This article is part of our collection on Future Mobility
What’s new in the world of low- and zero-carbon transport.
Last updated: 04 May 2021 6 min read
A team of researchers from European universities has found that people who walk or cycle significantly reduce their carbon footprint from their daily travel – even if they walk or cycle in addition to their car journeys.
A two-year study of 4,000 people living in seven European cities found that those who cycled each day had 84% lower carbon emissions from all their daily travel than those who did not take to a bike.
Strikingly, using a bike instead of a car for one journey per day reduced a person’s transport-related carbon emissions by 67%, showing how introducing even limited cycling has the potential for dramatic emissions reductions.
Polestar intends to make the first climate-neutral car by 2030, the Swedish electric car company has announced.
The Polestar 0 Project aims to make the entire cycle of making, selling and running its cars climate-neutral, eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from production as well as from driving.
While this will involve increased emphasis on sustainability and the use of natural and recycled materials, it will also mean an overhaul of all sourcing and manufacturing processes.
Polestar’s head of sustainability, Fredrika Klarén, said: “We’re electric, so we don’t need to worry about combustion engines producing toxic emissions – but that doesn’t mean our job is done. We will now work to eradicate all emissions stemming from production.”
Sales of electric and hybrid cars in the UK beat previous levels this March as demand for more environmentally friendly vehicles continued to rise, despite overall car sales falling as a result of the pandemic.
Initial data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showed sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars took a combined market share of 13.9%, up from 7.3% the year before.
Just over 22,000 battery electric cars and 17,330 plug-in hybrids were registered during the month.
March is normally a busy time for vehicle sales as buyers wait for the change in number plates that happen during the month. While car sales this March were 37% lower than average figures for the month, they were 11.5% higher than in March last year.
The government has launched a new scheme to help local transport authorities introduce zero-emission buses. Up to £120 million is being made available through the Zero Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) scheme, which will deliver up to 500 zero-emission buses.
Under the scheme, local transport authorities will be able to bid for funding to buy zero-emission buses, enabling them to reduce carbon emissions from their public transport.
A fast-track process is in place for local transport authorities with well-developed proposals to submit expressions of interest by 21 May; those who need more time have until 25 June.
Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “This is a welcome injection of cash and confidence for businesses in this sector and for towns and cities across the country. Access to affordable, reliable and greener public transport will be a key to rebuilding local economies.”
The University of Warwick campus is now home to a new autonomous vehicle test and trial environment, thanks to Midlands Future Mobility, led by the university’s Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Connected and self-driving vehicles that have been developed using simulation and test tools can now be tried out in real-life situations in predetermined routes on campus.
Contiguous CCTV on two key ‘spine’ routes allows a remote observer in a control room to monitor the vehicles and, if necessary, take control of them. “We can also collect data on trials of new micromobility vehicles in and around existing users of the campus,” said John Fox, programme director at Midlands Future Mobility.
The control room and facilities are available for use by transport and infrastructure companies, technology developers, service providers, government and local authorities.
Almost one in three of the UK’s largest businesses have promised to completely eliminate their carbon emissions by 2050.
Thirty FTSE 100 companies have aligned themselves with the UK government’s climate ambitions by signing up to the United Nations’ Race To Zero campaign.
This group of businesses represents the largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, with many opting to go even faster.
More than 2,000 companies across the globe had joined the Race To Zero by the end of March. About one third of these of these are British businesses and include companies in the transport, technology and finance sectors.
Uber customers in Zone 1 can now book an all-electric vehicle for their trips, the company announced recently.
The initiative, called Uber Green, aims to improve air quality in central London while encouraging Uber users to take action on climate change. While fares will match those made in other types of Uber vehicle, EV drivers in the scheme will receive a higher fare per trip.
The initiative is part of the company’s journey to being a fully EV service by 2025 in London and by 2030 across the UK. This includes Uber’s Clean Air Plan, which has helped increase the number of fully electric Uber cars in London from 100 to 1,600 over the past two years.
Charge point mapping service Zap-Map and renewable energy company Good Energy have combined forces to offer EV drivers a new electricity tariff with which they can power their home or charge their car for free.
Free electricity will be available during ‘flash’ windows, based on times when the country is generating an excess of solar and window power. Drivers will be alerted to these windows via an updated app and will have a four-hour period during which they can charge their EVs at zero cost. The flash windows will run between 11am and 3pm in the summer and 11pm and 3am in the winter.