehicles. In particular, vehicle standards should not be set at city level as this leads to a patchwork of different standards across the EU.
Requirements set out in tenders should be aligned with city goals, in particular with the objective of reducing the number of private cars, increasing accessibility and redesigning urban space. In addition, licenses should cover a period of at least 12 months, better 24-36 months, which is also reflected in the SUMP Guide. Moreover, limits to the fleet size do not allow providers to adjust to the changing and evolving need for additional supply of micro-mobility devices. Instead of imposing direct caps, alternatives such as dynamic caps and seasonal allotments could be more effective to match demand with supply.
It should ideally be left up to the cities to choose the instrument they want to apply in choosing operators, where a tender is merely one such instrument. Other solutions that cities can put in place are the introduction of memoranda of understanding, licenses, authorizations and letters of intent.
Finally, cities, regardless of the type of selection procedure chosen, should not include selection criteria based on the request to micro- mobility operators of economic contributions or revenue sharing schemes.
Solutions for fixed docking are not the best way to ensure compliant parking and the suggestions on parking and docking should and leave no room for flexibility at the city level, taking the specificities of the city into account. Physical docks are expensive and inflexible, and require significant city staff time to plan locations and coordinate build out. In neighborhoods with less space and more foot traffic, for which a city has particular concerns about micro-mobility parking, a combination of light touch infrastructure and virtual tech to ensure rider compliance is sufficient, as well as affordable and flexible. The Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) analyzed the implementation of scooter parking infrastructure and found no difference in efficacy between heavy infrastructure, e.g. racks, and spaces that are indicated only with paint and geofencing5. The study also found parkings compliance is higher when parking spaces are located in places that correspond to common ride end areas.
Environmental impact and sustainability
In just a few years, micro-mobility operators have managed to significantly improve the environmental performance of their e- scooter vehicles. This has been achieved through improved vehicle design (i.e. robustness, repairability), the increased usage of recycled materials and, most importantly, by extending the lifespan of our vehicles. Whilst the SUMP guide points to a 3-6 months lifespan of e- scooters, our latest generation of vehicles have been redesigned in a way that their lifespan was extended to 5+ years. An article published in 2020 showed that the lifespan of e-scooters had already increased to 24 months; this has been extended further as we continue improving robust vehicle design and repairability, significantly reducing e-scooters’ environmental footprint.
These developments have made e-scooters a sustainable mobility choice that has a strong contribution to make in a diversified transport mix. As outlined in the SUMP guide, it is indisputable that e- bikes and bicycles generate important health benefits as an active way to travel. In this context, the value generated by e-scooters should not be benchmarked against other sustainable modes but rather looked at as one piece of a multimodal transport network that is able to meet the various mobility needs and use cases of urban citizens.
For example, our internal research indicates that whilst e-scooters are primarily used for shorter distances (i.e. to complement public transport journeys for the first and last mile), e-bikes tend to be used for longer, mid-range distances. This points to the need for a variety of sustainable choices to simultaneously exist and complement one another to meet evolving mobility needs.
The ITF confirms this finding by highlighting that ‘micromobility enriches urban mobility and has the potential to change behaviour and transition to low-carbon urban mobility’ and that widespread availability of e-scooters, particularly for first/last-mile connections, could improve accesswhile shortening commuting time and reducing reliance on cars (ITF, 2021).
In light of the upcoming Commission Recommendation to Member States on the national programme to support regions and cities in the roll-out of effective sustainable urban mobility plans, MMfE calls on the European Commission to:
Advocate for integrating micro-mobility in SUMPs as an enabler to cleaner, less congested, more inclusive and liveable cities;
Substantiate the role that micro-mobility can play in moving away from cities’ and citizen’s dependency on private cars;
Endorse micro-mobility as one component of a diversified urban mobility system;
Emphasise the crucial role that micro-mobility can play in complementing public transport and suggest member states to put in place mechanisms that favor the integration of micro- mobility into the public transport system;
Propose that member states adopt measures that discourage the use of cars, particularly in city centers;
Encourage member states to use revenue from car parking and fines to invest in infrastructure for sustainable mobility.
Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) welcomes the European Commission’s December 2021 Communication setting out a New Urban Mobility Framework.
