Tag Archive: SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY

  1. Europe’s transport volumes and its CO2 emissions see a rise over 5% in 19 years

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    Source: European Environment Agency

    Recent analysis by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has reported an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles in line with the growth in transport volumes on Europe’s roads over the past two decades.

    The EEA assessment ‘Decarbonising road transport — the role of vehicles, fuels and transport demand’ is part of the  ‘Transport and environment reporting mechanism’ (TERM) series of annual assessments and focuses on greenhouse gases. According to EEA data, between 2000 and 2019, CO2 emissions from passenger cars in the 27 EU Member States increased by 5.8 %, while emissions from heavy goods vehicles increased by 5.5 %. This was due to growing transport volumes and despite advances in fuel efficiency and an increase in biofuel usage.

    Passenger mobility and haulier preferences are yet to change in Europe. Both transport types have maintained and increased their volumes on the road systems, and the efficiency of vehicles’ CO2 emissions, and shifts to greener transport modes, need addressing.

    Electric vehicles are set to play an important role in improving our air quality. Increasing the volume of these engine types will help to decarbonize passenger and freight logistics, although the EEA assessment reports that efficiency-gains are not the simple solution to the greenhouse gas problems. Ride-sharing, fuller cargo loads and encouraging the use of public transport, cycling and walking are also required to decarbonise Europe’s mobility system.

    To support the overall climate neutrality target, the EU goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 90% by 2050, compared with 1990 levels.

  2. Podbike nominated for the Eurobike Innovators Prize 2022

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    The Podbike FRIKAR by LEVA-EU member Podbike AS has been nominated for the Eurobike Innovators Prize 2022 in a competitive and inventive bicycles category.

    An online audience will select which nominees in the category reach the final round by casting their votes, so participation by all visitors to the Eurobike website is encouraged.  The Podbike FRIKAR e-bike is up against established giants with large followings, so the competition is tough.  All votes will be considered and a panel of experts will then decide the winner.

    To vote for the Podbike FRIKAR e-bike, click here:   
     
    VOTE NOW FOR PODBIKE FRIKAR

    The Podbike® Frikar is helping fight the climate crisis by offering an alternative to motor vehicles for short journeys and daily commutes. Practical, efficient, attractive, and suitable for riding in comfort 365 days per year, this innovative design puts the fun factor back into daily life whilst not disregarding those elements of safe travel that we’ve become accustomed to. Comprehensive braking systems, independent suspension, and fully-enclosed all-weather protection for rider and child/cargo mean this street-worthy design is a certified contender and one to be celebrated.

  3. A study into the use of e-bikes shows an increase in regular activity.  

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    Source: Journal of Transport and Health

    Previous studies have shown that e-bike owners cycle more and drive less than they would without access to an e-bike. Support schemes for e-bikes exist in a number of countries, but knowledge about the effect of subsidies on active transport is limited. A new study into an Oslo-based e-bike subvention scheme reports on the uptake and use and the accompanying benefits.

    To boost the uptake of e-bikes, Oslo City Council introduced a subvention program (€500) for e-bike purchasers in 2016. Applicants disclosed a travel diary, answered a web survey on usage, and downloaded an app to support their activities. The survey results from the trial group were compared with two control groups; an outside sample of individuals and subvention receivers who had not yet purchased the e-bike. Compared to the control groups, the trial group increased cycling activities by 17–22% after subsidized e-bike purchase and a range of 11.6–19.3 km. The subvention led to more cycling activity and it concluded that financial incentives may contribute to a boost in active transport, even when the subvention is of a simplistic kind that does not target specific population segments.

    E-bikes have increased in popularity worldwide during the last few decades and represent the fastest-growing segment of the transport system (MacArthur et al., 2014). One aspect of e-bikes that is attracting more and more research interest is their effect on mobility patterns (Peterman et al., 2016). The e-bike has notable results regarding the impact on daily transport modes compared to regular cycling and walking. Distances are increased and even those only considered to be accessible by active transport are considered; traditional cycling barriers are reduced (de Geus and Hendriksen, 2015).  The e-bike may also reach population segments that are not prone to regular cycling or walking and particularly important for countries with current low bicycle use. However, the most rapid uptake has occurred in countries with high existing bicycling shares.

