When all transport modes go electric
Cars, buses, delivery trucks, bikes and ferries: All could be fully electric tomorrow. The conditions for a successful transition to electrification as an alternative to fossil-fuel powered vehicles were the main focus of the 4th edition of the European Electromobility Stakeholder Forum. With its cross-sectoral nature, the Forum is a unique European arena to share best practices and generate synergies across different electric transport modes.
Three European Commission flagship projects on electromobility, FREVUE, I-CVUE and ZeEUS organised this key annual event in Brussels this week, which brought together over 200 representatives from government, industry, academia, and other stakeholders.
Although the three projects demonstrate the viability of e-mobility and the way it makes our cities more sustainable, cleaner and quieter, fundamental challenges remain and many of these are shared among the different electromobility modes. In her opening words, Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility at the European Commission stressed “[…] the need to look at transport in a systemic way: We cannot address any of the challenges we face with one solution or one concept only. The great transport disruption will not be autonomous vehicles, but rather autonomous, electric and shared vehicles”.
Following this introduction, over 50 speakers shared their experiences, results achieved so far and remaining challenges. Key hurdles include the standardisation of charging infrastructure as well as current regulatory frameworks that can significantly slow down the electrification of transport modes. On the other hand, exciting opportunities and synergies between the modes were discussed, such as urban design and multimodal and interoperable charging infrastructure.
“Electrification of transport is a key enabler for imagining new concepts – like building an indoor bus stop where passengers’ shopping would be delivered by electric freight to enhance passenger’s experience. This approach confirms that the prominent need for the Forum to exist and to offer great cross-sectoral exchanges”, highlighted Ulf Gustafsson from Volvo.
In the background of the plenary sessions and workshops, over 20 works covering multiple aspects of e-mobility were presented at a poster exhibition, featuring projects such as ELIPTIC and initiatives such as the Market Place of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EV4SCC) contributing to the further development of electromobility.
The FREVUE project focuses on urban electric freight delivery, demonstrating how cleaner and smarter logistics can not only make cities better and healthier, but also make business sense. By bringing together logistics and distribution network operators and eight major European city authorities, FREVUE is actively confronting the real life challenges in a range of different commercial, environmental and regulatory scenarios. Tanja Dalle-Muenchmeyer, FREVUE Coordinator at Cross River Partnership, said, “Preliminary results of the FREVUE project are showing that electric freight vehicles are a clear and viable alternative to internal combustion engine ones. Not in 15 years, but right now. To see more of these electric freight vehicles on the road, we need to make them more widely available at more competitive prices. This is what we need to work on now and the Forum is a great opportunity to learn how other electric transport modes address these issues.” More: www.frevue.eu
The project aims to reduce CO2-emissions in urban environments by increasing the number of electric vehicles in large fleets in urban areas. The project mentors large fleet operators across Europe, offering them free support to understand the business case for EVs through analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) and creating a framework that authorities can use to set up tailored fleet incentive programs to increase the uptake of electric vehicles according to the specific socio-economic conditions of the city, region or country. Katie Hoy, I-CVUE coordinator at the Energy Saving Trust says “Fleet operators face large challenges to increase the number electric vehicles in their company fleets and I-CVUE is looking to support them in a practical tailor-made way. As well as this the I-CVUE partners are carrying out extensive research looking at the different boundary conditions that exist among a number of European cities. By carrying out this research we hope to be able to make policy recommendations to cities in order to assistance them facilitate a greater uptake of electric vehicles within their cities.” More: www.icvue.eu
40 partners led by UITP are joining forces to extend the fully-electric solution to the core part of the urban bus network. ZeEUS demonstrates the feasibility of several electric solutions for high capacity buses in live operational scenarios across Europe. With around 70 series and pre-series vehicles taking part in the ZeEUS demonstrations, a meaningful evaluation of the real impact of the electric solution on the operations will be performed. Umberto Guida, ZeEUS coordinator at UITP, said: “It is the future we are investing in with zero emission buses, thus contributing to the transport decarbonisation plans of European cities while supporting their space management policies. The Forum is the only arena where all the urban transport stakeholders can share their learning-by-doing steps and best practices. This highly-valuable event creates synergies across the different transport modes, leading the way towards thriving people and businesses in ever more competitive cities.”