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Ford’s Chariot shuttles are expanding to New York City

Ford’s Chariot shuttles are expanding to New York City

Ford is adding its largest market yet for Chariot, the crowd-sourced shuttle service that it acquired last September. Chariot began operations in San Francisco, where the former startup ran commuter routes of its branded transit vans, and expanded to Austin after that. In August, it’ll begin service in New York City, with two debut routes running from the Lower East Side to Midtown in Manhattan, and from Greenpoint to Dumbo in Brooklyn.

Chariot’s goal is to supplement existing transit solutions, addressing gaps in transit and completing commuter options with first- and last-mile additions, or with routes for underserved areas. Riders can check routes in the Chariot app, and even propose their own new routes that contribute to the company’s crowdsourcing efforts in determining how best to serve actual user needs.

Chariot CEO Ali Vahabzadeh told me in an interview that he believes this is “a pretty opportune time for Chariot to introduce its reliable and accessible services in New York,” hinting at the frequency and severity of service disruptions we’ve seen in the city this summer so far. Chariot’s goal is to supplement existing options with flexible, fluid routes that respond quickly to rider needs, servicing areas with shuttle vans that hold over a dozen passengers. Theoretically, the flexibility of its model allows it so help compensate for prolonged service outages on regular public transit lines.

The initial lines were chosen through partnership with Ford’s data analytics team, Vahabzadeh explained, which looked at multiple factors and ran a multi-step narrowing process to identify the best starting points for expanding to the city. “LES and Greenpoint are two very high-growth boroughs that haven’t historically had a lot of public transit alternatives,” he said.

And while Chariot has been working with New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to make sure everything its doing is “licensed and above board,” Vahabzadeh also suggested the two are not working in any kind of close collaboration at this stage. He said Chariot’s first goal was to “get the service and the product out there and to prove to all stakeholders involved what Chariot is really capable of.” “We like to do first and talk second,” he said. “We think conversations will develop and evolve after we launch.”

Ford’s Jessica Robinson, Director of City Solutions, noted that the automaker often encounters confusion about why it’s working on urban transportation solutions like this one that are normally left to city services. She said that the company actually has a long history of wanting to help people get around, and that all that’s changed is the form that goal has taken.

“It’s a natural extension of what we’ve always been out to do,” she said. “I think the shift that we’re making as the world changes is the understanding of what we can do in that space. We think that with our history as a technology integrator, and with our special place in cities, we have a key role to play there.”

Continue reading:

• Chariot is moving to New York City – as well.

Fastned grows revenues with 119%

Fastned grows revenues with 119%

In a Year on Year (YoY) comparison with the first half year of 2016, Fastned’s volume, revenues, and number of active customers have all shown strong growth in the first six months of 2017:

  • Volume: 398,653 kWh (+125%)
  • Revenues: €186,829 (+119%)
  • Number of active customers: 3,967 (+64%)


  • Fastned growth significantly outpaced the market (47.8% more full EVs in the Netherlands in H1 2017 vs. H1 2016)
  • Fastned became a founding member of the  “Open Fast Charging Alliance”
  • In March the first two fast charging stations of Fastned in The Netherlands passed the operational break-even point
  • Six new stations were built, bringing the total number of stations in the Netherlands to 63
  • The first 14 locations were acquired in Germany
  • Fastned signed a framework agreement with Transport for London to realise rapid charging stations in the Greater London Area
  • A partnership was signed with Van der Valk to develop charging stations in the Netherlands and in Belgium
  • In June Fastned raised 7.7 million euro via a public issue of bonds
  • In June Fastned raised 1 million euro of additional capital through the issue of certificates of shares to investment fund Ballotta B.V.
  • Investor Breesaap converted its entire loan of 10.3 million euro into certificates of shares at a price of 10 euro per certificate
  • Investor Flowfund extended its convertible loan of 2.5 million euro by two years to the end of 2020

Michiel Langezaal, CEO of Fastned: “We look back at a first half year with continuing growth of revenues, kWhs delivered, and number of customers. Deliveries of new EVs in the Netherlandsfor the first part of the year were somewhat lower than expected but still amounted to 48% growth compared to H1 2016. There are now waiting lists for EVs such as the Opel Ampera-e and the Hyundai Ioniq EV.

