1. Sustainable Urban Mobility Awards – Winners announced

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    Source: Eltis, Hannah Figg

    Four European sustainable mobility champion locations were recently unveiled in Brussels by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility.

    The four awards and victors were; European Mobility Week Award 2021 for larger municipalities, Kassel (Germany); European Mobility Week Award 2021 for smaller municipalities, Valongo (Portugal); the 10th annual Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP), Tampere (Finland); and the EU Road Safety Award, Rethymno (Greece).

    European Mobility Week is an annual event, running from 16-22 September. Cities and towns across Europe can take this opportunity to trial new ideas, promote infrastructure and technologies, and track their own air quality. Residents become involved with and begin discussions surrounding sustainable mobility, heralding a social change towards a greener world. The event saw record-breaking levels of participation in 2021 with over 3,100 towns joining the scheme.

    Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, commended the award winners’ and finalists’ achievements, sharing:

    “I would like to extend my congratulations to the winners of the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Awards as well as to all finalists. These cities have taken concrete actions to tackle transport emissions, noise, and congestion through innovative actions. With the new EU Urban Mobility Framework, we will support better planning of sustainable urban mobility, putting public transport, walking, and cycling at the core of local authorities’ efforts to improve people’s everyday lives.”

    For the full list of finalists, and an in-depth overview of their efforts toward sustainability mobility, view the Eltis coverage of the awards here.

  2. Clean Cities Campaign – No EU cities on track for zero-emission mobility

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    Goal to move citizens onto climate-friendly transport by 2030 will be missed at the current transition rate

    Source: Clean Cities Campaign

    In a report released by the Clean Cities Campaign, 36 European cities were shown to have made inadequate progress towards green mobility goals if they are to meet the agreed 2030 deadline. Zero-emission mobility can be reached via a transition to active, shared, and electric mobility options. Director Barbara Stoll has referred to the report as “a wake-up call to city leaders across Europe“.

    Cities were ranked according to criteria including active travel options (walking, cycling, etc.), road safety, public transport accessibility, congestion level, electric charging infrastructure, and pollution levels. Taking into account the ongoing climate crisis, city policymakers must act quickly to transition populations to sustainable transport options. Three-quarters of all Europeans live in cities, all of which are ‘failing’ in regard to mobility goals.

    Renowned forward-thinking city Oslo topped the rankings, and notably, Ghent, in which the LEVA-EU headquarters are based, was placed 7th with a rating of B, sitting amongst the likes of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. These cities, while still having room for improvement, can serve as an inspiration for others who wish to accelerate their green transition.

  3. Sofia launches new green mobility app

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    Source: The Mayor EU

    ‘Sofia Coin’ will track individual usage of sustainable transport, offering rewards for consistent adoption.

    The app ‘Sofia Coin’ is the collaborative effort of the Municipality and Bulgarian businesses to promote sustainable mobility, healthier lifestyles, and boost the economy. City goers can use the app to track the distance travelled using bikes, e-scooters, e-bikes, public transportation, or by foot. The app will then relay information on carbon emissions saved; and by accumulating points over time, prizes ranging from small accessories to concert tickets can be won.

    Outside of encouraging commuters to alter their habits, Sofia Coin will allow local authorities to target high-volume areas for a sustainable upgrade. In a swift move, the Municipality has incentivised green mobility, and, created a research tool that allows intelligent city planning to further solidify sustainable transport in Sofia’s future.

    The app combines the efforts of Eventim, the biggest event ticket platform, Hobo and Brum, e-scooter operators in the city, E-bike rental and A1 – the biggest telecommunications operator.

  4. Average CO2 emissions from new cars and new vans increased again in 2019

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    According to provisional data, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new passenger cars registered in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), increased in 2019, for the third consecutive year. The average CO2 emissions from new vans also increased slightly. Zero- and low-emission vehicles must be deployed much faster across Europe to achieve the stricter targets that apply from 2020.

    The EEA has published the provisional data for the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK in 2019. The provisional 2019 data on new registrations can be explored through a new EEA data dashboard.

    After a steady decline from 2010 to 2016, by almost 22 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km), average emissions from new passenger cars increased in 2017 and in 2018 (by 2.8 g CO2/km in total). According to provisional data, the upward trend continued with an additional increase of 1.6 g CO2/km in 2019, reaching 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This remains below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019 but well above the EU target of 95 g CO2/km that phases-in this year.

    The reasons for the increase in car emissions include the growing share of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The market penetration of electric cars remained slow in 2019.

    Vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK in 2019 emitted on average 158.4 g CO2/km, which is 0.5 g/km more than in 2018. This remains well below the target of 175 g CO2/km that applied until 2019 but is still 11 g CO2/km higher than the EU target of 147 g CO2/km that applies from  this year on. Several factors affected this emission increase, including an increase in the average mass and only a limited increase of the share of electric vans (BEV sand PHEV) from 0.8 % in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019.

