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car-share: a promising new form of mobility

HIGHLIGHTS

car-share: a promising new form of mobility

When it comes to mobility, particularly in urban areas, alternatives to the private car are multiplying. These new forms of mobility are often seen as a way of freeing ourselves from car ownership and its attendant constraints. 

  • electric vehicle
  • shared mobility

car sharing has many faces

Car sharingprovides users withvehicles on a self-service basis, 24/7for the duration and destination of their choice. There are several types of car sharing. 

Closed-loop: the vehicle is returned to the departure station or even to a dealership, as is the case with the Mobilize Share service.  

Direct trace: the vehicle is returned to a station that may be different from the one from which it left.  

These two types of car sharing require prior reservation. 

Free-floating: the vehicle is parked on the street. It can be borrowed without reservation and returned to any on-street parking space within the geographical area covered by the service operator. The customer geolocates the vehicle using a dedicated smartphone application. Free-floating car-sharing is particularly suited to large cities.Zity by Mobilize is an example of free-floating car-sharing in Madrid, Lyon and Milan. 

In addition to these three forms of car-sharing, there is also car-sharing between private individuals, often facilitated by a car-sharing platform. 

car sharing and shared mobility meet their target audience

Car sharing is a growth sector, despite a pause in growth in 2020 and 2021 at the time of the health crisis, despite systematic measures to disinfect vehicles. There are around 50,000 shared vehicles in Europe, mainly in 5 countries, including 18,500 in Germany and 12,000 in France.

Of course, if you add in self-service scooters and bicycles, the figures explode. There are almost 400,000 shared mobility devices in Europe, more than half of which are scooters. Berlin and Paris have the highest volume, with a density of around 100 shared ‘vehicles’ per 10,000 inhabitants. Oslo, however, takes the prize for density, with 400 shared cars, bikes or scooters per 10,000 inhabitants.

car sharing, car hire, car-pooling… the differences are clear

Traditional car hire is based on handing over the keys to the car via an agency. Car sharing, on the other hand, makes the vehicle available on a self-service basis. This makes it particularly flexible. The car sharing service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for journeys lasting from a few minutes to several days. Mobilize Share is an example of a service that is positioned both in traditional car rental, thanks to the density of the Renault network’s geographical coverage, which offers a large number of pick-up and drop-off points, and in closed-loop car sharing. 

Car pooling, on the other hand, resembles private car sharing, with the difference that the owner of the car and the “car pooler” make the same journey and that the owner of the vehicle drives. Carpooling is organised directly between private individuals or via a platform. It can be used for daily commuter journeys or longer exceptional journeys. Carpooling is a real success thanks to its economical nature. The passenger’s financial contribution is a participation in the costs of using and maintaining the vehicle. In France, it is now estimated that the number of carpooling journeys will increase more than 3-fold between 2022 and 2023, representing almost 0.9% of car journeys. 

car sharing, for who and what?

An Ademe survey dating from 2022 in France shows that closed-loop car sharing is the most widespread, both in terms of the number of operators and territorial coverage. On average, it concerns journeys of less than 5 hours and less than 50 kilometres. For free-floating car sharing, rentals are shorter, averaging less than 1 hour and less than 20 kilometres. But what really differs are the usages. Closed-loop car sharing is usedfornon-constrained or even recreational purposes, whereas free-floating car sharing is more often used for everyday journeys. In both cases, these journeys are mainly made within the city of residence. 

Another interesting fact is that the use of car sharing within a household coincides for almost 70% with the abandonment of car ownership, otherwise known as ‘demotorisation’. Today, only26% of‘car-sharers’ own a car. As a result, they are more inclined to use public transport and soft mobility than the average population. Is demotorisation the consequence of car sharing, or is car sharing the consequence of demotorisation? One thing is certain: the most emblematic car sharing customer resides in a city that offers nearby centres of interest that are relatively close to each other and to homes, that provides practical alternatives to the car, such as public transport or cycle paths, and that even discourages the use of certain vehicles by restricting traffic, reducing parking facilities, etc. 

However, car sharing is just as likely to apply to users outside built-up areas, thanks in particular to the private use of fleets of business vehicles, as well as the availability of vehicles at shop exits… Many possibilities are already being explored and are only waiting to be developed. 

electric car charging: autonomy or… mental load?

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electric car charging: autonomy or… mental load?

The electric vehicle market is booming, but many people are reluctant to leave the world of internal combustion vehicles behind, fearing that they won’t find it easy to recharge the battery of their 100% electric car. Could the freedom of movement that the private car has represented for decades in the collective imagination be called into question by the advent of electric mobility? Is the fear of a loss of range justified or just assumed? It’s up to everyone to make up their own minds!

  • electric vehicle

electric recharging: the need not to be overestimated
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In many Western countries, physical mobility is stagnating or even declining slightly, particularly in terms of the number of journeys made. In France, for example, a person makes an average of 2.8 physical trips per day, almost 99% of which are journeys of less than 80 kilometres. It is estimated that each journey covers an average of 9 kilometres. On these short journeys, the modal share of the car seems to have peaked around ten years ago, and now stands at around 64%.

99% of journeys are short

When you consider that an electric car like the Zoe E-Tech Electric has a WLTP range of almost 400 kilometres, it’s easy to see that the question of range doesn’t really arise in 99% of cases. By analysing your habits, you can find out what your real mobility needs are… and get rid of the fear of breakdowns, so that you can objectively reconsider switching to electric cars.

home charging point installation: autonomy par excellence
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What if you had your own petrol station at home? That’s what happens with an electric vehicle. More than 90% of electric or plug-in hybrid car recharging takes place at home or at work, in other words in a private place where you stay parked for a relatively long time. This is undoubtedly the most practical, but also the most economical. The price of electricity at home is lower than at public charging points. What’s more, home charging has the potential to be smart charging: the Mobilize Smart Charge application takes control of the timing of the charge to help balance the electricity network, so you can benefit from the cheapest, least carbon-intensive electricity possible. In this way, smart charging combines economy and ecology.

90% of electric vehicle charging takes place at home or at work

Whether you’re a private individual looking for a charging point at home, or a professional looking for one or more charging points in your company car park, Mobilize Power Solutions offers you optimised costs and maximum peace of mind. Everything is included, from analysis of charging requirements to maintenance and installation of the charging points, so that recharging an electric car is really simple.

electric charging points on the road: the challenge of access to public recharging
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Journeys of more than 80 kilometres, which potentially require – more than short journeys – the use of a recharging point on the way, account for less than 2% of the number of journeys, particularly in France. The importance of this need for mobility should therefore be put into perspective. However, as the car makes an average of 73% of these long journeys, users of electrified vehicles are perfectly justified in looking for simple recharging solutions while roaming.

