Tues news round-up

July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

PRIUS_PLUG-IN_HYBRID_TEC_01_2012__midA new study from UC Davis in which over 3,500 plug-in car owners were interviewed: their primary purchase motivation was use of the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Some 57% of Prius PHEV, 34% of Chevy Volt and 38% of Nissan Leaf buyers saw the HOV sticker as the deal-clincher, although those percentages have fallen in recent analyses to 34%, 20% and 15%. Tal, Gil & Nicholas (2014) identify HOV lane usage as a key incentive for getting people into plug-in cars, but warn of an increase in cars in these lanes leading to congestion, as has been reported in Norway.

  • The UK government is funding two pilot car-share programmes to the tune of £500,000, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced yesterday. The aim is to support schemes “which will promote much wider access to car clubs”. Interesting note with this is that the DfT is already funding 48 car club/car-share schemes through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund – effectively creating a nationalised/public system.
  • Paper on the future of biofuels from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis: there are three possible routes, incremental improvements (slow), transitional (using existing facilities but developing new techniques) and leapfrog (investing in all-new infrastructure for cellulose- and algae-derived fuels).
  • Aftermarket supplier Tommykaira is launching a limited-run Tesla-esque roadster called the ZZ: only on sale in Japan as yet, but European imports possible, reports Autobloggreen.
  • Paper from Delft University (Sierzchula, 2014) describes the factors driving EV adoption by fleet managers: strongest was testing new technologies, ahead of lowering environmental impacts, chance to get government grants, and CSR/PR benefits. Handy rundown here.
  • Electric vehicles of the future will have batteries plus a network of nano-supercapacitors over their bodyshells, say a team from the Fraunhofer Institutes. These could use graphene as a conductor material, and take over or supplement energy supply at times of high demand, easing the burden on the battery, and enable battery downsizing.
  • And lithium-ion battery tech could be enhanced – with energy density improved sevenfold – by adding cobalt, according to the University of Tokyo. This forms peroxide ions, which react with oxide ions at the positive electrode. More here.
  • And finally, some potential legislation on emissions which takes into account nasties other than CO2: London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (to come by 2020) could see a £10 diesel surcharge added to the existing congestion charge (currently £11.50). Diesels meeting Euro 6 would be exempt, however – and petrol cars pre-2006 will also be liable. This could shake up the car market (both new and used) considerably – as well as having an impact on taxis, buses and vans. More here.







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