e-Mobility as a service: SOLUTIONSplus contribution at ITS World Congress
In January 2020, a strong worldwide consortium of 46 partners kicked off the EU funded project SOLUTIONSplus. Aiming to enable transformational change towards sustainable urban mobility through innovative and integrated electric mobility solutions, the SOLUTIONSplus partners are active in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia to boost e-mobility solutions.
After almost two years of work, some of our partners gathered at the ITS World Congress to discuss the link between e-mobility and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), bringing on the table real-life experiences from the cities of Hamburg (Germany) and Nanjing (China), as well as prospective implementations in the city of Quito (Ecuador) in the Special Interest Session 95 “e-Mobility as a Service”.
Chaired by Mr Andrew Winder (ERTICO), the session explored the relationship between e-mobility in the current pursuit to decarbonise transport systems and establish a link with ITS solutions that can help in achieving this goal. The SOLUTIONSplus speakers, Ms Daniela Vasari – Pluservice; Ms Karen van der Linde – Hamburger Hochbahn; Mr Ralf Willenbrock – T-Systems; and Dr Li Wan – China-Link Invest, presented the experiences, achievements and plans regarding e-mobility in their respective cities, also analysing the combination of private, public and shared electric transport modes through MaaS, including needs & requirements, infrastructure, operations, etc. Mr Fernando Narváez from the Mobility Secretariat of the City of Quito also contributed via a pre-recorded speech.
During the session, some differences between the three pilot sites emerged:
- The cities diverged in their core needs. Quito needs a multimodal travel planner, m-ticketing and smart payment, as well as smart information services for local public transport; conversely Hamburg seeks to expand public transport coverage in its outskirts.
- There were also differences in their final goals. While Nanjing focuses on four themes of "green, efficient, safe, smart", Hamburg aims to reduce transport-related emissions through “using instead of owning” and integrating complimentary mobility offers.
As these three cities are among the living labs in SOLUTIONSplus, different approaches are being explored and different solutions are being implemented to meet local needs and goals:
- Hamburg is integrating electric kick-scooters in the outskirts as a last-mile-solution to expand its public transport service;
- Nanjing will carry out three application demonstrations: 1. Intelligent networked electric bus; 2. Last Mile MaaS travel; 3. Intelligent logistics;
- Quito aims to develop a smartphone app able to integrate different existing mobility services; work on smart payment – NFC/CC/app for taxi, bike sharing, local public transport, and create a dashboard to report data and to monitor the services and users’ acceptance.
However, despite the broad array of needs, goals and solutions, there are some key common trends, challenges and innovations. E-mobility is a great asset to reduce emissions, improve (urban) air quality and meet the mobility needs of the local population. While different locations have different needs that can be met with specific technologies (e.g. kick-scooters vs. pods and e-buses), some challenges are common and a concerted approach can help society leapfrog into the future. Developing common solutions to common challenges (like coverage of charging infrastructure, size and costs of batteries), as well as implementing fast-charging solutions, improved monitoring tools and smartly re-using existing assets (e.g. existing telecommunication infrastructure and electricity distribution network) as we are doing in SOLUTIONSplus with the support of partners such as T-System is key.
The session included a wide-ranging discussion including questions from the audience. This included:
- Questions on data sharing and how open cities are to externally created apps and services such as mobility information in Google Maps
- The extent to which new micro-mobility modes such as electric kick-scooters replace even greener modes like walking or cycling, or the extent to which electric cars might replace greener trips such as cycling or public transport
- New partnerships regarding MaaS being created between actors which were previously quite separate, such as between public transport operators and vehicle manufacturers or tech companies.
Finally, dialogue and exchange are essential to success. The cities involved expressed a wish to connect with the rest of the world and to exchange ideas and experiences. Sessions like “e-Mobility as a Service” that took place at the ITS World Congress play a pivotal role in increasing knowledge and best practice sharing, and in creating relevant connections among key stakeholders, hence contributing directly to SOLUTIONSplus’s goal to boost availability of electric vehicles, foster efficiency of operations and support the integration of different types of e-mobility in large urban areas, taking into account pre-existing conditions and local needs.