Toyota, City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Cité lib, EDF launch ultra-compact urban EV car-sharing project; i-ROAD and COMS
04 March 2013
|Concept of the Grenoble urban EV car-sharing project. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), the city of Grenoble, the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, car-sharing service operator Cité lib, and French energy provider Électricité de France (EDF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to begin by the end of 2014 a collaborative zero-emission ultra-compact urban electric vehicle car-sharing project in Grenoble aimed at addressing “last mile” transportation needs for those using public transportation.
TMC plans to supply nearly 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles for the 3-year project, including the COMS ultra-compact vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body (earlier post), as well as a new vehicle based on the Toyota i-ROAD concept vehicle. (Earlier post.)
|Toyota will provide electric vehicles based on the new i-ROAD concept (left) and COMS (right). Click to enlarge.|
These vehicles, with their compact dimensions, have been adapted specifically for urban driving, efficient use of parking spaces, and for “last mile” mobility needs.
TMC will also provide the One-Mile Mobility Management System, a centralized IT management system that will enable users to check location and availability of car-sharing vehicles and book them through smartphones. The system will also allow the fleet operator to optimise vehicle allocation throughout the charging station network.
For TMC, this project is part of research into comprehensive car-sharing schemes to explore the utility and business feasibility of co-modality transport solutions. The main objective of the research is to better understand the interconnection between the different modes of public and individual transportation in an urban environment, as well as to be able to better identify the exact needs of consumers in terms of “last mile” mobility.
This project has received support from the Ville de demain fund for the development of Ecocité Grenoble. The fund supports projects for new urban models such as innovative public transportation, alternative energy and new lifestyle approaches. The program is funded by a private investment group foundation, le group Caisse des Dépôts.
For Grenoble and the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, a fully electric car-sharing service has been identified as a solution to meet greenhouse-gas and other air-pollutant reduction targets.
EDF will install a charging network within the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole with charging points placed at public transportation stations to enable “last mile” transport and in areas where there is minimal public transportation. The project aims to fulfill the objectives of local public authorities to respond to the increasing need for mobility in the Ecocité area, while reducing car use.
For EDF Group, this project enables the evaluation for the feasibility of this new mobility system that is linked with charging stations and optimized for new urban traffic service. In addition, this project will provide a new IC-card-based personal identification and payment system, linking the charging stations with existing public transportation systems.
For Cité lib, this zero-emission urban car-sharing service will complement its current offering of mainly interurban self-service conventional gasoline and diesel car-sharing solutions.
The common challenge of the project will be to broaden consumer understanding and acceptance of car-sharing systems in preparation for its wider use the future.
Cité lib, which operates a car-sharing business in Grenoble, will handle daily operations and customer service. They will be in charge of responding to customer inquiries, subscription management, reservations and maintenance of vehicles and charging stations. They will also optimize vehicle availability throughout the charging station network.
This may be very convenient for people living close to a large city with decent suburban e-train networks.
Not so sure about the sustained availability at the suburb ends, specially in the early morning and evening when everybody wants one?
Posted by: HarveyD | 04 March 2013 at 01:13 PM
A genuine effort at improving individual transport by an automaker.
If America had a 'Eurail Pass' like rapid rail system, we could travel for a fraction of the IRS 55 cent per mile estimated auto mileage cost.
Instead, our non-car ground options are hours late Amtrak or 'every 30 miles' bus stops.
Too bad some US automaker was convicted of ripping urban rail out of America for decades.
Posted by: kelly | 04 March 2013 at 02:35 PM