Portuguese Pilot Launch
The town of Arruda dos Vinhos in the hills north of Lisbon was the launch site of REPUTE’s electric vehicle pilot project. A true collaboration between private enterprise and publicly funded organisations the project will make electric vehicles available for public use in each of the twelve municipalities of Portugal’s Oeste region.
The Atlantic Area funded project, which was put together by REPUTE partner Oeste CIM, Scottish based consultant Nick Lyth and has the support each of the local administrations of the Oeste region, promotes a new form of public transport using fully renewable technology – the electric vehicle charging stations are powered by solar panels.
The electric cars are located in specially designated parking spots close to the bus stations in each of the towns are available for public use. Tourists coming in to the towns for short visits or locals in need of a car can reserve the vehicles online and pick up a key at the local tourismo office. They can then whiz around the locality in one of the extremely peppy and delightfully quirky Renault Twizys.
The launch which was attended by the mayors of the twelve municipalities (the support of the municipalities was central to the success of this project) showcased several of the cars which caused heads to turn as they silently sped around the Arruda dos Vinhos.
At the launch Terry Waugh from Action Renewables spoke about the REPUTE project’s various efforts to promote renewables in public transport through the provision of information and through practical activities such as the pilot projects. Oestes Rogerio Ivan – the project co-ordinator gave a presentation and demonstrated the online registration system. The system was designed by ZEEV – a local leader in electric vehicles – who also provide the rented electric cars. Nick Lyth emphasised the uniqueness of the project and how it successfully joined the mayors of the municipalities, the private companies Zeev and Bright Solar, and Oeste CIM in collaborative partnership that develops the integration of renewable energy and public transport. “The most important way in which the public sector can influence the future of sustainable mobility – is through these types of collaboration,” said Lyth. Sustainable Mobility projects and initiatives need the active involvement of the private sector in order to survive and thrive.
The Oeste pilot will run through june 2015 and will hopefully be a springboard for similar projects throughout Europe over the coming year.
Watch a Portuguese news clip on the pilot launch