Now more than ever, there is a common understanding among citizens, politicians, and authorities that cities were built for people, yet are dominated by full-size cars.
We all want our cities to provide us with a lifestyle such as green parks and coffee shops. We want to walk on pedestrian-friendly streets and breathe clean air.
However, there is a huge gap between the so-called “romantic vision” of how mobility-friendly cities should look like versus what citizens recognize as clean and efficient mobility-friendly cities.
Many worldwide city leaders share a romantic belief that cycling can remove cars from cities. For instance, Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris announced her plans for Paris to become a 100% cyclable city. On the one hand, this is amazing that finally there is an understanding that cars are taking our cities away from us. On the other hand, a lot of people see this as an injury to their freedom to move. This is mainly because many will not compromise their comfort and safety by using a bike or even a scooter. Research has shown that when riding scooters, you are more than 12 times more likely to have a severe accident than when driving a car. In addition, bicycles, bikes and scooters are not fit for every weather or can be used by every person such as elderly people. As for public transportation, even if there is a good public transportation backbone, some will not compromise their privacy, independence, and flexibility.
The good news is that lately we see the rise of a new sector – the minimobility, sometimes also referred to as microcars. McKinsey published at the end of last year that this segment is the missing link between cars and micromobility with a total addressable market of $100 billion annually. Bloomberg explained that the drive for electric minicars is advances in battery technologies and growing climate concerns.
So, while city leaders globally are going romantic, startups are more consumer-oriented, sometimes evolving from understanding consumer pains. This together with the global trends of authorities banning cars from cities, and an overall understanding that the urban mobility paradigm is broken are just some of the factors that ignite to create attractive alternative solutions.
We witness different players blooming in this field like the Swiss-based Microlino, Italian XEV, Israel’s City Transformers as well as Ligier, Aixam and Silence. Each brand brings its own uniqueness, value proposition and even business model.
我们见证了不同参与者在这一领域百花齐放，比如来自瑞士的Microlino、意大利的XEV、以色列的City Transformer以及Ligier, Aixam和Silence。每一个品牌都有自己的独特性、价值主张甚至商业模式。
With an Israeli innovation and origin, German engineering and flavors of Italy, City Transformer is the first ever urban EV that intelligently transforms its dimensions and riding behavior while driving, to meet the complex challenges of urban mobility. This vehicle has the smallest environmental and physical footprint, taking 75% less parking area compared to a regular vehicle.
With a predicted huge market opportunity, the Support of politicians around the world in reference to the mini-mobility sector will take this sector to the next level. The right political attention and understanding of the impact these solutions can have on the overall urban environment worldwide would lead to supporting regulation and financial incentives.
Creating a coordinated approach of these start-up-stage companies with the right political ranks, in the form of a minicar coalition would probably be the right approach.
For this reason City Transformer just recently launched the microcars coalition bringing a coordinated strategy and collective resource to enable a coordinated approach to campaigns and lobbying.
We believe that in the coming years, we are going to witness the end of the conquest of cities by full-size cars. Minimobility vehicles will play a significant role in this transition that will lead to better community life, better air, better sustainability, and better everything that makes a city a fun place to live.
*Written by: Dr. Anat Bonshtien
The writer is the VP of Business Development at "City Transformer" and the former Director of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Smart Mobility Initiative
作者简介：Anat Bonshtien博士是"City Transformer"商务拓展副总裁和负责以色列总理智能移动倡议的前主任。