Tag Archive: Berlin

  1. Culture war against bikes trending in Europe

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    POLITICO reports on the rising conservative backlash against cycling and cyclists

    Source: POLITICO

    In a noteworthy development across Europe, the battle over city car restrictions has escalating into a culture war, with politicians positioning themselves as champions of working-class drivers. Berlin’s newly elected conservative city government has taken a particularly aggressive stance, reversing numerous bike-friendly measures implemented by its predecessor. This includes suspending bike infrastructure projects that impede existing car lanes or parking spaces, and shelving plans to expand the city’s cycling network. The decision to allow cars back on the iconic Friedrichstraße boulevard, reversing its pedestrianization, was motivated by complaints from local businesses regarding declining revenue.

    The pandemic-inspired temporary cycling infrastructure and traffic restrictions that were initially well-received have lost favor as life returns to normal. Developments in Berlin serve as a concerning precedent for other bike-friendly cities experiencing a perhaps artificially inflated backlash from disgruntled car drivers.

    Berlin’s new mobility chief, Manja Schreiner, argued that its measures reflected the concerns of many Berliners, while critics view them as an unnecessary and damaging rollback of cycling infrastructure. Similar anti-bike and pro-car sentiments are growing in other regions, including the UK, where the Conservative Party has framed the country as ‘a nation of drivers’ and suggested new policies or rollbacks in response to expanded low-emission zones and other policies.

    Conspiracy theories and resistance to the “15-minute city” concept, which promotes local living and alternative transportation methods, have also contributed to the backlash. In Brussels, a plan to reduce car traffic has sparked protests and led to the cancellation of some initiatives. Right-wing parties are capitalizing on these emotional issues but offer no alternative vision for cities, while proponents argue that cycling infrastructure and green spaces enhance urban environments.

    The opposition to bike-friendly policies in Berlin and other cities reflects the challenge of balancing the interests of different road users and finding solutions that accommodate everyone.

    Read more detail over on POLITICO.

  2. CAKE expands operations in Germany

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    Local team and Berlin storefront to further propel the Swedish electric motorbike brand in the German capital.

    LEVA-EU member CAKE, the Swedish maker of premium lightweight electric motorcycles, today announced that they are expanding their presence on the German market. A local sales team is already up and running in Berlin and a full-service CAKEsite is expected to open later this year – with a CAKE Pop-Up Store already serving local customers out of Berlin’s central Mitte district.

    Our physical presence around the world is expanding in line with our multi-city strategy, where we treat key cities as proper markets of their own. Berlin continues to be at the forefront of things to come, with the electrification of vehicle fleets being top of mind with politicians and citizens alike. Change is happening fast, with more companies and commuters realizing every day how CAKE motorbikes can make business better – or just turn commuting into something pleasant”, said Stefan Ytterborn, Founder and CEO of CAKE.

    New fossil fuel vehicles banned by 2030
    Like many major cities in Europe, Berlin is moving ahead quickly to combat the use of combustion engine vehicles in its city center. A petition to effectively ban cars from Berlin’s city center gathered more than 50,000 signatures earlier this year and is currently being reviewed by the state constitutional court. With more than 6 million residents calling the greater Berlin area their “Zuhause”, CAKE sees huge potential in the area. Already marketing the entire family of premium electric motorcycles and mopeds through their online store, many Berliners are already familiar with the CAKE brand. Current clients include last-mile delivery companies as well as commuters conscious of both their time and the environment.

    Berliners are already demanding city streets free of polluting and noisy cars that clog up what little is left of available space. “We have a compelling offering of clean, electric motorbikes that caters both to occasional riders all the way to professional power users. We are definitely looking forward to making a difference in Berlin,” commented Nicole Nehrke, General Sales Manager Berlin, CAKE.

    The CAKE Pop Up Store Berlin is now open and is located on Torstraße 101, 10119 Berlin.

  3. Road safety police in Berlin now ride cargo bikes

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    Source: News.dayFR

    Berlin’s Chief of Police, Dr. Barbara Slowik, unveiled 70 service bicycles and 11 cargo bicycles for road safety advisors at the five local police departments.

    Rather than be transported in a radio truck, ‘Road Safety Tips’ documents are now transported on cargo bikes. The 70 service bikes include a lock, first aid kit, multitool, and waterproof luggage bag. Additionally, all riding officers were provided with new, custom uniforms.

  4. Car-free zone larger than Manhattan proposed in Berlin

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    Source: Fast Company

    Action group proposes car limitations on the entirety of Berlin city centre enclosed within the RingBahn train line.

    Having been conceptualised in 2019 by three friends, the Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei’s (People’s Decision for Auto-Free Berlin) radical proposal to transform Berlin city centre into a car-free zone is now under consideration by Berlin Senate, having reached 50,000 supporting signatures. The governing body will reach a decision by February, in a similar process to the 2016 law changes that improved cycling across Berlin.

    Of course, car-free does not equate to a complete ban, but rather a significant reduction in the prevalence of private car use – emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and other service vehicles would still function as normal. Campaigners highlight the benefits not only to the wider environment but the local one experienced by Berlin residents on a daily basis. By removing private car usage from the city, communities can ‘take back’ the Berlin streets as functional and versatile public spaces, improving both the health and safety of commuters.

    With traffic already limited in some Berlin neighbourhoods, or ‘Kiezblocks’, the proposal would massively accelerate the shift in Berlin’s urban environment, again highlighted by campaigners as a crucial step to take in light of the ongoing climate crisis. If rejected by the city, organisers will continue to collect signatures of support until the issue can go to ballot – with 175,000 required backers.

