Rome’s IX Municipality (ELVITEN project partner) councilor Alessandro Drago was interviewed by Wheels Telling about the town’s participation in a European project on sustainable mobility.

Here you can read a summary of the interview.

In the second half of 2016, once the Municipality of Rome received a request to participate in a European sustainable mobility project, Rome’s IX Municipality became one of its pilot areas. The European Commission Call’s goal with the introduction of such an initiative is to spread the use of light electric vehicles. Next to Rome’s participation in the project, 6 cities were also invited and able to choose between different types of vehicles. These vehicles were categorized according to their power namely bicycles, scooters, tricycles, and quadricycles, all of which were electric. As such, Trikala in Greece opted for the tricycle, Genoa and Berlin for the scooter, Malaga, Rome, and Polytechnic of Bari for the bicycles (category Le1a). The latter vehicle holds more power than bicycles with pedal assistance and stands just below the maximum power threshold of the law. Additionally, the EU gave us funding and the technical partners granted us with 60 bicycles, free of charge, as well as 10 e-hubs (closed charging stations).

ELVITEN bike

Even though this project was ambitious, some difficulties emerged especially regarding a lack of information on the legislation to be implemented. In fact, even though the bicycles were produced in the United Stated and homologated in the Netherlands by following a strict procedure applicable to all EU countries, each country has its own road code and interprets the European directive on electric vehicles differently. In addition to this obstacle, the Ministry of Transport announced that all electric bicycles riders needed to be equipped with a valid driving license, a helmet and insurance. The vehicle in question also had to present a number plate. In fact, all bicycles with an accelerator and power exceeding the limit of 250 Watts were considered as like a moped and are, therefore, under similar regulations. As such, the Municipality of Rome had to tackle the issue by providing a helmet, as well as a nominative insurance coverage to all its 60 users. Consequently, facing an increase in administrative costs, which were ultimately supported by the European Commission.

Regardless of the bureaucratic difficulties, we are proud to announce that with the bodies assigned to the vehicles we carried out this project with 7,700 trips for 38,000 km. Even though the project ends soon, our municipality intends to keep using these light electric bicycles with an internal sharing solution. As a matter of fact, the 4 ‘charging booths’ and bicycles are already installed in our courtyard and the implementation of ad hoc management will be able to supervise the intended ‘corporate’ sharing.

To read to the original article (in English and Italian) please click here.

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