Design Concept of the Day: Link&Go

March 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

link and goAnother micro-EV on display at the Geneva Motor Show, and this one’s self-driving and fully-wired for social behaviour. Created by the Akka Technologies Group (and funded by the Yvelines General Council), Link&Go does have a driver-operated mode but it can park itself, steer itself using an augmented-reality laser/camera system, and is controlled by gesture-recognition and touch-screens. Its driver’s seat swivels to transform the cabin into a ‘lounge’ layout, and a robotic arm plugs it in for recharging. It’s a showcase for the work of Akka Research at its French and German labs – and a (conceptual) rival for the Rinspeed microMAX, also in show in Geneva, perhaps.  More here from project partners MBtech.

  • GM is working on two new EV technologies – one giving a range of 100 miles (perhaps a low-cost solution for selected markets/niches) and one promising 200 miles. CEO Dan Akerson told Bloomberg that “there will be breakthroughs in battery technology,they’re on the horizon”.
  • The Guardian Environment Network is reporting from Israel on the struggles of Better Place: an interesting account. Debate the shortcomings of electric cars per se, vs. the  Better Place business model… The guy from Pike Research probably has it when he says that battery swapping might work for taxis or fleets, but doesn’t make sense for private motorists. This brings out some other issues about the Better Place plan, too: apart from the battery-swapping, it has challenged consumers’ notions about ownership, purchasing etc – laudable, but perhaps a step too far at this stage.
  • Latest investment by BMW i Ventures: a stake in Life360, a location/communication app enabling parents to keep track of their children and respond to emergency situations. Follows its investment with mobility service providers and mobile technology developers; more here.
  • Ford’s getting into the car-share game with Ford2Go (no relation to Daimler’s Car2Go – surely some trademark infringed there?), a co-operation with its German dealers’ association and DB Rent (Deutsche Bahn’s car rental offshoot), which already offers a car-share service called Flinkster. Ford’s describing it as “the first automotive manufacturer-backed, nationwide car-sharing scheme incorporating dealerships” (how about Peugeot’s Mu?) and is planning to roll it out across Germany and then elsewhere in Europe. Customers register at a participating nearby Ford dealership/service partner/repair shop, and reserve cars online or via a smartphone app. Looks like trad rental but via a keep-it-in-the-family membership scheme, really – I’m thinking that  ‘car-sharing’ is a bit of a misnomer for this kind of service. But anyway…
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