The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. In line with the New Urban Agenda, among other things, UN-Habitat seeks to assist cities in implementing sustainable urban mobility solutions. In September 2014 the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI) was initiated by UN-Habitat and the EU supported SOLUTIONS project and launched at the UN Climate Summit in New York. The UEMI aims to contribute significantly to the overall goal of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by decreasing urban CO2 emissions globally. As one of the Action Areas of the UN Climate Summit the UEMI aims to phase out conventionally fueled vehicles in cities and integrate electric mobility into a wider concept of sustainable urban transport.

SOLUTIONSplus is an EU-funded flagship project, coordinated by the UEMI secretariat, (a non-profit entity based in Berlin) and implemented by UN-Habitat and other international partners that was launched in January 2020 and has a duration of 48 months. The project aims at delivering on the objective of the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI, launched by UN-Habitat) and aims to boost sustainable electrification of transport in large urban areas in developing countries and emerging economies. SOLUTIONSplus seeks to also establish a global platform for shared, public and commercial e-mobility solutions to kick start the transition towards low-carbon urban mobility. Towards these objectives SOLUTIONSplus is working to bring together highly committed cities, industry, research, implementing organisations and finance partners.  SOLUTIONSplus also works closely with UN Environment and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on a joint global urban e-mobility programme. Thus through a combination of the regional platforms, a global programme and local teams, the project aims to develop highly effective and innovative approaches to urban e-mobility ensuring that mobility systems and interventions from this project supports countries in  delivering  on the Paris Agreement,  the Sustainable Development Goals and the  New Urban Agenda.

The project encompasses city level demonstrations in 9 cities around the world to test different types of innovative and integrated e-mobility solutions, complemented by a comprehensive toolbox, capacity development and replication activities. The SOLUTIONSplus demonstration cities are:

  • Africa: Kigali (Rwanda) and Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania)
  • Asia: Hanoi (Vietnam), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Pasig (Philippines)
  • Europe: Hamburg (Germany) and Madrid (Spain)
  • Latin America: Montevideo (Uruguay) and Quito (Ecuador) 

Local Innovators Call

This call is premised on the assumption that the uptake of e-mobility in cities requires close cooperation between start-ups, industry, city administrations and research and academic institutions. The purpose of this call is to boost and provide good examples of such collaboration in different structural and operational environments. On behalf of the SOLUTIONSplus consortium, UN-Habitat is issuing this call with a view to establish a collaboration between the above-mentioned cities, industry and private sector partners and itself to promote innovation and the uptake of electric mobility. 
Specifically, UN-Habitat plans to provide seed funding to demonstrate the development and deployment of electric vehicles as a scalable solutions in the SOLUTIONS plus cities. This may include prototypes and small fleets, test operations, services and/or provision of specific components to support the demonstration activities promoted in these cities. Local innovators may want to consider the integration of powertrains and mobility Apps provided (for free) by SOLUTIONSplus project partners. Examples of vehicles include: 

  • e-bikes
  • e-cargo bikes
  • e-motorcycles
  • e-tuk-tuks
  • e-cargo tricycles
  • e-delivery vans
  • e-minibuses and shuttles
  • electric utility vehicles

In addition, solutions for complementary measures can also be proposed, including charging, battery management, sharing, operations, vehicle conversion, integration and fleet management. 
Testing will also enable to assess the usage of electric vehicles for people and goods mobility in partner cities and will provide blueprints for innovative business- and operational models. 

Who can participate

UN-Habitat expects responses from private entities (including start-ups), NGOs, research institutions and public entities (including universities, local authority bodies) working in the above-mentioned demonstration cities. Each entity should be established under the relevant national legal framework. All intending applicants will also have the opportunity to participate in a “ city-industry meet” in each of the respective demonstration city ( dates to be announced) to be held through video conferencing in view of the current Covid 19 Pandemic. 

Expressions of Interest should contain but need not be limited to the following :

    • Overall background of the institution/s in the area of urban mobility;
    • A description of the partnership  
    • A short conceptual proposal on how the organisation/consortium plans to develop the vehicle/s that should include:
      • Type/s of vehicle
      • Vehicle technical specifications
      • Number of vehicles to be produced
      • Contribution of the proposed vehicles to the demonstration activities in the project city
      • Timeline
    • Detailed breakdown of cost by component;
    • The support/ contribution the organization is willing to make including, cash and in kind; (contribution in terms of staff time, office space and equipment and others. Support in-kind should be expressed in monetary terms)
    • Governance and organizational structure; experience and qualifications of key professional staff and infrastructure facilities of the organization;
    • Certified true copy of original Audited Financial Statement for the last two years; and
    • Annual report.
    • Interest in participating in the city- industry meet.

Selection criteria

  • The implementing institutions should be registered and active in the country in which the vehicle/s will implemented and should show previous experience on the design and assembly of small vehicles or components (30%).
  • The financial contribution that the implementing organisation is willing to make (20%) (It is expected that UN-Habitat’s financial contribution  will supplement the contribution of the implementing organisations)
  • In kind contribution by the implementing organisations e.g staff time, office and research facilities (20%)
  • Overall quality and innovation demonstrated in the proposal (30%)

Click here for more information.