Midweek newsbriefs

June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

An EV incentive: EDF Energy is partnering with Peugeot UK and Citroen UK to offer a package of services to buyers of the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero. They’re to provide a £799 ‘one-stop-shop’ for recharging solutions: site or home survey and installation of a charging point, a charge timer for off-peak charging, a smart meter and energy consumption monitoring, plus a three-year warranty for the charging point. The first 500 private residential customers to sign up will get 500 ‘electricity miles’ free, and EDF is promising 20% cheaper electricity on its low-carbon, off-peak Eco 20:20 package. Similar packages are also on offer to business fleet customers.

  • DIY EV of the day: Black Current, a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle/milk float hybrid which has just become the first EV to sprint a quarter-mile in under ten seconds – and it’ll do 0-60mph in 1.6 seconds and reach 135mph. Built by Sam and Olly Young of Hungerford, Black Current won the annual Alternative Energy Racing contest on the drag strip at Santa Pod (Daily Mail).
  • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing semi-solid flow battery cells which could make recharging an EV as fast as refuelling a petrol car. These batteries would also be lightweight, about half the size of those currently used, and cheap to make. Semi-solid flow batteries have their positive and negative electrodes suspended in particle form within a liquid electrolyte, which is then pumped through the cell. The charge and discharge functions are separated, making energy storage more efficient, though the charged liquid itself could also be swapped and replaced in a quick electrolyte-swap operation.
  • Audi is reviving the A2 badge for a purpose-designed electric supermini, reports Auto Express, which could make its debut this autumn at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’ll have a lightweight aluminium spaceframe chassis like the original A2, and there could be a related ‘family’ of A2 variants.
  • The Cambridge University Eco Racing team is to compete in this year’s World Solar Car Challenge with a new version of their Endeavour three-wheeler; full report and pictures (of the 2009 car) at Wired Autopia.
  • Nissan has developed a roadside assistance vehicle with an EV charger to assist those with flat batteries. It’s on trial now in Japan.
  • Gatwick Airport has installed eight EV charging points in its short-term parking area: free to use for up to four hours, enough for a juice-up.
  • The e-bikers are preparing for the TT Zero on the Isle of Man next weekend; shots of the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc – tipped to be the fastest – plus videos from the practice sessions at Hell For Leather.
  • More e-bikes: Dale Vince of Ecotricity tasked a team from Kingston University to build him an electric superbike, and he’s taking the 140mph, 0-60 in 3 seconds, 220kg Ion Horse (which cost £150,000 to make) to the TT as well.
  • The grandson of Sir Donald Campbell is aiming to set a new land speed record in an electric ‘Bluebird’. Don Wales’ attempt at 500mph is scheduled for 2013, but is going to do some test runs at Pendine Sands on July 2nd/3rd. He’s looking for volunteers to marshall, remove stones from the sand and support the team; more at the Bluebird site.
  • Better Place has signed a $AUS 60million, 10-year deal with Australian energy supplier ActewAGL for renewable electricity – wind, hydro and solar – for its charging network in Canberra. Whilst battery-swap stations still seem to be on the agenda, Better Place appears to be concentrating on conventional recharging, battery-leasing and energy management, and providing car-grid-driver communications and software. Learnt a new phrase today: car as “distributed storage mechanism”, which means it takes on board off-peak electricity from an intermittent renewable supply to then utilise it at times of greater demand. More at the Better Place Australia site, where the master plan is outlined.
  • Volkswagen’s adding a Bluemotion model to the latest Passat range. Based on the 105hp 1.6 TDI diesel with six-speed manual gearbox, it has stop-start, battery energy recovery, low rolling-resistance tyres, lowered suspension, underbody panel and revised radiator grille to improve aerodynamics, and a small spoiler (saloon). The saloon (from £19,875) returns 68.9mpg and emits just 109g/km of carbon dioxide, the estate (from £21,180) 65.7mpg and 113g/km.
  • Chrysler is working with the US Department of Energy on an experimental multifuel engine which can burn petrol, E85 bioethanol or diesel. It’s a turbocharged 2.4-litre, on test in a Chrysler Town & Country MPV, and a 25% fuel economy improvement is cited (Autoweek).
  • Toyota is installing a huge deck of solar panels at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, to be operational next month. The 17,000-panel array will provide 5% of the plant’s annual energy requirements, which may not sound much, but is enough to build 7000 cars.
  • The Citroen C-Zero EV is now available with the French MultiCity rental service; it’s on offer at six sites in Paris and surrounding area, including Orly airport and at major train stations, and can be rented by scheme members from E35 for a half-day.
  • Indianapolis-based car designer Marlon Kirby and financier David McMahan are touting their latest creation: the Maxximus LNG 2000. It’s a 1600bhp V8 super-coupe (hmmm) which runs on compressed natural gas or liquid natural gas, so they’re claiming it as “the fastest green car on the market today”. My feminist principles won’t allow me to upload a picture of a car with posing Playmate alongside, so go to inhabitat.com to read about it.



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