73% of long journeys are made by car

To meet this demand, professionals and public authorities are getting organised. There are now around 500,000 public charging points in Europe, and the targets for the deployment of new infrastructure are ambitious. In addition to the sheer number of charging points, the other challenge is to ensure that the operation lasts only a short time, so that you can recharge the battery of your electrified vehicle during a simple break. With 200 new fast-charging stations, Mobilize Fast Charge plans to do its bit.

urban mobility: more multimodality and less car use?

CHECK POINT

electric car charging: autonomy or… mental load?

The electric vehicle market is booming, but many people are reluctant to leave the world of internal combustion vehicles behind, fearing that they won’t find it easy to recharge the battery of their 100% electric car. Could the freedom of movement that the private car has represented for decades in the collective imagination be called into question by the advent of electric mobility? Is the fear of a loss of range justified or just assumed? It’s up to everyone to make up their own minds!

  • electric vehicle
  • shared mobility
  • transport on demand

electric recharging: the need not to be overestimated
★ ☆ ☆

In many Western countries, physical mobility is stagnating or even declining slightly, particularly in terms of the number of journeys made. In France, for example, a person makes an average of 2.8 physical trips per day, almost 99% of which are journeys of less than 80 kilometres. It is estimated that each journey covers an average of 9 kilometres. On these short journeys, the modal share of the car seems to have peaked around ten years ago, and now stands at around 64%.

99% of journeys are short

When you consider that an electric car like the Zoe E-Tech Electric has a WLTP range of almost 400 kilometres, it’s easy to see that the question of range doesn’t really arise in 99% of cases. By analysing your habits, you can find out what your real mobility needs are… and get rid of the fear of breakdowns, so that you can objectively reconsider switching to electric cars.

home charging point installation: autonomy par excellence
★ ★ ☆

What if you had your own petrol station at home? That’s what happens with an electric vehicle. More than 90% of electric or plug-in hybrid car recharging takes place at home or at work, in other words in a private place where you stay parked for a relatively long time. This is undoubtedly the most practical, but also the most economical. The price of electricity at home is lower than at public charging points. What’s more, home charging has the potential to be smart charging: the Mobilize Smart Charge application takes control of the timing of the charge to help balance the electricity network, so you can benefit from the cheapest, least carbon-intensive electricity possible. In this way, smart charging combines economy and ecology.

90% of electric vehicle charging takes place at home or at work

Whether you’re a private individual looking for a charging point at home, or a professional looking for one or more charging points in your company car park, Mobilize Power Solutions offers you optimised costs and maximum peace of mind. Everything is included, from analysis of charging requirements to maintenance and installation of the charging points, so that recharging an electric car is really simple.

electric charging points on the road: the challenge of access to public recharging
★ ★ ★

Journeys of more than 80 kilometres, which potentially require – more than short journeys – the use of a recharging point on the way, account for less than 2% of the number of journeys, particularly in France. The importance of this need for mobility should therefore be put into perspective. However, as the car makes an average of 73% of these long journeys, users of electrified vehicles are perfectly justified in looking for simple recharging solutions while roaming.

73% of long journeys are made by car

To meet this demand, professionals and public authorities are getting organised. There are now around 500,000 public charging points in Europe, and the targets for the deployment of new infrastructure are ambitious. In addition to the sheer number of charging points, the other challenge is to ensure that the operation lasts only a short time, so that you can recharge the battery of your electrified vehicle during a simple break. With 200 new fast-charging stations, Mobilize Fast Charge plans to do its bit.

urban mobility and car share

As mobility needs vary greatly, so do mobility solutions. Cities are innovating and becoming real mobility laboratories. One of the new forms of urban mobility to emerge is undoubtedly car-sharing, in particular car-sharing with no pick-up or drop-off points, i.e. free-floating car-sharing.

Carsharing’s playground coincides with the demotorisation of city centres, where people are less and less inclined to own a car. These places have several characteristics. Firstly, the density of shops and services, which means that people do not have a crucial need for a car on a daily basis ; but also the density of facilities, which makes it easier to access the shared car, whether on foot, by bike or by public transport. Car-sharing-friendly demotorisation sites also offer a variety of alternatives to the private car, particularly for commuting, thanks to the public transport network and/or the network of cycle paths. Finally, these are also places where finding parking is a real challenge. The lack of easy, affordable parking close to home or destination is likely to discourage car ownership and encourage new forms of urban mobility such as car-sharing.

And when you don’t want to drive yourself, whether to catch a train or get home from a party, a taxi or chauffeur-driven car is another alternative to the private car. Car-sharing, public transport, walking, cycling and other forms of soft mobility… the solutions are varied and easily accessible to city dwellers.

the suburban and modes of transport to be reinvented

While owning a private car remains essential the further you are from the city centre, alternatives are emerging that are helping to reduce the number of vehicles in multi-motorised households, in suburban areas as well as in small towns and rural areas. These include short-term car hire, the use of pools of service cars for private needs, car-sharing between private individuals and car-pooling. But that’s not all.

In response to motorists’ concerns about the day-to-day management, maintenance and resale of their vehicles, it is now possible to opt for a different approach, one that favours use over ownership: Vehicle-as-a-Service (VaaS). This approach is virtuous from the point of view of optimising resources, since it is based on the circular economy. It’s also easy to live with and in tune with the times: everyone benefits from a vehicle and a range of associated services, according to their needs at the time and with no commitment. It’s a new approach to motoring that goes beyond the car itself.

smart charging: when the mobility and energy sectors meet

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smart charging: when the mobility and energy sectors meet

Smart charging not only enables electric car drivers to save money, but it also plays a role in energy transition by helping to balance out the power grid. Alain Thoral, Director Mobilize Energy Solutions, explains.

  • electric vehicle
  • energy transition

You’re developing the smart charging device that notably equips the Renault Zoe and Megane E-TECH Electric. How does it work?

First, let me tell you that smart charging is hardly science fiction; it is here today. Many of our customers are already using it: with the Mobilize Smart Charge app accessible to all Zoe users in the Netherlands, in France and in Belgium. Since the arrival of the 100% electric Megane E-TECH this year, thousands of customers have been using Mobilize Smart Charge. They benefit from the most attractive off-peak tariffs, are likely to receive cashback, i.e. to be paid for using the application, and help the electricity network to pass peak demand more easily.

Smart charging is recharging your electric vehicle battery at the right time thanks to your car’s connectivity. This means triggering a charge cycle to avoid stress on the electricity grid, to promote the use of renewable energies and to enable everyone to better use their own solar production. In other words, charging becomes flexible and involves the electric car in balancing supply and demand on the electricity grid.

Why is it important for the power grid to be balanced? And what is the interest for the user at the time of recharging his/her Renault Zoe for example.

