Niro and new mobility

November 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

kia niroKia has announced an all-new hybrid model on a bespoke electrified platform: the Niro crossover is the first of a series of next-generation cars, and emissions of under 90g/km are targeted. It uses a 1.6 direct-injection petrol engine giving 105hp plus a 32kW e-motor, working via six-speed double-clutch transmission; plug-in versions will follow. The Niro will be unveiled next year, built in Korea for sales to start late 2016, and Kia is promising a further “wide range of advanced powertrains, from hybrids and plug-in hybrids to battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles”.

  • Smartphone-style services, user interfaces and business models are to influence commuting, according to the latest “intelligent mobility” report from Frost & Sullivan, expecting subscription-based on-demand driving to coexist alongside vehicle ownership. In its predictions for 2035, as well as these so-called new mobility models, a proportion of driverless vehicles are expected (though ‘a large fraction’ will still be DIY, albeit smarter than today’s cars); a 40% reduction in accidents is achievable, along with 25% time savings on urban transport, thanks to easier multi-modality, ride/car-sharing and rapid transit systems, and a 15% reduction in CO2 from transport.
  • White paper from Jato Dynamics: talks about slow progress in necessary move away from fossil fuels but suggests “demand for EVs is gaining momentum”, with current trends indicating “a bright future”. Steady market growth is noted, with EVs now taking 1% of the UK market (and 1.1% in France), on latest figures; forecast for 2025 is for 5.5million EVs sold a year worldwide, mostly to China, Europe and the US; 60% of these will be plug-in hybrids rather than all-electric, though. Pure-electric sales are expected to rise from a meagre 350,000 in 2016 to 2.2million in 2025.
  • Posten Norge aims to replace all its delivery fleet in the Rogaland province with EVs by autumn 2016, reports, with 300 Renault and Nissan vehicles to join the 16 EVs the service already operates. And there are now nine electric Proterra buses operating on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, to give a random example of goings-on somewhere completely different.
  • Feedback from BMW on i3 sales: it’s the best-selling EV in Germany (one in every four EVs sold) and the no.3 worldwide, accounting for one in ten EVs sold since its introduction; over 80% of buyers are new to BMW; its biggest market is the USA (where every sixth EV sold is an i3); it’s the best-selling BMW in Norway; BMW’s Leipzig factory is making 100 a day as well as 20 i8s. It’s the (optional) range-extender that’s tipping the purchase decision, says BMW, though the i3’s visibility on the DriveNow fleets is also raising awareness of EVs. And a new BMW i-model has been promised. More here.
  • And very posh car-sharing from Audi in the US: Audi at home allows residents of luxury condos to pick their model and have it delivered for their use by personal valet. It joins Audi on demand, as already on trial in San Francisco. More here.
  • More Audi: it is to work with the city of Sommerville, Massachusetts, on trials of swarm intelligence, automated parking and V2I networking whereby cars communicate with traffic lights. The aim is to develop innovations to improve traffic flow but also reduce the space-needs of cars in the city – automated parking enables cars to slot in closer together, for example. More detail here.

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