Category Archives: transport

European mobility awards to Vienna, Igoumenitsa and Turda

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “My congratulations to each of the award winners. Through their actions, Vienna, Igoumenitsa and Turda are creating a more sustainable Europe. They also help their residents to move around in a cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable way. It is my hope that these cities will inspire others to embrace the core message of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK – sustainable mobility is the right choice for everyone.”

The European Commission announced the winners of the 2017 European sustainable urban mobility awards at a ceremony held in Brussels. Vienna (Austria) received the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for large municipalities, while Igoumenitsa (Greece) won the inaugural prize in the ‘less than 50,000 inhabitants’ category. Turda (Romania) received the Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. With 75% of Europeans living in cities, sustainable urban mobility is essential to the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to tackle issues such as congestion, noise, and air pollution. The three cities were selected by an independent jury for their innovative solutions to promote sustainability. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Mobility Week gets bigger every year! More proof, year after year, that green is everyone’s favourite colour. Green means clean, it means convenient, and it means a city where people find it easy to go about their business. And best of all, it’s better for your health. My congratulations to these winners – they’ve understood what citizens really need.” 2017 was the most successful edition of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to date, with over 2,500 towns and cities participating.


Safe drone operations

“A clean, safe and secure drone ecosystem in Europe is now becoming a reality, as we move to the implementation phase of our rules. Work also continues in parallel on the U-space to develop a modern airspace management system for safe drone operations in our skies.” Said Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc.

The European Union today published a set of common rules for safe and secure drones operations, an important milestone under the Commission’s Aviation Strategy for Europe. The technical opinion released today by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), has kept the rules as simple as possible with a strong focus on the risk of the operation. Flying the same drone over a city center or over the sea entails a completely different risk. This “risk-based” approach is best suited to address the safety challenges posed by drones without creating red-tape or stifling innovation. Common European rules will also cement the internal market for drones and drone-related services and therefore contribute to the EU’s global leadership in this booming sector. This comes only two months after the European Parliament and the Member States agreed to make the EU competent for drone legislation. The EU is breaking new ground by combining product and aviation legislation, which will ensure the highest safety and security standards and support the competitiveness of the EU’s aviation industry.  Next steps: On the basis of this technical opinion the European Commission will adopt concrete regulatory proposals later in the year, which will in turn help deliver the target of getting drone services up and running in the U-space by the end of 2019.

H55 electric propulsion for aviation

After building the 2 Solar Impulse electric airplanes and flying around the world, covering 42’000 km, Solar Impulse’s Co-Founder André Borschberg together with several former colleagues, is now bringing electric propulsion to the world of aviation to make air transport cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable. H55 has just completed its first VC financing round with NanoDimension, a Silicon Valley and Swiss based Venture Capital firm, to further develop the potential of electric propulsion for existing airplane designs and new aviation solutions such as flying cars, drones and VTOLs.

H55, a technological legacy from Solar Impulse has been founded by André Borschberg, Executive Chairman, Sébastien Demont, CTO and Gregory Blatt, Head of Business Development.

Electric propulsion will revolutionize aviation as it addresses all the challenges and criticisms of traditional combustion aircrafts: noise, pollution, high operating and maintenance costs, risks and safety. It will also allow the development of completely new aircraft designs. Electric motors react immediately when provided with electric current. They can be used to control the stability of the airplane as well as for its propulsion.

Commenting on the NanoDimension investment and the prospects of electric propulsion, André Borschberg believes “electric air transport will drastically improve the way we live and move.  New concepts which are only possible with electric propulsion, will soon allow for aircraft to take-off and land vertically and quietly. Imagine boarding an electric airplane on top of a building which can bring you to the other side of the city in less than 10 minutes, with no impact on the environment, at the KM cost of a car?

As a venture capital firm with a strong record in investing in disruptive technologies, NanoDimension is an ideal partner for H55. Both the company and its founder have received numerous awards in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology. André Borschberg sees NanoDimension’s investment “as our window to the Silicon Valley and as an accelerator to H55’s strategy in being a key player in changing the way people will travel in the future”. 

