Concept of the Day: ECOMove Qbeak III

January 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

qbeak3Danish start-up ECOmove is a stage nearer to bringing its EV concept to production; the Qbeak III prototype is up and running, with full charging tech and instrumentation. The company failed to meet its target of production in 2012, and has now scaled factory-readiness for 2014, but says that it has formed partnerships with suppliers and that “there are discussions in progress with foreign and domestic companies” for assembly and delivery in Europe, America and Asia, including China. The Qbeak is a lightweight with modular construction, a composite suspension system and 100% recyclable structure, low-cost polypropene bodywork and in-wheel motors; other powertrain options have been under development, including range-extended EV and biomethanol-fuelled, but it looks as if the all-EV’s the first  on the road. More here. Looks like a rival for the mia electric; let’s hope it feels better value-for-money.

  • And on the subject of concepts once thought highly unlikely to see real-world application… the Basque-built Hiriko ‘folding’ EV – a tiny two-seater which scrunches up for easy parking – is to go into field trials in a car-share operated by Deutsche Bahn, later this year. Press release posted here.
  • So Avis is buying Zipcar, with a view to international growth: this car-share/short-term rental thing is serious business. “Younger Americans care a lot less about owning a car or a truck than their parents did”, says Detroit News (bad for local industry, of course). Nice piece here at the BBC by Hertz president Michel Taride on the changing nature of car use (enabled by tech) and how car-sharing is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice; obviously, he has a vested interest, but makes some good points.
  • Motorists: over-taxed but under-supported, as the organisations that purport to speak for “British drivers” (in all their diversity…) claim in their never-ceasing bleats that there’s a “war on motorists”? Yep, as you’ve guessed, I’ve got little sympathy for that argument, and here’s some back-up from Dresden Technical University: a report that every EU citizen (including children) stumps up 750 euros a year to subsidize the effects of motoring, including the costs of pollution, accidents, noise and congestion. The UK  has one of the largest shortfalls between income from motoring-related taxation and the subsidy (equivalent to £815 per person per year), second only to Germany. Handy summary and breakdown of the report here at the Guardian;  here’s a link to the full DTU report, “The True Cost of Automobility” .

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