We expect a strong take-off of EVs once the “second generation EVs” with longer range becomes readily available in Europe. European deliveries of these cars, such as the Tesla Model 3 and Nissan Leaf II are announced for the beginning of 2018. Based on these developments and anticipated demand for fast charging services we invested a lot of time and resources during the first half year on our expansion to London, Germany, and Belgium. We believe that developing a portfolio of high quality locations across Europe will prove to be a very valuable asset once the EV revolution really takes off.”

The need for fast charging infrastructure was recently confirmed in an ING report, “Breakthrough of Electric Vehicle Threats European Car Industry”, which points out that access to fast charging infrastructure is an important prerequisite for BEV adoption and that the charging speed is essential.”

  • Fastned grows revenue.
Uber thought it was in a winner-takes-all market. So what went wrong?

Uber thought it was in a winner-takes-all market. So what went wrong?

As the ride-hailing company Uber lurched from one clumsy mess to the next, it had appeared that CEO Travis Kalanick would somehow ride out the storm. His recent resignation is an admission that the company needs to explore new avenues.

I wrote recently about tech CEOs who had protected themselves from the usual pressure from shareholders, and were able to freely dictate strategy and culture. I’m happy to say that Kalanick’s departure from the top job (he will stay on the board) signals that there is indeed a line to cross where even disenfranchised investors can assert their power. It is not hard to see why: Uber is facing up to some tough decisions.

Aside from the rows ariund a damaging corporate culture, news that rival Lyft has increased its share of the US ride hailing market from 17 per cent to 23 per cent is rapidly destroying investor assumptions about this industry. Uber investors have stumped up $12bn in the belief that this is a winner-takes-all market. That now looks not to be the case.

This is great news for the customer as low fares are likely to persist. Uber investors had been funding incentives to both customers and drivers in the hope that both would stay put once the incentives stopped. Evidence is beginning to suggest otherwise. Uber’s 2016 losses, largely driven by the funding of incentives globally and from the development of driverless car technology, were $2.8bn.

So where did that winner-takes-all belief come from? Well, investors had looked at Amazon, Facebook and Google. The first mover in those cases developed a large customer base attracted by an increasing number of suppliers. In turn, suppliers found access to large numbers of customers and had no motivation to go elsewhere. The software simply does the matching.

An Uber customer wants a quick pick-up and cheap fares while the drivers want to be busy generating higher wages. So, in theory, an app which offered both at a high level, and was first to market, should attract most of the drivers and customers.

However, the app is readily copied. Many taxi firms now have their own app with similar attributes. Customers may now have several ride hailing apps on their phones which they can check for the cheapest and most rapid arrival. Additionally, drivers are self-employed and can switch their allegiances rapidly. This is not a recipe for world domination.
John Colley is associate dean at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. Continue reading his story:

  • Uber thought it was in a winner-takes-all market. So what went wrong?
Autonomous cars should not be privately owned, says Zipcar

Autonomous cars should not be privately owned, says Zipcar

Zipcar UK’s general manager has said highly autonomous vehicles should not be privately owned in the future.
Jonathan Hampson, the UK-boss of the car sharing company, said Zipcar would adapt its business model to include autonomous vehicles and in the future and would help lead the way with the new technology. He told AM: “For autonomous vehicles to work for cities like London they can’t be privately owned, it has to be shared ownership.”

“Zipcar is the global leader with shared ownership so I think when the time comes we will definitely have a part to play with autonomous vehicles and making them available as part of our fleet.”

Hampson believes privately-owned autonomous vehicles would further congest cities with cars making individual trips rather than shared ones.

Autonomous vehicles and access to them through car clubs are likely to play a part in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) which will reduce the need for personally owned modes of transportation. It works by combining transport from public and private providers in a unified way to create and manage a trip from one account.

Hampson believes Transport for London (TfL) would have to step in as an independent party to administer MaaS services in cities in the future as companies are unlikely to share customer information unless it’s going to an unbiased third-party.

A MaaS pilot is already running in the West Midlands with 500 customers. Those involved in the trial will have access to bus, metro, rail, car hire and cycle hire all through one app on their smartphone. Other services will be added as the pilot progresses. It being delivered by a commercial provider, MaaS Global.

The potential success of MaaS raises questions about the current structure of the automotive retail market. Large dealer groups and manufacturers are already thinking about what part they will have to play in a MaaS future.

However, dealers have expressed doubt at how quickly car buyers will abandon the current ownership model and the potential for MaaS to take off with mainstream customers.

