Berlin Partner for Business and Technology/Berlin Agency for Electromobility eMO offers a unique perspective on smart mobility in Germany’s capital
Berlin is not just a city that attracts tourists from all over the world, but also a hub for innovative solutions in the field of smart mobility. In the midst of this great city is the Berlin Agency for Electromobility at Berlin Partner. Founded in 2010 by the Berlin Senate it acts as a central point of contact and coordination office for electromobility with the goal of deploying intelligent mobility in the capital. Sophie Henkel (ERTICO) sat down with Jörg Welke, Project Manager Innovation at eMO, to discuss developments in the field of smart mobility in Berlin, challenges for the capital and to answer the question what multimodality and Berlin cuisine have in common.
Berlin is renowned for its well-connected and affordable public transport system. What are some other examples of smart mobility that citizens can use?
What many people don’t know is that Berlin has the lowest car owner quota per capita compared to other German cities. But this doesn’t mean that Berliners are much less mobile, quite the opposite! The city offers plenty of the so called new mobility services: car sharing, bike sharing, and, very recently also e-scooter sharing. Berlin proudly calls itself the sharing services capital. No other German city offers such a variety of mobility service sharing providers. In addition, Berlin is well-known for its seamless public transport system, which connects users not only within the capital but also to more remote places outside the city. There is a comparatively high density in public transport and hubs. Almost anywhere, you will stumble across the familiar S-Bahn and U-Bahn signs indicating the closest metro/train station.
Who are Berlin’s innovation stakeholders when it comes to electromobility in Berlin? What does collaboration look like?
eMO brings together a network of Partners from the public and private sector. It combines all relevant stakeholders from the electromobility field, such as companies, Start-Ups, Public Authorities, associations, research institutes, consultancies etc. Primarily, we connect them to form consortia for innovation projects. In addition, we offer plenty of networking opportunities all year round. Our biggest event is the annual “Hauptstadtkonferenz Elektromobilität”. Here, over 600 experts from the mobility scene come together to discuss developments and mobility solutions from and for Berlin. Of course we are also very active in Berlin’s Start-up ecosystem, which is one of the most inclusive and diverse in the world.
Could you give us a little more insight on what eMO is currently working with?
eMO is involved in many exciting projects revolving around smart mobility. One of the most successful projects is “Deine Sommerflotte” (eng: your summer fleet) which gives citizens a taste of the variety of mobility offerings that previously they may not have known about. In its second year, for one month during the summer participants leave their cars parked and instead they receive vouchers to use public transport, ride sharing, car sharing, scooter sharing etc. The participants experience new smart mobility first-hand. In a best-case scenario they decide to permanently get rid of their car and switch to a multimodal use of transport. More information about this project can be found here.
What are some of the challenges when it comes to the deployment of electromobility in Berlin and how do we overcome them?
Berlin has recently seen an exponential growth in new mobility service offerings. Just this month e-scooters have been brought to the streets of the city. A challenge that we see is that acceptance of users does not go as quickly as deployment. Usually, citizens are slower when it comes to changing their habits and choices of mobility services. It is an ongoing process to convince people of the advantages of multimodality in transport.
With regards to electromobility we see similar challenges as other cities, namely that the supply of public charging stations currently does not meet the demand. For example, there are around 1.000 charging stations in the greater Berlin area for roughly 10.000 electric vehicles. Deployment of charging stations directly competes with scarce parking space, which creates an additional challenge. However, different stakeholders are working together on finding solutions to these challenges. One example is the project “Neue Berliner Luft” which aims at developing a concept for charging infrastructure for car owners that do not own a parking space. Furthermore, there are discussions about involving private property owners our tourist hotspots in using their parking spaces for charging stations.
Berlin 100% electric – is this desirable and realistic?
Electrifying transport in Berlin is a challenge that we want to meet. However, our long-term goal is creating a seamless network of smart mobility. This includes sharing services, autonomous driving, and electrification of transport. Overall, we would like to create a transport environment which provides fair and user friendly urban spaces. Of course we want to cut down emissions as much as possible, with the help of electric vehicles. Generally, the idea is to cut down the number of vehicles overall. So indeed, 100% electric is the goal, but this goes hand in hand with an increase in bike mobility, pedestrians and other types of micromobility.
Mr. Welke, a more personal question: What is your favourite mode of transport and why?
Surprisingly enough I don’t have a car. Rather, my choice changes by the day. Why commit to one single mean of transport when there are exciting options to choose from? I like to compare it to the variety of different cuisines that you can find all over Berlin – one day you feel like Italian pasta, the other like Döner Kebab and the next all you want is a good old Berlin style Currywurst. My advice to everyone who visits Berlin: try them all. I assure you that you will not be disappointed!
Press and Public Relations
Interview and article by Sophie Henkel, ERTICO – ITS Europe
Photos © Berlin Partner