UK construction firm Willmott Dixon has unveiled plans to install electric car chargers at all of its sites and offices.
The contractor is working with EV charge point provider Rolec to install charging points at more than 100 locations this year for the 300 staff who have switched, or are switching, to electric cars under the company’s car scheme.
Julia Barrett, Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Our 2030 ‘Now or Never’ strategy, launched last autumn, set some of the toughest science-based targets in the industry, including a pledge to have no direct emissions from our day-to-day operations by eliminating fossil fuel use in our offices and on our sites by 2030.
“In order to achieve this, it is critical that we move to a 100% electric vehicle fleet, which will only be viable if we are able to provide our people with the relevant equipment to make this step change possible.
“In January, we launched a new vehicle scheme, encouraging our people to consider electric vehicles and we have already seen several hundred applications.By installing electric vehicle charging points at our sites and offices, we are creating the infrastructure to support this change.
“Since 2019, all our offices and sites have been powered by certified, natural renewable electricity. By combining renewable electricity powered charging points with electric vehicles, we are proud to able to provide a truly sustainable vehicle solution for our people.”
UK eVTOL startup Vertical Aerospace is to merge with special-purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition and become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. The pro forma implied enterprise value of the combined company is $2.2 billion.
American Airlines, Microsoft’s M12, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and others will take stakes in Vertical through private investment in public equity, or PIPE transactions.
One investor, Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon, has placed a $2 billion conditional order for up to 500 Vertical aircraft. Additionally Virgin Atlantic and Vertical say they will explore a joint venture to develop the launch of Virgin Atlantic branded short haul eVTOL network in the UK.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical CEO and Founder, says, “This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago. Today’s announcement brings together some of the largest and most respected technology and aeronautical businesses in the world and together we can achieve our aim of making the VA-X4 the first zero carbon aircraft that most people will fly on.”
Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, adds, “We are excited to be partnering with Vertical Aerospace to pioneer sustainable and zero emissions air travel in the UK. We pride ourselves on building enduring strategic partnerships and are thrilled to be working alongside Vertical in its mission to bring eVTOL travel to the UK. Our partnership includes an option for Virgin Atlantic to acquire up to 150 eVTOL aircraft and exploration of a Joint Venture to bring short haul, electric vehicle connectivity to cities and our UK airport hubs, starting with London Heathrow as well as Manchester and London Gatwick.”
A planning application for an urban mobility hub in Ancoats area of Manchester in north west England has been submitted, which would see cycle spaces and an electric car club brought to the Manchester neighbourhood. The planned hub is a joint venture between Manchester City Council and Manchester Life, a housing company part-owned by Manchester City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Under the application, the Ancoats Mobility Hub would operate from the end of 2023 as a shared facility to ensure Ancoats grows as a ‘people first’ neighbourhood that prioritises streets for people over vehicles and provides sustainable and shared mobility choices.
Those behind the mobility hub say the streets and public space across the neighbourhood will immediately become cleaner and safer as on-street parking is removed and vehicle movements across the area are reduced.
Local reaction is however divided. Mobility Hubs are usually a piece of infrastructure or place that integrates both public and private transport to discourage the use of private cars. Critics of the Ancoats design say it fails to include any links to public transport or other modes of travel such as cycle lanes.
Local opposition Liberal Democrat politicians say it is no more than a multi-storey car park with ‘a glossy spin’.
But Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, responded, “The Hub is a UK first. Anyone who thinks this is ‘just another car park’ is massively missing the point.”
“The purpose of a car park is to park cars. The purpose of the Hub is to help transform the neighbourhood over time, pioneering new ways of getting around and encouraging people to choose greener and healthier transport options. This is about thinking and acting differently.
“We have to recognise that many people who choose to live in the city centre require cars for their daily life and work. But we do want to be very deliberate in making sustainable transport changes easier and more attractive – encouraging the use of electric vehicles, cycles and other forms of active travel while supporting the transition away from petrol and diesel.”
Ecotricity has confirmed the sale of its Electric Highway national charging network to Gridserve. The sale comes after Gridserve and Ecotricity recently announced a partnership, with the goal of upgrading the UK’s charging infrastructure.
