Design Concept of the Day: Millennium Tuk-Tuk

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

birmingham fuel cell carBirmingham City University has created a concept said to propose “the world’s first affordable hydrogen fuel cell-powered mass transport vehicle”. Built in partnership with Walsall-based motorsport firm Spencer Ashley and the DYP-DC Centre for Automotive Research, Pune, it’s on display at the Delhi Auto Expo this week. Not much detail at the mo, and this is the only image I’ve found as yet, but the “Millennium Tuk-Tuk” is suggested as “a primary mode of public transport in India in the future” to replace the traditional three-wheeler auto-rickshaws. It’d help the Indian government’s ‘Hydrogen Highway’ plan to get at least 1million hydrogen-fuelled vehicles on the road by 2020.

Some more lowdown from the university: “Hydrogen for the vehicle is stored in a cluster of low pressure metal hydride cylinders, providing a safe means of fuelling the system. A thermal compressor retrieves the produced hydrogen by splitting water into its component elements – hydrogen and oxygen – via solar energy. Hydrogen storage cylinders can then be used to power equipment including mobile phones, computers and lighting in remote and developing areas or in a humanitarian disaster situation, as well as powering an electric vehicle.” The uni has also been developing a ‘hydrogen tree’ concept – a simple design using solar power to charge multiple hydride stores to power vehicles and other devices; more on that here.

  • Global production of plug-in hybrids and EVs will rise 67% this year, says new forecast from IHS Automotive/Polk; this is against an expected 3.6% rise for all auto-making. This is the first of 10 predictions for EVs in 2014, the other nine being: more choice for consumers; total number of charging units to reach 1.1million worldwide, with 35,000 new ones in public/semi-public domain; the roll-out of ‘trio’ chargers with multi-way AC-Type 2 Mode 3, DC-CHAdeMO and DC-CCS compatibility plus DC chargers for domestic use, the price of the latter to come down; the AC charger market to fade; higher typical EV range of 150 miles thanks to lower prices for lithium-ion batteries; more energy and fuel-saving technologies such as Ford’s ‘solar roof’; public chargers still struggling to be profitable for operators, but the prospect of advertising revenue from display screens; a growth year in China; and EV prices to come down.
  • A number of EVs from Mahindra at the Delhi Auto Expo this week; most headline-grabbing is the Halo sports car, said to do 160kph, 0-60mph in less than eight seconds, and have a 200km range. Features a tablet-based control system on the centre console, too. More workaday are the (updated) Verito (85kph, an 80km range) and e20 city car, now offered with fast-charging capability plus compatibility to use the battery as a domestic power source at times of grid outage. More at Autocar India. Oh, and Mahindra showed its Formula E electric racer and a hybrid SUV called XUV500, too.
  • The Charge Your Car EV-charging network is reporting 100,000 charging sessions (as of 4th February). It has 230 registered charging post-owners and manages 1,535 charging points; 1,637 users are currently registered, who use the UK-wide RFID card system (also accepted on the Ecotricity network) on a pay-as-you-go basis. It introduced the CYC app last year, and drivers pay via smartphone; the app also includes a search facility, live mapping showing current charging point status, and remote start/stop of charging. The CYC system is also built on open-source software.
  • Nice story from NASA: its Sustainability office (yes, it has one) is running a test programme at the Kennedy Space Center allowing ten employees to charge EVs for free. The EV drivers are contributing data on their mileage/trips each day, and GHG emissions at the base are being reduced at a much higher rate than expected, according to this piece; the EVs are showing CO2 per-mile reductions of about 60%.
  • Mitsubishi’s bringing three concepts as seen in Tokyo late last year to the Geneva party: XR-PHEV (compact plug-in hybrid crossover with 1.1-litre direct-injection turbo petrol engine plus compact motor); GC-PHEV (full-sized hybrid SUV with supercharged 3.0 V6, eight-speed auto and  high-output motor, hint at next-gen Shogun); and AR, a compact MPV with stop-start and the 1.1-litre turbo engine. Mitsubishi’s also reporting 15,000+ orders in Europe for the Outlander PHEV.
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