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About this book

This edited open access book gives a comprehensive overview of small and lightweight electric three- and four-wheel vehicles with an international scope. The present status of small electric vehicle (SEV) technologies, the market situation and main hindering factors for market success as well as options to attain a higher market share including new mobility concepts are highlighted. An increased usage of SEVs can have different impacts which are highlighted in the book in regard to sustainable transport, congestion, electric grid and transport-related potentials. To underline the effects these vehicles can have in urban areas or rural areas, several case studies are presented covering outcomes of pilot projects and studies in Europe. A study of the operation and usage in the Global South extends the scope to a global scale. Furthermore, several concept studies and vehicle concepts on the market give a more detailed overview and show the deployment in different applications.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Introducing SEVs

Frontmatter

Open Access

Small Electric Vehicles—Benefits and Drawbacks for Sustainable Urban Development

Abstract
Small electric vehicles (SEVs) have the potential to contribute to climate protection, efficient land use, and mitigation of air pollution in cities. Even though, they show many benefits that could enhance urban quality of life, they are not yet widely used. In this paper, benefits as well as drawbacks for these vehicles are discussed by combining literature research and outcomes of a mixed-method approach with expert interviews and an online survey. Resulting from these arguments, a vision for SEVs in urban areas is drawn showing them integrated in a mix of various transport modes. Environmental benefits are derived, for example, from their lower weight and low maximum speed making them a more energy-efficient transport option than heavier cars. Additionally, the small vehicle size lowers land use for SEVs and, e.g., allows for less parking areas needed. However, they also hold constraints that need to be dealt with in different ways. On the one hand, the lower safety compared to passenger cars is an issue that is further worsened by current traffic regulations. On the other hand, costs in terms of purchase prices seem to be an issue for SEVs.
Amelie Ewert, Mascha Brost, Stephan Schmid

Open Access

Courses of Action for Improving the Safety of the Powered Cycle

Abstract
This paper explores the possibility to include a number of safety features from passenger cars in powered cycles with three or four wheels, whilst complying with the legal definitions and requirements, and also the legal conditions to use the bicycle lanes. The differences between technical specifications contained within EU law for pedal cycle with pedal assistance, powered cycles, quadricycles and passenger cars will be explained. Further, examples of traffic code rules with respect to the use of bicycle lanes in different countries will be discussed. Finally, the need for new safety criteria for powered cycles, replacing the existing power limit, is highlighted. In addition to the above, the need for a different technical approach to deal with the stability of 1 m wide e-bikes with a vehicle height similar to a mainstream passenger car will be discussed.
Luc Vinckx, Huw Davies

Open Access

Velomobiles and Urban Mobility: Opportunities and Challenges

Abstract
As the transport challenges facing urban areas intensify, innovative solutions are required to address the social, economic and environmental impacts arising from overreliance on private motor vehicles. Velomobiles offer a range of advantages but do not feature on the radar screen of urban transport policy makers. This chapter explores the challenges and opportunities of increased adoption of velomobiles as an urban mobility option. A scan of existing velomobiles is used to define typical characteristics of these vehicles and place them into perspective against relevant travel options before they are assessed in the context of typical vehicle regulations and facility design guidelines. The opportunities and challenges associated with greater adoption of velomobiles in the context of urban travel are examined through the lenses of technology adoption and the sociotechnical framing of independent travel options. Shared mobility is identified as one potential way of broadening the base for velomobile adoption in urban areas.
Geoffrey Rose, Alex Liang

Open Access

The UK Approach to Greater Market Acceptance of Powered Light Vehicles (PLVs)

Abstract
This paper summarises the UK activity for powered light vehicles (PLVs) with the purpose of driving market acceptance. If alternative vehicle concepts are to emerge from the margins and transition into the main stream, there is a need to think differently. This opportunity has motivated a number of UK organisations to come together as a working group and identify a way forward. We contend that thinking differently requires a reshaping of the whole value chain. Each of the partners has contributed to this activity and we describe the development of a pathway towards the realisation of a UK PLV market. Research and policy development requirements for the UK market are defined, supported by a discussion on two specific segments of the PLV market—light freight vehicles and micromobility.
Huw Davies, Allan Hutchinson, Richard Barrett, Tony Campbell, Andy Eastlake

