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Today’s Pickup: France is banning electric scooters on the street pavement

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Good day,

The global pushback on the electric scooter craze has reverberated in France as well, with the country set to ban all electric scooters from running on its pavements from September. This move is in an effort to curtail the invasion of scooters that make it hard for pedestrians to walk around. Riders would be fined around $150 if caught using a motorized scooter – be it an e-bike, monowheel, or hoverboard. Post-September, riders will have to make do with the streets or dedicated biking paths, and can use the pavement if they are pushing their vehicles with the engines turned off.

The backlash is not new to e-scooter companies. Last week, Peru had banned motorized scooters from pavements citing issues caused to pedestrian movement. Notably, in the U.K., the Department of Transport does not allow electric vehicles on the pavements as they are classified under Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) – requiring insurance and number plates, with riders needing licenses and helmets.

Did you know?

The oil rig count has not risen since the end of 2018. Data from the Baker Hughes rig count showed the oil rig count as of last week at 807. That’s the lowest in a little more than a year – it was 808 on April 6 last year – and is down from the 885 that was in place as 2018 came to a close.


“It has been decades since a lithium refining facility has been built in the United States. Any new project will take time to develop, as the regulatory bodies determine required permits, potential community impact, etc.”

– Eric Norris, the lithium president of North Carolina-based Albemarle Corp., while commenting on the U.S. lacking enough lithium refining facilities to scale up its electric vehicle manufacturing industry.

In other news

Here’s who’s really at risk as Amazon expands its shipping reach

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Why your gasoline won’t take you as far as it used to

As ethanol blending into fuel supply increased, the energy content of gasoline declined. (Oilprice)

Amazon squares up to local ecommerce groups in India

Online retail is booming in smaller cities as data prices fall and more people get web access. (Financial Times)

U.S. rideshare drivers will strike on May 8th ahead of Uber IPO

Uber and Lyft drivers in major U.S. cities have united to strike during peak hours for two hours from 7AM to 9AM local time. (Jalopnik)

The next ‘Ferrari of shale’ may be hiding in Australia’s Outback

In a corner of Outback Australia, a drilling crew will soon try tapping shale rocks that could hold more than three times the world’s annual consumption of natural gas. (The Straits Times)

Final Thoughts

One of the major concerns for autonomous driving companies is getting to a point where their technology can be commercially deployed, as it requires government approval and iron-clad regulations to be set in place. This can explain why self-driving car companies are rushing to appoint high ranking federal safety officials as their advisors and lobbyists at the Senate – a move to create and influence laws that will contend with the future of autonomous driving technology.

People include Obama administration Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, former head of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) David Strickland, and several Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, who have all taken up key roles within companies like Uber, Lyft, Waymo, and General Motors. Meanwhile, the skepticism on autonomous vehicles amongst the public has been high, with surveys suggesting that half of the U.S. adults think self-driving vehicles are more dangerous than the human drivers. There will come a time when a line has to be drawn between optimism and pragmatism, but until then, all that remains are speculations.

Hammer down everyone!