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Electrified L-category Vehicles Integrated into Transport and Electricity Networks

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Supercharging the adoption of electric vehicles in cities

Despite offering cities a smart, green mobility solution, consumers are wary of electric light vehicles. ELVITEN tracked usage and perceptions across six European cities to inform adoption campaigns.

Transport and Mobility

Electric light vehicles (EL-Vs), such as electric bicycles, tricycles, scooters and quads, have generated interest as a smart urban mobility solution, offering more flexibility and a lot less pollution than current options. When the EU-supported ELVITEN project started in 2019, the market penetration of EL-Vs was relatively low, compared to conventional vehicles. “Potential EL-V users were concerned about range, price, performance and lack of infrastructure – especially charging points, parking and dedicated lanes,” says Angelos Amditis, project coordinator. ELVITEN set out to raise awareness about the benefits of EL-Vs and to explore how best to integrate EL-Vs into transport and electricity networks. Some 225 EL-Vs were made available to citizens across six European cities – Trikala, Rome, Bari, Genoa, Malaga and Berlin – through long- or short-term loans. The vehicles were complemented with ICT tools and services. Between April 2019 and June 2020, a databank was created, consisting of information from 41 275 trips and the results of 9 820 questionnaires. Based on these, the project partners developed business models, as well as guidelines for planning authorities and vehicle improvements suggested for manufacturers. Through awareness-raising activities, such as the Let’s Go Electric social media campaign, ELVITEN reached out to audiences of both citizens and policymakers.

Demonstrations and data collection

The vehicles supplied to each city by project partners Kyburz and S3T were a mix of electric vehicle types. They were freely available for both short- and long-term renting, from a few hours up to several weeks. Private EL-Vs owners were also invited to join the trials, with 10 taking up the offer. Parking and charging stations were installed in suitable places in each city. All 225 vehicles were equipped with data loggers, to collect and send pseudonymised trip-related data. ELVITEN end users, both drivers and fleet managers, had access to the Unifying App, which contained a range of ICT tools including eco-friendly driving tips, a booking system, parking and charging locations, and loyalty rewards. The Fleet Management web application gave operators information about the status of the EL-Vs. “By the end of ELVITEN’s pilots, we detected a positive shift in attitudes towards EL-V use. Of those who had used the vehicles, the vast majority stated that they would use EL-Vs more than 4 days a week. However, despite positive perceptions of speed, comfort, safety and green credentials, there were cost concerns,” explains Amditis.

Towards wider urban e-mobility

ELVITEN’s work helps support the EU’s Green Deal, as it offers sustainable urban mobility solutions for professionals, such as couriers, and individuals. But the project’s findings also suggest the importance of incentive packages to overcome cost, infrastructure and maintenance concerns. A consistent regulatory framework across authorities also needs to be developed. The project data, ICT tools, business modelling and guidelines can now be used by the project partners such as Kyburz and the City of Rome, alongside the wider automotive industry and related services, local authorities and policymakers, to develop EL-V infrastructure. “Interestingly, journey data collected during and after the first COVID lockdown, tells us that the EL-V market will likely grow quickly. Being open-air single-person vehicles, EL-Vs are now even more attractive for business and leisure,” concludes Amditis.

Keywords

ELVITEN, electric light vehicles, transport, city, scooter, quad, bicycle, Green Deal, COVID, sustainable, charging

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