Concept of the Day: Aston Martin RapidE

October 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

aston rapidEAston Martin has been showing off an all-electric Rapide S to the Chinese president this week: the RapidE, developed in collaboration with Williams, was displayed as part of a British industry showcase at Lancaster House. And yes, a Chinese investment group (ChinaEquity) has announced an agreement “to explore the development of a production version,” Aston Martin says. Production about two years off, reports Autocar, with the choice of a 550bhp RWD model giving a 200-mile range and later, a 4WD version giving 800-1000bhp (!). Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer noted: “We see luxury electric vehicles as an intrinsic part of our future product portfolio”.

  • More pertinent to most of us, Geely has unveiled a new plug-in hybrid version of the LTI London taxi, with extended all-electric range. More here.
  • Free software for EV charging station management, ‘roaming’ user access and billing: a solution from be.Energised using QR codes and smartphone payments has been launched. More here. Meanwhile ABB and Microsoft have launched a services platform using Microsoft’s Azure cloud tech and connecting all ABB chargers; and the Hubject ‘intercharge’ trans-European network has linked in EV charging providers in Switzerland, France, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. (cheers, electrive.com).
  • Another Nissan project: research in northern California with Kanematsu Corp looking into EV usage patterns, especially with reference to longer-distance and inter-city trips. It’s in parallel with the introduction of new rapid-chargers in freeway locations, in partnership with utility firm NRG eVgo, and involves guidance of drivers to the chargers en route with a view to encourage them to venture further. Kanematsu is providing real-time information, and looking into data/services relating to EVs and EV charging: basically, this is a Big Data/IoT/M2M (machine-to-machine) project. More here.
  • As asked for by a number of my own survey correspondents/research subjects: road signage indicating EV charging points. Nissan and Ecotricity have launched a campaign to promote awareness of the EV infrastructure, and are calling for the government to introduce ‘official’ signage with universal symbols, further denoting the speed of facilities available.
  • ZF is combining all its electromobility activities into one E-Mobility division, based in Schweinfurt; this is effectively consolidating under one roof, as well as creating this new division within the overall corporate structure. More here. Significant, because it’s the Tier 1 suppliers like ZF that are developing, and driving the adoption of, key new technologies. ZF, incidentally, is going to be showing its semi-autonomous, cloud-connected electric Advanced Urban Vehicle prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show next week.
  • OK, this GoUltraLow survey among teenagers – 800 questioned, 200 aged 14, 200 15 year-olds, 200 16 year-olds, 200 18 year-olds, including teens learning to drive at the moment. 81% said they expected their first car to be electric and 88% said they thought more motorists of all ages should drive EVs. Only 34% thought that everyone would be driving an EV one day, however; 48% associated EVs with cleaner air and 56% with lower CO2 emissions, which again sounds on the low side, and not exactly indicating high environmental concern/awareness or knowledge, as some commenters are claiming. 53% cited low running costs as a beneficial factor, and 29% the latest technology (again, sounds low); other priorities included a long range (32% – again, not exactly high) and driving enjoyment (no % available). A lot of information lacking before anything meaningful can be drawn out of this, I think, but it warrants a bit more digging: I do wonder, in particular, how many of these 800 teens (in the other 19%) said that they didn’t expect to buy a car – or even learn to drive – at all?  Was this even an answer option? How many of the sample were learning to drive already (and therefore how representative are they of the age-group anyway)? I’d like to know more about how this research was carried out, what questions were asked, and how participants were selected, but have put in a request for more detail…
  • Very good points in this piece about flying cars (by my PhD supervisor and examiner) incl. notes that technology adoption and major paradigm shifts in transport are hindered by larger landscape-level trends but ultimately, it’s all about people…
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