‘Unsustainable?’ investigates the growth of TNC’s on traffic, travel and  the future of New York City

‘Unsustainable?’ investigates the growth of TNC’s on traffic, travel and the future of New York City

Over the last four years, Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride services have put 50,000 vehicles on the streets of New York City. Customers embraced these new services as offering a prompt, reliable and affordable option for

traveling around town. Their growth also raises questions about their impacton traffic congestion and on public transit and taxi services that are essential components of urban transportation networks. A dearth of factual information has made it difficult, however, to assess their role in the city’s transportation network or decide whether a public policy is needed.

In his report ‘Unsustainable – The growth of app-based services and traffic, travel and the future of New York City, consultant Bruce Schaller presents a detailed analysis of the growth of app-based ride services in New York City, their impacts on traffic, travel patterns and vehicle mileage, and implications for achieving critical city goals for mobility, economic growth and environmental sustainability in New York and other major cities. Findings are based on trip and mileage data that are uniquely available in New York City, providing the most detailed and comprehensive assessment of these new services in any U.S. city.

As Uber and Lyft expanded to cities across the country, they promised benefits to all. Passengers would get a quick, convenient alternative to the hide-bound taxi industry. Shared rides would replace solo drivers, reducing congestion. Uber promised to take “1 million cars off the road in New York City and help eliminate our city’s congestion problem for good.” Lyft promised reductions in carbon footprint from people driving alone.

Customers embraced the new on-demand services, saying they saved time, reduced stress and offered affordable fares. But with over 50,000 on-demand ride service vehicles now on New York City streets, it’s a good time to take a look at the explosive growth of these new companies, also called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), and their impact on critical City goals for mobility, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

In most of the country, this question is hard to answer because these privately held companies closely guard data on their operations. Uniquely in New York City, because TNCs are required to submit trip records and mileage data is available from mandated vehicle inspections, we finally have the data to see how these promises are working out.

What do these data show?

  • Initially, on-demand companies grew mostly by attracting yellow cab passengers. A January 2016 report from Mayor de Blasio concluded that the growing number of Uber and Lyft trips was not the primary cause of worsening congestion in the Manhattan Central Business District.
  • Since June 2015, however, TNC passenger volumes have tripled, to 500,000 riders per day. TNC growth far outpaced the drop in yellow cab rides, leading to large additions in overall taxi/for-hire ride volumes.
  • As a result of growing trip volumes, TNCs added 600 million miles of driving to city streets in 2016 — more than total yellow cab mileage in Manhattan.
  • Most of the added driving is in Manhattan and congested parts of Brooklyn and Queens near the East River, where streets have the least ability to accommodate additional traffic. TNCs added an estimated 7 percent to existing miles driven by all vehicles in these congested areas from 2013 to 2016.
  • Since mid-2015 TNCs have offered and heavily promoted “pooled” options such as UberPool and LyftLine. TNC mileage nonetheless continued to grow rapidly because exclusive-ride trips still predominate, and because most TNC customers are coming from transit, walking and biking. Migration from these modes translates to increased mileage even if TNC rides are shared.

The growth of on-demand ride services is also working to undercut the essential role of mass transit in absorbing growth in residents, workers and visitors. In the two decades before the arrival of TNCs, transit served the growth in travel from new residents and workers throughout the city. That meant the city could grow sustainably — without adding to congestion, slowing commerce, diluting air quality or adding to greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2013, however, this picture has changed. TNC ridership growth has accelerated at the same time that subway and bus ridership began to decline. As a result, TNCs are now the leading source of growth in non-auto (i.e., non-personal car) travel in New York City.

A continuation of TNC-led growth in travel is not sustainable for a growing New York. Adding TNC mileage to already-congested streets will lead to mounting costs for businesses and consumers from increasing traffic delay and hinder progress toward the City’s goals for mobility, economic growth and the environment.

The central task for public policy is to shift growth back to sustainable, high-capacity modes, ranging from bus to subway to biking, while at the same time maintaining the mobility improvements that TNCs offer.

The report discusses how city and transit officials can make buses and subways a competitive choice when up against the deep-pocketed, nimble and aggressively customer-focused TNCs. These include short-term initiatives such as count-down clocks, bus lanes and traffic signal retiming and major capital projects such as installation of new subway signal systems.

The report also discusses the inevitable need for road pricing as TNC fare reductions begin to erase longstanding financial disincentives for traveling by motor vehicle in congested areas of the city.

