LONG LIFE TO MICROMOBILITY
Electric cars have been praised for their role in reducing fossil fuel consumption and urban pollution. However, they do not necessarily ease traffic congestion and parking difficulties, and the recycling of vehicles and batteries continues to pose challenges. Fortunately, there is a growing popularity of micromobility options in Europe, with e-bikes leading the way with a 20% market increase in 2020.
Despite only 3% of respondents in Italy purchasing an e-bike, around 30% reported that they would consider doing so, according to the Shimano 2020 Report. However, there are still challenges to overcome, such as the short lifespan of batteries, the high replacement costs, and the negative image of sharing services. Road safety issues and inadequate micromobility infrastructure also hinder the uptake of e-bikes. To promote micromobility and reduce its environmental impact, the LIFE2M project has been launched. It aims to develop innovative tools, communication campaigns, and business strategies to encourage the use of micromobility in Palermo, L'Aquila, and Florence.
The project aims to:
a) promote micromobility as the most efficient urban and peri-urban mobility system in terms of emissions, energy consumption and materials, overcoming the main problems currently limiting their diffusion, making it more economically advantageous, both for private users and for operators of sharing services
b) make micromobility more sustainable, eliminating the need to recycle lithium batteries and extend the life of microvehicles, decreasing the consumption of resources, energy and generation of waste, in particular limiting the employment of raw materials and recycling (revamping and reuse of microvehicles and reducing the need for battery recycling)
These goals are achieved through three specific objectives and related groups of actions:
A. Development and demonstration, through 3 demos in 3 different cities, of innovative technological elements and components with a special focus on innovative accumulators based on the hybrid supercapacitor technology. The planned actions are:
implementation of a retrofit service for private and sharing microvehicles for the replacement of classic batteries with the developed innovative accumulators;
introduction of innovative microvehicles powered by the innovative accumulators. The vehicles will be implemented in fleets of shared vehicles and/or given free of charge to private individuals;
installation of fast-charging stations for the microvehicle innovative accumulators.
B. Development of communication tools and campaigns, which raise awareness of the importance and usefulness of micromobility and support its spreading, acting on user behaviour, road safety aspects, and environmental impacts.
C. Development of business models, strategies and best practices for the sustainability of the micromobility market in its various forms (private vehicles, sharing and transport of goods), for ensuring the continuation of the demos beyond the end of the project at the 3 demo cities.
The expected results of the project include the retrofit/introduction of around 800 micro-vehicles, the creation of nine photovoltaic fast-charging stations. Furthermore, the project aims, five years after its conclusion, to reduce the primary energy consumption by 93%, CO2 emissions by 85%, and reduce the impact on air quality by 94%. The project also aims to eliminate battery waste thanks to the use of supercapacitors. The project will define guidelines for the safe circulation of micromobility vehicles and plans for the expansion of the micromobility system in additional cities, with a goal of reaching 9,600 micro-vehicles five years after project end.
This project has received funding from the LIFE Program of the European Union under grant agreement No. 101074307