Honda Micro Commuter, more clever city transport stuff

November 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Honda’s getting its micro-EV on the road: the Micro Commuter Prototype is designed to meet the ‘L7’ (quadricycle) regulations for Europe and a similar standard for lightweight vehicles under discussion in Japan. It seats two adults or an adult driver plus two children though its interior is adaptable; it does 50mph and has a 60-mile range. Honda suggests its suitability for short-distance commuting, runaround duties for families with small children and for senior citizens, as well as for car-sharing and delivery services. Testing will start next year, and Honda is researching the application of on-board solar cells as well as the vehicle’s integration with its Smart Home System for energy management.

  • BMW’s latest iVentures investment is in an app called Embark, which supplies information on public transport; it currently covers 12 ‘major transportation systems’ in the US and UK, and is said to be ‘expanding rapidly’. More here.
  • And BMW’s sponsoring a competition called the Urban Driving Experience Challenge, with the Local Motors crowd-sourcing community: in phase two of this, contributors are asked to think about how vehicles can be used for ‘Doing Good’, resolving social challenges and contributing to well-being as well as offering sustainable transport solutions. Full brief from Local Motors. Connectivity, semi-automation and remote communications all to feature.
  • The lines between lift/ride-sharing and private-hire/mini-cabbing could become increasingly blurred: approval and criminal record-checks of drivers/members obviously a good thing, but it appears that drivers may be seeing this as a back-door way to earn a bit of cash without going for a full taxi licence – some examples given in this Detroit News piece, which cites one Lyft member in San Francisco driving people around for 40-50 hours a week. Not quite in the spirit of the original crowd-sourcing/community transport idea.
  • Detail on the Ford EV+ tech here: a development of the Sync GPS, it ‘learns’ frequent destinations for the car and deploys the battery power in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models accordingly, i.e. going into EV-only mode when it ‘knows’ it’s near home.
  • Further to recent proposals for cable cars and ski lift-type systems for urban transportation, a design firm in Austin, Texas is looking into larger-scale gondolas as an alternative to light rail or trams in the city. More at Wired.
  • Transport researchers in the Brighton & Hove area:  a wealth of data here on how people in the city get to work. Thanks to @ibikebrighton for flagging this up.
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