We applaud the European Commission’s intention to boost the integration of public transport with other modes, such as via Mobility-as-a-Service. Furthermore, we strongly support the ambition of contributing to EU Green House Gas reduction targets while improving mobility in cities.
While we appreciate the European Commission’s call for a “renewed focus” on micro-mobility, we regret that the Commission has not acknowledged the full potential of e-scooters and e-bikes. Beyond the health and safety points mentioned in the Framework, micro-mobility services offer accessible, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions that are available on-demand. At the same time, increased use of micro-mobility allows for rethinking urban space as these vehicles require less space than passenger cars. Therefore, we call on the European Commission to:
further promote shared micro-mobility as a credible means to cut CO2 emissions
encourage municipalities and regions to invest in proper infrastructures for cycling and micro-mobility
work towards a harmonised approach to safety data gathering across cities, regions, and EU Member States
consult during the entire process with micro-mobility operators in the adoption of new rules for micro-mobility devices
Micro-mobility increases the resilience of public transport systems
While public transport systems are the backbone of urban mobility systems, micro-mobility services improve accessibility for the first and last mile, enabling citizens to reach or travel from destinations that are underserved by public transport. Micro-mobility services can adapt to changes in urban mobility demands swiftly and can contribute to relieving pressure on urban mobility systems at peak times.
The lifespan of micro-mobility devices has significantly increased in the past few years, and surveys show that users increasingly substitute the use of private cars for trips by micro-mobility devices (see here). People are frequently substituting micro-mobility vehicles for private use for various reasons, such as because destinations may be more challenging to reach by other means of transport (see here). E-scooters thus contribute, at least in part, to improving public transport on previously less optimally covered connections.
Rethinking urban space
In many EU cities, citizens are suffering from congested roads, pollution, and noise caused by traffic. As cars are getting bigger (see here), cities risk sacrificing more and more space for roads and passenger cars, which comes at the cost of the quality of life and safety of urban dwellers. A modal shift to public transport, paired with micro-mobility solutions, would reduce individuals’ dependency on cars, allowing cities to rethink urban space for the benefit of their citizens. At the same time, cities should dedicate more space to ensure that bicycles and e-scooter users do not feel at risk. When transforming cities, each step counts, such as building new infrastructure or creating pedestrian zones.
Private cars require a significant investment, paired with high maintenance costs, particularly in times when citizens are confronted with record costs for energy and fuels.
Taking a closer look at the efficiency of cars, only 12% – 30% of the energy from the fuel is used to move the car. Of that 12-30%, 94% is used to move the 1,400 kg car, and only 6% is used to move the 80kg driver. In a private car, only 0.7% – 1.8% of the energy is used to move the person. This is an exceedingly wasteful use of energy, with dire consequences for health, quality of life, and the environment. Micro-mobility can play a role in increasing energy efficiency and tackling energy poverty – in fact, micro-mobility offers a means of transport available to everyone and at much lower prices than cars.
Micro-mobility services offer affordable and transparent pricing models that do not fluctuate as prices at gas stations do.
Horizontal legislation for Personal Light Electric Vehicles
MMfE supports harmonised technical rules on EU level, to avoid fragmentation on national or regional level. Involvement of micro-mobility providers in the process of drawing up such rules will be crucial to ensure planning and investment security, and to maximise societal benefits.
The European Commission’s New Urban Mobility Framework is a step in the right direction. Still, more attention needs to be placed on micro-mobility to ensure the transition towards zero-emission transport in the EU. Furthermore, more emphasis should be placed on how micro-mobility can transform urban mobility by offering accessible and affordable mobility solutions that are available on-demand. MMfE is ready to engage with all stakeholders on the road to clean and digital urban mobility.
Micro-Mobility for Europe is a coalition of shared micro-mobility providers such as short-term rental of electric scooters and bicycles. Our members want to ultimately transform urban mobility by creating a sustainable transport ecosystem together with the cities in which they operate.
We believe that micro-mobility solutions are essential alternatives to car ownership and use and we place people and the environment at the heart of mobility.
MMfE defends the interests of the micro-mobility industry with the goal of guiding Europe towards a global leadership position in the adoption of sustainable urban transport.
Driving the sustainable transition requires active engagement from across different sectors. The uptake of micro mobility services brings a unique opportunity to tackle current transport challenges in urban areas.
