Tag Archive: Sustainability

  1. LEVA-EU member Bird Publishes Independent Vehicle Life Cycle Analysis, Setting a New Standard for Emissions Reporting Quality

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    The report launched in Paris today will be the industry’s first ISO-critically reviewed LCA and indicates ‘Bird Three micro-EV’ is among the lowest emission vehicles in Europe, with a five-year lifespan.

    Bird Global, Inc., a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation, today announced a major micromobility milestone as the company is set to become the first operator to achieve an ISO-critically reviewed vehicle Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), prompting a new industry standard and enabling reliable comparisons across European modes and vehicles. 

    Bird’s cradle-to-grave LCA report confirms that the Bird Three, the company’s latest and most sustainable vehicle, has a lifespan of up to five years after refurbishment and is among the most climate-friendly vehicles on the road in European cities – including other shared modes and public transport. Travelers in European cities who take a Bird Three account for on average approximately 21% less greenhouse gas emissions per kilometer than taking the metro, 77% less than driving a gas-powered car, and 87% less than taking a ride-hail car.

    The LCA emissions model was reviewed and documented by Ramboll, an independent Denmark-based engineering and consulting company, specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility.  The LCA is being critically reviewed by EarthShift Global, a third-party ISO expert, to ensure that the methods, data, and analysis are consistent with ISO standards for LCA. Bird’s LCA is also one of the industry’s first aligned with the New Urban Mobility Alliance’s (NUMO) forthcoming LCA guide for cities. 

    Manufacturing and assembly of Bird’s electric scooters is included within the LCA along with additional manufacturing of components for replacements, transportation of vehicles to target European cities, charging and fleet management, and scooters’ disposal at end-of-life.  Conservatively, the LCA takes no credit for Bird’s renewable energy credits, carbon offsets, or robust program of end-of-life recycling. 

    The hardware and software powering Bird Three have been expertly crafted to create the most eco-conscious shared e-scooter available with best-in-class durability. Features include Aerospace-grade aluminum and the Bird Three’s proprietary battery system which travels farther on fewer charges, with industry-leading IP68-rated battery protection to keep it safe from dust and water. The vehicle also boasts independently tested and verified impact resistance; pneumatic tires and smart acceleration technology to reduce wear and tear. 

    Bird’s LCA sets a new industry standard for emissions reporting quality, enabling reliable comparisons across European modes and vehicles, and helping Bird to identify and reduce emissions wherever possible,” Shane Torchiana, CEO, Bird. Not only does this work further demonstrate our commitment towards the planet, but is a call to action for all other operators to follow the same standard so that together, we can address misconceptions around vehicle lifecycles and educate our city stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions when selecting a responsible micromobilty partner.

    By following expert recommendations and best-practice methods for their LCA, Bird is demonstrating leadership in their commitment to rigorous, transparent greenhouse gas emissions reporting, which will enable city governments to make more informed decisions and – if widely adopted – enable emissions reductions across the micromobility sector,” Leah Lazer, Research Associate, New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO), World Resources Institute.

  2. Sharing the calculation methodology of the ‘Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever’ – CAKE

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    Following the last announcement of an Open Source project between Vattenfall & LEVA-EU member, CAKE, with the aim to commercialize the first fossil-free vehicle to be launched 2025, CAKE releases the calculation methodology (Life Cycle Assessment) behind the project.

    The ambition is to minimize the CO2 footprint of the Kalk OR dirt bike to as close as zero as possible without offsetting. The process will combine success with disappointments that will be shared transparently with the aim to inspire and accelerate the obligation and transition of the industry towards zero emissions.

    Sharing the methodology to inspire stakeholders

    Since 2021, the project team has taken the complete Kalk OR apart and analyzed each component to conclude the total production footprint of 1,186 kg CO2e as a starting point. The methodology behind calculating this footprint, via a life cycle assessment (LCA), has been openly released to the public on the CAKE website. The system boundary for this Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project, which defines what is taken into consideration and what is excluded, includes every single part and process of the bike. It also restricts all offsetting.

