The first Light Electric Vehicle Summit (LEVS) was held in Barcelona on September 20th and 21st within the framework of Sustainable and Safe Mobility Week. With this event, Barcelona once again became the capital of the electric vehicle, going on to set new trends as one of the world’s top smart cities.
LIVE platform contributed actively to the running, organization and implementation of this important event, with Ángel Lopez (its Managing Director) playing a key role as one of the members of its Scientific Committee. He also acted as ambassador to the city by opening the event with the speech “Welcome to Barcelona!”
Light electric vehicles (LEV) weigh less than 100 kilos. With e-bikes as one of their most popular exponents, these vehicles are expected to play a leading role in sustainable mobility in big cities. They have a very rosy future ahead of them, thanks to the commercial applications that they offer to sectors of all kinds, not to mention their wide variety of designs, which already open up lots of potential.
The main issues tackled at the summit were:
– The current state of the light electric vehicle sector.
– R&D and innovation.
– How to integrate light electric vehicles into urban transport.
– Legal aspects.
– Challenges and opportunities.
– How to help this market take off.
As can be inferred from the above, the light electric vehicle market is a relatively young one – and this was the first summit specializing in it – although it is very much on the up and up. The main reason why it is starting to take off is the awareness of the importance of more sustainable forms of mobility by society as a whole. Other factors also contribute to this change, like new legislation and official approvals, attempts to bring traffic and city areas into line with sustainable mobility, and concerted efforts by the public authorities. This has led to the presence of an increasing number of vehicles of this kind in inner-city areas.
One of the sectors where light electric vehicles have already made themselves felt is the tourist industry. These small silent vehicles can be used to travel longish distances with no noise or exhaust fumes. They have a similar range to a person travelling on foot and offer the same vistas and they can be hired at affordable prices. We are already used to seeing or using e-bikes, segways and electric golf carts on holiday, but the comfort, sustainability and low weight of this kind of vehicle are solid arguments whatever the commercial application.
Within the LEV segment, two main groups of vehicles stand out:
Indoor electric vehicles: These vehicles are designed to transport people or goods inside large-scale facilities like airports or big factories. They already play a fundamental role in certain segments and a wide variety of different models can be found, depending on the specific needs of each place.
Urban vehicles: This group encompasses all kinds of light vehicles used in inter-city travel. Their design must comply with municipal byelaws and they must share the roads or lanes with other kinds of vehicles. As private vehicles, e-bikes and e-scooters are tending to give way to mini cars, given the fact that they are equally practical but safer for users. Delivery companies and courier services also see these light vehicles as being an opportunity to speed up their deliveries in eco-friendlier fashion, although it is town and city councils that have found the greatest applications for them in the cleaning and maintenance of municipal areas.
Close attention must be paid to this sector: one that looks all set to provide transport for all kinds of travel and major solutions in everyday mobility. This is a sector that devotes substantial effort and dedication to research and development, encouraged by new beneficial legislation by the public authorities. It is aware of the big challenges that it faces, but it is equally conscious of the major opportunities and the rosy future that awaits it.