Today, transportation both to and from city-centres and within suburban areas, is unsatisfactory in terms of congestion, environmental and societal aspects. To answer identified needs, the Easily diStributed Personal RapId Transit (ESPRIT) project aims to develop a purpose-built, light weight L category electric vehicle that can be stacked together to gain space. Thanks to pioneering coupling systems, up to 8 ESPRIT vehicles can be nested together in a road train, 7 being towed, for an efficient redistribution of fleets and a smartlybalanced and cost efficient transport system. Within the project, 2 user scenarios are foreseen: a one-way carsharing system within city centres and a last kilometre personal mobility system to existing public transport infrastructures in suburban areas. A preliminary test and demonstration of three prototype vehicles will take place in 3 different geographical pilot sites (Glasgow, Lyon and L’Hospitalet de LLobregat near Barcelona). The ESPRIT concept will be achieved through state-of-the-art developments of diverse technology components. To prove the ESPRIT concept, the project will also work on modelling and simulation tools to predict, once ESPRIT vehicles are deployed, the economic, social and environmental benefits as well as key operating strategies. It is anticipated that this concept will encourage citizens to use conventional public transport and carsharing solutions rather than their private vehicles leading to seamless intermodal transport, reduced congestion and significant reduction of noise and air pollution. To reach relevant stakeholders, the ESPRIT project will not only rely on its technical expertise but also on the knowledge and network of its end user community represented by several partners as well as the ESPRIT Advisory Board which includes carsharing organisations, public authorities and transport operators, who will participate in workshops and dissemination events.

As the key to the ESPRIT transport system is the ability to redistribute 8 vehicles at a time by a single operator, the project expects to demonstrate through simulation that it is possible to achieve a continuous 90% availability rate of vehicles across all stations (in last kilometre and one-way carsharing mode) using less manpower compared to current systems which have 50% of empty stations several times a day. This ambition can be translated into the following technical objectives:

1 Analysis of Economic Viability and Potential Impact
2 ESPRIT Technology Development
3 Prototype Manufacturing and Testing
4 Functionality Evaluation and Recommandations
5 Deployment Roadmap

The development work that will be performed to answer these objectives and challenges must above all guarantee public confidence in the ESPRIT transport system by showing that the vehicle is safe, easy to drive and use and has the required driving range under real conditions to meet users travel needs both in urban and suburban conditions. Additionally, the expected cost for the user must be seen as affordable for the service that will be provided. As such, ESPRIT will perform a needs analysis of potential users and stakeholders in the 3 pilot sites. This will steer the design of a safe and accessible vehicle, charging and redistribution system.

Source: Esprit Transport System