EU Offers € 8 Mio for Electric 2-Wheelers Research
BRUSSELS, Belgium – For the first time the EU Commission is going to fund research into electric powered two-wheelers. The ECF reports that consortia are invited to bid for funds to research efficiency improvements to existing vehicles or even to propose new vehicle types for research and prototyping.
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s new research program aimed to make Europe a more competitive economy. Part of Horizon 2020 is the former “Green Cars Initiative”, which has now become the “Green Vehicles Initiative” (EGVI). Within the initiative, € 5-8 million is identified for “Electric two-wheelers and new light vehicle concepts”.
‘It’s the bike industry’
“So who should be grabbing this category and making it part of their future?” says ECF Development Director Kevin Mayne. “The bike industry of course. Whole else knows the most about successful development and deployment in this category? Which industry is hard at work talking to local governments about new infrastructure? Who has cargo bikes and bike share actually working for some of the major cities? So it seems obvious to us that the bike industry will want to get actively involved in research consortia bidding for this cash.”
While the call officially excludes the bicycle and pedelec category, it is aimed at the (electric) powered vehicle sector, so called “Type L”. This can include speed pedelecs and e-cargo bikes and the funding has an open invitation to develop innovative Light Electric Vehicles.
Call for proposals
The first element is a call to research focused on energy efficiency improvements for a wide range of vehicle types. Research will address cost efficiency, integration and modularity of battery packs, electric and plug-in hybrid power trains, system integration and innovative vehicle architecture.
The second element of the call suggests funding could be available for the development and proof of concept of new ultra-light vehicles for passengers. “From the Information Day that we attended we learned that the EU is concerned that really innovative vehicle design in the small vehicle category seems to be dominated by non-European companies and researchers, such as concept vehicles from Toyota,” says Kevin Mayne.
Pedelecs: a new fashion
The Horizon 2020 call is only the most recent development in a series of EU endorsements of Pedelecs and powered two-wheelers. Just recently, the Commission’s DG Climate had recognized the potential for Pedelecs as a low-carbon transport choice – also for the first time. The study confirmed that electric bicycles are one of the most exciting low-carbon transport innovations and called for more investment into the technology.
“This is a message that ECF has been carrying for quite some time now,” says Kevin Mayne. “Just now, as the new EU budget has been approved, and funds are beginning to be distributed, the Commission hears it for the first time. The Commission also funds our new Pro E-bike project. As a successor to the cargo bike-promoting Cyclelogistics project, Pro E-bike goes one step further and focuses on electrically assisted transport bikes.”