Ecotricity started developing the Electric Highway a decade ago and is widely recognised as a key player in helping to kickstart the UK’s electric car market. In a decade, charging has evolved from 3-pin plugs and 7kW charging to the current state-of-the-art 350kW, capable of providing 100 miles of charge in around 5 minutes, while typical car range has increased from 80 miles to over 300.
This technical progress and rapid price convergence of new electric cars with their fossil counterparts has seen more than 500,000 plug-in cars now on UK roads – with around 7% of new vehicles sales so far in 2021 being pure electric vehicles. Many of the world’s largest car manufacturers have announced dates for the final production of fossil powered cars and the Government have put a long stop on this by announcing a ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2030.
Gridserve is to ramp up investment in the Electric Highway with the replacement of all the existing chargers on the network with new technology that features latest advances including contactless payment – and the opening last month of the first high power charging facility at Moto’s new flagship Motorway services at Rugby, featuring 12 x 350kW chargers.
Dale Vince, Founder, Ecotricity, said, “We’ve reached an interesting point in the electric car revolution, exponential growth is just around the corner, the technology for charging has evolved and an incredible rate of charging is now possible. Using an electric car is almost on a par with using a fossil powered car, where you can just top up once every week or two. And the Electric Highway needs a growth spurt, to make sure that it stays ahead of driver demand and continues to play its key role, as the network that delivers more miles every year than any other. For this the Electric Highway needs an owner with access to serious funding and real commitment to the cause – I’m delighted to have found the ideal company to hand the baton to, in Gridserve.”
Toddington Harper, CEO, Gridserve, added, “It’s a real honour for Gridserve to have been chosen by Ecotricity as the organisation to take the Electric Highway forward in its next phase. The upgraded network will provide the confidence for millions more people to make the successful transition to electric vehicles in the earliest possible timeframes.”
Ecotricity says the sale will enable it to push new boundaries in its core green energy business – with innovations such as Britain’s first Green Gasmill – a process of making gas for the grid from grass. It will also bring forward a series of solar and battery storage projects and expand its Sky Mining facility – a carbon capture and storage process that turns atmospheric carbon dioxide into diamonds.
Electric vehicle developer Arrival and Hitachi Europe have announced a partnership to deliver electric bus and infrastructure solutions across Europe.
The partnership combines Hitachi’s digital and operational capabilities with Arrival’s products. The two companies will work with bus operators to deploy integrated solutions that incorporate all aspects of owning and operating Arrival vehicles, including items such as charging infrastructure and digital tools. They claim the approach makes electric buses competitive in price with fossil fuel alternatives.
Mike Nugent, Head of EV, at Hitachi Europe, says: “We’re delighted to join forces with Arrival as we become the partner of choice for municipalities and bus operators to deliver end to end and integrated estate wide rollouts of electric vehicles and infrastructure. As governments look to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in the next decade, providing the wide range of necessary solutions and technologies in an integrated, streamlined and operationally-manageable way will be vital for bus operators and municipalities across Europe.”
Hamish Phillips, Head of Sales, UK, at Arrival, adds: “We are pleased to work with Hitachi to bring bus operators yet another way to accelerate their transition to electric. Arrival’s vehicles already provide a much lower total cost of ownership for customers, and when incorporated into Hitachi’s business model we can see an even more compelling business case for companies to transition their fleets to electric more rapidly.”
Solid Power Inc, the Ford and BMW-backed US producer of all-solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, is to merge with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation III. DPAC, a decarbonisation focused SPAC, describes itself as a blank check company targeting businesses that advance the objectives of global decarbonisation. The combined company will be named Solid Power, Inc, with a pro forma implied enterprise value of $1.2 billion.
Ford and BMW recently participated in previously announced $135 million Series B financing in Solid Power. Both automakers aim to use Solid Power‘s low-cost, high-energy battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.
Solid Power’s all-solid-state batteries could provide a near 500-mile vehicle range on a single charge, which is 50 to 75 percent greater than any commercially available lithium-ion battery today.
Doug Campbell, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Solid Power, says, “Today marks an important milestone of commercialising Solid Power’s next generation all-solid-state batteries that can alleviate the two largest passenger EV pain points: range anxiety and cost. In addition to our existing partners, Ford and BMW, we are now excited to partner with the DCRC team that shares our vision of powering a cleaner, safer and cost-effective electric future.”
