Product offensives, plug-in car forecasts and forthcoming tech

October 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

innoventum giraffeQuick round-up of upcoming electrified vehicles, confirmed, rumoured and otherwise: Porsche – to answer the Tesla Model S challenge, reports Autocar, with an all-electric ‘liftback’ five-door on the Panamera platform; likewise to take on Tesla, a low-roofed crossover-style all-electric Range Rover. Oh, and there are pictures of this Lotus-alike Detroit Electric coupe (£100,500. Forgive me if I don’t get too excited about its significance for electromobility). More significantly, Volkswagen is to launch over 20 EVs and PHEVs in China by 2018, reports Reuters (via Automotive News) – good news for Europe too, what with economies of scale and all that, and getting Beijing to beta-test the tech. These models will encompass everything from small cars to big SUVs. Mercedes-Benz is testing a plug-in hybrid M-Class – spy photos here. And Kia is developing a Prius-rivalling hybrid hatch, the ‘DE’.

  • Frost & Sullivan reckons London could become a leading market for car-sharing and car clubs; membership could rise to 351,000-plus by the end of the decade, a 2.5x rise on current numbers, with both one-way and round-trip services popular, according to its Vision 2020 report (commissioned by Zipcar).
  • And speaking of London… Swedish solar/wind-charger-maker InnoVentum is talking with the Mayoral office over bringing its wooden-structure Giraffe chargers (pictured) to London, reports The Engineer (via Zap-Map). Good idea, obviously, to get the city’s EVs charging off renewables, but… aren’t they a bit big? Especially for on-street use? The Giraffe’s an interesting product, anyway – it’s also developed with a view to getting renewable energy to offgrid areas, including those in developing regions, and towers have already been installed in the Philippines.
  • And you can now get hydrogen in Hendon, at the Sainsbury’s fuel station. The west London store is taking part in the London Hydrogen Network Expansion trial; more here.
  • A count-up of global plug-in car sales from HybridCars: they’ve reckoned up nearly 604,000 in the Top 10 OECD countries, comprising 356,000-plus battery-electric and nearly 248,000 PHEVs, most arriving on the road since 2010 and with a 20% growth in the last four months alone.
  • And the latest forecast from Navigant Research: plug-in vehicles to take 2.4% of the global car market by 2023, about 2.5million vehicles a year, with 50% of these sales to luxury brands, but this growth is contingent upon the launch of products in different sectors, including the SUV and (pick-up) truck sectors. Sales of all electrified light-duty vehicles (including non-plug-in hybrids) are expected to reach 5.8million a year, up from 2014’s 2.7million-odd. Handy rundown at Green Car Congress.
  • Students at Istanbul University have built an EV capable of 500km on a four-hour charge; the T-1 has won a 30-university competition in Turkey and is now touring the country. It weighs 500kg, can do 120kmph and carries four people plus luggage; more here (via Autoblog Green).
  • The UK’s National Grid is confident that EV drivers won’t be causing any brown-outs this winter and that it has sufficient capacity to support plug-in vehicles, reports Transport Evolved. The demands of plug-in vehicles are now built into its forecasting and its Winter Outlook Report.
  • TomTom – a leading data provider as well as sat nav-maker – is incorporating weather condition info into its route calculations. This enables route guidance and arrival time estimation taking into account delays and hold-ups caused by heavy rain, snow, etc; useful for EV route optimisation too, I reckon.
  • On that note, a team at North Carolina State University have developed an algorithm for more accurate range prediction – plugging in data on weather, traffic conditions, gradient and upcoming road type, as well as vehicle-specific data on state of charge and performance characteristics. They’re claiming 95% accuracy, and hope it can help alleviate range anxiety. More, including presentation abstract and academic references, here.
  • The City of Indianapolis is set to have the largest municipal fleet of electrified vehicles in the US by 2016, reports Green Car Congress. 425 of its non-pursuit police vehicles will be replaced by EVs and PHEVs, including the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and Ford Focus Energi.
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