First in the world: e-bus charger and charging post “in one” installed in Warsaw

First in the world: e-bus charger and charging post “in one” installed in Warsaw

The quickPOINT Column Charger manufactured by Ekoenergetyka-Polska and installed in Warsaw, was designed especially to respond to the requests of cities that want e-bus charging infrastructure to suit their urban architecture. The 200kW device with a footprint of only 1,3 m x 0.8m reduces space needed for high power e-bus charging at the end of the bus line and blends with the bus colours, providing visual identification for electric bus charging.

It is a world premier of the new design of an opportunity e-bus charger that brings together the charging mast and the charger in one. Up to now, e-bus charging industry was used to separating the two elements for opportunity charging at the end of the bus line, which was posing problems in many cities concerned about how the bulky e-bus charging station would fit in with their urban architecture.

The new device manufactured by Ekoenergetyka offers a solution. The footprint of quickPOINT Column charger is 50% smaller compared to an equivalent, standard 200kW charger + charging mast combo. Made of steel and equipped with LED lights, the device signals when it is on stand by (white LEDs) and charging (blue). The Warsaw charger was painted in yellow and red, the colours of the bus operator – MZA Warszawa – and the colours of the city buses.

The device, deployed for the first time in Warsaw, works according to international charging standards for electric vehicles. The charger is equipped with a pantograph and charges the bus automatically when it stops at the end of the line. As an extra feature, Ekoenergetyka offer cities an option to fit the device with a publicity screen on its back, thus providing a possibility for additional revenue.

Bartosz Kubik, CEO of Ekoenergetyka-Polska, said:

“Having delivered over 80 e-bus chargers to cities all over Europe over the last 4 years we had a chance to really listen to what the cities want and need. Requests for end of the line charging infrastructure that suits urban architecture was something we heard very often. That’s why we made quickPOINT Column Charger, which offers charger and charging post in one.”

And he added: “The advantages presented by the device: small size, attractive design, possibility of changing its colour, make it an attractive choice for cities. While not all urban centres will opt for charging at bus stops, for many it will be necessary. We hope our device will show them that now they can have charging infrastructure that not only charges, but also looks good”.

Warsaw, Paris, London, Berlin and many other European cities have announced that they plan to introduce electric buses to their fleets on a large scale. The new device by Ekoenergetyka opens the path for them to embrace opportunity charging, while preserving their urban landscape. The device is the first of a comprehensive charging infrastructure project that Warsaw is preparing for its planned deployment of 130 electric buses.

  • The QuickPoint Column Charger suits the urban inftrastructure.
Aston Martin will focus on cybersecurity before developing a self-driving Lagonda

Aston Martin will focus on cybersecurity before developing a self-driving Lagonda

Aston Martin CEO Dr. Andy Palmer (who came from Nissan) was on stage at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, kicking off the event with the North American unveil of the AM-RB 001, Aston Martin’s new hypercar, TechCrunch writes. The fancy car is pretty cool, if that’s your bag (it presumably goes fast and is good-looking, as you can see below), but Palmer’s comments on autonomous driving led his remarks, and they’re especially interesting coming from the Chief Executive of a company that makes cars people thrill to drive.

Palmer said that it’s “no longer a question of if, but when” with regards to an autonomous driving future – in other words, the CEO of a company that makes cars adored by the same people who decry the idea of having control over their precious metal conveyance box taken away from them is acknowledging that it’s now basically curtains for primarily manually driven vehicles. Palmer also offered an anecdote from his personal life, noting that his children don’t place personal value or identity in getting access to cars – they derive these things from other sources, including apps, mobile devices and social networks.

That, combined with the rapid advances in technology and investment in vehicle automation, are contributing to a trajectory that puts us on a path to autonomous cars, according to Palmer. But that doesn’t mean Aston Martin is getting out of the luxury sports car market. In fact, Palmer added that “full autonomy is unlikely to be a near-term goal for a luxury sports car manufacturer,” and reiterated that truly autonomous tech is still a ways off.

Still, Palmer said that advancements in self-driving tech will help in the near-term with features including advanced driver assist and safety offerings. And while he brought up his company’s plans to develop an autonomous Lagonda eventually, he said that before things proceed to that stage he believes the industry needs to focus on basics first – basics including defines against cyber attacks, where Palmer said the “real battleground exists today.”

