Renovo Coupe super-EV, and today’s transport & mobility news

August 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

Renovo-Coupe-EVThe annual concours d’elegance and classic car show at Pebble Beach, just outside Monterey in California, has traditionally been the preserve of historic supercars and luxury limousines, as well as a showcase for the bespoke car-makers – and now some electric vehicles are (quietly) creeping into the mix of exotics on display. Not mainstream, mass-market transport solutions, to be sure, but some indicator that EVs can play the status symbol/rich boys’ toys game as well? The Renovo Coupe (built by a Silicon Valley-based start-up) is effectively an electric Shelby Daytona CSX9000 with modifications to swap in a twin-motor e-powertrain, delivering 493bhp (Euro) and 1000lb ft of torque, 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and 120mph-plus, reports Autocar; it has a range of around 100 miles. Some more detail at Car and Driver. Also at Pebble Beach: Saleen Foursixteen, a tuned-up $152,000Tesla Model S.

  • Some useful references to Australian research on suburban transport access and transport poverty in this Guardian Datablog piece; the poorest residents spend the highest proportion of their income on petrol, especially in outer areas where public transport is lacking. The further away from Melbourne city centre and train stations people live, the more likely these poorest households are to have two or more cars, and this trend is rising steeply (up 93% 2001-11). It seems that this blog is in response to comments by Aussie Treasurer Joe Hockey that “poor people don’t have cars or don’t actually drive very far”, for which he has now apologised; the most disturbing thing about this is, perhaps, not so much that the guy was offensive or rude but that someone in such a senior governmental position could be so poorly-informed and just plain wrong in his claims.
  • An outline of transport demand management policy from the Sustainable Cities Collective, concludes that “the smartest city is not the one that eliminates cars, but the one that can integrate them into a sustainable network of urban mobility options”. This school of thought takes on “a set of strategies that maximize urban mobility by limiting the unnecessary use of private cars”, looking at factors including better integration of driving with other modes of transport, improving safety for all road users through better road design and speed limits, regulating parking and improving the transport options available to people, it says.
  • Lausanne Polytechnic is leading a development project on 15-second ‘flash-charging’ of electric buses, with the first TOSA-equipped buses to go into service in Geneva in 2017, reports AutoblogGreen. Charging is via a swing-out robotic arm from the roof of the (solar-panelled) bus stop.
  • Are we really ready for the hydrogen economy in transport? Not just yet, according to Joan Ogden of the Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis: “hydrogen faces a range of challenges, from economic to societal, before it can be implemented as a large scale transportation fuel”, she writes. Stumbling points include funding, investor and consumer confidence, and fuelling/supply infrastructure, rather than technical challenges, but there are positive trends and “we seem to be tantalizingly close to a hydrogen transition”. Full research white paper here.
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