Tuesday newsbriefs: all about EVs, today

September 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Having seen the Volkswagen NILS, Opel RAKe, Audi Urban Concept et al, this one now looks less strange: the Edison2 eVLC, an electric version of the XPrize-winning Very Light Car. Said to be more efficient than a Leaf, claimed to be ‘the highest mpge-rated vehicle ever’, carries four; lowdown from Autoblog Green.

  • Or how about an enclosed motorcycle, a cleverly-balanced two-wheeler? Autoblog Green also has the details (and video) of a concept from Korea’s Lit Motors. Production of 10,000 a year planned, range of 150 miles, 0-60 in six to eight seconds, but first drivable C-1 prototypes still six months off.
  • Other news from Korea; responsibilities are to be split between the divisions of Hyundai-Kia. Kia is to focus on EVs, Hyundai on plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars, said vice president Yang Woong-chul at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The first Kia EVs will go on sale at the end of the year.
  • The next phase of the UK’s Electric Highway: charging points are now available on the M4 and M42, linking Bristol and Birmingham to London and bringing these journeys within reach for EV drivers. There are 32-amp fast-chargers and slower 13-amp sockets for overnight use at the service station hotels, all powered by renewable juice from the Ecotricity wind and solar farms. They’re at the Welcome Break Hopwood Park services on the M42 (junction 2) and Membury on the M4 (between junctions 14 and 15), and join those already installed at South Mimms (M25/M1 junction), Michaelwood (M5) and Oxford (M40, junction 8a), plus the top-up point at the Ecotricity windmill on the M4 near Reading. Access to these sockets is via a free swipe card.
  • PSA Peugeot-Citroen has signed a cooperation agreement with General Electric for EV infrastructure and support for fleet and business customers. The deal will involve recharging stations, customer experience centres, research into range and charging time, as well as the leasing of 1000 PSA EVs to GE in Europe by 2015 (Green Car Congress).
  • Random snapshot-image from a foreign city: Boulder, Colorado is planning 40 public EV chargers by June 2012, but they’re costing more than expected, and 80% of EVcharging in the city is expected to be at home anyway. Authorities are optimistic that the expenditure will encourage EV use. (Daily Camera, via @cleancartalk).
  • The Car Charging Group is to install EV chargers in car parks run by the USA’s largest operator; the Coulomb Technologies chargers to be used could go into up to 2,200 locations (Green Car Congress).
  • Since it’s all about EVs today, let’s just celebrate the wealth of expertise in this sector in the UK… Best of British feature at The Charging Point; so much more that could have been mentioned, once you drill down to component level (transmissions, control systems), but this does at least highlight a couple of interesting projects relevant to real people and not just a supercar-driving elite.

EV chargers appear at motorway services

July 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Welcome Break motorway service stations in the UK are to get fast-charging points for EVs: the first, at South Mimms, opened this week and there’ll be 11 more by September; all 27 locations will be equipped within 18 months with free-to-use standard chargers for overnight use (for guests at the motels) plus fast-chargers giving a full charge in two hours or an 80% top-up in 20 minutes. Even better, the power supplied will be wind or solar energy from Ecotricity; Ecotricity’s Dale Vince sees this as the launch of an Electric Highway – full essay at his ZeroCarbonista blog. EV owners will need to register with Ecotricity for a free swipecard to use the facilities. Detailed lowdown in the press release.

  • In other news today: Nissan is to build an EV in China to market in partnership with domestic car-maker Dongfeng. It’s scheduled for 2015. CEO Carlos Ghosn said yesterday: “We see a clear need for cars that are affordable, practical, spacious and zero-emissions… We are ready to produce electric cars locally in China under the Venucia brand.”

Friday round-up

August 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Latest on the Zero Carbonista/Ecotricity ‘wind car’, the Nemesis: it’s been for track-testing at Bruntingthorpe, its motor shut-down safety has been trialled, and it did a standing quarter-mile in a very respectable 12.71 seconds. Top speed recorded so far is 134.5mph so far, and the team think they can get it faster yet.  The car’s a Lotus-derived (but substantially re-worked) personal project by the founder of Ecotricity, supplier of wind-generated electricity. It’s not a production contender, but it looks like a blast – and an instructive learning experience for EV-builders. Full story and video at Zerocarbonista.com .

  • Lots of EV news Stateside. An 18-month trial of Local Use Vehicles (LUVs) has started in Los Angeles County with six runarounds on test in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and South Redondo Beach. More far-reaching: Ford has announced partnerships with Portland General Electric and city authorities in Seattle in anticipation of the lanch of the Transit Connect and Focus EVs. Meanwhile, Better Place is extending its battery-swap taxi trials in Tokyo till the end of the year.
  • A new phrase: supercritical fluid injection. Gives the potential for 30% fuel savings in petrol engines, says a Californian company called Transonic Combustion: the fuel is heated and catalysed, allowing for diesel-style compression ignition and very lean fuel-air mixtures. Works with diesel, ethanol and butanol, too, and negates the need for expensive exhaust aftertreatments, they say. Full low-down (and plenty of sceptical comments) at Autoblog Green.
  • Toyota is supplying ten fuel cell cars – the FCHV-advs, latest iterations of its Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle prototype –  to SunHydro of Connecticut. The firm is working on a hydrogen refuelling structure for the US East Coast, including a ‘hydrogen highway’ network from Maine to Florida. Its first refuelling point, will be in Wallingford, Conn., near its HQ.
  • DIY EV story of the day #2: students from the University of British Columbia are driving across Canada in a converted 1972 Beetle. Long distances, difficult terrain, and very little infrastructure; they’re aiming to set a record for the fastest coast-to-coast in an electric vehicle. More at Wired.

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