Monday morning news round-up
April 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
The My Electric Avenue project is now up and running in Marlow; nine neighbours in one street are leasing Nissan Leafs and testing energy monitors for SSE Power Distribution to inform on how clusters of EVs are domestically-charged, and their demands on the grid. This is the first of eleven 18-month trials around the UK, led by EA Technology, with further groups in Chineham, Chiswick, Lyndhurst, South Gosforth, Wylam and South Shields (x2), plus workplace groups at Slough Borough Council and Your Homes Newcastle. Fleetdrive Electric and Zero Carbon Futures are also involved. My Electric Avenue is still looking to recruit 100 individuals for ‘Social Trials’ – collecting data on driving patterns, mileage and times of driving – with ‘specially negotiated’ lease terms on a Nissan Leaf; more here.
- Did someone say ‘peak car’? New car sales in the UK in March reached a 10-year high, with 464,824 vehicles registered in the month; year-to-date sales are up 13.7% on last year, standing at 688,122. The SMMT is talking about “a substantial margin of pent-up demand that is contributing to a strong new and used car market”, due to increased consumer confidence and new products. Supermini and city car sales are up, along with SUVs and MPVs; March also saw the highest-ever monthly sales of alt-fuel vehicles at, err, 8,713 – a pretty damn tiny drop in the ocean nonetheless.
- The Mayor of London’s Office is co-ordinating a £31million fuel cell tech/infrastructure deal called the HyFIVE project; five car-makers – Honda, Daimler, BMW, Hyundai, Toyota – are deploying 110 fuel cell cars in several European locations, and developing refuelling stations. The other locations are Bolzano, Innsbruck, Copenhagen, Munich and Stuttgart, with new refuelling structure going to Aarhus and Odense. More here.
- 30 Bluebird race cars are to run at Brooklands in September in a charity trophy race; Don Wales, grandson of speed record-breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell, has been relaunching the ‘Bluebird’ name and more will be revealed at an event at Rockingham later this spring.
- Fourth prototype from Japan’s SIM-Drive is the SIM-HAL (high-efficiency, all-wheel drive) sports coupe, featuring in-wheel hub motors; lowdown at Autoblog Green.
- Bio-engineering at work: a team from Michigan State University and U of Wisconsin-Madison have genetically tweaked poplar trees to contain more easily broken-down lignin, thus making them better sources of biomass for fuel… summary, links to journal paper here. And more on microalgae for biodiesel here…
- BMW has begun production of its C evolution ‘maxi-scooter’ in Berlin; range 100km, 75mph, lithium-ion battery modules as in the i3. More here.
- An 18-month trial of an all-electric 16t truck by French supermarket Carrefour saw an 86% fall in well-to-wheel CO2 emissions compared to an ICE equivalent, reports Green Car Congress. The prototype, developed by Renault Trucks on a Midlum chassis, travelled 16,000km, delivered 16t of goods and enabled night-time operations due to its silent powertrain; though there were a few glitches with battery settings, it managed 25% energy recovery through regenerative braking.
- To solve city congestion and car-dependency, don’t focus on urban transport solutions – better planning and development address the root causes, says Maria Borjesson of KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. More here.