Elektromotive/Charge Your Car to establish UK’s largest pay-as-you-go EV charging network

June 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Brighton firm Elektromotive is forming a joint venture with Charge Your Car (North) in a bid to create the UK’s largest pay-as-you-go EV charging network. The existing Charge Your Car (North) network will be expanded, and will incorporate other regional facilities under the Charge Your Car banner; a target of 10,000 public-access EV chargers has been set. They will use Elektromotive’s technology, including its pay-by-phone software, user interface and back-office management, though any charging point (and not just the company’s Elektrobays, of which over 3000 have been installed already) can be integrated into the network as long as it meets the industry-standard Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Users will not need to pay a monthly subscription, and will be able to locate their nearest Charge Your Car point via smartphone; billing, facility management and reporting will all be integrated.

“Charge Your Car is the perfect catalyst for the EV market and supports all the stakeholders with an interest in EVs,” says Elektromotive MD Calvey Taylor-Haw.  “Charge point owners in both the public and private sectors have a way to promote their charge points, generate revenue and manage their infrastructure.  EV drivers have a single access point for recharging that is quick, easy and affordable.  Charge point manufacturers have a company that will help them to sell more charge points and electric vehicle manufacturers have a company that will help them to sell more vehicles.  We are also seeking partners who wish to implement Charge Your Car outside of the UK, establishing it as one of the world’s leading recharging brands.”

In other news today:

  • Meanwhile, hydrogen: Germany plans to have 50 public-access hydrogen refuelling stations operational by 2015. The Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, along with companies including Daimler, Linde AG and Total Germany have signed a letter of intent to expand the network, and the federal government and industry are investing over 40million euros in the project. They expect around 5000 fuel cell cars to be on the road in Germany by 2015; there are currently 15 hydrogen refuelling facilities.
  • Venturi has completed its Mission Africa trek – 5800km Kilimanjaro to Okavango in the Venturi-Citroen Berlingo EV. Full story, video and some great pictures at the Mission Africa blog.
  • Just to remind you that EVs are nothing new: the Green Car Reports team have come across a 1981 Jet 007 (an electric conversion of the Plymouth Horizon TC3 coupe) on eBay. Eighties retro ahoy! Looks like it needs a bit of work, though…
  • And some more retro: students at Roanoke College,Virginia, are converting a lovely 1939 Pontiac Silver Streak to electric drive – looks like a great project.

More EVs for hire and lease, prepare for Urban Mobility 3.0

June 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Citroen is delivering 100 C-Zero EVs to DB Rent, the car rental division of rail operator Deutsche Bahn, for a car-share scheme in Berlin. The cars will be located at railway stations and S-bahn stops in the city, and will be available for one-way trips; cars and charging points can be located using a smartphone app. A further 400 C-Zeros are on order for DB Rent to make up a large fleet.

In other news today:

  • Bolloré, supplier of the Pininfarina-designed Bluecar EV to the Paris Autolib’ scheme, is now offering the car for lease to private customers and businesses. It’s up for 330 euros a month for a minimum three-month period, and yes, you can have it in colours other than blue, reports Technologic Vehicles. Private cars can get up to 130kph, too (the Autolib’bers are limited to 110kph). Pre-order forms are at the Bluecar website.
  • Mazda is to start leasing a range-extended EV in Japan next year, featuring its hydrogen-fuelled rotary engine as the range-extender, reports The Nikkei. No word yet on which model this will be based, but Mazda is already offering for lease a Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (more on that here).
  • Liberty Electric Cars of Peterborough is in discussions with California’s Green Automotive Company over joint projects. Liberty is best-known for its e-Range Range Rover electric conversion, and is expected to supply its technology to Green Automotive  of Newport Beach, which has ditched its original plans to produce and sell its own e-SUV and now intends to convert existing vehicles which are already approved for US sale, reports EV Fleet World.
  • Battery tech story of the day: ionic liquid electrolytes could make batteries ten times as powerful as lithium-ion technology and cost less, says Colorado Ionics Corporation. Working in conjunction with ultracapacitors to double energy storage limits, ‘Iolite’ salt electrolytes can operate at high temperatures and voltages, are not flammable and do not evaporate, the company told MIT’s Technology Review (AutoTech Daily).
  • The first Australian-built, right-hand drive Holden Volts hit the road this week, reports EV Fleet World. They’ll be run on a 12-week trial in partnership with the state of Victoria’s government, and all results/findings/data will be publicly shared.
  • Some more detail/updates/general thoughts on the news that Audi may be pulling the plug on its A1 and A2 e-tron. Here at the Charging Point.

Audi pulls e-tron plug

June 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Audi has pulled the plug on both the electric A2 city car and A1 e-tron range-extender projects, reports Car magazine. Problems of building the compact A2 at an acceptable price and the general costs of development, apparently, in difficult market conditions. No official statement from Audi yet on the matter. The A3 e-tron trial continues in the US, however: video posted at Autoblog Green.

