Dissent on car club stats; electrification tech and more…

September 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

drivenow_mini_smallAnd something backing up my suspicions that on-demand car-sharing (as distinct from fixed-location car clubs) may not be the urban transport panacea its advocates position it as being: a German study claiming that it created more traffic on urban streets in Berlin, was used in favour of public transport or cycling and mainly for short leisure journeys (an average 5.8km). Vehicles also spent nearly 23 hours a day parked and stationary, only a half-hour or so more than than average private car. There’s been criticism of the methodology (Car2Go claims its vehicles work 150 minutes a day) and of the study’s concentration on usage statistics without looking at behaviour change, however.

  • Nissan, BMW, Volkswagen and Renault are co-ordinating in the EU-funded Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) programme to develop a multi-standard, interoperable network across the UK and Ireland, including over 70 rapid-chargers on major trunk routes; also involved in the project are Zero Carbon Futures (Sunderland) which will manage it, Irish energy co ESB, and Newcastle University, which will lead the research programme.
  • Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has been demonstrating its 48V hybrid tech at the Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook this week: this is a proposal using low-cost ‘switched reluctance’ (SR) motor-generators, which are simple stepper motors in which a non-permanent magnetic field is induced. These are said to be very controllable, efficient across a wide speed range, and need no expensive permanent magnets or rare earth metals. CPT has also developed its latest LC Super Hybrid demo cars for advanced regenerative braking and advanced engine torque-assist from the SR motor-generator, and is seeing a 17% fuel economy improvement (to 57mpg) compared to the standard 1.4-litre Volkswagen Passat on which the demo car is based; CO2 emissions are down close to 115g/km but performance is said to emulate that of a 2.0-litre engine. CPT is also showing off the ADEPT concept developed in partnership with Ricardo (see below), as well as COBRA (Controlled Boosting for Rapid response Application), using the SR machines in electric superchargers for buses and commercial vehicles – a means of enabling engine downsizing and higher gear ratios as well as improving diesel emissions. This is being retro-fitted in a number of transport fleets.
  • California-based Local Motion (San Mateo), vehicle-sharing tech provider to companies including Verizon, ride-share service Breeze, London’s EV-taxis Thriev, EDF and 1-800Courier (for Google Shopping Express deliveries) says it is scaling up deployment to nearly 90,000 vehicles; its fleet management/deployment/optimisation software includes keyless entry/access, enabling quick driver changeovers, and is said to facilitate fleet introduction of EVs.  A name to remember…
  • Another police alert: the Italian Carabinieri have taken delivery of 23 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs for use in city centres, on islands and in low-emissions zones, reports AutoblogGreen.
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