Volkswagen e-Up! revealed; biofuels and better transport plans

March 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

vw eupVolkswagen’s e-Up! electric city car is to go on sale in the UK early next year, after a formal launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show this autumn. Previewed at VW’s annual press and investors’ conference in Wolfsburg this week, the e-Up! is said to have a 150km (93 mile) range, and it can be charged to 80% capacity in 30 minutes (it’s compatible with AC or DC charging). Peak power is 82ps (60kW) with maximum torque of 210 Nm available immediately; it’ll do 0-62mph in 14 seconds, and reach up to 84mph. It has the same interior space as the ICE Up! – a brilliantly-packaged little tiddler – as its battery packs are housed under-floor. No word on pricing as yet.

  • Obama is calling on Congress for $2billion of funding for alt-fuel research: focus has shifted from electrification, reports Detroit News, to encompass research into solutions including CNG and biofuels as well.
  • BMW i Mobility Services is partnering with Now! Innovations to extend the ParkNow app: it’ll, err, now include on-street parking space info and reservation/payment. More at Green Car Congress.
  • Biofuel has been getting a bad press – especially palm oil, lately – as production of its feedstock takes up land/resources from food crops and can involve the destruction of natural habitats (i.e. the clearing of forests where orang-utans live). However, there is scope for industrial production of cyanobacteria, which can be used to make butanol – and a breakthrough in this has been made at the School of Biotechnology, KTH Stockholm. Researchers claim that synthesising butanol from bacteria from blue-green algae is 20x more efficient than making ethanol from corn or sugar cane, and that it could be commercially viable in a decade. More here.
  • Transport Secretary Norman Baker (Lib Dem) has published a plea for better-integrated transport. He’s calling for clearer and more accessible info on transport options; convenient and affordable tickets to cover a whole journey (which may be by different modes of transport); regular and straightorward connections; and safe, comfy transport facilities. More here in the ‘door-to-door strategy‘. All good common-sense stuff, but a shame that rampant privatisation has rendered achieving this such a difficult task…
  • A thoughtful two-part piece at This Big City on the issue of cars vs urban regeneration and sustainability; first up, the ‘problem’ of cars. Not just the ICE, but cars full stop, argues Bruce McVean; EVs ain’t going to solve car-dependency. And a ‘reallocation of space away from the car‘ is necessary, he says – priority for cyclists and pedestrians, for example, shared space, and other people-centred initiatives.
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