Robert Tichio, Chairman of the Board of DCRC and Partner at Riverstone Holdings LLC, adds, “Solid-state batteries have long been the elusive technology breakthrough in the battery category for the better part of a decade. Countless labs, scientists, ventures and corporates have claimed progress towards scalable solid-state batteries, with an emphasis on claims. No other known company has made the type of commercialisation achievements in all-solid-state batteries that Solid Power has, and Solid Power’s technology is built around a manufacturing process that would be indistinguishable to lithium-ion batteries, putting this company in a league of its own.”
Californian electric vertical take-off aircraft developer Joby Aviation has announced a partnership with major US parking company REEF Technology to develop takeoff and landing sites for its aerial ridesharing service, which it expects to launch in 2024.
REEF’s assets include more than 5,000 car parking sites across North America and Europe and the deal could transform what are often underutilised assets into multi-use mobility hubs.
The partnership also includes NPG, a real estate acquisition company affiliated with REEF for the targeted acquisition of mobility hubs across the United States.
Through the arrangement, Joby gains access to an unparalleled range of rooftop locations across all key metropolitan areas in the US, as well as a mechanism to fund the acquisition and development of new skyport sites. The companies will focus initially on Los Angeles, Miami, and the New York and San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan areas.
With an aircraft that is expected to be more than 100 times quieter than a conventional helicopter, Joby sees a significant opportunity to deliver its aerial ridesharing service from downtown locations, repurposing the often dormant top level of many parking garage structures.
Joby says parking garages are particularly well-suited to hosting skyports, as they:
Are typically located near popular destinations
Have adequate space to host customers, flight operations, and aircraft charging
Do not require structural reinforcement to support air taxi services
Provide obstruction-free approach and departure paths that minimize noise to the surrounding community
Are naturally suited to becoming mobility hubs, supporting seamless connectivity to micromobility, public transit, parking, and ridesharing
“This is a landmark deal on Joby’s path to building a transformational ridesharing service in our skies,” said JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO at Joby Aviation. “NPG and REEF have an unbeatable network of sites across the US and we’re excited to be working with them to identify sites that will become the backbone of our future service.
“Parking structures are ideal locations for us as they allow us to deliver our customers as close to their destination as possible, while minimizing any local impact and reducing the need for building new infrastructure.”
Philippe Saint-Just, co-founder of REEF, said: “With our focus on transforming urban spaces into community hubs that enable the future of mobility, aerial ridesharing is a compelling opportunity for us to decarbonise travel and make better use of structures such as parking garages.
Under the agreement, Joby will enjoy a period of exclusivity during which it can secure long-term rooftop leases on skyport sites within NPG and REEF’s network of parking garages.
Joby intends to offer a passenger service, accessible via an app, that offers riders a faster, emissions-free way to move distances of 5-150 miles in congested metropolitan areas at an accessible price point.
In December 2020, Joby announced the acquisition of Uber Elevate, integrating the team’s data, modeling, and insight into site selection.
As part of the deal, Uber and Joby also agreed to integrate their services into each other’s apps, helping to create a seamless customer experience where an Uber car would bring riders to a skyport just in time for their flight and, if necessary, another car would complete the journey to their final destination.
Carbon fibre extreme street bike manufacturer Superstrata has taken its 3D-printed unibody construction approach to e-scooters with the Scotsman. Superstrata says the top of the range Scotsman will have a top speed of 45mph and can travel up to 70 miles per charge.
The e-scooter’s frame, handlebar, stem and baseboard are 3D printed in carbon fibre thermoplastic composite, offering a durable ride that’s impact resistant, lightweight and can be customized to an owner’s weight, height and riding position.
“In designing the Scotsman, we wanted to elevate the scooter experience to a sophisticated alternative means of transportation that appeals to the urban professional commuting to work as much as the performance geek who wants the latest in electric mobility,” said Josh Morenstein of Branch Creative, the studio behind the e-scooter’s design. “Being able to 3D print in continuous carbon fibre composite enabled us to pursue designs not otherwise possible in other materials and fabrication techniques.”
The electric scooter is seeking crowd funding through Indiegogo, with a commitment to shift the first models by the end of the year. Superstrata is offering three variants. The Scotsman 500 has two 250-W motors and two 500-Wh batteries for a top speed of 19 mph and 17-degree gradient-climbing capabilities. The Scotsman 1000 comes with two 500-W motors and two 500-Wh batteries for up to 31 mph and 20-degree gradients. The most powerful version, the Scotsman 2000, has two 1,000-W motors for a top speed of 45 mph and 27-degree hill climbs. All models should achieve a range of 70 miles on a single charge.