These initiatives are urgently important to head off continued shift of travel from transit to TNCs, and are far more critical than headline-grabbing but low-ridership distractions like the LaGuardia AirTrain and BQX streetcar.

The report also lays out implications for other large cities that have experienced rapid growth in on-demand ride services. The findings show how the growth of on-demand services are becoming central to changes in how people travel within dense urban areas, the effects on travel and transit, and the need for a strong data-driven public policy response that incorporates street management, transit services and road pricing.

  • There is a need to make New York City buses and metros a competitive choice again.
Renault-Nissan and Transdev to develop mobility services for self-driving vehicles

Renault-Nissan and Transdev to develop mobility services for self-driving vehicles

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Transdev have agreed to jointly explore development of mobility services with fleets of electric driverless vehicles for public and on-demand transportation. The companies will collaborate to develop a comprehensive, modular transportation system to enable clients to book rides, and mobility operators to monitor and operate self-driving car fleets.

“As the mobility services landscape keeps evolving, we have a great opportunity to offer innovative, connected mobility solutions for the evolving needs of our customers, fully aligned with our vision of a zero-emission, zero-fatalities society,” said Ogi Redzic, Renault-Nissan Alliance senior vice president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services. “Partnering with Transdev allows us to share our knowledge as leaders in electric vehicles, autonomous drive and connected-car technologies with one of the largest multi-modal mobility operators worldwide. Together we will develop an advanced driverless mobility system that will enhance existing public and on-demand transport systems.”

The research will initially include field tests in Paris-Saclay with Renault ZOEs, the leading electric vehicle in Europe, and Transdev’s on-demand dispatch, supervision and routing platform.

“The future of mobility will be P.A.C.E. – Personalized, Autonomous, Connected and Electric,” said Yann Leriche, chief performance officer at Transdev. “As a worldwide leader in public transport and on-demand shared services, we are committed to pioneer in mobility to always offer our clients the best solutions for their journeys. Our partnership with Renault-Nissan will reinforce our innovation capabilities and accelerate our time-to-market by combining our strengths with those of a global car manufacturer that shares the same willingness to enhance daily mobility to the benefit of clients.”

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has been forming partnerships to accelerate the development of advanced connected-car technologies and mobility services. These include a partnership with Microsoft to develop a single global platform that will improve the customer experience by making driving more intuitive, intelligent and fun; and a partnership with Japanese internet company DeNA to begin tests in Japan to develop driverless vehicles for commercial services.

  • Initial tests in Paris with Renault ZOE’s.
Mercedes-Benz at the Mobile World Congress 2017: Digitization as a control lever for the future of mobility

Mercedes-Benz at the Mobile World Congress 2017: Digitization as a control lever for the future of mobility

Mercedes-Benz’s showing at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona being held from 27 February to 2 March is all about CASE: “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Service” and “Electric Drive”. Under the umbrella of the cross-Daimler digitisation strategy, the inventor of automobile is showcasing products, initiatives and the latest innovations from its research and development activities.

Daimler is also driving digital transformation at the Mobile World Congress with DigitalLife@Daimler: next to the show stand the DigitalLife Café offers an open platform for collective dialogue. One of the real highlights at the MWC is the Live Talks with experts from various Daimler AG business units.

Sascha Pallenberg, one of the very first tech bloggers, hosts the Inspiration Talks that will take place three times daily and focus on digital services, trends and the culture of innovation. “For us, digitisation is an important instrument for shaping the future of mobility. The Mobile World Congress provides a powerful international platform for dialogue with industrial experts from the worlds of both hardware and software. With its thrilling atmosphere of innovation, the MWC inspires us to keep shaping the future of mobility together with the digital avant-garde,” emphasises Wilko Andreas Stark, Head of Daimler Strategy & Mercedes-Benz Cars Product Strategy and Planning.

Hackathon participants from the DigitalLife Campus series are also getting involved. The ten coders of the current Hack-on-Bus Tour will present their results. This forms the final of the DigitalLife Campus 2016 – an initiative that is accompanying Daimler on its journey towards digital transformation with various unconventional formats. The participants from the “DigitalLife Campus” hackathon series will also show what they have achieved on the drive from Stuttgart to Barcelona in their specially equipped tour bus in response to the challenge they were set: programming a driverless RoboCab made from Lego components. The tour bus set off from Stuttgart towards Barcelona on Saturday with the international team of participants on board.

Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating the virtual reality experience at the MWC with the help of two examples. Firstly, visitors can experience the drive technology, design and connectivity features of the Concept EQ show car up close with the help of VR goggles. And secondly, the complete digital configuration of a production vehicle provides customers with a realistic means of familiarising themselves with their dream vehicle in detail long before they actually buy it. Interaction icons make it easy to modify details of the specification – such as the wheels, paint finish or interior colour scheme. A prototype version of the VR installation is already in use in Germany and Great Britain.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz will be demonstrating the next steps on the road to developing the cognitive car, while “Fit&Healthy” will provide a vision of how society’s growing health consciousness can be intelligently combined with future mobility. Mercedes me also has an important role to play at the show. Comprehensive smartphone integration? Checking information such as the fuel level? No problem at all with ‘Mercedes me’- connect. Smartphones are able to double as a door opener – at any time. As many as four virtual vehicle keys can be activated from a smartphone.

The mobility brands moovel, mytaxi and car2go are also at the show. With 2.2 million customers at 26 locations, car2go is the global market leader in the field of flexible car sharing. Vehicles are located, booked and paid for solely by means of a smartphone.

Also featuring at the MWC is the mytaxi taxi hailing app, the first app in the world to allow a direct link to be established between passenger and taxi driver with a simple tap on the smartphone. With over 10 million downloads worldwide and 100,000 registered taxi drivers, it is the leading taxi hailing app in Europe and is currently available in over 50 cities in ten European countries.

The aim of moovel is to allow people access to urban mobility anytime and anywhere. In Germany, moovel is the world’s first app that can be used to search for, book and pay for a host of mobility services. In the USA, moovel transit is the leading provider of mobile ticketing solutions for transport operators. A ticket is sold via moovel apps every two seconds.

  • Digitization as a control lever for the future of mobility
OPINION: The state of today’s autonomous vehicle market

OPINION: The state of today’s autonomous vehicle market

Only five years ago, the autonomous vehicle future seemed like a distant vision. This year at CES, the “frenzy” over autonomous vehicles stole the show with dozens of live demos, partnerships, and product announcements. In fact, 13 of the world’s 14 largest automakers have announced plans to bring autonomous vehicles to market, and 12 of the world’s 14 largest technology companies have announced plans to build technologies to support and operate autonomous vehicles.

This sudden interest in autonomous driving has bid up the “going rate” for autonomous driving talent to, at least in one case,  $10 million per person (Harvard, MIT, CMU, and Stanford students take note!). Clearly, many large companies are investing heavily in autonomous driving technology because they see that autonomous cars have the ability to drastically change the auto industry, and they see the enormous cultural change that the presence of AVs could create. If we spend more time in the car and have more time there to do stuff … they want to be there.

As investors we have been most interested in watching how various stakeholders are shaping their strategies for competing in this market. For example, will automakers build their own autonomous technology, rely on partners, or both? Do automakers think they will continue selling autonomous vehicles to consumers or only to ride-sharing services? Will ride-sharing services companies want to move into other areas of the industry including building autonomous technologies?

Here is our view of the current state of the autonomous vehicle value chain. The three high-level layers of the autonomous vehicle market are

  • Service providers (e.g., ride-hailing, ride-sharing, rentals)
  • Technology providers (both hardware and software)
  • Automobile manufacturing

We see a significant number of companies sitting in between layers – such as Tesla building an autonomous driving system as well as being a car manufacturer – and we also see companies that have historically operated in one area making large investments of capital or time in other layers in order extend into other areas of the value chain. An example of this is ReachNow, BMW’s rental and ride hailing service, which is, among other things, a hedge against being cut out of a possible future where ride hailing vs. car owning is the norm.

Each of these companies sees an opportunity to capture a larger portion of the end-state autonomous vehicle value chain for itself, and they are positioning themselves accordingly.

In addition to investing or acquiring companies or talent, companies have also begun forming partnerships to ensure they do not get cut out of valuable portions of the autonomous vehicle market or caught with single source suppliers for key technologies.

For example, companies have realized that detailed maps might (though it is still under debate) be one of the most critical inputs to self-driving cars for determining whether the car is seeing the environment or another vehicle, person, or object in its environment. This led to several big moves in developing in-house maps and/or acquiring access to other sets of mapping data. For example, in August of 2015, a consortium of automakers bought Here maps for $3 billion; in July of 2016, Uber announced a $500 million plan to map the world’s roads; and in December of 2016, Mobileye announced a partnership with Here’s owners to share their mapping data. Some other interesting takeaways we see from looking across the autonomous vehicle landscape are:

The companies working with the major technology providers are also developing their own homegrown systems. For example, while Volvo is providing Uber with vehicles for its well-publicized Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Arizona self-driving tests, the car maker is developing its own autonomous systems as well through its Drive Me research project.

