March 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Not a ‘green’ vehicle as such itself, but some ideas to encourage more sustainable transport behaviour: this is the work of the London Cycling Campaign, which is calling on the construction industry to use lorries with better all-round visibility. This mock-up features a lower driving position, larger windscreen and side windows, lower bumper clearance (reducing the risk of a cyclist being dragged under the truck), side-guards and side/rear cameras with warning systems. Lorries are involved in half of all cyclist deaths in London, as well as a high proportion of pedestrian fatalities, and whilst some vehicles such as dustbin lorries and buses are beginning to incorporate more cyclist-friendly features, construction trucks are lagging behind, says the LCC.
- Bill Ford – yes, of FoMoCo provenance – has invested $2.8million via his venture capital firm in a London-based app developer which offers a smartphone transport ticketing service, reports Giga Om. Masabi is the creator of JustRide, a cloud-based platform enabling users to buy, store and use tickets for buses, trains etc., with an on-screen QR code to get through barriers. Bill Ford has talked previously about the importance of integrated transport systems, as well as peer-to-peer and car-to-infrastructure networking.
- Looks like fun: Epic EV has launched its Torq roadster, described as the world’s fastest three-wheeled electric vehicle (not that there’s a lot of competition for that title, as yet). 0-60 in four seconds, from around 50,000 euros/$65,000, deliveries from April, apparently (via Autoblog Green).
- Honda has reported fuel savings of over 20% in a trial of a traffic congestion minimisation app in Jakarta, Indonesia. Both a standalone system warning the driver of congestion in the area, and a networked cloud-connected platform giving information from other connected cars in the area, were tested. More here.
- Another better-biofuel technique: a team at Columbia University has developed a cheap, energy-efficient biological process to convert methane (from biogas, anaerobic digestion, waste landfill gas) to methanol. Science bit at Green Car Congress.
- Eleven organisations in the Polis network (a pan-European project linking cities and regions) met this week in Brussels to discuss the development of a platform for electrified transport (multi-modal). More here. Ongoing Polis projects include the establishment of EV-charging and EV-sharing in Berlin, research into travel behaviour change,
- One of the Polis members, ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council), has released its Horizon 2020 Strategic Research Agenda. It is “taking a system approach and addressing Grand Societal Challenges”, with a target 50% efficiency improvement across the European transport network, plus advances in safety, reliability and decarbonisation. Takes into account freight, passenger transport, urban mobility and integrated transport systems. Not much to think about there, then…
- Modern-day car-making: how green are the factories? Interesting piece on Renault’s new Dacia plant near Tangiers at Automotive Design. Biomass boilers burning olive stones, lots of eucalyptus trees planted… some degree of mitigation? Discuss.
March 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
BMW has received “several hundred” advance orders for the i3 EV and early interest in this and the i8 plug-in hybrid is higher than expected, said global sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson at the company’s annual accounts conference this week. There has also been significant interest from fleets and rental organisations, he said, citing the early success of the DriveNow short-term rental scheme in San Francisco. Board chairman Norbert Reithofer noted that “we are compelled to introduce e-mobility” to meet EU emissions targets, but that “it is the right strategy. It is a must and not an option”… “to have any chance of addressing the growing ecological challenges in the world’s metropolitan area”. The i3 will be launched in around six months’ time. BMW executives also reported that 92,221 EVs were sold worldwide last year, up from 4,669 in 2010. You can stream the conference here.
BMW Guggenheim Lab advisory committee member Juliet Schor – also professor of sociology at Boston College, and co-founder/co-chair of the Center for a New American Dream, a non-profit looking at a more ethical and ecologically-friendly approach to consumerism and consumption – spoke at a pre-conference dinner, reports Headlineauto. Schor brought up the evidence suggesting that young people are less interested in cars than they once were, putting more of a priority on social media. She said that “green is becoming a status symbol. We call it ‘altruism signalling’ – showing the good that you are doing by perhaps having a hybrid or electric vehicle in the driveway. Altruism is a major evolutionary behaviour – it’s why the Toyota Prius has become so popular in the US”. Schor, who has written extensively about consumer culture, believes that sustainable products are now “mainstreaming”, and that “sustainable luxury” has high cultural capital amongst consumers (she’s a Bourdieu fan). She reckons that though younger people are leaving it longer before buying cars, they do want a more sustainable lifestyle, and that they will opt for options such as city car-shares and rentals (like DriveNow) in the meantime.