The energy sector is facing two trends: on the one hand, an increase in electricity demand with the rise of electric transport, and on the other hand, the development of renewable, intermittent, scattered energies, which are much more difficult to control than conventional channels (nuclear, hydraulic or gas). As a result, managers of electric grids are faced with a higher demand and more fluctuating electricity production. However, a real-time balance between consumption and production is essential to keep the power grid functional. This means a constant frequency of 50 Hz.

In this context, the arrival of electric vehicles on the market should not be seen as an added constraint, but as an opportunity! This is because adapting an electric vehicle’s consumption habits is relatively simple. When the car is plugged in long enough, it transitions into smart charging mode.

Smart charging also allows the driver to reduce the cost of using their electric vehicle. In practice, it saves drivers from having to switch subscriptions when electricity needs increase, or from paying too much for electricity. It can even get drivers paid for having helped rebalance the grid.

 

 

“With bi-directional charging, the car will be an integral part of the power grid. It will store renewable energies surpluses and send it back into the grid when consumers need it most.”
Alain Thoral
Director Mobilize Energy Solutions

What is Mobilize’s role in the field of energy?

Multiply the current 40 kWh stored by the battery of Zoe E-TECH Electric by a fleet of several thousand electric vehicles: you obtain a significant energy bank that will help stabilise the grid and assimilate renewable energies.

Charging is not only smart, it’s also reversible. Soon, with bi-directional charging, the car will be an integral part of the power grid. It will store renewable energies surpluses, and send it back into the grid when consumers need it most. The vehicle-to-grid (V2G) principle is key to rolling out electric vehicles on a large scale and at reduced costs.

Several Zoe prototypes with this V2G technology onboard have been in circulation in Utrecht, the Netherlands. They can transform direct current (DC) from the battery into alternating current (AC) to be used by the grid. All our customers will soon be able to benefit from this, as we will launch V2G on new Renault Group electrified models from 2024.

 

 

What are the challenges that need to be met in order to boost the interaction between the electric vehicle and the power grid?

Connectivity is the first step. With our smart charge smartphone apps, we have chosen to make our cars connected, without having to depend on the station connection.

But besides the technical aspects, the bigger challenge lies in how we work. At Mobilize, we go beyond automotive, because the stakes behind the electric vehicle pertain to multiple areas: mobility, energy, data, locality, accommodation, etc. Innovation has to go through collaboration. We bring different stakeholders together even when they are not used to working together.

This includes large companies as well as startups, network providers, electricity suppliers, data specialists, and of course public decision-makers, on different scales. For example, we are currently working on the issues behind interoperability and network integration, and we’re participating in the discussions around next-generation regulations. The electric vehicle, with its smart charging, especially reversible, has a real place in the energy market!

A good relationship between all of the value chain’s players is paramount, and the interest of the customer must be kept at the centre of all discussions. In short, the adventure is only just beginning.

 

Copyrights: Halfpoint, Renault Group

the first all-electric boat on the Seine

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the first all-electric boat on the Seine

The company Seine Alliance has converted one of the vessels in its fleet, the “Black Swan”, into the first all-electric boat designed to navigate the Seine. The result of a partnership between Mobilize and integrator Green Vision, it is propelled by second-life batteries from electric vehicles. This is a project that heralds a new generation of “zero emissions” boats. Seine Alliance CEO Didier Spade answers our questions.

  • electric vehicle
  • energy storage
  • energy transition

What is Seine Alliance and how is it committed to sustainable development?

Having operated on the Seine for some 30 years, the company – under the brand name “Paris Yacht Marina” provides its clients with a quayside loft space and moored boats at the Port de Grenelle in Paris’ 15th district. Sustainable development is in our DNA. We have always sought out the most environmentally-friendly propulsion solutions for our boats. On that note, we’re the first company to have embarked on the process of going electric with our entire fleet, which is set to be complete by 2024.

Is the Black Swan electric boat operational?

Sure! It is an elegant offshore that offers a smooth cruise on the Seine, in the heart of Paris. It’s propelled by two electric motors powered by second-life battery modules from Renault vehicles, notably the Kangoo E-TECH Electric. That means no engine noise, no smell from fumes and no environmentally-damaging emissions. All in all, it’s a unique passenger experience! The Black Swan, which is moored at Port de Grenelle, has room for 10 people, including on-board service, for 2-hour cruises between its home port and the Île Saint-Louis. We are aiming to run 150 to 200 cruises per year.

The challenge is first and foremost to show that it’s possible to run all-electric boats powered by second-life batteries efficiently and reliably… And to make all boat-owners want to go electric.

What made you opt for second-life batteries from electric car battery recycling, and why partner with Renault Group?

Wastefulness is destroying our planet. We’ve got to try to use our natural resources in a smarter way. And there’s actually no point in using new batteries to run riverboats. With second-life batteries we can easily reach the required speed, which is limited to 12 km/h in Paris, and charge them between cruises. There are no weight issues, so we can install more batteries to offset the difference in capacity without affecting the boat’s performance. With this in mind, it was only natural for us to partner up with French manufacturer Renault Group, an electric vehicle expert committed to the circular economy of its batteries, and more particularly with its Mobilize brand specialising in energy transition. Green Vision is providing us with technical guidance. This is the first time that three French companies have teamed up to develop a system like this. It’s a real challenge that’s inspiring big ambitions!

What are the challenges facing this pilot project?

First and foremost: to show that it’s possible to run all-electric boats powered by second-life batteries efficiently and reliably. The challenge is to make all boat-owners want to go electric. In Paris, 150 boats could potentially be optimized with electric or hybrid technology.

We want to raise awareness of the subject with the authorities, too, starting with the bodies that manage French waterways. This is so that the regulations, which are currently pretty restrictive for boats carrying more than 12 passengers, can be revised to give a fleet of electric riverboats the chance to develop.

Do you think you can apply this technology to other projects, notably that of the new ship France that you’re involved with?

The new France* is set to be a revolutionary ship, so it has to have a propulsion system that performs very well in terms of environmental impact. The appeal of second-life batteries is obvious – not least for maneuvers in ports and for the optimization of on-board power, which includes the electricity consumption of the galley, lighting, air conditioning, etc. As there are no weight issues with liners, loading one up with several tons of batteries is something we can consider.

More generally, this is a major opportunity to consider at a time when combustion engines are prohibited in some parts of the world, such as in a number of Norwegian fjords for example.

What does the future of river boating look like to you, especially regarding electric boat motor, in Paris and other cities worldwide?

The general shift towards electric energy, amplified by increasingly restrictive environmental standards, is irreversible. Provided that regulations are revised, battery-powered electric propulsion is already perfectly suited to some activities, like floating restaurants that navigate at low speed over lunch and in the evening. That said, for towboats and self-propelled boats, which make long crossings at full throttle, there is no realistic solution as yet. But research is making good progress. Like when aviation was in its infancy, there’s every reason to be hopeful!

