Concept of the Day: Thunder Power EV

September 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

thunder power EVTo be revealed at Frankfurt next week, the Thunder Power EV is all a bit mysterious as yet, but the company is promising that it “will have a long drive range, short charge time, lighter weight and will be competitively priced relative to the equivalent competing ICE.” Looks like a sports coupe, from the preview shots on the website, and the blurb accompanying an invite to the press conference/unveiling claims a range of over 600km, 0-100km acceleration in less than five seconds, 320kW of power plus a 250kmph top speed, suggesting it’s reasonably high-end. Also, “dedicated EV architecture”, “revolutionary powertrains” and “European engineering wrapped in Italian design.” So who are Thunder Power? Originally a Taiwanese power tool-maker, it seems, which has lately gone into biotech as well as electric vehicles, for which it has been developing “a number of proprietary technologies”. It has outposts in Taipei, Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Shaoxing in China, plus Milan, and has hired some auto industry veterans including Peter Tutzer as Chief Technical Officer (former technical director at Lotus, working on Elise, Exige and Evora, technical director at Bugatti) and chief production officer Franz Schulte (30 years planning prototype-building and production engineering at Ford, then at EDAG). Which may signal a. some money behind it  and b. some intent for the concept to be more than a showcase for the for-sale technologies. Will go and have a look at this one…

  • Nissan has confirmed significant battery upgrades to give the 2016 model-year Leaf a 155-mile range*. The new 30kWhr battery is the headline news here – but the Leaf will also get an improved NissanConnect EV information/entertainment system to replace the much-maligned and frequently-malfunctioning Carwings set-up. Word on this is that it retains the Carwings functions, “but adds new features, a much-simplified activation process and a new design”, and very importantly, gives a new charging map with real-time information on availability of charging points, plus revised navigation, maintenance alerts and a car-finder function. There’s a new 7-inch touchscreen interface. *Of course, this is the under-lab-test ideal-world figure; real world results may vary, etc etc. Full lowdown incl. UK pricing for the revised cars, on sale for December delivery, here.
  • Chargemaster has launched its new (British-built) Ultracharger EV rapid-charger this week: this enables PAYG payments via contactless debit or credit cards as well as RFID cards, and can incorporate automatic numberplate recognition. It can charge all vehicles capable of taking up to 50kW, via a choice of three cables, and it is small enough that it can be installed without the need for planning permission. Sales of 1000 a year are targeted.
  • Renault is showing off its prototype Kangoo ZE+H2 electric vans with hydrogen fuel cell range extenders this week at the Low Carbon Vehicle show, reports EV Fleet World. Two of these, converted by Symbio FCell, are on trial with Aberdeen City Council as part of a hydrogen-adoption research programme, and are said to have double the range of the standard Kangoo ZE. A similar prototype, ZERE (Zero Emissions Range Extender; based on a Nissan eNV200?) is also being displayed by Intelligent Energy.
  • Feedback from the 18-month My Electric Avenue trial has found that some local electricity networks will need to be upgraded to cope with demand as EV use increases – but that the lower-cost Esprit demand-management system could be a solution rather than cable replacement. The Ofgem-funded project studied ‘clusters’ of EV users (Nissan Leaf drivers) and their impact on their local electricity grids, with Esprit-controlled domestic charging to prevent overloading, and determined that networks can typically cope with 30-50% of customers having EVs before additional investment is required. However, car-makers and the energy industry need to work together “much more closely”, it says.
  • Meanwhile in Toulouse, the Sogrid smart-grid project has kicked off; this is looking at 1000 households, with a view to integrating EV charging, demand management and renewable energy, and developing an international communications standard. More here (via electrive.com).
  • Handy stat: Transport is now the greatest consumer of energy in the developed world – 33% of final consumption (end users), compared to 31% accounted for by industry, and 20% by domestic use, according to new figures from the International Energy Agency. In Europe, industry is still a little ahead of transport in its consumption, but IEA points out that 95% of transport energy use is oil-based, whereas industry uses more of a mix of electricity, biofuels and gas. More here.
  • Toyota is working with Japanese energy companies and local authorities in Japan on a ‘carbon-free’ hydrogen production project – electrolysis of water, using wind power. Trials will take place near Yokohama and Kawasaki, looking at the development of a supply chain and logistics. More here.
  • Borgward – a reborn historic brand-name based in Stuttgart, to reveal a PHEV SUV at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week – has announced a longterm partnership agreement and joint research centre with alt-drivetrain developer FEV GmbH. More here.
  • Ford surveyed 5000 ‘millennials’ (aged 17-34) in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and, far from finding that they’re not interested in cars, predicts a sales boom in SUVs as they reach peak car-buying age. The survey claims that 84% of this age-group think that SUVs have become more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly in the last five years. Mmmm… Reported here.
  • Segmentation/spatial mapping study from the Department for Transport looks at different locations/demographics and their likelihoods of making more sustainable transport choices – downloads and datasets here.
  • TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) is leading a two-year project with partners including EDF, Route Monkey, EV Connect and Aberdeen University to look at integrating energy supply systems/market structures to encourage greater uptake of plug-in vehicles. More on the CVEI programme here; it will also look at consumer responses, and later, run a trial with 300 mainstream EV users.
  • Wrightbus is building a range of electric buses to go on sale next year; single and double-decker versions will be available, with the option of pantograph flash-charging, inductive charging or conventional overnight charging. More here. Oh, and Volvo’s new ElectriCity bus, currently on trial, shows the potential for a vehicle fully-integrated into urban planning, it’s claimed, such as quietly gliding ‘indoors’ i.e. into shopping malls, airport terminals and soforth. More here.
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