Monday morning newsbriefs

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Daimler car2go car-sharing scheme has arrived in Vancouver, its first site in Canada. A fleet of 225 Smart Fortwos will be available to members for on-the-spot rentals booked online or via smartphones, with no reservations, no time limits and the chance to make one-way trips between locations and designated parking spots. Drivers are charged by the minute on an all-in basis, including insurance, fuel and parking, with reductions for hourly or daily use. Around 2000 people have already joined up; car2go is now claiming over 40,000 members worldwide, and is planning further expansion across Europe and North America this year.

  • The UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board has received a £7.5million investment for a programme to demonstrate and develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The aim is to encourage businesses to integrate the tech in their operations, develop a refuelling infrastructure and bring hydrogen/fuel cell usage into the mainstream.
  • The next Popemobile is going to be a hybrid: based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, with a 16-mile all-electric range, according to Michelin Challenge Bibendum.
  • How could we be freed from “the tyranny of the car”? With trams, says The Ecologist. Well, in cities, at least. Some interesting stats. And isn’t the picture of the car2go Smart in Vancouver, with the tram, a great illustration of how different forms of transport/models of usage can co-exist in an effective urban infrastructure?
  • Rising fuel prices are having a real impact on British drivers, according to a survey by Green Flag. 14% have given up their cars; 7% have swapped their cars for motorbikes; 58% are driving more slowly to conserve fuel; 42% walk more often; 27% use public transport more often; 21% shop online more often; 17% car-share; 10% cycle rather than drive; 7% have switched to a more fuel-efficient car; 14% are planning to either give up their car or switch to something more economical. Carrots, sticks… but we need to do this.
  • September 16th is PARK(ing) Day – a worldwide series of taking-over-the-streets events to have a party where cars usually park. Not necessarily anti-car, just about sharing social space and claiming some of it back for people and pedestrians (all good in my book). Is there interest in doing something in Brighton? asks the Hilly Laine blog. Expect more such events nationally; it’s a growing movement in the US. Incidentally, and further to the above post, it’s Bike Week here in Brighton right now.
  • And if you’re staying in your car… Handy diary of UK events where you can get a good look at the latest electric cars, at thechargingpoint.com.
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