 

* Le France is a former French transatlantic liner commissioned in 1912.

 

Copyright: Seine Alliance

giving a second life to electric car batteries

eolienne mobilize
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giving a second life to electric car batteries

Amaury Gailliez is Battery Business and Operations Director for the Mobilize brand. What’s one of his main tasks? Giving a second life to your electric car battery, often for stationary use.

  • electric vehicle
  • energy storage
  • energy transition

What’s your department’s role in the life cycle management or even the recycling of electric car batteries?

At Renault Group and Mobilize, we are responsible for batteries, from their use in the car up until the end of their lifecycle. This includes its financing by the customer, its guarantee, but also its repair if necessary, which takes place in the Renault Group Refactory in Flins.

After all that, i.e. after its life in a vehicle for automotive use, the battery still has an average recharge capacity of 70%… which is no mean feat! This is where the Battery Business and Operations Department comes in. We recover the battery and give it a second life, for many more years of use before the final stage of recycling.

What potential second lives does Mobilize find for Renault Group electric vehicle batteries?

A battery is often repurposed for stationary use, which requires less power than mobile and especially automotive use. A battery is often reused in private residences or in larger public buildings. For the most part, they are used to store energy from local solar panels or wind turbines. Batteries charge when the sun shines and the wind blows, so that no kilowatt of green — and free — electricity is lost!

“Second life batteries charge when the sun shines and the wind blows, so that no kilowatt of green — and free — electricity is lost!”
Amaury Gailliez
Battery Business and Operations Director, Mobilize brand

We also use second-life batteries to boost certain electric vehicle charging stations. This is the case for quick-charging terminals along the motorway, which need a lot of energy over a short period of time. The operators of these terminals can therefore reduce their energy costs. Several such stations are up and running in Germany and Belgium, and we have recently announced the installation of battery containers associated with the Mobilize Fast Charge project: the new ultra-fast charging network in Europe.

There are also other applications for the electricity grid, including large-scale stationary storage systems called Advanced Battery Storage. Their goal is to manage the electric supply-demand balance in order to keep the network stabilised at 50 Hertz.

Finally, we even find second lives that keep our batteries moving! They power a refrigeration system on Kangoo and Zoe E-TECH Electric…, or even run electric boats.

Why should we give a battery a second life?

The main reason is to reduce the battery’s environmental impact. Instead of using the battery only for the life of the vehicle, it is given a second life of at least another 10 years. This makes it possible to postpone the need to recycle. In addition, the repurposed battery is often used to store green electricity, which favours the rise of renewable energies.

There is also an economic impact. This second life gives added value to the battery. This is important for making electric vehicles more and more affordable.

Companies that choose to buy a second-life battery from us are also getting a deal since they are paying about 30% less than they would for a new battery for stationary use. These are very robust batteries, designed in line with demanding specifications. Once the storage system has been developed, our batteries are immediately adapted to stationary mode.

What would be Mobilize’s most emblematic achievements in the field of second life batteries?

There are many, as we have seen! What is exciting is that our achievements concern applications on very different scales…

There are small-scale systems, such as the production of non-polluting generators, developed in partnership with the start-up betteries, from battery modules at the end of their automotive life, assembled in our Refactory in Flins.

There are medium-scale systems, such as the local electricity network in Belle-Île-en-Mer (France), designed by Morbihan Energies and Mobilize, which relies in particular on stationary storage in second-life car batteries to make maximum use of green electricity from solar panels.

And of course, there are large, even very large-scale systems such as stationary storage (which we call “Advanced Battery Storage”) with a capacity of almost 20 MWh in France and 3 MWh in Germany. Second life batteries are installed in several containers connected to the high voltage distribution network, to help it use as much green electricity as possible as soon as it is produced from renewable energy.

For Mobilize, the applications for energy storage in second life batteries from electric vehicles are therefore almost endless.

towards decarbonation of our mobility

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towards decarbonation of our mobility

The first solar-powered plane trip around the world? You can thank him for that. When Bertrand Piccard isn’t advising the Pope, global leaders, or economic giants, he’s busy with another grand pursuit: namely, the reconciliation of economics with ecology.

  • design
  • electric vehicle
  • energy transition

As the aviation world undergoes a major existential crisis, Bertrand Piccard, aeronaut, psychiatrist, and president of the Solar Impulse Foundation, is busy holding interviews and roundtable discussions around the possible futures for an industry that’s being forced to reinvent itself. “Let’s not give in to dogmatism or the temptation of naming a scapegoat. If there’s one industry that can rise to the challenge of its own transformation, it’s the aeronautics industry,” he and world aerobatics champion Catherine Manoury wrote in an op-ed for French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche. But it’s not just the future of the aerial industry that Piccard concerns himself with. Lately, he’s got a new interest: the democratisation of hydrogen cars.

bertrand piccard
Bertrand Piccard, Swiss aeronaut and founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation

Profitable solutions that protect the planet

Dozens of business leaders and top-tier investors have already made their case to European authorities for the necessity of a recovery plan focused on a digital-powered, green transition. “Delivering Europe’s long-term ambition to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050 requires an extensive set of urgent measures to scale up action. From a business and investor perspective, clarity on the net zero transition pathway and timetables for each sector, as well as policy that enables substantial investments in carbon neutral solutions is essential. This in turn would provide us with the confidence needed to invest decisively at the necessary pace and scale to reduce emissions, create decent green jobs, drive innovation, and accelerate the rebuilding of a resilient zero carbon economy,” reads the letter signed by the European directors of companies like Microsoft, Unilever, and even IKEA. Among the signatories listed is a certain Bertrand Piccard—and for good reason: he’s been working hard on coming up with solutions and funding for such a green recovery plan. His foundation, Solar Impulse, is dedicated to presenting decision-makers with profitable solutions that help protect the environment. Today, the foundation boasts a selection of 1,200 solutions, plus 400 bearing an official ‘Solar Impulse Efficient Solution’ label. The selected solutions include sustainable technologies within the domains of air pollution, industrial manufacturing processes, water, agricultural production, and last but not least: mobility.

Carbon-free mobility: and if it was time for hydrogen cars?

When asked about the future of transport, Piccard responds: “Hydrogen-powered mobility is not a solution for the future, it’s a solution for right now. Electrification is the best option for carbon-free transport under 300km. Beyond that distance however, hydrogen is the fuel to use. In California, in Japan, and in France, hydrogen fuel stations are under construction. In Germany, the first hydrogen trains were introduced, replacing diesel trains. Cars, trucks and buses that run on hydrogen are already on our roads, and NASA researchers are exploring the possibility of powering an aircraft with nothing but hydrogen.”

