Road Traffic Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on Mobility as a Service in Q4 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Mobility – 851 mentions

US-based smart mobility provider’s Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform, ONO to launch electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe and Uber’s food delivery business overtakes its ridesharing revenue were some popular topics discussed in the fourth quarter. According to an article shared by David Zipper, visiting professor at Harward Kennedy School, Lime, a smart mobility specialist, is launching MaaS platform in winter which offers light EVs. The company will also collaborate with micromobility operator Wheels on the platform.

The MaaS platform will start in Miami, Seattle, Austin and Berlin, followed by other markets. The platform will be a fixed and integrated facet of Lime’s app and the firm is planning to become the ‘go-to’ place for shared EV customers, the article highlighted.

Further, Miguel Cabrera, sales leader at Goodyear Proactive Solutions, a transnational tyre company, shared an article about ONO, a Berlin-headquartered urban utility firm, raising $3.6m through funding from EIT Innoenergy for launch of e-cargo bikes across European cities. ONO will release its Pedal Assisted Transporter (PAT) Pioneers edition, an EV which has the flexibility of a cycle and the capability and durability of a transport van. The bike will be released across Europe in 2022, and will be initially launched in the Courier, Express and Parcel (CEP) market, the article noted.

Smart mobility also trended in discussions shared by Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy, a ridesharing industry blog, about Uber Eats, Uber’s food delivery business unit, generating a revenue of $1.45bn in 2020, surpassing Uber Rideshare’s earnings. Rideshare’s revenue during the year reached $1.37bn, declining by 53% compared to 2019. Uber Eats revenue rose by 125% from 2019, all thanks to home delivery orders increasing by leaps and bounds during the Covid-19 pandemic. Customers stayed indoors complying with US government-imposed lockdown restrictions, the article highlighted.

2. Transportation – 166 mentions

West Midlands 5G to fund transport trials in the UK, Manchester to roll out ‘smart junctions’ and the introduction of the concept of micromobility in Africa were some widely discussed topics in Q4 2020. Smart Mobility Congress, an international urban mobility transformation event, shared an article on West Midlands 5G (WM5G), a company which aims to establish 5G network across UK, announcing $3m support in collaboration with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), for the development of 5G-enabled transport trials.

The rail and road transport trials will be conducted by seven Britain-based companies and the projects will be in operation until year-end 2021. WM5G was chosen under UK government’s Urban Connected Communities Programme for creating 5G pilot throughout West Midlands region, the article highlighted.

Cities Today, an urban mobility news portal, further, shared an article on the Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM) decision to start 20 ‘smart junctions’ throughout the city to give priority to various modes of transport including cycling and walking. The smart junctions will be equipped with sensors that can detect different types of road users at the junctions. The programme endeavours to support cycling and walking, two modes of transport which gained traction during the coronavirus pandemic, the article noted.

Other discussions surrounding transportation included Gura Ride, a public bike-share (PBS) transport network, launching bike and scooter share in Africa, according to an article shared by Christian von Augsburg, a mobility expert. The company is launching the concept of micromobility for the first time in Africa, especially in Rwanda as the country has many bike lanes and cycling is common across the country. Africa is unique from UK or the US, as the terrain is different and prior to making inroads into the continent, micromobility companies need to ensure the market will align with their planned targets, the article highlighted.

3. Sustainability – 82 mentions

Lithuanian government’s sustainable transport initiative, how customers can benefit from buying Lynk’s compact SUV and UK newspaper’s sustainable mobility plans were some extensively discussed topics during the quarter. According to an article shared by Jesper Johansson, CEO of Transformo, a sustainable mobility company, the government of Lithuania is offering payment to people for exchanging their polluted cars for e-scooters.

Around 8,500 people have applied for the government’s new scheme which was launched in May 2020. As per the government’s initiative, people who abandon their environment polluting motorcars to go for a greener automobile can receive around $1,170. Owner of extremely old cars can also earn money through the new scheme, the article highlighted.