    A scoping review by Bourne et al. (2020) highlighted that the impact of the e-bike on travel behavior is largely influenced by the primary mode of travel prior to the introduction of the e-bike, largely a shift from traditional bicycles or cars. Physical activity has obvious health benefits and due to the electrical motor assistance, barriers such as long distances and hills become easier to overcome (de Geus and Hendriksen, 2015), and hence facilitate more physical activity in everyday life (Oja et al., 2011). The potential downside of the motor assistance is that it requires less self-generated power (i.e. energy expenditure) for a given time and distance, compared to a non-assisted bicycle. However, the e-bike is found to require physical activity of at least moderate intensity (Bourne et al., 2018)

    To boost e-bike sales, various forms of support schemes or incentives have been introduced, driven by a concern for the environment and for public health. Learning about the mode-share effects and changes in the overall cycling of such schemes is of particular interest, as it is an open question whether the motivation to use the e-bike after purchase is the same among subvention receivers as among “normal” e-bike purchasers. This recent study assesses the effect of subsidizing the purchase of e-bikes on users’ daily mobility patterns, and overall bicycle usage. Bicycle usage was measured by two items; how far (in kilometers) were ridden and whether the use was for transport or exercise. The trial group was also asked if (and when) they had bought the e-bike and first put it to use. To match the control group to the trial group they were also posed the question: “If you were to buy a bike today, would you consider an electric bike?” Possible answers were: “Yes, absolutely”; “Yes, maybe”; “I don’t think so”; “Don’t know” and “No, certainly not”.

    The app data was collected over a period of two months and the total number of trips recorded was 219,105. The largest difference in car use was between prospective buyers and those who had purchased an e-bike, and some of the higher cycling mode share was due to decreased use of public transport. The study was only designed to look at the relatively short-term effects of the subvention program and some participants had owned their e-bikes for five months. The data indicated that the earliest adopters cycled more than the latecomers, but this could just as well be a result of stronger motivation as of length of ownership. Typically, many people will cycle less or stop cycling completely in the winter months.

    The study concluded that financial incentives can contribute to a boost in active transport even when the subvention is simplistic and doesn’t target specific population segments. For subvention receivers participating in the study, the increase in cycling was significant so promoting e-bikes with fiscal incentives seems to work as intended in a Nordic country with relatively low cycling levels.

  4. E-scooter legislation won’t apply to Northern Ireland, according to report

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    Source: Micromobilitybiz, A. Ballinger

    The UK Government’s plans for updated e-scooter legislation won’t automatically apply in Northern Ireland, according to a report.

    Earlier this month, the Government announced plans for a new low-speed, low-emission vehicle category, allowing the use of private-use e-scooters on public roads. 

    The Government mentioned that the update would form part of the upcoming Parliamentary session on the Transport Bill, but a report from news outlet Belfast Live suggests that the update to the law in Great Britain would not automatically be adopted in Northern Ireland. 

    A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure told Belfast Live that the NI Minister for Infrastructure would be responsible for any decision on the use of e-scooters, remarking, “It is currently illegal to use electric scooters on public roads and public spaces in the North.  Any decision on the potential use of e-scooters here is a matter for the Minister for Infrastructure.”

    The proposed change in regulations in England does not apply to Northern Ireland, however, DfI officials are currently monitoring developments there and, following review, will provide advice to the Minister on the way forward.” 

    Following the Government announcement on e-scooter legislation, Belfast Live also reported that police in Northern Ireland planned to step up their response to the illegal use of e-scooters, currently banned from the roads unless the rider has a license, tax, and insurance. 

    The popularity of e-scooters continues to grow, with shared schemes being hailed as a success across the country.

    The Government plans to use safety data collected from the shared transport schemes to inform its legislation update, including details like maximum speed, battery power, and regulations on lights.  