To prove hydrogen’s potential for use in transport, this Swiss aeronaut certainly gives it his all: November 2019, Piccard broke the world record for the distance travelled by a car on a single tank of hydrogen. “Another important advantage of this technology is that hydrogen can make friends where batteries are making enemies,” he says.

pompe à hydrogène mobilize
Hydrogen pump

The French government has certainly gotten the message. They’ve agreed to invest more than €7 billion of their €100 billion recovery plan in hydrogen energy between now and 2030. “We saw a first wave of electrification with electric batteries. To achieve greater vehicle autonomy of between 500 and 700km, with a record charging time of five minutes, we’ll need another form of electric energy powered by hydrogen,” explained Pierre-Etienne Franc, global director of hydrogen energy activity at Air Liquide, France’s biggest hydrogen produce, speaking to French newspaper Le Figaro.

As Piccard says: “For 20 or 30 years, everyone’s been talking about hydrogen mobility, but no one is actually doing it. Because all this time, anyone who’s tried has found themselves faced with people saying, ‘It’s impossible!’ But ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist in reality—it’s just in our minds, in our beliefs, and in our existing paradigms.” From here on out, thanks to significant investments from Europe, it seems hydrogen is finally being taken seriously, moving out of its adolescent phase and being invited to sit at the table with the adults.

 

Sarah Sabsibo, L’ADN journalist

L’ADN is the media on innovation that every day analyses the best concepts of the new economy on the web and in magazine format.

 

Copyrights: Renault Group

Tallinn, an example of smart city technology use

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Tallinn, an example of smart city technology use

You wouldn’t instinctively guess that Estonia would top the list of countries home to the world’s most advanced smart cities. And yet, its capital Tallinn stands as a global model for them. Following the fall of the USSR and a large-scale cyber attack in 2007, this small Eastern European nation was forced to reinvent itself. We got to sit down with Hannes Astok, smart city expert and head of development at the e-Governance Academy, as well as director of the Tartu Smart City Lab, a member of the Estonian Smart City Cluster. He explained how Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city, is developing intelligent urban solutions—and painted us a picture of the smart city of his dreams.

  • connectivity
  • design

Could you explain what your role is, as well as that of the Estonian Smart City Cluster?

I’m lucky to wear two hats: a more admin-centered one with the e-Governance Academy, and a more tech-focused, cross-disciplinary one via the Cluster. These roles allow me to help create a bridge between Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), companies, and public administration.

I work with cities and government councils on digital transformation projects. For the last six years, Cluster has been working to bring cities and companies together, around ICTs and transport for example, while asking the following question: how do we create a space for brainstorming and experimenting, all in service of a city’s residents? By working together, companies and public administration can invent new things. Companies don’t always understand how government councils work and vice versa, particularly regarding things like profitability and development. But for modern innovation to happen, we need them to work together, which the Cluster helps facilitate.

In Tartu, you’ve already helped modernise areas of the city that date back to the Soviet era. What’s the next step? Could Information and Communication Technologies help reduce carbon emissions from housing?

Yes, ICTs can offer solutions for reducing carbon emissions. With regards to mobility, yes, but especially in relation to housing. We’re currently looking at intelligent housing that could regulate its own temperature (through heating or air-conditioning) whenever necessary, and could even plan out temperature a few days ahead of time—a system that we could combine with solar panels, for example. We’ve renovated several buildings in Tartu, and from here on out, we’ll be thinking about how to use technology for improved building isolation.

Apart from housing, what other aspects of urban life are part of Tartu’s smart city plan?

A year and a half ago, we redesigned public transport routes with help from phone operators and data experts. The bus network wasn’t organised properly. By analysing people’s anonymous travel data, we realised that the main bus routes weren’t adapted to meet the actual demand. From that, we redesigned routes in accordance with peak travel hours and patterns, helping us optimise traffic flow. This also helps reduce our carbon footprint as buses are travelling fewer kilometers.

And you did this using resident data?

Communication is extremely important. In this case, all the data is anonymous and must be kept by phone operators for a certain amount of time for the authorities. But yes, in other cases, the primary issue is the importance of the data collected. We need to collect lots of data, to store it somewhere, but also to think about people’s privacy. Today’s cities don’t really know what data is collected, how to store it, or what to do with it. That’s the next challenge. If data scientists and cities work together, we might be able to find some ideas.

hannes astok
Hannes Astok, Executive Director and Chairman of the Management Board at the Estonian e-Governance

Tech innovations aside, smart cities are first and foremost designed to serve their residents. How do they relate to health and social services?

Unfortunately, in Estonia, health is not considered the city’s business. As for social services, the question we need to ask first is: how do we let people maintain their independence? Should we use sensors to help us get around our own houses? How do you monitor older people, or physically and/or mentally handicapped people without becoming a kind of “Big Brother”? We need to find a way to do that without being intrusive. We’ve thought about solutions like recording daily activity through say, refrigerator, toilet, or water use. If activity suddenly stops, someone could be called to come check on the person living there.

The idea here is not to collect data, but to be able to compare general patterns of a person’s daily life within a given period. The key is to keep it simple for people and families in a time when many Estonians would prefer to stay home rather than go to a nursing home.

To do that, we’re working with companies on solutions that take into account another very important consideration: sustainability and responsibility. These are the types of questions we need to address for clients, citizens, families, and the government.

Is it possible to extend this philosophy to the mobility sector in order to create more independent forms of innovative mobility?

Before we get to self-driving cars, it’s important to strengthen public transport and multi-modal platforms within the city, but also across the rest of the country. In Estonia, a third of the population lives in rural areas, and intends to stay there. And as more people start working from home, the question of mobility is going to become more and more important. Today, in rural areas, you need a car to get to the nearest transport hub. It’s even more of a crucial question for older people and doctors. Rural areas are less accessible, and that’s something we have to work on.

One way to respond would be by creating a public service where everyone can act as someone’s driver – a kind of Uberification of the neighbours, who could help people in difficulty to get around. It would also be possible to create a public mobility agency in isolated areas that would facilitate journeys, or help you travel that last kilometre. These are all things we’re thinking about. What’s important here isn’t data, but simplification.

How could we be sure this would work?

Cities need to adopt a test-and-learn mindset. It’s okay if it doesn’t work—the people and the government should be able to forgive them. The key thing is to try to make people’s lives easier.

What are three changes you think we’ll see in the next three years?

First off, using and understating data is the key to the future. City organisation is going to change, or cities will start linking up with others. Tomorrow’s leaders will be those who can understand and decipher these changes. Next is renewable energy. We’re planning to spend a lot more time looking not at how to store energy, but how to use and reuse it intelligently, for example within a closed-circuit. And last, I’d say it’s the ability to predict. Predicting needs through artificial intelligence. It won’t be Big Brother or Minority Report, instead, analysis will be based on predictable patterns that will help simplify people’s daily lives, and anticipate their needs and issues.

