Transport Brief – Battery behemoth, train tweaks and scooter surge

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Europe’s first mega-sized battery factory is almost ready to set up shop in Sweden. The EIB is on the cusp of injecting €350m into the Tesla-style gigafactory, which will run on renewable power and produce more than 250,000 electric car batteries per year.

Candidates vying to be the next Commission president came out in favour of a kerosene levy, while the Netherlands said it will start taxing air travel if the EU doesn’t come up with an answer. Check out the results of our poll on the subject here.

The EU signed an aviation agreement with China focused on cutting costs, boosting safety and bringing existing deals into compliance with European law.

Boeing was hit with two new wrongful death lawsuits. The families of two victims on board March’s doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight allege the US company did not do enough to prevent the crash.

Hydrogen and trains go together like cheese and wine, at least that’s the bottom line of a new study that looked into existing examples. New EU train rules aim to boost accessibility and make railways quieter.

Are there any parallels to be had between European politics and the glitzy world of Formula One? Of course there are! Read more on that here.

E-scooters will now be legal on Germany’s roads but Paris authorities have clamped down on the zippy vehicles. Operator Lime is offering free rentals during the European elections on 26 May.

Electric vehicles, giving roads back to pedestrians and cable cars were among the innovative solutions suggested by teenagers to solve Brussels’ traffic woes, during a pan-European STEM contest.

One of the main roads in Brussels was narrowed over the course of last week and now has bike paths on either side. Unfortunately, air pollution again peaked in the Belgian capital at the weekend.

And who thought it was a good idea to take a shortcut across the middle of Schuman roundabout? Some people really need to slow down…

What else I’m reading this week:

  • Electric car forecasts are all over the map (Quartz)
  • Alstom appeals Berlin’s train decision (Reuters)
  • Trump says foreign cars are national security threat (CNN)
  • Flying electric taxi completes maiden flight (E&T)

Next stops

National, regional and European elections. Transport is set to play a big role in some polls, especially in Belgium, where the Greens are predicted to put in a mighty showing.

US aviation regulator the FAA meets in Texas on 23 May to update its international counterparts on the 737 MAX groundings.

Newly-adopted rules on railway digitalisation and noise standards will be published in the official journal on 27 May.

The head of the Commission’s environment directorate, Mauro Petriccione, speaks at an energy event on 28 May.

It’s the latest round of the Formula-E world championship. This weekend it’s in Berlin, I’ll be there to see how electric motorsport is coming on in leaps and bounds. Stay tuned for a report!

Upcoming events

Interested in transport and the role of biofuels? Then sign up for our event in Brussels, Bibliothèque Solvay, on 29 May.

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