Citizen mobility is one of the major challenges of the cities “of tomorrow”, and projects are already being drawn up today. More specifically, micro-mobility is the subject of much attention, and new regulations have been introduced into the highway code.
Thus, since 1 January 2021, Luxembourg legislation recognises and defines “personal mobility devices” (PMDs) (skateboards, scooters, roller skates, hoverboards, children’s cars) and “micro electric vehicles” (MEVs) (single wheels, Segways, electric scooters).
“We can compare the development of electric scooters to that of smartphones a few years ago,” explains Frédéric Sartou, founder and CEO of the start-up New Way Mobility. “In France, there are about 2 million owners of electric scooters. It is estimated that there will be 25 million by 2030.”
Well identified needs
Wishing to play a key role in this trend, Mr Sartou created the company to provide expertise both in clean travel strategy consulting – for urban as well as non-urban environments – and in the development of mobility solutions. He is a multi-entrepreneur in the mobility field, and has also been head of Europe’s autonomous vehicle branch at Navya.
“The COVID context forced us to put a number of large experimental projects on hold. Instead we focused our efforts on scooters, both on the machine itself and on its environment, particularly in terms of parking.”
This is why New Way Mobility contacted Luxinnovation in order to identify the needs in this area and to develop a solution in the form of boxes that can be used for both parking and recharging scooters. “In the public space, we hope to be able to associate these boxes with an app that people can use to subscribe, reserve spaces, and receive information about the charging level of their vehicles. For private companies, the solution may simply consist of a key and an access code.”
“Luxembourg has long understood that multimodality combined with an offer of efficient public services is the most effective solution to relieve our roads,” notes Anthony Auert, manager of the AutoMobility Cluster. “New Way Mobility is the proof that micro-mobility can be part of the equation, and that it can also integrate harmoniously into the urban landscape in compliance with the rules in force.”
Deployment in companies
Luxinnovation’s expertise allows New Way Mobility to consider public aid and to work on patenting, conceptualisation and design in Luxembourg. The applications are scheduled to be submitted to the Ministry of the Economy in early summer. “We intend to start from this base and then market our solutions across Europe,” says Mr Sartou. “We were also able to benefit from support and networking with key market players and potential partners for the manufacture of the boxes and the development of the app, as well as for interesting leads for the recruitment of the engineers we will need.”
The potential and ideas are there. Shopping malls, cinema complexes, student residences and university campuses: there is no shortage of possible places to deploy such boxes. In the meantime, since the beginning of May, New Way Mobility has launched an offer for the deployment of parking/charging racks for companies. About thirty are already installed in Luxembourg for organisations wishing to provide such facilities for their employees.