Transportation & MobilitySeptember 7, 2023

One start-up’s vision for green and equitable urban mobility

French start-up Midipile has a unique approach to eco-friendly, affordable vehicles that will revolutionize the mobility industry.
Avatar Shoshana Kranish

When we imagine the future of urban mobility, what do we see?

Subways zig-zagging through city centers. Electric scooters zipping around traffic circles. Pedestrians crisscrossing lively intersections. Much like now, although one thing is for certain, at least in some areas: fewer cars.

One French start-up is taking that vision and running with it, having designed a car-like vehicle that’s easily maneuverable in cities, doesn’t emit CO2 and doesn’t come with the high price tag of electric vehicles.

Midipile, which is taking part in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab accelerator program, designed a new vehicle they’re forecasting to be the future of urban mobility. It’s a new sort of transportation option, a cross between an e-bike and a compact car. It’s limited in speed — 45 km/h — and its ability to carry small payloads — up to 300 kg — make it an attractive option for urban areas.

And that’s perfectly fine with Midipile.

They, like many others, are betting on a future that’s characterized by urbanization. For the most part, that reality is right on track.

More than half the world’s population lives in an urban area, and that’s only set to increase, with some projections estimating seven out of every 10 people will call a city home by 2050.

That prediction, combined with the emergence of Low Emission Zones (LEZs) in cities across Europe, makes the need for new types of transportation a necessity. That’s exactly the space Midipile is trying to fill. LEZs, which are expanding rapidly, aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the movement and parking of vehicles which do not meet certain requirements. Countries across Europe are rapidly implementing them; in France, the number of zones will expand fivefold by 2025, and in Spain and Italy, there are already hundreds in place.

So to keep transportation green, easy and affordable, Midipile came up with a unique offering. Unlike electric vehicles, which come with a high price tag, require costly charging ports and are as difficult to park in cities as gasoline-powered cars, they created the next best thing. Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, they designed their take on the future of urban mobility.

What sets Midipile apart from other individual transportation options, like electric scooters or e-bikes is their ownership scheme. While the vehicles can be privately purchased, they’re also available for long-term rental, making them an attractive option for a convenient and accessible transportation mode. They can be leased for periods of 48 months, and the contracts offer enticing features like 24-hour assistance and 3rd party insurance.

Choosing this format indicates the company’s commitment to making transportation access equitable for all. It affords individuals and businesses reliable access to a city-friendly vehicle. Their offering gives their version of the best of both worlds: easily attainable urban transportation that’s environmentally clean, yet which lacks the high investment cost of an electric vehicle.

As restrictions become more common on gasoline-emitting vehicles, cities will need to consider new ways to innovate in the transportation space. Metros may become greener, bikes may become more plentiful, and cities will become cleaner.

No matter what the future looks like, it’s likely that conceptual vehicles like Midipile’s — and the ideas that inspire them — will have a place in it.

Read more about 3DEXPERIENCE Lab start-ups tackling transportation and urban issues:

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