Brussels, 3 December 2021
Micro Mobility for Europe was pleased to take part in WindEurope’s annual Electric City 2021 conference that took place in Copenhagen, Denmark. The coalition’s co-Chair Welmoed Neijmeijer (Bolt) joined Henrik Striesdal (Stiesdal Offshore Technologies), Joakim Bansholm Nilssen (Volvo Trucks) and Tore Harritshøj (Spiiri) during a panel on Transport and Mobility, where speakers discussed the main challenges that lie ahead of the sectors at the dusk of the sustainable transition.
The coalition highlighted that clear rules on micro-mobility from cities are needed and collaboration between operators and local governments when it comes to micro mobility solutions will be necessary to achieve the sustainability goals for urban transport. Cities should stimulate integration of various transport modes to provide consumers with the most suitable transport options. The panelists agreed that engagement from public administration is an important catalyst of change, also for heavy transport where significant investment in infrastructure is imminent.
The co-Chair highlighted that shared micro-mobility solutions have the potential to generate a modal shift from car trips in urban areas to more sustainable modes, and complement public transportation, which will ultimately have a clear positive impact on congestion, livability, and GHG emissions. The use of shared micro-mobility solutions such as e-scooters, bikes, e-bikes and mopeds, will reduce emissions compared to the use of cars as their energy use and GHG emissions profiles are comparable in magnitude to that of public transport.
The speakers agreed however that a shift to sustainable transport will take more than just ensuring the successful deployment of micro-mobility solutions in urban areas. Both decarbonisation and digitalisation of different modes of transport call for the development of digital interfaces, including multi-modal digital mobility frameworks that would allow passengers to plan their trips combining multiple means of transport across the EU. To this end, Micro Mobility for Europe highlighted their support for the creation of the Common European Mobility Data Space and multiple initiatives stemming from the European strategies for data and mobility, which strive for integration of transport modes thus contributing to increased accessibility of sustainable transportation.
Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) welcomes the overall objectives of the proposal for a Battery Regulation put forward by the European Commission in December 2020. Our sector fully supports the need to accelerate the transition towards a more electrified transport system as clearly stated by the first recital of the proposal: “A shift from the use of fossil fuels in vehicles to electromobility is one of the prerequisites for reaching the climate neutrality goal in 2050”. The importance of the announcement of the Commission regarding the modernisation of EU legislation on batteries was underlined by the fact that the European Commission listed it among the actions in its new Circular Economy Action Plan. Micro-Mobility for Europe believes, as well as the European Commission, that more sustainable batteries throughout their life cycle are essential in achieving the decarbonisation of the transport sector, and the EU economy as a whole.
We believe shared micro-mobility solutions have the potential to generate a modal shift away from car trips to more sustainable modes, and complement public transportation, which will ultimately reduce GHG emissions and increase quality of life in urban areas. To support this vision, Europe needs a robust, coherent and clear regulatory framework around batteries. Batteries are essential for micro-mobility solutions that support the EU’s decarbonisation objectives, which is why MMfE fully supports the inclusion of specific provisions for batteries for ‘light means of transport’ such as e-scooters.
However, we have noticed with concern some inconsistencies in the proposal and misunderstandings about where the light electric vehicle industry is and where it is going. In order to safeguard the European Commission’s goals of increased safety and sustainability for batteries, while integrating coherently with the way light means of transport are evolving today, we wanted to share further insights about how the shared micro-mobility industry uses batteries today and may use them tomorrow. We believe these insights can help both the European Commission and, more particularly, co-legislators (European Parliament and Council) to review the current proposal for a coherent, accurate and future-proof framework on batteries in Europe.
The use of batteries in shared micro-mobility applications
Batteries used in e-scooters and other micro-mobility vehicles have undergone a huge development. Today most companies operating shared e-scooters undergo strict scrutiny by local governments regulated through licenses or tender agreements. That means all members of the coalition work to understand and limit environmental impact by optimising disposal, second life and recycling of batteries.
Battery production is one of the most carbon-intensive parts of e-scooter manufacturing, which in turn contributes the most to an e-scooter’s overall lifetime emissions. According to the latest reports on the environmental impact of e-scooters, their life cycle is highly impacted by the material used to manufacture the vehicles (incl. the battery). The use of raw material contributes to between 68% and 90% of their total carbon footprint. Proper disposal and recycling represent an environmental challenge, and our members have been working with first class recycling partners for responsible disposal and recycling to minimise this impact, adapting to various circumstances. According to the EIT MOBY report, future developments, especially in battery management and recycling processes, will substantially reduce the environmental impact of e-scooters.