We have already seen some high-profile ‘breakups’ in the autonomous vehicle space. After Tesla’s crash, Tesla and Mobileye pointed fingers over who fired who (and whose technology led to a fatal crash), and Baidu and BMW called off their joint work citing different development paces and ideas about research. We will likely see more partnering companies go their separate ways over differences in tech and/or business philosophies.

Most of the major automakers have aligned themselves with a ride-hailing service – either via investment in the case of Toyota-Uber or GM-Lyft or by building servies in house or making a full acquisition. These moves have been interesting because the strength of Uber or Lyft’s driver network becomes less relevant in an autonomous, ride-hailing future. When you can put cars on the road without a person at the wheel, different elements become more important levers of success – namely the ability to manufacture, finance, and maintain cars. This could give automakers a head start later in the game, so to speak. However, success in ride hailing is also dependent on consumer penetration, so companies like Uber and Lyft might have their own leverage over the automaker latecomers.

While we watch the moves that software companies and automotive companies are making in the autonomous vehicle space, we are also tracking what regulators, drivers, and consumers are thinking and saying about autonomous vehicles.

To date, we have been impressed with how proactive federal, state, and local governments have been in their support of autonomous driving technology. Regulators and planners at multiple levels appear to have bought into the potential promise of fewer accidents, less congestion, more productive time for citizens and freed up space now devoted to parking lots in cities. But they are treading carefully, encouraging companies to experiment in safe, controlled ways. When the U.S. NHTSA investigated the fatal crash involving Tesla’s Autopilot, it found that, while it failed in that instance, Autopilot had decreased the number of crashes by 40 percent since its introduction.

However, as this technology becomes mainstream and moves from high-end cars to widespread adoption among ride-hailing and trucking companies, there could be massive disruption to the way the workforce is structured in many different places around the country. A 2015 NPR review of Census data shows that truck driving is the most common job in nearly every U.S. state. Autonomous trucks will have a massive impact on the trucking industry.

As more startups and large companies begin public demonstrations and public releases of their products, they must find the right ways to introduce these technologies for both public safety and public perception. “Drive fast and break things” will not be the right approach to releasing autonomous vehicles, and companies need to be thoughtful about the best way to introduce these technologies.

As investors (and eager consumers and citizens) we are watching how the AV market is evolving and looking for opportunities. The innovations over the last five years happened twice as fast as expected, so imagine where we could be in another five – or maybe just two and a half!

This opinion piece was written by S. Somasegar and Daniel Li and was published in VentureBeat. S. Somasegar is Managing Director at Madrona Venture Group. You can follow him @ssomasegar. Daniel Li is Senior Associate at Madrona Venture Group. You can follow him @danielxli.

  • Tests with autonomous vehicles are announced every day. Photo: Uber.
REGISTER NOW for Taxi & Mobility Update 2017 – May 4 and 5, Brussels, Belgium

REGISTER NOW for Taxi & Mobility Update 2017 – May 4 and 5, Brussels, Belgium

All change! Mobility is changing rapidly. Mobility solutions are getting more personalised. Apps and different providers are making the mobility landscape more individualised. Yet the players of tomorrow won’t be today’s transport providers. Who drives tomorrow’s mobility? Registration for this conference is now open!

Tomorrow’s mobility will be more tailormade. Even before autonomous vehicles appear on our streets, Taxi and For Hire Vehicles, Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s), public transport operators, coach companies and bike and carsharing systems will each fill in part of the mobility puzzle. And how close are we to that autonomous future? Come to Brussels and find out!

Who’s going to do what? Which operator or company is going to take the lead? What will be the new business models? And what will be the role of governments and regulators –local ones, the ones on state level, national institutions or even international ones like the EU? Will mega-cities have a say? Let us provide you with the answers!

The international two-day annual Taxi & Mobility Update – unique in this area, straddling various forms of transport – gives an in-depth overview of the mobility industry and provides (smart) answers to solving the mobility puzzle. More like an international masterclass, this event unites various players from a number of different industries. We traditionally provide ample opportunities for networking.

