Concept of the Day: Liberty Electric Cars DELIVER

May 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

liberty deliverWell, the Google car’s everywhere, so I’ll bring you something different. This is DELIVER (Design of Electric LIght Vans for Environment-impact Reduction – catchy, eh?), built by the UK’s Liberty Electric Cars in an EC-funded project involving partners including RWTH Aachen University, Fiat, Volkswagen, Michelin, the Polis Network, Technical Research Institute of Sweden and HPL Prototypes. It features 2x 57kW/42Nm Michelin in-wheel motors, fitted on the rear axle with a two-speed transmission, an 80-cell Li-NMC battery pack, and promises a range of 100km and a top speed of 100kph. It weighs 2200kg and has a payload of 700kg, while its flexible cabin layout (no B-pillar kerb-side) gives walk-in capability and aids driver safety; it’s been developed with postal/delivery operations, supermarket deliveries and city council use in urban/suburban areas in mind. With a driver.

Described as a technology demonstrator at this stage, it has been evaluated on the RWTH Aachen University test tracks at Aldenhoven, and DELIVER will go display at the FISITA World Automotive Congress next week in Maastricht. More details at Green Car Congress; full presentation document from the DELIVER consortium here.

  • OK, the Google car… we all knew this was coming, but the most interesting/potentially disruptive thing about it, I reckon,  will be the degree to which Google plans to build and market it itself rather than work with established OEMs. The initial 100 prototypes will be in-house (albeit assembled by Roush and based on an existing product, say the rumours), then after that, Google is expected to work with partners – but how will the products be branded? The market’s opening up, though early days, of course. (“A revolutionary idea presented in a remarkably mundane package”, says Wired. Well, maybe that’s the idea).
  • Daimler’s pulling Car2Go out of the UK; its car-share schemes in Birmingham and London have failed to take off. Reuters cites the difficulty of co-ordinating between London boroughs on parking, given the one-way/’free-floating’ nature of the scheme; Car2Go itself talks in a statement of “the UK’s strong culture and tradition of private vehicle ownership” as well as the “unique challenges”. ZipCar continues to operate in London, nonetheless, though perhaps the greater ‘challenge’ in the capital is the fact that it’s actually pretty well-served by public transport. I’d also suggest that the limited fleet – Smart Fortwos – and the short-term-oriented pricing structure gave no appeal for residents (as opposed to tourists or city visitors) who don’t need a car for everyday or short-distance transport around the city (better means are available!) but might want to use one for occasional trips out to the country or weekends away, for example (something CityCarClub appears to have considered). Either way, it didn’t work out.
  • Some interesting discussion on car-sharing with car-share research queen Susan Shaheen (sorry, couldn’t resist that) here. Yes, it’s all about the city context (see above), which is continually shifting and changing; Shaheen also points to changes in the way car club members opt to use cars as their membership progresses.
  • Study from UC Berkeley (Caperello, TyreeHageman, Kurani) on the differences between male and female EV drivers: the men were less likely to talk about seeing long-distance journeys as impractical and more likely to consider using fast-chargers, women more likely to distrust range indicators; women more likely to focus on cost savings compared with buying petrol in the here and now; men more likely to look at long-term investments and also to see EV-driving as a political issue; men more interested in R&D and getting involved with EV communities; but really, many of the concerns and points raised were common to both genders. However, women are poorly represented in much EV-related research and product-planning, they argue. Full paper can be downloaded here.
  • The Chinese government is taking action to get smoke-belching old cars off the road – compulsory scrapping of a million to improve city air quality, reports Reuters. The interventions a totalitarian state can make, and my word, there are complications – and contradictions – inherent in actually pushing such a measure through.
  • Two-stroke scooters – which only have to meet Euro 2 emissions standards – are among the highest polluters of hydrocarbons and particulate matter in cities, claims a study from Switzerland: rundown, plus references and citations, here at Green Car Congress. Discussion too on diesel engine emissions from the United Nations Economic Congress for Europe, reported here; other sectors are more responsible and vehicles are not the primary culprits for PMs, but continued recommendations are made by UNECE.
  • Understanding this is way beyond my capabilities and the little I can remember from GCSE Chemistry, but there’s been some work on ‘iron molten air’ batteries. Said to offer higher energy capacity than lithium-ion, and when operating at lower temperatures as this research team has achieved, compatible with EV applications; more here.
  • A demo project at Berlin-Schonefeld (airport site) includes a multi-energy refuelling station with a hydrogen cogeneration plant, hydrogen refuelling for vehicles, plus electrolysis of hydrogen using surplus wind and solar energy. More on the Green Hydrogen Hub here.
  • Aston University is working on a bioenergy project involving Norwegian forestry waste; at the moment, it’s looking at biofuel for marine use, but research involves refinement processes and suchlike which could be relevant to land transport as well. More here.




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