Tues news round-up: latest on #EVs, urban mobility and e-mobility

July 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

QUANT-e-Sportlimousine_front_side_doors openThe Quant E-Sportlimousine has been approved by TUV Sud in Munich to be used on public roads in Germant and Europe: this is the Koenigsegg-derived super-EV seen at the Geneva Motor Show this year with patented “nanoflowcell” batteries (demanding electrolyte swaps or charging, albeit after a 600km-plus range). This 350kph/0-100km in 2.8 sec giant coupe (it’s over 5.25m long) is now to go through the homologation process for series production, though it’s the Nanoflowcell tech which probably has the most commercial potential, for use in other energy storage applications – domestic as well as in the maritime, rail and aviation industries, notes this week’s release. (I’ve written in some detail about the nanoflowcells, and the E-Sportlimousine itself, elsewhere).

  • The LSE Cities (London) and InnoZ (Berlin) research institutes have carried out a study into new urban mobility trends in Berlin and London, interviewing 2,200 households in light of wider urbanisation trends such as “a rediscovery of accessibility and proximity in the city”, noting “the rediscovery of walking as well as urban cycling” (neither ever went away for some of us…), “a new culture based on shared mobility” (including bike- and car-sharing) and e-mobility, and “shifting towards a more multi-modal behaviour”, becoming more flexible, enabled by mobile apps and suchlike. The study identifies six distinct groups of people with specific mobility attitudes, and suggests that two of these “can be identified as significant of future behaviour changes”. First up, individuals who have traditionally been driving cars and who don’t like public transport – they’re actually quite open to changes, and cycle more than others. Secondly, tech-oriented younger people, who make opportunistic decisions mainly driven by price, time, and smartphone-delivered info. However, suburban car-owners, for example, will be harder to tempt away from driving. The study also found that though there were many similarities, Londoners tend to be less car-oriented, but Berliners are keener cyclists; Londoners are more tech-oriented, and their mobility attitudes and behaviours are more closely dependent on their housing location. More details at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum community.
  • ABB and Volvo Buses are co-developing a DC fast-charging system to a common standard for electric and hybrid buses, which can be zapped up via an overhead cable at stops or charged back at base overnight. 12 Volvo Electric Hybrid Buses using the ABB charging tech will go into service in Luxembourg next year; these show a 75% fuel economy reduction compared to a conventional diesel bus. More details, and some tech spec, at Green Car Congress.
  • Renault Trucks is testing an all-electric 16t truck to be used for perfume deliveries in Paris: this will regularly cover delivery rounds to boutiques covering over 200km, and will be charged several times each day over a route scheduled to allow for two partial recharges plus an overnight full charge. Its payload is around 6 tonnes (its lithium-ion batteries are 2 tonnes), sufficient for Guerlain supplies. (via thegreencarwebsite – thanks).
  • Transmission-supplier Schaeffler has demoed a two-speed EV gearbox, fitted in a Golf-based prototype which competed at the recent Silvretta E-Rally, Austria. The STEP2 is showing an energy consumption improvement of around six percent compared to a single-speeder;it features a motor from subsidiary IDAM giving up to 70kW (peak) or 50kW (continuous), plus a planetary gear set, wet multi-disc clutch, band brake and diff – closing the brake and clutch alternately activates the gear-changes. “With a two-speed gearshift system, a low ratio for high tractive force and a high ratio for good overall efficiency also at high driving speeds, we offer higher dynamics and at the same time we achieve a longer range of electric operation”, said VP Uwe Wagner.
  • Battery-maker LG Chem of South Korea is promising to deliver EV batteries giving a 200-mile range in 2016, reports Reuters.


Friday news round-up: trend reports, connected cars, research review

July 18, 2014 § 2 Comments

smart fortwo and forfourSome mobility trend-reporting from Frost & Sullivan’s Martyn Briggs, in light of the launch of the new-generation Smart Fortwo and ForFour (pictured): city cars are increasingly important given the trend towards urbanisation; there’s an opportunity for Smart in micro-mobility and ‘last-mile’ solutions; personalisation is a key business opportunity; integration into wider mobility services, i.e. via smartphone apps such as Daimler’s moovel should be integral to the offering and attract younger “digital native” buyers; access to car-sharing and cars on-demand, i.e. through Car2Go is a growing opportunity; and “urban mobility poses one of the largest opportunities to the sector in the coming decades”.

