Design Concept of the Day: BMW Light & Charge

June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

MINI Plant Oxford showcases pioneering street lighting system with integrated electric vehicle charging-66907We’ve seen this before in Munich, but the Light & Charge low-energy LED streetlight/EV-charger has been installed in the UK for the first time – at Mini Plant Oxford. It proposes an integrated solution for local authorities whereby street lights can be replaced with one of these without adding to urban clutter. Up to four LED modules can be fitted on each post, which has a modular design; these can be self-adjusting and reduce their output at timed intervals or when no-one is around, and light can be targeted and diffused to minimise glare or light pollution. From the EV-charging point of view, it’s been designed to be vehicle-agnostic and to be activated via swipe-card.

  • Daimler/Car2Go is working with Bosch on a smartphone-app controlled automated parking system, hich will be tested in a parking garage; this is seen as an important step towards fully-automated driving as well as added functionality in the car-sharing business model. More here. And Jaguar Land Rover has today shown off a remote-controlled Range Rover Sport, driven by smartphone – not just for parking, but for negotiating tricky off-road conditions from a safe distance (within 10m), perhaps. This car is capable of doing a full 18-degree change of direction so even three-point-turns itself. The tech takes control of steering, braking, acceleration and gear selection, and JLR’s referring to the “Solo Car”. Also from JLR recently: the  ‘Pothole Alert’ tech – identifying location and severity of potholes and adjusting suspension accordingly – isn’t just a shock absorber-saver. Interesting thing about this is that this is data to be shared with other cars and with road authorities, and is thus a step towards cloud-enabled internet-of-things-sort-of-things, as well as autonomous driving.
  • On a related note – insights from McKinsey give 10 ways autonomous vehicles could change the automotive industry. Full read here, but they’re looking at three distinct eras. In the present, they’re already making inroads in industrial applications; new mobility models are emerging; and carmakers are assessing the market. As consumers start to adopt them, changes appear in the aftersales sector; supply chains and logistics are redefined; and the insurance market starts to cover tech failures rather than individuals. Once they predominate, they could free people up for 50min a day; parking space is reduced by billions of sq/m; crashes – and related costs to society – are reduced by 90%; and they accelerate robot tech in general.
  • 1.3million Americans had joined a car-share by the end of 2014, according to the latest data out of Berkeley; this report from the Freep looks at that, noting that Airbnb-style peer-to-peer car-sharing is also a growth area – but that actual car sales are also growing again too, including to millennials/Gen Y. Another interesting point is illustrated by data from Zipcar – whose members include a sizable proportion of 50-69 year-olds – which suggests that older Gen X/boomers are moving back to city centres and getting rid of private vehicles. Which turns around a few ideas that have been floating about in recent years. More on vehicle-sharing from the TSRC, UC Berkeley, here.
  • The Bollore Bluecar EV (previously built in Italy) is to be built at Renault’s factory in Dieppe, with a co-operation agreement signed between the two industrial groups.  The Bluecar is, of course, headed to London for the EV-share (finally) announced last week. Where it will be painted red, incidentally. A 50-car fleet is to be launched early next year, with a (much-needed) overhaul and expansion of the city’s malfunctioning charging infrastructure also promised.
  • Next year, Scania is to start testing hybrid diesel-electric heavy-duty trucks charged via an overhead pantograph system; a 2km test stretch of road is being built as part of the Electric Roads initiative. Later in the year, a similarly-equipped bus will also begin trials; this can be fully recharged in 6/7 minutes from equipment at a bus stop. More here.
  • More bus news: Route 55 in Gothenburg has electrified with three all-electric and seven hybrid buses from Volvo (obviously) up and running; there’s flash-charging at bus stops, using renewable wind/solar electricity.
  • And VDL Bus & Coach (Netherlands) has unveiled its articulated Citea SLFA Electric, due to go on duty shortly in Cologne; again, this has capability for ‘opportunity charging’.
  • New BMW 7-Series: plug-in hybrid variant, 740eLe (long-wheelbase only), does up to 40km in all-electric mode (up to 75mph) and its averaged-out figures (meaningless though they are) are 134.5mpg and 49g/km of CO2. xDrive AWD versions also available.
  • EU first-quarter figures for alt-fuel vehicles include a rise in all-electric sales, which more than doubled to 24,630 Jan-March 2015.
  • Tesla: not as disruptive as you might think, according to Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, who points to ‘neighbourhood’ EVs – micro-vehicles – as the real innovations with potential for disruption. Mmm. Anyway, comes off the back of Newsweek’s ‘green’ rankings which puts Tesla as only the eighth-placed carmaker, behind BMW, Toyota, Daimler, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen and GM in an analysis taking into account factors including energy and water use in manufacturing. Not that I imagine Elon Musk is losing any sleep over either of these judgements.
  • Commuters want seamless connectivity on their journeys, according to a report from the Ericsson Consumer Lab, and to be able to take charge of their travel decisions with real-time info and personalised services.  Some useful stats on use of apps by people taking different transport modes, in the various cities studied (London, Sao Paulo, New York and Shanghai). Also, feedback on rapidly-developing consumer trends in app use and expectations of iOT/connectivity in this video.
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