The ESPRIT project aims to develop a purpose-built, light weight L category electric vehicle that can be stacked together to gain space. Thanks to pioneering coupling systems, up to eight ESPRIT vehicles can be nested together in a road train, seven being towed, for an efficient redistribution of fleets and a smartly-balanced and cost efficient transport system.
To prove the ESPRIT concept, the project includes also a suite of modelling and simulation tools to predict, once ESPRIT vehicles are deployed, the economic, social and environmental benefits as well as key operating strategies. It is anticipated that this concept will encourage citizens to use conventional public transport and carsharing solutions rather than their private vehicles leading to seamless intermodal transport, reduced congestion and significant reduction of noise and air pollution.
As the key to the ESPRIT transport system is the ability to redistribute eight vehicles at a time by a single operator, the project expects to demonstrate through simulation that it is possible to achieve a continuous 90% availability rate of vehicles across all stations (in last kilometre and one-way carsharing mode) using less manpower compared to current systems which have 50% of stations empty several times a day.
The project consortium involves eight partners from six European countries.