Continue reading:

  • Should taxi companies own autonomous vehicles?
A new approach to designing smart cities

A new approach to designing smart cities

One day, I’d like to design a truly modern, functional city with the character of a medieval hill town. Rather than a blueprint, I’d like to design a series of recipes for how to create it, from the community to individual human level, from street plans to door handles. This outlines how and why that approach could work, compared to how cities are designed today.

The most useful skill I learned as an architect was the ability to zoom in and out of scales, to be able to care about the design of a door handle or a masterplan at the same time, by keeping a map of everything in mind at any one time. In other words, to ‘grok’ things. If you designed a fruitcake the way buildings are, you would specify the coordinates of every nut and raison. every cake would look the same and there would be something distinctly non artisanal about it.

Nobody designs a fruitcake by specifying the coordinates of its ingredients. But cakes aren’t designed, they are created from recipes and the end result is slightly different for each one because of the action of the person applying the recipe and subtle variations in the environment. The more a product made from a recipe is connected to individual human interaction and its local environment, the more local and artisanal it looks, and people often pay a premium for hand made artisanal products rather than factory made ones.

To summarise: things made from a recipe rather than a design have more character, and hand made things made from recipes have even more character, still. Mass produced cakes don’t tend to be premium products in the way that, say, iPhones are.

Things created by recipes rather than by design have characteristics that are similar to the natural world, ie they are ‘organic’, everything is slightly different but based on the same pattern.

Some of the patterns we see in the built environment, and how they relate to each other were famously described by Christopher Alexander in A Pattern Language. Alexander’s patterns codify not only the objective attributes about form and function but the subjective and emotional ones. For example, one pattern explains how pools of light directly over tables in restaurants create intimacy. Because the patterns have diagrammatic and verbal descriptions, they codify the human made environment so it can be recreated, like recipes. Also, because the various patterns describe how they relate to each other, they form the syntax of a type of language — a pattern language.

A Christopher Alexander pattern. Alexander is more highly regarded among software designers than architects as he is often used to show how some of the concepts of object oriented programming are applied in other disciplines. People often feel more at home in organic environments built up over time following patterns rather than sterile, overtly planned design. Jane Jacobs understood this well and it drove her efforts to protect the organic character of Manhattan’s West Village.

Not everything should be organic, however. An artisanal iPhone wouldn’t have sufficient scale for it to be functionally great and non high-tech aesthetics would tend to be kitsch by being skeuomorphic — ie having a form that pretends to be something it isn’t such as being made of wood. Some things actually become disturbing when they are organically designed and David Cronenberg created good examples of this in the film eXistenZ. Like most things, there is no hard and fast rule and the design of cities works best with a balance of geometric design and organic vernacular that offset each other. There is no better example of this than New York’s Central Park with its simple rectangle containing a romantic landscape.

Not all organic design is pleasing. The organic games console in the movie eXistenZ looks like a deformed new born still connected to its mother by an umbilical cord. It has aesthetic qualities that are instinctively disturbing as they sit in the uncanny valley between natural and designed.

For examples of how highly geometric or minimalist modernism work well when balanced with an organic environment, the trees or sculpture in a Mies van der Rohe design are critical components, and an elegantly designed building created from standard industrial parts such as the Eames’ house works best surrounded by the dappled light from trees.

Mies van der Rohe designs wouldn’t be as effective without the very deliberately selected organic elements such as figurative bits of sculpture or trees. Trees are an integral part of why the Eames’ house design works so well. The Eames house in a barren industrial estate, surrounded by similar, albeit less elegant, sheds wouldn’t work so well.

New cities haven’t tended to be designed from scratch, from recipes because of the constraints of infrastructure. Medieval hilltop towns that grew organically were difficult to justify as blueprints for transport and utility networks. This functional need for highly ordered city plans is changing, however, as information technology allows communication that is independent of the physical environment, and intelligent automation allows point to point physical movement in self directed pods rather than mass transit on fixed arteries. Specifically, ubiquitous, GPS enabled smartphones remove entirely the concept of ‘getting lost’, and route programmed self driving cars and mesh network power grids enable organic city layouts to replace grids. Cities of the industrial age looked mechanical, cities of the information age can look like fractal networks — like nature.

