Electric vehicles are getting more and more popular in Tartu

City enviroment of Tartu gets more and more sustainable. In the end of March ELMO Rent and city of Tartu opened a new electric car rental point next to the Tartu Bus Station. Five new  electric car rapid chargers will be installed in four locations within the City Centre and from this autumn there are electric bus runninge between central bus station and railway station and the tender for Tartu’s bicycle sharing system is chosen.

New additional electric car rental points and five electric car rapid chargers

The goal of the rental point is to further improve access by local residents and visitors to the city to the sharing service for environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

In addition to the Tartu Bus Station there is a rental point at the Railway Station and residents of Annelinn are served by the rental point located inside the Eeden Shopping Centre.

In order to increase the availability of environmentally friendly transport, follow-up activities foresee the expansion of rental and charging points in the City Centre through cooperation between the City and ELMO Rent.

In addition to the vehicle sharing service, the City of Tartu is contributing to increasing the availability of other environmentally friendly transport services. A procurement is currently underway for the Tartu bicycle sharing system, which will result in the creation of a convenient opportunity for the residents of Tartu to use electric and standard bicycles to facilitate their everyday movement.

Five electric car rapid chargers will be installed in four locations within the City Centre: between the Aura Centre and the athletic building on Turu Street (2 chargers); on the corner of Väike, Turu and Soola streets (in the car park across from the Bus Station); on the corner of Küüni and Uueturu streets (between the Kaubamaja and the park along Poe Street); and on the end of Poe Street, by Vabaduse Avenue.

According to Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm, the goal of installing the chargers is to promote the use of electric cars in Tartu. He says that at present, it is possible to find rapid chargers in different sections of the city, but not in the City Centre. The demand for the ability to charge electric cars in the City Centre has grown from year to year and new chargers will help fill an important gap in the network of rapid chargers. In the long-term perspective, we are hoping with these steps to reduce air pollution and traffic noise and to make the city environment more people friendly.

The acquisition and installation of rapid chargers is being financed from the international project SmartEnCity, during the course of which an energy efficient city district operating based on smart solutions will be created from the Khrushchyovkas located in the City Centre. One of the project’s primary activities involves the renovation of Soviet Era apartment buildings into nearly zero energy buildings, although innovative solutions are also being used in the smart city district for district heating, street lighting and renewable energy use. One of the project’s activities is the creation of a bicycle sharing system in Tartu.

The SmartEnCity project is being funded within the framework of Horisont 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horisont 2020.


Bicycles for Tartu’s bicycle sharing system are coming from Canada

The public procurement was used to find a contractor that would supply the city with bicycles, docks, exterior information boards and a software solution for administering the bicycle sharing system. The equipment being delivered must be vandal-proof, user-friendly, and function as intended in Estonia’s climatic conditions (excluding the charging of electric bicycles, the working temperature of which falls within the range of -3 to +40 °C), and must have a guarantee of 5 years.

The most suitable tender for Tartu’s bicycle sharing system was submitted by Canadian company Bewegen Technologies Inc.

Based on the plans, the bicycle sharing system will remain open year-round using standard bicycles (electric bicycles will be removed from circulation and placed into storage if the temperature drops below -3 °C). Standard bicycles must be easy to reconfigure into electric bicycles (should such a desire and need arise) and vice versa.

According to Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm, bicycle sharing will become a part of Tartu’s public transportation system. ‘In the future, the electronic travel card will, based on the user’s wishes, allow one to rent a bicycle or ride on an intra-urban bus. During the first stage a total of 600 bicycles (of which 400 are electric) are planned for the system, along with 60 bicycle parking areas located across the entire city,’ explained the Deputy Mayor. ‘Our goal is to have the bicycle sharing system completed and tested by the end of this year, with a full-scale launch by the spring of 2019, at the latest,’ added Tamm.

In order to make the necessary preparations for the bicycle sharing system, a contractor was also sought to construct the parking areas. The winner of the procurement, OÜ Terasteenused, is tasked with designing and building the foundations for bicycle parking areas to such a state of completion that the supplier will be able to install the parking equipment in the designated places. Construction works primarily cover those parking spaces where the parking areas are located on green areas. In all locations the contractor is also tasked with ensuring the readiness to complete an electrical connection.

The construction of the bicycle sharing system is being financed from the city’s budget; the Tartu bike sharing project, which is being financed with EU structural funds, and the European Commission’s project SmartEnCity.


Electric bus

Initially, the line is planned to be operated with an electric bus for the duration of one year (until 31 August 2019). The opening of a new line will help to explore the technical and logistical challenges of using electric buses. Gathered input is intended to be used later on for planning the operation of other regular transport services.

The City of Tartu and AS SEBE, operator of bus services, have also agreed upon a preliminary timetable, which will be adjusted according to the train timetable.

The electric bus is initially planned to run the line 14 times a day, starting the earliest round at 5.37 a.m. from Luha bus stop in Annelinn neighbourhood. The other 13 daily rounds will be run along the route from Tartu open market to Kaubamaja shopping centre, next to the train station, then to Maarjamõisa Hospital, back to the train station, to the city centre and to the open market (Turu-Kaubamaja-Raudteejaam-Maarjamõisa-Raudteejaam-Kesklinn-Turu). On the last round, the bus stops at the train station at 22.24 p.m. and drives via Annelinn to its last stop – Männimetsa – in Ihaste neighbourhood.

More info: tartu.ee

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