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Vélovolt: from car to bike

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Vélovolt is the first campaign in Quebec to test, research and raise awareness of the use of Electrically Assisted Bicycles (EABs). With this campaign, carried out in close collaboration with the Association des Centres de gestion des déplacements du Québec (ACGDQ), we hope to show how the EAB, or electric bike, can replace the car for daily commuting (such as work-related trips) and thereby help reduce the GHG emissions associated with road transportation.

The challenges

In 2018, the transportation sector accounted for 45% of GHG emissions in Quebec, which represents the largest share in the province (1). The number of new vehicles on our roads has been growing steadily since 1990 (2) and it is becoming increasingly urgent that we reverse this trend by reducing the modal share of the automobile in favour of active and public transportation.

The electrically assisted bicycle (EAB) is an effective alternative for replacing utilitarian trips by car, especially in remote areas, sectors poorly served by public transport, or in cities where the terrain is uneven. It also makes it possible to reach much larger segments of the population and areas that are less densely populated.

However, in Quebec, the EAB remains relatively unknown and its potential is underexploited. Certain constraints associated with its use, such as the initial purchase price, the lack of secure parking facilities and the lack of information on this mode of transportation among the general public and decision-makers, are all factors limiting its greater use.

The objectives

The Vélovolt campaign has three objectives:

  • To make the working population aware of the advantages of using electric bikes for their daily commutes by giving them an opportunity to try out this mode of transportation.
  • To paint a picture of the current situation with regard to electric mobility in Quebec and to gain a better understanding of its potential for reducing the modal share of cars among commuters.
  • To train key players on the issues of active electric mobility and give them the tools they need to promote the adoption of bicycles and electrically assisted bicycles in Quebec.

To achieve these objectives, a number of activities will be held across Quebec throughout the campaign, which will run from 2021 to 2024.

Testing, research and consultation

The Vélovolt campaign will include four components:

1. EAB trials in the work environment

The trials will be conducted in partnership with some 40 organizations in 10 regions of Quebec (National Capital, Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie, Gatineau, Lanaudière, Laval, Mauricie, Montérégie, Montreal and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean) to raise awareness among employees regarding the use of the EAB. A total of 1,300 employees will have an opportunity to try out an EAB for their daily commute. Active transportation information activities will reach out to more than 100,000 workers within participating organizations.

Do you know the impact of your travel between home and work? Compare GHG emissions for different modes of transportation with this tool from the Centre de gestion des déplacements métropolitains.

2. Research into the potential of the EAB

Currently, there is no data available on the use of the EAB in Quebec, and very little from other parts of the world. With the support of the Mobility Chair of Polytechnique Montréal, the workplace trials will make it possible to gather first-hand data on the use of electric bikes in Quebec and to advance research on this mode of transportation and its potential to replace utilitarian trips by car.

3. Collaboration with local stakeholders

One of the strengths of this campaign is the involvement of numerous local stakeholders. By establishing regional think tanks involving key actors in the transportation sector, the Vélovolt campaign will allow the possibility to translate the collected data into recommendations that will be sent to businesses, municipalities and decision-makers to encourage them to implement new measures in favour of electric active transportation.

Pilot phase prior to regional deployment

Vélovolt is being rolled out in several phases. Beginning in September 2021, a pilot phase will be launched in Montreal and in the La Mauricie region, where two Quebec organizations will be able to test and fine-tune the concept. The Université de Montréal (UdeM) and the City of Trois-Rivières will be the first two organizations allowing their employees to participate in the trials.

The Vélovolt campaign will take off across Quebec in the spring of 2022, with trials in all regions participating in the project.

The Partners

This campaign is being run jointly by Équiterre and the Association des Centres de gestion des déplacements du Québec (ACGDQ). Vélovolt will be receiving financial assistance from the Quebec government under its Action-Climat Québec program and will be in line with the objectives of the Plan for a Green Economy 2030.

The campaign will also receive support from such partners as the Mobility Chair at Polytechnique Montréal, Quantum and numerous Quebec cities, towns and organizations.


Want more information about the Vélovolt project? Are you an organization and are you interested in taking part in the trial? Contact us now!

Agnès Rakoto
Project Manager, Équiterre

Download the presentation document and the one-pager of the Vélovolt campaign.

(1) Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, « Publication de l’inventaire québécois des émissions de gaz à effet de serre en 2018 »
(2) HEC Montréal, L’État de l’énergie au Québec, 2021

En résumé:  Vélovolt is a campaign intended to test, research and promote the use of Electrically Assisted Bicycles (EABs) as an alternative to the automobile for daily commuting. The ultimate goal of this campaign is to create environments favourable to the use of the EAB in Quebec, by working jointly with the Mobility Chair of Polytechnique Montréal, employers, municipalities and all mobility stakeholders.