This is a new interview, as part of ELVITEN interview series, in which José F. Papí, Senior-Partner at S3Transportation, CEO at Etelätär Innovation shares their role and contribution to the project implementation, as well as views on urban mobility.

Enjoy the reading!

A short introduction of your organisation.

S3Transportation (Smart, Safe and Sustainable Transportation) is a consulting firm specialised in Transport Engineering & Economics and Transport Innovation. The company brings together a senior partnership active in the transportation area since 1986, and already holds 50+ references with 40+ clients in the corporate, multilateral, government and non-for-profit sectors.

Etelätär Innovation is S3Transportation’s Innovation Division and is specialised in the prototyping, piloting and market deployment of crowd-sourced mobility solutions linking data, persons, things, vehicles and infrastructures. Etelätär’s team has been assigned to work in the ELVITEN project on behalf of the S3Transportation Group.

What is your task/responsibility in the ELVITEN project?

Within the ELVITEN consortium, our company has been responsible for:

  • Studying e-mobility demand in the 6 pilot cities (Rome, Berlin, Genoa, Málaga, Bari, Trikala).
  • Providing 193 L1eA e-bikes and 36 charging e-hubs to the ELVITEN cities.
  • Undertaking Big Data Analytics to monitor valuable KPIs and derive insights from the demonstrations.
  • Elaborating business and exploitation models for the market uptake of Electric Light Vehicles.

What was your interest in joining the ELVITEN project?

Our company’s vision is that mobility based on centralised thinking is becoming obsolete and can only do little to tackle today’s mobility challenges. In our opinion, the leap forward is to allow citizens to co-create low-cost, peer-to-peer mobility networks in a spontaneous way. In short, moving from a supply-driven (top-down) to a demand-driven (bottom-up) mobility. Having invested EUR 5 million in R&D since 2015, the company already counts on a catalogue of 5 innovative solutions, runs two permanent Mobility Labs (one in Belgium and one in Spain in the framework of the University UAX-Etelätär Centre of Excellence for Collaborative Mobility) and in addition holds a strategic partnership with leading Japanese engineering company OC Global.

What is your opinion on Electric-Light Vehicles (EL-Vs)?

EL-V markets are growing day by day, driven by an increase in social environmental awareness. Still very unknown for most users and often mixed with regular e-bikes that offer much less engine power and less luggage-carrying possibilities, the global EL-V market is forecasted to grow, especially in developing countries. For instance, in India 30 to 40 percent of electric scooters are expected to be electric in the next 7 or 8 years (ET Auto, 2020). Just in 2020, China has seen an increase in 513,000 public and 714,000 privately-owned charging stations, an additional 43.8 percent compared to 2019 (Renewable Energy World, 2020). But not only in developing countries but also in developed ones, EL-Vs are forecasted to become a main actor in mobility, increasing their share from 5-10% to 30% (Heineke, 2019).

Could you explain the impact of EL-Vs on urban mobility? 

In the post-COVID-19 scenario, users are already becoming more interested in EL-V services because of EL-Vs characteristics and the possibility of maintaining social distancing while commuting or undertaking daily trips. This trend will keep increasing services demand once restrictions are completely lifted in each urban area where ELVITEN vehicles are deployed. Not only the current situation helps the EL-V market grow but also their environmental impact, which is a big social challenge which EL-Vs can contribute to: EL-Vs have lower emissions and their CO2 emissions are decentralised. These advantages are also coupled with remarkable economic benefits, because a EL-V is cheaper than a motor vehicle and its maintenance and operation costs are also lower. This makes EL-Vs a very promising alternative to public transport and private commuting.

What do you think about the future market for urban mobility?

Electromobility is here and has come to stay. In addition, COVID-19 has increased the potential of EL-Vs markets. We are already observing:

  • An increasing demand for EL-V sharing systems;
  • That EL-Vs allows easy disinfecting as a means of individual transport;
  • That the EL-V market is growing, and exponentially in the case of developing countries; and
  • That EL-Vs are a suitable and attractive alternative to public transport and commuting.

To show our skin in the game in relation to EL-Vs, we have invested heavily in a premium electro-mobility solution targeting Office Parks, Intra-Company Network, University Campuses, Hotel & Golf Resorts, Marinas, Eco-Tourism, etc. The solution is named “Movere” and counts on several commercial deployments in several countries; the website shows its potential application to hotels.

The all-in Movere system is composed of last-generation EL-Vs, modular and secured charging stations (e-hubs), and a complete tech-pack enabling booking, fleet management and GPS- and IOT-based tracking. We have bet on this service because EL-Vs are aligned with today’s ‘political’ agendas on Smart Cities, emissions reduction and sustainable mobility. We do not want to miss the train…or we would rather say, the EL-V…

 

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