Joeri Van Mierlo / Professor

Vrije Universiteit Brussel – MOBI / Engineering sciences – Electric Vehicles

The translation of this testimony was generated automatically by a translation program. Thanks for your understanding.

My partner, Prof. Cathy Macharis, and I are coordinating the research centre MOBI of the VUB, a team of more than 100 researchers working on sustainable mobility and logistics (http://mobi.vub.ac.be). We are very concerned, as we see that the transition towards a more sustainable mobility and logistics system is extremely slow. I’m also concerned about the slow market uptake of electric vehicles.
For buying our private house we searched in a radius of 5 kilometres around the VUB, because standing in the traffic jam and emitting a lot of CO2, that was not given to us. We have found a townhouse in Schaarbeek with a direct tram connection to the VUB and the bike is just as easy.
We have renovated our house: well insulated windows, new well insulated rear façade, high efficiency condensing boiler for heating. Each time a lamp brakes, it is replaced by a LED lamp.
We have an electric and a plug-in hybrid car. We charge with green energy. Unfortunately, the roof of our house was too small to install solar cells. We have these solar cells in our chalet in the Ardennes, which is a completely autonomous house (rainwater for showering, solar energy for electricity).
Cathy is vegetarian, our children eat little meat and motivated by the latest manifestations of the youth, meat does not taste as much as before for me.
For our work, we, and our collaborators, have to fly a lot. That is also being worked on. Cathy, as chair of the sustainability board of the VUB, made a travel policy plan been adopted at the VUB to compensate the CO2 impact of all aircraft flights of the VUB and to make the VUB staff aware of the impact of air traffic and to look for alternatives such as rail transport and teleconferencing.
For decades, we have conducted policy-supporting research and written numerous reports on sustainable mobility and logistics, as well as the environmental impact of different vehicle technologies. These studies are usually commissioned by federal and regional administrations. The challenge is to allow these scientific studies to be translated into political decisions. Other interests sometimes stand in the way of implementation. Political interests often lie in the short term where a concrete measures are needed in the long term for which action must be taken now!