    Helping the general public grasp environmental impact

    So how much is 1,186 kg CO2e? Buzz words like carbon footprint and environmental impact when talking about bikes, and products in general, can be abstract and tough to understand. To bridge this gap, CAKE and Vattenfall launched THE CUBE to visualize the equivalent volume of carbon dioxide, 1,186 kg CO2e, that the CAKE Kalk bike emits during production, and thus what the project aims to reduce to zero.

    In addition to visualizing the CO2 footprint with THE CUBE, the partners of the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever are taking the next step to explain the calculation methodology behind the numbers; Life cycle assessment (LCA). As only a handful of stakeholders know what an LCA is, and how to perform one, the published article takes the reader step-by-step through the process of performing an LCA and its results.

    Learn more about the steps behind an LCA and how the project partners calculated the footprint of the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever.

    About the project

    Going fossil free isn’t just about how things are powered, it’s about removing the carbon from how things are sourced, made, transported, and assembled. So, while electric vehicles are a good start, they don’t take us far enough.

    Solving the greatest challenge in human history demands that we rethink conventional ways of doing things. It demands that we break silos and collaborate far beyond industry borders. And it demands we do it today, because the future can’t wait. The project essentially combines CAKE’s expertise in innovation and engineering with Vattenfall’s expertise in electrifying industries and decarbonizing entire production chains.

    Together the collaboration will reinvent the wheel, the suspension, the saddle, and every other part of the CAKE Kalk OR with the aim of making the first truly fossil-free vehicle. The team will reduce its current estimated carbon weight of 1,186 kg CO2e to an absolute minimum by 2025, making what they claim to be ‘the cleanest dirt bike ever’. Every single setback, breakthrough, and finding will be shared along the way to inspire others.

  3. Greenway expand their Danish joint venture, Viridus Manufacturing A/S, for battery production

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    In 2019, LEVA-EU member Greenway invested in a new battery pack manufacturing facility, Viridus Manufacturing A/S in Aarhus, Denmark. After 3 years of growth, the site was ready for expansion and doubled production capacity.

    From the very start, the manufacturing factory had a focus on sustainability, running with zero net emissions. In order to improve zero-emission measurements, a completely new building was planned and constructed by the Danish Viridus team. The factory’s battery equipment, automation, and production know-how came from the Chinese Greenway team.

    In August 2022 the Viridus team moved into the new site and started production. The building is carbon-neutral and packed with sustainable features like a wastewater recycling system, biodiversity gardens, CO2-neutral heat pump, reusable building materials, waste sorting, solar panels, bike charging stations, and a healthy indoor climate.

    The Danish battery production is supplied by 100% renewable energy, and electric cars are used for internal transportation. Furthermore, all employees have access to training facilities, healthcare, and a healthy canteen environment.

    The new site in Aarhus, Denmark, received a Gold DGNB German Sustainable Building Council certificate for the focus on sustainability and recyclability. Congratulations, Viridus team on fantastic work!

  4. AureusDrive – riding towards carbon neutrality

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    LEVA-EU member AureusDrive partners with Arbofino in a large tree-planting initiative

    In a bold step toward CO2 neutrality, the e-bike brand will be responsible for a 200 teak tree plantation in Manabi, Ecuador. Over 20 years this plantation will compensate upwards of 115 tonnes of carbon. Following the growth period, trees can be harvested, with profits used to plant further trees; this creates a circular carbon sequestration scheme. Additionally, AureusDrive will reforest 1/8 hectares of jungle in the same location.

    The next step is calculation of grey energy usage during e-bike manufacturing and disposal, from here a further compensation plan can be made.

    Find more details on Arbofino here.

  5. Up to 900 euro sustainable mobility bonus for Brussels residents

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    Source: themayor.eu

    The revamped Bruxell’air mobility bonus will mobilize citizens in their transition towards sustainable mobility

    Brussels Capital Region authorities recently announced the return of their sustainable mobility bonus, titled Bruxell’air. Similar to many other European cities, this move is an attempt to de-carbonize urban travel in light of climate change and city building densification.

    The scheme offers a bonus of up to 900 euros to any citizen who cancels their car registration and applies for the bonus. The bonus can be used to buy bicycle equipment, public transport passes, or access to car-sharing services. Bonuses are distributed based on yearly income, with the lowest earners receiving the full total. Any funds not spent on transportation must be returned to the city authorities.