  5. Micro launches configurator for its long-awaited Microlino

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    Pricing starts from CHF 14‘990 incl. VAT in Switzerland

    Europe base price will be approximately EUR 12‘500 excluding VAT. Exact prices per country will be announced with the respective launch in that country

    A fully equipped Pioneer with a medium battery pack starts at CHF 20‘990 incl. VAT

    Swiss customers have to make a refundable deposit of CHF 500 to secure their spot on the waiting list

    Deposits in other markets will be launched step by step, depending on market entry in that country

    First test drive events will be announced at the end of June

    The Swiss company Micro has launched its long-awaited configurator today. The more than 30‘000 reservation holders are able to configure the vehicle starting from today. The Microlino marks a new product category between a motorbike and a car aimed to be a more eco-friendly and space-saving alternative to cars. With 12.5kW nominal power, 230l of trunk volume, and up to 230km of range, the Microlino is best in class in the European L7e and L6e vehicle categories. It also is the only vehicle in this category to have a unibody chassis, that improves quality, longevity, and safety compared to conventional tubular frames normally used in the L7e class.

    But not just its design and the features are unique: due to the light weight that enables the use of a smaller battery, the Microlino has only about one-third of the carbon footprint of a conventional electric car. In addition, the Microlino is produced in Italy and 90% of its parts are produced in Europe, making its supply chain more sustainable. “This is why the Microlino is probably the most sustainable weather-protected vehicle in existence”, says founder Oliver Ouboter.

    Along with the configurator, Micro is releasing the official list prices for the Microlino in Switzerland. Prices will start at 14‘990 CHF including VAT. In Europe, prices will start from approximately 12‘500 EUR excluding VAT. The exact list prices including VAT will be communicated closer to the official launch in the various countries. “Despite the challenges in the worldwide supply chain and multiplication in prices of certain raw materials and doubling in battery prices, we are satisfied to launch a premium and unique light electric vehicle at an affordable price“, says Co-Founder Merlin Ouboter.

    The launch edition is called „Pioneer Series“ and is limited to 999 vehicles as an homage to Micro being founded in 1999, with the invention of the first Kickscooter. It is available in two colors only available in the Pioneer Series called Torino Aluminium and Atlantis Blue. All Pioneer Series will be equipped with the medium 10.5kWh battery pack with a range of up to 177km, the sunroof for the ultimate Summer feeling, Infinity-LED Lightbars with integrated blinkers front and rear, premium vegan leather and Alcantara interior, portable Bluetooth speakers, the storage pack and will each have a unique number visible on the inside. In addition, they will all come with an original Micro Kick scooter in the trunk to cover the last mile. The Pioneer Series will have a price of 20‘990 CHF including VAT or roughly 18‘500 EUR excluding VAT in European countries. “The Pioneer Series is for the true Pioneers that want to help make mobility more eco-friendly and space-saving. Because let’s face it: we have to make mobility not only electric but also lighter and smaller“, says Wim Ouboter, who founded Micro in 1999.

    Swiss customers are asked to make a deposit of 500 CHF to secure their spot on the waiting list. Next, they will be selected based on their location, configuration, and reservation date to make their final order. Micro plans to do a series of test-drive events to make sure that as many customers as possible can test drive the Microlino. The exact dates and locations of these events will be announced at the end of June. By then, Micro will also give all details about the service and sales net in Switzerland. The first deliveries will take place from Micro‘s own brand center near Zurich this Summer.

    Customers outside of Switzerland can for now use the configurator and make a reservation without a deposit. Once deliveries in a market are near, these customers to have to make a deposit to secure their spot in the waiting line. The next markets that will be launched are Germany and Italy. First deliveries for these two markets are expected by the end of 2022.

    The company targets to produce up to 1500 vehicles this year in a factory that it is operating in Turin, Italy, together with its partner CECOMP. Eventually, the company will be able to produce up to 10,000 vehicles in this factory per year. “The demand that we see is huge and we are considering increasing our capacity even further in the future. For this year, we focus on quality, not quantity“, says Oliver Ouboter. The first customer deliveries in Switzerland will take place this summer, and German and Italian deliveries will start towards the end of 2022.