After our very topical keynote speakers (soon to be revealed) this time we have planned exciting sessions on:

  • The future (and drivers) of urban mobility: quo vadis public transport?
  • Mobility on Demand (MOD) and Mobility as a Service (MaaS): who’s in the driving seat?
  • New business models: the taxi and FHV industry’s fightback
  • The latest on autonomous vehicles: what’s the taxi industry’s role?
  • Regulatory changes on various levels: EU, regional and local
  • International consolidation: why buy a cab or FHV-company?
  • Technological change: accessible vehicles, meters and IT-solutions
  • Electromobility: plug-in or hydrogen?
  • International challenges – local responses. Why?

In the heart of Europe, specialists from all over the world will provide our target-audience (taxi and FHV-operators, public transport specialists, TNC’s, regulators, mobility associations, academics, consultants, politicians and suppliers to the mobility industry) with answers to solving the mobility puzzle: Who’s in the driving seat?

Join us in Brussels on May 4 and 5! Follow us on and and register here for Taxi & Mobility Update 2017:

Maven joins the City of Los Angeles in expanding sustainable transportation solutions

Maven joins the City of Los Angeles in expanding sustainable transportation solutions

Maven, General Motors’ personal mobility brand, is working with the City of Los Angeles to evolve mobility and provide easier, more sustainable and more convenient options for ‘Angelenos’ to navigate the city. Maven’s seamless car-sharing application complements Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s vision to leverage multi-modal transportation solutions to advance mobility and encourage more electric vehicles in the market. The collaboration is expected to increase opportunities in Los Angeles neighborhoods, from reducing mobility barriers to exposing all communities to transportation electrification.

Maven City car sharing in Los Angeles has seen an average of 56 percent member growth month-over-month since launching in October 2016, and Maven will leverage this existing platform as well as in-city infrastructure, fleet management capabilities and operational insights to help advance the City of Los Angeles’ Sustainable City pLAn. Maven members will play an integral role in informing the co-creation process and will provide valuable insights for future infrastructure and transportation developments.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV, with an EPA-estimated range of 238 miles, has launched in Los Angeles in Maven City car sharing and the Lyft Express Drive program. Maven supplies vehicles for Lyft’s Express Drive program, providing Lyft drivers with affordable access to weekly rentals of GM vehicles in select cities. By adding the Bolt EV, Maven could allow for up to 250,000 all-electric miles driven per month across all of its offerings. Maven also plans to offer the Bolt EV in San Francisco and San Diego.

To support the introduction of the Bolt EV to the Maven platform, the team is working with infrastructure providers on building a more effective, robust EV charging network. Drivers using the Bolt EVs, for example, will have access to free charging for a limited time via the entire EVgo Freedom Station network throughout California. Maven is also working with each of California’s investor-owned utilities, as well as Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, on infrastructure projects that can help encourage the use of EVs in the sharing economy.

Maven plans to collaborate with additional metropolitan cities to advance the development of future applications, including a fully electric autonomous network of vehicles tied to mass transportation stations.

Maven is the only program to offer the Bolt EV for both car-sharing and ridesharing applications providing immediate solutions for real-world mobility issues. The Bolt EV is uniquely suited for vehicle sharing. The compact hatchback seats five with room for cargo storage, and the flat floor facilitates easy entry and egress. The smooth, quiet electric propulsion is ideal for dense urban areas.

Maven City car sharing and the Bolt EV provide a pathway to autonomous vehicle deployment. The foundation for a shared electric and autonomous network linked to other mass transportation options can be leveraged by cities to provide unique mobility solutions.

In 13 months, Maven has launched three products and has grown to 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; Jersey City, New Jersey; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix; San Diego; San

Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

* Maven has more than 24,000 members who have made more than 27,500 reservations.

* Maven members have traveled more than 78 million miles.

* The average Maven City trip is 121 miles and lasts more than 12 hours.

* The Lyft Express Drive program with Maven in Los Angeles is currently the largest in the nation.

Pricing is simple and transparent, and includes insurance and fuel. A gas card is provided, and users are asked to return the vehicle with at least one-quarter tank of fuel to avoid an additional charge.

  • Maven uses the Bolt EV in car-sharing and the Lyft Express Drive-programme.
Comparing the Top 5 European countries for electric vehicle adoption

Comparing the Top 5 European countries for electric vehicle adoption

FleetCarma’s John Morland has provided an impressive overview of the EV-market in five European countries. Behind China, many consider Europe a hotbed for electric vehicles. While overall European sales numbers were only up 13%, and exponential growth will be required to meet Europe’s goal of “8 million EVs by the end of 2020,” significant milestones were hit in 2016.

