Concept of the Day: Riversimple fuel cell microcar

June 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

riversimpleLatest news from Riversimple: they’ve received a £2million R&D grant from the Welsh government, having relocated over the border, and are now aiming to produce 20 of their hydrogen-fuelled microcars for a 12-month trial. Aim for the two-seater, composite-bodied lightweights is to do over 200mpg(e) with a range of 300 miles between refuelling stops, with a cruising speed of 55mph and nippy 0-30mph acceleration; these are very much neighbourhood/short-distance commuting vehicles. Riversimple’s also talking about its leasing model (cars will not be sold outright) with all-in monthly fees, and localised/distributed manufacturing for future expansion. The final design is underway at a studio in Barcelona, led by Chris Reitz (formerly design chief for the Fiat 500).

  • The Bolloré Bluecar (hatchback) is now being made by Renault in Dieppe, but a separate deal has been done with PSA Peugeot-Citroen: Bluesummer convertibles to be made at the PSA plant in Rennes, which can make 15 a day/3,500 a year. Bolloré and PSA are also to co-operate on car-sharing (passenger cars and commercial vehicles) with a view to worldwide operations.
  • More from Jaguar Land Rover this morning on in-car biometric and even brainwave monitoring: the Mind Sense project is looking at predictive gesture-controlled touchscreen HMI and haptic pedals to communicate warning information, as well as sensing fatigue, health problems and suchlike.
  • Several EV battery second-life projects announced this week, including one using packs from the Chevy Volt: five Volt batteries (as distinct from 5V batteries…) are working with 74kW-worth of solar panels and two 2kW wind turbines at GM’s Milford Proving Ground to power the building. Enough power is generated to provide all the energy for the ground’s office building plus lighting for the car park, equating to the energy used by 12 average (American) households. Excess energy goes back to the grid for the wider Milford campus, and the batteries –  with 80% of capacity remaining at end-of-life in the car – can also supply back-up power for four hours in the event of an outage.
  • And Nissan is partnering on a second-life Leaf battery scheme with static storage firm Green Charge Networks; a bank of used Leaf lithium-ion cells will be installed at a US Nissan factory for grid-balancing trials. More here.
  • Report by CE Delft for Greenpeace, ‘Saving fuel, saving costs’, looks at the role of the fleet sector in reducing GHG emissions and energy consumption alongside costs, and concludes electrification’s a win-win. Some useful stats: 64% of global oil demand is for transport; 23% of global GHG emissions are from transport (20% in Europe, 28% in US and Canada); road transport “dominates” transport emissions. Besides electrification – hybrid, PHEV, EV – the report also mentions, for fuel-saving, low-resistance tyres, eco-driving courses and teleworking, as well as modal shift and optimised logistics.

Design Concept of the Day: BMW Light & Charge

June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

MINI Plant Oxford showcases pioneering street lighting system with integrated electric vehicle charging-66907We’ve seen this before in Munich, but the Light & Charge low-energy LED streetlight/EV-charger has been installed in the UK for the first time – at Mini Plant Oxford. It proposes an integrated solution for local authorities whereby street lights can be replaced with one of these without adding to urban clutter. Up to four LED modules can be fitted on each post, which has a modular design; these can be self-adjusting and reduce their output at timed intervals or when no-one is around, and light can be targeted and diffused to minimise glare or light pollution. From the EV-charging point of view, it’s been designed to be vehicle-agnostic and to be activated via swipe-card.

