The popularity of electric bikes and scooters grew rapidly during the second half of 2020, research from the International Energy Agency revealed earlier this year.
Between the start of July 2020 and the new year, 270 cities around the world relaunched shared e-bike or e-scooter schemes, many of which had been stopped due to the pandemic, the “Trends and developments in electric vehicle markets” report said.
Meanwhile, 100 rental e-scooter schemes were created, meaning that, as of February 2021, there are 650 cities worldwide with micromobility options.
The length of journey on an e-scooter rose 25 per cent in the same time frame, with the IEA arguing that the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions and the construction of bike lanes had contributed to the spike.
"Operators are increasingly offering more powerful e-bikes with plans to expand into electric mopeds, which could further displace longer trips currently completed by car or public transit," the report read.
"Several major operators are introducing swappable batteries to improve operational efficiency and reduce emissions. Although the use of swappable batteries increases the number of total batteries needed to support a fleet, it can significantly reduce operational emissions and enable longer lifetime of vehicles."
CEO of PayByPhone UK, Jonny Combe, spoke about the trend on a recent episode of his podcast "Ride: The Urban Mobility Podcast". Alongside co-host Martin Kahl, they explore the ways that rapid development in technology, evolutions in business models, changes in working styles, and new approaches to the work-life balance are shaping and changing urban mobility.
Titled "The Business of Car-Free Mobility: e-bikes", Jonny speaks to Kevin McLaughlin, the CEO and founder of e-bike rental company Zygg, and Lukas Neckermann, chief operating officer of Splyt.
"I think this is such a fascinating area," he told his guests.
"Kevin, you talked about how your business has been a COVID-19 baby and that is just incredible to see a boom in this area, especially in this highly unusual and extraordinary time."
"And Lukas, the points you made around the super apps is key, and as a result, it is important that businesses are able to integrate these services into those super apps."