By the end of the year, Norway, the Netherlands, and France each achieved cumulative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales of more than 100,000. In Norway, plug-in electric vehicles even accounted for more than 33% of new car registrations. Norway, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany account for 82% of the cumulative sales of PEVs in Europe, and we can take a look at these top 5 countries to better understand what’s working and what isn’t.

In this article, we survey each country’s incentives, energy costs (electricity and gasoline), and charging infrastructure.

1) Norway

In March 2016, PEVs reached a market share of 33.5% according to Inside EVs. Every third new car registration for March in Norway was a PEV! Norway’s accomplishment is both surprising and predictable. Contradictory? Yes, but here’s another contradiction: Norway is a major petroleum producer, but almost all its electricity comes from hydro-electric power.

Norway could have gone either way – so what pointed to EVs?

In 1990, a Norwegian coalition government began its support for zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by introducing exemptions on purchase and import taxes. At that time, the coalition was concerned with improving the local environment and the worldwide climate as well as preserving fossil fuels. Promotion, education, and infrastructure development over the next 26 years seem to have assured today’s successes. Norway’s original goal was to have 100,000 ZEVs on the road by 2020, but as of September 2016, HybridCars reports that there are a total of 121,330 PEVs; plus some hydrogen cell cars.

Norway has high taxes on high emission vehicles, which help to pay for these incentives. Norwegian PEV drivers, in a survey, identified the zero tax incentive for ZEVs as the highest motivator for their purchase. Around 96% of electric car owners in Norway have access to a charging station in their own home or apartment. Additionally, Norway has a well-established charging system for those without access to a charging station or for those travelling extended distances.

The world’s largest EV fast-charging station opened in rural Norway (Nebbenes about 60 km north of Oslo), September 1, 2016.

The average number of charging stations in Norway is 2.4 for every 1,000 registered vehicles.

2) France

France is home to a number of vehicle manufacturers, including Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen, as well as assembly plants for foreign brands. The Renault Zoe alone accounted for almost half of all French PEV sales during 2014. France made tremendous gains in PEV numbers going from less than 10,000 registered PEVs in 2012 to over 100,000 in 2016.

Here’s the current offering—France doesn’t offer indirect incentives at the national level.

  • Environmental bonus or feebate (bonus/malus)—It’s a one-time tax that penalizes (malus) high CO2 emitters and rewards (bonus) low emitters. It can be as high as 27% of the list price to a maximum of 6,300 euros ($6,744 US). The malus revenue finances the bonus.
  • Conversion—Up to 3,700 euros ($3,961 US) applies to diesel car owners who switch to a ZEV.
  • There are various other vehicle taxes that are reduced by varying amounts depending the amount of CO2

A zero emissions vehicle buyer can receive up to 10,000 euros ($10,705 US) for the combined incentives. After this past December’s air quality scare in Paris, Forbes reports that this now applies to light trucks and taxis with a 1,000 euro ($1,070 US) bonus for electric scooters.

Since 2013, the French government has provided funding to assist public charging. Unfortunately, charging availability information for France is limited. The highest density in any of the regions is 0.1 charging points for every 1,000 registered vehicles.

3) The Netherlands

The latest Netherlands plan is to phase out all internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035. Here’s another contradiction—the Netherlands, home of Shell Oil, proclaims an end to the ICE. However, the EV transition is understandable given that around 90% of the population lives in urban settings whose short travel distances are favorable to PEVs.

Rather than singling out PEVs, the system is based on the level of each vehicle’s CO2 emissions. As in Norway and France, the main incentives are delivered in taxation schemes. The Netherlands has not introduced indirect incentives nationally—they’re at the municipal level.

  • New car registration tax—It’s based on the amount of a vehicle’s CO2 emissions, and is zero for zero emission vehicles, which can save thousands of dollars compared to high CO2 emitting vehicles. Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) get a graduated reduction.
  • Ownership tax—It’s a tax based on vehicle weight and type of powertrain. ZEVs are exempt from this tax while PHEVs get a weight reduction credit.
  • Tax exemption on private use of company cars—Private use of a company car for more than 500 km adds a taxable benefit to an employees income. Again ZEVs are exempt from this and PHEVs receive a graduated reduction. This is significant because around 90% of PEVs are registered to companies.

Because taxes are based on the size and weight of a vehicle, the most significant benefits are earned on large PEVs. Surprisingly (but understandably), over 50 percent of the PEVs in the Netherlands are SUVs.

