16 October 2014
Prague to pilot electric car-sharing scheme (Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic’s first electric car-sharing programme is being piloted later this year in Prague in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the capital city.
Led by Future Age (link is external), a civic association that supports the development of clean mobility in the Czech Republic, the project will introduce 35 electric cars and six charging stations across much of the city's historic city centre - a UNESCO World Heritage site.
To help encourage citizens to make use of the service, the city will allow free parking for electric cars in certain parking zones. The city is also planning to install further charging points at Prague's main train station and Václav Havel Airport.
Kateřina Grmelová, Future Age’s project director, said that should the pilot prove to be a success, there are also plans to expand electric car-sharing facilities to other Czech cities, among them Brno, Olomouc, Ostrava, Plzeň, and Ústí nad Labem.
The programme is part of the city’s response to a growing number of private vehicles on its streets: car ownership in Prague has almost tripled over the last couple of decades, from 336 000 in 1990 to 953 000 in 2012.
For more information, visit domaci.ihned.cz (link is external) (in Czech).
9 October 2014
City staff to share new electric cars in Turku (Finland)
The Finnish city of Turku has bought four electric cars which will be shared between the city's corporate management and environmental service staff. The cars began operating on 15 September as part of the city's aim to reduce staff use of personal cars and taxis for work purposes, and to raise the profile of clean vehicles in the city.
Turku's air quality monitoring team has been using a shared electric car for the past twenty years. The model used had quite a short range and was only appropriate for travelling short distances within the city. However, the newer models have a range of some 200 kilometres on a single charge, making them much more appropriate for the staff from different departments to carry out their work.
Ambitious targets are being set by the city's government, which aims to make Turku carbon neutral by 2040. One method of doing so is the expansion of charging infrastructure for electric cars. Three new charging stations are expected to be in operation by the end of the year, sited in key locations across the city centre. The city plans to introduce several more new charging stations over the next few years, making the option of an electric car more attractive to citizens.
For more information, visit turku.fi (link is external) (in Finnish and Swedish).
8 October 2014
First plastic electric bus developed in Hungary
Hungarian engineers have created the world's first electric composite bus following a three-year multi-million euro project that involved the combined effort of almost 40 Hungarian small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Rather than being constructed with metal, the frame of the Modulo bus is built out of plastic which has resulted in a bus that is two tonnes lighter than conventional models. The lightweight material is also resistant to corrosion, with the condition of the bus's body guaranteed for up to 30 years.
The bus can carry up to 65 passengers and has a range of 100 kilometres on a single electrical charge. It is also a low-floor model, making it accessible for wheelchairs and passengers with mobility problems. Due to its electric engine, it is also much quieter and more environmentally friendly than other bus models.
The project cost a total of one billion Hungarian forint (€ 3.25 million), including around € 400 000 in EU funding. The bus model has received road certification and production of the first 25 commercially available vehicles has already begun.
For more information, visit mno.hu (link is external) (in Hungarian).
1 October 2014
Clean Fleets @ Ecoprocura 2014
Billed as the only European-wide forum on sustainable public procurement, the EcoProcura conference 2014 welcomed over 300 participants by the City of Ghent, and the Clean Fleets project was there to take part.
Gathering experts and practitioners from all over Europe, the conference, organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the City of Ghent, concluded that for Europe to maximise procurement practices in the future, sustainable and innovation procurement must be placed at the heart of strategic decision making.
A sub-plenary session dedicated to the procurement of clean, energy efficient vehicles included an introduction to the Clean Fleets project and shared experiences from Ghent and the London Fire Brigade in introducing clean vehicle technologies into their fleets. DG Move was also present to give an update on the review process for the Clean Vehicles Directive. All presentations are available on the EcoProcura 2014 website.
Clean Fleets partner, the City of Stockholm also held a roundtable discussion on the joint procurement of electric vehicles in Sweden (Clean Fleets case study available online).
In light of the recently revised European Union Public Procurement Directives, Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor of the City of Helsinki (Finland) and Procura+ Chair said “Sustainability and innovation are moving from secondary considerations to central elements of procurement.
I urge all public authorities to rethink the importance of procurement in making the shift towards sustainable patterns of production and consumption to the benefit of our society, the environment and future generations.”
In addition, EcoProcura saw the first ever Public Procurement of Innovation Award presented. For more information on the award, read the press release.