Fun, they might be, but given the regulated, safety-focused, for-hire model being rolled out for e-scooters in many markets, it will be hard to find a country in which the Scotsman is legal to ride on public roads.
Superstrata says that the first two working prototypes have been tested and a pre-order campaign is now running on Indiegogo.
Renault Group and US hydrogen and fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power Inc have formed a joint venture called HYVIA to offer a “complete ecosystem” for fuel cell powered light commercial vans with green hydrogen and refuelling stations across Europe.
HYVIA is equally owned by the two partners, the head office and R&D teams will be located at Villiers-Saint-Frédéric, in France, alongside Renault’s light commercial vehicle engineering and development centre. The process, manufacturing and logistics teams will be based in Flins, as part of the Re-Factory project, and plan to begin the assembly of fuel cells and recharging stations by end of 2021.
The first three fuel cell vehicles brought to market by HYVIA will be based on the Renault Master platform and should be available in Europe by end of 2021 and accompanied with the deployment of charging stations and the supply of green hydrogen.
Luca de Meo, CEO Renault Group, says, “As a pioneer in new energies and the European leader in electric light commercial vehicles, Renault Group is pursuing its objective of having the greenest mix on the market by 2030. This joint venture integrates the entire hydrogen mobility ecosystem in a unique way, from the vehicle to infrastructure and turnkey services for customers. The development of this cutting-edge technology will enable us to strengthen our industrial base and set up new value-generating activities in France in this promising segment.”
Andrew Marsh, CEO Plug Power, adds, “Plug Power is a leader in solutions serving the hydrogen ecosystem, with over 40,000 fuel cell systems deployed, 110 charging stations deployed capable of distributing more than 40 tonnes of hydrogen per day. Plug Power is a technological leader in green hydrogen solutions by electrolysis. With HYVIA, we are bringing hydrogen mobility to France and Europe.”
David Holderbach, CEO HYVIA, comments, “Renault has been a hydrogen pioneer since 2014 with more than a hundred light commercial vehicles on the road. We are excited to join forces with Plug Power with its integrated solutions approach towards green hydrogen. HYVIA is now opening a new path towards decarbonation with a complete offering of hydrogen solutions. HYVIA builds on the complementary skills of Renault Group and Plug Power and will target a 30% marketshare in hydrogen powered light commercial vehicles in Europe by 2030.”
Plug Power has deployed over 40,000 fuel cell systems, designed, and built 110 refueling stations that dispense more than 40 tons of hydrogen daily, and is a technology leader in green hydrogen solutions via electrolysis.
US based Hyzon Motors, a leading global supplier of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell powered commercial vehicles, is to supply 20, 50-ton hydrogen trucks to Dutch transport companies Jan Bakker and Millenaar & van Schaik.
Hyzon expects to begin delivering vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2021, and to deliver the remaining trucks in 2022. The vehicles, HyMax 450 Tractors built on a class-8 DAF truck chassis, are expected to offer a range of up to 320 miles on a full charge with motor power up to 550 kW. Currently Hyzon is the only company in the world offering hydrogen trucks up to 50 ton gross vehicle weight, with its in-house high power fuel cell technology.
Hyzon expects to manufacture the trucks in its European facility near Groningen in the Netherlands, where orders are being taken for deliveries of Hyzon-branded commercial vehicles worldwide. The trucks have been purchased by Duurzaam Transport, a subsidiary of Jan Bakker, and H2 Transport, a subsidiary of Millenaar & van Schaik.
Jan Bakker and Millenaar & van Schaik both aim to convert their entire fleet to zero-emission vehicles. Jan Bakker is made up of 17 companies, operating in transport, energy, and agriculture. Millenaar & van Schaik is one of the largest asphalt transport companies in the Netherlands.
Craig Knight, Hyzon CEO, said, “We are excited to be engaging with transport and logistics organizations like Jan Bakker and Millenaar & van Schaik, to bring hydrogen fuel cell powered trucks to the Netherlands. These contracts further underline the interest in Hyzon’s products in the European market, where we have seen strong uptake in zero-emission heavy vehicles.”
