Electric trucks, EVs on trial – and an alternative fuel cell

August 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Oldham-based ePower Trucks is adding a low-cost light truck to its range of all-electric utility vehicles. The XT320E (from £30,000, pictured) has a 1000kg payload and a 60-mile range – or a 120-mile range and 670kg payload with a double battery pack.

  • Renault has started hot-weather testing of two Fluence electric saloons in Israel. This is also part of the first field trial of the Better Place battery-swap scheme, to be rolled out in Israel and Denmark next year.
  • Nissan is to make batteries for the Leaf at its plant in Smyrna, near Nashville, and the state of Tennessee is getting into the EV vibe: a solar-generated EV charging point, thought to be the first in the South, has been installed in the small town of Pulaski. Two more will follow in Nashville and Chatanooga, and a further 14  across the state in the next three years (Autoblog Green).
  • We’ve heard about the methane-driven ‘Dung Beetle’/’Bio-Bug’, and now there’s pee power: researchers at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, have come up with a fuel cell which uses urea instead of hydrogen. Urea – which could be collected from farm animals – is cheaper than hydrogen, works with cheaper membranes and catalysts, and is also much less explosive. The Heriot-Watt team have just received a £130,000 grant from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Council to take the research further. More at the Heriot-Watt website.
  • The range-extender powertrain – electric motor/batteries plus small economical engine to dispel range anxiety and augment performance – is the future, says Autocar’s Hilton Holloway, inspired by a briefing from BMW’s Megacity team. Much debate following in the readers’ comments.
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