Palmer cautioned all car companies to ensure that “before we beta test our customers, let us understand the technologies,” including issues like connectivity, and what happens in situations where situational observation from sensors might not be sufficient, but where getting a 4G connection also isn’t possible. He made it clear that Aston Martin will ensure these basic questions are answered long before developing or fielding any kind of autonomous vehicle.

Still, it’s very interesting to hear a luxury sports automobile company CEO speak at such length about autonomous driving tech, particularly when he’s just unveiled, and is standing next to, one of the most elaborate and expensive odes to human-powered driving ever created. Aston Martin has previously expressed interest in autonomy as a way to provide luxury and comfort in settings where the thrill of driving isn’t available anyway – like when you’re stuck in traffic – but its clear the company’s thinking around this area continues to mature.

  • Andy Palmer (Aston-Martin): “it’s no longer a question of if, but when” we have autonomous cars. Most important: cybersecurity.
“Act now, and autonomous vehicles can help reduce traffic”

“Act now, and autonomous vehicles can help reduce traffic”

Autonomous vehicles should be used in shared fleets, and integrated with traditional public transport. This is the most efficient way to reduce the number of cars on the road, and help eliminate congestion issues. That is the conclusion of a paper published by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), reports Allinx, the Association of European Mobility Management Professionals.

The paper, titled Autonomous Vehicles: A Potential Game-Changer for Urban Mobility, concluded that autonomous vehicles that are put to use in shared fleets as ‘robo-taxis’ or mini-buses, or in car-sharing fleets, will be able to get people to places that are too difficult to reach with current transport modes. By plugging these first/last-mile gaps and connecting to existing public transport options, autonomous vehicles can make an important contribution to reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

According to the UITP, shared fleets integrated with public transport offer the best chance of an urban future in which noise and air pollution are signficantly reduced, traffic proceeds more efficiently and the reduction in vehicles on the road frees up parking lots and more, vast areas of urban space. “When 1.2m people around the world die each year in car-related deaths, 90 percent of which are due to human error, the road safety benefits are also significant”, adds UITP Secretary General, Alain Flausch.

But for the rollout and integration of autonomous vehicles to be truly successful, the UITP stresses that the safety and security of the driverless operation of these vehicles must be fully guaranteed. Without that assurance, autonomous vehicles will not be able to play a game-changing role in enhancing public transport. The UITP stresses that public authorities have a crucial role to play in rolling out autonomous vehicles, and in ensuring that their shared use has a maximum impact on the development of shared mobility and the reduction in single-car occupancy. Road pricing and car taxation are two suggestions for governments to help reshape mobility behaviour.

Another is help in setting up platforms for Mobility as a Service: the best way forward is to trial the integration of autonomous vehicles into general road use with real-world tests and to prepare for the impact on employment, as some jobs are likely to disappear – two areas in which the role of government is indispensible, the UITP argues.

“Autonomous vehicles are a potential game-changer for urban mobility and cities and countries must act now to shape their roll-out,” concluded Mr Flausch. “They offer the chance for a fundamental change – as a key part of tomorrow’s integrated transport systems with public transport as a backbone – but if we do not act now vehicle automation might even further increase the volume and use of private cars with all of the associated negative externalities”.

  • Game changers according to UITP’s Alain Flausch: autonomous vehicles and Mobility as a Service.
RideCell opens European office; hires staff for global expansion

RideCell opens European office; hires staff for global expansion

New mobility service innovator RideCell strengthens presence in Europe and Asia-Pacific with worldwide executive leadership and transportation partnerships.

RideCell,™ Inc., provider of the leading software platform for ridesharing and carsharing services, expands into Europe and Asia-Pacific with the establishment of RideCell EMEA GmbH, the opening of a European headquarters, and the hiring of key executives to focus on these countries. The global expansion is part of an initiative to deepen the industry talent at RideCell. Overall corporate headcount is anticipated to reach 100 employees within the next few months, equipping RideCell to fulfill global interest in new mobility services.

This momentum bolsters the company’s success in the U.S. where its flagship customer ReachNow, BMW’s groundbreaking new mobility business, has acquired 40,000 customers in its first nine months. Today RideCell has numerous global customers, including automotive OEMs and corporate and university campuses.

