Peter and Nick are back from Rio and Challenge Bibendum.
The first day of the Challenge had low-emission urban vehicles, intercity cars and long-haul utility vehicles taking part in on-road rallys. The Aurora solar racing car led the intercity course of 300 km, climbing from sea level in Rio to over 1000 m in the mountains near Petropolis, and beyond. The Aurora web site has more details.
Meanwhile, back at Rio Centro, world experts met for seven round-table discussions. The topics were:
- Advanced ICE engines. How will advanced ICE vehicles contribute to meeting the CO2 emission targets?
- Sustainable biofuels. How to achieve a 20% market share in transportation by 2020 with sustainable biofuels?
- Electric vehicles. How to meet a 10 to 15% market share of battery, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2020?
- Efficient and safe urban transportation. How will ITS improve the situation?
- Safety requirements for lighter cars. Can cars be both light and safe?
- Economics of energy sources and CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
- Public and private sector commitment and contribution to reducing work-related road traffic fatalities by 2020.
Over the next three days, the results of the round-table discussions were presented in panel sessions. Key findings included:
- The era of cheap oil is over.
- Transport is at the heart of the energy security and climate change debate, and needs transformation.
- There is a positive ‘business case’ for a transformation in the transportation sector.
- There is a need for carbon market mechanisms as well as regulatory measures to accelerate this transformation.
- Major tasks for policy makers include better urban planning, facilitating behavioural changes, and eliminating subsidies on fossil fuels.
There were over 100 vehicles available for the ride-and-drive sessions. Most of the cars were similar in size and weight to conventional cars. A notable exception was the Peugeot BB1, a small 4-seater concept vehicle that is a cross between a car and two scooters.
Another highlight was the electric personal transporters, including Segways, electric-assist bicycles, the 4-wheeled Vilco Speedy, and the Trikke Tribred. The Trikke was particularly impressive: fast, manoeuvrable, stable, lightweight, compact, and fun.
As someone at the conference noted, you can’t achieve mobility by giving everyone a car. The challenge will be to integrate vehicles such as these, and Trev, into urban transportation.