Case Studies and Applications of SEVs

Frontmatter

Open Access

The ELVITEN Project as Promoter of LEVs in Urban Mobility: Focus on the Italian Case of Genoa

Abstract
One of the growing innovations in the electric vehicle market concerns light electric vehicles (LEVs), promoted at local and national level by many initiatives, such as the European project ELVITEN, involving six cities, which is analysed in the present paper in relation to the Genoa pilot case study. In Italy, LEVs have been increasingly successful, as the number of their registrations shows (+76% in 2019 compared to 2018). In this context, the city of Genoa, where a considerable fleet of mopeds and motorcycles (214,499 in its metropolitan area in 2018) circulates, lends itself well to the experimentation of two-wheeled LEVs. The monitoring of the use of LEVs within the framework of the ELVITEN project has shown that the average daily round trips recorded in the metropolitan area of Genoa are equal to 15–20 km, thus reinforcing the idea that LEVs represent a valid alternative to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) private vehicles. Moreover, the characteristics of the travel monitored and the users’ feedback highlight that the question of range anxiety is less present than expected. Finally, and contrary to our expectations, the data analysis indicates that the use of LEVs in Genoa during two months of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown—March and April 2020—shows a decrease of 21%, while the average decrease recorded by the six cities globally considered is 51%.
Francesco Edoardo Misso, Irina Di Ruocco, Cino Repetto

Open Access

Small Electric Vehicles in Commercial Transportation: Empirical Study on Acceptance, Adoption Criteria and Economic and Ecological Impact on a Company Level

Abstract
Small electric vehicles (SEVs) in commercial transportation have the potential to reduce traffic and its impacts, especially in urban areas. Companies, however, are still reluctant to implement SEVs. Therefore, the aim of this contribution is to shed light on the acceptance of motives for and obstacles to the use of SEVs in commercial transportation. Since the use of SEVs is often discussed in the context of innovative city logistics concepts, such as micro-hubs, our aim is also, to explore the acceptance, economic, and ecological potentials of SEVs in combination with micro-hubs. We use a multi-method approach and combine an online survey with in-depth interviews as well as a total cost of ownership (TCO) and CO2 calculation. Analyzing 350 responses to an online survey revealed that around half the companies surveyed have no knowledge of SEVs. This implies high unexploited potential, since 25% of these companies can imagine using them. In-depth interviews with logistics service providers (LSPs) or logistics departments from different sectors revealed that six of the 13 interviewed LSPs would be willing to implement this concept.
Tim Hettesheimer, Cornelius Moll, Kerstin Jeßberger, Saskia Franz

Open Access

An Energy Efficiency Comparison of Electric Vehicles for Rural–Urban Logistics

Abstract
In many small and medium-sized businesses in rural–urban areas, delivery services to and from customers, suppliers, and distributed locations are required regularly. In contrast to purely urban commercial centres, the distances here are larger. The aim of this paper is to identify opportunities for substituting combustion-engine logistics with lightweight electric commercial vehicles and the limitations thereto, describing an energy efficiency comparison and improvement process for a defined logistics application. Thus, the area of Heilbronn-Franconia and its transport conditions are presented as examples to compare the use case to standard driving cycles. Then the logistic requirements of Heilbronn UAS (University of Applied Science) locations and the available vehicles as well as further electric vehicle options are depicted. Options are discussed for the additional external payload in search of transport volume optimisation without increasing the vehicle floor space. To this end, simulation models are developed for the aerodynamic examination of the enlarged vehicle body and for determining energy consumption. Consumption and range calculation lead to vehicle concept recommendations. These research activities can contribute to the transformation of commercial electro mobility in rural and urban areas in many parts of Germany and Europe.
Andreas Daberkow, Stephan Groß, Christopher Fritscher, Stefan Barth

Open Access

Electrification of Urban Three-Wheeler Taxis in Tanzania: Combining the User’s Perspective and Technical Feasibility Challenges