    The bonus has now been available for over 15 years, with the transition reward jumping from 500 euros to 900 euros in this time; however, damaged vehicle funding is no longer offered. Bruxell’air is now under the supervision of the city’s environmental authorities who will monitor the successful rollout of the fund and prevent any fraudulent activities.

  6. Keep it simple – the new Pendix eDrive IN

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    At the last IAA mobility, LEVA-EU member Pendix, market leader for retrofit drives in the bicycle market, presented a revolutionary drive that is to be used mainly in the B2B sector for cargo bikes. This gives Pendix an additional pillar for the retrofit drive, because the Pendix eDrive IN creates new possibilities for bicycle construction, but is installed directly by the OEMs. There are already numerous interested parties and pre-orders, although the drive has not yet been delivered. Christian Hennig was in charge of the development. We spoke to him about the drive.

    The Pendix eDrive IN is available as an innovative serial hybrid variant and in combination with a chain drive, i.e. a mechanical drive train. How did the idea come about?

    The market for cargo bikes is growing and growing, the bikes are also becoming more and more popular in the professional sector. We have therefore thought about how we can meet the requirements for an electric drive specifically for this application. Both privately and commercially used bikes should focus on the necessary performance in order to be able to move heavy loads safely and comfortably. Of course, reliability also plays an important role, especially if a cargo bike is to be used as a replacement for a car.

    The new drive system caused quite a stir at the IAA in Munich. Why?

    The serial hybrid system in particular is better suited for cargo bikes by one decisive characteristic. By using a pedal generator, all mechanical wear parts of the conventional drive train such as chains, chainrings, or sprockets are eliminated. This increases reliability and significantly reduces maintenance costs. In addition, the entire space between the wheels can be used.

    How does the Pendix serial hybrid version work?

    The system basically consists of a pedal generator, one or more drive motors, and a battery. The pedal generator is located on the bottom bracket, which converts the mechanical pedaling movement of the rider into electrical energy and then transmits this directly to the drive motors in the rear wheels. The generator can generate torque to give the rider a natural pedaling feel, very similar to that of a conventional bike. In addition to the driver’s performance, additional energy is supplied to the drive motors from a battery in order to ensure the necessary performance for moving a cargo bike safely and comfortably.

    Where do you see potential uses for the new drive?

    I see possible uses in cargo bikes where it is important to use the available space in the best possible way. In newer vehicle concepts, in particular, one often sees a very elaborately designed drive train with up to four chains connected in series in order to mechanically transmit the power from the driver to the rear wheels. This is exactly where there is a great advantage since the installation space can be used. In addition, many wearing parts of the mechanical power transmission are eliminated, which often cause unwanted downtimes of the bicycle, especially with intensively used cargo bikes.

    There are already other manufacturers who also offer a serial hybrid drive. Are there any significant differences in the functions? What are the advantages of your product?

    In principle, the functionality and range of functions of the various systems are quite similar. Our previous Pendix eDrive system was always developed according to the principle of “keep it simple”, and we are continuing this with this product. Generator and drive motors are based on the same engine concept and have been optimized in terms of function. Here, too, we offer a system in which the components come from a single source and are perfectly matched to each other. Functions such as gear shifting or reversing can be solved by software in the future. Of course, our proven Pendix.bike PRO app will also be used with this product in order to be able to provide the rider with useful information, customization of the riding profile and firmware updates over-the-air, and at the same time to support the service partner with diagnosis.

    At the end of the day, is the vehicle actually still a pedelec?

    This question can be answered with a clear yes. After years of back and forth, the European Commission decided at the beginning of 2022 that bicycles with a serial-hybrid drive system are on an equal footing with conventional pedelecs with a mechanical drive train. In order to maintain technology neutrality, it doesn’t matter whether the bike is equipped with a mechanical chain or not – as long as the drive only provides support and the rider also pedals. For us, our new drive was the next step in bicycle evolution right from the development stage. That’s why we’re happy to now also have support from Brussels.