Driving RideCell’s expansion in Europe are Armin Fendrich, general manager of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region and an experienced team of sales managers and solutions engineers. Based in RideCell’s new office in Munich, Germany, Fendrich leads the growth of autonomous and new mobility services in EMEA. He has a strong base of experience in growing business for global automotive, navigation software, and service companies, including Panasonic/Aupeo, Nokia, NNG, and deCarta.

“As RideCell focuses on automotive partnerships, I’m excited about the business we’re building in the EMEA region,” said Fendrich. “We have some interesting proofs of concept in the works right now. In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing the launch of a new mobility service with a major European enterprise.”

Building business in Japan, China, and Australia, Paul Drysch serves as vice president of business development and general manager of the Asia-Pacific region. With more than 20 years of sales leadership experience in the connected vehicle and IoT markets, Drysch leads a team that includes Takeshi Mitsutani, an industry veteran with expertise in structuring business relationships between U.S. and Japanese technology companies. RideCell also has a team focused on opening the China market.

RideCell is in the process of completing multiple agreements with automotive OEMs and new mobility providers in Europe and APAC, in addition to expanding the customer base in the U.S.

“As global attitudes toward transportation change, increasing demand for ridesharing and carsharing services, RideCell has responded by building leadership, staff, and partnerships in key locations where consumers and automotive OEMs need them the most,” said Aarjav Trivedi, founder and CEO of RideCell. “A larger international footprint, a strong executive team, and sustained growth in consumer demand will enable RideCell to continue to help customers define innovative offerings and grow their mobility services businesses.”

More about RideCell: headquartered in San Francisco, RideCell is on a mission to change the way people move from point A to point B. Its intelligent software platform runs new mobility services, such as carsharing, ridesharing, and other innovative transportation offerings. End-to-end integration and automation accelerate time to market, enabling RideCell customers to launch mobility services quickly, operate efficiently, and scale revenues as business grows. Founded in 2009, RideCell has already processed 15 million rides and has a team of more than 60 professionals. The company now powers over 15 customers including BMW, the UC Berkeley, UCSF, 3M, and SouthWest Transit.

  • RideCell opens European office and hires staff for global expansion.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is leaving Trump’s business advisory council

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is leaving Trump’s business advisory council

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he has stepped down from US president Donald Trump’s economic council, Reuters reports.

“Earlier today I spoke briefly with the President about the immigration executive order and its issues for our community,” Kalanick wrote in an email to Uber employees. “I also let him know that I would not be able to participate on his economic council. Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that.”

Kalanick joined Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum on December 14. Other participating CEOs include Tesla’s Elon Musk, Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, General Motors’ Mary Barra, and Disney’s Bob Iger. Kalanick is the only one so far to step down. (Musk, reached by tech site Gizmodo said that he plans to remain on the council for now.)

Kalanick’s decision to resign was initially hardly noticed, but resurfaced last week as Uber became a leading target of liberal outrage after a Twitter user accused the company of attempting to break up a taxi workers’ strike at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport on Jan. 28, also noting Kalanick’s participating in Trump’s business advisory council. The tweet took on a life of its own, and #deleteUber was soon trending on Twitter.

In an attempt to control the damage, Kalanick condemned Trump’s immigration ban as “wrong and unjust” in a Facebook-post. He also announced a $3 million legal dense fund to help Uber’s thousands of affected drivers. But it was too little, too late. Although Uber refused to comment on the number of Uber-users who actually deleted their accounts, the number is rumoured to be above 200.000.

About Kalanick’s phone-call to president Trump, Business Insider reported that it was ‘disastrous.’ After Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s call with president Donald Trump last Thursday and decision to quit his business-advisory council, the sentiment within the White House, according to Mike Allen of Axios, is “If you want to cut off your access to the White House, f— you.”

That quote came to Allen from “some in Trump’s inner circle,” he reported. (Allen is deeply sourced within the Trump administration.). To be clear, Kalanick likely wasn’t literally told “f— you” during his call with Trump. But that’s apparently how the White House feels about Kalanick’s decision to distance himself and Uber from the administration after Trump signed an executive order last Friday temporarily barring citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the US.

  • Kalanick turned his back on president Trump’s economic advisory council – but too late.
Free2Move app to provide mobility “how, where and when needed”

Free2Move app to provide mobility “how, where and when needed”

Mobility on Demand (MOD) or Mobility as a Service is all the rage: instead of countless apps for each individual mobility option – one app to rule them all: that is the aim of the Free2Move digital platform launched today by French carmaker PSA. “It is a multibrand solution giving access to multimodal mobility options, today from car-sharing to bike-sharing, with more options added as time goes by. In fact: our aim is nothing less than to give the mobility customer whatever they need, whenever they need it”, says Brigitte Courtehoux, Senior Vice President of Connected Services and Mobility Business Unit at Free2Move.