Abstract
This study assesses the feasibility of electric three-wheelers as moto-taxis in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from a socioeconomic and technical point of view. The analysis is based on three pillars: (i) the acceptance of users (the moto-taxi drivers) for adoption, (ii) the vehicle specifications incl. battery type and size, and (iii) the role of the charging infrastructure. Findings are based on data from empirical field-work; methods used are qualitative and quantitative data analysis and modelling. Main findings include that moto-taxi drivers, who we see as most important adopters, are open towards electric mobility. They request however that vehicles should have similar driving characteristics than their current fuel-vehicles. As the market is very price sensitive, keeping the vehicle cost is of high importance. A high potential to lower these costs is seen by offering opportunity charging spots around the city. If such an infrastructure is being implemented the combination with suitable, cost competitive vehicles makes the transformation of the vehicle market towards electrification possible.
Mirko Goletz, Daniel Ehebrecht, Christian Wachter, Deborah Tolk, Barbara Lenz, Meike Kühnel, Frank Rinderknecht, Benedikt Hanke

Impact Studies and Effects of SEV Deployment

Frontmatter

Open Access

Small Electric Vehicles (SEV)—Impacts of an Increasing SEV Fleet on the Electric Load and Grid

Abstract
Heading towards climate neutrality, the electrification of the transport sector has significant impact on the electric grid infrastructure. Among other vehicles, the increasing number of new technologies, mobility offers, and services has an impact on the grid infrastructure. The purpose of this case study therefore is to examine and highlight the small electric vehicle (SEV) impact on the electric load and grid. A data-based analysis model with high charging demand in an energy network is developed that includes renewable energy production and a charging process of a whole SEV fleet during the daily electricity demand peak for the city of Stuttgart (Germany). Key figures are gathered and analysed from official statistics and open data sources. The resulting load increase due to the SEV development is determined and the impact on the electric grid in comparison to battery electric vehicles (BEV) is assessed for two district types. The case study shows that if SEVs replace BEVs, the effects on the grid peak load are considered significant. However, the implementation of a load management system may have an even higher influence on peak load reduction. Finally, recommendations for the future national and international development of SEV fleets are summarized.
Tobias Gorges, Claudia Weißmann, Sebastian Bothor

Open Access

Fields of Applications and Transport-Related Potentials of Small Electric Vehicles in Germany

Abstract
The possible applications of small electric vehicles, i.e., electric cargo bikes and three- and four-wheeled L-class vehicles in transport, are discussed, and potential business models are presented. Moreover, transport-related potentials are analyzed. Therefore, we have utilized a multi-method approach: we conducted qualitative interviews with experts and professionals in the field of light and small electric vehicles and carried out quantitative analyses with the national household travel survey mobility in Germany 2017. Our results show that, theoretically, small electric vehicles could be used for 20–50% of private trips (depending on the model). On these trips, however, they would not only replace car trips, but also trips on public transport or by bicycle and on foot. In commercial transport, these vehicles are particularly suitable for service trips and some last-mile deliveries. If small electric vehicles were to replace a significant share of the transport volumes of motorized passenger and commercial transport, they could contribute to climate protection.
Christine Eisenmann, Johannes Gruber, Mascha Brost, Amelie Ewert, Sylvia Stieler, Katja Gicklhorn

Vehicle Concepts and Technologies

Frontmatter

Open Access

KYBURZ Small Electric Vehicles: A Case Study in Successful Deployment

Abstract
This paper is written from the perspective of a Swiss OEM which has been active in the small electric vehicle (SEV) market since 1991 and has put over 22,000 SEVs on the road around the world. KYBURZ Switzerland AG identified several important niche markets for SEVs and today sells vehicles to improve the mobility of senior citizens (e.g. KYBURZ Plus), to increase the efficiency of postal and logistics companies (e.g., KYBURZ DXP), and to imbue drivers with passion for electric vehicles (e.g., KYBURZ eRod). Most KYBURZ vehicles are currently homologated in the category L2e, L6e, or L7e. The company has also developed a Fleet Management product which gives its customers detailed insights into the performance of their electric as well as conventionally powered vehicles. Anonymized datasets from this Fleet Management system will be drawn upon in this paper to examine questions regarding their application, i.e., environmental and economic aspects. The unique feature which the authors from KYBURZ bring with this paper is that all their investigations are performed with real data gained from the field experience. The primary focus of this paper is on last-mile mobility services for postal organizations which help to increase efficiency and meet sustainability goals.
Erik Wilhelm, Wilfried Hahn, Martin Kyburz

