The launch of the newly developed vehicle type positions the CITY eTAXI as a counter-approach to today's developments in the automotive sector. Opposing the trend of building bigger and faster vehicles similar to, for example, SUVs, which are oversized for inner city areas, ACM has developed a simple electric vehicle with four wheels for urban areas which can be used not only as a city centre eTAXI, but other commercial purposes such as eSHARING, eLOGISTICS, and eTOURISM.
Adaptive City Mobility is a cooperative project, carried out in the framework of the "IKT für Elektromobilität III" (ICT for electric mobility) programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The project sets out with the goal of making electric mobility competitive, resource efficient, and environmentally-friendly and, in 2015, was chosen by the Federal Government to be its flagship project.
From 2017, ACM will be testing its three technological innovations in practice – the vehicle, the battery replacement system, and the ICT network. The site of the field test will be the German federal state capital of Munich.
ACM's concept is based on a fundamentally new idea of how we should organise mobility in the future: staying true to its motto of "Less is more", ACM does not follow the pathways established by the automotive industry. The CITY eTAXI plays in the lightweight class of vehicles (L7e) and targets the new market of urban and electrically powered lightweight vehicles emerging around the world in the niche between passenger cars and two-wheelers. Also, its unique design, including three seats, the so-called "backpack" as luggage compartment and continuous plexiglass doors, turn the vehicle into a real space wonder and allow for a new and unique driving experience.
Adaptive City Mobility, however, must in no way be limited to the development of a new vehicle concept. The CITY eTAXI is a lot more than just that – it is an elementary component of a completely new system solution in the field of electric mobility. Within this system, the vehicles with their manually operable battery replacement systems, the battery replacement stations, fleet operators, energy providers, and end users form a standalone e-mobility network interlinked by means of modern information and communication technologies which facilitate emission-free mobility through the integration of renewable energies.
The business model behind the CITY eTAXI is based on numerous different sources of income, such as ride exchange, energy sales, digital advertising control and battery leasing. Thanks to the technological innovation, the project kills several birds with one stone: the total cost of ownership (TCO) can be reduced considerably, resulting in lower prices and making electric mobility affordable for everyone. The vehicles can work to capacity because utilisation time is not limited due to uneconomical and uncomfortable charging times. This makes both fleet operators and cities happy because so called "stationary traffic" uses up precious space.
Being an autonomous e-mobility system, ACM offers municipalities, companies and citizens an easily implementable electric travel option – independently of the existence of any charging station infrastructure and public subsidies.
Accordingly, Paul Leibold, project initiator, explains:
"ACM may as well be described as an approach to solving the chicken-egg-problem: nowadays municipalities usually say, we are not investing in the infrastructures on an extensive enough scale yet because no one is driving electric vehicles. On the other hand, users say, no, we are not going to buy electric cars yet because a) they are too expensive and, above all, b) there is no infrastructure yet. The ACM project brings with it its own infrastructure and, consequently, works independently of the discussions on the high investment costs electric mobility involves – as an autonomous system."