What’s the next project you’re working on?

We’re starting to think about the future of online shopping and delivery. How do we redesign the system to reduce its carbon impact? To do this, we’ll be asking people about their shopping habits and delivery preferences via surveys or studies led by research institutes. We’re looking at things like creating a collection hub for online purchases, simplifying pick-ups, and how to avoid having delivery vans making useless trips.

What’s your dream smart city?

I dream of a smart city where all the services and technology I need are invisible, but accessible in some way or another. The perfect smart city will predict what I need so that I don’t have to go get it myself. The city must run simply and smoothly for all in order to make life easier. If my children are going to school, I need to know the travel options in advance. Services could offer older people simple, non-intrusive solutions, or ask them if they need help with anything. The perfect smart city would let me handle all paperwork via smartphone. Overall, a smart city isn’t just about creating a hub for technology and apps, it’s about making admin, transport, public functions, and relationships simpler and more fluid.

 

Interview by Vincent Thobel, L’ADN journalist

L’ADN is the media on innovation that every day analyses the best concepts of the new economy on the web and in magazine format.

 

Copyright: Joonas-Sisask

a new car-free generation?

OPEN WORLD

a new car-free generation?

(podcast in French)
  • energy transition
  • shared mobility
  • transport on demand

Podcast Mobilize

Youth and mobility : the new deal – Youth and mobility : the new deal – 

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The younger generation wants to live without a car and yet, they don’t want to sit still. So how can the automotive sector meet their expectations? Is the variety of mobility smartphone app sufficient to cover their needs? What will the future of mobility look like?

Isabelle Rio Lopes, Senior Director at Kantar France and Jean-Christophe Labarre, Innovation & Partnerships Strategy at Mobilize, take you on an exploration of the evolution of mobility, as seen by the younger generations.

Intervention of Isabelle Rio-Lopes, Senior Director at Kantar.

In this episode, we wonder if there will ever be a car-free generation. What do you think about this, based on your studies?

Today, if we look at the youngest generation, those under 25, the so-called Generation Z, it’s true that they are probably the first truly multimodal generation, i.e. one that uses all the different possible modes. These young people easily switch from car to bus, to bicycle, to carpooling or to other sharing services, whether bicycles, scooters, etc. This multimodality is facilitated by their intensive use of mobility applications. To give you a figure, they use mobility applications twice as much as generation X for example, who are their elders.
However, this does not mean that this generation rejects cars completely. In fact, a car remains for them an aspirational object and a step towards adulthood. Our studies show that for 28% of these young people, owning a car remains an important step in their lives. This is only five points less than generation Y, for example, where 33% say so.
That said, there are two major changes in the new generation’s relationship with cars and to mobility in the broadest sense, which will have a profound impact on the future of mobility.

What do you think these changes are?

First of all, the car of the future will have to be green. In 2021, 73% of youth tell us that their next car will be an all-electric vehicle. That’s seven points more than two years ago. So seven points more than before the pandemic. We can see the impact the pandemic had on this perception, this urgency, this need to really move towards a car of the future that is less polluting.

The second point that seems important to me is that these young people are open to all modes of transport, and, at the same time, they want to have an experience of mobility as fluid as possible. In short, they want to be able to choose for each trip, in each situation, the mode of transport that will be the most adapted to meet their current needs in any given context.

To answer your initial question, I think that today we can talk about a new generation that is truly multimodal, open to innovative and diverse mobility alternatives, but for which the car will always retain a central place.

Indeed, this is a question that seems a little more complex. What are the expectations of the younger generation today when it comes to mobility offers?

Today’s youth is pragmatic and above all they are looking to meet their mobility needs in a practical way and within their budget. This question of budget, this budgetary tension, is indeed crucial and is strongly present. Then, they will naturally turn – and this is a very important point for them – to less polluting and more inclusive modes of transport. We are thinking more specifically of public transport or shared services. But it’s true that today, these are modes that suffer from a poorer user experience than others – an issue that has been amplified by Covid.

Beyond these practical, financial, and responsible points, young people are also looking for modernity, for innovative solutions and they want to make their travel experiences agile, fun, lively and pleasant. Eventually, it is on these aspects that individual modes such as cycling, driving or even walking – which has increased significantly with the pandemic – are ways of getting around that provide the greatest pleasure. We measure this in our studies, through the experience of journeys, the declared experience of journeys.

Overall, when we ask this younger generation about the mobility solution they expect for the future, their demand is clearly for greener and gentler mobility, for more interconnection between modes. For a truly multimodal experience that will be seamless. We are not talking about a single solution, but about a multiplicity of solutions that will interconnect with each other.

Are these expectations of youth different depending on where one lives?

Yes, you raise a very important point here. In fact, mobility behaviors vary greatly depending on where you live. This is the most decisive dimension for understanding mobility needs and expectations. In the end, it is a dimension that is going to be more important than the generational effect we just mentioned.

Indeed, mobility behaviors are strongly dependent on the mobility offers available. From this point of view, there are big differences depending on density and territories. In France, for example, in 2020, while the average rate of car ownership is 86% at the national level, it is only 28% in the center of Paris – what is called Paris intramuros – where, after all, many other alternatives are available. Whereas in rural areas, it reaches 96%.

I would say that we have here a key lesson, one that we observe in all our mobility studies: if the challenges of mobility are global – including researching a more sustainable mobility, accessible to all, with less congestion in the big cities in particular – if these challenges are global, the solutions are always local.

Precisely, Isabelle, is there a study that shows specificities between cities?

Yes, indeed, we have carried out a study called Mobility Futures: we looked at 31 major cities in the world, on all continents. This enabled us to identify six types of cities in which two key dimensions explain mobility behaviors and attitudes. The first, as we mentioned earlier, is the size of the city, the density of its population, but also its organization, its history, what built it.

The second dimension is really the way in which cities manage mobility. From this point of view, the role of local authorities is crucial to help the development of new offers, and therefore the development of more multimodal behaviors. To give you an example: in Europe, cities like Paris, Madrid or Milan belong to the group of cities that are still dependent on the car.

Why still dependent on the car? Because these are cities that have developed a strong policy to reduce car access to the city center and to develop new services accessible to all. But these are cities which, in the overall urban area, still have a fairly high modal share of the car; over 40 or 50% for each of these cities, whereas, for example, in Paris intramuros, the modal share of the car is around 16%, in Milan or Madrid, it is around 27%.

In fact, these are cities that will gradually reduce the share of the car even further thanks to regulations and the development of new offers and infrastructures. Eventually, the inhabitants of these cities will be able to benefit from new options and adapt the solutions they use daily to meet their various mobility needs. And in this context, public transport has a central role.

