Motorised traffic is the main source of pollution in most European cities. Especially for passenger transport, a modal-shift towards two-(and three-) wheeled vehicles can be a crucial part of the solution to improve these aspects, because they require less space and use less energy. In this respect, bicycles are of course the best solution for personal transport (apart from walking), since they are absolutely clean and silent, but this means of personal
transport is not widely used all over Europe. Motorised two-wheelers, motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, can provide solutions related to congestion and parking space but not necessarly to environmental problems. In some cases use of these vehicules may cause worse environmental problems than those caused by private cars.
The E-TOUR project has been set up to demonstrate, evaluate and promote the advantages of electric two-wheelers as a substantial contribution to sustainable mobility in urban areas.
The execution of the project has been divided into three phases:
- 1st phase: Preparation of the demonstration, with special focus on defining user needs and comparative assessment of products in the market.
- 2nd phase: Demonstration of about 1.300 electric two-wheelers under completely different cultural circumstances and geographical conditions. During this phase, all applications and intermediate results have been constantly monitored, evaluated and disseminated.
- 3rd phase: Evaluation of final results, with special attention:
- Practical and technical experiences from users, in order to assess the impact of market introduction of electric two-wheelers and additional facilitating features.
- Attainable reduction in energy use and polluting emissions.
- Physiological and bio-mechanical aspects of the physical impact of using an electric bike.
In total more then 1300 electric two-wheelers (almost 700 e-bikes and more then 600 e-scooters) have been introduced and tested in the 10 sites.
The viability of using electric bicycles, electric tricycles and electric scooters as a practical mobility means in urban and/or other restricted areas had to be proved, by testing around 1300 electric two-wheelers and facilitating infrastructure in 10 different sites. These demonstrations have also shown the (local) environmental benefits and in that respect paved the path for promoting the advantages of these clean personal transport means. In total more then 1300 electric two-wheelers (almost 700 e-bikes and more then 600 e-scooters) have been introduced and tested in the 10 sites. Although in several sites the test did not completely match with the original plans, the overall demonstration results have nevertheless shown that e-bikes and e-scooters are a suitable means of transport for short ranges in urban traffic and on small islands.
The project has provided proof that there are no sound objections to the use of electric bicycles and scooters in urban transport, neither from users, nor from the general public and local authorities. For both electric bicycles and electric scooters the development of a more reliable and better performing battery could really cause a breakthrough for this type of vehicles for a larger market share. However, the price of e-bikes and e-scooters will remain an obstacle, if a substantial reduction is not foreseen. This concerns mainly the price of the batteries, which seem to be the determining factor for the whole vehicle price. Although better and more reliable batteries will basically have a higher price when produced in the same numbers, better products may lead to substantial higher sales, which can lower the overall prices.
Better insight in user needs is crucial for new e-bike and e-scooter developments, although it might already be obvious that daring but functional designs are needed for a large scale market introduction. Dealers can play an important role by improving their involvement, for example by introducing more rental promotions. The public authorities, whether they are local, regional, national or European, will have to play an important role in these developments and should emphasise their desire for a future with clean vehicles, by introducing beneficial incentives for buying as well as using these clean and silent vehicles. In this respect, most users would be very happy when they could enter areas, which are, or should be closed for ICE vehicles (ban on filth & noise), for example city centres and other environmentally sensitive areas. In particular small islands are a perfect setting for the use of electric two- and three-wheelers, since these can not be entered by vehicles from the outside, making it easier for local authorities to have the courage to allow only these transport modes on their roads. Although public recharging stations are not the first necessity for electric bicycle users and most electric scooter users, general introduction of electric vehicles is nevertheless delayed by the fact that public recharging stations and service facilities are not widely established.