  • Daimler/Car2Go is working with Bosch on a smartphone-app controlled automated parking system, hich will be tested in a parking garage; this is seen as an important step towards fully-automated driving as well as added functionality in the car-sharing business model. More here. And Jaguar Land Rover has today shown off a remote-controlled Range Rover Sport, driven by smartphone – not just for parking, but for negotiating tricky off-road conditions from a safe distance (within 10m), perhaps. This car is capable of doing a full 18-degree change of direction so even three-point-turns itself. The tech takes control of steering, braking, acceleration and gear selection, and JLR’s referring to the “Solo Car”. Also from JLR recently: the  ‘Pothole Alert’ tech – identifying location and severity of potholes and adjusting suspension accordingly – isn’t just a shock absorber-saver. Interesting thing about this is that this is data to be shared with other cars and with road authorities, and is thus a step towards cloud-enabled internet-of-things-sort-of-things, as well as autonomous driving.
  • On a related note – insights from McKinsey give 10 ways autonomous vehicles could change the automotive industry. Full read here, but they’re looking at three distinct eras. In the present, they’re already making inroads in industrial applications; new mobility models are emerging; and carmakers are assessing the market. As consumers start to adopt them, changes appear in the aftersales sector; supply chains and logistics are redefined; and the insurance market starts to cover tech failures rather than individuals. Once they predominate, they could free people up for 50min a day; parking space is reduced by billions of sq/m; crashes – and related costs to society – are reduced by 90%; and they accelerate robot tech in general.
  • 1.3million Americans had joined a car-share by the end of 2014, according to the latest data out of Berkeley; this report from the Freep looks at that, noting that Airbnb-style peer-to-peer car-sharing is also a growth area – but that actual car sales are also growing again too, including to millennials/Gen Y. Another interesting point is illustrated by data from Zipcar – whose members include a sizable proportion of 50-69 year-olds – which suggests that older Gen X/boomers are moving back to city centres and getting rid of private vehicles. Which turns around a few ideas that have been floating about in recent years. More on vehicle-sharing from the TSRC, UC Berkeley, here.
  • The Bollore Bluecar EV (previously built in Italy) is to be built at Renault’s factory in Dieppe, with a co-operation agreement signed between the two industrial groups.  The Bluecar is, of course, headed to London for the EV-share (finally) announced last week. Where it will be painted red, incidentally. A 50-car fleet is to be launched early next year, with a (much-needed) overhaul and expansion of the city’s malfunctioning charging infrastructure also promised.
  • Next year, Scania is to start testing hybrid diesel-electric heavy-duty trucks charged via an overhead pantograph system; a 2km test stretch of road is being built as part of the Electric Roads initiative. Later in the year, a similarly-equipped bus will also begin trials; this can be fully recharged in 6/7 minutes from equipment at a bus stop. More here.
  • More bus news: Route 55 in Gothenburg has electrified with three all-electric and seven hybrid buses from Volvo (obviously) up and running; there’s flash-charging at bus stops, using renewable wind/solar electricity.
  • And VDL Bus & Coach (Netherlands) has unveiled its articulated Citea SLFA Electric, due to go on duty shortly in Cologne; again, this has capability for ‘opportunity charging’.
  • New BMW 7-Series: plug-in hybrid variant, 740eLe (long-wheelbase only), does up to 40km in all-electric mode (up to 75mph) and its averaged-out figures (meaningless though they are) are 134.5mpg and 49g/km of CO2. xDrive AWD versions also available.
  • EU first-quarter figures for alt-fuel vehicles include a rise in all-electric sales, which more than doubled to 24,630 Jan-March 2015.
  • Tesla: not as disruptive as you might think, according to Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen, who points to ‘neighbourhood’ EVs – micro-vehicles – as the real innovations with potential for disruption. Mmm. Anyway, comes off the back of Newsweek’s ‘green’ rankings which puts Tesla as only the eighth-placed carmaker, behind BMW, Toyota, Daimler, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen and GM in an analysis taking into account factors including energy and water use in manufacturing. Not that I imagine Elon Musk is losing any sleep over either of these judgements.
  • Commuters want seamless connectivity on their journeys, according to a report from the Ericsson Consumer Lab, and to be able to take charge of their travel decisions with real-time info and personalised services.  Some useful stats on use of apps by people taking different transport modes, in the various cities studied (London, Sao Paulo, New York and Shanghai). Also, feedback on rapidly-developing consumer trends in app use and expectations of iOT/connectivity in this video.

Electrified roadsweeping & other news of note this week…

June 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

bucher roadsweeperNot as sexy as a supercar, granted, but working vehicles like this roadsweeper are rather useful, and have a future – especially in cities, whatever other motorised transport may be used. This is a prototype built by Bucher Municipal of Neiderwenigen, Switzerland in partnership with Empa (Materials Science Technology Centre), ETH Zurich University. In place of the conventional diesel engine plus hydraulics, it has a small natural gas engine with generator; it consumes less than half as much energy on its standard ‘sweeping’ cycle, and its CO2 emissions are cut by over 60% (even more when biogas is used). Though it would cost more to buy, this is compensated for by its much lower operating costs.

