On 10 December 2020 the E-MOB Interreg Europe (hereinafter: E-MOB) project organized an online interregional seminar called “Peer review”. The colleagues of South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency (hereinafter: STRIA) attended this webinar, in lecturer and in listener capacities.
E-MOB (https://www.interregeurope.eu/e-mob/) stands for Integrated actions towards enhanced e-mobility in European Regions and aims at enhancing e-mobility solutions in regional passenger transport systems through coordinated policy learning and planning. The E-MOB project and the eBussed Interreg Europe project (hereinafter: eBussed) which is implemented with the contribution of STRIA, focus on low carbon mobility. The difference is that E-MOB includes all modes of e-mobility, whilst eBussed concentrates specifically on the e-buses. The common point that both projects started on 1 August 2019 and within the South Transdanubian region, both focus on Tolna county (although eBussed has relevant activities in terms of Baranya and Somogy counties, too).
At the beginning of the event Balázs Kiss, external expert from Paks Transportation Ltd. gave a short overview and presented the city of Paks. The presentation included basic data, further details on the location of the project. He also outlined the current processes, particularities of transportation and the future developments. The external expert highlighted some well-known issues such as:
- limited experience on e-vehicles,
- limited parking spaces,
- low quality of public transport services,
- ageing population,
- increased population and traffic because of construction of a new nuclear power plant.
The peer review continued with the introduction of the E-taxi system in the Municipality of Paks. The vehicles were brought as part of the Protheus project. The two main points of this session were the following:
- the payback period of the e-taxi investment is only 4-5 years long, from this point of view the fact that the charging is still free at the charging stations is regarded to be a very favourable element,
- the size of the e-taxi fleet is optimal for Paks and passengers are satisfied with its services.
The next presenter was István Király who is transport expert at Paks Transportation Ltd. He spoke about establishing a new route network for e-bus deployment. In this context, he explained the economic capabilities and opportunities of the municipality. In the light of these, he showed a set of goals designated by the city, which contained the following:
- creating a liveable, green city to be attractive to the youth,
- minimizing local emissions,
- supporting alternative transport modes.
The transport expert projected the current transport network and introduced its disadvantages. He also presented the detailed new route network plan as it could be the solution for the observed problematic issues and drawbacks.
István Király also showcased the e-bus deployment in Paks. He highlighted that the Municipality of Paks first prepared the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP), after that conducted a public procurement procedure, and a result of that, purchased the Solaris e-buses. From 1 January 2021 on the Polish electric buses will operate in a scheduled service within the town. As another part of this development, new bicycle routes and combined charging stations were installed. Furthermore, the new headquarter premises of the Paks Transportation Ltd. was also established, which enables the delivery of company management, traffic management and main vehicle maintenance tasks. Finally the future plans were mentioned such as energy mapping of the Paks area or installation of new public sharing points stimulating transition to electric vehicles.
The project engineer of Protheus Holding Plc., Tamás Egri explained their Protheus project (https://ptsh.hu/en/) which is built up on three main components: the carbon-free energy production, its distribution and intelligent electric transport. The backbone of this project is the structure (i.e. the hardware) and the energy balance service (i.e. the software) of the Smart Grid Programme at Paks. In the framework of this program, solar photovoltaic power plants were set up on municipality owned buildings, which were equipped with a central energy storage system and the charging infrastructure linked to that storage. In the near future the company plans to extend this system and involve two more towns, Szekszárd and Kalocsa into that.
Zsolt Pálmai, deputy director of STRIA presented the eBussed project (https://www.interregeurope.eu/ebussed/). Beyond the general project information, he shared novelties based on the results of the project implementation this far. As such ones, the survey carried out with online questionnaires targeting bus drivers, maintenance staff and passengers and the lessons learnt from that were introduced. Alike, the analysis related to the readiness and suitability of South Transdanubia to deploy e-buses was described.
The title of the last presentation was “The E-mobility in transportation” and the topic was centred on the legal background of that. In general, law and regulation making catch up slowly to the results of innovation. Electric- mobility offers a great opportunity in comparison with the traditional public transport. Transportation is regulated with two basic legal document: the Law No I. of 1988 on public road transport and 1/1975. (II. 5.) KPM-BM collective regulation on rules of public road transport. The problem to tackle with is that electric mobility tools are not classified as vehicles in the quoted legislation. There are many varieties of e-vehicles on the roads, for example: e-bikes, Segways, e-scooters, hoverboards, etc. These all offer alternatives in transportation without any pre-defined requirements. In connection with all of this, further questions arise in the light of transport legislation and the Criminal Code. Therefore in the future these problems and missing elements should be solved/created as soon as possible.
The information obtained during the seminar will be used by STRIA in the implementation of the eBussed project, especially with regard to e-buses and their energy supply, network connection, and as regards the competitive modes of low-emission mobility to e-buses.
The eBussed project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Hungary.