Stackable electric vehicle proposed as ‘last mile’ solution

A novel new ‘stackable’ electric vehicle has been unveiled in Glasgow this week that aims to provide a car sharing ’last-mile’ solution that could link with other public transport modes. The vehicle has a stackable design, described as similar to that used for shopping trolleys, and has been developed by the Esprit project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The 2.3m-long lightweight electrical vehicles are designed for short journeys with a range of around 50km, and when stacked together, it allows multiple vehicles to be charged from one charging facility, and for the vehicles to be driven in a road train.

The vehicles would be picked up and dropped off at Esprit stations, which would be located close to transport interchanges to encourage Esprit to be used in conjunction with other transport modes; the developers insist it should be complementary, rather than competitive with public transport.

The coupling system allows up to eight vehicles to be coupled together to form a road train, which can be driven by an operator in the lead vehicle. The demonstration event in Glasgow will be followed by similar events in Lyon and Barcelona.

Scottish cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson says: “It’s exciting to see innovation in the area of sustainable transport from Esprit. To achieve the greener, smarter transformation in travel and transport that the Scottish Government will deliver, car sharing solutions have an important role to play.

“Alongside walking, cycling and public transport, developments in car, lift and bike sharing can only further sustainable travel options by providing viable alternatives to single occupancy car journeys across Scotland.”

The Esprit advisory board includes car sharing organisations, public authorities and transport operators.