Transport is not the most innovative of sectors so when the top people of Uber, Google, Nokia, Zipcar and BlaBlaCar got together at the International Transport Forum in Leipzig last week, there was an air of excitement. The picture they painted was of a radically different transport system, revolutionized by the internet, mobile phones and autonomous, electric driving. What this could mean for people was captured well by Philippe Crist from the OECD. He estimates the advent of the digital age could reduce the number of cars by an eye-popping 90% in urban areas.
New test procedures for diesel cars that will, for the first time, measure their ‘real world’ emissions under the Euro 6 air quality standard have been signed off on by EU regulators. The new regime will see vehicles being taken out of the laboratories to be tested on roads.
The US state of Oregon is to start an experiment in replacing fuel taxes with a distance-based charge. The experiment could be the start of a US-wide switch to ‘pay-per-mile’ charging, but buyers of fuel-efficient cars say the new scheme discriminates against the investments they have made in cleaner technology, and civil liberties groups say they have concerns about the satellite data that would be collected.
European carmakers are pushing to delay by three years new rules that would strengthen the ways car fuel-efficiency and CO2 are measured.
A win-win situation in which motorists could save up to 23% of the cost of owning an electric car and the carbon impact of e-vehicles could be reduced is possible through smart charging.
The city council in Gothenburg has decided to keep the city’s congestion charge despite the result of a referendum held last September that called for its abolition. The decision to maintain the charge was taken in order to protect funding for a new rail tunnel under the city centre.
The city of Paris imposed a partial ban on cars and lorries for one day last month as air pollution reached dangerous levels across western Europe.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc. The charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing member states to not participate if they did not wish to.
Sales of electric cars are on the rise, but still make up a tiny proportion of the overall car fleet, according to the latest motor industry sales figures.