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June 2019 to May 2023

PI: Frauke Behrendt

Innovative Light ELEctric Vehicles for Active and Digital TravEl (ELEVATE): Reducing mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions

Funded by: EPSRC (CREDS Technology call)


University of Brighton (lead), University of Leeds, University of Oxford, Consultant Sally Cairns

Partners and stakeholders:

Oxfordshire County Council, Leeds City Council, East Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove City Council, Sustrans, World Health Organization



ELEVATE’s interdisciplinary research programme uses a mix of empirical research, technology assessment and trials, data analytics, and partner engagement to investigate the role light electric vehicles for active and digital travel (i.e. electrically assisted modes of transport including bicycles, cargo bicycles, push scooters, skateboards, trikes, and quadricycles) might have in reducing mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions. The key purpose of this project is to understand the scope of these options – who they would appeal to, what trips they would be used for, to what extent they would replace conventional motor vehicle trips – and some of the challenges that accompany them – such as overall energy usage, ‘real world’ technology performance, roadscapes and physical environment design, business cases, safety challenges, digital integration, battery standardisation.


A mixed-method approach (quantitative plus qualitative) and co-design methodology is used to ensure industry, end users and policy are integrated at all stages (e.g. input into survey design, to demonstrators, analysis, impact activities). Both passengers and freight are considered throughout. For understanding the supply side and technology pathways, we will review the vehicle technology, the digital technology, the battery and charging technology, with data and specifications, plus carry out life cycle analysis of energy use and carbon emissions across the vehicle and fuel life cycles. To understand the demand side and utilisation pathways, three cities will be studied in detail to understand barriers and opportunities, with an early adopter study, plus trials and demonstrators to focus on new end users. Across demonstrators and trials in Brighton, Leeds and Oxford, we will capture GPS, interview and survey data to analyse the end user perspective. To ensure impact ELEVATE will produce design recommendations for vehicle and digital technologies, industry and policy recommendations, WHO Health Economic Assessment Tools extensions, work towards certified safety training, and stakeholder engagement events.

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