SEAT has fortified its commitment to the development of zero-emission cities. Returning to the annual Smart City Expo event, the manufacturer demonstrated the different avenues it is taking to advance urban mobility solutions.
In what appears to be an ongoing trend, OEMs are keen to stamp their mark on towns and cities, helping promote the development of smarter, connected, greener transport options. From SEAT working as part of the Volkswagen Group (VW) to establish mobility systems in a Greek town, to Toyota’s continuing work on the Woven City in the shadow of Mount Fuji, manufacturers want to not only verify their climate-friendly credentials but conduct real-world testing of new technologies.
While entirely digital, this year’s Smart City Expo followed in the footsteps of analysing upcoming urban mobility trends. In it, Lucas Casasnovas, director of SEAT MÓ, dedicated to developing micromobility strategy and urban mobility services, outlined SEAT’s commitment to smart cities. ‘SEAT understands mobility as a fundamental right, and SEAT MÓ was born out of this conviction,’ Casasnovas highlighted. ‘Analysing and understanding the behaviour and habits of citizens is basic to offering solutions that adapt to their needs.’
Recently launched in Barcelona, MÓ is SEAT’s latest app-based shared mobility solution, with over 30,000 downloads to date. ‘Barcelona is one of the cities with the most motorbikes in Europe and there is where we saw the window of opportunity to develop our motosharing project, to allow people to travel faster, with no noise and no emissions,’ said Casasnovas.
During his speech in the online event, he stressed that conversation should not focus solely on vehicles but platforms and consumer habits. This means the adoption of more flexible models like pay-per-use, which do not rely on any kind of fixed-length contract. ‘This is why we are offering a model in the form of on-demand mobility so that users can choose the option that best suits their needs: purchase, subscription by the week or month, or even by the minute,’ Casasnovas explained.
A smart, sustainable island
SEAT will also participate in a project led by the Greek government and VW to transform the island of Astypalea, into a paradise driven by sustainable electric transport. The manufacturer will offer its e-scooters to promote the adoption of micromobilty.
Casasnovas said that, in the future, he imagines cities that are ‘more sustainable, more efficient, quieter and with multimodal mobility in which different solutions and products, both private and public, coexist. We hope that this project in Greece will serve to launch similar ones in other cities. That is our dream: to contribute actively to designing zero-emission, decarbonised cities and islands.’
Set to roll out in 2021, the project looks to replace current public and private transport with electrically rechargeable vehicles (EVs), as well as to build the charging necessary infrastructure, powered by renewable energy.
Urban areas face a plethora of challenges, including traffic jams, parking space deficits and the increase of low-emission zones. Administrations, public authorities, citizens and OEMs will need to work together to find workable, future-proof solutions, particularly as mobility changes in the wake of COVID-19.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) recently announced it is partnering with global software, mobility and telecoms companies to create a smart city hub in Ireland. This will allow real-world testing of connected technology where self-driving vehicles share the streets with cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
In March, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) announced a plan to develop smart cities and software capabilities. They will develop a data platform that will amass and analyse information from vehicles, homes and public institutions. This will then be used to form new services, focusing on transportation, energy usage and health.