Friday, 28 October 2011

XD EV concept from Croatia

Doking Automotive of Croatia, a specialist vehicle company has showcased its EV concept called the XD.

With a claimed range of 155 miles per charge and a top speed of 62 mph, the tiny XD concept features gull-wing doors, staggered passenger seats and is fitted with all-round airbags and ESC.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

BYD E6 goes on sale in China

Bloomberg reports that BYD (the Chinese carmaker partly owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.) began selling its all-electric E6 to private motorists in China today as it seeks to lead the country’s market for alternative-energy cars.

The E6, which has a range of 300 kilometers (188 miles) per charge, retails for 369,800 yuan (approx £36,000 / $58,000), BYD said today in Shenzhen, where it is based. Buyers in the southern Chinese city will qualify for as much as 120,000 yuan (nearly £12,000) in subsidies.

The Chinese government aims to have 1 million electric-powered vehicles on China’s roads by 2015, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology. The world’s largest automobile market had more than 10,000 energy-saving and alternative-energy powered vehicles running in 25 trial cities as of July, according to figures from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China announced in June 2010 it would give buyers in Shanghai and four other cities up to 60,000 yuan (nearly £6,000) in subsidies for each electric car they purchase. Buyers of the E6 in Shenzhen will get an additional 60,000 yuan. The city has set up more than 60 charging stations.

BYD has said it plans to appoint dealers in the U.S. this year for the E6 and will export the car and electric buses to the U.S. and Europe next year, with a right-hand drive E6 available in Hong Kong in June.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Reva G-Wiz recognised at Innovation Awards

Last night I attended the dinner for the presentation of The Economist's Innovation Awards 2011. Chetan Maini, founder of Reva was recognised with the Energy And The Environment award for affordable, mass produced electric vehicles.

It is great to see recognition of our achievements with the Reva G-Wiz. Products cited from other winners included Google mail, Amazon's Kindle and Kiva, the micro-finance service.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chinese EV market 40% annual growth

Market intelligence firm Pike Research expects the Chinese market for EVs to grow by 40% per year between now and 2015. Chinese demand is benefiting from various national-level initiatives to promote the awareness and adoption of EVs, such as subsidies for EV purchasers, tax incentives, and public education programmes.

The Chinese EV market has “critically important implications” for global market participants, Pike Research’s latest report on EVs in Asia Pacific concludes. 

DeLorean EV in 2013

 The DeLorean is reportedly returning in 2013 as an EV, to be called the Electric DeLorean

With a top speed of 125 mph, and a price tag of around US$100,000, the design still looks exciting today, just as it did when launched 30 years ago.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

EN-V concept from Chevrolet

GM have advised they are continuing to progress the 2 seater Electric Networked-Vehicle (EN-V) concept, now featuring a Chevrolet badge. 

The idea is that in the future, as more of us live in ever larger megacities, then the 'cars' we drive wil have to get smaller and more energy efficient.

This is one step beyond the prototypes seen last month from Audi, VW and Peugeot, nonetheless there is an unarguable logic to the EN-V.

Nissan sell 600 Leafs in 3 days in Norway

Norway is Europe's leading EV country, with the highest concentration of EVs per capita and around 4,000 EVs on the country's roads, mostly in Oslo.

Nissan launched the Leaf on Saturday and 600 of the 1200 hand-raisers have now paid their full deposit for their cars and are awaiting delivery.

With no taxes to pay, free parking, no toll charges and use of bus lanes, the Leaf represents exceptionally good value in Norway.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

GM to launch Chevrolet Spark electric in 2013

GM announced today it is going to launch an all electric city car in the first half of 2013, which will be a low volume production run of the Chevrolet Spark EV (also known as the Beat). 
A123 Systems will supply the nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. The roll-out will be as per the Volt. The Spark will be the first all-electric car from GM since the infamous EV1 in the 90's (the car they launched then withdrew and crushed).

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Mahindra Reva NXR to launch 'within 6 months'

First showcased at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, the Mahindra Reva NXR will be launched in India 'within 6 months' according to a company spokesperson.

The Reva G-Wiz was the company's first generation electric vehicle, a quadricycle which has sold more than 4,000 units worldwide, of which 1,000 are in London.

The NXR will be the company's first M1 electric car, a four seat hatchback. The final specification and pricing has yet to be announced but expect a car with a top speed of 65 mph and a range of 100 miles, dual charge ports, smartphone interaction and REVive, Reva's remote emergency charge solution to range anxiety.

Peugeot VELV revealed report that PSA Peugeot-Citroen have unveiled the VELV (vehicule electrique leger de ville, or urban lightweight EV). Like Vauxhall/Opel's RAKe and the KTM E3W concept, the VELV is a microcar part-way between a motorbike and a city car (Peugeot has a scooter-making division, don't forget, which no doubt played a significant role in the development of this concept). It's effectively a three-wheeler – there's a double wheel at the rear – and PSA claims it'll seat three in a 1+2 formation in its tiny tuk-tuk-style cabin, which is accessed via scissor-opening doors. Its 20kW all-electric powertrain features Michelin-supplied in-wheel motors, giving a top speed of 110kph, and the VELV's lithium-ion batteries give a range of up to 100km.