Most e-scooters run on some type of lithium-ion batteries of capacity between 300 Wh and up to approximately 1500 Wh and have a battery pack composed of individual cells and electronics grouped in a battery management system. E-scooter battery technology is chosen for its light weight, its performance and long lifespan. For the purpose of the EU Battery Regulation, it is also important to note that the same battery pack can be used interchangeably for an e-scooter or an e-bike.
E-scooter and micro-mobility manufacturers have taken measures to tackle the carbon footprint associated with battery production.
In terms of average lifespan of batteries, this depends on the battery type used and the battery chemistry. Notwithstanding peak and lower performing batteries, in terms of average figures we have observed that the industry standard is approximately 400-700 cycles, which roughly equates to 14,000-25,000 km driven. Shared e-scooter batteries can achieve 14,000+ miles (22,500+ km) of expected battery life. Calendar time can be a misleading metric; for example, a consumer model that averages two rides per week might be able to market a 5-year battery life, where shared rentals would see much more use.
Concerning the management of end-of-life, once a battery is decommissioned our members will first consider it for reuse namely by disassembling the battery, testing individual battery cells, and passing the performant ones on to our partners for a second life as battery packs for other purposes. Moreover, members of Micro-Mobility for Europe have developed partnerships with recyclers to recycle lithium-ion battery cells, circuit boards, and e-waste. The industry has been working to reduce the percentage of cobalt used in battery cells by replacing it with nickel. Any batteries or cells that are not fit for reuse are collected by recycling partners for recycling via hydrometallurgical recycling systems.
When it comes to sustainability and waste management of batteries, members of Micro-Mobility for Europe have developed partnerships with recyclers to recycle lithium-ion battery cells, circuit boards, and e-waste. More concretely, the industry has been active in material substitution with the aim of improving the environmental performance of our operations – as it is the case of the current gradual reduction in cobalt for nickel.
Batteries for light means of transport should all be defined as portable batteries
We agree with the European Commission that light means of transport should fall under the portable battery category. This is clearly stated in recital 12 (p. 25-26) which reads that “batteries used in light means of transport, such as e-bikes and scooters, [should be] classified as portable batteries”.
However, we are concerned with the lack of accuracy when defining light means of transport in Article 2, which seems inconsistent with that recital. Indeed, the definition under Article 2 of light means of transport is very restrictive, and mostly limited to e-bikes. Such a narrow definition cannot properly account for the evolving variety of light electric vehicles, including e-bikes, e-scooters, and many other new innovative vehicles. Therefore, it appears that the content of the Regulation would not match the original intention of the European Commission.
Defining batteries used in micro-mobility vehicles as portable batteries is important for several reasons. The first reason is that it allows for predictability for both the battery industry and the micro-mobility industry, allowing European production of battery cells and batteries to develop and flourish, and for the micro-mobility industry to operate under the same regulatory terms no matter the vehicle’s exact specifications.
We believe that the EU Battery Regulation should set definitions in coherence with other regulations and ongoing regulatory work in the EU. When it comes to light means of transport, weight and speed are the main elements used to categorise and define vehicles, and are also key parameters which define the battery capacity needed to propel the vehicle. This is for example illustrated in the study on personal mobility devices carried out by TRL. This should also be the approach in the Battery Regulation which will be the first legislation in the EU to provide a definition for batteries of ‘light means of transport’. Such a definition should be future-proof, accounting for the variety of vehicles that fall under this category. It should also account for how light means of transport can tackle transport emissions and develop more sustainable mobility in Europe.
A uniform approach for all vehicles similar in speed and weight is also justified by the fact that the exact same battery can be used in an e-bike or an e-scooter. That is, under the proposed regulation, the same battery might find itself classified in one week as a “portable” battery, and the next week as an “electric vehicle” battery. Should the current text remain, this would lead to a very incoherent and unpredictable regulatory framework. Additionally, it would be nearly impossible to manage for battery manufacturers.
Therefore MMfE calls on EU co-legislators to set a coherent, accurate and robust definition for light means of transport that provides an efficient framework for the sustainability and safety of batteries in support of more sustainable means of transport in the short and long run.