Interesting note on this is that Empa calculates the typical annual diesel consumption of a vehicle of this type is around 10,000 litres, typically ten times more than that of a passenger car; they quote a German study which reckons that working vehicles, including bin lorries, etc., account for around 15% of the energy consumption of all road traffic, despite their actual numbers being very small. Anyway, further work is underway on this concept to optimise its operation, packaging and costs, but Bucher aims to bring it to market. More here.

  • Seven auto industry mega-trends identified by Goldman Sachs, reported here. In summary, the Great Vampire Squid reckons that: there is ongoing endless powertrain advancement, but petrol/diesel will still power 75% of the global fleet 10 years from now; vehicles will become lighter; industry focus will turn to emerging markets; power will shift to ‘megasuppliers’ while the trad carmakers become final-assembly and marketing concerns; connected-car tech, apps and shared mobility have had a small impact in the taxi/rental sector, but the extent of their potential disruption is unclear and impact on car ownership will be limited until they can solve issues of under-utilisation; autonomous driving is on the horizon with tremendous potential, but legislative, social and economic factors must be resolved and it may have more impact on sectors such as trucking, public transport and non-car businesses than on private car ownership; and that ‘barriers to entry’ for newcomers have been lowered with new techs, allowing the involvement of the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla, but adaptability of the old OEMs and these megasuppliers may yet win out. As Automotive News points out (claiming that there is ‘little evidence’ that consumers are demanding fundamental changes in mobility), this is essentially a pretty conservative and status quo-reinforcing view of things – no surprise. But not necessarily wrong. My biggest query would be over ‘adaptability’ of the slow-moving OEMs…
  • Details on the Frauenhofer Institutes EDDA electric bus fast-charging project here; trials in Dresden saw the roof-mounted high-voltage ‘flash-charging’ system (6.5 minutes) enable the bus to serve a 20km route.
  • More research on PM2.5s – particulates most commonly emitted by diesel vehicles: linked with respiratory illnesses in children by the University of Seville. More here.
  • Not quite sure what’s happening with the Bollore Group and the former Source London network (anyone?) but Transport for London has issued a call for partners and suppliers to build EV-charging infrastructure in the city. Plans include rapid-charging for taxis, private-hire vehicles and other commercial fleets, in a shift of previous focus, although ‘incentives’ towards mass take-up of EVs, presumably involving private vehicles, is also mentioned. Reported here.
  • Meanwhile in Wolfsburg, an e-mobility trial project based around the main station has gone into operation: a fleet of electric bicycles and Volkswagen e-Ups can be hired for use between nine locations. Also, Milan’s BikeMi service is now up to 4,600 electric bicycles, and 70 new docking stations are being added in the city. More here. Also, further news via Eltis – 150 EV charging stations for Hungary; and a trial of four automated driverless minibuses in Vantaa, Finland.
  • Renault is to supply 150 Zoes to the King of Jordan for his fleet; to be solar-charged from facilities at the royal palaces as part of “an ambitious solar programme”, says Renault-Nissan.
  • Latest registration figures from the SMMT covering January-May: all-electric vehicle registrations doubled compared to this time last year to 3,772. Plug-in hybrid and range-extended EVs numbered 8,147, with the best-seller the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
  • TomTom doesn’t just make sat navs: TomTom Telematics has supplied an open API platform for an electric car booking/management programme. This integrates car booking and battery data for the Be Smart EV-share (Italy) and allows for remote battery monitoring, vehicle activation, location tracking and journey information for billing. More here.

Concept of the Day: BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage

May 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

bmwcslhommageBit of an overdue catch-up here, but we’ll start with this BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage concept shown at Villa d’Este last week. Design-wise, you can read the full lowdown here, but of interest to me is this ‘eBoost’ function supplementing the straight-six. BMW hints only at “energy accumulators”, with the instrument panel including a charging display, but this sounds to me like some sort of supercapacitor-based hybrid system, perhaps…