  • In other news today: GE Capital Fleet Services – a major leasing company in the USA – has opened an Innovation Centre in Minnesota where fleet buyers, industry groups and researchers can test-drive EVs and hybrids on a special track and check out other technologies. More at Inside Line. Shows how a sector of the US auto industry is taking e-mobility seriously.
  • DIY EV of the day: the EVGT-40, a replica of the you-know-what. Seems appropriate in the run-up to Le Mans; video at Technologic Vehicles, which also has more on the PGO e-Hemera (a 356-alike), pics/a video clip of a prototype electric/range-extended with fuel cell SUV called Inmares e-Cross (looks like a Dakar Rally-er), and the lowdown on the Renault Fluence’s Korean-market sister model, the Samsung SM3 ZE, which will be compatible with the Better Place battery-swap system.
  • Toyota is to start testing a vehicle-to-home (V2H) comms system with the Prius Plug-In, which will explore the storage of excess electricity generated by a house’s solar panels in the car’s batteries, the integration of the car into a home energy management system and the use of the Prius Plug-In as a generator in times of grid outage. More at Green Car Congress.

Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid, more hyper-hybrids and some incremental economy improvements

May 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Official lowdown on the plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder: production will begin at the end of September 2013, with deliveries by the end of next year; total power output around 770hp; average fuel consumption around 78mpg in Euro figures, suggest independent reports. It combines a 4.6-litre, eight-cylinder engine and two independent electric motors – one on the front axle, the other driving the rear wheels – to give a 25km all-electric range; hybrid, sport hybrid, race hybrid and ‘hot lap’ modes are selectable. Other features include a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic monococque body structure, adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and upward-venting exhaust top-pipes.

  • Reminder on another hyper-hybrid: Ferrari chairman Luca de Montezemolo has confirmed the unveiling at the end of the year of “the new Enzo, a limited-series model and our first ever hybrid car.” V12 engine, two electric motors, the HY-KERS kinetic energy recovery system.
  • Vauxhall/Opel is renewing its engine line-up in the next year with three all-new ‘families’ of petrol and diesel units. First to market will be a 200hp/300Nm SIDI (spark ignition direct injection) 1.6 turbo petrol with stop-start; claimed reduction in CO2 emissions over the 1.6T engine this replaces will be 13%. A tuned 280hp version of this will go into the Astra VXR this summer.
  • New-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchbacks, on sale in Europe in September 2012, will see model-for-model fuel consumption reductions of up to 26%. All versions get stop-start; the A180 CDI gets down to 98 g/km CO2 and the A220 CDI is the first Merc to meet the 2015 Euro 6 emissions requirements. Full tech lowdown, facts and figures at Green Car Congress.
  • Pope, Catholic, bears, woods etc: EVs converted from ICE vehicles aren’t as good as purpose-designed models, says Consumer Reports. This is in reference to manufacturer conversions, not DIY jobs; factors include packaging of the EV drivetrain components and battery packs, weight distribution and compromises to interior space and handling dynamics.

BMW and Daimler team with TUM on mass-market EV project

May 9, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) is working with BMW, Daimler, Siemens and other German supplier firms in a research consortium to produce a new safe, lightweight, low-cost mass-market EV. BMW is to lead the Visio.M project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research to the tune of 10.8million euros. The targets set include a kerbweight of 400kg (minus battery), 15kW of power, and the ability to meet the Euro L7e-class requirements.  The initial test ‘mule’ will be based on TUM’s MUTE prototype (pictured; more details here) which will be used to trial technology concepts including energy storage, the powertrain and operational software.

