“Unplug + Go ensures cross-border e-mobility”
Twan Joosten is project controler at the city of Venlo and talks about Unplug & Go. It is an e-mobility initiative of SHAREuregio, a project of four municipalities in North Limburg and North Rhine-Westphalia that supports sustainable initiatives in the Euregion.
The aim is to improve sustainable mobility in the region, which is why 40 electric cars are available for entrepreneurs on both sides of the border. Outside working hours, these cars can also be used by private individuals.
What is the aim of the SHAREuregio project?
The aim is to enable cross-border e-mobility. On the one hand, we want to encourage entrepreneurs and consumers to use and share electric cars and electric bikes and, on the other hand, we want to promote cooperation between German and Dutch municipalities.
What does this cooperation between municipalities entail?
There are four municipalities in the project organisation: Venlo, Roermond, Mönchengladbach and Kreis Viersen. These municipalities jointly developed the cross-border mobility concept. We are supported by two partners in the practical implementation of the project. Good Moovs on the Dutch side and NEW (Nordrheinische Energiewerke) on the German side. These partners manage the fleet. We have a total of 40 electric cars and 40 e-bikes in our car pool, which are distributed on both sides of the border in the Euregion. The installation of the electric cars also involves the necessary charging infrastructure.
What is the innovative aspect of this project?
It is very unique that you can charge a Dutch electric car on the other side of the border without any problems. For the user, the costs are the same on both sides of the border. It is very innovative that the two parties offset the costs of recharging between themselves and the electricity suppliers. Reservations and payments are all made via a convenient app. The cross-border sharing of electric vehicles is unprecedented. The exchange of information from different suppliers is very important in this respect; software that does not actually exist yet needs to be developed.
Who can make use of Unplug & Go?
Companies can enter into a contract with one of the mobility partners in which they will have a car at their disposal for a certain time slot per day. They can use the vehicle as they wish. The contract allows them to drive 1,100 km per month and includes everything from insurance to cleaning. In the coming year, we also want to make it possible for private individuals to use the cars.
How does it work with the e-bikes?
We have 40 e-bikes and speed pedelecs, some of which have already been installed at the municipalities on site. We are in the process of developing a concept that allows consumers to use these e-bikes as well.
How does the customer service work?
It goes as follows; you enter into an agreement with either NEW or Good Moovs. This has to do with Dutch and German law. If you enter into a contract with one of these partners and use the app, you will be able to use cars from both suppliers.
Is there any interest in this innovative service?
Yes, in general, there is quite a lot of interest in this new service. Because of Corona we are currently in a difficult time though. At the moment people work a lot at home and there is little demand for mobility. In that sense, companies are more reluctant to enter into long-term contracts.
On the subject of e-mobility, are there any cultural differences?
Yes and no. For middle-aged or older Germans, sharing a car is much more important than in the Netherlands. But if you look at the younger target group, the difference is a lot smaller. You can see that there is a lot of interest in the climate and sustainable solutions on both sides of the border. In general, young people are also more open to sharing concepts.