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It's the premium event for sustainable mobility. The Movin'On Summit showcases concrete solutions for lower-carbon transport solutions that are cleaner and smarter. An opportunity for Total, for example, to give a boost to everything it is doing to promote responsible mobility.
If we are to make sure that global temperatures rise no more than 2°C (the threshold set by the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015), then transport – all forms of transport — has to play a major role. Everything from ocean freight transport operations to individuals travelling by car or by air — every sector, every person is concerned.
There are numerous areas in which research is being undertaken, as Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné pointed out in a recent article entitled "Smart Mobility: Envisioning the Future… by Improving Today!": substituting fossil fuels for ones that emit fewer greenhouse gases (hydrogen, natural gas, etc.), switching over to electric cars, increasing energy efficiency, introducing regulations of varying levels of stringency, fostering disruptive innovation, developing intermodal transport solutions and solutions based on sharing, etc.
What is certain, is that there is no single solution and that it will take time to reduce the predominant use of fossil fuels in transport systems in favor of cleaner forms of energy. We can also be sure that this transition will involve all of us making changes to our behavior … which is underpinned by three mainstays: understanding the meaning behind the initiative, keeping things simple and being able to enjoy the personal benefits. In other words, yes, the technology is important. But it must be easy to use for as many people as possible.
This was the context in which the Movin'On Summit was held for the third year in a row in Montréal, Canada from June 4 to 6. Described as "The Davos of Mobility" by some media outlets, the event was organized by the Michelin Group with support from its partners (including Total) and brought together a wide range of players investing in the mobility of the future: lower-carbon and more innovative forms of mobility.
5,000 participants from 55 different countries, 96 speakers and 40 start-ups representing academia, politics, business and urban planning gathered to share details of achievements thus far and concrete solutions which will tackle the major challenges facing mobility in five key areas:
Total, which has been partnering the Movin'On Summit right from the start, was involved this year through a roundtable discussion entitled "What will be the impact of a 1.5°C rise on mobility?," alongside representatives of a town (Lisbon) and a car manufacturer (BMW). It also held two workshops — "An overlooked option seeks center stage: The case for Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in today's energy sector" and "Plug & Charge: Facilitate the customer journey in the upcoming electromobility transition".
Themes which confirm the French group's ambition of becoming a key player in new forms of mobility, particularly by developing integrated solutions which cover everything from the production of decarbonized energies through to managing fleets, together with distribution, while making use of digital technologies to ensure an optimized user experience.
"This desire to function as an ecosystem was something that we expressed at the roundtable discussion to which Philippe Montantême — Total Marketing & Services' Senior Vice President for Strategy Marketing and Research — was invited," says Géraldine Pinol, head of the Responsible Mobility department in the same division. "We provided an overview of what had already been achieved, particularly in energy efficiency and electro-mobility, as well as ascertaining what remains to be done to reduce the impact that transport has on the environment. Because as far as Total is concerned, responsible mobility also means using energy that is safe, clean, affordable and accessible."
A road that cannot be traveled alone. Towns and built-up areas have a key role to play in defining regulations, but regulations which must be applicable. To do this, they need to consult with energy suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on deciding what the best solutions are: ones that are realistic and readily acceptable by users. As Miguel Gaspar, Lisbon's Deputy Mayor for Mobility and Safety, said, built-up areas must be able to enter into dialogue with all the players making up their ecosystems before taking regulatory decisions regarding mobility. For example, asking Total what the constraints are for deploying an electric charging terminal and finding out what parking area requirements are. In other words, towns and cities must be innovative, but they must not make mistakes.
The purpose of the first working session, run by Agnès Dumesges, Vice President of Product Marketing at Total Marketing & Services, was to share solutions for speeding up the transition of heavy vehicle fleets (lorries, buses, etc.) over to natural gas or even biomethane derived from biomass, which has lower CO2 emissions than its fossil fuel equivalent.
In May 2018, Total acquired a stake in the Californian company Clean Energy — the leading NGV expert in the U.S. — in a bid to encourage the use of natural gas by HGVs. Clean Energy sells what it claims to be the cleanest fuel on the market — Redeem, Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) — which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%.
This working session was co-chaired by Andrew J. Littlefair, President and CEO of Clean Energy, and Mike Casteel, Director of Fleet Procurement at UPS who are both playing a key role in this transition, reminding those in attendance of the recent agreement (May 2019) between the two companies to purchase 170 million gallons of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) between now and 2026. This is the largest commitment for use of RNG to date by any company in the U.S., covering 22.5 to 25 million-gallon equivalents per year. Biomethane is a key part of UPS's strategy to increase alternative fuel consumption to 40% of total ground fuel purchases by 2025, supporting its efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of its ground fleet by 12% by 2025.
It should be remembered that a lorry running on NGV requires an additional investment of between $30 and $40,000. A return on investment is made possible by a combination of fiscal incentives and purchase premiums for encouraging this switch, as well as the fact that natural gas is cheaper than diesel.
The second working session, run by Mathieu Lanéelle, EV charging strategy & French market development at Total, and Gilles le Calvez, Vehicle Program Director at Vedecom, focused on "plug and charge," i.e. the most optimized way to charge an electric vehicle's battery to make for a safe, straightforward and pleasant user experience.
Total and Vedecom are working on joint R&D projects in Saclay, France. In particular, they are working on "plug & charge" — direct communication between the charging terminal and the vehicle, rather than between the charging terminal and the driver. Thanks to a complex system of electronic certificates associated with the battery's data, all the user has to do is plug in their vehicle, without giving any thought to technical considerations (power, socket type, etc.). The ease with which operations can be performed is one of the acceptability factors for electric mobility, together with vehicle range and "breakdown anguish." Any solution which makes these operations easier will help make electric vehicles more widespread.
Another major advantage of "plug & charge" communication is that it is easier for managers of electric vehicle fleets, companies and rental companies to manage flows. Thanks to the data generated by vehicles, it is easier for them to pay for charges, track vehicle use and prevent fraud. A pilot project developed by Total and Renault was presented at the EVS32 symposium in May in Lyon, France.
As Philippe Montantême said at the end of his round table discussion, "knowing how to manage an energy mix will be important. Because although electric mobility is set to rise significantly over the decades ahead, a non-negligible share of traditional energies will remain in the mix, and we will have to continue to improve their energy efficiency. And being able to help our clients manage a mixed fleet is one of Total's strengths — an integrated company able to work with the whole energy mix."