Founder and CEO of NanoDimension Aymeric Sallin feel strongly that H55 is well positioned to be part of the next aviation revolution. “With SI2 (Solar Impulse 2), André flew over the cities of New York and Shanghai and crossed the Pacific. He has more experience of flying electric aircraft than any other pilot or company in the world. He trusted his life with the technology developed by his team to enable perpetual flight. Aviation regulators trusted them as well and certified SI2 allowing them to fly over cities, continents and oceans. When I saw aEro1, H55’s first electric aircraft, I was impressed and convinced. We are honoured to join this venture and to help them to become a leading provider of electric propulsion for the aviation industry.”

Patrick Aebischer, who joined NanoDimension in 2017, sees H55 as an important part of the highly specialized Swiss technology hub, which he was instrumental in creating and growing as President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). What enables innovation is not just new technological solutions, but also the right pioneering mind-set. EPFL was part of the genesis of the Solar Impulse story, the place where the team initiated the first feasibility study. In 2003 Solar Impulse was told that building an airplane with the wingspan of a jumbo jet having the weight of a car was impossible. A few years later the first electric airplane was flying day and night on solar energy. Unquestionably, the H55 team has the right DNA to bring aviation into a new era”.

Through the support and contribution of the Swiss Federal Office Civil Aviation and the Ark Foundation of the Canton of Valais, H55 has already developed its first-generation electric propulsion management system. With an experimentally certified electric acrobatic demonstrator aircraft aEro1, has successfully flown more than 50 hours with a battery endurance exceeding more than 1 hour. H55 is now working on electrifying its second aircraft, aiming to fly 2 hours only on batteries which will begin flight tests in the summer of 2018.

EU-EESC new platform for equal opportunities in transport sector


Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and Georges Dassis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be joined by Kadri Simson, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia and Karima Delli, Chair of the Transport Committee of the European Parliament, for the launch of the EU Platform for Change in Brussels. “Only 22% of transport workers are women. There is a huge potential for the sector to improve equal opportunities and I am excited that companies and organisations agree on this and are committing themselves to the increase of female employment. By engaging women and men together towards gender equality we will ensure that our societies will flourish at all levels.” Said Commissioner Bulc.

This initiative aims to increase female employment and equal opportunities in the transport sector. The Platform was developed in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee to give transport companies and organisations the possibility to highlight their initiatives for gender equality and to exchange good practices. To show their commitment, organisations dedicated to equal opportunities in transport will sign an official Declaration at the event. The Declaration will also be opened for signature online.

Commission publishes new Air Quality Index and Atlas

“Air pollution is an invisible killer, so the Air Quality Index is needed to inform European citizens on the state of the air they breathe in their own neighbourhood. We are working with cities, regions, countries and industry to tackle the sources of that pollution, which is a cocktail coming from factories, homes and fields, not only from transport.” Said EU cities. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

At the Clean Air Forum taking place today in Paris, the Commission launched a new Air Quality Index with the EU Environment Agency, which allows citizens to monitor air quality in real-time. The Commission also published an Air Quality Atlas that maps the origins of fine particulate matter, such as dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles, in Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “In order to tackle air pollution we must first understand where it comes from. The Air Quality Atlas produced by the Joint Research Centre provides essential information on pollution sources for the European cities that are struggling with air quality. It will help cities to design air quality plans which focus on their most polluting activities.”

EIB -Volvo EUR 245 million for electric cars

“The Investment Plan for Europe is boosting innovation throughout Europe, and today’s announcement is yet another example. This research and development project by Volvo will push the boundaries of automotive technology in Europe and take us another step closer to a low carbon economy.” Said European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

The EIB and Volvo Car Corporation have signed a EUR 245 million loan agreement backing research and development activities in connectivity, efficient petrol hybrid engines, longer-range electric cars and advanced driving assistance systems. The EIB transaction with Volvo Cars was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It was founded by the EIB Group and the European Commission to boost the competitiveness of the European economy.

“We are happy to support a European car maker in addressing the disruptive technology shifts towards e-mobility and autonomous driving. Volvo Cars’ research and development projects will contribute to making their cars safer, cleaner and greener, which benefits us all,” said EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb, responsible for EIB operations in Northern European countries.

The automotive industry is facing a number of challenges, as high investments are required in new technologies. At the same time, competition from other players outside the traditional industry is increasing.

The EIB loan will help to finance four research and development projects addressing these challenges. The first concerns the development of new energy-efficient engines and is related to petrol-operated engines only. The second project focuses on active safety systems and functions such as collision avoidance and improved driver assistance features. The third encompasses the development of a new connectivity and infotainment platform, which will introduce a new emergency call feature, and improved navigation. The last project aims at the development and production of a new “Battery Electric Vehicle” by 2019.

