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Next generation electrified vehicles for urban and suburban use

Proposals should address only one of the following subtopics (except in the case of modular concepts capable of addressing subtopics 2 and 3 respectively with the same platform

  1. Urban light personal mobility - The success of vehicles such as monowheels, electric scooters and hoverboards suggests to explore innovative microvehicle designs suitable for urban/sub-urban dweller and commuter’ needs with the option for usage within shared mobility schemes.​These vehicles will be aimed at improving specific urban usage needs such as decreased congestion, elimination of parking and recharging need in case weight and volume are low enough to allow the user to carry them at all times. Such microvehicles would also have the capability of interfacing with urban collective transport systems (i.e. easy access to buses, trams and trains for “last mile” transfers to achieve full intermodality). Concepts to improve safety of users and of pedestrians (if these vehicles were used on sidewalks) are an added bonus. The proposals should develop a solution up to TRL 8-9 and must include a detailed exploitation strategy and a draft business plan for the product to be developed. The proposers should demonstrate their capacity to have a market ready product by the end of the project. Regulatory aspects shall also be covered, in particular about the integration of these new concepts in road codes.
  2. Light and flexible multipassenger vehicles (e.g. collective or individual, owned or shared up to M1 category) with high safety for passengers and vulnerable road users and specific features to facilitate shared use such as autonomous-capable vehicles with automated relocation to charging points or areas with insufficient vehicle density. An added dimension of flexibility and modularity (e.g. including reconfigurable interiors) can also be considered to support the ability to adapt and upgrade in order to move from one application to the next, and cater, if relevant, to the needs of different users and uses as required for shared mobility scenarios). Gender aspects should be considered in the design of the vehicles, when relevant, for instance in the case of crashworthiness.
  3. Rightsized vehicles for commercial uses (up to N1 category) such as last-/first-mile delivery, construction and maintenance support (masons, plumbers, HVAC technicians etc.), that are suitable specifically for urban scenarios. Affordability will be aimed at achieving an acceptable acquisition cost and significantly lower operational expenditure while specific tailoring to particular urban usage needs will aim at ensuring high transportation and charging efficiency and optimised land use (e.g. “right-power” DC-charging at pre-defined locations - home base, customer/delivery points etc. - might be sufficient).

For all these subtopics, fully integrated safety should be considered as a priority, including crash resistance (in case of three and four wheels urban vehicles) providing equivalent occupant safety and vulnerable road user protection as the M1/N1 vehicle they would replace; in the case of micro vehicles, safety innovation should be targeted at reducing their vulnerability in traffic.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million for sub-topic 1 and of between EUR 4 and 6 million for sub-topic 2 and 3 would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

By 2050, 67% of the population is expected to live in urban areas[[]]. As cities become bigger and smarter, this trend leads to new opportunities for specialised vehicle designs, more specific to urban users’ including commuter’s needs and operations and last mile delivery. New vehicle architectures should lead to flexibility and modularity in order to ensure urban-readiness (appropriate range, compatibility with charging infrastructures, ease of parking and operations) in all kind of urban and sub-urban areas, most likely with different implementation levels of infrastructure and smart technologies. Additionally, it is assumed that these vehicles do not need to be designed for high-speed operation and long range, and can be easily charged sufficiently fast and comfortably to meet the daily needs of urban and suburban mobility usage scenarios, which may also include sharing concepts. Consideration can be also given to usability by elderly and disabled persons.

The targeted vehicles will cover small and light vehicles following the design principle of right-sizing vehicles for their mission. These will all satisfy performance targets such as improved efficiency during urban usage or control strategies based on data from traffic flow monitoring or prediction systems, as well as integration into the sustainable urban mobility plans (SUMPs) of the respective urban areas, with more effective use of parking spaces and possible decreased urban congestion, including demands arising for mobility and logistics across functional urban boundaries, e. g. urban to suburban.

  • For completely new microvehicle concepts and configurations (subtopic 1), proposers should demonstrate benefits on a mission/range basis in comparison to current types (monowheels, hoverboard, e-bikes or electric scooters) as appropriate in the foreseen applications.
  • Next generation vehicles concepts in sub-topics 2) and 3) shall demonstrate in real testing ambitious targets of up to 10% energy efficiency improvement in comparison with existing electric vehicles of the same class.
  • Price will be on a par with current vehicles used for similar missions (minicars, vans of similar payload to be used as benchmarks for subtopic 2 and 3, while current hoverboards and scooters are the benchmark for subtopic1).
  • These vehicles will inherently benefit local air quality and promise rapid implementation due to their holistic and design-for-purpose approach.
  • The perception of low safety of the smaller categories of vehicles should be dispelled by proving their resistance in crash (on real vehicles, achieving EURONCAP 4 star car crash standards for subtopics 2 and 3). Lower probability of having an accident is a desired but not mandatory outcome for subtopic 1.
  • Increased acceptance of single purpose design vehicles is expected due to physical demonstration of the feasibility (both technical and economical) of equivalent or superior performance, upgradeability and operational safety in relevant environment particularly for light and flexible transport.