  • Toyota has unveiled its RAV4 EV – with Tesla-supplied 154hp/115kW powertrain – at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. This has a range of 100 miles, does 100mph and 0-60 in seven seconds in Sport mode or 85mph and 0-60 in 8.6 sec in Normal mode, and is front-wheel drive only. No plans for UK or European sale, but Toyota is asking for (and responding to) comments at its blog on the matter. Prices from $49,800 in California, where deliveries start this summer.
  • BMW has done a deal in the US with Real Goods Solar for a 35% discount on solar panels for ActiveE customers. Some 700 ActiveE prototypes – 1-Series based hatches trialling the tech for the i3 – are out on lease now. More details (and comments from happy users) at Detroit News.
  • A car-share fleet of around 40 mia electric mini-minivans is to hit the roads of the Poitou-Charentes region of France, reports Technologic Vehicles. Mia electric is based in Cerizay in the region – and is 30% owned by the local state administration.
  • Here’s an uplifting story: EV converter Karabag has electrified a Fiat 500 using the powertrain from a Linde forklift truck. The Karabag 500e is available for sale or lease, should you want one; press release and video posted at Autoblog Green, which also has video of a Linde-powered go-kart which has just set a record for electric kart acceleration (0-60 in 3.45 seconds).
  • Supercharging and downspeeding a diesel engine, in conjunction with optimising transmission ratios, can give fuel savings of over 12%, claims a team from Southwest Research Institute and supercharger-maker Eaton. Paper presented at SAE Congress; more details here.
  • Actuators, bearings and seals: it’s the little things which count towards saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions. SKF has presented a portfolio of such solutions at the Electric Vehicle Symposium; lowdown at Green Car Congress.
  • More news from EVS: Siemens presented its eHighway concept, a charging proposal for trucks using tram-like overhead wires. Trials underway in Germany, more to follow at Los Angeles and Long Beach docks for cargo lorries. More, including video, at The Charging Point.
  • Infrastructure-provider DBT CEV and Matra have developed a battery-swap concept for electric bikes and scooters, said to be suitable for use in separate battery-leasing and charging programmes. A (scalable) rival for Better Place? More at Green Car Congress.
  • The city of Windsor, Ontario, has signed up for 10 40-foot BYD electric buses – and the province of Ontario is in talks with BYD over manufacturing the e-buses on Canadian soil (Green Car Congress). Windsor wants to become a major hub for e-mobility manufacturing, and work underway there includes research on second-life use of the bus batteries as static energy storage centres.

Friday round-up

January 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

No shortage of news in a week which has included the Detroit Motor Show, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and now Autosport International, but here’s some more as-yet-unmentioned-by-me snippets.

  • Drayson Racing Technologies claims to have the world’s fastest electric racer: the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV develops 850hp from its four motors and can do 200mph. Unveiled at the Low Carbon Racing Conference (a prelude to the Autosport do at the Birmingham NEC this weekend), it’s a Le Mans prototype with induction charging and regenerative damping. More at the Charging Point.
  • The EcoVelocity show is to return this year, May 10th-13th 2012, and it’ll be bigger and better – it’s moving to the ExCel centre, London Docklands. It’s in partnership with the Metro newspaper again, and the organisers are hoping to take it “to the next level” at the larger venue after its successful debut at the Battersea Power Station last year.
  • IBM is working on a lithium-air cell battery which could give EVs a range of 500 miles, reports New Scientist. Issues of chemical instability when recharging are being solved, apparently.
  • More electric racing: Quimera is teaming up with IMSA and the American Le Mans Series to develop an international series. Full details and release posted at Autoblog Green.
  • Honda Accord: plug-in hybrid option for the 2013 US-market car. V6 engine, twin motors, a six-speed auto ‘box and an all-electric range of 10-15 miles.
  • Aftermarket EV conversion of the day: the Toyota 2000GT Solar EV built by members of the Toyota Auto Fan Club in Japan. Story and very pretty picture at the GreenMotor blog.
  • Registrations of scooters rose 12% last year in the UK, reports the Motorcycle Industry Association, as commuters turn to two-wheeled transport, prompted by rising fuel prices and parking costs. Full story at the Guardian.

Electric Blue sets EV speed record; petrol sales down; midweek newsbriefs

October 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Another day, another EV speed record: the Brigham Young University team from Utah has achieved an average 155.8mph – and got up to 175mph at one point – on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the Electric Blue streamliner. It’s the culmination of a seven-year project involving over 130 students and a number of prior attempts.

  • Petrol sales are down 15%, according to figures from the AA, and £1.7billion less in the first six months of 2011 than January-June 2008. Drivers are cutting down on unnecessary journeys due to rising petrol costs, and are thought to be walking and cycling more for shorter trips, though the improved fuel economy of new cars is also said to be a factor. This is backed up by data from British Car Auctions’ Annual Used Car Market Report, which finds that fuel consumption is the top priority amongst car-buyers, with 27% actively seeking a more efficient vehicle. 17% were looking for a car with lower road tax. A quarter of the 4000 drivers surveyed said that a fuel price of £1.40 a litre would force them to change their driving patterns, and 10% a cost of £1.50 a litre. Interestingly, there’s also been a fall in the number of two-car households, and 5% fewer families (down to 72%) have a car.
  • A firm called Electric Mobile Cars is converting the Renault-Dacia Logan (including the pick-up) with its all-electric powertrain for sale in the US. More at Autoblog Green.
  • First prototypes of a Chinese-made Daimler-Byd EV will appear next April, reports Edmunds Inside Line. Mercedes doing most of the development work on the car, apparently.
  • The future of the internal combustion engine is “bright and clear”, says an EPA spokesman at the US Department of Energy Conference. More at Green Car Congress.
  • Meanwhile, the average car sold in Europe now emits 140g/km, which has been achieved at no extra cost despite protests from the automakers (The Guardian/Business Green).

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