  • On a not-dissimilar note to the above: connected-car services are already being used by 71% of drivers, reports a survey by Telefonica, and 80% expect in the future to have the same online services in-car as they have at home, at work and on their smartphones. Safety and diagnostics features were seen as the most important, with early-warning and smarter navigation systems also popular. In many ways most interesting, however, was that 35% of the drivers anticipated that they would not own their own car by 2034, instead using other options such as car-sharing.


  • An energy-optimisation system combining driver strategies, assistance systems and powertrain optimisation has resulted in energy savings of 27-36% in tests, with slower journey time trade-offs of 8-21%; eco-routing via the sat nav and prompts on driving style featured, as well as ‘smart’ torque distribution between front and rear axles, the Bosch iBooster regenerative braking system, EV-specific stability control and adaptive cruise control, and car-to-infrastructure communications. The test vehicles were Peugeot 3008 e-HDis. More on the OpEneR project here.
  • Although the UK’s low-carbon policy has helped revitalisation of the country’s automotive industry, the truck sector and biofuels have been neglected, according to a new report for the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. The report, by the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at the Cardiff Business School and E4tech, concludes that there have been sustained improvements in CO2 emissions and fuel economy, there is a favourable environment for low-carbon technology investment and revived R&D spending, among other positives, but that “the journey has only just started”. More – and links to download full report – here.
  • Researchers at the University of Twente (Netherlands) have developed a catalyst which improves the energy content and quality of biofuel from biomass waste; the oil is heated in nitrogen to 500 degrees Celsius with a sodium carbonate/aluminia catalyst, which boosts its energy content from 20 to 33-37 megajoules per kilogramme. Tests are currently being carried out in Texas; more details here.
  • Ferrari goes electric – not exactly, but “electrification is an integral part of the all-new Ferrari architectures which are due to come on stream from 2017 (front-engined cars) and 2019 (mid-engined cars), respectively”, reports Car magazine. This could mean anything from 48-volt circuits to plug-in hybrids, informed by the LaFerrari prototype, apparently.
  • Have been writing a few pieces about CNG as a transport fuel recently; research piece here suggests that there is a potential niche market for it as a fuel for light vans in the UK, with only minor policy intervention needed to kick-start demand. Barriers at this stage are a lack of refuelling infrastructure, and the cost of vehicles, the researchers say.
  • A six-month field trial of 79 EV drivers in the Berlin metropolitan area found a positive response to going electric, but that barriers remained. Questioned before receiving their car, then at 3 and 6 months of usage, the drivers reported more positivity as they progressed, with factors such as driving pleasure and low refuelling costs cited; barriers including acquisition costs remained. Conclusion: experience of EVs enhanced positive perceptions, and the likelihood of recommending them to others, but had no effect on actual purchase intentions.
  • A case study in Delhi found that 96% of commuters would be willing to shift from private to public transport – if certain criteria or services were considered. Safety was the most important factor, followed by reliability, cost and comfort. And in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton area, attitudes and psychosocial factors – rather than the built environment itself – were found to be the most likely indicators of whether children were driven to school. However, for adolescents in Norway, household structure and parental employment influenced how much they were driven around to leisure activities – basically, teenagers from more affluent two-parent families were driven further and to more activities. And in Flanders, land use (spatial characteristics) were found to be interrelated with residential decisions (where to live), influencing car ownership/availability. However, issues of life-stages and attitudes towards travel modes were also important.




Thoughts for the day: commuting, ‘peak car’, green attitudes

July 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

P1010383_SmallDetailed read at Citylab.com outlining research by Eve Bratman & Adam Jathav on commuting. It’s about how low-income commuters view cycling, not popular amongst urban poor; in the US, it’s typically white people from wealthier areas who ride bikes to work (I paraphrase). Predominant barriers include physical safety concerns, distance and comfort, linked to greater travel times/distances travelled of lower-income folk, and the fact that they’re more likely to use public transport. But the big factor is that respondents of all income groups consistently “ranked car ownership as the most desirable” of transport mode options – a significant proportion rejected car-sharing – and “suggests that, for low-income people, cars may have merits beyond simple cost-benefit use calculations. Automobility remains a paradoxical cultural and status symbol, such that while wealthier people increasingly reduce their car dependency, poor people still aspire to car ownership.” The authors recommend gradual policy changes, a focus on making muti-modal transport easier (i.e. being able to put bikes on trains, as with the Berlin S-Bahn, pictured?) and recognising that “excessively denigrating automobiles might hinder cycling adoption” and that “the rationale that leads some poor people not to desire a car-free lifestyle is likely very different from the rationale of planners and advocates who do.”

