By Marc-André Coutu et Romain Zolfo, June 13th, 2019

The fourth edition of the Movin’On Summit took place in Montreal from June 4 to June 6. Romain Zolfo and Marc-André Coutu, ALTO Design's transportation specialists, participated in the event for the third consecutive year. Let's review some of the highlights of this year’s very successful event.


It's no coincidence that the largest event dedicated to sustainable mobility is held annually in Quebec. In addition to the depth of our hydroelectric infrastructure, local companies have distinguished themselves through innovation and a willingness to change. Among the many projects presented at the event, here are two that especially caught our attention.

After announcing at last year’s event the pre-orders for its electric bus, the Quebec company Lion Électrique was back this year to unveil a 100% electric garbage truck. Using the same platform as the Lion8 truck, this vehicle redefines our image of a garbage truck. The estimated range is 400 kilometres and it is hoped that it can reduce operating costs by 60%. The potential of this vehicle generated a lot of interest at the event.

The Movin'On Summit also marked an important milestone for another company: Letenda.

A new player in the electric public transit industry, Letenda's mission is to speed up the replacement of fossil fuel buses with zero-emission solutions. Its first product, called Electrip, is a city bus made of aluminum that was developed in close collaboration with Rio Tinto. Designed to meet the extremes of the Quebec climate, this 9-metre-long electric propulsion bus will also be 20% lighter than comparable vehicles. The manufacture of the first model was announced last week.



Movin'On was also an opportunity for large companies to showcase their latest technological advancements. In its determination to take a more eco-responsible approach, Michelin is aiming to manufacture 80% renewable products within the next 30 years. Michelin's Uptis tire (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System) was developed with that vision in mind. As its name suggests, this is a puncture-proof tire, but also smart, 3D printed and sustainable.

The Uptis prototype presented at Movin'On is an intermediate step in the development of this new type of tire. The passenger vehicle version is scheduled to reach the market in 2024. Uptis, which was designed primarily to address safety issues in Asian countries with difficult road conditions, could reduce the number of tires going to landfill annually by 200 million. When asked whether marketing more durable tires would impact negatively on sales, Florent Menegaux, Michelin's CEO, simply said, "Nothing will stop us from innovating, regardless of possible losses along the way." That clearly sums up this company's ambitions.

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As we've seen in recent months in Canada, the number of incentives to switch to electric power is growing: additional subsidies, more affordable models and discounts on personal charging stations, etc. But while there appears to be strong public demand for electric vehicles, cities are not adapting at the same pace. Many experts have expressed the view that it’s the cities that are currently slowing the adoption of electric vehicles. Beyond reserved lanes and a few free tolls, infrastructure needs to be rethought to incorporate more charging stations and dedicated parking spaces. The current system has to be adapted to maximize the use of infrastructure in relation to the time required for recharging.

If autonomous vehicles are about to become part of our daily lives, it is due to the active participation of cities like Lyon, which are currently testing shuttles in normal road traffic and not just closed circuits. This type of initiative in real-life settings is helping identify key issues that may be slowing down adoption.

Romain and Marc-André took part in a very interesting workshop on increasing the public's acceptance of, and commitment to, autonomous vehicles of all kinds. A number of constructive recommendations came out of it.



The paradigm shift of the car that was heralded some years ago – from personal possession to a shared asset in the service of transportation – continues to evolve. Yet this change is not happening as quickly as we might have imagined. Perhaps one of the reasons is that we are responding to a resolutely rational problem with an equally rational solution. This fails to take account of a major characteristic of human beings: their emotions.

The car is still today a product that meets strong emotional needs: social status, driving pleasure, sense of self and much more. It’s quite difficult to convince someone to change their habits if their deeper motivations are not taken into account. Thus, if emotional desire appears to be more important than the perceived rational problem, then adopting a new behaviour is less likely to happen. To hasten the process, we need to consider possible solutions that will take into account these less rational needs.

In short, this situation raises a central point in the development of all new technologies, whether simply a product or a complex ecosystem of products. And that is: For an innovation to be adopted, designers must absolutely put human nature at the heart of their design and thought processes.

We'll probably get more answers and suggested solutions next year at Movin'On 2020!

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