  • Back in the real world, the Frazer-Nash/Ecotive Metrocab taxi is to go into production in Coventry next year. Assembly is by Multimatic, and the Metrocab will first hit the streets of London (where a small-scale trial is already underway). It’s a range-extended EV with two electric motors, a 1.0-litre petrol engine and generator (which can recharge the batteries in just 10 minutes), regenerative braking, lithium-polymer batteries and external charging; its overall range is over 560km.
  • We hear a lot about Generation Y and millennials, but how ’bout Generation Alpha (born 2010-on)? Design students from Art Center Pasadena see them as getting around in shape-shifting, shared, autonomous, connected EVs: some nice ideas in the SABIC-sponsored Design For Alpha project, reported here.
  • Vodafone’s M2M (machine-to-machine) platform is underpinning a new service/app for EV users called Ubitricity – a ‘virtual network’ for billing/accessing power supplies. More here.
  • Ford has launched its GoDrive carshare in London, with half its 50-car fleet Focus Electric Drives; more here.
  • Some interesting stats via Fleet News: over half of the BMW i3s registered in the last three months, and over 60% of Audi A3 e-tron PHEVs, are for fleet buyers/the corporate sector.
  • The global market for EV chargers will increase more than 12-fold 2014-2020, according to research by IHS Automotive; mainly AC charging still, it thinks, with just 10% of chargers in public/semi-public domain and DC fast-chargers a minority. More here.
  • Latest from Navigant Research: plug-in vehicle sales to exceed 1.1million a year in the US by 2020. More here.
  • Smith Electric Vehicles (US) has formed a JV with FDG Electric Vehicles (with lithium-ion battery-making division); the former is to assemble and distribute the latter’s vehicles in the USA, with a view to the urban delivery/transport sector. Smith will continue to make its Newton/Edison conversions. More here.
  • EV buyers are economy-driven first and foremost, more than environmentally-focused, and are also younger and more affluent than the average, according to a (US) survey. They’re motivated by tax rebates and other incentives, reports TrueCar, which admittedly only compared a small sample of Ford Focus Electric and Fiat 500e buyers against their ICE-purchasing equivalents.
  • The Institute of Energy and Transport, University of Leeds, is modelling electromobility: more on the project (for the Joint Research Centre) in this presentation.
  • Not a car, but a boat worthy of note: an electric car/passenger ferry has gone into service in Norway. Built by Fjellstrand and featuring a Siemens-developed drive system with lithium-ion batteries, it uses 150kWhr per trip, said to be equivalent to three days’ electricity use by the average Norwegian household (length of trip not stated). Oh, and it’s charged using hydro power. Operator Norled reckons at least 50 further routes along Norway’s coastline could be served by electric ferries, too. More here.

Concept of the Day: Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport

May 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

volkswagen golf gte conceptVolkswagen is fitting plug-in hybrid powertrains in a growing number of its production and concept cars: latest is the track-oriented Golf GTE Sport, an electrified, all-wheel-drive GTI concept. Developed for the annual GTI meeting at Lake Wörthersee, Austria, the carbon-bodied, GTE Sport gives 400hp, 174mph and 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds. All-electric range is 50km, and average fuel economy (not that the NEDC cycle gives in any way a representative figure) is 141mpg.

Its motors supplement a version of the turbocharged 1.6TSI from the Polo R WRC rally car; one (115hp/330Nm) is mounted up front within the housing of the six-speed twin-clutch gearbox, and another (115hp/270Nm) at the rear driving the rear axle. The racing-style interior – accessed via swing-up doors – features two self-contained areas for driver and passenger, and features a new three-level transparent information display system to accommodate all necessary data on charge, electric boost and power delivery as well as lap times. The mode-select switches for electric, hybrid and AWD ‘GTE’ performance modes is roof-mounted, and the driver can select battery ‘hold’ and ‘charge’ modes; in GTE mode, the front electric motor acts as a generator supplying energy to the rear motor via an “electric propshaft”, which Volkswagen has copyrighted.

I’m currently rather struggling with enthusiasm for PHEVs – firstly due to the growing suspicion that they’re not spending an awful lot of time in electric mode (as the Dutch government has suggested; see earlier post), and secondly as they are increasingly looking like an attempt to spin out the lifespan of the ICE from the OEM/industry end. However, on the positive side, consciousness-raising, gateway to electrification and all the rest of it, and if concepts like this grab the attention of petrolheads, so much the better.