German electric scooter operator TIER has secured $60m of asset-backed financing from Goldman Sachs. TIER claims to be Europe’s largest e-scooter operator, serving over 100 cities across 12 countries and the debt facility will support TIER’s international expansion through 2021. TIER, for instance, was recently chosen as one of London’s three e-scooter operators, with trials starting this month.
The new financing follows TIER’s recent $250m Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The new capital will also help drive the expansion of the TIER Energy Network, which includes installation of battery charging stations at retail stores across Europe and the Middle East.
Alex Gayer, Chief Financial Officer at TIER, says, “The size of this highly scalable asset-backed debt facility is a game-changing first in micro-mobility, accelerating our expansion and cementing our market leadership in Europe. This facility leverages our recent equity raise and will enhance our capital-efficient growth.”
Ben Payne, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, comments, “Even amid a global pandemic, TIER has established a proven track record of profitable unit economics and asset longevity. We are excited to help the European leader extend sustainable mobility to more people across the world.”
Taiwan’s Apple iPhone assembler Foxconn has announced a partnership with Thailand’s state-run energy group PTT to make electric cars.
The agreement marks Foxconn’s on-going expansion into electric vehicles (EVs), with deals over the past year with Chinese electric-car makers Byton and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group along with global car maker Stellantis, created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group. In May, Foxconn said it will make 150,000 vehicles a year from 2023 in partnership with high-end US electric car maker Fisker.
In the most recent deal, Foxconn and PTT have reached a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in making EVs and components for the Thai market, marked by a virtual signing presided over by Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
Under the partnership, the companies will develop an “open platform” that provides both hardware and software services to automakers in the country, the statement said.
Foxconn’s EV activities could become a threat to established car makers, allowing non-traditional players to enter the market at scale using contract assemblers.
The platform in Thailand will build on the Foxconn-led industry alliance, MIH, a network that the company said would offer manufacturers a cost-effective solution for making EVs.
“This cooperation with PTT and the Thai government to realise the vision of sustainable development of the EV industry, demonstrates that the MIH ecosystem is growing,” Foxconn chairman Liu Young-way said.
Sony Europe is leading a mobility monitoring trial in Rome incorporating embedded vision sensors with on-board artificial intelligence. The project is testing the paradigm that surveillance cameras are no longer going to produce video but data, enabled by millisecond processing allowing real-time tracking of objects within a single video frame. A key advantage is privacy issues are avoided, as only data is produced.
Three devices have been installed in Rome’s key thoroughfare, Via Vente Settembre to provide real-time information about free parking spaces, identify overcrowding on buses, and warn drivers when pedestrians are crossing the road.
The devices, called Genius Tips use Sony’s IMX500 sensor, launched last year and the first image sensor equipped with AI processing functionality.
In the trial, due to begin this month, the sensor will extract metadata about where free parking spaces are located. The information will be streamed in real time, and the coordinates overlain on a map for a driver to find the parking place.
Antonio Avitabile, managing director of corporate alliance and investment at Sony, emphasised that the Genius Tips are not cameras as no images are stored or leave the sensor – processing happens on the sensor to convert images into data.
The edge processing means the devices put little burden on the network, as only metadata is generated. This coupled with the fact that different neural networks can be deployed on the same hardware wirelessly makes the solution scalable to cover the city.
Envision, which develops infrastructure for smart cities, built the Genius Tips, which consist of two sensors directed on the road. Along with the parking application, the devices have also been trained to detect a pedestrians’ presence and alert a driver, and to monitor the number of people queuing at bus stops.
The Rome trail involves a number of start-ups in the Italian smart city ecosystem and supported by Sony Europe. TTM Group is responsible for installing the IMX500 image sensor in the smart tip, Envision developed the smart tips and Citelum installed the devices on traffic lights.
Speaking about the Rome trial, Avitabile said, “We have a vision of achieving more sustainable and liveable cities, and through the IMX500 scalable platform we can substantially accelerate this process.”
Albertsons Companies, the second-largest grocery chain in the US, recently took delivery of two Volvo trucks at its distribution centre in Irvine, California. The VNR Electric Volvos are the first zero tailpipe emission, battery-electric Class 8 trucks (above 15t) to be deployed in Albertsons’ fleet. They will serve stores in Southern California.
