By the year 2050, the world's population will be around 10 billion, out of which approx. 68% will be living in cities, in comparison to 55% today. Arctic Circle is very sensitive to climate change, and the results are already visible, such as melting permafrost, declining fish stocks, and changes in flora and fauna, etc. The fear is that this population acceleration will contribute more towards climate change, due to higher sensitivity of Arctic from carbon stimuli. It has also been reported, many times in newspapers, that public transport is not efficient in the Arctic region and bus routes have either been canceled or reduced during the winter period. People therefore prefer their private family transports even for very small distances, for as low as 500m. On the other hand, occupancy rates of private family transport are continuously declining due to household size and different individual priorities. The occupancy rate is inversely proportional to carbon footprint of personnel transportation. Currently, electric cars are also not easily affordable and they still do not have low life cycle carbon footprints. Car sharing business has also emerged as an unsafe mobility solution, due to some social challenges.
Luckily, due to rise in climate awareness, shared economy and smart city planning activities, people have started to prefer micro mobility as a healthy and the most efficient transportation alternative. As an estimate, more than 500 million people have already adopted various forms of micro mobility transport. But, in the Nordics the micro-mobility business remains normally closed for at least 4 months, due to technology issues with state-of-the-art micro-mobility transports, problems with micro mobility ecosystems, regulatory structures, etc. In addition, in Northern Norway / Arctic this winter period lasts for 6 to 8 months, and thus with state-of-the-art micro mobility transports and ecosystems, it is not possible to run a sustainable micro mobility business.
We have concluded that if we overcome some of the Arctic challenges, such as, fast discharging rates of battery, safe driving on low friction roads, covered driving during raining periods, wind and rain deflectors, more road clearance, etc. then it is possible to open-up the micro mobility market during winter months. This will make the micro mobility business more sustainable, even during hard winter conditions. We have therefore decided to start working on the local design and development of Arctic Scooter and Arctic Velomobile. On one hand these Arctic Scooter and Arctic Velomobile will reduce the carbon footprint of road transportation, and on the other hand it will improve public transport services in Arctic. Our transports will be both safe and healthy. They would be used in all-weather conditions.
In 2019, NURAS Investment AS received seed fundings from Narvik Kommune and Harstad Kommune for its project Go with Zero Emissions. Using that funding Arctic Experts contacted different velomobile manufacturers around the world. We discussed the possibilities of establishing a sustainable micro mobility business in Arctic using the state of the art velomobilies. We found that none of the current manufacturer are ready to test their transports in Arctic region. Using the funding from Arctic municipalities we have now formed a small consortium which includes Arctic Experts AS, UiT Arctic University of Norway, Nord University, SQT AS and Global Compact Network Norway AS. The consortium partners have planned to collaborate on the design of Arctic micro mobility transport and design of micro mobility ecosystem in Arctic region.
The project fits with the following UN sustainaibility development goals (SDGs):
SDG11- ‘sustainable cities and communities’, because ArcticMicroTrans want to provide a safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable micro mobility transport of all. The aim is to keep the cars outside the city center, so that cities can be more greener and they have more green spaces. This project is very important for smart and greener cities.
SDG 9: ‘industry, innovation and infrastructure’, because ArcticMicroTrans aim to make micro mobility business sustainable in Northern Norway, Arctic Region, and Nordic Region. The plan is to build a good micro mobility ecosystem in this region. This will be done by combining science with fun. The project will lead to develop new industry business. Once the micro mobility transport are qualified by the end users we foresee establishing a production line in Nordland, including quality control process, marketing, business developers and building a network of suppliers.
Our present project partners are UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Nord University, SQT AS, and Global Compact Network Norway.