CityQ went public on Crowdcube! And with this, we at NovAzure are proud to write history: this campaign marks the start of NovAzure’s official partnership with Crowdcube going international. As the first Norwegian Crowdcube campaign, CityQ raises the benchmark by yet another level in the realm of sustainable mobility: not only in Scandinavia, but also across Europe. Accelerated initially through Kjeller Innovasjion in Oslo, and participating in an accelerator programme with Michelin Scotland Innovation Park (MSIP) in Dundee as well as +Impact in Scandinavia, CityQ already have investors reaching from Canada to Europe to Malaysia and Singapore. Find further details at the end of the article about the Crowdcube campaign and find an Eventbrite link to join us for a Q&A session on the 4th of June 2021.
But why are we at NovAzure so interested in CityQ? Because the company has recognised the right timing to bring the right sustainable mobility solution to the market which the “New Normal” post Covid will demand:
Investment in e-mobility is going from strength to strength in European cities, with cargo and family e-Bikes estimated to reach 1-2m units in annual sales in Europe by 2030. While E-bikes are experiencing more interest as a transport solution for the general public as well as for light cargo missions, there are limitations in terms of their ability to replace cars. Weather and safety are some of the main issues they face: 60% of people do not cycle in bad weather, and the number of e-bikes on roads without dedicated infrastructure is leading to increasing accidents. The demand for home deliveries often increases in bouts of bad weather, and as such there are risks involved to companies who have their deliveries carried out by bike such as rider accidents and damage to the products in transit. Last mile deliveries have been essential in allowing businesses to run during lockdowns. The pandemic will undoubtedly accelerate opportunities for the mobility market to respond to demand for reliable urban delivery services. The World Economic Forum predicts a 78% growth in last mile urban deliveries by 2030[i] due to rapid expansion of E-Commerce markets, and there is a strong push to decarbonise deliveries.
There is increasing pressure on manual cyclists to carry out last mile deliveries in cities. This has become more prevalent during the pandemic as restaurants have operated mainly on demand for takeout food. E-commerce company Wunderman Thompson Commerce also reported that in the UK, online purchasing accounted for 62% of all shopping during lockdown, compared to 43% before the pandemic; only 16% of people expect their pre-lockdown shopping habits to return when the pandemic ends. However, once more normal levels of traffic resume in urban areas delivery drivers will struggle to be as productive on congested roads. Additionally, there are growing calls to stop emissions and transport pollution in cities from returning to the levels they had reached pre-pandemic. In light of all this it is not surprising that light cargo vehicles are expected to experience the highest rate of growth in the next decade to cater to last mile delivery demand[ii], and there is great opportunity for small and electric cargo vehicles to replace the volume of vans and trucks on roads. Last mile deliveries also account for 53% of the entire shipping costs[iii], and there is great pressure on businesses offering home delivery to meet customer demands while ensuring margins remain favourable.
There are viable new technologies which can allow for more efficient, cost effective and low emissions operations for last mile journeys. Some cities are getting a head start: last year Dublin City Council partnered with UPS to trial a van-free network of last mile deliveries, using mini urban distribution centres and powered walkers and E-quad cycles to carry out all city centre deliveries[iv]. Mobility innovations need to be met with regulatory enthusiasm to ensure safety and viability, and this demonstrates interest on a policy level to find delivery solutions that will prevent a return to pre-pandemic congestion.
Founded in Norway, the EV capital of Europe, CityQ has developed a solution for year round transport which can cater to both families and cargo transport. The CityQ ebike is weather protected e-bike, purpose built for transporting both families and light cargo, with built-in IT-platform for rental and managing the bike remotely. The cargo E-bike is safer to use on roads than a regular E-bike due to weather protection and wing mirrors, while being compact enough to use on a bike lane. It also boasts steering control to manoeuvre in tight areas in inner cities not accessible to cars and vans. Like any ebike, CityQ can ride and park anywhere. And the users can sit comfortably as they would in a car, carrying 2 children or up to 1000 litres of cargo. These benefits are of particular interest for last mile deliveries given that route optimisation is a key way in which delivery services can become more cost efficient.
The vehicle aims to be part of a fully connected, data-driven mobility network, using built-in software to enable vehicle sharing across multiple platforms. The autonomous vehicle is being developed to be connected for rental or sharing models for first and last mile applications. The 4-wheel E-bike is ideally positioned to enable profitable Mobility as a Service (MaaS) business models for either personal transport or performing last mile deliveries, as well as other applications for commercial fleet operators.
CityQ has recently signed strategic partnership agreements with a car sharing company in Scandinavia and a Swedish EV OEM to input into their production process. With successful digital micro-mobility sharing business experience under their belt, CityQ are currently crowdfunding. As the first Norwegian project on Crowdcube in partnership with NovAzure, CityQ will raise seed funds for their growth plans to scale up technical development and manufacturing, paving the way for an all weather suited, electric cycling option in cities. The 21st century will see major shifts in how people move around, especially in crowded cities and the next ten years will be an incredible decade for mobility innovation. Delivery networks will inevitably be rethought in a post-Covid world which is phasing out petrol vehicles and becoming ever more reliant on e-commerce, leaving traditional high street retailing behind. Consumers and businesses in a smart and sustainable city will increasingly demand highly flexible and convenient mobility options, and the City-Q 4 wheel e-bike is purpose built to revolutionise movement and delivery services in cities.
And if you would like to ask your own questions to the CityQ team, join their Q&A session on the 4th of June 2021 by ordering an online ticket to access the right zoom link on the day: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cityq-crowdcube-investment-qa-session-tickets-156334275025
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