The trucks are fitted with refrigeration units from Advanced Energy Machines (AEM) enabling Albertsons to make the first commercial 100% zero-emission refrigerated grocery delivery with a Class 8 truck in the US.
Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America said, “We are thrilled to continue our long-term partnership with Albertsons as they begin their journey toward fleet electrification and achieve this momentous accomplishment of a fully zero-emission grocery delivery.”
Albertsons operates 1,400 Class 8 trucks nationwide, all of which are certified under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay program as meeting high transportation sustainability and efficiency standards. The Southern California fleet, which is made up entirely of trucks manufactured by Volvo Trucks, covers 335 stores in the region, running from the Central Coast to the California-Mexico border.
Albertsons acquired the trucks through Volvo Financial Services (VFS) as part of the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) project, a collaboration between Volvo Trucks North America, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD), and 12 other organizations to develop a robust support ecosystem to successfully introduce battery-electric trucks and equipment into the North American transport industry at scale.
“By taking this major step, Albertsons has demonstrated the viability of a sustainable, zero-emission goods delivery future,” said Lisa A Bartlett, Orange County Supervisor and South Coast AQMD governing board member. “South Coast AQMD commends Albertsons and the Volvo LIGHTS project for helping us reach this milestone, paving the way for future fleets to improve air quality throughout the South Coast Air Basin.”
The Volvo LIGHTS project was made possible by an award from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as part of California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.
MaaS Global, the Finish mobility-as-a-service platform and the company behind the Whim app has acquired Spanish mobility startup Wondo. As part of the transaction, Wondo invester Ferrovial will become one of the shareholders of the new company.
The Whim app allows users to book and pay for all their journeys using both public and private sector operators either one trip at a time or with a monthly subscription. With over 16 million trips made since its launch in November 2017, Whim is widely seen as a pioneer of a commercially available all-inclusive MaaS solution. Whim is currently live in several European and Asian markets and preparing for new launches.
“The acquisition of Wondo enables us to rapidly expand to new markets and increase our B2B and B2C service offering, which is crucial in the rapidly-evolving MaaS market. MaaS needs critical mass and requires volume and gravity. This transaction is a prime example that the consolidation of the MaaS industry is now taking place, and we intend to continue playing an active role in it” says Sampo Hietanen, CEO and Founder of MaaS Global.
Wondo provides integrated access to multiple modes of transportation. “Given our shared DNA, we are thrilled to join forces with the MaaS Global team to contribute to the creation of the leading global MaaS platform. We complement each other’s geographical reach and service offering and have a similar vision on the future developments of the MaaS sector,” says Ion Cuervas-Mons, CEO of Wondo.
Wondo has historically been backed by Ferrovial, the Spanish-based multinational focused on transport infrastructure and urban services. As part of the transaction, Ferrovial becomes one of MaaS Global’s strategic investors.
“Ferrovial is very pleased to join forces with MaaS Global to develop a winning value-added proposition in the mobility-as-a-service space. This is another step in the strategy of the company to be at the centre of the changes that are transforming the shape of urban mobility”, says Andres Camacho Donezar, Director of Mobility at Ferrovial.
Latest projections presented at a global summit of transport ministers paints a downbeat view that global transport activity will more than double by 2050, and traffic emissions will rise by 16% compared to 2015 – even if existing commitments to decarbonise transport are fully implemented.
Presenting the key findings of the biennial International Transport Forum (ITF) Transport Outlook 2021 report, ITF, which is part of the OECD, says following current trajectories any expected emissions reductions will be negated by the increased demand for transport.
However, ITF maintains, with the right policies transport CO2 emissions could be cut by almost 70% over the 2015-50 period and a reduction of this magnitude will bring the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5˚C into reach.
The solution, says ITF, is to put in place ambitious low-carbon policies now, reinforce positive behavioural changes caused by the pandemic and gear stimulus packages towards decarbonisation.
ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said “I am proud to present the 2021 edition of the ITF Transport Outlook. It provides policy makers with insights from cutting-edge ITF research on the three major challenges of our time: the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and inequality. It shows how they are linked, but also identifies actions – actions that are critical to ensure an effective and equitable transition to sustainable mobility on an urban, regional and global level in the wake of the pandemic.”
