Shaping the Future with Electric Mobility – A Global Process

Context of Transport Climate Action

Cities, businesses, and governments around the world have recognised electric vehicles (EVs) as an essential part of a smarter and more sustainable future. The multiple environmental, economic, and energy system benefits offered by EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs have shaped a broad consensus on why this transformation is essential. This has changed the narrative on future mainstream market adoption of EVs from questions of ‘if’ to ‘when’. However, what will drive this transformation and how this will create new opportunities for electric mobility remain less clear; and both will impact the potential of electric mobility as a positive force for climate action.

A casebook with 50 examples entitled 50 Big Ideas – shaping the future of electric mobility has been prepared by Urban Foresight (a think tank) working with the Electric Vehicle group of the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Energy Agency.

The goal of the casebook then is twofold: to demonstrate the significance of what has been achieved to date and to show how innovative solutions can create new opportunities for electric mobility in the future.


Transport as a sector accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy-related CO2 emissions. The electrification of road transport offers significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The EV City Casebook fulfils a number of objectives that contribute to encouraging ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) uptake through communication and education. Profiling 50 world-changing ideas that will shape the future of electric mobility, it provides insight and analysis on policies, projects, technologies and business models implemented in 23 countries across six continents.

Developed with encouraging a step-change in transport in mind, its design fulfils a series of objectives that contribute towards reducing GHG emissions and improving global sustainability.

In doing so it demonstrates the global nature of electric vehicle developments and the opportunities to promote EV uptake and for EVs to make cities smarter and more sustainable. It is supported by representatives of over 20 different governments and several international NGOs who were actively engaged throughout the development process. The casebook is being actively used by these governments and has been cited by OLEV, the European Commission and extensively used by researchers and industry practitioners. The Casebook has been featured in local and national media across six continents.



Urban Foresight developed the initial concept for the Casebook in 2013 and worked with the International Energy Agency’s Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Implementing Agreement (IA-HEV) and the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).

By partnering with major international organisations and networks it was possible to gain the global insights necessary to inform the content. In addition to IA-HEV and EVI, partnerships were also formed with C40 Cities, Rocky Mountain Institute, AVERE, as well as UN Habitat, UNIDO, IRENA, and The ICCT. Representatives of over 20 national governments were also engaged and provided access to experts in their respective countries.

An open call for nominations was launched in Okinawa, Japan and resulted in the submission of over 150 projects. A workshop was held later that year in Copenhagen which brought together an international panel of electric mobility experts to review the nominations and advise on the final 50 “big ideas” to highlight in the Casebook.

The challenge throughout all of this was to offer these insights in a concise format to communicate the breadth of opportunities to advance EV adoption in a clear and accessible way.


The Casebook is freely available with the specific objective to promote good practice and encourage wider take-up of low emission vehicles – it can be viewed here. A purpose of this was to stimulate wider benefits on reducing emissions, improving air quality and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The high-level of interest and widespread use of the Casebook has resulted in many opportunities to promote it around the world and most recently the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) awarded it their Outstanding Low Carbon Report for 2015 commenting that the guide “brings together important stakeholders at international level with highly tangible outcomes.” The awards acknowledged contributions that accelerated the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels/reduced road transport greenhouse gas emissions.

The casebook is actively being used by researchers, policymakers and industry practitioners around the world.

Potential for scaling up

Since the casebook has been published, we have worked to disseminate it to as broad an audience as possible. We are attempting to use the 50 big ideas to inspire progress and show how the world changing ideas featured in the publication might accelerate EV adoption around the world.

We have promoted the key findings of our research at conferences, events and meetings around the work. This has engaged with multiple stakeholders to explain the exciting opportunities to advance EV deployment and how this can make cities smarter and more sustainable.

Further promotion of the casebook will inspire further progress and help accelerate the widespread uptake of electric vehicles.

Selected references

LowCVP – Low Carbon Champion Awards:


The ICCT: Transition To A Global Zero-Emission Vehicle Fleet: A Collaborative Agenda For Governments:

Fast Company Co.Exist:









Global, Mitigation, Passenger, Freight, Technology, Partnerships, Policy, Awareness


Urban Foresight, Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative


Dr. David Beeton

“The projects featured in the Casebook represent some of the most inspiring and game-changing electric mobility developments from around the world, across a wide spectrum of applications. The ideas presented are fresh, inventive ways of thinking about EV deployment.”
-David Beeton, Managing Director, Urban Foresight