Mobility solutions, intelligent transport systems & #EV-related news…

August 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

BMW-i3-drivenow copenhagenDriveNow (joint venture between BMW and car rental firm Sixt) is launching 400 BMW i3s on its new on-demand fleet in Copenhagen. These will go into service next month, complete with BMW’s app for intermodal routing combining public transport/active travel information and mapping into the sat nav. This is in collaboration with the Arriva Group, bus operators in Denmark, the aim being to offer integrated multi-modal journey planning using the most means of transport at each stage. More here.

In and among other news, thoughts and notes to self this week…

  • Open data alert! A new resource, imdata, is aiming to be a one-stop shop index for data related to intelligent mobility; it comes out of the Transport Systems Catapult, and is intended to “support innovation.” Not a lot there at the moment under the ‘personal automobility’ heading – quite a bit on car park usage, feeds from Glasgow Council and, um, Vancouver, on EV charging point usage and locations, and links to some samples from Waze and INRIX. Hopefully this will grow.
  • EVX Ventures, a start-up from Melbourne, is taking a scaled-down model of its solar-powered sports car concept to the SEMA show in Las Vegas in November. Produced in collaboration with a group at Swinburne University of Technology, the Immortus concept is described as a limited-edition bespoke sports car, designed to be tough and durable, but probably of more relevance to the world at large are the associated technologies also developed by the team. These include a plug-in hybrid retro-fit kit, a lightweight air-cooled battery box and regenerative shock absorbing tech (energy from absorbing bumps in the road).
  • Sheffield-based battery-maker Faradion has developed some low-cost sodium-ion batteries, which have been tested in e-bikes and could be suitable for cars, but have best short-term potential in static storage applications, reports The Guardian.
  • News from Chargemaster, which is claiming to be the UK’s largest operator of EV charging points (currently 4000+): it’s launching a new subscription programme called Polar Plus. Membership is £7.85 a month with the first six months free, giving access to over 80% of the network free of charge, and the remaining 20% at a tariff of around 9p a unit. Chargemaster says that an 80% charge on a Polar rapid-charger, taking about 20 minutes, will now cost about £2, down from the current £6. Oh, and members can collect points towards borrowing a car from the Polar Experience fleet –  which includes the BMW 8, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Twizy, with the upcoming Tesla Model X and others promised. More here. Also promised: 2000 new destination-charge points across the country (half of these in London) and free replacement of any faulty points installed by other providers.
  • Private car ownership is down and car-share membership is rising in the big German cities, reports Bloomberg, with vehicle density falling, albeit at a low rate (down to 491 cars per 1000 residents in Munich from, err, 493) and a reported fall in households buying second cars. Meanwhile, car-share members now tot up to 1.04million across Germany as of the end of last year (about 2% of the country’s licence-holders). Not quite the end of private automobility just yet, then, but a notable trend nonetheless…
  • Audi, BMW and Daimler have teamed up: to buy the HERE digital mapping and location services business from Nokia.The platform will remain open to other customers and industries to host cloud-based maps and other mobility services, with real-time and location-based data and services forming “the basis for the mobility of tomorrow”.  Think ‘swarm intelligence’ – anonymised data from the network-connected vehicles – to give real-time hazard warnings, pick up on dangers such as icy roads (i.e. via data from electronic braking systems), and remote activation of assistance systems as well as smoothed-out ‘green wave’ progress through cities.
  • Highways England (eh? formerly known as the Highways Agency) is to start off-road trials of wireless induction charging for EVs and hybrids (presumably at a test-track facility such as Millbrook or TRL, though full details of project partners are yet to be announced). The 18-month trials will look at charging equipment embedded beneath a road surface. And embedded within this announcement came another note that the government is committed to the installment of plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway. More here.
  • Anecdotal evidence to suggest that EV drivers are actually seeing lower electricity bills, via CleanTechnica… Yes, switching to more favourable tariffs (US) is involved, but they’re also citing greater awareness of energy consumption, and getting/adding domestic solar panels. Some 39% of Tesla owners of 789 in a survey had solar panels, incidentally.
  • Some more detail on the Ford-commissioned survey (by PlugInsights, part of PlugShare) at Cleantechnica: 92% of all-electric vehicle owners and 94% of PHEV owners would buy another plug-in car in the future; the all-electric drivers liked the driving experience best, and appreciated clean technology; PHEV owners were more inclined to switch to an all-electric car next time around; 90% of EV/PHEV-owning households had a second car, usually a petrol vehicle which they tended to use for longer trips; 73% of PHEV owners said that they were considering an electrified car as their next second car; all-electric drivers were more aware of/concerned about global warming issues “and chose their cars as part of their lifestyle decision-making” while PHEV drivers were more motivated by saving money  on fuel; 83% of respondents had solar panels or would consider installing them.
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