European context

The European Union has put energy efficiency on top of its agenda and endorsed an integrated approach to combat climate change and committed to transform Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy.

To kick-start this process, EU Leaders launched the “20-20-20” targets campaign (20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions plus 20% of renewable energy production and 20% increase in energy efficiency – all by the year 2020) and adopted EU’s energy efficiency action plan containing recommended policies and measures to improve energy efficiency in order to reach the targets.

Both the Action Plan and the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan), i.e. the technology pillar of the EU's energy and climate policy, identified transport as one of the key sectors with energy saving potential and set forth actions to accelerate the development and deployment of innovative low carbon technologies, especially information and communications technologies (ICT).

In parallel, the European Commission created the Intelligent Car Initiative to unleash the potential of ICT in tackling ongoing transport issues. One of its main objectives is to support ICT-based research and development in the area of smarter, cleaner and safer vehicles, with the help of the iMobility Forum (former eSafety Forum) and its Working Groups. Namely the WG for ICT for Clean and Efficient Mobility final recommendations were an important input to the EC 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7) Call under which the eCoMove project was funded (Objective ICT-2009.6.1 “ICT for Clean and Efficient Mobility”).

In addition, the Intelligent Energy - Europe programme (IEE) is another EC programme aimed at supporting energy efficiency with a view to reaching the EU 2020 targets. IEE is the EU's tool for funding action to boost competitiveness and innovation towards a more energy-intelligent Europe in areas as varied as renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings, industry, consumer products but also transport. The “Energy in transport” (STEER) funding area covers initiatives targeting energy savings and energy efficiency in the transport sector. The IEE programme is a pillar of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).

Smart Cities” is a Joint Research Programme implemented by the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) in support of the SET-Plan. This European initiative will support ambitious and pioneer cities (e.g. from the Covenant of Mayors) to adopt low-carbon strategies  in order to trigger the mass market take-up of energy efficiency technologies and transform their buildings, energy networks and transport systems into those of the future. In particular, the initiative will support large-scale demonstrations including action on urban mobility, “green” infrastructure and the use of information and communication technologies.