The research projects are located in Volvo Cars’ technical centres in Sweden and will be developed for autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. The EIB-supported R&D programme will assist Volvo Cars in complying with CO2 requirements and regulations beyond 2020.

EV Energy project, 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting

The 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference of EV Energy project held in Rome the 19th October, 2017.

The European Commission intends to promote the implementation of an integrated European eco-system for batteries, in order to support electromobility and energy storage, by addressing the issue of scarce resources and battery recycling, which will encourage the emergence of new models of circular economy for the automotive industry (Europe on the Move, An agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility for all, May 31st, 2017, Communication from the EC to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Comittee of the Regions).

Mr Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, recently declared as follows: “before thinking that electric vehicles are the solution, we must consider all the life cycle of these vehicles, since when energy is produced from fossil fuels, the emissions of an electric car are equivalent to those of any other type of fuel car” (source: Sole 24 ore magazine, imprese e territori, October 2nd, 2017).

Considering how much air pollution in our cities is so worryingly increasing, precisely because of the emissions of cars, EV Energy project starts from the assumption that the electric car must become the integral replacement of the combustion car, ensuring the advent of Electric Vehicles for City Renewable Energy Supply.

In fact, there are European projects that are perfectly in line with the aforementioned new policies of the European Commission, and strongly believe in technologies in favor of electric mobility, analysing and developing innovative local policies that jointly promote renewable energies, electric mobility and the use of ICT for their integration.

EV Energy is one of these projects, funded under the European Commission’s programme for interregional cooperation Interreg Europe. This project aims to pave the way for a transition from fossil driven energy towards fair priced, decarbonised, clean and integrated resources and mobility systems in urban areas. The project’s total budget is € 1,049,797,00 out of which the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) co-finances 85%.

Through interregional policy learning, the most appropriate policies are transferred to cities, regions and partner countries and implemented subsequently. Identified best practices and policies are further disseminated for the benefit of the widest possible audience. EV Energy project gathers 5 different European regions in its consortium. Partners come from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Kaunas, Rome and Stockholm. Green IT Amsterdam has taken up the role of the coordinating partner.

A lot of questions were addressed by the EV Energy partners  to the audience composed of experts and key stakeholders of Lazio region, during the 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference that took place in Rome last 19 of October 2017, hosted by EUR S.p.A partner in its facilities, with the support of the other Italian partner, Anci Lazio, the Association of 378 municipalities of the Lazio region.

Such questions were, for example, How can EU regions develop innovative solutions and policies surrounding electric mobility and thereby ensure to be drivers of green growth?

 What role can flexible public-private partnerships involving SMEs, energy providers, suppliers, retailers and public bodies play?

Experts and key stakeholders of Lazio region attending the 2nd Regional Stakeholder Meeting conference of EV Energy included representatives of ENEL S.p.A., GLS Italy, the Mobility Service Agency of the City of Rome (Roma Servizi per la Mobilità), Share’ngo and UMPI.

This second conference took place in a city that has witnessed the recurrence of air pollution, these days, due to the lack of rain for weeks. October in Rome can be so pleasant weather-wise, with the likelihood of sunny days and warm temperatures, that the Romans have a name for it: ottobrata romana.  However, the increasing air pollution due to the traffic congestion in Rome is so much alarming.

Fortunately, the key stakeholders of Rome and Lazio region attending the  EV Energy 2nd conference are brave entrepreneurs who figured out what is the way to go for the future. It is extremely praiseworthy that such small and medium-sized entrepreneurs are increasingly adopting services by using electric cars. Thanks to their courageous vision, new business models are emerging and giving rise to innovative mobility services, including new on-line platforms for freight operations, car or scooter/bike sharing services, etc.

The response of Roma Servizi per la Mobilità was that the Municipal agency of Rome is installing soon EV charging points in several sites of the metropolitan area of Rome.

What emerged from the  EV Energy 2nd conference is, therefore, that the City of Rome and the Lazio region must accelerate the transition towards zero-emission mobility. This is why the region urgently needs a fruitful  collaboration between the public and private sectors as one of the key elements to enhance smart policies when it comes to EVs, IT infrastructure and renewable energy.

Claudio Bordi, European projects Expert

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