- Only two-thirds of Japanese EV owners questioned in a McKinsey & Co survey said they were satisfied with their purchase; 34% reported that they would not buy another EV, and cited higher electricity bills and the problem of finding somewhere to charge up. The research suggested that these buyers were less well-informed than the other “green enthusiasts”, and pointed to the need for better consumer education. Much more positive feedback from the UK Technology Strategy Board’s 300-EV, 12-month trial, however (case study updated today): 92% of drivers involved said the car had been fun to drive, 72% said an EV would be sufficient for their daily needs, and 91% would recommend an EV to others.
- OK, so the fuel duty rise was scrapped. Some good news for greener fleet car-buyers, though: the first-year 100% tax capital allowance for businesses buying ultra-low emissions cars has been extended till 2015. The qualifying threshold will be reduced from the current 110g/km to 95g/km come April, and then 75g/km 2015-2018 subject to review in 2016. Eligibility for main-rate capital allowances will have a cut-off of 130g/km from next month. Two new company car tax bands for BIK (benefit-in-kind) allowance will come into play April 2015: 0-50g/km, and 51-75g/km, the first taxed at 5% 2015-16 rising to 7% 2016-17, and the second at 9%/11% respectively.
- A fleet of BYD K9 all-electric buses (80-seater, 12m long) is to go into trial service in Bogota, Colombia. More here.
March 15, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Volkswagen’s e-Up! electric city car is to go on sale in the UK early next year, after a formal launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn. Previewed at VW’s annual press and investors’ conference in Wolfsburg this week, the e-Up! is said to have a 150km (93 mile) range, and it can be charged to 80% capacity in 30 minutes (it’s compatible with AC or DC charging). Peak power is 82ps (60kW) with maximum torque of 210 Nm available immediately; it’ll do 0-62mph in 14 seconds, and reach up to 84mph. It has the same interior space as the ICE Up! – a brilliantly-packaged little tiddler – as its battery packs are housed under-floor. No word on pricing as yet.
- Obama is calling on Congress for $2billion of funding for alt-fuel research: focus has shifted from electrification, reports Detroit News, to encompass research into solutions including CNG and biofuels as well.
- BMW i Mobility Services is partnering with Now! Innovations to extend the ParkNow app: it’ll, err, now include on-street parking space info and reservation/payment. More at Green Car Congress.
- Biofuel has been getting a bad press – especially palm oil, lately – as production of its feedstock takes up land/resources from food crops and can involve the destruction of natural habitats (i.e. the clearing of forests where orang-utans live). However, there is scope for industrial production of cyanobacteria, which can be used to make butanol – and a breakthrough in this has been made at the School of Biotechnology, KTH Stockholm. Researchers claim that synthesising butanol from bacteria from blue-green algae is 20x more efficient than making ethanol from corn or sugar cane, and that it could be commercially viable in a decade. More here.
- Transport Secretary Norman Baker (Lib Dem) has published a plea for better-integrated transport. He’s calling for clearer and more accessible info on transport options; convenient and affordable tickets to cover a whole journey (which may be by different modes of transport); regular and straightorward connections; and safe, comfy transport facilities. More here in the ‘door-to-door strategy‘. All good common-sense stuff, but a shame that rampant privatisation has rendered achieving this such a difficult task…
- A thoughtful two-part piece at This Big City on the issue of cars vs urban regeneration and sustainability; first up, the ‘problem’ of cars. Not just the ICE, but cars full stop, argues Bruce McVean; EVs ain’t going to solve car-dependency. And a ‘reallocation of space away from the car‘ is necessary, he says – priority for cyclists and pedestrians, for example, shared space, and other people-centred initiatives.
March 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Proof that legislative intervention works: average new-car CO2 emissions fell in the UK by 3.6% last year to 133.1g/km, a 26.5% improvement on 2000′s average, and sub-130g/km cars accounted for over half the UK car market. And Band ‘A’ cars – currently sub-100g/km – took 8.2%, up from 3.7% in 2011. The latest figures from the SMMT also show that ‘alternatively-fuelled vehicles’ took 1.4% of the market; 85% of these were petrol-electric hybrids (averaging 98.7g/km), and electric/plug-in car registrations rose 111.8% last year to 2,237 units. Manufacturers have been spurred to meet the EU targets for emissions reductions (including a target average of 95g/km by 2020) but the SMMT also notes a need “to encourage consumers to adjust their vehicle choices”, and that “encouraging behavioural change will require support from other stakeholders, notably government and fuel suppliers”.
