July 27th, 2019.

The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) in association with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LOWCVP) held a launch last night at the London Transport Museum to present its Powered Light Vehicles (PLVs) strategy to around 75 invited guests.

The attendees included a mix of national and local government representatives, with civil servants from several government departments, members of parliament, local authorities, transport policy makers, academics, road safety organisations, transport planners and representatives of industry.

The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of how PLVs can make a significant contribution to addressing the nation’s transport and traffic problems, whilst demonstrating to the gathered audience how the MCIA’s Route to Tomorrow’s Journeys initiative already dovetails with the government’s Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy. In short, the emphasis was on establishing the importance of the ‘forgotten sector’, namely the L-Category sector, and how it has an essential role to play in future mobility solutions.

“We’re at a point that the government phrases as ‘grand challenges for future transport’ and I believe we’re the first industry to respond to the government’s policy of a zero-carbon situation by 2050,” said the MCIA’s CEO Tony Campbell. “It starts now and we’re already at the table, we’re the first to react. PLVs play a key role in allowing people to choose the right vehicle for the right journey. We’ve been speaking individually with authorities and big city planners - they believe in finding a solution, and we’re an important part of that jigsaw.”

An indication of the Association’s growing ‘acceptance’ is its partnership with the LOWCVP and support from ministers such as Andrew Stephenson MP, the Under Secretary of State for Business and Industry. He kicked off proceedings last night with an opening speech in which he talked about new technologies, the effects of L category technology and how quickly the sector has responded to the government’s vision for future urban spaces.

Andy Eastlake, MD of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership which is part-funded by the government, was next up and he spoke of the untapped opportunities of PLVs L1 to L7. He also highlighted the need to encourage the move away from micro vehicles to L-vehicles, particularly when taking into account the range of machines now available*. He endorsed Campbell’s point that people must still walk, cycle and use public transport but that PLVs offer freedom of choice and there are efficient and safe alternatives.

Finally, Dr Richard Barrett from the University of Liverpool, who is also working on projects developing conditions for L-category vehicles, outlined his view. He said that by breaking habits, identifying the advantages of electric powered-two-wheelers, throwing in a few desirable characteristics, and targeting new markets, massive breakthroughs are possible. His analogy on this front was the introduction and explosion in popularity of the iPhone.

*Products on display at the launch to illustrate the breadth of PLVs, included; Kymco Carry EV, Kymco Like EV, Zero ZT, Yamaha Tricity, Honda Super Cub, Vespa Elettrica, Harley Davidson Livewire, Quadro eCooder, ESkuta SX1200JE, BMW C Evolution, KTM and Piaggio Resolve projects.

A full report on the MCIA’s Route to Tomorrow’s Journeys and its progress will feature in the July/August 2019 issue of Motorcycle Trader.

Pictured: Andrew Stephenson MP addresses the audience