Funded by
         the Seventh Framework Programme
                              of the European Union


Cities are more and more becoming the centres of economical and social activities throughout the world with the population living in urban areas worldwide expected to increase from 3.6 billion to 6.3 billion between 2011 and 2050. This urbanisation is closely connected with the evolution of mobility. On the one hand, rising costs of mobility can be a driver of urbanisation. On the other hand, larger and more densely populated urban areas are causing new challenges to mobility systems in terms of congestion as well as pollutant and noise emissions. For these reasons, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council ERTRAC has acknowledged urban mobility as one out of three key elements of future research. Passenger cars have grown substantially in their dimensions over the last decades. The German standard car, for example, has grown by 19 cm in length, 15 cm in width and 25 cm in height over the last ten years. Passenger cars are actually over-sized today for their typical transport tasks in urban areas and for the existing road infrastructure and parking spaces in congested city centres. Powered two-wheelers, on the other hand, offer only very limited comfort, transport capacity and above-all represent the least safe mode of transport accounting for approximately 17 % of road fatalities in Europe, but only 2 % of all road users. At the same time, global warming concerns have recently led to the demand for higher energy-efficiency in the Europe 2020 strategy (20 % cut in CO2 emissions). These factors create new needs, opportunities and technological challenges in the form of small, light, affordable, functional and energy efficient, yet safe electric vehicles closing the gap between powered two-wheelers, ultra light vehicles (L7e) and conventional passenger cars (M1)..