In 2016, the government reduced the amount of the exemptions for PHEVs. This tax was significant because it could save a top-percent tax earner from 6,000 to 7,000 euros ($6,600 to $7,700) per year.

The benefit was reduced because many plug-in hybrid owners were running their vehicles on gas or diesel instead of electricity. The government hoped that this move would encourage more BEVs, but instead the Netherlands experienced a 73% drop in sales in the first six months of 2016. The market recovered somewhat by year-end, but overall PEV sales declined.

The charging infrastructure in the Netherlands has been achieved with public-private partnerships. This partnership is a consortium of regional and state-owned electricity grid operators. The average number of charging stations in the Netherlands is 1.1 for every 1,000 registered vehicles.

4) United Kingdom

The UK has car manufacturers such as Vauxhall, Mini, and Land Rover as well as car assembly plants, and is the second largest car market in Europe. The UK doesn’t have an official PEV goal, but unofficially the government has a plan to make PEVs 5% of 2020 car registrations.

The UK has three policies for incentives:

  • The Plug-in Car Grant—Covers 35% of the cost of a car (up to a maximum of £4,500 ($5,600 US) depending on the model) and 20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000 ($9,900 US).
  • Electric vehicles (with CO2 emissions below 100g/km) are exempt from the annual circulation (ownership) tax.
  • Private use of company cars—Reduces the taxable income benefit based on the CO2.

The Plug-in Car Grant is the most important incentive for private cars—in some cases, it can reduce the total cost of EVs below the cost of conventional cars. Indirect incentives are left to the regional governments.

In 2013, the UK government announced a grant of up to 75% of the installation costs of new charging points. The average number of charging stations in the UK is 0.31 for every 1,000 registered vehicles.

5) Germany

Germany is the economic driver of the European Union and a manufacturer of some high-end cars such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.  “The car is holy in Germany,” says Sascha Müller-Kraenner, the Berlin-based European representative of The Nature Conservancy.

Germany ranks last of the five in PEV registrations. However, Germany has acted in response to its commitment to the Paris Agreement because, although it has been successful at reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions by about 21% since 1990, its transportation emissions have increased.

The German government has adopted an incentive and investment program to encourage a switch to PEVs. Additionally, it has approved a push for a Europe-wide ban on ICE cars by 2030. No EU law has resulted, but it has generated some publicity in favour of PEVs.


  • Ownership tax—10-year exemption for BEVs registered before 2016 and a 5-year one for BEVs registered between 2016 and 2020. PHEVs pay the tax, which is lowered in proportion to their lower CO2.
  • Grants—4,000 euros ($4,950 US) for pure electric cars and 3,000 euros ($3,713 US) for hybrids. The grant applies only to cars up to a maximum list price of 60,000 euros ($74,250 US).
  • Private use of company cars—The tax on the taxable benefit to employee income is reduced by a formula involving the capacity of electric energy storage in the vehicle.
  • Minor incentives
    • BEVs exempt from emissions inspection
    • Low interest loans for companies to purchase PEVs


  • Preferential or free parking, access to HOV lanes, and restricted traffic zones for low emission vehicles (electric range of 40 km or more).

Funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure primarily relies on private-public partnerships. The average number of charging stations in Germany is 0.19 for every 1,000 registered vehicles. The following map shows the density of chargers.

For the summary, more detailed information and a number of interesting maps, click to FleetCarma’s article:

  • Different incentives have increased the number of EV’s in these countries (Norway, The Netherlands, France, UK, Germany).


IRU Smart Move Awards for bus and coach: call for candidates

IRU Smart Move Awards for bus and coach: call for candidates

IRU is launching a call for candidates for the IRU City Trophy, Bus Excellence and Coach Tourism Innovation awards 2017. The objective of these awards is to highlight cities and passenger transport companies that promote a greater use of buses and coaches while respecting the Smart Move values of affordability, safety, environmental performance, efficiency and user-friendliness.

Yves Mannaerts, IRU Vice President and President of the IRU Passenger Transport Council (CTP) said, “Buses and coaches are the backbone of the sustainable public mobility chain. We created these awards to showcase the best within our sector, demonstrating the commitment of the bus and coach industry and pioneer authorities to meet the increasing demand for sustainable passenger transport, while making bus and coach services even more attractive, safer and greener.”

Municipal authorities across the globe that implemented coach friendly policies recognising the value of visitors discovering their city by coach are invited to apply for the. IRU City Trophy Award 2017.