  7. Submissions now open for the WRI Ross Centre Prize for Cities 2021-2022

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    The third cycle of the initiative, “Thriving Together in Turbulent Times”, offers a cash prize of $250,000 and four runner-up prizes of $25,000

    As the world is faced with large-scale issues such as the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and endless social inequalities, it is crucial that our cities transform to provide a brighter and more secure future.

    The WRI Ross Centre Prize for Cities was created to help identify and elevate the highest caliber innovations in the field of inclusive and sustainable urban transformation. Potential winners are selected by a pool of globally based experts, assessed on their transformational potential, and finally voted on by an independent jury of leaders in urban affairs.

    This year focuses on three essential questions for cities in 2022:

    • Are disruption and uncertainty the new normal in cities?
    • Can resilient cities by inclusive and sustainable?
    • How can cities best learn and apply lessons?

    All types of organizations and individuals from the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors are invited to submit their ideas for the future of urban living. Applications close on February 15th, the application portal can be visited here.

    2020-2021’s winner was the ‘Sustainable food production for a resilient Rosario’ project, which laid the foundations for a holistic approach to urban agriculture. Read more about last year’s program here.

  8. Sustainable Mobility Research: taxes on CO2 & fossil fuels lower emissions most

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    Source: Science for Environment Policy by ECIn order to meet global emission reduction targets, the transport sector must become more sustainable. To assess the impact and effectiveness of various transport policy measures in reaching emission reduction targets, a quantitative assessment of policy scenarios was conducted for Denmark. The results indicate that market signals, in the form of taxes on CO2 and fossil fuels, retain the highest impact in lowering carbon emissions in the transport sector, while the promotion of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), rather than autonomous transport, is the most cost-effective measure.

    Transport activity accounts for 23% of energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions at the global level. Within the whole Danish energy system, the transport sector accounted for 42% of total CO2 emissions in 2015. If emission reduction targets are to be met, there is, therefore, an urgent need to make the transport sector more sustainable. Strategies for achieving this include the implementation of policy measures designed to promote technological developments, regulatory instruments and social change. However, accurately identifying the most effective measures can be a challenge.

    Researchers conducted a quantitative assessment of the impact and effectiveness of a range of transport and energy policy measures on achieving national and European emission-reduction targets in Denmark. A series of policy scenarios were generated, based on workshops conducted with experts, stakeholders and citizens. The four scenarios were:

    • New mobility (measures relevant to e-bikes, car occupancy and teleworking);
    • Electrification (measures relevant to fossil-fuel tax, electricity tax, vehicle-registration tax and fossil-fuel phase-out);
    • Market-driven (measures relevant to internal combustion engine (ICE) bans and CO2 tax);
    • Sea and air (measures relevant to the decarbonisation of the aviation and maritime sectors).

    These scenarios were analysed to elucidate the single and combined effects of policy measures. Analysis was facilitated by a newly developed Scenario Interface tool (an Excel-based tool that helps those unfamiliar with modelling to create energy and transport scenarios). The tool was coupled with the Danish energy system model TIMES-DK, which includes the complete national energy system, covering long-term technology investments.

    The results suggest that market signals, in the form of taxes on CO2 and fossil fuels, retain the highest impact in lowering carbon emissions in the transport sector. Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) describes a shift away from personal vehicle ownership towards a combination of transportation services from public and private transportation providers (including such options as ride-sharing and e-hailing services, bike-, car- and scooter-sharing programmes and on-demand bus services). MaaS was identified as the most cost-effective measure. The New mobility scenario also illustrated how cost savings at system level could be achieved through the combination of policy measures such as the promotion of MaaS, working from home and increased adoption of e-bikes.

    This research has implications for transport and energy policy. In addition to highlighting the need to address the transition to sustainable transport through the design and implementation of coherent policy packages, the study provides useful insights regarding the potential impact and effectiveness of a wide range of policy measures, considered on their own and in combination.

    The study also identifies a particularly urgent need to develop policy measures aimed at making the maritime and aviation sectors more sustainable, as these sectors have a particularly large impact in terms of fossil-fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Please find the Danish study @ LEVA-EU Light Electric Vehicle Research or @ ScienceDirect.

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