As with the Audi urban concept, Volkswagen Nils, Kia POP and indeed, the first-to-market Twizy, the VELV is designed primarily with cramped urban conditions in mind; it has a turning circle of just 7.2m. Yet despite its size and 650kg weight, it meets all current crash safety legislation for passenger cars.
Its tech includes a communications system which identifies charging stations within the reach of remaining battery charge, and its total energy consumption is 85 Wh per km, which means "its environmental footprint is equivalent to that of a train trip,” says PSA. And, according independent reports, the VELV has been developed with a target price of less than 10,000 euros.

Its styling has clearly been influenced by that of Peugeot's earlier BB1 city car (2009), but that was a more conventional four-wheeler – in an unusual reversal of usual practice, the later vehicle is wilder and more adventurous than the earlier concept. And it appears to have been developed with some serious intent for production and thought as to what it could do. PSA says that it “is aimed at corporate fleets, traditional rental companies and self-service schemes like Autolib, second-car buyers and numerous customers who want a better option for getting around town.”
Add to that list Peugeot's own Mu mobility management scheme, currently being rolled out across Europe and the UK, which gives members access to a wide variety of vehicles on loan on a 'points' system.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Chetan Maini of Reva wins Economist award

Congratulations to Chetan Maini, the founder of Reva Electric car Company (now Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles) for winning The Economist's 2011 Energy and Environment Innovation award, to be made at its forthcoming Innovation Awards ceremony, which will be held on October 20th 2011 at the Science Museum in London.

Chetan is my former colleague with whom I collaborated for 8 years and is one of the true pioneers of EVs. His interest in electric cars can be traced back to his childhood, when he built remote-controlled toy cars. While a student at the University of Michigan in the United States, he took part in the General Motors Sun Race in 1990. The solar-powered car his team built won the contest and deepened his interest in alternative-energy vehicles. He thought electric cars, in particular, held great potential.

In 1994 he co-founded the Reva Electric Car Company (RECC), the first firm to build electric cars in India. Today he serves as chief strategy and technology officer of Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles, the joint venture formed in May 2011 after the Mahindra Group of India acquired RECC from the Maini Group.

RECC’s inaugural model, the REVA, was introduced in 2001. REVAs are very small (just 8.6 feet long, 4.3 feet wide and 4.1 feet high) but colourful − consumers can specify their own colour schemes. Around 4,000 of the cars have been sold in more than 20 countries, though most sales have been in Bangalore and London, the latter under the G-Wiz brand. The car costs around $13,000 today.

Commenting on the award decision by a panel of independent judges Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist, said: “Mr Maini’s success reminds us that electric cars need not be expensive, and that developed countries do not have a monopoly on innovation. Indeed, India has emerged as the champion of ‘frugal innovation’, cutting costs to make new technologies more widely available.”

Sunday, 2 October 2011

France's big EV initiatives

Automakers have been bidding for contracts for 25,000 electric vehicles and Renault have been successful for 15,600 of them. 10,000 EVs will go to La Poste, France's postal service and the remainder to other public administrations.

Today also sees the start of the Paris Autolib. If the trials are a success, there will be 3,000 EVs for hire across Paris at 1,000 hire stations by December 2012, available on a Pay and Use basis. The Bollore Pininfarina BlueCar uses lithium metal-polymer batteries offering a range of 155 miles and a 4 hour recharge time. The BlueCar is an exceptionally spacious hatchback with room for 4 adults plus luggage.

With these kind of initiatives France could soon be leading the way in Europe for EVs.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Will GE unlock the EV market?

General Electric Co. and Nissan Motor Co. said they signed a two-year research and development agreement to speed infrastructure improvements and spur electric car sales. 

GE may lease vehicle batteries to electric-car buyers, joining other companies looking to get more people to buy alternative-energy automobiles. GE makes batteries and is one of the biggest investors in Massachusetts-based battery maker A123 Systems Inc.

A battery leasing program is a venture that could allow GE to show off its range of businesses, from its industrial core which could be influential in manufacturing the batteries, to its GE Capital finance arm which could support the leasing.

GE did not comment on how far along GE is in its consideration of leasing, and did not provide a timetable for entering the business.

GE has a 6 percent stake in A123, a 10-year-old lithium-ion battery maker that went public in 2009, as a position GE can use as it digs deeper into the electric-vehicle market. 

Talk about electric-vehicle battery leasing has come up in the auto industry in recent years as top automakers unveiled plans to launch vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt. A variety of companies, including Palo Alto, California-based Better Place and Nissan, have proposed battery leasing programs as a way to ease anxiety about electric cars.

My view: This is potentially BIG news because it is the price of EVs that is the barrier to entry currently, more so than range and infrastructure. Once confidence levels in batteries are sufficiently high to commence a large scale leasing business, the price of an EV comes down to parity or below that of a conventional car.