News round-up: EV batteries, digital platforms, driverless cars, diesel and more…

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

bosch battery second lifeBosch, BMW and energy supplier Vattenfall have kicked off their second-life battery/energy storage project. An installation of 100 used EV batteries (from i3 and ActiveE prototypes) at Vattenfall’s site in Hamburg is to integrate with a 2MW power station and explore the storage of 2MWhr-worth of energy (enough to power 30 four-person households for a week, apparently). The 10-year project – to be operational by the end of next year – is to explore the integration and management of the batteries, their storage capacity, and their ageing/degradation. More here.

  • The first Symbio FCell-converted hydrogen fuel cell range-extended Renault Kangoo ZE vans have been delivered to a fleet in West Normandy; their range is nearly doubled by the on-board fuel cell. More here.
  • Discussion on Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone platform at Car Design News: this kind of thing could be scaled-up for vehicle interiors and in-car connected services, allowing for updates and personalisation of services, for example.
  • Siemens is developing an algorithm to better predict the availability of car-share vehicles within integrated multi-modal route-planning; this will join its SiMobility Connect platform. More detail here.
  • Big report from the ICCT (International Council on Clean Transportation) suggests that over a quarter of gasoline/diesel fuel use on the Pacific Coast could be substituted by lower-carbon fuels by 2030. It modelled eight potential scenarios and sees a role for electricity, hydrogen and natural gas alongside ethanol and biofuels (and electric rail) in different proportions according to policy and incentives. Yep, no one answer or solution.
  • Porsche’s ‘Pajun’ sports saloon (shrunken Panamera) is to come as an EV only, reports suggest. It’ll be positioned as a Tesla Model S rival. And reports also – at the other end of the car market – of an Opel Karl/Vauxhall Viva EV.
  • Research from MTV (3600 respondents) found that ‘millennials’ – contrary to many recent claims – are pretty fond of driving after all; 75% would prefer to give up social media for a day than their car, apparently. More here. Adds to a growing sense that the contribution of this age-group to ‘peak car’ (if indeed this exists or is ongoing) is short-lived or even a bit of a fallacy?
  • …but driverless/autonomous vehicles may actually even cause congestion, according to research from Imperial College, London reported at CityLab (again); if acceptable levels of comfort are to be reached, lots of stop-starting and delays/snarl-ups at intersections, models suggest.
  • And more from Imperial College: deprived and ethnically-diverse neighbourhoods (in the UK and Netherlands) bear the brunt of poor air quality from traffic emissions, especially PM10s and NO2. Reported here.
  • In a not-unrelated move, the London boroughs of Islington and Hackney are to introduce a near-£100 diesel surcharge on already-expensive residents’ parking permits (reported here). Much debate as to whether Euro 6-compliant diesels (the latest) should be exempt and whether this blanket policy is too blunt an instrument; tempered in the media, perhaps, by a rather damning and difficult-to-argue-with report on diesel (“The Great Car Con”) from C4’s Dispatches.
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