The report gives six recommendations on how governments can set the world on a path towards sustainable mobility, achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Align Covid-19 recovery packages to revive the economy, combat climate change and strengthen equity. Recovery from the Covid-19 crisis offers a singular chance to combine economic development with shifting mobility behaviour and scaling up low-carbon technologies while increasing opportunities for citizens by improving access.
Implement much more ambitious policies that will reverse the growth of transport CO2 emissions. Governments must set ambitious targets in the 2021 revision of the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement, underpin them with concrete policies, and reinforce them by leveraging Covid-19 recovery packages to accelerate and deepen transport decarbonisation.
Target different transport sectors with strategies that reflect their specific decarbonisation potential and challenges. Not all strategies to “avoid, shift, and improve” are applicable across the sector in the same way.
Support innovation to accelerate the technological breakthroughs needed to decarbonise transport. Technological advances are critical to effectively decarbonise transport, especially in otherwise hard‑to‑decarbonise areas such as aviation and long-haul road freight.
Shift the priority to improving accessibility. Transport planning tends to conflate increased capacity with improved accessibility. Yet travelling more and further does not mean citizens have easy access to where they need to go. Transport planning that serves citizens considers their desired destinations and focuses on how well transport options connect them.
Intensify collaboration with non-transport sectors and between public and private actors. Transport decarbonisation is inseparable from developments in other sectors. Sustainable mobility is only possible with clean energy. In turn, low-carbon transport is central to sustainable trade and tourism.
The situation today:
Urban mobility generates 40% of all CO2 emissions from the movement of people
non-urban transport is responsible for the remaining 60%
75% of all emissions from urban passenger transport come from private cars
Freight emits more than 40% of all transport CO2; its share is growing slightly
If current policies remain in place between now and 2050:
Passenger transport activity will increase 2.3-fold (measured in passenger-km)
Freight transport activity will grow 2.6-fold (measured in tonne-km)
Emissions from urban mobility will fall very slightly, by 5%
Freight CO2 emissions will grow by 22%
Under ambitious policies that also lock in CO2 reduction windfalls from Covid-19:
Cities could cut CO2 emissions from urban mobility by as much as 80% to 2050
Regional passenger transport (eg by air, rail, bus) could more than halve its CO2 emissions
May Mobility, a leader in autonomous vehicle technology and shuttle operations, is testing a Toyota Sienna equipped with the next generation of its autonomous driving kit and will work with Toyota to add the vehicle to public shuttle fleets in 2022.
The automated Sienna features Toyota’s vehicle control interface, which allows seamless technology integration and robust operation of key vehicle control systems, such as steering, brakes, and acceleration.
“As we’ve seen throughout the industry, companies developing self-driving vehicles need strong OEM partners to be successful,” said Edwin Olson, co-founder and CEO of May Mobility. “With Toyota, May Mobility can deploy our unique self-driving technology on the best vehicles in the world.”
The Sienna technology integration is a major milestone in May Mobility’s cooperative relationship with Toyota, confirms Olson. From the initial investment in May Mobility to the Series B fundraising in 2019, the relationship has expanded to include a shuttle fleet in Hiroshima, Japan. May Mobility is also providing autonomous shuttle services in Indianapolis, Indiana, as part of a Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) initiative about to come into service.
Keiji Yamamoto, Operating Officer of Toyota and President of Connected Company said, “We are delighted that Toyota’s “Autono-MaaS”(autonomous-mobility as a service) vehicle based on the Sienna will be utilised for May Mobility’s public road testing. Toyota continues to collaborate with automated mobility service providers through these vehicles and is implementing Autono-MaaS swiftly, aiming to realise a society where all people have the freedom of movement.”
Modifications to the Sienna include the addition of LIDAR, RADAR, and camera sensors, along with the compute and control modules that make up May Mobility’s autonomous driving kit. The May Mobility Toyota Sienna shuttle is currently being tested on public roads in Ann Arbor. Additional shuttles are under development and will be ready for use in public fleets in 2022.
Virtuo, the car-on-demand service that sets out to drive the shift away from car ownership across Europe, has raised €50 million in a Series C funding round led by AXA Venture Partners.
In addition, Natixis and several members of the Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne Group are granting Virtuo a pan-European asset-based financing of €30 million, to support the development of its fleet, bringing this new round of financing to around €78.7 million.
With the fresh funds, Virtuo will invest in technology and launch services that will position its car on-demand service as a key alternative to car ownership. Alongside the development of the app and the experience, the investment will allow Virtuo to accelerate European expansion and the electrification of its fleet.
