Midweek matters

July 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Despite the axe-wielding of our new coalition government, the Plug-In Car Grant scheme will still go ahead in the UK from January 2011. Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed today that up to £5000 – a 25% rebate on list price – will be available to buyers of electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell cars on a list of those approved for safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards. Funding for the Plugged-In Places initiative will also continue, with local authorities from the West Midlands, Cornwall, Sheffield, the Lake District, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland bidding for support to establish recharging infrastructure. *Update (thanks to Autocar) – though the scheme’s not been axed, the pot of cash up for grabs has been reduced from the original £230million to £43million.
  • BMW has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming in an ad that its all-electric Concept ActiveE gave out “zero C02 emissions”. The ASA ruled, in response to a complaint, that the ActiveE would most likely be powered by electricity from fossil-fuel power stations and therefore the “zero C02 emissions” claim was misleading – despite the caveat “when driving” (The Telegraph).
  • AFS Trinity of Delaware has patented its extended-range ‘extreme hybrid’ powertrain, which features ultracapacitors and is said to require half the usual number of battery cells. It intends to license the technology, claimed to be up to a third cheaper to make and fit than current plug-in hybrid systems, and is hoping that it will qualify for the US government’s tax rebates and incentives.  Full story at Autoblog Green.
  • Planar Energy of Orlando, Florida, is to start trial production next year of its solid-state batteries. These have a solid ion conductor in place of a liquid electrolyte, and are said to have higher-density storage and a higher power capacity than lithium-ion batteries. Planar claims to have solved earlier problems of scaling-up the technology, and plans to develop its batteries for automotive applications (Autoblog Green).
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car is to add electric vehicles to its US fleet at over 5000 locations.  It will take delivery of 500 Nissan Leafs from January 2011, with other models to follow. The first locations to offer EVs will be Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; San Diego and Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington.  These cities will have a recharging infrastucture in place, with charging points at Enterprise depots as well as in public-access facilities.
  • Porsche has confirmed the launch of the Panamera Hybrid next year. This super-saloon will get the 329bhp supercharged 3-litre V6 petrol engine and 46bhp electric motor, as in the Cayenne Hybrid.
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