What are micro EVs?
While there is no standardized definition of micro EVs, it is generally used to describe small vehicles that can seamlessly navigate highly populated urban areas. Micro EVs are designed for short trips of only a few kilometres and travel at low speeds, typically under 80 kilometres per hour (with various regional exceptions). These vehicles do not rely on internal combustion engines, and many are powered by electric motors.
Electric two- and three-wheelers are the ‘low hanging fruits’, as these are used by the masses in India, China, and Southeast Asia for last-mile connectivity due to their low cost of operations. Urbanization in these countries has been, and is, increasing rapidly – a trend that is correlated to a rise in the demand for personal mobility and emergence of local e-commerce businesses. This leads to sales of electric two-wheelers for the individual and the use of three-wheelers as ride sharing or cargo delivery.
Microcars are an important piece of the puzzle as well. Offering more space, power and protection than two- and three-wheelers, these tiny vehicles come at an affordable price and are designed for an urban environment. Most car trips are short trips carrying just one person. Most of the energy is wasted on carrying the vehicle’s own weight. Oversized vehicles are the root cause of urban congestion, pollution and wasted energy, material, and public space. As cities everywhere move toward a high-density, low speed, low impact model, it calls for a new type of personal vehicle to be created for people to conveniently get around in – this is where microcars are trying to fit in.
Micro EV types and specifications. Data source: IDTechEx
Regional mobility culture
What makes people choose to take public transit over a car? Or a scooter over walking? While distance plays a factor, at the root of this decision is the influence of the city’s mobility culture. Mobility culture, by definition, is the built-in preference of how individuals decide to travel from A to B within the city. This preference comes from a culmination of factors such as social norms, urban landscape, and transportation infrastructure.
Local mobility culture is important to look at because it indicates how people will choose to get around the city. Obvious examples include the USA with its car-centric focus, compared to India with a two-wheeler-centric atmosphere. When it comes to bringing micro EVs to cities, understanding what the mobility culture looks like can bridge the gap between consumers’ needs and wants, and what the new mobility segment can offer.
The latest report from IDTechEx covers the key global regions which are the hotbed for micro EV adoption – India, China, Southeast Asia, EU and the UK, and the USA. For each region, the local mobility culture is identified and popular micro EV models are benchmarked based on specifications like motor power, battery capacities, and price. Market shares of leading players is also included for each region. Overall, the report provides a commercial and technical overview for the various micro EVs by region with over 45 forecast lines spanning unit sales, battery demand, and market values.