Concept of the Day: TUM Create VOI

April 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

TUM VOIIt’s not pretty, but it could be effective: the VOI (named from the Vietnamese word for elephant, apparently) is designed to be a safe, affordable and easy-to-ride electric transporter-scooter for congested metropoli. A collaboration between students from Technical University Munich (TUM) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, VOI was revealed at the Taiwan International Electric Vehicle Show. TUM Create, a research group spanning 20 countries, says that it could suit urban commuters and business people whizzing between meetings, and address the ‘first/last mile’ problem – link-ups with railway stations and other public transport systems, for example – as well as hosting a cargo box for multi-purpose use as an alternative to the enclosed front passenger seat. It’ll do 45km/h and has a range of 80km. More here.

  • Interesting interview here with the CEO of Alset Global, supplier of the hydrogen hybrid system for the Aston Martin ‘Ring racer (see previous post). Jose Ignacio Galindo describes the tech as being “a breakthrough technology without disrupting the industry” – as in, the hybrid nature of the system means that you don’t need a whole new fuel supply infrastructure straight away, and that minimal changes to existing ICEs are needed (as BMW has been saying for years). He sees it as a gateway to the “hydrogen economy” – a phrase he keeps using – which is quite telling, I think, and a glimpse into the industrial/commercial agenda for hydrogen (again, see previous post). Incremental improvement (in terms of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, at least) or a straight substitution of one fuel regime for another with little actual benefit to overall sustainability?
  • Big report out from the International Energy Agency’s Electric Vehicle Initiative – Global EV Outlook, giving predictions through to 2020. Haven’t had a chance for a go-through yet myself, but you can download it here. The IEA is also suggesting that transport gives “a window of opportunity” in an otherwise bleak lack of progress in the transition towards clean energy generation and use.
  • On a national level, the ULEV roadmap from the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research), setting out a plan for the UK to “develop a global advantage in low-emissions vehicles”). I’d summarise it as 4 Is: investment, incentives, infrastructure, improvements (the latter referring to electricity supply and the national grid). Available for download here.
  • Well, that told us… Enjoyed this piece, promoting a book called Roads Were Not Built For Cars. “Cyclists were written out of highway history by the all-powerful motor lobby in the 1920s and 1930s”, says Carlton Reid. Great stuff.
  • Toyota’s Prius PHV trial in Strasbourg (70 cars) charted an average 46% fuel economy improvement versus a comparable ICE car and 61% CO2 reductions. The more frequent the cars’ charging, the greater fuel economy results (unsurprisingly); 60% of recharges were at workplaces, 37% at home and only 3% using public facilities. Handy breakdown of findings here.
  • Another OPOC engine story: latest news from Achates Power. The 1.5 two-stroke, two-cylinder diesel can meet Euro 6 and LEV3 without SCR; 13.% fuel economy gain on a comparable Mercedes unit.
  • Large new study linking exposure to traffic pollutants and heart disease: lowdown here. It ain’t all about CO2.
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