    Further details are here.


    Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

  5. Light Electric Vehicle trade association LEVA-EU urges European Commission to match green transport rhetoric with action on LEVs

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    LEVA-EU, the sole trade association for the light electric vehicle sector, says the European Commission cannot continue to ignore a key barrier to growth for the LEV market following its decision to carry out yet another study into LEVs.

    LEVA-EU wrote to the European Commissiion calling for urgent legislative change for LEVs, centring on the technical legislation for L-category vehicles – mopeds and motorcycles.  At the request of the Commission, the European Council and Parliament decided in 2013 to only exclude electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250 W from this L-category. So, all other electric bicycles are included in technical legislation, which was originally written for internal combustion engine mopeds and motorcycles. This leaves manufacturers forced to navigate complicated, costly and inaccurate procedures. Moreover LEVA-EU said classing LEVs in the same category as mopeds presents considerable safety issues for riders.

    In a reply to LEVA-EU, Joanna Szychowska, head of the Automotive and Mobility Industries Unit at the Commission’s DG Grow, said the EC would shortly launch a study on the safety of personal mobility devices that would also look at the relevance of requirements for certain vehicle categories of the legislation in question, Regulation (EU) No 168/2013.

    But LEVA-EU manager Annick Roetynck said the organisation found the response ‘deeply frustrating’ saying it was ‘more procrastination’ and ‘more costly delays’ for the highly innovative LEV sector which is desperate to break free from the ill-fitting regulation.

    In the letter, Ms Szychowska said the EC was working to provide effective measures to facilitate the ramping up of production after the end of the COVID-19 confinement phase, while at the same time looking for ways to promote cleaner ways of transport.( see notes to editors)

    Earlier in June, the EC’s executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans, spoke at a major press conference on green transport and addressed the EU’s pledge of 20 billion euros for sustainable infrastructure transport projects, including electric mobility and bike lane schemes, saying: “When it comes to public investment to relaunch the transport sector more sustainable mobility will be key… funds can support the financing of one million electric vehicle charging points, clean fleet renewals, sustainable transport infrastructure especially looking at modalities of rail and electric mobility and bike lanes in cities.

    But Ms Roetynck said rhetoric is not being matched with action. “The current 250W limit handcuffs the e-cargo-bike-industry so that it cannot meet the current demand from consumers,” she said. “The inaccurate type approval is creating a huge legal bottleneck for ebikes, nipping development in the bud before it has had time to flourish. By not changing LEV legislation, the EU Commission is doing harm to its own climate ambitions and we need change now. Moreover, as a result of these rules, riders are often forced to ride in dangerous conditions because the speed difference between them and other means of transport is often life-threatening.

    Ms Roetynck said LEVA-EU had written to Mr Timmermans and the three EU Commission presidents. The group had already received a response from the cabinet of President Charles Michel stating: “On 23 April, President Charles Michel together with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen presented to the Heads of State and Government the Roadmap for recovery. It was agreed that the green transition will play a central and priority role in relaunching and modernising the EU economy. Further action to decarbonise the transport sector, which should also improve air quality, is necessary to succeed in the green transition. The Council of the European Union will thoroughly examine any proposal in this regard brought forward by the European Commission.

    But Ms Roetynck said the response was ‘warm words’ but left the problem of reforming Regulation 168/2013 still firmly at the door of the European Commission.

    Ms Roetynck  also pointed to a recent study in Belgium called project 365SNEL  which examined the benefits of commuting by speed pedelec. The study found that workers highlighted punctuality and improved mental health as their main motivations for choosing a light electric vehicle over a car.  The research followed 106 employees from ten companies commuting on a speed pedelec for three weeks and involved people who had never ridden a speed pedelec before, and who lived between 15km and 35km from their workplace.

    The predictability of journey time was an important factor for many, as traffic considerations did not need to be made. Many enjoyed the exercise element, which meant they arrived at work with a clear head, said the study. The main hurdle for many consumers was the price.

    This study again shows the key role speed pedelecs can make to the future of commuting,” she said. “But it is critical we encourage the growth of the sector and remove barriers quickly as solutions to the future of green transport are needed urgently now as cities across Europe and the world are scrambling to find safe and sustainable forms of transport and commuting. It is worrying that the study found consumers are being put off by price as price is a direct result of extremely complicated, inaccurate European technical rules.

    LEVA-EU acts on behalf of around 50 members across Europe and estimates about three million E-bikes alone were sold in the European Union during 2019. About 98 per cent of these were E-bikes with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250W, which shows the extent the technical legislation for L-category obstructs the development of new types of E-bikes.


  6. IPCC calls for data on climate footprints & costs of mitigation options within the transport sector

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    The writing team of the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group III is launching a call for quantitative data on climate footprints and costs of mitigation options within the transport sector. The data provided will support the evidence base for Chapter 10 (transport sector) of working group three of the sixth assessment cycle.

