Okai News - September 2021
News from Okai
- Check out our recap of Eurobike in Friedrichshafen.
- Our ES600 Electric Sharing Scooter is now available for orders and contact sales.
- Updated accessories for the EB100 ebike are now available, including a front wheel hub lock, a vertical phone charger, and options for delivery boxes.
- Please note, lead times continue to be highly constrained.
- Two new products of ours (the EA10 and EB150) will be revealed at Micromobility America - don't miss out.
- Bird, famous for allowing people to rent e-scooters right on the street through an app, now wants to sell e-bikes to commuters. The micromobility startup recently unveiled its first consumer vehicle, called Bird Bike, marking its first attempt to break into the growing market for electric bicycles.
- Best Buy announced it will soon carry a lineup of electric rideables, including the Bird Bike, at select US stores.
- Electric scooters have officially arrived in New York City.
- On the funding front, Dutch e-bike seller VanMoof bagged $128M to fuel international growth.
- What’s the best weather for bike-share? About 80-82° F with clear skies, according to a new study that show ridership peaks under such pleasant conditions.
- Berlin-based startup Dance emerged from stealth with a subscription service that gives users access to a custom-designed electric bicycle—as well as on-demand repair and theft protection—for about $93/month.
- Paris will cap speed limits at 18.5 mph across the city.
- Evaluating the sustainability cred of all the different dockless scooter operators in Europe.
What We're Reading
American shipping companies have been painfully slow to adopt electric cargo bikes—which have been shown to deliver packages up to a 60% faster than vans in dense urban settings—especially compared to their European counterparts. A new piece in Bloomberg CityLab sums up the disparity: “In Germany, DHL/Deutsche Post now manages a fleet of nearly 17,000 cargo bikes and trikes, with another 5,000 on order… According to a DHL spokesperson, the company has launched one American pilot: a Miami deployment involving just four vehicles.”
🔌 Anyone got a charger?
By and large, electric cars get way more attention and support from the government than either mass transit or micromobility alternatives. This is despite the fact that there isn’t anywhere near enough charging infrastructure for battery-powered cars to gain widespread adoption in most countries. As the NYT points out, the US currently has about 100,000 public EV chargers and it would need roughly 10x more before Americans would consider switching over from gas-powered cars en masse.
🙏 New converts
In a story that will resonate with anyone who started biking more in the last year, journalist Clive Thompson recounts how the pandemic converted him from a subway straphanger into an avid urban cyclist. "After being cooped up in my house for so many months of social distancing, roaming around New York was a visual banquet. It was even more fun to see the city with uniquely granular detail you get while biking, gliding past soaring prewar buildings, lunar potholes, a blizzard of fashion on the sidewalks, street vendors hawking candied peanuts, delivery trucks bedecked with graffiti. I can’t figure out propels this phenomenon—maybe it’s because I’m hyper alert while pedaling, since NYC traffic is dangerous—but cycling in New York makes the scenery pop."
🌆 The downtown decade
Urbanism Twitter is all worked up right now about a recent Pew Research Center survey that shows a sizable majority of Americans (60%) would prefer to live in a big home in a sprawling, unwalkable community over a city. Crucially, the percentage who say they’d rather have a small home in a dense area has gone down since the pandemic, suggesting that the experience of being cooped up inside for a year has made more people want a spacious, suburban lifestyle. That said, the NYT reports that Census data shows that average population density in the US actually rebounded during the 2010s to the highest levels since 1990. So who knows what Americans really want.
🛑 Slow streets slowdown
With the rise of remote work, every hour has become rush hour. And now, right as cars are flooding back onto the streets and traffic is returning to pre-pandemic levels, many cities are eliminating COVID-era programs that favored pedestrians, cyclists, and micromobility users. Quartz reports on the troubling trend of communities reversing course on their slow street projects. "San Francisco reopened its Great Highway to motorists in August after being vehicle-free for more than a year. City residents are now fighting to permanently close the thoroughfare to vehicle traffic. In New York City, a move to make 34th Avenue in Queens closed to cars permanently is facing backlash. Washington DC ended its 22 miles of 'slow streets' in May of this year."
Words of the Month
Literally translates as "door closing panic," means "last-minute anxiety"
Chinese: JǓSHǑUZHĪLÁO 举手之劳
Meaning “It was no big deal,” or “No trouble at all.” So when one Mandarin speaker expresses their gratitude to another for offering their help, etiquette dictates that they respond by saying the effort was modest.