  5. 23rd International Congress for Battery Recycling – ICBR 2018

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    This year’s International Congress for Battery Recycling ICBR 2018 will take place from 26 to 28 September in Berlin. LEVA-EU is a partner of this Congress. On Thursday 27 September at 3.30 p.m., LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck will be speaking about the potential of light electric vehicles in the framework of EU Policies.

    In preparation of the Congress, the organizers have had an extended interview with Jean-Pol Wiaux, Chairman of the ICBR Steering Committee.

    ▪ Mr Wiaux, the next International Congress for Battery Recycling (ICBR) will be held in Berlin in just over three months. Can you give us an update of the program?
    This 23rd edition of the ICBR has raised interest among many new actors in the field of battery recycling. Proposals for papers reflect the battery industry’s diversification and growth. Recycling has become an inevitable part of the discussion between the parties concerned as EU environmental and economic policy moves towards a circular economy.
    I am convinced that the congress program as recently finalized will offer a great basis for discussions after formal presentations and during panel discussions, plant tours and workshops.
    ▪ What highlights can attendees look forward to this year?
    Three renowned keynote speakers specialized in very different fields will open the congress:
    ➢ Professor Kerstin Kuchta (Hamburg University of Technology) will address the role of batteries in a circular economy
    ➢ Didier Marginèdes, Director of Blue Solutions, will review how car manufacturers are anticipating new market demand with the development of electric mobility
    ➢ Gudula Schwan from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure will talk on the importance of controlling hazards and risks when transporting batteries for recycling
    In addition, we have the unique opportunity to propose a session on chemicals policy, an important issue for the battery recycling industry, with speakers from the European Chemicals Agency (EChA) and the European Association of Metals (EUROMETAUX).
    ▪ What will the main topics of this year’s congress be?
    The EU battery recycling industry is under pressure from the EU Environment Authority, but also from OEMs. The recently launched European Battery Alliance, the political move towards a circular economy, the review of the EU Batteries Directive, innovative battery recycling technologies and, last but not least, safety issues are on the congress’s agenda.
    Furthermore, specialists from the metal trading industry will deliver key messages on the evolution of active materials pricing and the potential impact of recycling on raw materials economics.
    During their international sessions, ICBR congresses are the only ones to provide a platform on battery recycling to speakers from all around the world.
    ▪ The development of electric mobility and digitization is inconceivable without batteries. To what extent has recycling already reached the battery industry?
    The battery recycling industry has operated in Europe for more than 50 years. During the last twenty years it has adapted to many technological cycles, including lead-acid and primary alkaline battery recycling, but also nickel-cadmium and nickel metal hydride processing as well as more recently dealing with lithium primary and lithium-ion rechargeable types.
    Moving from a linear to a circular economy is a big push for recyclers. However, they need to operate on a globally competitive technical and business basis. In particular, there is a need for the EU Authority to clarify the “equivalent performances” concept and its enforcement when calculating recycling efficiency.
    But battery recyclers are not operating alone. The important role of OEMs is also under scrutiny, as they need to integrate both the technical and the economical aspects of battery recycling in their commercial policy.
    ▪ Given the booming demand for batteries, recyclers should have no reason to complain about their business, should they?
    The battery recycling business is impacted by conflicting parameters. The return rate of end-of-life batteries is much lower than the market penetration rate. The active materials content of batteries is continually developing as the race for
    performance and safety continues: The chemistry of lithium rechargeable batteries is not fixed and new, active materials are offered regularly by industry.
    Let’s not forget that a significant number of advanced batteries are processed without the costs being fully balanced by the value of the recovered materials.
    Factors such as re-use and second life may also impact the volume of returned batteries. Innovative business models offered by OEMs to control the flow of batteries at the end-of-life stage and secure access to raw materials and stable battery pricing are necessary.
    Last year, industry barometer initiative results showed an optimistic trend in the battery recycling business arena. This year we will again present to participants our battery recycling industry barometer. The results will be interesting.
    ▪ Will there be a supporting program apart from the actual congress this year?
    Traditionally, the ICBR presents an ideal opportunity to meet with the industry. Two plant tours have been organized, thanks to the industrial partners who responded positively to ICM’s request.
    Nickelhütte Aue GmbH specializes in recycling nickel-based materials and other non-ferrous metals. It has also gathered seven years of experience in recycling lithium-ion batteries.
    Electrocycling GmbH, Goslar offers technologies for recycling electronic devices, of which 80% of the processed materials are re-introduced into the economy and only 2% are disposed of in an environmentally compatible manner.
    A workshop will also concentrate on the practical aspects of lithium batteries in terms of hazards and safety. Do not miss this workshop if you are new to the field or if you want to learn more about good practices guidance for handling, storing and transporting lithium batteries.
    ▪ It is a good tradition that all participants are invited to a networking dinner in a special location at the end of the first congress day. What can the guests look forward to this year?
    If you want to catch the spirit of the ICBR, don’t miss the famous networking dinner where entertainment meets business partners. This year, we shall gather all the participants at the well-known Berlin entertainment location “Bar jeder Vernunft”, where it will again be a memorable evening accompanied by surprise show acts.
    So, don’t miss this opportunity to exchange news, views and ideas with experts from all areas of the battery recycling sector. We look forward to welcoming you at this year’s industry meeting! For all the details on the program and how to register, go to: https://www.icm.ch/icbr-2018 .

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