Hubs offering electric cars, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes to test potential of shared e-mobility to decarbonise transport
Posted on: 19 July 2023
Researchers from Trinity, together with collaborators from the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), ESB and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, will lead a €1.35 million shared electric mobility project.
Funding of almost €850,000 has been awarded by the Government of Ireland through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Project ROBUST will deliver four shared electric mobility hubs in Dublin, Galway, Sligo and Donegal with each hub providing charging infrastructure, electric cars, e-bikes and e-cargo bikes for shared use. The project will assess community adoption and hub usage patterns over a three-year trial period, testing the potential of shared e-mobility to decarbonise transport in Ireland.
From the trial, the project will provide evidence on how such hubs can work in different parts of the country and inform national and international transport decarbonisation policies.
Professor Brian Caulfield, Professor in Transportation at the Centre for Transport Research in Trinity, who is leading the project, said:
“This is a massively ambitious project that will for the first time provide us with evidence on how different parts of our country may adopt shared electric mobility. The ambition of the project is large, because the challenge is also large; by the end of the decade we need to decarbonise our transport sector by 50%. It is by learning from pilots like those planned in our project that we can provide evidence on how investment in shared mobility can be part of the solution in reaching this 50% reduction in emissions.”
Margie McCarthy, Director of Research and Policy Insights at SEAI, said:
“Our mission at SEAI is to be at the heart of the energy revolution. In supporting projects like ROBUST, we will better understand the supports and access required across Ireland to ensure the changes we need for reducing our transport-related emissions are in place and adoptable by people no matter where they reside. SEAI is delighted to support this project through our annual research funding programme, which aims to reduce barriers to delivering our national clean energy targets.”
Minister Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport and Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, said:
“Transformative action is required to enable Ireland to rapidly decarbonise its transport sector by 2030 and mobility hubs have the potential to play a major role in changing car-centric mindsets and mainstreaming on-demand shared mobility services. The support for this research project will provide invaluable insights and essential data on demand, use and gaps to help implement a more sustainable and workable transport system for everyone.”
Donal Phelan, Innovation Manager at ESB, said:
“ESB plays an important role in the country’s efforts to electrify our transport sector and is proud to support shared electric mobility projects like this to deliver innovative and collaborative solutions aiding affordable and accessible e-transport for all. This further exemplifies ESB’s innovation strategy of collaborating with industry, academia and government to create, test and commercialise solutions to support a Net Zero future.“
Brendan Grieve, Managing Director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said:
“Enterprise Rent-A-Car is delighted to work with Trinity College Dublin and the ESB on this exciting trial, which will give us the opportunity to highlight the many benefits of using shared electric vehicles. This three-year contract represents our continued commitment to play our part in transforming the mobility sector in Ireland, offering sustainable transport solutions for people across the country, in both rural and urban locations. We look forward to developing this trial and are excited to play a role in this important piece of research, which will help to inform how we as a country can reach our decarbonisation goals.”
Dr Rick Officer, Vice President for Research and Innovation at ATU, welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the collaboration. He said:
“This exciting research project is being co-delivered by ATU through academic researchers Dr Amaya Vega and Dr Brian McCann in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, the ESB, and Enterprise Holdings. Together they’ve designed an innovative and ground-breaking project that will have a profound impact on the development of sustainable and shared mobility policies and investment in interactive technology and transport infrastructure in the northern and western region and beyond. Our collaborating partners include Sligo County Council, Galway County and City Councils and the Northern and Western Regional Assembly. The initiative aligns with the ATU's strategic imperatives to contribute to regional decarbonisation and to improve the sustainability of communities.”
Professor Sinéad Ryan, Dean of Research at Trinity, said:
“One of the core principles of Trinity’s Research Charter is to harness our collective expertise for the greater good and this ambitious project truly shows the spirit of that principle in action. Prof. Caulfield is a recognised expert in his field of research and has brought together a wide range of partners and collaborators at ATU, ESB and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to create this ambitious project. It has the potential to transform our approach to and understanding of transport, infrastructure and decarbonisation across Ireland at a crucial time, and I look forward to seeing the project develop over the coming years.”