Continue reading:

  • How to build future cities?
Bluetooth technology reveals traffic anomalies in major Danish city

Bluetooth technology reveals traffic anomalies in major Danish city

Thanks to years of collecting traffic data, based on the movement of driver´s mobile devices, Aarhus municipality in Denmark can now see the effects in road traffic of construction projects, roadwork, traffic accidents and faulty traffic lights.

Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city has been using BlipTrack Bluetooth sensors for several years to collect traffic information, based on the movement of road users´ Bluetooth devices. The sensors, placed on the entire road network, including adjacent highways, provides the city with both real-time and historic traffic information, including driving times, speed, dwell times and flow.

Besides the benefits of real-time reporting, which enables the city to gain in-depth insight and understanding of current road density, flow and formation of queues, and share traffic information with road users on signs, the historical data is now being used to detect driving time anomalies. Effectively, this means that the city can pinpoint road sections and intersections where driving times deviate from the norm as a result of construction projects, incidents, roadwork, faulty traffic lights and other factors.

The data provides a thorough comparison of current vs typical driving times, minute-by-minute throughout the day. The typical driving times, which are continuously updated, are based on various type of days (weekdays, weekend, vacation season or not) and time of day.

If driving times deviate from the typical driving time, the system automatically raises a flag. As the system logs and visualizes all deviations, traffic engineers can create historical performance and reliability reports based on deviations from the norm. The city is provided with an overview of the current situation and tendencies over time, to initiate countermeasures.

Alarm visualization can be displayed in various ways; for example, over time and for each road section, based on intersection errors, or the impact of a major traffic accident. It can show the scattering effect that can cause both a deterioration and improvement of driving times – depending on what alternative routes motorists choose to take advantage of – or if road users are prevented from reaching parts of roads.

“The benefits we have gained from the solution since implementation are very significant. We now discover errors and irregularities that we would not have a chance to see otherwise. In addition, it is extremely educational and easy accessible to study how the incidents of various kinds influence the road network,”says Asbjørn Halskov-Sørensen, ITS Project Manager at Aarhus Municipality.

Intersection alarm, analysis and optimization.

Aarhus has around 230 intersections regulated by traffic lights. If just one of these traffic signal installations is not working optimally or breaks down, it directly affects traffic flow in a large surrounding area.

While the many traffic light installations do have built-in alarm systems that warn about mechanical errors, such as defective bulbs, programming errors and communication trouble in the connection to other linked systems, these alarm systems are “dumb”, unable to report on the consequences of the errors or traffic regulation programs. The alarm systems cannot see whether an error is causing queue formation or longer driving times for the road users, and they cannot see whether the amount of traffic has changed over time, calling for a change to the traffic light system program. This means, for example, that sudden or continuous traffic increase could result in major gridlock, without warning.

To meet this challenge, Aarhus opted to turn the problem on its head and to see the traffic flow from road users’ perspective. Since the Bluetooth sensors measure both short and long distances, as well as the turn flow through intersections, and groups of traffic lights in the road network, the solution provides an objective, measurable expression of road users’ driving experience. Now, issues are detected, enabling the city to ensure that traffic lights are working correctly and programmed optimally.

The solution has quickly become an indispensable supplement to the existing surveillance system for the Aarhus traffic light installations. Various unfavorable situations have proven to be detectable with direct reference to driving time data, such as:

  • Errors caused by incorrect activation of traffic light programs, such as the rush hour program
  • Missing or lengthy activation of turn phases
  • Defective surveillance systems
  • Human error, such as forgetting to switch back to the normal program following maintenance
  • Incorrect timing of coordination chains (“green wave”)

All these factors play a crucial role in identifying traffic signal installations that need optimization, but also in terms of what needs to be optimized and, ultimately, whether the efforts had the intended effect.

“BlipTrack data is generally used for much more than just being able to measure the effect of signal optimization and roadwork/construction projects, but this is clearly an important part of its application”, says Asbjørn Halskov-Sørensen. “Ultimately, the data contributes to an improved economy and a better environment through reduced driving times and fuel consumption, and thus reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.”

With the new approach, Aarhus now enjoys a full overview and understanding into all dynamics of its traffic. Since the city has full access to all the raw data, unlike with similar solutions, the plan is to combine the solution with existing surveillance systems. This would enable the city to qualify the individual system’s alarms to an even greater extent.

