Shaping the Future of Mobility: Electric Vehicles in Urban Spaces
- 02 November 2023
Are Electric Vehicles (EVs) meant for urban spaces? The discussion on the role of EVs in our cities has been heating up as electric mobility continues to gain traction in Belgium. With around six million cars on the road, and a projection to double the number of electric vehicles in 2023, the conversation around the ideal place for EVs is crucial.
A recent panel discussion with industry experts from, among others, EV Belgium, Stroohm, GreenMobility and XXImo, raises some thought-provoking questions. Delve into the highlights of the discussion and discover what Yorick Amerlynck, Mobility Consultant at XXImo, has to say.
Moderator Edith Vervliet, kicked off the discussion with a quote from auto futurist Jeroen Vertongen, who believes that "Cars belong on the outskirts of the city. Pedestrians and cyclists should take precedence in cities, followed by shared mobility and public transportation, and only then cars."
The following discussion revolved around the future of electric vehicles in urban environments, emphasizing the need to balance environmental benefits, efficiency, and accessibility. As the world embraces the electric revolution, the journey to sustainable urban mobility is an evolving narrative.
The panel has contrasting views. While some argue that EVs are not just a mobility solution but also an energy solution which benefit the city, others, on the other hand, emphasize that urban spaces should prioritize efficient modes of transportation, like walking, cycling, and public transit, as real estate within cities is precious.
Companies transitioning to electric fleets are reaping fiscal benefits. The transition, however, is complex, with political decision-making lagging behind technological advancements. Space constraints and charging infrastructure challenges are some of the hurdles to address. But car-sharing is emerging as a solution, freeing up space as fewer cars are needed.
Private drivers are also expected to shift toward electric vehicles as Europe plans to phase out fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. The government's focus on businesses transitioning to electric fleets is evident, and recent changes in fiscal incentives support this shift.
Finally, the panel unanimously agrees that "range anxiety" is no longer a concern. Public fast-charging infrastructure is expanding, particularly for personal vehicles, and electric trucks are on the horizon. Still, there are concerns about the availability of raw materials for battery production, although one panellist believes Europe has the potential to lead in battery technology using less rare metals.
"The city of the future is a dynamic landscape where urban spaces evolve, legislation adapts, and electric vehicles gain traction among the general public. However, it is the small and medium businesses, responsible for the majority of the kilometres travelled, who bear the responsibility to educate and encourage employees to opt for electric or low-emission travel choices. While some transformative changes may seem distant, such as the phasing out of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035, the mobility landscape in cities is already undergoing a significant shift. A younger generation of (business) travellers is increasingly favouring flexible, on-demand travel options. Yet, company mobility policies and reimbursement systems often lag behind.
XXImo, as an open-loop mobility payment provider for businesses, can be the catalyst for cities, small and medium enterprises, and their employees to make flexible, greener travel choices and eliminate the complexities of managing travel expenses across various modes.
Discover how electric vehicles are reshaping our urban landscapes, and join the conversation on the future of mobility. For more insight on this panel’s take on the future of EVs in Belgian cities, explore the full article on KMOInsider.