  • Spotted on this #PitchToRich thing (competition for Branson/Virgin investment: the Libralato petrol engine for plug-in hybrid powertrains (speaking of which), said to be half the size and weight of a conventional unit, and deliver the efficiency of a diesel. It’s a re-take on the rotary engine, with two rotors (and thus no pistons or crankshaft), from a firm in Greater Manchester. (Via @CarplusTrust – thanks). Well, potentially considerably more progressive than electrifying a conventional ICE.
  • Toyota has launched its Open Road project, field-testing the i-Road micro-EV in Tokyo; there are three components to the programme, road-testing of the vehicle itself, collaborating with industry partners ‘to create unique extensions of the i-Road experience’, and broadcasting/sharing/promoting. It’s appealing for (Tokyo-based) participants.
  • Renault-Nissan is planning EVs with a battery range of over 400km by 2020, according to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review. Latest EV sales targets have been revised, it reports, to 10% of Nissan’s sales by 2025 (from just over 1% now).
  • Lack of public charging infrastructure remains a main barrier to EV adoption, yet most EV drivers are charging at home; an attempt to unscramble the contradiction from Navigant. Points out that the location of charging equipment is crucial if it is to be used, and that testing with mobile charging units is a good idea to determine suitable sites and justify investments.
  • Driving costs society six times more than cycling, according to a Danish-Australian study: the paper, in Ecological Economics, says that cycling infrastructure is one of the most cost-effective investments for cities in terms of the impacts on air pollution, climate change, noise, road wear, health, congestion and travel routes. Cycling costs 0.08euro per kilometre, with this cost showing a downward trend, whereas driving costs 0.50euro and rising, claim the researchers (Gössling and Choi, 2015). The study is based on Copenhagen.
  • Toyota and Mazda are entering into a technology-sharing partnership: Mazda will get Toyota’s hybrid and fuel cell tech, while bringing its own SkyActiv fuel-efficient engines to the table, reports Autocar.

Autonomy, sharing and electromobility

May 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

09-Mercedes-Benz-F-015-Luxury-in-Motion-660x602Autonomous shared vehicles could replace 90% of private cars on city streets, according to research from the International Transport Forum modelling ‘TaxiBots’ – simultaneously-shared vehicles – and ‘AutoVots’, on-demand vehicles transporting one person after another. It warns of increases in total vehicle mileage travelled, however, due to the pick-ups, drop-offs and vehicle repositioning in different scenarios, but points out the land use implications for a reduction in necessary parking spaces – and where the Bots and Vots could supplement (or replace) inefficient or insufficient public transport systems. Further effects on transportation privatisation implied… Handy rundown here, full report, Urban Mobility System Upgrade, here. It notes that, to accommodate charging downtime, only a 2% increase in vehicle numbers would be needed for the fleets to be electrified. Nice analysis by Citylab, too. Pic: Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept, the luxury/executive option. The car-makers have been thinking about how to manoeuvre themselves into this new market-space, of course.

  • In the meantime… the used car market is the key to electric vehicle adoption, says an analyst from Glass’s Guides, pointing out the role of the motor trade in consumer education and charting the strengthening of EV residual values.
  • The CarPlus annual survey of car clubs is out: download the various regional reports here. Some take-outs from the England & Wales report: 22,500 members using 700 cars (outside London); increasing usage of EVs; claiming that four cars removed from road for each car club car; only 29% of members (6 months+) now own a car, with car purchases deferred; average annual mileage 3,500; members 3x more likely than average to cycle. Car club membership is used as part of members’ ‘portfolios’ of transport options including train, bus, walking, etc. Corporate members use cars more than private, and their employers/organisations have reduced usage of pool and ‘grey fleet’ (employees’ own) vehicles; most popular reason for joining was moving to a new area, then changing job. Figures for London report 155,000 members using 2,300 cars; a claimed 8.6 cars removed from the road per car club car; average annual mileage 2,190; and in Scotland, 7,600 members are sharing 240 cars. Importantly, the reports discuss the potential for adoption of electric vehicles – a good level of willingness to try them out, and positive responses towards experiences so far, were noted.
  • And there’s a lot more on car-sharing in the latest issue of Transportation: shared mobility services are now mainstream, its editors claim, enabled by digital tech. Papers look at case studies, model future scenarios, look at the potential for car-sharing in B2B applications, fleet efficiencies and business models.
  • Doubling bus use in the UK will have only a tiny impact in reducing car usage (1.3%), argues Steve Melia, and in general, investment in public transport will have little effect on reducing car travel – they’re more likely to reduce walking and cycling. Instead, he argues for better and more strategic planning to reduce congestion and air pollution.
  • So Tesla has launched its PowerWall static energy storage systems, domestic grade and industrial: an important (and symbolic) step forward in capture and storage of renewables, nicely tying in with vehicle charging. This stuff is all connected.
  • And some first-quarter figures from ACEA: EV registrations more than doubled compared to same time 2014, to 24,360 units. Hybrid sales were up 21.4% to 56,704, and natural gas-fuelled vehicles up 16.5% to 63,087.
  • Researchers at University of Illinois, Chicago, have made advances in magnesium-ion battery tech – reported here.