Besides providing the city of Aarhus with visibility on driving times anomalies, the solution is also implemented in cities in UK, Sweden, Thailand, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Canada and Ireland. BlipTrack also is successfully employed in optimization efforts in more than 25 international airports, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York, Copenhagen, Oslo, Manchester, Dublin, Brussels, Geneva, San Diego, Keflavik and Edinburgh. In recent years, the solution has been rolled out in train stations, ports, ski resorts, amusement parks and at events all over the world.

  • Bluetooth technology reveals traffic anomalies in Aarhus, a major Danish city
Groupe Renault launches ‘CityMakers’ to advance urban mobility innovations

Groupe Renault launches ‘CityMakers’ to advance urban mobility innovations

Groupe Renault has teamed up with NUMA, a leading startup accelerator, to launch CityMakers in partnership with AXA, Nissan, RCI Bank and Services and the City of Paris. Clara Terrien, Innovation Ecosystem Manager at Renault Innovation Lab and Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley, gives us more information.

What is CityMakers? “CityMakers aims to accelerate the transition toward a flexible and sustainable urban mobility. The program takes place at Renault Open Innovation Lab – le Square located in Paris.”

Why launching CityMakers? “I am convinced that the transition toward a flexible and sustainable urban mobility requires to build a long-term vision but also to coordinate innovative actions through new collaboration modes between key stakeholders. We observe that today’s rapid urbanization leads to new challenges in cities such as congestion and pollution. Mobility solutions powered by technologies (connectivity, electrification, autonomous driving) and usages (shared mobility) have the potential to address these challenges. We estimate that by 2030 more than 25 percent of new cars sold are going to be electric particularly in urban areas and more than 25% of all miles could be traveled via shared mobility services.”

“The time to market of these mobility solutions will be accelerated by new collaboration modes of key stakeholders: private companies, local governments, entrepreneurs, universities, and citizens. That’s exactly the ambition of CityMakers. Within 10 months the program partners and the selected startups along with mobility experts will experiment 7 innovation solutions within the City of Paris.”

Who are the partners? “We are proud to team up with Numa, France’s first startup accelerator, to launch this program in partnership with:

AXA: Leading insurance brand worldwide.

  • – Nissan: Since 1999 the Renault-Nissan Alliance has built a unique business model that has created significant value for both companies. The Alliance is the world’s largest maker of electric cars.
  • – RCI Bank and Services: The financial company of Groupe Renault.
  • City Of Paris: The capital of open innovation and leader of the sustainable transition.

What are the benefits for the startups? “During the program the selected startups will have the chance to work with public and private leaders in their sector. Among others they will receive a €10,000 grant to support their experiments, access exclusive resources (experimentation field, data sets from the corporates partners etc.), benefit from NUMA expertise and a network of experts to accelerate their business.”

  • Groupe Renault launches ‘CityMakers’ to advance urban mobility innovations.
Local leaders team up with EU Commission to boost low-emission mobility  across Europe

Local leaders team up with EU Commission to boost low-emission mobility across Europe

EU local authorities are making transport systems more efficient, promoting the use of low-emission energy for transport and paving the way for zero-emission mobility. But, according to the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), they need an improved legal framework and stronger financial support to replace polluting public transport fleets. These concerns were shared by the EU’s Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, who jointly with local leaders launched an EU-wide initiative to accelerate the deployment of zero-emissions buses across Europe.

Clean buses in Europe currently account for 10-12% of the entire public transport fleet (around 20,000 out of 200,000 public buses). To speed up their deployment, the CoR joined forces with the European Commission to increase the participation of regions and cities in the Clean Bus Deployment Initiative, which brings together local authorities, manufacturers and transport operators to roll-out clean mobility principles on the ground. During its plenary session in Brussels, local representatives signed a declaration committing them to contribute to increasing the number of clean buses by at least 2000 by the end of 2019 and increase the share of clean buses in bus fleets to 25% by 2025. Such an upgrade alone would trigger investment for over 1 billion Euros.

During the launch, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the CoRs’ President-elect, said, “This initiative shows that delivering low-emission transport, greening our economies and protecting our environment starts in our regions and cities. It is another step towards ending the unacceptable levels of air pollution damaging our health and lowering our carbon emissions showing that the EU is upholding our global climate promises set out in Paris”.

