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3 startups will work on zero-carbon mobility on the Lille University campus

Sustainable mobility

The Lille University of Science and Technology hosts 25,000 people each day, covers 110 hectares and can be reached by both the subway and the highway.

As part of its development and infrastructure renovation plans, the University wants to rethink how people and goods circulate around the campus and to promote “soft”, zero-emissions forms of transportation.

This framework led the CCI Nord de France and the Caisse des Dépôts, the University of Lille and ENGIE Ineo to launch a call for projects to identify zero-emissions mobility solutions for the campus.

18 startups responded with a wide range of proposals. After an initial round of judging, four finalists were left to contend for first place on October 7th:

  • Rool'In, an electric wheel that turns any bike into an electric bike
  • K-Ryole, a smart electric bicycle trailer that can carry up to 250 kilos effortlessly
  • Samocat, self-service electric scooters with charging stations
  • 2R Adventure, which offers a comprehensive support for developing sustainable mobility projects across the campus

The solutions presented all met very high standards and responded to the needs expressed by the university. The selection committee ultimately chose three winners, who will work together to expand the availability of soft mobility modes at the University.

Of the three winners, 2R Adventures will function as the assembler, providing a global vision for the project that will also include students into making it a reality. The other two winners took a more "tools"-based approach. Samocat’s electric scooters have a playful side that is likely to attract students. And the judges felt confident that K-Ryole would be useful for all of the university’s technical services. Whether in transporting waste, getting maintenance staff around, or delivery tray meals, these services are important flows of people and goods on campus, even if they are not highly visible. For this reason, K-Ryole’s trailer is certainly an interesting, low-carbon alternative.

The University will lead and perhaps even host the project’s steering committee, while the CCI will find funding sources for the devices. The Caisse des Dépôts will use its network to link these financial tools and the other partners. The first steering committee, to be held on November 9th, will focus on developing this new service and creating the joint zero-emissions mobility solutions on campus. ENGIE Ineo will provide technical expertise and connections to innovative stakeholders within ENGIE.

Gradual rollout in 2017

Starting in the first quarter of 2017, the goal is to gradually build up soft mobility services on campus, including:

  • a fixed center: a bike maintenance workshop where students and other people from the community can work together on projects
  • one or more distribution points for electric scooters
  • an awareness-raising and media phase with the various university institutions: students, teachers, employees, etc. to get them to adopt these new ways of getting around.

The fourth shortlisted team, Rool'In, did not win the call for projects. However, the university did offer to provide researchers for its R&D needs. In addition to the 4 finalists, Lille University chose four additional projects that did not directly address the issue of mobility within the campus but nevertheless were of interest because they covered getting to and from it.

So of the 18 startups that responded to the call for projects, the project partners will work with these final eight in one way or another.

Source: Christine Leroy

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