Further, Iwona Skowronek, CXO of NaviParking, an integrated smart parking solutions provider, shared an article about Lynk, a multinational automobile brand, launching a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) that can make money for the buyers. The customers can subscribe to Lynk & Co 01, via the hybrid ownership model at $606 per month and make money out of their subscription by renting their vehicle on a regular basis to other Lynk members. Lynk’s 01 hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars will be shipped to members across Europe starting April 2021, the article noted.

Another discussion related to sustainability was shared by ITS International, an urban mobility magazine, about The Big Issue, a British daily, collaborating with ShareBike to introduce an electric bike-share scheme. The programme is being launched with the objective of offering sustainable mobility choices, simultaneously generating jobs. The latest scheme, which will be operated by individuals who were formerly unemployed, will be rolled out throughout UK in 2021, the article highlighted.

4. Ride Hailing – 73 mentions

License for Uber’s ride hailing services being reinstated, Amazon’s autonomous car being a vanguard of ride hailing industry and American EV maker to supply SUVs to Danish ride hailing company were some broadly discussed topics in Q4. Cities Today shared an article about Uber having its license to operate its ride hailing services in London restored, after a year legal battle came to an end with the company winning the appeal. Transport for London (TfL) turned down Uber’s ride-hailer application for continuing its operations in the city in November 2019.

Uber’s license was cancelled after a technical glitch permitted drivers with fake identity to carry out than 14,000 trips in the city. The validity of the new license is 18 months, subject to terms and conditions agreed upon by TfL and Uber, the article highlighted.

Tom Bamonte, a transportation technology specialist, shared an article on Amazon-owned company Zoox unveiling its robotaxi, which has the potential to become the cornerstone of the emerging autonomous rise-hailing service industry. The robotaxi is similar to various first-generation self-driving vehicles launched by auto manufacturers and Silicon Valley start-ups. Zoox’s robotaxi, which boasts of remarkable features, make it the best vehicle to be used in the self-driving ride hailing service sector, the article noted.

Ride Hailing was also discussed in an article shared by Bertrand Duflos, an autonomous vehicles and mobility expert, about American EV maker Fisker’s announcement that it will supply battery-electric vehicles to Viggo, a Danish ride-hailing service. Viggo will receive 300 battery-electric Ocean SUVs from Fisker in Q4 2022, as per an agreement ratified between both the companies. The car will go into production at Magna Stevr’s, a contract assembler, manufacturing unit in Austria, the article highlighted.

5. Electric Vehicles – 62 mentions

Most EVs not having issues with charging, electric car sales soaring in Norway and demand for electric cars surging across Europe were some of the trending topics during the last quarter of the year. According to an article shared by Iwona Skowronek, more than 75% of the drivers using EVs have no difficulties with charging their automobiles, which means that technological exposure is the key to deal with charging issues. A survey conducted across six European countries proves that EV drivers have no issues with charging in most of the cases.

Around 81% of UK citizens surveyed felt that their government should give high priority to polices that safeguard environment and 69% support tax credits for purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles. If given a choice, a whopping 83% of EV drivers are ready to opt for EVs again, the article highlighted.

Further, Smart Mobility Congress, shared a video on electric cars accounting for more than 60% of the total cars sold in September 2020, with the figure expanding to 89% after including hybrid cars. The EV car sales surged on the back of delay in launch of other models due to Covid-19 pandemic induced manufacturing slump. The EV sale push is driven by Norway’s decision to cancel purchase taxes on electric cars and drivers being exempted from annual road tax, the video highlighted.

Another discussion surrounding EVs included European car makers selling more than 500,000 battery electric cars across the region in 2020, which is a sign of the automotive sector’s shift from fossil fuels. The sales of plug-in cars, which include hybrid vehicles, exceeded one million during the entire year in Britain and 17 biggest European markets. The sales of full electric cars are soaring, thanks to stricter emission rules and rising consumer demand, which encouraged automakers to spend billions in manufacturing new models, capable of driving longer distances, the article highlighted.

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