Commissioner Bulc remarked, “Cities and regions play an important role in our efforts to reduce emissions from transport. With today’s declaration on the deployment of clean buses, cities and regions together with manufacturers of clean technology commit to increase the share of clean public transport in urban areas. This is good for the health of our citizens and the quality of life in our cities and regions. It also helps our industry to compete in a growing market for clean transport solutions. I welcome the commitments undertaken and I am confident that many more cities and regions as well as companies will join the initiative we are starting today.

The CoR also adopted its opinion led by József Ribányi(HU/EPP), Vice-

President of the County Council of Tolna Megye, during this plenary session where regions and cities representatives assessed the delivery of the EU’s strategy on low-emission mobility launched a year ago by the European Commission. “The investment on low emission fleets should be accompanied by the streamlining of the links between the energy sector and the transport system” pointed out rapporteur Ribányi, also referring to the concrete experience of his community: “In the city of Paks, in my region, thanks to the ELENA programme and the EIB funds, electric vehicles of the public transport system will be charged using the surplus capacity of night time operating hours of the only nuclear power plant of Hungary”.

Increasing the efficiency of transport systems is a key objective for local leaders, who shared their concerns with Commissioner Bulc. In order to address the lack of interoperability of data, services and technical solutions, they called for EU-wide standards. Local leaders also warned that there was a serious lack of coordination and cooperation among relevant actors which was hindering integrated pricing and ticketing for multimodal transport solutions. The CoR called for new rules at EU level to make mandatory the sharing of timetables and travel information. As for the use of low emission energy for transport, local and regional leaders stress that the ideal low-emission alternative energy should be produced, stored and consumed locally. They also call for prioritising and subsidising non-food biofuels, whilst phasing out food-based biofuels – which have environmental side effects.>

In order to boost the delivery of the low emission mobility strategy, the European Commission is promoting innovative financial tools, blending resources from the Connecting Europe Facility and bank guarantees for private investors provided by the European Fund for Strategic Investment. A 1 bn Euros call based on this scheme was launched in February this year.

• Local leaders team up with EU Commission to boost low-emission mobility across Europe.

Carsharing & on-demand taxis transforming transport; now to be combined

Carsharing & on-demand taxis transforming transport; now to be combined

The modern landscape of transit is rapidly shifting. Expanding mobility services are changing the market. It is a swift 8 years since Uber was founded and 5 since Lyft began. Now, tapping up an Uber is as common as hailing a taxi for many people, or more common than getting a taxi ever was for them. One can arrange an Uber in the US and worldwide — Rome, Wroclaw, Oslo — seemingly any city. In fact, I once had a person arrange an Uber for his wife at a Florida airport from an app in London, England.

Due to issues with availability and convenience, people are choosing the on-demand taxi/ride-hailing services more and more every day. Lyft, Uber, and Zipcar are some major players, but there are actually hundreds of others. Definitely, the services are changing the transportation landscape.

The best news is that zero-emissions all-electric cars are showing up more and more in carsharing and 21st century taxi programs.

This switch in transportation is set to change much more than the vehicle people ride in. It is possible that the change will support property sales in the suburbs.

Another significant note is that more urbanites and suburbanites — especially millennials — are not automatically going into the car-owning commitment, or at least not as fast as their parents did. It makes sense to depend on a combo of mass transit and Lyft, Uber, or taxi apps.

Carsharing is often a helpful supplement, offering people a car they can pack up and drive far away for cheaper than jumping in an Uber or Lyft. “As carsharing attains critical mass, it’s estimated that one vehicle can take between 7 to 11 vehicles out of a metro area,” a CleanFleet report notes.

“With some carsharing services, a variety of cars are available percent of the time, making them considerably more efficient than private vehicles, which have a 4 percent utilization rate. The free-floating carsharing model goes further, adding the convenience of one-way transport at a much more affordable cost than a ridesharing service. Utilization goes up as well: Free-floating cars are on the road between 15-to-18 percent of the time.”

The carsharing model also provides an environmental plus — it gives users the car they need for each purpose, rather than a year-round SUV despite limited need for such a big vehicle. “They can drive a fuel-efficient compact around town—and still, take an SUV for the once-a-year camping trip or drive a pickup to Home Depot. And because carsharing fleets will always be newer and better maintained than the average privately owned car (and more likely to be electric), the impact of any of those vehicles will be lighter on the planet.”

