Quadricycle crashes and more…

June 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Renault-Twizy-crash-test_thumbQuadricycles are not cars. Well, we knew that, but a reminder of this has come with the latest news from EuroNCAP: four ‘heavy’ quadricycles showed “severe safety problems” in frontal and side impacts at 50kmph in testing and showed “a level of safety that is way below that of cars”. The Ligier IXO J Line 4 and Tazzari Zero both “had major failings of of their restraint system” – seatbelts and seatbelt connections breaking – and the structure of the Club Car Villager 2+2 (basically a golf cart) “virtually collapsed in the frontal impact. Best performer was the Renault Twizy, which does have a standard fit-airbag, but “its stiff structure and restraint system resulted in some dangerously high dummy readings” nonetheless. EuroNCAP is now calling for a minimum crash safety level to be legislated in this sector. More here.

  • Some US sales figures: there are now 61,390 Chevy Volts on the road, and over 52,500 Nissan Leafs; Nissan sold 3117 Leafs Stateside last month (with year-to-date figures now at 10,389) and Chevrolet 1684 Volts (YTD 6838). BMW delivered 336 of its newly-launched i3 and Tesla Model S sales are estimated at around 1,200, says Green Car Reports. (and detailed table here).
  • The American Public Transportation Association estimates that individuals can save an average of around $850 a month if they take public transport rather than driving, and nearly $10,200 a year following petrol price hikes and rising parking costs. Cities where the biggest savings can be made, says APTA, are New York, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago; full table here plus detail on how the calculations are made (includes vehicle depreciation, as with many of these studies – not an issue for drivers of older vehicles). It’s based on having one fewer car in a two-person household, and 15,000 miles a year.
  • Demand for inductive EV charging’s going to grow, with nearly 352,000 units to be sold 2012-2020, forecasts Frost & Sullivan; lowdown here.
  • The Fiat/Eni/Trenitalia car-share has launched in Rome; 300 Fiat 500s, bookable via smartphone app to rise to 600 by September. More here. Though having just come back from Rome, I have to wonder why anyone would possibly want to drive there, adding to the appalling air quality and congestion… The scheme is already up and running in Milan, too.
  • Carbonfibre as electric car battery: latest reports on structural batteries (as in Volvo’s experiments) from KTH, Sweden, outlined here; potential for much weight- and space-saving. Carbon is also posited as a graphite replacement, and could serve as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries, they say.
  • The French government is running a trial to incentivise cycling to work, pointing out that car and train travel are already subsidised; around 20 companies with 10,000 employees have signed up to offer staff 25c (euro) a mile to bike it, reports Reuters.
  • And another electric motorbike-maker to keep an eye on: Icon of California, which has just launched its very stylish E-Flyer ($4,495). It’s another retro design – looks as if this is the way to go to get people on board. Or maybe that’s just my own personal taste, but well, if I lived in Los Angeles, I could fancy myself on one of these. (via @damonlavrinc – thanks).
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