Leading the Way

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ESPRIT (Easily distributed Personal Rapid Transit)

In recent years, there has been a rapid expansion of car sharing systems in European cities. People are able to pick up a car and drop it off at designated parking places across the city. The problem has been that these ‘one-way’ systems lead to vehicles being in the wrong places and times for when they are needed. Operators have to gather vehicles one by one to replace them in locations where they will be used.

As a solution, ESPRIT proposes an innovative future mobility system for cities, based on a network of electric charging stations (the pick-up and drop-off points). Innovative ‘stackable vehicles’ (like shopping trolleys) are being designed for improved collection. Up to 8 vehicles can be collected in one round. The electric vehicles have a range of 10 kilometres and are designed to act as public feeder vehicles to public transport routes, to park and ride sites; or as car sharing services for city or district centres. They can be driven with 2 or 4 seating options. The vehicle provides greater energy efficiency through a custom built light weight body, collective, fast charging batteries and braking energy recovery.

ESPRIT is a leading project in the European Commission’s Green Vehicles Sub-Programme of Horizon 2020. It will continue until 2018. The project will develop the vehicle from current prototypes and demonstrate it in the districts of 3 major European cities: Barcelona, Glasgow and Lyon. The consortium developing the system includes major vehicle manufacturers (CEA, Voith), car sharing operators and public transport operators (e.g. CITIZ and First Group); in addition to system modellers (e.g. PDC).

Vectos has a critical role in the development and deployment of ESPRIT. They lead the project tasks to define the specification of the vehicle and the system, the safety components and, primarily, the potential market and business case for it to be rolled out across European cities..

ESPRIT is just one of the ways in which Vectos are exploiting the state of the art ideas for the urban mobility systems of the future. ESPRIT vehicles can provide local mobility services, accessible in location and price for all local people. It offers an alternative to owning a car and provides an energy efficient alternative that is easy to drive and safe to use. Importantly, it provides the ‘last mile’ solution for many public transport journeys.