Talking efficiency, consider the result when one car can be used for both carsharing and ridesharing. “A model where the vehicle is available for carsharing during the day, switches to ridesharing in the evening (after cocktails), and goes on delivery errands at night (when there’s no traffic) would offer transformational utilization rates. In fact, in a perfect world, the car might be busy day and night.”

That’s what Ridecell offers, and it is seemingly the first to do so.

“Ridecell provides a fast and easy way to get started in the new mobility market. Because our white-label platform is built on years of experience, it’s ready for automakers, transit agencies, corporate campuses, and mobility startups to brand and launch their own services—and to scale them as business grows.

“The Ridecell platform integrates the technology needed to run a standalone ridesharing or carsharing operation—or a hybrid service that combines both. End-to-end automation covers onboarding new riders, checking IDs, dynamic pricing, driver-rider matching, ride scheduling, payment processing, demand-supply balancing, personalized settings, and even referral programs and promotions. And, of course, there’s a customizable app that’s easy for drivers and riders to love.”

More and more consumers are graduating beyond car payments, stopping the cycle of leasing or owning cars their own private cars. They have chosen to do away with parking headaches and car insurance payments. How much more attractive is the move once you can access a car or a ride via the same app?

Read more:

  • Combining car-sharing and on-demand taxis.
New electric London taxi unveiled; LTC becomes LEVC and sells first 225 cabs to Rotterdam’s RMC

New electric London taxi unveiled; LTC becomes LEVC and sells first 225 cabs to Rotterdam’s RMC

At an event in London’s Docklands the new London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) – formerly London Taxi Company – today unveiled the new electric ‘London’ taxi. The new cab will keep the TX prefix, but will be called TX eCity. At the same time the company underlined its international aspirations by announcing an order for 225 TX eCity’s by the Rotterdam mobility company RMC. RMC, one of the largest taxi and mobility companies in The Netherlands will also become importer for the BeNeLux. The vehicles will be delivered in 2018 and used for AOV, Amsterdam’s contract social transportation system currently run by RMC.

The final version of the new London Taxi – the TX – and its eCity technology combines an advanced battery electric powertrain with a small petrol generator. Applied to the all-new electric TX, the technology allows for a range of over 400 miles (600 km) including well over 70 miles (105 km) range with zero emissions.

Discussing the benefits that the TX will bring to drivers, LEVC CEO Chris Gubbey commented: “From our heritage as the manufacturer of the iconic London Taxi, we have unparalleled insight into the needs of commercial operators. Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and provide taxi drivers with an average weekly fuel saving of £100 compared with our outgoing diesel model.”

Due to launch in London later this year – trial runs are expected for October – LEVC is finalising its quality and testing regime for the TX which has taken it to the extreme heat of the Arizona desert and freezing temperatures in the Arctic Circle. LEVC expects strong demand from its launch market in London once the order book opens on the 1st August 2017.

“London has led the way in setting out tough measures to reduce taxi and van emissions and in just a few short years we expect EVs for the commercial operator will not just become commonplace, but mandatory in cities around the world creating huge opportunities for LEVC globally. Gubbey commented.

So, no TX5 and no London Taxi Company. At the same event LTC has been relaunched as LEVC, marking the next stage in the company’s transformation. Underpinned by an investment totalling £325m (€ 365.5m) LEVC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely, has the single-minded ambition to be the urban commercial vehicle provider of choice for cities around the world.

“Today is an incredibly exciting day for the company, for the world’s cities, for the air we breathe and for the drivers of commercial vehicles”, said Chris Gubbey, CEO LEVC. “The launch of LEVC marks Britain’s leadership as a first mover in creating the world’s only dedicated electric vehicle company for the urban commercial market.”

A key consideration for the company’s new name and brand positioning is its international strategy, which has been boosted by the news that LEVC has received its first major international order from RMC in The Netherlands for an initial 225 vehicles to be delivered in 2018. Rotterdam’s RMC, one of the Netherlands’ largest taxi operators, has been appointed as the importer and operator.

Gubbey: “Today’s announcement that RMC will be our importer for the Netherlands is great news for LEVC and demonstrates the need for EV urban commercial vehicles across Europe and the world. We have been extremely impressed with the vision and business plan presented by the management team at RMC and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

From 1 August LEVC will be providing personalised purchase propositions to drivers commencing with those that have registered an interest through

  • More like a “small limousine”, but continuing the design heritage of the FX3, FX4 and TX4.