Low Carbon South East Europe

Project outputs

February 19, 2014
Name of GP initiative


Number of GP initiative AT9

State of Vorarlberg/Austria

Author/Email Daniel Steiner/daniel.steiner@joanneum.at
Year of implementation: 2008
Time horizon of initiative/map/etc.: 2011 and beyond

General description:

The VLOTTE initiative was chosen in 2008 by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund to be funded as Austria’s first model region for e-mobility. Vorarlberg covers an area of 260 km2 (Rhine Valley and surroundings) and has a population of 366,000. The goal for the region was that electric cars should only be driven using power generated from renewable sources.

The initiative was based on the concept of a “mobility card” (Mobilitätskarte), costing approximately EUR 500 per month (the exact price would depend on the type of car). The cost would cover:

  • the renting of an electric car;
  • maintenance costs/technical servicing of all electric parts;
  • annual pass for public transport operated by the Vorarlberger Verkehrsverbund transport association;
  • free charging at all public charging stations;
  • the possibility, after four years, to purchase the electric car for a residual value of 25 percent of the initial purchase price; and
  • free membership of the Austrian Automobile Association.

Since 2011, community and company customers have been able to return specific electric vehicle types after five years of leasing (around EUR 350 per month).

To enable barrier-free use of the cars within the selected region, the electric utility company of Vorarlberg (illwerke vkw), which implements the VLOTTE initiative, is responsible for the necessary infrastructure (charging stations, car workshops etc.) and constructed several renewable energy plants in order to guarantee that the electric cars run on emissions-free power.

By the end of 2011, a total of 357 electric cars had been sold, 2,500 km had been covered, and 400 tonnes of CO2 had been saved.

Based on the amazing success of the VLOTTE initiative, VLOTTE II was launched in 2010, focusing on the construction of several rental stations for electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters, enabling  unlimited access to e-mobility. However, results so far suggest that the offer has not been as well accepted as anticipated.

Steps in creating the initiative/roadmap/strategy:

The VLOTTE initiative comprised two phases:

Phase 1 (2008–2010): Buying/leasing cars only to companies and public-owned facilities
Phase 2 (2010–2011): Buying/leasing cars increasingly to private customers; VLOTTE II (construction of several rental stations for electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters

Simultaneously with these two phases: Construction of the infrastructure required for e-mobility (around 120 charging stations, several car workshops etc.) as well as the construction of renewable energy plants (three photovoltaic plants of 757m² and with a capacity of 106,000 kWh; and one small hydropower plant with a capacity of 648,300 kWh) as the power source for the charging of the electric vehicles sold within the VLOTTE initiative.

Targets and target determination:

The target was to switch to e-mobility, 100 percent independent from fossil fuels (via the substitution of fossil fuels with local energy sources). The VLOTTE initiative is one step among others towards energy self-sufficiency in the state Vorarlberg up to 2020. The market for vehicles powered by electricity from renewable sources in the state of Vorarlberg should be prepared for the future, and e-mobility (including different types of vehicles) should be tested in terms of road capability (e.g. energy consumption, noise emissions etc.).

Success factors/barriers:

Success factors:

  • High acceptance among the population
  • Image improvement (especially for companies, public-owned facilities)
  • Strong collaboration with local companies (e.g. the energy utility company illwerke vkw as supporter of the VLOTTE initiative)


  • High price (although driving the electric cars supported within the VLOTTE initiative was profitable after five years, the price was seen as too high, because many people are unaware of the cost of mobility
  • Acquisition of electric vehicles/lack of available electric vehicles
  • Limited range of electric vehicles (maximum is 160 km, although most daily journeys are under 50 km)

Responsibility for application:

The energy utility company illwerke vkw is the main supporter of the VLOTTE initiative and has the main responsibility for project implementation. Other business partners include the State of Vorarlberg, the Vorarlberger Verkehrsverbund public transport association, the Vorarlberg Energy Institution, the Austrian Automobile Association, Raiffeisen Leasing GmbH , The Technical University of Vienna and various car dealerships.

Implementation costs:

The VLOTTE initiative was funded from 2008 to 2011 by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund.

Phase 1: EUR 4.7 million
Phase 2: EUR 551,000

Economic effects (GDP, employment):

The economic effects have not been fully analysed. However, the local economy was boosted in terms of car dealerships (the selling of electric cars), the construction of charging stations, electric car workshops, and the construction of several renewable energy plants.

European Union SEE Regional Policy Network collaboration area (members only) Regional Policy Network