Driving the Future: Connector Technologies in Micro-Mobility

Micro-mobility vehicles are carving out a space in the urban transportation landscape as a versatile and cost-effective alternative to traditional transportation options. And with a wider selection of micro-mobility vehicles available today, micro-mobility is a crucial instrument for sustainable, accessible, and green transportation. However, many challenges exist for the continued growth of micro-mobility systems. Whether privately owned or part of shared mobility services, connectors are pivotal in addressing battery management, safety, maintenance, fleet management, user authentication, and data communication.


the micro-mobility market

As an emerging transportation market, there are several definitions of what vehicles can be classified as micro-mobility. The Federal Highway Administration broadly defines micro-mobility as any small, low-speed, human- or electric-powered transportation device, including bicycles, scooters, electric-assist bicycles, electric scooters (e-scooters), and other small, lightweight, wheeled conveyances.

Expected to reach a staggering US $186.2 billion globally by 2030, market projections echo micro-mobility transportation's growing influence and acceptance. Micro-mobility's rise to prominence stems from a convergence of the following key driving factors:

  • escalating urbanization
  • mounting climate change concerns
  • advancements in technology
  • evolving consumer preference


Regulation Challenges

The evolution of micro-mobility vehicles adheres to strict industry and government regulatory standards. With increased growth in bike-share and shared e-scooter systems, the FHWA and USDOT are helping State DOTs and cities manage micro-mobility deployment by monitoring trends and evaluating facilities and vehicle safety design needs.

Challenges governments are looking to solve include rider safety concerns, life span of vehicles, cluttering in urban areas, vandalism, and more. The National Association of City Transportation Officials has issued guidelines for regulating shared micro-mobility vehicles, however, it is up to local municipalities to implement and enforce their own laws.



Connectivity is vital in many aspects of micro-mobility vehicle design elements including:

  • Battery Charging: used to connect the vehicle's battery to a charging station. Users can easily plug in their vehicles to recharge the battery.
  • Data Communication: used for communication between the vehicle's onboard systems and external devices or networks. This allows for remote monitoring, firmware updates, and data collection related to vehicle usage and performance.
  • Locking Mechanisms: used in locking mechanisms for securing micro-mobility vehicles when they are not in use.
  • Repair Systems: used to connect diagnostic systems for maintenance and repair.
  • Safety Features: used for brake sensors or lights. Connectors ensure the vehicle can signal its status and intentions to the rider and others on the road.
  • Payment Systems: used in shared riding systems to facilitate payment and user authentication. Riders might need to connect their smartphone or payment card to the vehicle's system to unlock and use it.
  • Access Control: used for access control in shared micro-mobility systems. Users might need to connect a membership card or a mobile app to the vehicle's system to gain access.
  • Telematics and GPS: used to integrate telematics systems and GPS tracking devices. These systems help operators track the location of micro-mobility vehicles in real-time and manage their fleets efficiently.
  • User Interfaces: used to connect various user interfaces, such as displays and control panels, to the vehicle's electronics. This allows riders to interact with and control the vehicle effectively.
  • Safety Interlocks: used as safety interlocks to ensure that certain components or systems are properly connected before the vehicle can operate. This can help prevent accidents due to loose or disconnected parts.


Design Challenges

Striking a balance between design and functionality is critical for evolving micro-mobility applications. With e-bikes, e-scooters, and e-skateboards becoming increasingly compact, lightweight, and even foldable, the need for innovative and space-efficient connector solutions grows.

Safety is not just a feature in micro-mobility; it's a fundamental requirement. These devices hinge on the reliable and uninterrupted operation of systems and components in demanding environments, from comprehensive lighting systems and indicators to advanced rearview radars and autonomous sensors.


Safety means more than proper performance. Enhanced safety also includes security measures against theft, tampering, and vandalism.


Connector Solutions

Connector solutions play a vital role in ensuring safety measures in micro-mobility vehicles function correctly. To meet design challenges, robust, reliable, and compact connectors are needed to form the foundation of this dynamic ecosystem. Connectors must be designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions, including shock, vibration, water/fluids, dust/dirt, and more. IP67-rated connectors offer a high level of protection against these elements.

Compact waterproof connectors, like the DF63W and DF62WP Series, are ideal for external connectivity. These slim, sealed, IP68-rated connectors are built for reliable connections in tight spaces.

Many manufacturers are turning to hybrid connectors to meet miniaturization and efficiency requirements. Offering power and signal in a single miniature connector, hybrid connectors save significant PCB space for designers. Using separate connectors for power, data, and signal connections can lead to a complex web of cables and connectors. Hybrid connectors, like the BH12 Series, streamline the manufacturing and assembly process by reducing the number of individual connectors that need to be soldered or attached to the PCB. This can lead to faster assembly times and potentially lower manufacturing costs. The BH12 series demonstrates a high current capacity of up to 20A and a 1A signal, all in a compact, waterproof shell suitable for challenging outdoor environments.

Locking connectors, like the DF51K series, with its positive lock, and the DF22 series, with its secure 4-point contact structure, ensure critical systems function seamlessly for user safety.

For the security of micro-mobility vehicles, millimeter wave connectors support critical IoT features like real-time tracking and intelligent locking systems. These connectors not only enhance security against theft, tampering, and vandalism, but also facilitate key features such as alerts for suspicious activity and, in certain cases, remote disablement of the vehicle. Millimeter wave connectors, like the compact C.FL Series, meet the demands for miniaturization and high performance. Delivering high signal integrity and low insertion loss, the C.FL Series features low reflection characteristics up to 30GHz. The connector also features a clear, tactile lock to ensure high reliability for IoT applications.


The compact and powerful BM46 connector, recognized as the world's smallest multi-RF capable board-to-board connector, underscores Hirose's commitment to miniaturization without compromising performance. It's an indispensable component in IoT-related products, reflecting our dedication to compact, high-performing connectors.



Micro-mobility connectors must combine compact and lightweight designs with durability and weather resistance. Advanced connector solutions impact the reliability, performance, and efficiency of micro-mobility services and help create a more user-friendly and secure transportation option for urban environments.



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