Our proposed amendments
Article 2 point 7
Article 2 point 7
‘Portable battery’ means any battery that:
‘Portable battery’ means any battery that:
• is sealed;
• is sealed;
• weighs below 5 kg;
• has a capacity limit of 2 KWh;
• is not designed for industrial purposes; and
• (weighs below 10 kg;)
• is neither an electric vehicle battery nor an automotive battery;
• is not designed for industrial purposes; and
• is neither an electric vehicle battery nor an automotive battery;
Micro-Mobility for Europe would welcome a classification made on capacity, as the coalition believes it to be a better way to classify batteries. The capacity limit the coalition proposes is 2KWh. A significant part of the weight is composed of material that protects the battery cells from damage, which should not be reduced from a safety and durability perspective. Larger batteries are also more environmentally friendly, as they allow vehicles to operate for longer before the battery is swapped. As battery technology is in continuous evolution, new cell chemistries and other innovations could soon make the legislation obsolete. Therefore, a limitation of 5 kg seems to be limiting to new possible technologies. In case of a weight limitation, Micro-Mobility for Europe would suggest a threshold of 10 kg. Finally, the legislation should concern itself with safety guarantees that are verifiable and backed by data, rather than setting arbitrary weight or vehicle power limits.
Article 2 point 9
Article 2 point 9
‘light means of transport’ means wheeled vehicles that have an electric motor of less than 750 watts, on which travellers are seated when the vehicle is moving and that can be powered by the electric motor alone or by a combination of motor and human power;
‘light means of transport’ means wheeled vehicles that have an electric motor of no more than 2,000 watts, taking into account that the range of vehicle defined as ‘light means of transport’ will likely expand over time, and that can be powered by the electric motor alone or by a combination of motor and human power;
Light means of transport include a large variety of vehicles such as e-bikes and e-scooters., etc. There is no justification to treat these vehicles differently and the EU Battery regulation should be future-proof as to which light means of transport can be developed in the future, particularly to tackle transport emissions and develop a more sustainable mobility in Europe. Coherence needs to be ensured between the work ongoing on Personal Mobility Devices (incl. TRL study) by DG GROW and the text of this proposal.
Article 2 point 12
Article 2 point 12
‘Electric vehicle battery’ means any battery specifically designed to provide traction to hybrid and electric vehicles for road transport;
‘electric vehicle battery’ means any battery specifically designed to provide traction to hybrid and electric vehicles for road transport, with the exception of batteries to provide traction to light means of transport;
To avoid any confusion as to what might constitute an electric vehicle battery, we propose clearly excluding light means of transport batteries from the scope of the definition.
On the way to climate-neutrality announced by the EU in the context of the EU Green Deal and against arising challenges as air pollution, noise and congestion, innovative urban mobility solutions are emerging, and micro-mobility is one of these.
On May 27th 2021 our co-chair Catriona Meehan attended as panelist the online event organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) on Micro-mobility and the Green Deal: a maturing industry fit to tackle local and global challenges?”. The event was the occasion to discuss challenges and opportunities for micro-mobility to be anchored in the forward-looking and Green Deal-aligned urban mobility landscape and to position Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) as a key player in the sustainable and smart mobility space. The debate was enriched by panelists from both the public and private sectors as the European Parliament, the Commission, the European Investment Bank, that shared their views on the matter. Particularly, our co-chair Catriona share views on a range of topics which included:
The way in which MMfE calls the EU to not opt for over prescriptive regulation on e-scooters.
The importance of regulation as the essential means to secure expansion of micro-mobility which must occur through innovation and safety standards.
How the industry needs to find a solution at the EU and local level to integrate better micro-mobility within a wider transport mix.
How with the pandemic, there has been a huge uptake of devices in the last year andMMfE saw a rethinking of the approach to micro-mobility to this regard.
The attention given to circular economy where the industry contributes greatly – Members of MMfE have partnership with recycling companies for batteries and vehicles and the lifespan grew from 3 months to 24 months in the last years.
The emphasis on the social dimension and how the industry is now working on inclusivity to widen the range of people who can use e-scooters – MMfE members work with associations to help and include everyone.
The priority posed on the safety issue which is tackled by members with special features – i.e., beginners’ mode and inclusion of national road safety regulation in the apo.
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