Transport Brief – Merger mania, Formula frenzy and e-bike inebriation

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European carmaker giants Renault and Fiat-Chrysler could merge to form one of the biggest auto companies in the world, if the French firm gets on board. There are plenty of hurdles to overcome, including probable scrutiny by the European Commission of what will be a multi-billion euro tie-up.

The poster child for successful mergers, Airbus, is now willing to stick with the UK, according to its new CEO. The previous head of the planemaker had warned that a no-deal Brexit could push the company to ditch its British-based manufacturing sites.

Motorsport is often the breeding ground of new car tech and e-mobility is no exception. At the latest round of the Formula E championship, EURACTIV took a look at how racing at breakneck speeds affects driving in the real world.

Trucks are getting a makeover: new EU rules approved by the Council mean cabs will have to eliminate blindspots and be more aerodynamic by 2020. Here’s a taste of what they could look like.

First Berlin’s main train station was decked out in EU colours, now a regular DB service between Brussels and Frankfurt has had the same treatment. The video of how the locomotive was given its facelift is also worth a watch.

Worse news for Belgium’s trains though, which are revealed to be among the most delayed in Europe. The Netherlands and Switzerland, unsurprisingly, top the ranking.

Ever feel uneasy when flying? Spare a thought for this Italian Ryanair passenger, who was distraught to realise that he had boarded a flight to Bari rather than Sardinia. An investigation has since been launched into how it happened.

International aviation body ICAO has prompted the fury of environmental groups by limiting an upcoming meeting on carbon offsetting schemes to just its advisory members.

The area around the Eiffel Tour will be turned into the biggest park in Paris by the 2024 Olympics, in a €70m+ scheme that will pedestrianise the route from the tower to Trocadero.

Czech carmaker Skoda will launch its first e-car. Although mostly a VW with a different badge, the first foray into e-mobility has been hailed as an important step for the Central European marque.

The French city of Nantes is trialling an extra-long e-bus that can be recharged in about 15 seconds via an overhead port, just enough time for passengers to get on and off.

An Italian court has leapt to the defence of a man who lost his licence after riding an e-bike while drunk. The legal dispute involves European law and whether e-bikes should be classed as bicycles or powered vehicles. The case continues.

What else I’m reading this week:

  • DHL develops new electric vehicle with hydrogen tech [Deutsche Post]
  • SpaceX satellites could change night sky forever [Forbes]
  • Musk stages race between Tesla car in tunnel and on road [The Verge]
  • HS2 boss: Business case is ‘clear’ [BBC]

Next stops:

In the wake of the EU elections, it’s not just the presidential jobs up for grabs. The European Parliament will have to decide on committee heads, including the transport taskforce. Updates when we hear them.

Bratislava plays host to the Autonomous Vehicles Summit on 30-31 May.

The European Commission-hosted carbon markets summit in Brussels on 3 June. EU heads will target progress on an unresolved chapter of the so-called Paris rulebook, left over from December’s COP climate conference.

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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