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Cherry Writes Powered Micromobility Standards

Women riding e-scooters on a crowded sidewalk.

Professor Chris Cherry is chair of the newly-formed Powered Micromobility Vehicles Committee of SAE International that launched in 2018. Cherry, Head of New Mobility for SAE International Annie Chang, and Portland State University research associate John MacArthur worked on developing a standard taxonomy document as an initial product for the new committee called the J3194TM Taxonomy and Classification of Powered Micromobility Vehicles.

Christopher Cherry.

Chris Cherry.

Cherry, who is also CEE associate department head of undergraduate studies, said that SAE has a commitment to advance mobility knowledge and solutions, and this first-of-its-kind standard provides much needed clarity and organization around the nomenclature of powered micromobility vehicles.

“These standards are important to set a framework for how we define, develop, and regulate these emerging vehicles,” said Cherry.

The standards are being publicized to further support SAE’s expanding view of mobility to include all facets of new mobility. Standardization of micromobility is important because it is still a grey area as it is emerging as a means of transportation. Having an agreed upon language for these vehicles helps further distinguish them from existing types of motorized and non-motorized vehicles.

One important aspect of the standard includes the introduction of the term “powered micromobility vehicle.” This new term describes the class of vehicles that meet three criteria:

  • Are partially or fully powered by a motor/engine (i.e., excludes solely human powered vehicles like pedal-only bikes)
  • Have a top speed of no greater than 30 mph (48 km/h)
  • Have a curb weight of no greater than 500 lb (227 kg)

The committee that came up with the standard consists of 15 voting members from stakeholder groups including industry and general interest, and contains many more committee liaisons.

SAE convenes new mobility communities through a series of events, presentations, technical papers and consortium activities. Read more information on SAE’s website.