The ERICA Project aims to develop the Electric Car-sharing service and make it available in Greece, initially starting from Corfu.
One of the important objectives of the European transport policy is the promotion of electric mobility, as a key tool for low energy consumption and low carbon footprint transportation. To reinforce the trend towards electromobility, car manufacturers are launching new models of electric vehicles, but the cost of acquiring them is high.
The combination of electrification and car sharing seems to be the ideal solution for environmentally clean and economically sustainable urban transport.
Electric Car Sharing systems are shaping new perspectives and can be provided by sophisticated business models developed by the car rental industry across Europe.
The successful operation of an Electric Car sharing system requires addressing specific challenges in their design and management. The ERICA project aims to support the operation of a system suitable for implementation in any city, and its exploitation in the city of Corfu, an area that attracts thousands of visitors and especially during peak tourist periods seems ideal.
Vehicle-sharing systems, especially electric ones, are flexible and can adapt to fluctuations in demand.
Objectives and targets of the ERICA Project
An important transport policy objective, particularly within Europe, is to promote electromobility. It is considered a key measure to achieve low carbon footprint and low energy consumption transport.
Although the automotive industry has made rapid progress in their development and deployment, the uptake of electric vehicles by users is low, mainly due to high acquisition costs.
Thus, the combination of electrification with car sharing systems is the ideal solution for clean but sustainable solutions to serve the growing demand for urban transport.
Electric Car Sharing systems are shaping new perspectives for sustainable mobility and can be provided by sophisticated business models developed by the car rental industry across Europe.
These systems can be a better alternative to private cars, as neither commuters are burdened with the cost of ownership nor society with the ‘environmental costs’ of using private cars. Moreover, they are flexible and can be adapted to fluctuations in demand. Their use in areas that attract visitors during peak tourist periods is being explored in urban areas of Europe.
Electric shared-use vehicles are also suitable for implementing the last mile in full combination with public transport, walking and cycling.
They can thus become a key element in the development of efficient combined urban transport systems. Indeed, in more than a thousand cities abroad, these systems complement public transport, offering flexibility and adaptability, as they are not bound by service scheduling and fixed routes.
The ERICA project aims to develop and market an Electric Car-sharing product and service, initially in Greece and in the future abroad, that will provide a technologically supported solution to each of the above-mentioned problems of market entry of such systems.
The successful operation of these systems requires addressing specific challenges related to their design and management, which differ significantly depending on the type of system. The ERICA project aims to support the operation of all types but also to support business decision making in relation to the choice of the type of electric car sharing system that is appropriate for each application in each city
The ERICA project with its technological solutions will support three different types of a vehicle sharing systems, namely:
In these systems the vehicle returns to the station from which the journey started. They are relatively easy to manage but lack quality of service provided.
In these systems the journey can start and end at any station. They are more accepted by users, but they create more demanding procedures for balancing supply and demand.
These systems operate without stations and reservations. They offer users greater flexibility but less reliability. These systems are extremely difficult to manage, especially when the vehicle fleet is electric.
Finally, it is noted that the project aims to contribute to the transition from vehicle ownership to vehicle sharing on the one hand and to the promotion of electromobility on the other hand, seeking to develop sustainable transport & mobility systems in line with users’ needs.
To meet the objectives presented above, the project will develop an integrated e-service consisting of
(a) a technological application addressed to users and providing online services to support the use of electric shared-use vehicles, and
(b) a dashboard for decision support in the management of electric car sharing systems, addressed to the companies that will provide and operate these systems and to third parties such as municipalities and research bodies to contribute to a better study of user behavior and infrastructure design related to the development of Electric Car Sharing systems.
This integrated online service will be able to serve all types of “car sharing systems”, integrating conventional and electric cars. The project will also result in an electronic manual, which will provide valuable guidance to local authorities for the integration of such systems into sustainable urban mobility and to companies wishing to enter the electric car sharing sector.
Regarding the integrated technological application
Erica app will be provided to users:
Provide the possibility to carry out all the necessary actions for the pickup and delivery of the vehicle using a technological solution to be completed within the project which does not require the intervention of an official or the installation of a special card on the windscreen of the vehicle.
Personalised routing services, which will consider the charging status of the vehicle and the locations of available charging stations in the area and the estimation of energy consumption to provide the optimal route. This service is of particular importance to reduce user anxiety and build confidence in the use of electric Shared Vehicles and becomes particularly important to enhance the use of the system in areas of tourist interest, as tourists in many cases are not aware of the charging possibilities, in the area and the time needed to access charging points. In addition, the technological application will provide information on the location and access to points of interest and attractions.
In addition, this manual will aim to prepare local authorities to properly welcome business activities that are likely to occur in their areas of responsibility. By providing guidance on critical issues, the aim of the handbook is to contribute to the promotion and penetration of electric car sharing systems in Greek cities, contributing to the achievement of the objective of sustainable urban mobility.