renault twizy.automotiveIT

Can VW’s bik.e replace the spare tire? (Photo: VW)

Global automakers will launch more than 150 new small city vehicles in the next eight years, with global mainstream car companies set to start production of 60 of them before 2018, according to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan.

"Growing urbanization and changing mobility trends have triggered interest not just in fuel-efficient vehicles, but also in an entirely new genre - micro-mobility," Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Vishwas Shankar said in a press release.

Strong growth in small urban vehicles is helped by manufacturing and sales subsidies in many countries, he added.

Many of the new competitors for urban dwellers are two- or three-wheelers and these are expected to grow alongside what Frost & Sullivan calls neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), medium-speed vehicles, quadricycles, sub-A class cars and the miniature kei-cars driven in Japanese cities.

The researchers cited high initial prices and a lack of consumer awareness as factors that could hold back growth in the new urban mobility segment. A lagging electric-vehicle infrastructure was seen as another factor and the researchers also warned that the micro-mobility market could also be hurt by governments' switching focus to increased spending on public transportation.

VW bik.e.automotiveIT

Can VW’s bik.e replace the spare tire? (Photo: VW)

Frost analyst Shankar predicted that automotive companies are beginning to develop new business models, which will help create "a new DNA of automakers."

He cited as an example Volkswagen's aim to sell an electric bike called bik.e together with a car model to replace the spare tire. Said Shankar: "In this way, it can provide first/last mile connectivity with its owne vehicles."