    All Technical Specifications:

    Max. Speed                                                                            90 km/h

    Acceleration (0-50km/h)                                                   5 s

    Nominal Power                                                                      12.5 kW

    Peak Power                                                                             19 kW

    Torque                                                                        89 Nm

    Range                                                                                       91/177/230 km*

    Batteries                                                                                   6 kWh, 10.5 kWh, 14 kWh**

    Charging Time 0-80%                                                           4h (6 kWh Battery)

    3h (10.5 kWh battery)

    4h (14 kWh battery)

    Battery chemistry                                                                 Lithium-Ion (NMC/NCA)

    Curb weight                                                                             435 kg (excl. battery)

    Seats                                                                                          2

    Trunk volume (l)                                                                    230 l

    *Preliminary data
    **Available Q1/23

  6. EP votes ICE-cars and vans out by 2035

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    In a plenary vote on 8 June, Members of the European Parliament adopted their position on proposed rules to revise the CO2 emissions performance standards for new cars and vans with 339 votes in favour, 249 against and 24 abstentions.

    With the adopted text, which constitutes Parliament’s position to negotiate with member states, MEPs support the Commission proposal to reach zero-emission road mobility by 2035 (an EU fleet-wide target to reduce the emissions produced by new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% compared to 2021). Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 would be set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans.

    Additional details of Parliament’s proposed measures are available here.

    Quote

    Rapporteur Jan Huitema (Renew, NL) said: ‘An ambitious revision of CO2-standards is a crucial part of reaching our climate targets. With these standards, we are creating clarity for the car industry and can stimulate innovation and investments for car manufacturers. In addition, purchasing and driving zero-emission cars will become cheaper for consumers. I am thrilled that the European Parliament has backed an ambitious revision of the targets for 2030 and supported a 100% target for 2035, which is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050.’

    Next steps

    MEPs are now ready to start negotiations with EU member states.

    Background

    On 14 July 2021, as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ package, the Commission presented a legislative proposal for a revision of the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The proposal aims to contribute to the EU 2030 and 2050 climate objectives, to deliver benefits to citizens by deploying zero-emission vehicles more broadly (better air quality, energy savings and lower costs for owning a vehicle), as well as to stimulate innovation in zero-emission technologies.

    Photo by Matt Boitor on Unsplash

  7. Subsidies for Italian businesses purchasing cargo bikes

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    Source:  Carla GiaumeEltis

    Any Italian company or business activity that invested in the purchase of a cargo bike for its daily activities in 2021 will now be able to receive up to 30% of the total expense. According to a decree published in the Italian Official Gazette, the incentive will be “in the form of a tax credit” and is up to a maximum of €2,000.

    The Italian government has allocated €2million to the scheme, which applies to the purchase of cargo bikes and power-assisted bikes. An online registration is soon to be created with a deadline for submissions to obtain the credit set at 20th June 2022. 

    Cargo bikes are being championed by manufacturers around Europe and their numbers are set to expand. Companies are using cargo bikes for first- and last-kilometres deliveries, while families are encouraged to replace their second cars with cargo bikes and similar modes of transport. The subsidies do only apply to businesses and not personal use, however. 

    Elisa Gallo, the president of the FIAB Torino Bike Pride – the Italian Association of Cycling Friends (which recently organised a cargo bike day), and newly elected national councillor of the Italian Environment and Bicycle Federation, commented on the news to RivistaBC: “It is certainly useful to invest in cargo bikes. Italians are beginning to be interested in cargo bikes, however, much more needs to be done. Delivery companies are also more sensitive to their environmental impact. It is certainly desirable for the incentive to be renewed also for 2022.”

    The National Association for Cycle and Motorcycle Accessories (ANCMA) remarked that the incentive is still far away from contributing to reach the environmental objectives or the ecological transition and that more are needed to encourage cycling. However, considering the current energy crisis, this could potentially favour a radical change in the way people and goods move, particularly in urban areas.

    For more information check the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition (MiTE) Gazzetta Ufficiale

  8. Podbike updates on manufacturing progress

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    LEVA-EU Member Podbike reports on an intensely busy time at headquarters as they focus on delivering their first run of bikes to pre-order customers.

    During some last-minute design checks, Podbike staff discovered that the rivets used on the FRIKAR’s base plate did not match the manufacturer’s claimed technical specifications. To fully ensure reliability, Podbike are undertaking additional fatigue-testing to check the rivets’ durability.

    With the testing ongoing, Podbike hope that no changes will be needed. However, if the rivets are found to be not strong enough, new base plates will be built. These are due to arrive in July.

    Podbike have reiterated that first FRIKAR deliveries will go to customers in Norway and then to customers in Germany. Starting in 2023, Podbike will launch in other countries, one at a time.