Beyond the issue of new mobility, can we say that today’s younger generations are looking for new experiences? For example, what role do social networks play in their daily travels?

As we mentioned earlier, Generation Z was born with digital technology. Using mobility apps and social networks as part of their travels is something quite natural for them. So is, for example, the use of digital payment. At the same time, this is a generation that expects innovative solutions that will be positive for the environment. But they want to keep the pleasure of the journey and for them, pleasure is still of primary importance. Ultimately, this generation is not responsible for the past and does not want to feel guilty about it. Therefore, it also expects from the authorities and public actors innovative mobility solutions that will also allow them to travel in a pleasant and environmentally friendly way.

From this point of view, the notion of mobility experience is key because it represents a real challenge for public authorities and mobility actors. It is a question of offering a travel experience that allows young people to meet both their budgetary constraints and their commitment to the environment, while at the same time making the most of their journey. In other words, to turn this journey into a moment of life. These young people are open and at the same time are waiting for new services and innovative offers that would be relevant to meet their expectations while respecting their values.

To conclude, Isabelle Rio-Lopes, if you were to draw a portrait of a young person living in a large European city in 10 years, what would you say about their mobility habits?

In the end, we identified five key levers that will have a strong impact on the evolution of mobility in large European cities in 10 years: the development of home-based work, the improvement of cycling infrastructures, the advent of zero-emission mobility, the implementation of mobility hubs at the entrance of cities and the evolution of the value of time that we have just talked about.
Well, in this context, I think that within 10 years, a young person living in a large European city will indeed fully experience this multimodality. They will have the right mindset, easy access to different modes of transport, and the agility to choose the best mode for each travel occasion.
You may ask, “In this context, what will be the place of the car? Well, they will still aspire to the car for its comfort and convenience, especially for young families. But this car will certainly be different from today. An electric car, maybe one day, an autonomous car, shared, and it will be used only for very specific occasions.

Jean-Christophe Labarre, Director of Mobilize’s Mobility Services Strategy.

You represent Mobilize, which is from the Renault Group and whose mission is to imagine the mobility of tomorrow. From your point of view, is it important to consider the expectations of the younger generation?

Clearly, because this is a generation that is completely digital, that uses its smartphone, that does everything with its smartphone. If we are not able to adapt to this new mode of consumption, we are missing out on history. We want to be able to reach this public with a strict level of requirements, which is very strong, totally digitalized: the least possible constraints, the most possible freedom and solutions that meet their needs.

These solutions can be around a car or not, which is why we also have the ambition to work with the right partners. Last year, for example, we announced the creation of a Mobility 360 coalition with prestigious partners such as RATP, BlaBlaCar, Uber and Mobilize, and other ecosystems that revolve around other subjects.

All this is to break down the complexity, so that the consumer – whether in his personal or professional life – has the simplest and most interesting answers to the question of how to consume his mobility. When we talk about a generation that is said to be completely digital, it is really the simplicity of use and flexibility that we are trying to implement.

With the launch of Mobilize, the Renault Group is no longer content to just build cars, the company is entering the era of services. What triggered this?

Renault Group, throughout the years, throughout the decades, has constantly had the ability to reinvent itself. When you look at the different products the group has created over the years, you could have buses, you could have trucks, you could have cars, etc., but always with a single desire: what are the products, what are the vehicles, that meet the needs?

Today, the mobility landscape has been completely turned upside down: digitalization, the fact that everyone uses their smartphone, immediate consumption, and the desire to have tailor-made products, etc. So we can have things that meet the needs of our customers. So we can have things that revolve around cars. It’s a good thing. We know how to make these, we have been a car maker for a very long time, but we also wanted to see how to approach this new phase, this new chapter. And that’s what led to the creation of Mobilize.

Mobilize is about a year old now, it was created in January 2021 with the will, since its creation, to respond to three issues: reducing the carbon footprint and participating in the environmental transformation. And the will to answer the issue of residual value when we buy a vehicle. That’s good news for Mobilize, because we don’t sell vehicles, we sell usage, and that’s a big differentiator. That is to say that all the adapted vehicles that we can have – I will talk about it later – Duo for micro-mobility, Bento for micro-delivery or things around the cab with Limo, all these cars will never be sold.

We sell usage, we sell service, and we also want to open up to the ecosystems that will allow us to work on these issues. These subjects may concern other mobility players, whether they are public or private, such as transport companies, RATP, Uber, BlaBlaCar and others. It’s really the desire to see how we can combine the historical DNA of the Renault Group – which is to manufacture cars – with the manufacturing of cars with specific uses, and how we can contribute to providing solutions for you.

For example, Marion, your way of consuming mobility is perhaps different from mine. You may want to take the bike or the metro more if you live in Paris. I might want to take a scooter or a BlaBlaCar. In fact, we don’t want to force people to consume mobility in a dogmatic way, but we must adapt by having the most accessible offer possible. Accessible from a pricing point of view, accessible also from a geographical point of view. And we want to do that too, not just by ourselves, but with the best partners.

We are now seeing an outpour of many new means of transportation, as well as new services. How can we help big cities and therefore the youngest urbanites living in them to integrate these new dynamics?

I think that a key element in this transformation of the way we consume our mobility, whether it is in a professional or personal context, is to work well together at the level of companies, mobility actors and at the level of regulators, organizations that regulate this sector. That is very important, that we are in a co-construction scheme.

But not co-construction where we knock on the doors of cities and territories and tell them: “Here’s what we have on the shelf”. It’s real co-construction, where we discuss with these cities and territories to understand their needs first. Cities do not necessarily have the same needs and Mobilize has a global footprint – which I had not mentioned before. In other words, the way we consume mobility in Rio de Janeiro is totally different from the way we consume mobility in Paris, London or New York. Our aim is to provide very local solutions, in fact very personalized to the needs of a region, and to respond to the problems and frictions that may arise.

And once again, the co-construction dimension can only be achieved by understanding expectations: your expectations as an individual, expectations in terms of transportation for employees and companies, and how these fit into the landscape of public and private offers.

Looking ahead to the future, and for younger people who need to get around daily. What possibilities can Mobilize offer to this generation that no longer wants to buy a car?

Today, if you look at our offers, we have car sharing offers. If you look at Paris, Madrid and soon Lyon, we have Zity. We also have short-term rental and car-sharing solutions in stations: this is the Mobilize Share brand. We have also harmonized the brands with the launch of Mobilize.