  • So the government is (at last) going to lead by example… to some extent. Announced today, plug-in cars and vans to join all governmental fleets, and a first batch of 150 vehicles. A further 135 will go to wider public sector fleets such as the NHS, councils and police forces in the autumn, and charging points are being installed, including on Downing Street and in the Whitehall area. No specific news as to whether parliamentary limos are going to be traded in for, say, Leafs (Sunderland-built!) as yet, however.
  • Latest on the “peak car” debate – car use is intrinsically related to economic and structural issues, there are a lot of divergent trends, not much convincing evidence to support some of the hypotheses, and no consensus as to whether it’s actually happening… Reports from a roundtable discussion in London collated in a paper published by the University of the West of England.


  • What makes us act green? Findings from an 18-month ESRC-funded research project on sustainable behaviour presented here; lots of interesting data and insights on commuting and transport use in relation to eco-friendly attitudes.
  • For those pondering car-sharing from a marketing point of view: some discussion and social media activity around the mysterious Car2Go ‘black cards’…

Midweek news round-up: #EVs, mobility challenges, hydrogen, car-sharing amd smart transport

July 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

simca vanRenault has delivered 30 Kangoo ZEs to Uruguay for electricity generator/distributor UTE. These vans – considerably more up-to-date and cleaner-running than this earlier French-built Uruguayan workhorse pictured here – will be deployed in Montevideo and elsewhere in the small country, with the aim of running them mostly on electricity generated by wind farms. Interesting note: 84% of Uruguay’s electricity is renewable-source, the country aims to up that to 90% in the near future, and wind farms will produce a third of the country’s electricity by 2016. More here.

As regards this picture, snapped a couple of years ago on the dusty, sunny streets of Colonia del Sacramento, I believe it’s a local chop-job based on a Simca Cinq (itself derived from the Fiat Topolino). And not electric, but anyway…

  • Ford’s Silicon Valley Lab in Palo Alto, California, has launched a series of challenges for software developers called Innovate Mobility Series. These are open to developers worldwide, with cash prizes and scholarships up for grabs; the initial challenges are to develop a 21st century parking lot for Los Angeles; improving delivery of goods and services in Lisbon; develop an app to improve mobility in Mumbai in the monsoon season; improve healthcare services and information in Delhi and remote rural regions around Chennai; to overcome congestion and enhance commuting in Shanghai; to develop accessories for commercial vehicles in Johannesburg; and to improve general mobility and mitigate congestion on a country-wide basis in Argentina. Competitors will use Ford SVL’s OpenXC platform. More news on the Series at Green Car Congress.
  • The Linde Group has started production of hydrogen fuelling units including its compressors; a deal to supply 28 to Japan is being fulfilled, and the first has now gone into public use near Osaka. More here. Linde says that this is the first ‘production line’ for hydrogen stations, and that it can make 50 a year.
  • Pisa may be most famous for its Leaning Tower, but it has a future-leaning IoT research project going on: it has teamed up with Deutsche Telekom and Kiunsys to install and test ‘smart parking’ tech to identify and direct drivers to empty spaces, and enable them to pay for parking via smartphone. Full lowdown on this, and Pisa’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan,  here.
  •  Electric motorbike-maker Brammo has teamed up with engineering and manufacturing consultancy TEAM Industries to develop electric vehicle powertrains; more at EV World.
  • Discussion on Helsinki’s ambitious plans for a ‘mobility on demand’ scheme and its intentions to make private car ownership in the city centre more or obsolete by 2015 at Guardian Cities
  • And a detailed rundown of the discussion/presentations at the Innovation In Mobility Public Policy Summit (Washington DC) here at Urban Omnibus – how can policy support new mobility schemes and encourage behaviour change? Conclusion of writer Manavsi Menon: “Shared use must be seen as complementary to existing services, not as antithetical to traditional forms of transport, and integrated into broader land use policy in order for a transportation network to bring mobility options to underserved areas and to be a truly seamless system across modes.”
  • Owning no car in suburban San Diego? Nice blog on “having no car and having plenty of cars” at the California Planning and Development Report – the difference in owning, and having access to cars via car club membership, using Uber as a fall-back, and car club membership as part of a mix-and-match of transport options.
  • BMW has signed a MOU with Samsung SDI for continued supply and development of battery cells for EVs. More here.

