Researchers have unveiled a prototype car that stacks together with others, saving space on the road.
The lightweight electric vehicles are designed for short journeys in cities. When multiple people are heading to the same location, up to eight of them can be nested together in a road train, with seven being towed.
The University of Aberdeen and transport group First are among the organisations involved in the Esprit (Easily Distributed Personal Rapid Transit) project, part of the European Commission’s Green Vehicles scheme.
Aberdeen University’s Dr Richard Mounce, speaking on behalf of the Esprit consortium, said: “Transportation to and from city-centres and within suburban areas is increasingly unsatisfactory in terms of congestion and environmental and societal aspects.
“Solutions to reduce this congestion and pollution must be explored seriously for the benefit of society now and in the future. The Esprit concept would contribute to solving these problems.
“With car-sharing schemes expanding throughout Europe, Esprit will create a system that provides greater energy efficiency, whilst also reducing congestion as well as noise and air pollution.”
Each Esprit vehicle can reach a top speed of approximately 40mph and has a range of around 50 kilometres.
Similar to city bike-sharing schemes, the cars would be picked up and dropped off at designated stations across the city, where they would recharge when not in use. These stations would be located close to transport interchanges to complement public transport and facilitate first – and last-mile connectivity.
At a demonstration event in Glasgow, Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “It’s exciting to see innovation in the area of sustainable transport from Esprit.
“Alongside walking, cycling and public transport, developments in car, lift and bike sharing can only further sustainable travel options by providing viable alternatives to single occupancy car journeys across Scotland.”