- Few of those registrations to include the Karma range-extended EV (pictured), however: latest in the Fisker fiasco is Henrik has walked away from the company he founded, with “several major disagreements… with the Fisker Automotive executive management on the business strategy” cited. Automotive News runs down the issues involved and has the full statement and comment from the man himself. I’d expect news of a takeover/buyout.
- Big swathe of data from the EV Project: fourth-quarter 2012 figures on 60million miles-worth of electric motoring. About 80% of charging at home, range-extended Chevy Volt drivers going all-out to use as little petrol as possible; different public charging patterns in different US cities, with an impact from carshares such as Car2Go (using Smart Fortwo EVs). Handy breakdown and links at Green Car Reports.
- The Bollore Bluecar EV (as supplied to the Paris Autolib’ carshare) has gone on sale to the general public at 12,000 euros plus 80 euros-a-month battery hire.
- Bus news: 10 fuel cell buses are to go into service in Aberdeen. They’re made by Dutch manufacturer Van Hool, with a Ballard fuel cell module, and will be the largest fuel cell bus fleet in Europe so far. The Van Hool/Ballard buses are also going into action in San Remo, Flanders and Cologne. Ballard is also supplying fuel cell modules for buses for US customers in Connecticut, California and Massachusetts, reports Green Car Congress. And electric buses: China’s Sichuan Automobile Industry Co (SAIG) has signed a deal with California’s Balqon Corporation to buy its e-drivetrain and lithium-ion battery tech for inner-city buses; and Proterra has done a long-term deal with UQM Technologies for the drivertrain of its EcoRide BE35 bus (thanks, Green Car Congress).
March 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Peak car? Automobility’s not just in decline, “it seems pretty inconceivable that the car as we know it is going to be around for another 100 years,” says Maurie Cohen, associate professor and socio-technical transitions theorist at New Jersey Institute of Technology. In conversation with Atlantic Cities, Dr Cohen suggests that the private car is going to go the way of the landline phone, and talks about cracks appearing in the automobility regime already (not a new theory). No word on what will replace the car, but he thinks it could be an invention from China.
- BMW is thinking about this: the Sunday Times quotes Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing, as saying: “For the first time since the car was invented, consumers are changing radically”. The ST cites the lowering percentage of young driving licence-holders in the US, that around 80% of under-25s in Tokyo don’t have a car, the rising number of young households without a car in Germany, and lowering mileages driven – and a tripling of urban car club membership worldwide 2006-2012, now at around 3million (three-quarters aged under 40). “Now we need to engage with non car-owning people”, Robertson said.
- Updates on the latest news from electric/hybrid bus-land here. A trial of wireless ‘opportunity charging’ (topping up at points around the route) is about to start in Milton Keynes; hybrid bus numbers growing rapidly, and a new proposal: a sort of bus/pooled taxi arrangement in a comfy nine-seater EV with free wi-fi (conventional ICE vehicles also available). This service is offered in London by GUTSI (Green Urban Transport) which describes it as an “executive daily commuting club”, doing pick-ups to go to Canary Wharf and the City. (Cheers to @dbeeton for flagging this up).
- Q&A with GM’s global electrification director Larry Nitz at Autoblog Green. Nitz sees the Volt as “the inflection point where we started this journey” (to electrification, but sees an all-electric like the Chevy Spark as more of a second-car option for a household, with cost an issue. The mission statement: “We are committed to electrification as a long-term journey. It will not overtake the world instantly, but it does provide a reasonable, rational opportunity to get off of petroleum to an alternative fuel, electricity, that can come from many different sources.”
- Some projections from research by ExxonMobil (I know…): hybrids to make up 40% of global vehicle fleet by 2040, plug-in hybrids and EVs 5%. Full report here. Forecast from PwC: hybrid and electric vehicles to take 6.3% of market by 2020; flags up charging infrastructure, charging time and cost premium as key issues to resolve.
March 6, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Subaru has been playing around with hybrid tech for a while, but this concept goes a stage further with plug-in capability. It uses the familiar Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four diesel plus Lineartronic CVT, with two independently-controlled motors driving the rear wheels and a single motor driving the front axle in an AWD system likely to feature in future production models. As the rear motors directly drive the rear wheels, there’s no need for a prop shaft, and the floor can be lowered for extra rear legroom. The diesel engine drives the front axle. More here. I like this better – and find it more relevant to the mainstream production-car world – than the other headline-grabbing hybrid in Geneva, the LaFerrari, for all you might argue about tech trickle-down.