We also wanted to expand our range of solutions. Last year, we acquired a Spanish startup, one of the best in the market when it comes to subscription, a bit like Netflix for cars, it’s multi-brand. That is to say, you go to bipicar.fr, or bipicar.es, it doesn’t matter, if you want to have a car for one month, for three months… in fact, you have the car for the duration that corresponds to your needs. Then if you want to have a smaller or larger car, that’s also possible. These are typically totally flexible solutions.
Behind this, what is very important, is that we really want to address as many people as possible. Renault is a popular car manufacturer, in the best sense of the word. At Mobilize, we also want to have this popular, generalist dimension. To address as many people as possible, not just niche markets. To really see how we can, with other partners, address your needs with a dimension of accessibility on both points, to have the right offer in the right place and above all for this offer to be really competitive.

investigation, behind-the-scenes of deployment of Zity by Mobilize and Mobilize Share carsharing services

mobilize madrid nice
Story

investigation, behind-the-scenes of deployment of Zity by Mobilize and Mobilize Share carsharing services

04.07.2022

  • shared mobility

The transport landscape in urban areas is changing dramatically. With traffic jams, driving restrictions and the costs associated with owning a vehicle, more and more city dwellers are turning to carsharing. Local councils are also in favour of this solution, as it enables communities to access a wider range of transport options. How does the “back office” work? How do operators and local councils reach an agreement about the roll-out of a carsharing service? What criteria need to be taken into account to make it happen and ensure it runs smoothly? We wanted to find out more about the ins and outs of rolling out a carsharing service in a large capital city and a medium-sized urban area, so we headed to Madrid and Nice to learn about Zity by Mobilize and Mobilize Share, whose fleets are 100% electric.

“In France, the launch of carsharing services is only possible if we are able to meet the cities’ requirements and obtain the ‘autopartage’ carsharing label”
Guillaume Naegelen
Head of Program at Mobilize Share
mobilize madrid nice
Zity by Mobilize and Mobilize Share’s services have their own free smartphone application

What exactly is carsharing?

Our investigation is about “carsharing”. But what is meant by this term? If we refer to a dictionary, we learn that carsharing consists of “the providing of self-service vehicles to users for the duration and destination of their choice.”

When interviewing Laurence Béchon, Director of Mobilize’s Mobility Services, we were told  that carsharing differs from traditional car rental by making a vehicle available 24/7 to vehicles for trips lasting minutes or days. Additionally, users do not need to pick up keys, as they can unlock and lock vehicles with their smartphone. They are invoiced for all related charges, including charging and insurance.

We also found out that there are two types of carsharing models – free-floating systems (like Zity by Mobilize) and station-based systems (like Mobilize Share). 

Zity by Mobilize is a free-floating carsharing solution. The vehicles are available on demand without fixed on-street pick-up and drop-off locations. There is no need to book a specific vehicle for a specified amount of time. Users can end their trip whenever and wherever they like within a designated area. They can use the vehicles for short one-way trips. Most trips do not last more than two or three hours.

Mobilize Share is a station-based carsharing solution. The vehicles can be pre-booked for a set amount of time to ensure that a mobility solution is available when needed. They need to be picked up from and dropped back to a designated location which can be for both parking and charging the vehicles, as it is the case in Nice.

Are free-floating and station-based services suitable for all urban areas?

Laurence Béchon also explained that carsharing services work best in medium-sized to large urban areas. Carsharing complements other (public and private) transport options available in large cities.

Before operators can launch a carsharing service in a large city, they must take various factors into consideration, such as the number of inhabitants and jobs, density, jobs-housing balance, existing transport accessibility and efficiency, as well as competition. However, criteria differ between free-floating and station-based carsharing services.

We decided Madrid would be a good place to find out more, as Spain’s capital city was where the Zity by Mobilize service was first rolled out.

mobilize madrid nice
José Barrios, Operations Manager, Zity Madrid

Free-floating carsharing services, such as Zity by Mobilize, suit high-density urban areas, where people tend to use a range of transport options. To attract and retain customers in a competitive landscape, these services need to be reasonably priced and simple to use and allow users to park the vehicles easily and for free. According to José Barrios, Operations Manager at Zity Madrid:

“Free-floating carsharing services like Zity by Mobilize suit large cities with over 500,000 inhabitants. Ensuring a certain number of vehicles are available per kilometre is key. A carsharing service can be classed as efficient if users can access a vehicle less than 300 m away. This means that 700 to 800 vehicles are needed in a city like Madrid, which has a population of 3 million people.”

mobilize madrid nice
In Madrid, Zity by Mobilize uses more than 3,000 m² of space and employs 70 people for the maintenance of the fleet

Maintenance and charging facilities play a key role in keeping a fleet of this size on the road. José Barrios explained that Zity – an independent company separate from Renault Group’s distribution network – has premises spanning 3 000 m² and employs 70 people who keep the service running.

Station-based services, such as Mobilize Share, are better suited to medium-density urban areas, where people would only occasionally need to use carsharing services. Our investigation also took us to Nice, a city with around 340,000 inhabitants.

“There are 62 electric vehicles in the Mobilize Share fleet in Nice, which is enough to meet local residents’ mobility needs. Their trips tend to last longer than those of free-floating carshare users. The average rental period is around seven hours.”

 Guillaume Naegelen, Head of Program at Mobilize Share.

“Mobilize Share is deployed by the local Renault dealership network, which is also responsible for vehicle maintenance.” 

For both carsharing systems, the fleet size should reflect strategic parameters, such as the initial number of vehicles and projected growth. 

Now we have a clear understanding of the different types of carsharing services, it is time to take a look at the stakeholders behind them.

mobilize madrid nice
Mobilize’s carsharing services contribute to the reduction of polluting and noise emissions as the vehicles are 100% electric

How do you go about choosing a city that would benefit from a carsharing solution?

Once it has identified a need or potential location, Mobilize and the local or regional council, depending on how the country is structured administratively get in touch. When necessary, intermunicipal structures responsible for managing roads, traffic and parking are involved in project implementation. The project is then built in a co-construction spirit, with all stakeholders.

“In France, the launch of carsharing services is only possible if we are able to meet the village’s requirements and obtain the “autopartage” carsharing label.”

Guillaume Naegelen, Head of Program, Mobilize Share.

For those of you who are not familiar with this label, it recognises that the service benefits the general public. Vehicles displaying this label have access to special parking spaces, public charging stations, as well as permanent or temporary free parking, showing just how important it is. 

The service area then needs to be clearly defined.

“Plentiful stations and easily identifiable service area boundaries (large boulevards or ring roads, for instance) incentivise people to use free-floating carsharing services.”

José Barrios, Operations Manager at Zity Madrid.

The outcome of the dialogue with local authorities also depends on the length of the operating contract, the level of support provided, and the possible fees associated with the provision of parking spaces.

Public authorities are often in favour of carsharing, as it helps reduce noise and air pollution, particularly when all-electric fleets are involved. These services are also easy to use and pocket friendly, so it’s no wonder their popularity is soaring!