    This call is for the LCA and transport research communities, to make results on climate footprints and costs of different mitigation options for land-based passenger and freight transport, as well as maritime transport to be used for the Sixth Climate Assessment Report (AR6).

    The submitted data will be collated into an online database hosted and managed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) under an agreement with the IPCC. A prerequisite is that the submitting party holds rights to the data, for which they will maintain the full rights to use and share. In addition, data submitters give the authors of Chapter 10, Transport, the right to use the data for the sole purpose of the IPCC assessment. The data will remain strictly confidential until the 6th Assessment Report is published. At that point, the [full] database will be made public.

    Those who submit data transfer a non-exclusive right to the IPCC (and NTNU on IPCC’s behalf) to publish their submitted data in the AR6 of IPCC Working Group III, once the report is approved. The publication of the database will allow free use of all data contained in the database, but not its reproduction in whole or in part by third parties without proper authorization from the data owners/authors. The remainder of this note describes the background to the call, the scope of the data requested, eligibility for submission, mechanisms for submission and terms of agreement.

    All further details are here: https://ipcc-wg3-lcadata.ntnu.edu/home 


    Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

  7. BEBAT publishes 3rd E-book on E-mobility

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    What will mobility look like in 2030? As of yet no one can answer this interesting question. Still, a number of clear evolutions are already starting to emerge that will fundamentally change our mobility as well as society in general. To sketch this vision of the future, Bebat asked experts from all areas of the mobility industry to gaze into their crystal ball.

    One of the interviewed experts is LEVA-EU Manager, Annick Roetynck. She predicts that by 2030, most cities will have banned cars alltogether. She believes cars will be replaced to a major extent in favour of  light electric vehicles such as e-bikes, e-cargo bikes, e-steps and other new light electric concepts.

    Bebat is the Belgain governing body for end-of-life batteries. In tandem with sorting centre Sortbat, Bebat has been an indispensable link in the economic value chain of batteries for more than a decade. In the past 6 years Bebat has collected, transported, stored and – if the customer so wishes – examined and dismantled well over 10,000 EV batteries.

    It is, of course, hard to predict what the mobility industry will look like in 2030. However, there is no doubt that a number of evolutions and trends will challenge the status quo. One thing is for certain: all these new and predominantly electric forms of mobility will generate an exponential growth of the number of batteries.

    This conclusion inspired Bebat to peruse a number of recent studies and consult with a broad range of experts from the energy industry, the automotive industry, the lease sector, the academic world and the logistics industry to get their take on the next 10 years. Their their visions have been gathered in the third edition of Bebat’s Ebook on E-Mobility.

    The E-book is available for free in English, French and Dutch online or as a downloadable version: https://ebooks.bebat.be/en


  8. Italy’s Change to More Active Forms of Mobility

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    The Italian government is considering financial support for more sustainable forms of mobility, now that ‘’phase 2’’ in combatting Corona is underway. Although the decree is still not formalized, new infrastructure for (electric) cycling, e-scooters etc. is being considered as well.

    The ministry of transport is discussing ideas to change mobility, especially in urban areas. Since using public transportation in times of Corona is problematic, several ideas are on the table. The focus is on purchase subsidies of €200 for (electric) bicycles, e-scooters, e-hoverboards as well as on new infrastructure and the official inclusion of cycle paths in Italy’s traffic code, ‘’Codice Della Strada’’.

    Another objective is to get more people ready for zero-emission mobility vehicles, which also may help to combat air pollution, a problem that many Italian and European cities in general were already facing before Covid-19.

    Read more @gazzetta.it or find information at the Ministry of Transport.

    Interested what is happening else in Italy? See for example the plans of Milan’s counselor of mobility Marco Granelli, which resulted in 35 km of new cycle paths around the city. Bologna is speeding up the expansion of its bicycle infrastructure network. Capital city Rome considers the implementation of what they call ‘’soft mobility’’ forms like cycling. Torino wants to promote more active and sustainable forms of mobility.

  9. Podbike April News

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    30 April 2020 – Podbike’s monthly overview is published. Please find in this post an overview of major achievements and some announcements.

    Several adjustments have been made to improve Podbike’s velomobile. They progressed in converting 3D printed parts into injection mouldings, implemented a body revision to prevent leaking when its raining and adjusted the inner mirror of their product.

    April was also a month of testing. Test bike number 7 was succesfully sent to Germany where it will be tested according national and international standards. Podbike is looking forward to the results of all conducted tests.

    Podbike is announcing that they will get a brand new online (web) store, which is scheduled to be launched before summer ends. If costumers have any input or comments on the stores design, please let them know via: marketing@podbike.com.

    Due to Corona measures, all events that Podbike would have been participating are either canceled or postponed. New events will be announced when Corona is in a more controllable stage.

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