- Volvo pulled out a nice piece of tech at Geneva, too: a pedestrian- and cyclist-detection safety system with auto braking. On sale in model-year 2014, more here. No substitute for drivers using their eyes (and mirrors), obviously, but vulnerable road users need all the help they can get…
- More on the long-range Mitsubishi CA-iMieV here; further lowdown on GR-HEV hybrid pick-up; and the Quros 3 hybrids.
- Non-Geneva news: Toyota is to start a three-year smartcard-enabled EV-share project in France at the end of 2014 in partnership with EDF and the Cite Lib car-share. This will involve 70-odd ultra-light compact vehicles – the i-Road and COMS – and will take place in Grenoble and the surrounding area; the aim is to explore the use of light EVs on a ‘last mile’ basis. More here. And there’s video of the Nissan New Mobility Concept (Japanese Twizy) trial here.
- Save energy, only light highways when a car is approaching: trials are to start in the Netherlands of ‘smart roads’ with motion sensors, glow-in-the-dark paint, automatic ice warnings – and priority lanes for EVs. More at Forum for the Future.
- Debate of the day: the RAC Foundation is talking about “transport poverty” – low-income households spending over a quarter of their income on running a car, averaging £44 a week (ONS data). Cuts in buses are a contributing factor to car dependency, and an obstacle for job-seekers, says the Campaign For Better Transport. The answer’s not cutting fuel duty (as the RAC Foundation is calling for), say many, including @geographyjim, who points out that only 31% of the poorest households have a car, and that households in (car) “transport poverty” only account for 2% of the country’s total fuel spending – so any cut would overwhelmingly benefit the better-off, and not help out the majority of low-income households anyway.
- More fuel (sorry) for thought: a study from UMTRI (University of Michigan Transport Research Institute) argues that all the benefits of efficiency improvements made in the last 40 years in the US have been cancelled out by people travelling higher mileages, and with a higher tendency to travel alone. Handy rundown here; full report here. Data is 1970-2010, however, so may not fully reflect any impact of recession.
March 4, 2013 § 2 Comments
It’s an electric Transporter: no detail on the powertrain as yet (it’s very much a concept), but the e-Co-Motion promises an 800kg payload and 4.6 cubic-metre cargo capacity. It could be configured as a driver’s cab with cargo box (like the Geneva show vehicle), a passenger shuttle, a low-platform or refrigerator box van, or to customer order, as the drivetrain, battery and gearbox are packaged under-floor. It’s 4.55mm long, 1.9mm wide and 1.96mm tall – and this concept probably gives more than a few clues as to the styling of the next-generation mainstream ICE Transporter.
And this is Volkswagen’s vision for it: “Electric mobility – especially in light commercial vehicles – could play a crucial role in meeting the growing transport needs of the world’s megacities. Freight trains and conventional or hybrid-powered high-capacity lorries would deliver goods up to the city limits. Then, at transfer stations, smaller electric delivery vans would take over. Their predictable travel routes and fixed depots would simplify battery charging and equipment maintenance” (Dr. Eckhard Scholz, Speaker of the Brand Board of Management).
- A non-Geneva note: a survey by Zipcar found that 18-34 year-olds (“Millennials”) find it easier to live without owning a car and drive less, thanks to the growing availability of car-sharing, lift-sharing and soforth; from the 1015 questioned, there was a clear trend that mobile devices and transportation apps were more important than car ownership. 65% said that losing their phone or computer would have more of a negative effect on them than losing their car; 25% said that transport apps had reduced their driving frequency; 73% said they preferred to shop online than drive or take public transport to a shop; 47% said they sometimes chose to spend time with friends online instead of driving to see them. More here.
- And the mobility behaviour of Germans is changing too: research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has found that people are increasingly using different transport modes. Its analysis of data has found that younger folk are less likely to own a car than senior citizens, cycling is becoming more popular and people are increasingly likely to use different transport modes. Just 74% of people have access to a car in their household now, down from 83% in 2002, around a third cycle on a weekly basis and are cycling further. The KIT research – an annual report from 2000 people which has taken place for 18 years – was commissioned by the German federal ministry for transport. More here.