    Podbike also report on engineering tweaks to the FRIKAR’s design, which have been integrated following insightful comments during last year’s test ride tour of Norway and northern Germany.

    One issue which has challenged Podbike’s engineers is unwanted noise inside the cabin. The electric motor, plus the sound of the driver pedalling, was a bit too loud for some.

    Podbike are working to optimize the solution while also avoiding adding too much weight, and report that solving the noise issue will take time. They acknowledge that this is a common issue for every velomobile where the drivetrain and moving parts are inside the rider cabin, rather than hidden in a separate, heavy and soundproofed engine compartment.

    Finally, Podbike have shared details and a short video of their new Dynamometer Jig for dyno testing the FRIKAR.

    Those interested in contributing to the Podbike crowdfunder can register their interest here.  

  9. Cities aim to reduce car use in bid to eradicate air pollution

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    Source: Sean Goulding Carroll | EURACTIV.com

    Studies have shown that those living in European cities have been subjected to premature deaths because of poor air quality. As a result, many European cities are putting measures in place to address the problems and reduce toxic emissions from vehicles to improve air quality and save lives.

    The European Environment Agency (EEA) conducted the study and estimated that 307,000 people died prematurely in 2019 due to exposure to fine particulate matter. Respiratory issues, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes were reported risks from exposure to air pollution, most notably for residents living alongside dense traffic.

    Cited by the EEA as “the biggest environmental health risk in Europe”, the health problems are put high on the agendas of local governments. Air quality standards are agreed in Brussels by national parliaments, but it is the public authorities who enforce them. Indeed, Thomas Lymes, a policy advisor with the city network, EUROCITIES, comments that “cutting air pollution is a matter of social justice for public authorities because people that are most affected by air pollution are households with low income that essentially live next to big urban roads and major transport corridors.”

    Cutting pollution

    European cities have put in place an array of directives to tackle the pollution issue. The removal of vehicles from city streets and promoting alternative means of transport are popular reactions. Cycling remains one of the main alternatives and many cities are expanding cycle networks; Paris aiming to be completely accessible by bicycle by 2026, for example. Bloomberg reported Paris’ quest to install 180 kilometres of cycle lanes, while Brussels is offering residents €900 to give up their car and instead, buy a bicycle, purchase a public transport pass, or join a car-sharing service.

    Vehicles not meeting emissions standards are being charged £12.50 per day to drive into some parts of London in order to combat the city’s pollution issue. These Ultra-low Emission Zones will be expanded across the Capital by the end of 2023 to encourage alternatives, although emissions will not be completely eradicated even with the increased use of cleaner vehicles. 

    Non-exhaust particulate matter

    Not so recognised are toxins from brakes and tyres, according to Matteo Barisione, a policy manager with the European Public Health Alliance. He also considers the uptake in larger vehicles to be problematic, commenting, “Decreasing the size and the mass of vehicles reduces harmful pollutant emissions as well as their CO2 emissions, life cycle ecological footprint, and road accident risks.” 

    Euro 7 rules

    In-keeping with Barisione’s thinking, Euro 7, a forthcoming regulation setting EU vehicle pollution standards, is to include brake particles for the first time. Auto industry lobby group ACEA have welcomed this introduction but consider that more needs to be done with introducing the measurement procedure to reach a quantifiable result. 

    “ACEA does not oppose a regulation addressing brake wear particle emissions. However, a stable and representative test is a prerequisite for determining the real level of brake wear emissions, and subsequently for deciding on any appropriate limit levels,” an ACEA spokesperson told EURACTIV.

    Car manufacturers have additionally raised concerns that changes made to braking systems may have an impact of their performance, although this has been quashed by Tallano, a French start-up that produces filters to remove brake dust. Founder Christophe Rocca-Serra told EURACTIV that, “Products like ours, which capture particles at source by suction, pose no risk to the effectiveness of brakes.”

    Of course, increasing the use of electric vehicles will dramatically improve air quality when compared to regular internal combustion engines. Anna Krajinska, emission engineer with Transport & Environment, meticulously told EURACTIV, “For the sake of people’s health it is critical that all sources of particulate pollution from all vehicles are tackled as soon as possible.”

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