Launched in September last year, Free2Move is PSA’s new mobility brand: an umbrella for the French car manufacturing group’s entire mobility initiatives, from leasing to car-sharing to connected services, both captive and multibrand, and much more. From today, Free2Move is also an app, and the new product has a similarly wide-ranging ambition as its umbrella brand.

The Free2move app provides access to the services of about 20 car-sharing providers and is already available in 15 major cities across Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden and the UK. It will soon also be available in France, Spain and the Netherlands.

  • The app is available free of charge on the App Store, Play Store and on Windows Phone. According to consultants Frost & Sullivan, the number of car-sharers worldwide is set to grow from 8 million in 2015 to 36 million in 2025.

The app will make mobility a lot easier for its users, providing centralized access to various types of solutions from different providers. The user can see all options available to them in the vicinity, can compare prices, locations and other specifics, and can immediately order a service. It is intesting to note that RenaultNissan just acquired the Karhoo taxi and FHV app, which also offers some multimobility options.

“The Free2Move app is a smart platform for convenient mobility services from any provider – so not just us at PSA Group, but also all others – and at any location”, says Brigitte Courtehoux. “Say, I am in Berlin, and I need a car. I can find and reserve one, and go pick it up in a matter of minutes – irrespective of which car-sharing company provides it”.

The Free2Move app aims to be as indiscriminate about its customers as it is about the mobility providers it partners with: “This platform is B2C to begin with, but obviously it has potential applicability for B2B customers as well; especially as more and more companies start providing their employees with mobility budgets instead of company cars. Our platform with our Free2Move app will help simplify corporate mobility and reduce cost – and even encourage more and more companies to share their corporate fleet, on our platform”.

Nor is the platform limited to car-sharing. Other mobility modes will be gradually added. Ultimately, the goal is for the Free2Move platform to live up to its ambitious name, freeing mobility customers to move as, where and when they want – with the platform offering all manner of shared cars and bikes, taxis and public transport.

More info, visit

  • PSA’s Free2Move aims at being a multimobility platform.
Daimler to operate self-driving cars on Uber’s network

Daimler to operate self-driving cars on Uber’s network

Taxi drivers, particularly in Europe and up to now staunch Mercedes-Benz customers, will have been stunned by this recent announcement: Daimler and Uber have announced a partnership that will see the automaker introduce its own self-driving cars for use on Uber’s ride sharing service, TechCrunch reports. The team-up is the second alliance Uber has struck with a car maker in pursuit of its goal of delivering self-driving service to users, the first of which was struck with Volvo and resulted in the XC90 self-driving test car that serves as Uber’s latest prototype.

Uber CEO Kalanick points out a debate between himself and Daimler Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche that occurred during a ‘Future of Transportation’ talk hosted by publisher Axel Springer in Berlin last year in his announcement, noting that while the two disagreed in some respects, he was “personally impressed” with the German carmaker.

This partnership is different from Uber’s arrangement with Volvo, however, in that Daimler will own and operate its vehicles itself, while taking advantage of Uber’s technology and ride-sharing network services. Uber tells TechCrunch this is the first time it’s announcing its role as an “open self-driving vehicle platform,” wherein car makers can bring their own vehicles to the network to operate them. It’s a little like what Tesla intends to offer for drivers of its own cars, but targeted at automaker fleets and open to all car makers.

  • Strong chemistry between Daimler’s Zetsche and Uber’s Kalanick in Berlin last year led to the new partnership.
The Uber effect: ‘Drivers’ wages are cut but there is more work’

The Uber effect: ‘Drivers’ wages are cut but there is more work’

A new working paper from the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford reveals the effect of the app, Uber, on conventional taxi-driving services in US cities. Since its inception in 2010, few inventions have caused more controversy. In Europe, taxi drivers have rebelled following its introduction, and courts have banned or restricted its services.