- A pair of electric buses plus a support van using Bombardier’s Primove wireless induction charging tech are going on trial in Mannheim. More at Green Car Congress. The trial is supported by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (again), and funded by the German federal transport ministry. And Yamato Transport, Toyota and Himo Motors are starting a one-year trial in Japan of a small one-tonne refrigerator truck; more here.
- Further to the unveiling of the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron (see earlier post), the VW Group’s Spanish division is building its first CNG-fuelled production model. The Seat Mii Ecofuel emits 79g/km, burns 2.9kg of gas per 100km and is said to cost half as much to run as a petrol-powered Mii, given European CNG prices; it uses a version of the familiar VW Group 1.0 three-cylinder. It also incorporates the full suite of energy-saving Ecomotive technologies, including stop-start, low rolling resistance tyres and brake energy recovery. It’ll go on sale in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Czech Republic plus other regions where there is a suitable gas supply infrastructure (not the UK).
March 4, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Toyota’s i-ROAD is described as a “personal mobility vehicle” and is a semi-scooter three-wheeler, two-seater EV with an enclosed cabin. It’s just 850mm wide, has ‘active lean’ gyroscopic balancing tech, and has a range of up to 30 miles; it’s said to be comfier, safer and offering better weather protection than a scooter, but giving similarly low running costs, easy parking and around-town manoeuvrability (turning circle 3m). No helmet required. It’s powered by two 2kW motors in the front wheels. A clear statement from Toyota reads: “While hybrids, plug-in hybrids and FVCs (fuel cell vehicles) are ideal for mainstream use over medium to long distances, Toyota believes in the feasibility of EVs to serve as a main mode of transport for short urban journeys”, and the company suggests a system whereby “commuters can use public transport or conventional private vehicles to travel to urban perimeter transportation hubs where they will transfer to the Toyota i-ROAD to complete their journeys into the city centre.”
- BMW is showing the i3 Concept Coupe and i8 Concept Spyder in Geneva, and has flagged up some key findings from the original 12.5million-mile Mini E/ActiveE trail. Distances covered by these EVs “showed very little difference from the distances covered by conventional cars”, averaging just over 25 miles a day; the pilot customers charged two to three times a week on average, mostly at their homes and workplaces; though at the start of the trial over 70% said that access to public charging facilities was important, in practice, public infrastructure was used less than 10% of the time. More detail on the i3”s connectivity: its 80-100 mile range can be optimised via the ConnectedDrive services, which include net-based real-time navigation and dynamic range calculation, taking into account traffic conditions and route topgraphy, plus advice on which of the three driving modes are recommended to conserve range, nearby charging stations and plug reservations, and charging times. BMW has also confirmed the availability of an optional range-extender engine, putting total range up to 186 miles, plus “additional mobility modules” enabling the borrowing of a conventional ICE vehicle from BMW i on “a given number of days per year”.
- Kia Provo concept: dodgy name (does it bomb Brighton hotels?) but interesting powertrain solution. This low-slung supermini-sized 2+2 hatch has a turbocharged petrol engine (1.6 GDi direct-injection, 204ps) with an electric motor using energy captured by regenerative braking, giving four-wheel drive and “an additional power surge to the rear wheels when required”, plus a short low-speed electric-only ‘creep’ range. Gearbox is a seven-speed DCT.
March 1, 2013 § 1 Comment
There are no shortages of promises to build electric supercars, but this 1000hp, four-wheel-drive Volar-e prototype is up and running: it was demonstrated this week at the Circuit de Catalunya during the F1 test days. Developed by Applus IDIADA of Tarragona, to a European Commission tender, it’s said to be capable of 300kph and to do 0-61mph in 3.4 seconds; it can be recharged in 15-20 minutes. A team from University Miguel Hernández (UMH), Elche, has produced an advanced wi-fi communications system for data collection and analysis. More here, video of the car in action here.
- The average mileage of American drivers fell for the eighth year in a row in 2012: 37 miles fewer than in 2011 despite 0-3% population growth. More here at the DC Streets Blog, data from the Federal Highway Administration. (Via @mCenterDrexel).
- Car-sharing in Austin and Philadelphia has had a setback: Austin city authorities have sent a cease-and-desist letter to SideCar, and in Philly, cars have been towed away, on the basis that users of this smartphone app are operating as unlicensed taxi drivers. More here.
