How Europe is Driving the Future of Mobility


Sometimes the road to multimodal and sustainable mobility seems endless. smart believes this is just a matter of perspective: new approaches to transport emerge constantly and we are all learning more about electric or non-fuel-based mobility solutions. Europeans already engaging in innovative forms of transport and playing an active role in the mobility transition process. By appreciating these different efforts, smart aims to guide others along the inspirational path to mobility of tomorrow that we can, after all, be optimistic about.

Bridging the Gap Between Urban, Suburban and Rural Areas 

Depending on whether you live in a European city or in a more rural area, access to transport varies tremendously. This gap is expected to gradually close as the greatest dynamics of population, economic and traffic development will take place outside of city centres in the future.1 Several suburban and rural areas are already mobilising for this trend. By making local needs the focus of new mobility concepts, they are becoming increasingly attractive as a place to live for so-called “mobility seekers” – people who do not want to commit to one mode of transport. Instead, they want to choose from a wide range of alternatives available to them and recognise mobility as an experience.2 In a world of multimodal mobility the status of ownership is turning from a privilege to a burden. Freedom and comfort rule, and flexible functionality is increasingly replacing emotional connection. smart is meeting this development with sharing options, clever space and a seamless user experience of the new smart #1. 

People search for modal mobility solutions that truly fit their individual needs and lifestyles – no matter where they live. Instead of ownership, freedom, comfort and flexibility now rule. smart understands that customers are looking for individual solutions. Through cutting-edge technology, we enrich people’s lives and leave our unique footprint in the world of tomorrow.” 

Xuan-Zheng Goh​, Head of Product Management at smart Europe
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Mobility seekers use a car as part of their mobility portfolio but at the same time need many more options to fulfil their need for flexibility. Three central pillars will be most relevant to fulfil this need: sharing, ride-pooling and intelligent public transport concepts that are already a lived practice in Europe and enable sustainable mobility that also promotes health, environmental and climate protection.  

1. Sharing  

  • With the help of the German startup Moqo, European municipalities and cities are enabled to become shared mobility providers themselves. The demand is high: Bilkollektivet, Norway’s largest car-sharing provider, is one of Moqo’s customers. 
  • The Austrian carsharing provider caruso is organised as a cooperative, which is very unusual in this business sector. All partners own and run the business jointly towards a common goal: sharing the development of an innovative and sustainable mobility system. 
  • The local government of Paris is particularly supportive of carsharing. Nevertheless, cities and communes in France carefully control the number of available sharing providers. This ensures that services provide real value to communities and have a traceable impact on the modal share. 
  • Peer-2-peer-systems are also an important factor of driving sharing-solutions forward. The smart #1 can be easily shared with other users through a sharing network, that allows users to connect the smart #1 with others via app and includes a digital key. 

2. Ride Pooling

  • In the region of Modena in Italy, a project called ProntoBus combines urban and extra-urban public transport services with an on-demand bus service.  
  • In Hamburg, Germany, the increasingly popular ride-pooling service MOIA can potentially cover 32 per cent of all trips across the city in the future – if combined with existing public transportation offers. This would save about 15 million vehicle kilometres per week.3 
  • In the UK, ride-pooling shuttles from ArrivaClick run in cities like  Watford, Liverpool and Ebbsfleet. Its goal is to provide an alternative to urban households owning a vehicle as well as arranging first-/last-mile options for underserved areas, since we rarely travel exactly between two major transport stops. That is where first / last mile options come in.

3.  Intelligent Public Transport

  • The Texelhopper Minibus in the Netherlands gives tourists as well as locals access to a demand- influenced bus service. A performant algorithm is in place that proposes the best routes based on the past. 
  • The Bummelbus in Luxemburg combines an on-demand public transport service with solving another societal challenge, since it is organised in the framework of professional driver training for people who are long-term unemployed. 
  • The region of Castilla-Leon in Spain has the lowest population density in Europe. By introducing demand-responsive transport services like buses and minibuses funded by the regional administration, people outside the main transport connections gain access to a new form of mobility.  

Looking at the future readiness of regions, the extensive availability of different modes of transport is not the only relevant factor – sustainability is also important. In Europe, 77 per cent of all transport-related emissions come from road transport.4 Switching to sustainable mobility solutions can therefore have a major positive impact and support Europe’s goal to achieve a 90 per cent cut in emissions by 2050. According to a recent study, more than 80 per cent of all newly purchased vehicles in Europe will be EVs in 2035.5 So far, interest in purchasing EVs is still very unequal across the continent. 

“At smart, we aim to create a people-friendly environment. That’s why we were the first brand in the industry to fully switch to electric-only mobility. With the smart #1 we have developed a car that meets all the requirements of an all-electric, connected future – and on top looks stunning.” 

Dirk Adelmann​, CEO smart Europe

In addition to the transition to electric vehicles, there will be a significant reduction in cars and related infrastructure that will change the face of the environment around us forever.i In Europe, peak car - the maximum number of vehicles – will soon be reached, making the conventional petrol station obsolete and the need for freely accessible charging points for e-mobility will grow tremendously. One part of the solution: turning today’s petrol stations into mobility hubs, stations that bundle mobility offerings in one space. Currently, there is a visionary pilot project for e-mobility hubs featuring six partner cities from five European countries: Amsterdam and Arnhem in the Netherlands, Dreux in France, Inverness in Scotland, Leuven in Belgium and Manchester in England. By including offers for different means of transportation like car or bike sharing as well as charging options for EVs, these hubs provide opportunities to increase shared and electric mobility in a truly innovative way. Mobility hubs make it possible to charge your smart #1 from 10 to 80 per cent in just half an hour – thanks to 150DC charging as a standard – or to park the vehicle instead and switch to an e-scooter to reach your final destination. 

In addition to cars, the E-Volution is also covering public transportation. According to EU regulations, at least 45 per cent of all new buses to be purchased by the end of 2025 must be fully electric. Currently, the share of electric buses in the sales volumes of city buses is 20 per cent in Europe, with the highest revenue shares in Germany, the UK and France. In London zero emission public transportation will also be realised for the famous London cabs to achieve the city’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. And in Norway more than 70 emission-free ferries are already crossing rivers and fjords. 

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The different mobility solutions of our European neighbours not only prepare the ground for more sustainability, but at the same time send an important impulse for competitiveness and growth. There is a great opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences and to master the mobility revolution jointly. Whether it’s owning an EV, sharing one, pooling or using public transport, only together can we cover individual needs in the best possible way - and thus create the most appropriate mobility offer for everyone. smart is continually tracking the latest trends to ensure that its new generation of vehicles and products cater to the customer needs of tomorrow. 


Press contact:

Lisa Trittler
Email: eu.communications@smart.com