Transport Select Committee evidence

November 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

LEAF with Rapid Charge unitTranscript of the oral evidence given to the government Transport Select Committee ‘Motoring of the Future’ discussion, Monday 3rd November, has been published; evidence was given by Prof Phil Blythe (Newcastle University), Denis Naberezhnykh (Transport Research Laboratory), Graham Grant (Newcastle City Council), Andy Eastlake (MD, Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) and Dr Colin Herron (MD, Zero Carbon Futures). Discussion included the roles and progress of OLEV and local authorities, the ‘piecemeal’ nature of governmental support, how infrastructure has been deployed in Newcastle/the north-east (relatively high EV population), different alt-fuels and their use in different types of vehicle, changes to VED and road usage-charging, the need for a strategy on grid capacity, V2X communication and open data. Some highlights and take-out quotes:

PB: “We are seeing a trend of adoption (of EVs and PHEVs), but not the sharp curve that was predicted initially. That follows virtually every other country in the world”. Recommends subsidies, incentives and “an appropriate charging network that is available to all”, citing Norwegian policy as an example of good practice; need to understand optimum locations for charging points.

DN: “There is still a lot of work to be done to understand what people actually want from these vehicles”; GG: “a lot of it is to do with perception. A lot of the dealers in our area provide seven-day trials of electric vehicles, because just taking them out is not enough. Generally, they say that when they manage to get people to take up a seven-day trial, they invariably buy them.” AE: “It is probably a longer game than perhaps was anticipated at the outset.”

DN: points to need for mix of fuels to 2050, fuel cell, hybrids, but “in reality, in order to hit the targets for the decarbonisation of transport, we are looking at electrification—in one way or another…  almost all vehicles in the future, as far as we can see, will have some form of electric drivetrain, which means that they will all be able to benefit from charging technologies and from developing battery and energy storage technologies. Electrification is the only way we currently know of that can meet the targets that we want for decarbonisation and air quality.” Research in London found existing charging infrastructure “completely unsuitable” for freight fleets, however.

PB: On benefits (safety, congestion) of autonomous vehicles and platooning; “connecting that to electric is logical, because they will be the next generation of vehicles; we should bring it all together. Then you can have intelligence on things like inductive charging”… DN: reiterates benefits of ITS for sustainability (GHG emissions, CO2, air quality) and transport system as a whole (congestion, traffic management); “we are seeing with electric vehicles, and vehicles that are electrified, is that they tend to be more intelligent anyway, because they need to rely on the infrastructure considerably more than traditional vehicles…  having an electric drivetrain of some sort makes it far easier to automate some functionality of the vehicle, whether it is steering, acceleration or deceleration. Those basic building blocks of autonomous vehicles are now easier to implement in electric vehicles.” Full transcript here.

  • And underlining why we need to work on this stuff, because cars aren’t about to dwindle in numbers on the UK’s roads any time soon (so much for ‘peak car’): 179,714 new ones were registered in October, marking the 32nd consecutive month of sales growth and 2,137,910 sold to-date this year, the first time sales have topped 2million since 2007. Good news in that is that ‘pure’ EV sales are 12,000 ahead of 2013’s total already, and sales of PHEVs and range=extended EVs are expected to quadruple by the end of the year, thanks to the new models coming on to the market. More from the SMMT.
  • Students at TU Eindhoven are building an electric motorcycle for the 80-Day Race. Team STORM Eindhoven says that electric motorcycles are an attractive way to improve the image of e-mobility and give potential to innovative in safety and smart energy management.
  • And another tilt at Tesla, seeking crowd-funding… Latvian/German start-up inabikari is appealing for investors to get involved with developing its Rev.01, said to be a Model X-type crossover promising a 400-mile range and 0-60 in five seconds, reports HybridCars. Its technologies will centre around clean energy generation and distribution, apparently, with innovations in areas including energy storage and capacitors.
  • The Dutch island of Tershelling is getting a 65-strong fleet of Nissan Leafs to share on-demand; these will be available to residents and visitors, and are expected to account for 10% of the 15-km long island’s motoring, reports EV Fleet World.
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