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French companies Airbus, Renault present mobility innovations in Belgrade


Photo: French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry


November 25, 2019






November 25, 2019





Technology solutions for new mobility are already here or very close, but their certification by the competent institutions and whether users would accept them could be an issue. This is a key takeaway from the Innovating Mobility conference, powered by Airbus and held at the Embassy of France in Belgrade.

At the conference, organized by the French-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and in cooperation with the Embassy of France, companies Airbus, Renault, Schneider Electric, Artelia Group and Streit Group, as well as the city of La Rochelle, presented French expertise in the mobility sector.

Opening the conference, ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi said the bilateral economic cooperation would exceed EUR 1 billion this year.

Dragoljub Damljanović, the chamber’s president, stressed the event is a demonstration that French companies have a strategy for sustainable development in Serbia. Apart from investments, they bring skills and knowledge and contribute to the better positioning of the Serbian economy on the global market, he claimed and added the conference is part of the French Week held on November 20-27.

Lopez (Airbus): Innovation offers the answer to sustainable development and future human needs

Cesar Sanchez Lopez, Vice President for Southern Europe and Israel at Airbus, asserted the airline industry is facing a steady increase in passenger numbers and estimated it should continue while that a reduction in the environmental footprint and the development of smart and sustainable mobility are necessary.

All aviation emissions in the coming period must be reduced by 75% in the European Union, and this is only possible with innovation, he said.

The future of air traffic is electrification, but the industry is still far from a 100% electric airplane

The future of air traffic is electrification, but the industry is still far from a 100% electric airplane, Lopez said. One step on that road is a hybrid plane, so Airbus is developing, in partnership with Siemens and Rolls-Royce, a prototype that will have its first flight in 2020, in his words.

One of the company’s projects in this area is the Pop-Up, a combination of ground and air transport and an autonomous vehicle and aircraft. There is also a helicopter booking platform Voom in the form of taxi, which is already available in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, as well as an application for delivering shipments by drones. All three are urban mobility solutions.

The solutions have been tested and they exist and will be a reality in 7-10 years

The technology has been tested and it exists and it will be a reality in 7-10 years, the executive said. Of course, further technological development is needed, but also the certification by competent institutions, as well the willingness by the citizens to start using the solutions, said Lopez.

As an example, he said that the number of staff in the cockpit went down from four to two, and that it could be zero. But the question is who would want to fly in such an aircraft, according to Lopez.

Purgar (Renault-Nissan Adriatics): New Zoe arrives next year

Željko Purgar, an electromobility expert at Renault-Nissan Adriatics, noted the new Renault Zoe would be rolled out next year.

When the model was launched in 2012, it had a 22-kWh battery and a range of 100-120 kilometers while the improved unit will have 52 kWh and 300-350 kilometers, respectively.

Those are the two most important details when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs), he said, adding that Zoe is a leader, which he can confirm since he has been driving it since 2014 and has traveled 250,000 kilometers so far.

According to Purgar, to make an electric car is not a big problem, but that enabling mass production is – to achieve an affordable price for the buyers and to provide a quality ride.

Desveaux (La Rochelle): You must consult citizens

Brigitte Desveaux, city councilor in charge of transportation at the city of La Rochelle, said transport solutions must be citizen-friendly.

The bottom line is that there are multimodal solutions, for example that you can go to work by bike in the morning and take your kids by the car in the afternoon, she said.

The city made a revolutionary move when it introduced autonomous minibuses

La Rochelle has been an “innovative mobility solutions lab” since the 1970s. In those years city introduces a bike-sharing scheme, and in the 1990s the same was done for electric cars. Today there are also solar-powered boats, as well as the ability to park and ride solutions at multiple locations. The city also made a revolutionary move when it introduced autonomous minibuses, which carried 15,000 passengers in four months without a single incident.

The share of traffic in total emissions is 27% and the plan is a net-zero impact by 2040. In total traffic, private vehicles account for 50%, walking 27%, public transport 15% and bicycles 7%.

All activities were implemented in consultation with citizens, so La Rochelle is proof that new technologies can be accepted if it is done the right way, she said.

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