Notes from #CarliteLDN; more car-sharing, #EV and e-mobility news

July 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

zipcar appHave been following the #CarliteLDN conference at City Hall via Twitter today. It’s organised/chaired by Zipcar (app pictured; other services are available), so yes, it’s all about cheerleading for the cause, but some useful/interesting stats and references coming through and there seems to be a very positive attitude from the boroughs and councils. It seems that 32 boroughs have car club presence; London is the biggest EU market for car clubs; and 90% of Hackney residents live within 5mins of a car club car (Cllr Feryal Demirci, deputy Chair of Transport & Environment Committee). Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport, points out that car traffic is now slower in London than in the 1960s, and says that the average privately-owned car is used for only 45 minutes a day, with evidence showing that PAYG car use encourages more walking, cycling and public transport use. Full transcript of her presentation here.

Zipcar’s UK General Manager Mark Walker expects car club membership in inner London to grow from 171,000 at end of 2014 to nearly 800,000 by 2020, with these users sharing a fleet of 10,000 cars. He said that growth in outer London a challenge, with main gains in inner London to 2020, but noted that one-way journeys do “often replace” public transport and taxi use as well as cycling. Nick Lester, Corporate Director of Services, London Councils, is quoting 164,000 car club members across London at the mo, demonstrating that it’s not niche; and @fionamclean has tweeted that car club info and car locations are going to be incorporated into official TfL maps.

Thanks to @scottericlevine, @ZipcarUK, @Tiffy_Lynch, @afionamclean, @benitamatofska, @robv1989, @BriggsMartyn and everyone tweeting on the #CarliteLDN hashtag – much appreciated.

  • Zipcar’s report, Car Lite London – How Car Clubs Will Help More Londoners Drive Less can be downloaded here.
  • On a not unrelated note, a summary of the Frost & Sullivan Urban Mobility 3.0 conference (London, 4/7/14) here. The key message was about a shift away from car ownership to on-demand usage, along with “mobility integration” both in the consumer market and in the corporate world.
  • And some great feedback from France on usage of the Autolib’ EV-share; the Guardian reports that membership is up to 155,000 with 10,000 rentals of the 2,500 cars a day; 80% of users are make with the bulk aged 25-49, and it’s particularly popular among younger drivers; the average distance covered is less than six miles and the average rental period is 30-40 minutes; and peak demand times include Wednesday afternoons when schools are shut and parents take kids to activities and Friday/Saturday evenings for getting home to the suburbs.  Around half of subscribers don’t have their own car, and 70% felt that using Autolib’ had enabled them not to buy one; 75% of the car owners thought it helped them limit their mileage in their own car, especially for leisure and shopping and 25% saw the service as their ‘main car’. Estimates are that in the first two years, over 11,500 ICE cars in the greater Paris region were sold (or not bought) by Autolib’ subscribers, with a ‘loss’ of 28,000 cars expected over five years. Users also say that they like the scheme’s green aims as well as its practicality.
  • Some findings at the University of California, Riverside, on the use of silicon dioxide (sand or quartz) in lithium-ion batteries for EVs – could increase their lifecycle x3. More here.
  • The Exagon Furtive e-GT (a boutique-build e-supercar) is to appear at a posh car show at the Hurlingham Club, London: latest stats/specs for it are a near-400bhp twin-motor powertrain (Siemens-supplied) with three-speed transmission, 0-62mph in 3.5 seconds and 155mph. More at Autocar.
  • Honda’s putting all the plans, specs and drawings from its Smart Home project open-source – including details of the HEMS (Home Energy Management System) microgrids to co-ordinate renewable electricity generation with domestic demands and electric vehicle-charging.
  • Largest EV deployment by the US government as yet: 90 vehicles to 10 local administrations in the San Francisco/Bay Area. More here.
  • Jaguar Land Rover’s new ‘Ingenium’ family of lighter-weight engines will be, of course, electrification-compatible. More here.

