ELEVATE: Innovative Light Electric Vehicles for Active and Digital Travel

UKRI Energy Programme

ECI lead: Dr Christian Brand

ELEVATE explores the potential of existing and new forms of e-micromobility, identifying the people, places and circumstances where they will be most useful in order to reduce mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions.

The UK transport sector lags behind in its achievement of carbon emission reductions to date. The Committee on Climate Change sees an important part of the solution as rapidly increasing rates of walking and cycling, and identifying an appropriate role for vehicles such as e-bikes and e-scooters.

There is a wide range of emerging innovative light electric vehicle technologies for active travel, which usually involve both electrical assistance and some energy expenditure by the user. Their power source provides the opportunity to link to a variety of digital technologies – from unlocking shared vehicles, to 'track-and-trace' systems for delivery companies, to mapping systems or health feedback tools for users.

Switching from car and van use to innovative light vehicles creates significant potential for reducing mobility-related energy demand and carbon emissions, and many might also generate health benefits for users. However, there is uncertainty about how people in different types of places would actually use these modes and how these modes would affect overall travel behaviour, physical activity and energy demand in practice.

ELEVATE is £1.7 million project, part of the CREDS research community and funded by UK Research and Innovation (Grant reference: UKRI EP/S030700/1).

Our work

We are designing surveys and research trials to run in Leeds, Brighton and Oxford in 2023 and 2024. These will be the main empirical focus of the project. We will gather both quantitative and qualitative data to build an understanding of the potential for households who have access to e-micromobility vehicles to reduce their transport carbon emissions, given the context of their neighbourhood and other available modes of transport.

We have undertaken interviews with people who own and use their own scooters in the UK, which is currently illegal but increasingly commonplace. This forms part of our work to understand the demand side of e-micromobility, i.e. the utilisation pathways, barriers to adoption, expectations and experiences of existing (early adopter) users, through surveys, interviews, analysis of online material, and evaluation of case studies.

We will develop a transport energy environment systems model for calculating the life cycle energy use and carbon emissions of light electric vehicles for active travel, and assess the potential for emission and energy savings when these substitute for other modes of transport.

We will help to expand the World Health Organisation's Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) to include e-bikes and other forms of e-micromobility.


These papers are part of our work on understanding the context and concepts of e-micromobility, the technology used in light electric vehicles, and the governance issues relating to parking, storage and other infrastructure.

  • Behrendt, F., Heinen, E., Brand, C., Cairns, S.,  Anable, J. and Azzouz, L. Conceptualizing MicromobilityPreprints, 2022, 2022090386.
  • Brand, C., Dekker, H-J. and Behrendt, F. (2022). Cycling, climate change and air pollution. Advances in Transport Policy and Planning, 10: 235-264. doi: 10.1016/bs.atpp.2022.04.010

Dr Ian Philips
University of Leeds
Prof Jillian Anable
University of Leeds
Dr Sally Cairns
University of Leeds
Dr Mary Darking
University of Brighton
Prof Eva Heinen
TU Dortmund
Associate Professor Frauke Behrendt
TU Eindhoven
Clara Glachant
TU Eindhoven