Bye, Bye Public Transportation? COVID-19 Could Accelerate a Shift to Micro Mobility Solutions

June 1, 2020

With the COVID-19 virus still prevalent in various countries around the World and the possible threat of the virus resurging in recovering countries, many people will likely avoid public transportation to reduce their chances of infection. As seen in the chart below, countries like the US, France, and Singapore, have seen public transport usage decrease between 60% to as high as 84.8%.

Sources: Capital IQ, Zero One

A form of transportation that could benefit from this shift in consumer behavior is micro-mobility, defined as travel of distances below 8 kilometers. EV micro-mobility solutions stand to benefit the most due to the following factors:

1. Overall cheaper mode of travel compared to EV or gas-powered cars (e-scooters are ~20x more energy efficient than EV cars).
2. EV 2-wheelers can be immediately adopted without the need for extensive charging infrastructure required for EV cars.

According to data from McKinsey, 60% of current passenger kilometers traveled can be replaced by e-scooters or e-bikes. If anything, the COVID-19 is possibly accelerating the timeline for the micro-mobility market. In fact, NIU, a Chinese premium electric 2-wheeler manufacturer, has stated in their recent 1Q20 earnings call that they have seen indications of increased demand due to COVID-19.

"In addition, as social distancing became a temporary social norm internationally, we did observe a demand on individual mobility solution as people tended to stay away from public transportation. This trend might increase the total addressable market in a permanent way when people try our electric scooters and started to enjoy the technology, the style and the freedom our products offer."
-Yan Li, CEO, NIU Technologies

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