A new report by EIT InnoEnergy, a sustainable energy innovation engine, reveals that micromobility could greatly contribute to lowering Europe’s CO2 emissions and create up to 1 million jobs by 2030, if approached in a more systemic and sustainable way.
The report extrapolated micromobility behaviour in the city of Munich across 100+ European cities and combined it with various, validated scenarios to create projections of the impact of a systemic electric, shared, and connected micromobility rollout by 2030.
Looking at the status quo, the report identifies major hurdles around micromobility adoption like the current limitations on vehicle types, making them unfit to transport groceries, pick up children from school or accommodate parcel deliveries. In addition, short vehicle lifespans, high operational costs, in regard to charging and relocation, and lack of integration into European cities transport systems is hampering uptake. In consequence, micromobility today accounts for less than 0.1% of all trips within cities.
Jennifer Dungs, EIT InnoEnergy’s Energy for Transport and Mobility Thematic Leader, and author of the report, says, “The initial rollout of the first generation of micromobility fleets was hastily done, with little thought put into how to best fit them into a larger mobility system. As a result, the vehicles did little to solve existing challenges such as air pollution, traffic jams, high noise levels or increasingly crowded urban centres. In fact, this has created new problems that have hurt the perception and the business case surrounding micromobility.”
To overcome those hurdles, EIT InnoEnergy recommends a systemic and sustainable multi-stakeholder approach. This includes a shift to higher quality components and improved serviceability – particularly motors and batteries – more local manufacturing, consequent recycling, a focus on developing and utilising purpose-built vehicles, leveraging analytics platforms for relocation and charging and implementing more favourable regulations for micromobility fleets.
In addition to creating almost 1 million direct and indirect jobs (990,000), this approach could lower CO2 emissions by more than 30 million tons and save up to 127 TWh of energy consumption per year, the equivalent of ~12.5% of Germany’s energy sector’s CO2 emissions in 2019, and ~23% of Germany’s transport sector’s energy consumption in 2018, respectively. The report estimates an ~ EUR 111 billion increase in GDP could be realised as a result of almost one billion (999 million) person hours saved per year due to decreased congestion – more than the combined GDPs of Malta, Cyprus, Latvia, and Estonia. In addition, 48,000 ha of inner-city land could be freed up, equivalent to more than 4x the total area of Paris.
Dungs adds, “We need to press the reset button if we want micromobility to play an outsized role in the much-needed redesign of our cities and their transport systems. Leveraging innovations like purpose-built vehicles or battery swapping stations is one part of the solution. Another one is to establish platforms enabling a structural exchange between cities and providers to help guide the process. Looking at the potential benefits for urban life quality, the environment and our economy we should all have a vested interest to support and accelerate this transition.”
The full report “Examining the impact of a sustainable electric micromobility approach in Europe” is available for download here.