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    Okai News - May 2021

    News from Okai

    The main news this month is that we are still seeing a tensed supplier market for certain parts. Please get in touch with us to find out how the global shortage of Microchips is affecting prices and lead times.

    • Beyond MicroChips, we are also working with additional suppliers to combat the shortage of lithium-ion battery cells.
    • More and more EB100 bikes are hitting the streets in Europe, with TIER launching a new fleet in York.
    • To support the e-scooter community, and every business involved, we are constantly sharing new content for free on unsplash these days. Make sure to check it out.
    • On that point, our content team just returned from capturing new video and photos in Valencia (see below). Get in touch with us if you want to upgrade your Okai product marketing activities.

    Latest Reports

    1. Bird is preparing to go public via a reverse merger with a blank-check company at a valuation of $2.3B. The SPAC deal will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the pandemic-battered scooter startup, funding its operations as it strives to reach profitability by 2023. 
    2. Electric bikes are getting more people out of cars. According to a new poll, e-bike owners say that 76% of their pedal-assisted trips would have otherwise been made by driving. 
    3. Lime, Bird, and VeoRide have scored permits to participate in New York City’s first e-scooter pilot. Given its size and density, New York has the potential to be one of the world’s most lucrative micromobility markets, but for now, America’s largest city is starting small. The three approved operators will be allowed to deploy just 1,000 vehicles each this summer, in a limited section of the Bronx.
    4. There have been two big fundraising hauls on the Dutch micromobility scene in recent weeks, with Dott bagging $85M in a Series B round and Go Sharing landing $60M. Both firms plan to use the fresh funds to fuel multimodal and international expansion. 
    5. After blanketing Taiwan with a network of battery-swapping stations in the last decade, e-moped startup Gogoro is partnering with motorbike manufacturer Hero MotorCorp to do the same in India. The move puts Gogoro on a collision course with Indian TNC Ola, which is building its own nationwide charging network for the electric mopeds that will start rolling out from its massive Bangalore factory next month.
    6. Hello, China’s largest bike-share player, is heading for a public listing in the U.S. with an initial fundraising target of $100M. The company’s S-1 reveals that its footprint in China is unlike anything in the West, with approximately 10M bikes and 100M users active in 400 cities.
    7. France plans to create a subsidy for packages that are delivered by cargo bike. Logistics providers could earn up to €2 per parcel for using pedal power to make last-mile deliveries.

    What We're Reading


    The Verge interviews Pete Buttigieg about what he hopes to achieve as the new head of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to sharing his thoughts on the rapid acceleration of EV adoption and transit’s tenuous recovery, Buttigieg devotes considerable attention to the role of micromobility in getting the country moving again, including the need for more protected bike lanes, incentives for commuters to switch to lightweight electric vehicles, and his personal experience as a cyclist in Washington, DC during his first months on the job. 


    The New Yorker captures the inside story of how New York City finally caught up to the rest of the world and learned to embrace electric scooters. What’s great about this article is how it blends a firsthand account of the intense competition that happens between scooter startups as they vie for coveted permits, with a larger narrative about why these funny, little two-wheeled devices matter so much to the future of transportation. Key quote: “No other vehicle on the road has a higher proportion of brains to brawn.” 


    Janette Sadik-Khan has a message for all the city mayors around the world who are considering giving up car-free streets once lockdown is over: Stay the course. In a new op-ed published in The Atlantic, the legendary urban planner argues that the pandemic presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break cities’ dependence on cars, and that all the bike lanes, outdoor dining, and pedestrianized plazas that were created in the last year should be made permanent. “For cities to return to the pre-pandemic status quo would be a historic blunder. Last year’s innovations provided a road map—no pun intended—for undoing the planning sins of the 20th century.”


    As Joe Biden pushes a colossal—and costly—proposal to rebuild America’s infrastructure, Foreign Policy investigates why China has been so successful at securing investment for its most ambitious capital projects. One advantage for China is that, following the privatization of its housing stock in the late 1990s, land prices have been skyrocketing across the country. Increasing property values are a massive source of revenue for local Chinese governments, helping pay for everything from upgraded power grids to new subway lines. Unfortunately for the Biden administration, it can’t count on such a windfall to fund its own infrastructure agenda.


    Even as the vaccine rollout accelerates and major cities reopen, bus and train ridership remains persistently low in the United States—65% less than the pre-pandemic normal nationally. Bloomberg CityLab looks at how a permanent transition to telework among some white-collar professionals could crush mass transit’s ability to serve everyone else. Federal aid is helping public transportation providers stay afloat for now, but when that runs out, the authors warn, “the crisis could stop a decades-long effort to reclaim cities from car-enabled sprawl, creating denser, walkable cores with businesses and housing alike.”

    Words of the Month

    German:ohrwurm
    lit. German for “earwig,” or a song that you can’t get out of your head.

    Chinese:jūn zǐ 君子
    In China, a jūn zǐ is a rather old-fashioned concept that describes someone who is not only honorable and virtuous, but also scholarly and intellectual.
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