Midweek reading: EVs, the urban environment and car-sharing

July 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

drivenow_berlin_smallAnother pic from my Berlin trip: a DriveNow BMW ActiveE on-street in Kreuzberg. Appropriate, because today’s thoughts centre on electric vehicles, the urban environment and on car-sharing… Reading/viewing matter this mid-week:

  • Bill Ford is addressing the prospects for his family’s firm; in a WSJ piece titled “Bill Ford on the Future of Transportation: We can’t simply sell more cars” he claims that the current model of transportation is unsustainable, and that car companies need to redefine themselves as ‘personal mobility companies’ (we’ve heard that before…). He also talks about the need for cars to interact with each other and the wider infrastructure, including other modes of (public or private) transport, and the role of car-sharing and ride-sharing.
  • And a interesting long-format read: cars are “racing toward disruption“, argues Harvard Business School’s Steven Sinofsky. He points to five key factors: the increasing acceptability of public transport and re-urbanisation; the ‘unbundling’ of in-car features (software, electronics and associated services, including vehicle personalisation); energy sources and impending oil shortages; the move towards shared cars and ride-sharing (again!); and the move towards driverless cars.
  • Some useful snippets in this Fortune piece: it highlights the move of the car-makers to Silicon Valley as they seek to make their products appeal to a tech-hungry younger generation, and has some stats from LA, one of the most car-centric cities in the world:  a 67% increase in walking and cycling in Santa Monica; a doubling since 2001 of people walking, cycling or taking public transport to work (now 22%) in the wider LA region; driving down 12%. More on the Google/GM EV-share (50 Chevrolet Sparks at Mountain View), too.
  • And also near Paris, the Rungis International Market – a 1,200-company food wholesalers – is to get a shared fleet of seven Renault Zoes to run around the site, for use by retailers and their customers (mainly restauranteurs). Renault Kangoo ZEs with cooler units running off auxilliary batteries are also on offer. More here.

And a research round-up – today, recent papers of interest in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

  • An Australian paper assessing the suitability of EVs in meeting drivers needs reports (no surprises here) that vehicles with a range of as little as 60km could meet 90% of day-to-day driving needs; owners of longer-range vehicles (up to 170km) were more likely to need to charge away from home on longer trips; recharging time isn’t really an issue ‘cos the cars spend most of their time parked anyway; the way a car is driven and its auxilliary systems used affects its range; EVs are particularly well-suited to low-speed urban driving. Well, we knew all this, but it’s good to have some more data: the sample drivers in Sydney were tracked by GPS for five weeks, generating a lot of useful information. (Vol. 66).
  • Something else from Sydney: choosing to drive when one could make the same journey by other means isn’t just about saving time, but autonomy, freedom, flexibility and “the interminable pull of the sensory experience provided by the cocoon of the car”, says Jennifer L Kent after in-depth qualitative interviewing of commuters. She refers to “the enduring appeal of the private car”. Are Australians less ready to embrace car-sharing, perhaps? (Vol. 65).
  • US drivers are much more likely to consider buying a PHEV if they are concerned about energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions – but they’re not willing to pay more than a few thousand dollars extra for plug-in capability. This is a different outcome to some surveys on hybrid buyers/potential consumers which have shown primary motivations to be cost-related. (Vol 64).
  • Quantifying the trade-off between the cost of installing EV-only parking spaces and charging bays in cities vs. the environmental benefits they bring: success is down to the price of parking, which determines how much the bays are used, as well as the cost of the equipment installed. Charge too much, and the EV drivers won’t use the spaces… (Vol 64).



Tues news: lots on urban mobility and car-sharing

July 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

P1010431_smallI’ve been in Berlin recently, where there’s a wealth of car-sharing options to choose from (pic: a Car2Go Smart Fortwo, on-street in Kreuzberg; other services are available, as they say) as well as a good number of on-street EV charging points, at least in the sort of right-on areas where e-mobility is more likely, excellent public transport and what looks like a pretty decent cycling culture too. (Yes, I would very much like to live there). Appropriately enough, today’s news bulletin contains a fair amount on urban mobility and vehicle-sharing besides things electrified. Not that I’m claiming to be tapping into a zeitgeist or anything…