Bus and coach companies, active in scheduled transport, whose focus is to increase their number of passengers by offering an outstanding service to customers can compete for the IRU Bus Excellence Award 2017.

Companies active in group tourism by coach who see the results of their innovative efforts in attracting more tourists to use their service are invited to apply for the IRU Coach Tourism Innovation Award 2017.

The international juries will award those candidates who represent the very best of what the sector has achieved and will promote the winners as a model to follow by industry and policy partners. Detailed information on the competition rules and submissions can be found here:

• IRU Smart Move Awards for bus and coach: call for candidates.

UITP meets in Montreal for multimodal conference and trade show.

UITP meets in Montreal for multimodal conference and trade show.

On 15-17 May 2017, the international public transport community, including urban transport decision-makers and industry suppliers will come together in Montréal for the Global Public Transport Summit, the not-to-miss rendez-vous for urban transport professionals.

The UITP Global Public Transport Summit is a unique biennial event that covers all urban and regional transport modes. It combines a full programme of congress sessions with an extensive Exhibition of the latest solutions, innovations and products in public transport and urban mobility.

The UITP Summit gathers public transport professionals from across the board. This is your chance to exchange ideas and challenges with likeminded colleagues, create quality relationships and network with your peers from around the world.

A one-of-a-kind opportunity, the UITP Summit is:

  • The only event to address the strategic and networking needs of CEOs and high-level managers, whilst giving middle management answers to daily operational questions
  • The best start to leading your own transition, whether it’s exploring trailblazing innovation or learning about real-world solutions
  • A truly global event where international transport experts share their strategic vision for the sector, exchange best practices and network
  • The only event that covers the entire sustainable mobility landscape and the challenges of urban transport worldwide
  • The only place where transport leaders rub shoulders with urban leaders, tech wizards and policy watchers
  • Bound for Montreal: the UITP’s Global Public Transport Summit.
Avis increases its ridesharing partnerships as pressure Increases on car rentals

Avis increases its ridesharing partnerships as pressure Increases on car rentals

For the Avis Budget Group, strong overseas returns aren’t offsetting weakness in the Americas, writes Andrew Sheivachman for specialist travel publication Skift. Through its partnerships with services like Uber and Didi, it’s looking for another way to make money with its fleet when rental demand flags. After a quarter of lukewarm results, Avis Budget Group is hopeful that continuing to diversify its offerings outside traditional car rentals will pay off in 2017.

Avis stock dropped more than 13 percent after announcing that its rental volume had dipped one percent in the Americas during the fourth quarter of 2016 and the company had missed its revenue forecast by about $80 million. It blamed weak demand around the holidays and following the U.S. election for most of its woes, since overseas demand and performance remained strong. The company is betting that its investment in a new mobile app and partnerships with ridesharing services around the world will help it find other routes to profitability as demand decreases for car rentals in many markets.

“We are developing our own mobility capabilities, including some technology that may be patentable, and leveraging the technology and capabilities of others,” said Avis Budget Group CEO Larry De Shon. “We’re also looking at carefully considered partnerships with other companies that occupy a unique and meaningful position in the evolving mobility landscape.

“For instance, in November we announced a global strategic partnership with Didi, China’s and the world’s largest mobile transportation platform, with over 300 million registered users. We see this as a significant opportunity to capitalize on substantial growth of outbound travel from China. As an example, within the first 10 days of launch, there were already over 200,000 views of our online interface with Didi.

Avis is testing its partnership with Uber in London, providing Uber drivers with Zipcar vehicles on an hourly basis. It’s a way for the company to earn more with their Zipcar fleet when traditional customers aren’t using them. De Shon said the company’s weak revenue was just a blip on the radar and he remains optimistic for 2017, despite headwinds faced by both Avis Budget Group and the car rental industry at large. He expects Avis Budget Group’s total revenue to increase by two or three percent this year.

“The pricing is still not there yet, but as demand improves and starts to soak up the fleet, hopefully that will present ourselves with some opportunities to start putting some yielding opportunities in place,” said De Shon. “Last year we were down five percent, and then we had a big change into the second quarter.

“And although we’ll be down in the first quarter this year, we’re hoping for another opportunity to have a change in our price per day as we turn into the second quarter as well. So, it really will depend on how well the fleets really kind of get back in line. Plus a later Easter this year will also help the second quarter a little bit.”

  • Avis strengthens ties with Uber and Didi to offset losses in the Americas.