Friday electromobility news & updates

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

fraunhofer HEMS solar chargingA home energy management system with Android app created by researchers at the Frauenhofer Institutes is to help integrate EV-charging with domestic solar panels, and feeding surplus solar power back to the grid. The HEMS has been fitted in upgrades of ‘Passiv Haus’ properties in Fellbach, Baden-Württemberg, as part of the German federal Electric Mobility Showcase programme and Fellbach ZeroPlus project. Five of the seven houses feature a 22W fast-charger with embedded software, collecting data from the houses’ electricity meters and displaying information about the power flows and consumption as the solar energy is fed to the car, heat pump and other household needs. The HEMS also forecasts solar intensity and anticipates household power loads and demands, with the ‘leftover’ power sent to the vehicle for storage in its battery before any further surplus is then sent to the grid; the app allows owners to control the fast-charger and monitor the car’s charge levels and charging times. It is the result of two years’ field-testing and feedback from the homeowners. More here. Incidentally, two of the five households in the project are involved in a car-sharing project as well.

  • Meanwhile, Daimler is partnering with The Mobility House AG, GETEC (energy provider) and Remondis (recycling and services) on a project in Lünen, Westphalia. This involves a second-life battery energy storage unit – claimed to be the world’s largest at 13MW –  which will be connected to the grid for balancing and buffering/levelling out peaks and troughs in demand and better-enable the feed-in of renewable energy. The batteries used have come from the smart electric drive. More here.
  • And good news for standardisation of EV-grid communications: the EC’s Joint Research Centre has opened a lab with a partner facility at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (Chicago), with a view to transatlantic harmonisation. More here. Now they just need to bring the Japanese/other Far Eastern countries on board as well…
  • NEXT (‘The Future of Transportation’ has released a ‘v3.0’ video: this shows a swarm of self-driving, on-demand ‘pods’ which can drive on standard roads, join up and detach as required, complete with dynamic ‘service modules’ – loos, bars, restaurants – and smart-routing. Its latest vision describes a transport ecosystem in which these can serve for private, corporate or public transport.
  • And in the here-and-now, Bombardier Transportation has just done a catenary-free 41.6km test run (in Mannheim, Germany) of a electric tram, featuring its Primove battery system with supercapacitors. More here. This allows for free-running of e-trams without cables, in between flash-charging at stops or via pantograph.
  • On a further practical note, Iveco has unveiled a new electric version of its Daily van. Up to 5.6tonne GVW, payload increased by around 100kg, battery life up 20% and range now said to be up to 174 miles.
  • Apparently Nissan Leaf owners (US) drive a similar electric mileage to Chevy Volt-ers; the latter do a few extra miles on petrol power; 97% of Leaf charging is at home or a workplace, 84% at home (87% for Volts); 13% of Leaf owners and 5% of Volts only ever charged at home; around half the drivers charged away from home only up to 5% of the time; 20% of vehicles studied accounted for 75% of away-from-home charging, most of this workplace. Handy rundown here; full report – from Idaho National Laboratory – here.
  • A wireless induction charging project: the CU-ICAR centre at Clemson University, South Carolina, has developed a testbed using Evantrans coils, used to charge Scion iQ and showing efficiency of 85%. More here.
  • No single tech – i.e. electric vehicles – will solve air pollution issues, and EVs are costlier than other solutions in the short term, according to this report, which calls for scrappage of older diesel vehicles (in favour of new Euro 6), retro-fitting of catalytic solutions to buses, use of biodiesel and photocatalytic road treatments. All rather short-term – and ultimately limited – gains which don’t solve fossil-fuel dependency.
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