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SOLUTIONSplus supporting low-carbon last mile logistics in Montevideo and Quito 

Introduction 

Montevideo and Quito are the two cities in Latin America in which the SOLUTIONSplus project is being implemented. In both cities, one of the components of the pilots has been the introduction of Light Electric Vehicles (LEV) in urban logistics to be able to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality, especially for last mile trips. Besides the provision of seed funding for the local design and assembly of innovative LEV concepts, the SOLUTIONSplus project has been supporting the local actors by providing capacity building, technical support related to business model development, innovation management, advisory services and in some cases even European vehicle components, as part of its Start-up Incubator and matchmaking program. In this context, the second module of the SOLUTIONSplus Regional Training for Latin America 2021, that took place in September and October 2021, focused on low-carbon urban logistics and regulations for LEV. Moreover, Valeo, one of the SOL+ consortium members will provide drivetrains to two of the start-ups selected for funding, Sidertech in Quito and GreenStar in Montevideo. Finally, in the context of the SOLUTIONSplus European Innovators Call, PEM Motion was selected to provide support to four Latin American start-ups, two in each city, in the design and engineering of the vehicles.  

Montevideo 


Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay with a population of 1.3 million inhabitants presents important opportunities for improvement in relation to the electrification of transport, both in relation to passenger and freight transport. In relation to public transport (PT), the national government has undergone important efforts to refocus the refocus the PT subsidy to cover the difference in the upfront investment costs of e-buses. However, the percentage of electric buses is still marginal (less than 1%). Thus, the electrification of the PT fleet still has a long way to go. In relation to the transport of goods, there has been a significant increase in delivery services, which are carried out using mainly ICE motorcycles. In this sense, there is a very important opportunity for electrification, which could contribute not only to the mitigation of GHG emissions, but also to a reduction of the air and noise pollution and road safety accidents associated with this type of deliveries.  


Since 2020, SOLUTIONSplus has been collaborating with local initiatives and stakeholders such as the MOVÉS Project and the Ricaldoni Foundation (FJR) to provide seed funding for the local design and assembly of light electric vehicles for urban logistics. In November 2020, SOLUTIONSplus launched the first call in partnership with MOVÉS, a national project funded by the GEF-6 that promotes electric and sustainable mobility in Uruguay, for the design of Light Electric Freight Vehicles (LEFV).  The second call to support for the vehicle prototyping and manufacturing of the vehicle designs approved in the first phase was launched in December 2021 in partnership with the FJR, a non-profit organization that belongs to the Faculty of Engineering of the public university of Uruguay (UDELAR).  

  

Among the selected companies, there are two companies that are manufacturing pedal-assisted electric bicycles for delivery, which are CargoBike and Wheele. On the other hand, the GreenStar is working in the design and assembly of electric tricycles and quadricycles. The latter will be provided Valeo electric drivetrains as part of the collaboration with SOLUTIONSplus.  

  

The total number of LEV being produced in the context of the SOLUTIONSplus project is 12, distributed in the following categories: 

  • Total e-tricycles: 2 

  • Total e-quadricycles: 2 

  • Total pedal-assisted e-cargo bikes: 8 


The images below present a summary of the prototypes, indicating the corresponding companies in each case. 

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At present, 3 out of 4 prototypes are ready and the 3 participating companies are starting the production of the vehicles awarded. Here, the technical advice of PEM Motion will be key to integrate any improvements related to the performance and safety of the vehicles. The next step is to launch the vehicles in a public event (in cooperation with Movés and FJR) and try to match them with Uruguayan companies which could be interested in the testing of such vehicles, intended for urban logistics. 


Besides the local vehicle design and assembly component, a cooperation instance is under way between GreenStar, the National Agency for Research and Innovation (ANII) and the Faculty of Engineering of the public university of Uruguay (UDELAR) for the manufacture of a second-life battery pack that is being locally manufactured, and will be tested in one of GreenStar's electric vehicles.   