  • Ridesharing platform BlaBlaCar has secured $100million of funding for its expansion through Europe and worldwide. The Paris-based company is claiming some 8million members in 12 countries now, with a million shared journeys a month made via the membership scheme and social media platform/smartphone app.
  • An interesting snippet about biogas: Finland now has 21 public filling stations, with 20 more to open by 2016. More here.
  • Micro-EV firm ZAP of Santa Rosa, California, has done a deal to sell 1000 URBEEs a month to a firm called SunRa (not to be confused with Sun Ra, though that would be amusing) for sale in China. The URBEE micro-vehicles – commuter cars and utility models – are made by subsidiary firm Jonway Auto in China. SunRa appears to be a division of a firm called Xinri Electric Vehicle Company, also a big EV distributor. ZAP says it intends to sell 8000 vehicles through the SunRa network in the next year, and that ZAP Jonway has the capacity to build up to 50,000 vehicles a year at its facility in Zhejiang Province.
  • Solid-state storage of hydrogen enables it to be carried in tanks at much lower pressures; EU-funded research co-ordinated by the University of Turin has developed a system to work with a fuel cell. At the moment, this only supplies power for an APU (auxilliary power unit), but the demo project does show potential. More at Green Car Congress.
  • The upcoming eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat will come with the option of a PHEV drivetrain. This combines a 154bhp TSI petrol engine with an 80kW motor to give a total 208bhp and an all-electric range of 50km/31 miles; a combined fuel consumption of 188mpg (though this is a pretty meaningless average figure in the context of a PHEV) and carbon dioxide output of 35g/km is claimed.
  • And Volvo’s next-generation XC90 SUV will include a ‘twin engine’ model badged T8: a plug-in hybrid with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged petrol engine driving its front wheels and a 80bhp/60kW motor driving the rear. An all-electric range of around 25 miles is promised, but with 400bhp/640Nm of power on tap when required
  • Two interesting things about the latest UK car sales report from the SMMT. One, that registrations of EVs more than doubled in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period last year – up 144% to 2558 vehicles (‘pure’ BEVs). PHEVs and RE-EVs were up by over 90% to 973 vehicles. OK, the numbers are still exceedingly small, but the growth is in the right direction… But secondly, let’s put this in context: 1,287,265 new cars registered in the first six months of the year, 10.6% up on this time last year, the highest half-year total since 2005, and a market on track for 2.4million new cars on the road in the UK in 2014. In June alone, sales reached 228,291 cars. Britain’s appetite for cars does not appear to be slowing down despite the claims of ‘peak car’, and this illustrates the need for better management of this growing vehicle population and shifting people into cleaner, less polluting vehicles (which need not be privately- or individually-owned). Simply thinking that everyone can be persuaded/coerced onto public transport or a bike and hoping that the nasty cars will just go away is not enough.
  • But further to the above, some thought-provoking stuff from Guardian Cities about engineering more liveable cities in which the car is no longer “king” – present, but no longer dominant, enabling more space for pedestrians and cyclists, and for simply hanging out and enjoying the urban environment. It’s about achieving a balance, appropriate means of transport in particular areas and soforth, which all sounds eminently sensible (and, with the right supporting policies, achievable).
  • And continuing on this theme, another interesting snippet from Finland: the City of Helsinki is to trial a multi-modal route-planning system with employers and build a platform for its delivery, in the view that private car ownership will reduce in coming years and that city residents will instead buy transport ‘packages’ to include car rental mileage alongside use of the metro, bus and soforth, much as one buys phone/telecommunications packages. It’s a realistic long-term view which involves reducing driving and the numbers of vehicles on the road in cities, not ruling car use out completely or expecting radical, wholesale behaviour changes.
  • But it isn’t just about cities, either: Sustainable Mobility reports on two new EV-shares launching in France. One, in the small rural town of Gréoux-les-Bains (2,500 inhabitants) is a six-month trial with the slogan “Even in the countryside, I can drive plugged-in” (I think something may have been lost – or confused – in translation) and is targeted not just at the locals but at the 30,000-odd tourists who visit the resort’s spas each year. It’s offering Renault Zoes from 39euros a half-day and will be extended beyond the initial in-season trial if demand proves sufficient.  And back in town, SNCF mainline railway stations in Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille and Paris (Gare de Lyon) are to get an e-mobility service called Wattmobile: subscribers (typically paying 18euros a month) can hop into/onto a Renault Twizy or Peugeot e-vivacity scooter, levied per 15 minutes, to reach their final destinations.
  • Daimler and BMW have signed an agreement to develop a standardised EV induction-charging system. More here.





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