Few could have foreseen the economic and geopolitical landscape that would have to confront the mobility sector in 2022. With the sector still reeling from shortages of materials, especially semiconductor chips, caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns, the encroachment of ‘Ukraine has further tested the resilience of the sector.
This has led to companies struggling to free themselves from Russian oil. The result of this has created a strong focus on renewable energy, including conservation, optimizing operational efficiency and electrification – topics that will extend to all areas of mobility in 2023.
But there’s a lot more we can expect from the industry next year, and here are some of those predictions.
More facilitated public transport
Buy your tickets for TNW Valencia in March!
The heart of technology is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean
2022 saw countries such as Spain and Germany subsidize public transport and these initiatives will extend until 2023.
France has banned short-haul domestic flights, reducing the cost of train tickets en route. We will likely see more countries investing in public transport to reduce citizens’ dependence on gas.
Solar electric vehicles (sEVs) will hit the streets for the first time
We can expect big things for solar electric vehicles in 2023. I’m Motors’ The €25,000 solar-electric sedan, the Sion, is expected to go into production in the second half of the year. According to CEO Laurin Hahn, the company will start fulfilling pre-orders within the EU later. However, the company is going through some problems.
Lightyear’s €250,000 model “0” solar electric vehicle, developed in the Netherlands, will likely hit the streets alongside the Squad Solar City. In California, Aptera may also release its two-seat solar electric vehicle.
According to Sono Motor CEO Hahn, the availability of technologically advanced, safe, energy-producing solar electric vehicles, as opposed to simple energy-consuming electric vehicles, represents a major leap forward in the electric vehicle industry to date.
He added: “Each of these companies is a pioneer in an emerging sector that is committed to realizing the dream of truly zero-emission mobility, which has eluded us for far too long.”
Two-way charging to have its moment
Currently, bi-directional EV charging is a nice feature to have, but, in 2023, it will become much more sought after.
EV owners will want to reduce home and office energy costs, and using their EV as an alternative energy source may be just the ticket.
Two-way charging usually requires a hardware investment. But according to Hahn, Sion could be among the first European automakers to offer consumers the ability to charge other vehicles or feed energy back into a public or private network (such as the home network), without any additional hardware.
Ebikes are at an inflection point
2022 has been a big year for ebikes, even with hardware sell excess cars in the United States. In large parts of Europe, they are becoming the ubiquitous means of transport for city dwellers.
Tanguy Goretti — co-founder and CTO of Cowboys – predicts wider adoption among families who will continue to abandon their second car as it becomes too expensive to run. Electric bicycles offer families “a cheaper and more practical transportation option that the whole family can share”.
TNW has reviewed many great ebikes for their great design and utility, but there is also a significant amount of software innovation that Goretti expects to grow in 2023.
He believes ebikes will have their iPhone moment, explaining that two significant hardware moments have occurred over the past 10 years: electrification and connectivity. He continued: “This is exactly what happened with iPhone or Tesla; hardware differences have become less relevant and software has become the main thing, and soon the ebike industry will follow suit.
Micromobility will expand, but struggle with profitability
2022 was another big year for micromobility as operators focused on expanding fleets and entering new markets. But the profitability challenge loomed, leading to the layoffs we’ve seen across the entire tech ecosystem. This year the major operators of shared micromobility services such as You, BirdAnd Level they are all significantly scaled down.
There is also speculation that Paris could ban escooters in response to parking problems and accidents, despite a push in both ownership and piloting. The city’s contracts with Lime, Dott and Tier they are all ready for renewal in February 2023, so expect to see the dangers of escooters dominating the French media.
Curbside parking and driving remain significant pain points, so expect to see more attention paid to the technology which manages the way escotoers are driven and parked. Docking (and charging) solutions can become a key part of city infrastructure in some public spaces to reduce clutter.
And then there is Berlin. From January 1st, bicycles, escooters, scooters and motorcycles (rental or otherwise) can be parked free of charge in the regular spaces. While I enjoy their elevation of status in the parking lot food chain, I’m just waiting for the hordes of angry car owners to pass them by.
There is also good news in the UK with the Department for Transport prolong the trials of rental escooters until May 2024. This will be a litmus test of whether suppliers can improve cycling behavior and increase user numbers. That said, the ban is unlikely to be lifted on privately owned escooters, which are currently restricted to private land use.
The rise and rise of circular design
I predicted last year that the circular design would be a key feature of 2022 and will continue to do so.
As a reminder, circular design completely reinvents product creation, from the original designs to the various stages of the life cycle, and what happens to each item after it has served its original purpose.
Next year kicks off the expansion of global battery regulations and the sourcing of critical, but not infinite, materials such as cobalt and lithium.
New EU Battery Regulations have created a set of mandatory incremental requirements. These force battery manufacturers (and users such as automakers) to consider the lifecycle of the battery, from research and development to mining materials, closing material recycling loops and end-of-life battery management. .
In practice, in 2023, we will see car and motorcycle manufacturers focusing on closed-loop circularity in which end-of-life parts are reused to create new projects. We can also expect R&D expansion in battery innovation, from material design to the development of reusable and serviceable batteries.
Increased production of sustainable materials
In 2023, innovation will continue to grow in terms of the materials used to build our vehicles.
This year, Sweden’s Volvo became the first truck maker in the world to start using them fossil-free steel in its electric trucks. The steel is made using a completely new technology with green electricity and hydrogen. The result is a significantly lower climate impact and an important step towards a net-zero emissions value chain.
The innovation of materials also extends to bicycles. Cycling industries Europethe commercial body of the sector is ready to give its best traceability and innovation of materials in 2023.
Also, boot rotz he’s working on a modular bike called the Life, something made up of interchangeable parts. The modules will be repaired or remanufactured, ready for the next life cycle. The modular ebike from Roetz will be launched in 2023.
In addition, the German company igus and the Dutch company MTRL cooperated to create igus: bicycleand what makes it so special is the fact that it’s made from 90% recycled waste plastic, including the frame, bearings, brake levers, pedals and belt.
So here we are, just some predictions for 2023. We know that even with the challenges, the mobility industry is continually improving and evolving product offerings and changing the way we move people and products for the better.