During the past three months during which communities worldwide followed a number of social restrictions aimed at fighting back the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, among significant challenges, a few positives also emerged, among them the appreciation of cleaner air around us as roads got less busy. Even before the crisis, a number of cities around the world were toying with the idea of investing in alternative mobility solutions, while repurposing the roads to give more space to bikes, scooters and pedestrians.
Debono Group has in recent years sought to drive the move towards alternative solutions in Malta, through smart mobility concepts which enable individuals to move around quickly, easily, and safely. These efforts caught the attention of mobility enthusiasts on the other side of the globe, with the Group featured in two prominent publications in different continents.
Forbes, a renowned US publication focusing on business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership, looked at how cities were adapting transport solutions to where they were most needed. In its review, it highlights as best practice the experience of Cool, Debono Groups’ ride-sharing company, which during the toughest days of the pandemic in Malta, provided free rides to volunteers working on the local helpline and helped make deliveries on behalf of food banks.
New Zealand’s popular innovation-oriented publication EVs and Beyond has taken special interest in Malta’s and Debono Group’s efforts on future mobility, publishing a dedicated feature in May’s edition. In particular, EVs and Beyond highlighted the country’s efforts, which preceded the impact of the pandemic, to look into solutions which took consideration of the short distances but limited space on Malta’s roads. It referred to the Transport Authority’s open mind towards innovation and highlights the Maltese Government’s keenness of electric cars, aiming to have 130 public EV charging station and 5,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of the year.
EV caught up with Debono Group’s Future Mobility Solutions project manager Nicoletta Moss who happened to spend her lockdown days in New Zealand. While the oceanic country is significantly bigger, being based on the island of Waiheke, comparisons with Malta owing to size and population were possible. She shared her belief that “the future of mobility will be shared, on demand, autonomous, connected and electric”. Moss spoke about the potential benefits to space management and general quality of life that developments such as shared and autonomous vehicles.
The publication also looks at the GoTo Malta scheme, where about 180 electric vehicles are moving around thousand of people in Malta daily, contributing in no small way to less cars and pollution on the country’s roads.
EVs and Beyond is a leading promoter of innovative change in the Southern hemispheric country and shares a belief that to get authorities to change their policy, a change in mentality among the population is also needed. In this context, it refers to the Project Aegle Foundation, established a few years back by Debono Group, aiming to education and research on “how to move people’s mindset to alternative mobility.”
Geoffrey Debono, CEO of Debono Group commented that: “These two features provided an incredible opportunity to showcase our Group’s efforts accelerating the shift towards clean and sustainable transportation. The pandemic has given us an insight of the significant benefits that low levels of congestion and sustainable transport bring about. The future of mobility has changed and we look forward to continue being prime movers and leaders behind.”