Open Access

BICAR—Urban Light Electric Vehicle

Abstract
This paper describes the technical features of the light electric vehicle (L2e-category) named BICAR. This specially designed vehicle is an all-in-one emissions-free micro-mobility solution providing a cost-effective and sustainable mobility system while supporting the transition towards a low carbon society (smart and sustainable city concept). The BICAR represents part of a multimodal system, complementing public transport with comfort and safety, relieving inner-city congestion and solving the “first and last mile” issue. The BICAR is the lightest and smallest three-wheel vehicle with weather protection. Due to the space-saving design, six to nine BICARS will fit into a single standard parking space. Safety is increased by an elevated driving position and a tilting mechanism when cornering. The BICAR achieves a range of 40–60 km depending on the battery package configuration in urban transport at a speed of 45 km/h. It features a luggage storage place and exchangeable, rechargeable batteries. The BICAR can be driven without a helmet thanks to the safety belt system, which is engineered for street approved tests. The BICAR has an integrated telematic box connected to the vehicle electronics and communicating with the dedicated mobile application, through which the BICAR can be geo-localised, reserved, locked/unlocked and remotely maintained.
Hans-Jörg Dennig, Adrian Burri, Philipp Ganz

Open Access

Conception and Development of a Last Mile Vehicle for Urban Areas

Abstract
In megacities, increasing globalization effects are leading to rapidly increasing prosperity and augmented purchasing power, and thus to a growing need for punctual, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly delivery of goods. A smart, small electric vehicle concept is presented that targets on meeting the requirements for the delivery of goods in urban areas and that is designed especially for the delivery on the last mile. This last mile vehicle (LMV) for cargo transportation is attached to a truck. Whenever it is needed, for example to deliver goods into narrow streets, in pedestrian areas or in case of traffic jams, it can be unfolded and unloaded from the truck and hereby guarantees a flexible and punctual delivery of goods. This flexible on-time delivery is possible because the last mile vehicle is designed, so that the legal regulations of the non-motorized vehicle lane, that is everywhere to be found in Asia, are met. The vehicle is designed with three wheels, a range of 40-60 km and an electric drive train with a continuous power of 2 × 250 W that enables a maximum speed up to 40 km/h of the vehicle. The drive train consists of a battery pack that can be charged electrically from the truck, two inverters, and two electric wheel hub motors. The LMV has been designed and constructed as a prototype and has been tested on non-public roads to prove the vehicle concept. For Europe, it can be classified as an L2e vehicle and with slight modifications; it can be applied on European roads as well.
Andreas Höfer, Erhard Esl, Daniel Türk, Veronika Hüttinger

Open Access

Development of the Safe Light Regional Vehicle (SLRV): A Lightweight Vehicle Concept with a Fuel Cell Drivetrain

Abstract
The safe light regional vehicle (SLRV) concept was developed within the DLR project next-generation car (NGC). NGC SLRV addresses the safety concern of typical L7e vehicles. The SLRV is therefore specifically designed to demonstrate significant improvements to the passive safety of small vehicles. Another important goal of the NGC SLRV concept is to offer solutions to some of the main challenges of electric vehicles: to provide an adequate range and at the same time a reasonable price of the vehicle. In order to address these challenges a major goal of the concept is to minimize the driving resistance of the vehicle, by use of lightweight sandwich structures. A fuel cell drivetrain also helps to keep the overall size and weight of the vehicle low, while still providing sufficient range.
Michael Kriescher, Sebastian Scheibe, Tilo Maag
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