Intelligent transport systems, connected cars, more #EV + automobility news…
September 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
Picture: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Concept-S, a sported-up version of the Outlander plug-in hybrid (one of Europe’s most popular plug-in electrified vehicles), to make its debut at the Paris Auto Show next month.
Some reading for the day: Latest report from ITS America (Intelligent Transport Systems) estimates the fuel and oil savings which could be delivered by the introduction of various technologies, including intelligent cruise control, traffic signal coordination, smart parking info, GPS tracking and wireless monitoring of fleet vehicles, optimised navigation and vehicle platooning. It also claims that plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles could bring fuel savings of 409.8million and 361.5million gallons per year respectively, though with current sales trends, petrol-electric hybrids “represent the most significant fuel savings” over the next ten years. Full report, focusing on four case studies, here.
- Interesting article at CityLab on the carmakers’ attempts to woo Millennials – yep, apps, tech, smart accessories, etc. But not a note on the other reasons this age-group aren’t driving (in the US, at least) – increasing urban-dwelling, their financial insecurity; it’s surely not all about them being more into their iPhones than cars? Point made about grabbing their interest now with a view to capturing them in 15 years’ time when they do come into the car market, though (as if this is a good thing. Opinions – from sustainable transport world, the automakers – may differ, obviously).
- Mini-media round-up: today, the Telegraph’s motoring team’s come out broadly in favour of ‘shared space’ road zones in city centres (something I’ve written about in the past…), following the well-argued ‘motorists have ruined England’ piece and advice to get kids cycling to school… Is this some kind of an indicator? (Probably not: but some evidence of a broadening of debate on transport matters in the conservative press?). Meanwhile, the Morning Star’s calling for re-nationalization of bus services, pointing out that inequalities in mobility exacerbate inequalities in services, access to jobs and soforth in remote rural areas (this is an issue in deprived urban districts, too, of course).
- South Korea has delayed a vehicle ‘smog tax’ in response to pressure from its domestic car-makers. Lobbyists claimed that the tax would cut Hyundai’s sales by 10%, according to this report.
- UK car sales: 72,163 in August, 9.4% up on August 2013, the 30th successive month of growth, over 1.5million new cars sold so far this year… The greater surge has been in private registrations – a rise in consumer confidence, says the SMMT – but fleet is also up. Alt-fuel vehicles (including EVs and hybrids but also LPG/CNG) have accounted for 27,887 sales year-to-date (up 48.7% on this time last year).
- Renault-Nissan is supplying 200 more EVs to Orange in France, mostly to be shared by employees and booked via Orange’s Auto Partage app. The fleet – Zoe superminis, Kangoo ZE vans, the Nissans e-NV200 and Leaf – will join the 30-odd Renault Twizys Orange is already running.
- Tech problems are the most common issues reported with new cars, according to a survey by JD Power, with voice-recognition and Bluetooth connectivity the glitchiest. The survey warns that consumers, though interested in such systems, are frustrated when they don’t work, and are unwilling to pay much more them. More here.
- However… Daimler has snapped up a couple of transport apps, mytaxi and RideScout, to add to its Moovel transport services unit (which also includes Car2Go and Park2Gether). It had owned a share in mytaxi – an Uber rival but for the booking of licensed taxis – since 2012; RideScout, functioning now in 69 North American cities, gives info for a range of transport options including car-sharing (Bloomberg, via Detroit News).
- EVs: a likely market is as second or third cars for wealthy families, says Jaguar-Land Rover head of product development Wolfgang Ziebart. “We see some Range Rover owners or owners of high-end Jaguars as potentially being attracted to electric vehicles”, he notes, suggesting a two-part market with the other sector being EVs as inner-city transportation, in which JLR is less interested. Other JLR plans: increasing the all-electric range and capabilities of its hybrids (Automotive News Europe).
- Propane: can be synthesized for transport fuel from e-coli bacteria, according to a team from University of Turku, UCL and Imperial College, London. Though it is a long way from commercial production, the metabolic pathway identified also has potential to incorporate ‘solar-powered’ cyanobacteria. More, incl. academic citations, here.