Virtuo, founded in 2016, set out to disrupt the car rental industry, an industry it describes as typically fraught with long queues, arduous paperwork and hidden fees. With its 100% digital app experience, Virtuo has not only emerged as a convenient alternative to car rental for city escapes and mid-distance trips, but as an alternative to owning a car altogether.
Virtuo says it is focused on understanding and developing an app-based experience that fulfils the needs of the new generation of drivers with a particular focus on urbanites from major European cities across its regions of France, the UK and Spain.
“Our ambition for Virtuo and our car on-demand service is to reinvent our relationship with cars. To provide all the benefits that cars can offer while using technology to remove the physical burden,” said Karim Kaddoura and Thibault Chassagne, Virtuo’s Co-founders. “We believe you should be able to access a car the same way you stream music or films: the car should appear on demand when you need it, but disappear from sight when you don’t.
“Our vision is that our car-on-demand service should support a new social contract between city dwellers and the car, where they benefit from the freedom a car brings but without the burden on our cities and the environment,” they add. “At Virtuo, we want to put cars in people’s pockets, not on city streets.”
Virtuo plans to expand its services with an ambition to cover about ten markets by 2025.
UK sustainable transport charity, Campaign for Better Transport, has launched a national campaign to help get people back on onto public transport.
The Way Forward campaign, launched outside the House of Lords, with support from Green politician Jenny Jones, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb (pictured), is calling on the Government to support public transport by actively encouraging people to use buses, trains, coaches and trams as restrictions ease, and introducing an incentive scheme to help boost passenger numbers as part of a national plan to place public transport at the heart of a green recovery.
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said, “The events of the last year have made people less confident about using public transport, but as restrictions continue to ease, we all need to start getting back on board. That’s why we’ve launched this campaign to urge the Government to reassure people that public transport is safe again and to introduce a national scheme of discounted fares to encourage people to use it. By getting back on board we can all help to reduce congestion, protect the environment and boost the economy in a way that is fair and sustainable.”
As more workplaces, shops and businesses reopen in the coming months, campaigners argue it will be crucial that people return to public transport to avoid increased congestion and air pollution, and help communities recover. To protect public transport services both now and in the long term, and encourage people back on board, The Way Forward campaign is calling on the Government to:
Lead the way with a national campaign that encourages people to see public transport as a safe way to travel and to launch an incentive scheme that helps to get people back on board
Continue the emergency financial support for public transport services until passenger numbers have recovered
Place public transport at the heart of a green recovery with a passenger-centred approach to getting people back on board. Public transport needs to evolve to suit new ways of working and living to offer a genuine alternative to the private car. It needs to be easier and simpler to pay for with contactless payments as standard and multi-modal tickets that can be used on buses and trains, and more affordable with flexible tickets that fit new travel patterns
Protect services and renew the public transport system by restoring lost rail links and reconnecting communities to the network.
Tuohy added, “A public transport network shaped around passengers that provides the services people need, at a price they can afford, as we adapt to new ways of working and living is crucial to rebuilding the economy and tackling climate change. By placing public transport at the heart of its transport policy the Government can make sure we all have access to easy, convenient and affordable journeys no matter where we live.”
Germany’s Cryomotive, a green-tech start-up and US company Chart Industries, a leading global manufacturer of liquefaction and cryogenic equipment, have entered a strategic partnership to develop hydrogen fuelling systems that offer refuelling times and range similar to diesel powered vehicles.
The partnership will enable Cryomotive to leverage its proprietary technology with Chart’s established position in the refuelling and hydrogen station market.
Cryomotive’s CcH2 CRYOGAS technology offers a range of 1000km with a green hydrogen refuelling time of 10 minutes for long-haul heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
Chart is also acquiring a minority share of Cryomotive. Dr Christiane Heyer, Cryomotive’s Managing Director and CFO, adds: “This investment by Chart embedded in a commercial and support agreement will enable us to speed up Cryomotive’s development of CRYOGAS technology and to join forces on preparing a roll-out of CRYOGAS refuelling stations. We are now intensifying our discussion with additional investors as the financing round continues.”
By 2025 Cryomotive is expecting to deliver the first commercially produced products ready for what it anticipates to be a fast and growing worldwide market.