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LowCVP Urban Mobility Challenge Winner: SusMobil Ltd

Meet LowCVP winner WeatherVelo at the Sustainable Urban Mobility Seminar - 10 December 2012

Car sharing for short-hop intra-city journeys (unlike most car clubs which are aimed at longer hire periods). Longer term plans for locally based assembly of appropriate vehicles for the use of the community-owned club.

Community-owned car club - aimed at short-hop city journeys and anticipating a new generation of drivers for whom sharing is normal.

Similar to Paris Autolib - but the cars will be specifically designed for intra-city hubs.

'City-Hub' manufacturing - longer term, SusMobil aims to assemble low-speed, low-range, low-cost vehicles at micro factories in each 'City-Hub'.

Pilot scheme - SusMobil has interest from two local authorities looking to implement the scheme, with a view to starting late 2012 and running in spring 2013.

Funding of £1.5m - is required to set up and launch the first pilot, whilst a separate investment of £250,000 will secure the vehicle development programme which has a direct route to sales of 250 cars at each of the City-Hubs.

SusMobil is designing a low carbon, community-owned car club specifically for short inner-city journeys, anticipating a new generation of drivers for whom the concept of ‘sharing’ will be normal practice. It is working with a sustainability charity and a UK city on a pilot scheme, scheduled for launch in early 2013.

When scaled to a city-wide project, SusMobil estimates that the entire fleet will travel over a million miles per year. Assuming that only 20% of these journeys replace a private vehicle or taxi, there is potential for 200,000 low emission miles per year, in just one city. The company was founded by Phil Edwards, who has 30 years of manufacturing and engineering experience and was the designer of the UK’s fastest electric drag-racing motorcycle.

SusMobil is similar to the Paris Autolib scheme, although Autolib vehicles are not specifically designed for intra-city use.  Other car clubs are generally aimed at longer hire periods/journeys and tend not to have the flexibility of multiple pick-up and drop-off points: nor do the majority offer electric cars. SusMobil will provide vehicles for short-hop intra-city journeys.

The company has identified a vehicle and data-logging system representing short term solutions for the pilot. Longer term, SusMobil plans to establish a micro-factory in each ‘City Hub’ to assemble low–range, low-speed, low-cost vehicles, install and manage the infrastructure, and train local employees in engineering and technology skills. The City Hub may also make cars for direct sale and will be the recycling point for disposal of vehicles at end-of-life.

SusMobil is in discussions with several vehicle manufacturers with appropriate vehicle platforms and will develop the route to manufacture in 2012/13. This project requires investment of £250,000 to develop and test a lightweight prototype specifically designed for the short-hop duty, local assembly and easy end-of-life recycling. In time, SusMobil expects a number of manufacturers to produce vehicles that meet the guidelines, offering each city a range of passenger and light commercial vehicles.

A smart data system will manage user-bookings, monitor car activity, locate vehicles, record vehicle performance (charge cycles, miles covered, maintenance records, etc.) and collate user data. Most of the technology already exists, albeit not necessarily in one package, and SusMobil is sourcing it from various providers. The scheme requires a network of community charge points which SusMobil envisages being located at businesses interested in promoting the scheme (convenience stores, large employers, cinemas, rail stations, leisure or sports centres, schools and universities).

Funding for a pilot scheme requires £1.5 million, which is expected to come jointly from the host city and a combination of investors/sponsors: the scheme is expected to return a small profit in the third year. SusMobil has two prospective offers from high profile UK locations to implement the pilot and is seeking investment to turn these into live projects.

A City Hub is expected to be managing a network of 300-400 charge points and a fleet of 200-250 cars after a few years, and creating employment and local purchasing in the region. With SusMobil helping local authorities to achieve their carbon reduction goals and create employment, whilst also operating the project on their behalf, it’s easy to see why a number of Councils are starting to take notice. The concept can be replicated across the globe.

 

 

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