- Local news: the Brighton University e-bike trial team is inviting curious cyclists to come and check out electrically-assisted pedal power. Preston Park, 10am to 4pm, Saturday 9th March; more – and link to register – here.
- Compressed natural gas has long been a popular fuel elsewhere in Europe, including in Germany, and Audi has opened a plant in Werlte to synthesise it and produce so-called ‘e-gas’ – synthetic methane produced through electrolysis of water, using renewable-source electricity. Audi is to show a gas-driven A3 Sportback g-tron prototype in Geneva next week, prior to a 1500-car trial. It is claiming emissions of 30g/km, even when the carbon cost of constructing the plant is taken into account. More here. Interesting, but can’t help but think that electricity can power a car directly…
- And a hydrogen development: a new low-temperature catalytic process could be effective for use in fuel cell cars, using methanol as an energy carrier. More here.
February 22, 2013 § Leave a Comment
So it’s finally been confirmed: Volkswagen is to build the XL1 ’1-litre’ car, albeit in a very limited production run of just 50 vehicles, which, given their handbuilt carbonfibre bodies, will no doubt not be cheap (no prices announced as yet). Enough of an output to secure Volkswagen the record for the most fuel-efficient and aerodynamic production car yet made, anyway, and to act as road-going showcases for tech which will filter into more mundane-looking mainstream models in due course (Autocar is reporting that the XL1 drivetrain will be fitted in an Up! hybrid in 18 months’ time, for example). Lowdown on the car’s designer, Maximilian Missoni (now at Volvo) at Car Design News, btw.
An ultra-aerodynamic plug-in diesel hybrid two-seater, the XL1 uses less than 1 litre of fuel per 100km – 0.9 litres, Volkswagen claims, equivalent to a phenomenal 314mpg (in ideal conditions, of course: real-life consumption will be less spectacular) and with a CO2 output of 21g/km. It’s aided by a weight of just 795kg and its long-and-low outline, can do over 99mph and 0-62mph in 12.7 seconds, and it’ll do up to 50km in all-electric mode before the two-cylinder, 800cc 48PS diesel engine kicks in. Given the seven-speed DSG transmission, it should even be a rewarding drive. More details will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show next month, when Volkswagen will also be launching the Golf Mk7 plug-in hybrid (with 1.4 TSI petrol engine) and its sister model, the Audi A3 e-tron, both to go on sale next year. Oh, and also at Geneva: the hybrid McLaren P1, which can do up to 10km in all-electric mode – press release on that posted here. Green, as hyper-cars go, I guess, and A Good Thing for consciousness-raising.
- Balanced article by Tali Trigg at Scientific American on state-of-play with EVs: he makes the point that given the existing infrastructure and potential to slot into existing grid (and future clean-electricity) supplies, EVs “offer a clean solution in the near term” and a better value-proposition than “yet another hyped vehicle technology” (i.e. hydrogen, for which you need to establish a sufficiently low-energy generation/production/supply chain, which hasn’t been cracked yet). He also acknowledges that there is probably no one solution, and the importance of “improving conventional fuel economy and better urban planning and public transit options” – all crucial stuff too in the short- to-medium term.
- Here’s a phrase to remember: “transit legacy cities”. In the USA, that refers to cities which were founded before the advent of the automobile, and which thus have (or were originally built with, at least) a public transport infrastructure. The most concentrated use of public transport for commuting in the country is in the “legacy cities” of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, says Wendell Cox at New Geography, where there’s a detailed breakdown of commuter habits in metropolitan and surburban areas. Lessons for London and the older cities of Europe?
- The IBM/NXP connected vehicles SmartCloud trial in Eindhoven noted improved traffic flow, lower congestion and better resolution of emergencies and incidents; more at Green Car Congress. Mind, you, there are concerns (in the US) over conflicting uses of the frequency spectrum for connected cars, reports Wired.
- Updates on the Nissan FF (Front-engined, Front-wheel-drive) hybrid drivetrain here. And I’ve just learned a new German word: freikolbenlineargenerator, FKLG for short. Means free-piston linear generator; a team at the German Aerospace Centre has developed a multi-fuel example of this which could be used as a range-extender for EVs, in place of an engine. Science bit at Green Car Congress.
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Frauenhofer Institute for Systems and Innovations Research, Siemens and Michelin are launching a new high-mileage EV trial to study cost-efficiency; EVs will be used by staff travelling to and fro over the French-German border. More here.