Geneva preview; more car-sharing, mobility news and useful resources

February 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

renault twin runRenault’s going to show its new Twingo at Geneva, it has confirmed. Inspired by the Twin’Run (pictured) and Twin’Z concepts, it’s going to be rear-wheel drive, as it’s c0-developed with the upcoming four-seater Smart (previewed by the Fourjoy concept) with which it’ll share a platform. Both cars will be built by Renault in Stare Mesto, Slovenia; there’ll be a five-door, and electric versions are expected.

  • The EC has today completed a basic set of standards for connected cars; full release here.
  • The Toyota Engineering Society – a kind of out-of-hours club for the company’s engineers – has hacked the Prius: the TE-S800, a plug-in hybrid, has been souped-up to 200bhp+, stripped-out  and chopped into a roadster. Not an official Toyota concept, but some of these ideas may filter back into the day job… Video here.
  • Sumito Corporation has built a prototype commercial-level energy storage system using 16 used/recycled electric car battery packs. This will store energy and smooth out supplies for the nearby solar farm on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, reports Green Car Congress.
  • Was talking to a guy this week who belongs to the Autobleue EV-share in Nice; looked it up, and it’s quite a big scheme which has been running since April 2011: 180+ cars, 63 parking/docking stations, reservations by phone and a choice of the Peugeot iOn, mia electric mini-MPV or the Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner Electrique. They’ve even got a wheelchair-accessible Partner on the fleet. Though not, confusingly given its name, the Bollore BlueCar as in the Paris Auto’lib. Registration is 26 euros, and then you have access to the cars on-demand, charged on various different tariffs. Worth remembering if you’re on holiday down that way this summer.
  • Car-sharing could cut out 1.2million car sales in the US by 2020, according to research by business consultancy AlixPartners. Their study talked to 1000 drivers in 10 metropolitan areas of the US where car-sharing has already had an impact – Austin, Boston, Chicago, Miami, NY, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco/Oakland, Washington DC and Seattle – and then scaled up the results. Primary motivations amongst the sharers were ease of access, convenience and economics, with environmentalism bottom of the list; 51% said they shared rather than buy a car, 45% indicated they would avoid a future car purchase; most ‘purchase avoiders’ were younger drivers, but also, significantly, households with children (the second-car substitute?). Obviously, similar effects aren’t going to be observed in, say, rural Virginia, but the potential impact identified is probably still greater than in earlier studies. Full release from the firm here; the MD points out that apps, connected-car tech and automation have the potential to reach out beyond the early-adopters, as well as helping to shift towards the pay-per-use model and shared access from traditional ownership in a new mobility system.
  • Another proposal for the 100o-mile EV battery: aluminium-air. Alcoa has teamed up with Israeli battery-maker Phinergy to commercialise batteries using this tech; Phinergy says it has overcome earlier problems with corrosion, recharging and carbonisation. More, including references, here.
  • Education, education, education: personalised travel planning can lead to an 11% reduction in trips taken by car, and a 15-33% increase in walking, cycling and public transport use, reckons Sustrans, which is now rolling out its PTP programme in five cities – London (Greenwich and Haringey), Ljubjana, Burgos (Spain), Riga and Antwerp. More here.
  • Nice interview by Future Mobility Now with BMW’s DriveNow chief Frank Hansen on the use of EVs – including the i3 and ActiveE in car-sharing, here. BMW learnt from DriveNow how members use cars within cities – average trip distance about 12km – and it was always the plan to include EVs on the fleet.
  • BMW also reckons that offering services such as multimodal routing will give them access to people who wouldn’t otherwise buy a BMW; quotes in a feature on the car-makers’ role in future mobility solutions, here. Part One, including details on Sweden’s UbiGo multi-modal mobility system, here.

According to Wakefield, while smartphones and increasing urban density have driven adoption thus far, automated and driverless cars could be key enabling technologies for car sharing to grow well beyond the current early-adopters.

“Car sharing could really get traction as smartphone and automated-vehicle technologies pave the way for new mobility systems throughout America and much of the world,” said Wakefield. “In the future, automated and, especially, driverless cars could be the killer apps for car sharing.”

He continued: “The auto industry can be bypassed by these trends or can seize the opportunity to get out in front of them. It can do that by addressing the dissatisfaction with car ownership that many people, especially urbanites, have today, but also by leveraging the new technologies underpinning car sharing, being relevant in auxiliary services and adapting to what some are calling the new ‘sharing economy,’ where pay-by-use is often preferred over ownership for many types of products.”

– See more at: http://www.alixpartners.com/en/MediaCenter/PressReleases/tabid/821/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/950/AlixPartners-Study-Indicates-Greater-Negative-Effect-of-Car-Sharing-on-Vehicle-Purchases.aspx#sthash.azusXCo9.dpuf

According to Wakefield, while smartphones and increasing urban density have driven adoption thus far, automated and driverless cars could be key enabling technologies for car sharing to grow well beyond the current early-adopters.

“Car sharing could really get traction as smartphone and automated-vehicle technologies pave the way for new mobility systems throughout America and much of the world,” said Wakefield. “In the future, automated and, especially, driverless cars could be the killer apps for car sharing.”

He continued: “The auto industry can be bypassed by these trends or can seize the opportunity to get out in front of them. It can do that by addressing the dissatisfaction with car ownership that many people, especially urbanites, have today, but also by leveraging the new technologies underpinning car sharing, being relevant in auxiliary services and adapting to what some are calling the new ‘sharing economy,’ where pay-by-use is often preferred over ownership for many types of products.”

– See more at: http://www.alixpartners.com/en/MediaCenter/PressReleases/tabid/821/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/950/AlixPartners-Study-Indicates-Greater-Negative-Effect-of-Car-Sharing-on-Vehicle-Purchases.aspx#sthash.azusXCo9.dpuf

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