  

In addition, the linkage to the main component of the project in Montevideo, I.e., e-bus charging infrastructure in the Ciudadela Terminal, is planned through the installation of LEV charging points, outside the bus terminal. This integration is being analyzed jointly with the Municipality of Montevideo (IM) and the Uruguayan Utility Company (UTE), to generate an architecture and engineering project that incorporates chargers for different types of vehicles in the Terminal, in order to turn it into a multi-modal charging hub. 


Quito 


Considering the national regulatory framework of Ecuador and in compliance with the international commitments to which the Municipality of Quito adhered in the past years, such as the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, the C40 Clean and Healthy Streets Declaration and the Mobilize Your City Global Initiative, in 2020 the Municipality of Quito issued its Climate Action Plan for Quito (PACQ by its Spanish acronym). In the PACQ, Quito commits to reduce GHG emissions by 30% in comparison to 2015 by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. One of the measures to achieve these goals is the consolidation of a Zero Emissions Historic Center. In this context, SOLUTIONSplus supports the local assembly and design of LEVs and their proper integration in the area with the aim of improving the last mile connectivity and logistics of the Historic Center of Quito (HCQ). 


In August 2020 a local innovators call was launched by the SOLUTIONSplus project through UNHABITAT, in order to grant seed funding for 2 start-ups selected for the local design and assembly of e-cargo bikes and e-quadricycles.  Participants had to apply providing a preliminary design and supporting information to evidence previous experience.   


For the assembly of the e-quadricycles, the start-up selected is SIDERTECH. The company started producing metal components for motorcycles and later moved to the development of e-bikes. With that experience they will develop an electric four-wheel vehicle for the SOLUTIONSplus project. More specifically, they will assemble a total of 10 units that may slightly vary in terms of accessories or design features.  These vehicles will integrate VALEO’s e Access serial powertrains and controllers.  


The images below depict the prototype developed by SIDERTECH and its socialization in different events

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For the e-cargo bikes, a consortium called E Cargo Bike UIO was selected. The consortium gathers a cargo bike manufacturer, a bike courier start-up, and a consulting They presented an integral approach that combined the design and assembly of the e-cargo bikes with a training center for maintenance and data collection of results of use. The total number of light electric vehicles being produced in the context of the SOLUTIONSplus project by this consortium is 10. Below, reference pictures of the preliminary designs and number of units of each type of e-bike are presented:

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E-Long John- 2 Units

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Front load E-Tricycle – 4 units

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Back Load E-Tricycle- 4 units

The Municipality of Quito recently launched a new call for proposals to design and assemble 4 additional LEVs, 2 e-delivery vans for and 2 e-buggies for last-mile logistics and connectivity, correspondingly.   


Besides the local vehicle design and assembly component, the project in Quito includes support to the Municipality for the consolidation of the Zero Emission Historic Centre, one of the policies defined in their Climate Action Plan (PACQ, 2020).  


The Historic Center of Quito (HCQ) comprises an urban area of 376 hectares, with a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants. Declared by UNESCO as the first World Heritage Site in 1978, it is considered one of the most important historical sites of Latin America. Even though the HCQ has been losing residents for the past 3 decades, during daytime it still attracts important influxes of locals and foreigners because of its commercial and touristic importance. According to the Municipal economic activities database, there are approximately 2,000 businesses in the area, from which more than 80% are wholesale and retail trade activities and 14% accommodation and food service activities (LUAE, 2019). 


The first contribution to the Zero Emission Zone was a conceptual proposal for an intermodal corridor for the Historic Center developed by the Design Studio of the Technical University of Berlin, a member of the SOLUTIONSplus project. The proposed corridor integrates the 3 markets of the area and the main public transport stations in order to enable low-carbon last mile movements.  


The image below portrays the corridor proposed:  

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Also, the SOLUTIONSplus project conducted an establishment-based freight survey between July and September 2021, in which a total of 241 businesses were surveyed to understand the logistics processes in the area. This information helped to define operation models for the pilots and design a Logistics Plan with support from Zaragoza Logistic Center. 


The area of study is depicted in the following map, where the intermodal corridor is also traced in order to evidence the integration of both proposals. The map also shows the public and private parking buildings in the area, as the project is currently exploring the possibility of establishing the distribution hub, a collaborative cross-docking platform for the allocation of goods, and the charging of the LEFVs.   

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