 

Concept of the Day: TUM EVA

April 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

TUM EVATUM Create – a collaboration between TU Munich and NTU Singapore – has unveiled EVA, an all-electric taxi specifically designed ground-up as an EV, and with tropical climates in mind. Some interesting stats: taxis account only for 3% of vehicle population but 15% of mileage in Singapore; they typically run on a two-shift rotation 24 hours a day doing an average 520km; and of course, powering their air conditioning is paramount. EVA has a 200km range with only a 15-minute downtime for fast-charging, apparently, and is designed to be manufactured locally for Asian markets. More here.

  • PHEV sales are to reach 1.2million a year in Europe in 10 years, outselling non-plug-in hybrids by 2019, reports Automotive News Europe, synthesising several analyses and quoting LMC Automotive. The most-sold at the moment by a massive margin has been the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (though in recent month-on-month listings the newly-launched Volkswagen Golf GTE has edged ahead in some countries). Meanwhile, the Dutch government has set a target of 200,000 electrified vehicles on the country’s roads by 2020; it has pledged to continue state support. However, it’s worth noting that, as SUV and truck sales start to boom again in the US, it turns out that over 20% of hybrid/EV owners have traded in their electrified vehicles as gas prices lower…
  • Research from Toronto University: air pollution could be spread three times further than previously thought, with wide variations across districts. And in a sample of 100,000 vehicles, 25% – mainly older or ‘badly-tuned’ – were found to be causing 90% of the pollution, including 95% of particulates and 93% of carbon monoxide. More, incl. full academic references, here.
  • Some academic papers on the transition to electromobility: including discussion as to whether momentum is going to last, the niches where EVs can more easily be introduced, but mostly identifying where things are going wrong… interesting case study linking EV use with the hydroelectricity generation system in Quebec, however.
  • Catching up on latest EV/low-emissions vehicle registrations: 8573 cars with CO2 emissions under 75g/km were registered in the UK in the first quarter of 2015; again, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was the leader, followed by the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Renault Zoe and… BMW i8. 2014 sales totals for all plug-in vehicles came to 14,498, including nearly 6,700 ‘pure’ EVs and 7,800 PHEVs, with some 52,000 alt-fuel vehicles (including hybrids, plug-ins and range-extenders) put on the road. SMMT New Car CO2 Report 2015 here. However, “diesel and petrol cars still represent the majority share of the new car market” – which itself continues to grow.
  • And, in rant of the week, all of the above tends to suggest that, while there’s lots to be optimistic about, we’re still a long, long way from the “seismic shift” in car use/attitudes towards car use as suggested by this Guardian Cities piece this week… I think the focus on city-dwellers is pretty damn misleading too, considering that it’s the suburbanites, ‘peri-urban’ dwellers and other inward commuters mostly driving into city centres. Christian Wolmar’s quote in particular raises an interesting point: he says he doesn’t drive into London any more, which is taken as an example of an attitudinal shift, but his decision is effectively due to congestion/parking problems – because there are too many other cars… Though it’s well-argued and descriptive, with nice (niche) examples of good practice, there are so many holes that can be picked both in this piece and in the reaction to it, mainly due to reliance on the ‘peak car’ concept (highly debatable) or conflating the idea of a slowdown or flatlining in traffic/driving growth with that of an actual substantial reduction in cars on the streets (nope; see above) – much as we would all (except the car-makers and the SMMT, presumably) like to see that. Also, the idea of ‘car-free’ does often seem to forget that autonomous, shared, car club, on-demand non-private cars, not to mention delivery/taxi/service/emergency/other task-specific types of vehicle, are all some form of automobile too. And thus better electrified.
  • Finally, further to the above… good in-depth discussion of ‘microtransit’ at Citylab. Yep, city-dwellers again, but some positive trends, plus a look at implications and unforeseen consequences. It ain’t all bad, but let’s not assume that cars are going to disappear just yet.

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