OneDock: Supercharging e-micromobility
microFleet Pty Ltd is developing novel Australian technology – OneDock universal e-micromobility charging stations – to accelerate urban integration. OneDock automatically locks, safely charges and facilitates sharing of any e-micromobility vehicle, whether privately-owned or part of a public or corporate fleet.
Compared to cars, light electric vehicles (‘e-micromobility’) are much more affordable, efficient, traffic-busting, healthy, safer, and faster in urban areas.
But infrastructure innovation is needed for e-micromobility to be safely and effectively integrated into urban environments. For example, in New York City in 2022 alone, ad hoc lithium battery charging by delivery workers caused 216 fires, 147 injuries and 6 deaths.
microFleet is working with leading product developer Outer Space Design, and early adopters from universities, government, and industry to bring OneDock to market.
This project aims to accelerate product development from the advanced prototype stage to commercial production in Melbourne, in preparation for global export.
This project was one of two selected and funded in iMOVE’s Impact Extension Program.
- iMOVE Australia
e-micromobility – travel on low emissions, light electric vehicles such as e-bikes and e-scooters – is booming, with the global market predicted to exceed $300B by 2030.
It has many proven benefits over car travel: reducing traffic congestion, energy and materials consumption, carbon emissions, pollution, land use and road deaths, while at the same time improving health, accessibility, affordability, and equity.
The UN’s 2021 Global Plan for the Decade of Action on Road Safety encourages multimodal transport, recommending ‘intermodal connectivity between transit, bike share and private bicycles to reduce total travel time.’
But despite its many benefits, e-micromobility remains at the fringes of most transport networks:
- It is disconnected from and ‘invisible’ to transport networks, the built environment, planners, regulators, and other road users.
- Universal infrastructure to enable safe and effective e-micromobility charging is lacking.
- Most e-micromobility vehicles are privately owned and under-utilised.
- Shared micromobility fleets are deployed to maximise short-term profits for private operators, rather than provide maximum public utility.
Specifically, existing micromobility locking, charging, and sharing infrastructure is rudimentary and has limited efficiency and appeal:
- Cities typically cater for private micromobility with patchy networks of cycle lanes and rudimentary bike hoops. This disconnected analogue infrastructure cannot be integrated into smart transport networks.
- Public charging stations do not exist, so ad hoc unregulated charging is rife. In 2022 alone, New York City had over 200 apartment fires and 6 deaths caused by delivery workers charging inferior lithium batteries with sub-standard chargers.
- Free-floating shared micromobility fleets create footpath clutter, serve causal users and tourists more than residents and workers, and are less popular among women and seniors.
- Micromobility rentals are expensive (typically 45 cents per minute) due to high battery swapping and vehicle redistribution costs.
- Existing micromobility charging stations, such as Kuhmute and Swiftmile, can only host a limited range of vehicles.
OneDock by microFleet is the world’s first mechanical and digital technology platform to enable universal micromobility tracking, docking, charging, and sharing. It will connect and integrate high quality public and private micromobility vehicles into transport networks and facilitate clean, affordable, fast multimodal trips.
Specifically, OneDock solves the problems articulated above by:
- Deeply embedding private and public e-micromobility in smart transport networks and the built environment by cloud connecting vehicles and universal smart charging stations, and enabling user access and remote fleet management via a smartphone app.
- Using smart programmable battery chargers to improve charging efficiency and safety, and remote automatic monitoring to enable early detection and prevention of runaway battery fires.
- Employing a proprietary universal design that enables more than 95% of e-micromobility vehicles – private or public and corporate fleets – to automatically dock, lock, safely charge and be shared.
OneDock has broader benefits too:
- Replacing many car trips with micromobility to massively reduce the consumption of embodied and operational energy and materials in our transport networks.
- Helping to mobilise Australia’s vast stock of under-utilised private micromobility vehicles by integrating them into smart shared networks.
- Creating more space for citizens and nature by reducing the scale of our transport infrastructure, particularly roads, parking and recharging facilities.
- Avoiding expensive electricity grid upgrades – e-bikes and scooters consume only 1/100th the power of electric cars when recharging.
- Extending vehicle life – minimising parts replacement by distributing usage evenly across fleets through GPS tracking and on-vehicle sensors that monitor wear and tear.
This project will enable microFleet to accelerate development of the OneDock technology platform from the current advanced prototype stage (Technology Readiness Level 4) to full commercialisation (TRL 9).
Private investment and additional government grants will enable production in Melbourne at the end of this commercialisation process from June 2024. microFleet plan to launch OneDock at leading international trade shows in Europe from June 2024.
Australia can become a world-leader in developing and manufacturing specialised micromobility infrastructure, leapfrogging international competitors with next generation technology.
Please note …
This page will be a living record of this project. As it matures, hits milestones, etc., we’ll continue to add information, links, images, interviews and more. Watch this space!