Solar trikes, e-taxis, grid-balancing trials and more electromobility news…

October 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

foodlogica trikesHere’s a good little business model: solar-powered electric trikes for ‘last-mile’ deliveries of (locally-produced) food to restaurants and cafes. Foodlogica has a shipping container at base for storage of the trikes (made by German firm Radkutsche), kitted out with solar panels for recharging; the trikes have a cargo box good for 300kg. It’s said to be a replicable, up-scalable system and is a commercial spin-off from the Netherlands’ CITIES Foundation Farming The City project, which has been exploring and promoting sustainable and local food consumption, production, transportation and processing. (via Treehugger).

  • BYD is supplying 34 e6 taxis to Brussels, its biggest order so far; the cars’ 190-mile range, as well as their size and comfort, won the tender, reports Automotive News Europe. Oh, and there’s a fleet of 167 (!) Tesla Model S taxis at Amsterdam Schipol airport now, reports EV Fleet World.
  • The future according to Mercedes-Benz: all vehicles electrified, to different degrees from mild hybrids with starter-generators to PHEVs (10 in the M-B range by 2017) and battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles. The cost of batteries will be halved and energy density doubled by 2020, thinks R&D chief Thomas Weber, with the range of the B-Class e-drive up to 185 or even 250 miles. M-B is also anticipating lithium-sulphur and then perhaps lithium-air batteries. More at Autocar. (And Kia’s said to be launching plug-in hybrid versions of the K5/Optima and Sonata next year, btw).
  • Less excitingly – of minority interest, really, beyond some EV awareness-raising among petrolheads – an Italian start-up has created (yet another) low-volume electric supercar. The Tecnicar Lavinia will be launched at next year’s Top Marques show in Monaco, reports Inhabitat.
  • Nissan is testing a demand response system integrated with its Leaf To Home tech at dealerships in Japan; this will analyse grid-balancing and the potential for incentives to encourage businesses (or individuals) to use their vehicles as energy storage and for energy supply at times of peak demand. More here.
  • Siemens has developed an integrated motor-inverter drive system which saves up to seven litres of space as well as weight and production costs; this has a single housing and an innovative water-cooling system, reports Green Car Congress.
  • Titanium dioxide nanotubes at a battery anode could bring charging time down to two minutes for a 70% charge, and give battery life up to 20 years, according to research from Nanyang Technical University (NTU Singapore). Professor Chen Xiaodong says: “With our nanotechnology, electric cars would be able to increase their range dramatically with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars”. The technology is being licensed, and Prof Chen’s team is looking for funding to build a larger-scale proof-of-concept battery.
  • Some feedback from a real-life driver which backs up some of my (research-related) suspicions: driving an EV has made her a more energy-efficient (and safer) driver, says ThereseWD, who uses her dash display to monitor her range and how driving quickly depletes it…
  • And the sharing economy: a group of British Tesla owners have started a non-profit plug-sharing scheme called TesLowJuice, reports Auto Express. 66 people with 50 home or workplace chargers have signed up so far via and they’re planning to roll it out across Europe and the US. OK, this is very much a People Like Us sort of club (posh plug-surfing) but shows the power of collaboration and role of community in EV adoption…



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