Concept of the Day: Renault Twizy Delivery
January 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
Renault’s last-mile solution for urban delivery: a Twizy with six wheels. The extra pair support a trailer, which hitches up to a platform on what was the passenger space (such as it is); this tiny truck has been developed in Renault’s VELUD (Electric Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Logistics) project, and is under testing in Paris. Oh, and there’s some more details on Renault’s testing of the Phinergy aluminium-air battery technology at Car magazine…
- New peak car-related paper from the Department for Transport (via @Scottericlevine – thanks): Understanding the drivers of road travel: current Trends in and factors behind roads use. It’s a precursor to some updated forecasts, but the thinking appears to be that though road mileage travelled has plateaued in recent years, growth is expected to resume; it picked up in Q4 2014 after a (miniscule) dip). This report summarises a lot of recent research and links road travel with driving costs, income and the locations people live/work; trends it picks out include a levelling off of traffic on urban roads but strong growth on A-roads and motorways and steady growth on rural roads; a levelling-off of car traffic since 2000 but a rise of 31% in vans; individual use has fallen (mileage, number of trips taken) but both population and car ownership have grown; whilst young men’s driving, and driving in urban areas, has fallen, women and older people are driving more. Key factors affecting all of this – reiterated from earlier work but consistent – are the costs of learning to drive and insurance (for young people in particular); employment rates (again affecting the young in particular) and links to GDP; declines in company car usage; increasing urbanisation (though to a limited extent); increased homeworking (though ditto); the travel habits of migrants; and the later life-changes (marriage, kids etc) among young people. It doesn’t see a big impact in terms of changing attitudes, claiming that young people, though flexible in how they travel, still see cars as desirable, convenient and even as signifiers of success – though forecasting their behaviour has the most uncertainties. More detail across its 92 pages, all underlining (to me) why – alongside other measures to encourage other means of transport, etc., of course – we need to accelerate the uptake of electrification… even if patterns of usage are changing, cars aren’t about to disappear and driving isn’t really diminuishing, so we better make these vehicles cleaner.
- Two-thirds of London’s EV-charging points are unused, claims the RAC Foundation; it has analysed TfL data for June 2014 and found that of 905 points, only 324 were actually used (36%). That’s an improvement over the 24.3% used in June 2013, nonetheless, and actual charging ‘sessions’ have more than doubled (to 4,678 in June 2014). Most-used was a unit at Victoria station. Discussion on this suggests that the disused points may well be broken or inoperable, as well as being in the wrong locations.
- Google’s deploying four electric shuttle buses in its community transport programme in Mountain View, California. They’re 16-seater conversions on a Ford F150 chassis by Motiv Power Systems, and have a 100-mile range, reports Green Car Congress.
- California’s Alta Motors is working with DARPA on a hybrid-electric military motorcycle called the SilentHawk; more details here.