• EV
  • Electric Scooters
  • Light Electric Vehicles
  • Electric Bicycles

LEVs Play an Increasingly Large Role in Urban Mobility

Dec 19, 2018

electric scooter

Light EV (LEV) technologies are emerging to address congestion, high EV costs, poor air quality, and lack of mobility options which negatively affect transportation markets around the world. These vehicle types include:

  • Electric bikes
  • Low speed EVs (LSEVs)
  • Electric scooters (e-scooters)
  • Electric motorcycles (e-motorcycles)

LEVs offer the ability to improve personal mobility while helping to reach a region’s emissions reduction goals. Guidehouse Insights forecasts the global market for LEVs to reach over 70 GWh of annual deployed energy capacity by 2027.

Advanced batteries like lithium ion (Li-ion) technologies have become the most popular powertrain choice for new and retrofitted LEVs for several reasons:

  • Lighter carrying capacity
  • Reduced charging times
  • Lower cost battery solutions
  • Increased on-road vehicle performance
  • Longer battery lifespan

Guidehouse Insights expects that these drivers will help regions where LEVs have not seen as much engagement by creating new markets that mirror those in more popular regions (e.g., Asia Pacific and Europe).

Manufacturers at the Forefront

Both LEV manufacturers and advanced battery manufacturers are providing improved products to meet evolving customer needs. For example, earlier this year, Curtiss Motorcycles announced its luxury, high performance Hera e-motorcycle. Using Li-ion batteries, the company states that Hera “delivers high speed and longer runtimes in a luxurious package, catering to customers who wish to own a premium product.” Hera will be a direct competitor of American motorcycle giant Harley Davidson’s new electric motorcycle line coming in 2019.

E-scooters are also seeing innovation in terms of powertrain technologies. Particularly for this market, swappable batteries have been regarded as a viable option over the past year. An early mover on this market is the partnership of KYMCO and 22Motors with their announcement of a single battery swapping standard for both companies’ e-scooter offerings. Using KYMCO’s Ionex batteries, the turnkey solution offers batteries, charging/swap stations, and software for managing fleets of e-scooters. Consequently, other companies have taken similar approaches, like Taiwan based e-scooter manufacturer Gogoro.

On the LSEV front the focus has been on increasing vehicle range. An example of this is electric utility vehicle manufacturer Tropos Motor's announcement of its new Li-ion battery pack that “quadruples the range of its predecessor and delivers increased safety for customers.” With a battery pack rated at 26 kWh and a range of up to 160 miles, the ABLE XR vehicle can reach ranges of over triple that of conventional utility vehicles.

As LEVs become popularized over the next several years, they will play an increasingly large role in the urban mobility sector. Though they have already reached an all-time high in the Asia Pacific region, Guidehouse Insights estimates other markets will follow suit. As a result, major infrastructure and policy changes will be needed to enable the widespread deployment of these vehicles in global markets.