Autonomous vehicles, and other EV-related news

February 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

IMG_0329IMG_0301Some more pictures from Greenwich yesterday (further to those posted on Twitter), and the launch of the GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment). The eight sensor- and radar-guided Meridian electric vehicles (developed by a firm called Phoenix Wings) are going to shuttle all around the Greenwich Peninsula for two years, picking people up and dropping ’em off between the O2 arena, North Greenwich tube station and soforth. The research, including collecting feedback from the general public, will be led by TRL.

  • And further to this… Autonomous vehicles could cut car ownership rates by 43%, according to researchers (Schoettle & Sivak) at UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute). Identifying a lack of ‘trip overlap’ in multi-car US households, autonomous cars able to ‘go home’ to be used by someone else could bring car ownership down to an average 1.2 vehicles per household. However, each car’s mileage could increase by 75%, not including the extra passenger-less mileage it might do on its way back to base. Interesting stuff…
  • Kia’s Trail’ster concept car – revealed at the Chicago Auto Show this week – is a sported-up SUV-alike Soul with added hybrid power: an electric motor driving the rear axle to give AWD. The motor (35hp, 100lb ft) allows for 25-30% increase in fuel economy in city driving and 5-10% on the highway, apparently, supplementing the front-driving 1.6 turbo petrol engine to give a total 220hp/285lb ft).
  • The Frazer-Nash/Ecotive Metrocab RE-EV taxi has been licensed by Transport for London and the first examples are going on trial. This delivers an overall 98mpg/less than 50g/km, has a range of 560km, and is said to save a cabbie £20-£40 a day; its powertrain combines a 1-litre petrol engine with two electric motors and a generator, and it is also externally-chargeable with a zero-emissions mode.
  • And illustrating exactly why electrification is important… children (carrying certain genes) exposed to urban air pollution are at increased risk of ‘brain inflammation’, cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative changes, including lower IQ and short-term memory loss, akin to early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and even Parkinson’s diseases, according to a study from (very polluted) Mexico City. Summary plus links/references here.
  • The Volkswagen Group has bought an entire portfolio of fuel cell patents from Ballard, reports Green Car Congress. Yet Volkswagen of America has also announced a $10million investment in EV-charging infrastructure, in partnership with BMW USA and ChargePoint.
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