Renault Zoe sets distance record, week-end news round-up

June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Renault Zoe has completed a marathon run of 1005 miles (1618km)  in 24 hours, setting a new distance record for production EVs. Over the 24 hours – orbiting the circuit at the Aubevoye technical centre, Normandy, 363 times – it was fast-charged 18 times to keep its batteries juiced-up. Two cars took part (the second completing 1506 km), shared between fifteen drivers, and the Renault team used the new Chameleon charger, a universal connector compatible with any socket and power level.

In other news to round off the week:

  • The Eco Technology Show takes place at the Amex Stadium, Brighton, today (15th June) and tomorrow (16th). Lots of exhibits and trade stands re. energy-saving – domestic, transport, for business – plus a test-track to try out e-bikes; participants include ZeroCarbonWorld, which has pledged to give away 10 free EV charging points to local businesses or organisations. Tickets are £5 to get in, with lots of free workshops and seminars.
  • Cutting the cost of making motors is an important part of the EV manufacturing equation. The Technology Strategy Board/BIS is thus co-funding (to the tune of £750,000) a research programme called Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor – basically, a low-cost motor which doesn’t need expensive magnet materials such as rare earth metals. The three-year project will be led by Cobham Technical Services, and partners involved are Jaguar Land Rover and Ricardo UK. One of the main challenges is producing a torque-dense motor which is quiet enough for use in luxury vehicles, apparently, without using permanent magnets. More details from Ricardo.
  • Better Place is clearly serious about launching its battery-swap tech in Britain: it’s advertising for a Country Program Integrator – UK. The role includes “managing the relationships on the ground and coordinating the various functions and workstreams taking place in the UK”, “managing all of Global’s engagement activities with the specific country OpCo during its launch phases” and “building and maintaining the key relationships with local partners and government officials”, as well as being “the on-the-ground coordinator of all local pre-launch projects (e.g., taxi, utility)”. Full job spec here
  • Infiniti is going to show off the Emerg-e range-extended EV concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: it’ll be driven up the Hill by F1 ace Mark Webber.
  • For all that BMW opened its i show room (must stop calling it the i-Store) in London yesterday (see below), the company’s whole e-mobility project is “skating on dangerously thin ice”,  says Automobile. The American mag’s citing sketchy EV charging infrastructure, which hasn’t been developed as quickly as expected, and the pull-back of governmental incentives, and says that “the proposed i1 intra-city car and the i5 eco-van have been put on ice”.
  • Some more detail on the  i3: this compact all-electric hatch keeps the carbonfibre construction of the original concept, with rear-hinged rear doors; the interior incorporates some sustainable natural materials, such as hemp and wool in the trim. Let’s hope that there’s nothing in the rumours (see above) and that this intriguing, very promising-sounding vehicle will make it onto the road next year.
  • The new Smart Fortwo electric drive (see below) is “the most credible pure electric yet”, says Autocar.
  • Daimler’s Car2Go car-share/short-term rental scheme, which uses the Smart Fortwo in ICE and (in some locations) electric drive forms,  is now expanding to Miami, Calgary and Toronto. Pre-registrations are being taken for membership in Birmingham (England, not Alabama) too.

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