The app,  Uber, allows those with smartphones to request a trip, automatically sending the request to the nearest Uber driver by providing a matching platform for passengers and self-employed drivers and taking a slice of profit from each ride. So what effect has the so-called ‘sharing economy’ had on incomes and jobs? The study finds that the app has led to a marked shift of around 50 per cent in taxi-drivers being self-employed rather than working for companies. Perhaps not surprisingly, this change also resulted in hourly earnings being reduced by around 10 per cent, as compared with drivers in cities without Uber.

The study, ‘Drivers of Disruption? Estimating the Uber Effect’, examines the effects of Uber between 2009 to 2015 through analysing data on the roll-out of Uber across cities and from the American Community Survey (ACS), the leading source of information on the US workforce. The number of hours worked increased among both salaried and self-employed taxi drivers, with even traditional taxi services experiencing growing employment after the introduction of Uber, says the study. Uber drivers typically earned more per hour than their counterparts; and,  in wider economic terms, part of the decline in incomes among driver was offset by an expansion of business income among self-employed drivers, says the research. It concludes that while the findings may not necessarily apply across all other countries, they raise questions about efforts being made to ban or restrict the adoption of Uber – in parts of Europe and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, in the US, the number of new drivers partnering with Uber has increased exponentially: while fewer than 1,000 drivers joined the Uber platform in January 2013, almost 40,000 new drivers signed up in December 2014. What our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced. Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, Oxford Martin Citi Fellow and Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment said the data provided the first hard evidence of the impact of the ‘sharing economy’ on jobs. ‘Uber is the flagship of the sharing economy, but what our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced. The effects are complex: while some have seen a loss in income, Uber has also created more jobs than it has destroyed, demonstrated by the staggering expansion of self-employment following its introduction.’

The paper was coauthored by Dr Thor Berger and Dr Chinchih Chen, also researchers on the Technology and Employment programme which looks at the future of work and skills. The working paper, Drivers of Disruption? Estimating the Uber Effect, is available here.


Bringing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to the US with the focus on accessibility

Bringing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to the US with the focus on accessibility

For the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NATC) Carol Schweiger has written an interesting white paper in which she focuses on the accessibility aspects of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). It is particularly interesting as the US is lagging behind in the development of MaaS (sometimes called Mobility on Demand – MOD – over there).

The development and deployment of MaaS systems in Europe has been increasing at a rapid rate over the past few years. However, in the U.S. during the same time frame, MaaS implementation has been limited. While there are no MaaS systems in the U.S., several systems are under development. A few of these are described later in the paper. The definition of, and unique opportunities and challenges associated with MaaS in the U.S. are explored in Scheiger’s paper.

The accessibility aspect of MaaS has been discussed in a limited way. While this paper directly addresses the current thinking regarding MaaS accessibility in a later section, accessibility is also mentioned briefly in the background, opportunities and challenges sections.

  • Compared to Europe MaaS is lagging in the US, says NATC white paper.  
IPhone central in Apple’s automotive solution, says Frost & Sullivan’s Mobility Team

IPhone central in Apple’s automotive solution, says Frost & Sullivan’s Mobility Team

Apple is secretive about Project Titan, its alleged future mobility program. However, considering the recent hiring spree of automotive experts, patent publications related to connected car technology, and the $10 billion spent on research and development, Apple is expected to offer connected, autonomous and shared mobility solution.

Frost & Sullivan’s Scenario Analysis of Apple’s Strategy to Enter the Car Industry discusses the possible products and/or services that Apple could offer through “Project Titan.” The analysis also explores the rationale behind Apple’s interest in the automotive industry and details the most probable service and/or product that is Apple is expected to release by 2021.

“Apple has a long way ahead before its autonomous vehicle becomes a reality. With automotive and technology companies working together to build autonomous cars, Apple is expected to face fierce competition when it launches its product(s)/service(s),” said Frost & Sullivan Mobility Research Analyst Ajay Natteri. In addition, growth could be hindered in initial years by customer fear of fully autonomous vehicles, existing laws for autonomous car use and accident liability issues.

“Apple’s entry into the automotive industry will help it complete its ecosystem, comprising devices software, cloud storage, and home kit thereby, offering seamless access to personal data both at home and on the move,” noted Natteri. “Its acquisition of companies in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning indicates interest in creating a service solution for the automotive industry that could revolve around the iPhone.”

Click here( for complimentary access to more information this analysis and to register for a Growth Strategy Dialogue, a free interactive briefing with Frost & Sullivan thought leaders.

  • What is Apple’s strategy in the autonomous field? And what role plays the IPhone?