Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Toyota Plug-in Prius specs

The Plug-in Prius specifications have been released:
  • Price: below £30,000 after the UK's £5,000 Plug-In Car grant.
  • CO2 49g/km
  • Combined fuel economy 134.5mpg
  • Electric only mode 15 miles
  • Top speed in electric only mode 62mph

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Li-ion cells: 3 x energy density, half the price reports that a California-based company has announced a technological breakthrough that could herald the production of 300-mile range, affordable pure-electric cars. Envia Systems, a battery technology company, has designed a lithium-ion cell that significantly increases energy density while at the same time greatly reducing the cost.

The company, which was founded in 2007, says that its battery packs can deliver 400 watt-hours per kilogram of cell energy at a cost of about $150 per kilowatt-hour – less than half the average cost today. And to put that power output in context, Tesla reckons its Roadster’s battery develops 121 watt-hours per kilogram.

“We will be able to make smaller automotive packs that are also less heavy and much cheaper,” said Atul Kapadia, chairman and chief executive of Envia. “The cost of cells will be less than half — perhaps 45 percent — of cells today, and the energy density will be almost three times greater than conventional automotive cells.”

That weight saving is also a very significant advance, as the bulk of current battery technology blunts both performance and range.

Infinit Emerg-e EREV concept

This is the Infiniti Emerge-e extended range electric vehicle concept, due to be unveiled at this year's Geneva Motor Show.


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Volvo in smart charging trials

ELVIIS - the Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure - is designed to allow drivers to charge the battery pack of the vehicle using any ordinary power outlet. When connected, the ELVIIS system identifies the outlet via GPS, and allows the driver to set timing and charging amount on a touch-screen controller or smartphone device.
ELVIIS is a partnership between itself, Ericsson, Göteborg Energi and the Viktoria Institute.
When set, the ELVIIS system uses the mobile network to communicate with the central grid in order to configure the charging scheme such that the energy grid is used in the most efficient way possible and that the driver gets the best price for the energy he or she is using.
The system monitors the charging process, alerting the driver if there is any interruption, while the cost of each charge is automatically directed to the driver's personal utility bill regardless of where the car is charged.
Initial tests have used a Volvo C30 Electric vehicle with an added 7in colour touch-screen controller for accessing the ELVIIS system. Now further tests will take place using an additional four C30 Electric cars to further prove the concept.
"Our basic view is that the owner of an electric vehicle shouldn't have to sacrifice any of the properties he or she expects from a luxury car," explained Lennart Stegland, Volvo's vice president in charge of electric propulsion systems, at the announcement. "This smart technology for charging in any outlet, and paying automatically via your own electricitybill, is an excellent example of how we do everything to make the daily use easier for the customer."
Volvo promises that the technology developed under the ELVIIS project will use generic communications systems, making it easy to apply globally once proved.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

UK Plug-in Van grant vehicles announced

The vans available for the UK Plug-in Van grant, offering 20% up to £8,000 are:

  • Ford Transit Connect EV – on sale now

  • Renault Kangoo ZE – on sale now

  • Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell – on sale now

  • Faam ECOMILE – on sale March 2012

  • Faam JOLLY 2000 – on sale March 2012

  • Mia electric Mia U – on sale May 2012

  • Smith Electric Smith Edison – on sale TBC

  • Sunday, 19 February 2012

    Renault Zoe 200 mile range? report rumours that the Renault Zoe will have a range of 220 miles. I had heard figures of 150 to 200 miles a few months ago. Renault themselves claim it will have the best range of any EV at launch and given the fact that the Tesla Roadster achieves 245 miles, well, that's pretty exciting.

    Would 200 miles and a price tag below £15,000 be the tipping point? We will have to wait and see.

    Friday, 17 February 2012

    The truth about recharging infrastructure

    Fleet World magazine in the UK reports on research conducted by Aurora Market Research into purchase intentions for electric vehicles.

    The study revealed that 58% of respondents who said that they are planning to buy a new car over the next two years would consider "going electric."
    This increased to over three quarters (77%) of those in the 25 – 34 year range and 81% of respondents who live in London. Londoners had by far the most positive response to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.
    Despite recent press commentary about the slower than anticipated growth of consumer demand for electric vehicles over the last 12 months, future expectations within the automotive industry are very different. 29 new cars powered by electricity are about to come on the road from manufacturers such as BMW, Ford, Vauxhall, Renault and Volvo over the next 18 months.
    The research was conducted on behalf of a charging infrastructure network company and not surprisingly, the reason given as the main barrier to purchase was the lack of recharging infrastructure.

    As I now work in the infrastructure business, I would say beware of vested interests. True, more infrastructure is required, but not the kind that is being put in currently (public access fast charging) and not using the current business model (pay £90 to register, pay another £10 per month for access, pay another 95p every time you recharge).

    Here is what I think:

    Plug-in vehicle drivers will charge where they have guaranteed access and at the lowest cost of energy – which means mostly at home and at work.

    In public places, drivers want to recharge their plug-in vehicle in the same way that they refuel their conventional vehicle today at a petrol station – i.e. open access, pay to use - without membership schemes and without additional charges for access or parking.

    In public places, drivers will seek out DC rapid charging for longer journeys and ‘distress recharging’, most likely at service stations (when the market is mature enough to warrant the investment), for which they will expect to pay a premium on the energy cost.

    Drivers do not expect to pay for parking or normal / fast charging in retail parks competing for customer traffic.

    Drivers do expect to pay to park and charge in residential on-street CPZs and long stay car parks e.g. Park and ride, railway stations, airports.


    Wednesday, 15 February 2012

    Gen Y turning electric

    Gen Y consumers (age from 19 to 31) in the US have a strong affinity for hybrid vehicles, according to Deloitte's latest survey, making them potentially the generation that leads us away from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles

    A strong majority (59 percent) of Gen Y respondents surveyed prefer an 'electrified vehicle' over any other type of car or truck. Moreover, Gen Y consumers heavily favour hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles (57 percent) over pure battery electric vehicles (very low at just 2 percent), or vehicles with a traditional gasoline-only powertrain (37 percent). 

    Gen Y consumers also view hybrid technology as proven and reliable. Almost 6 in 10 Gen Y respondents prefer a hybrid over any other type of vehicle, while a mere 2 in 100 prefer a pure battery electric vehicle – demonstrating that Gen Y is familiar and comfortable with hybrid technology, but yet with battery-only technology. 

    Gen Y consumers also prefer automobiles that are an extension of their social-media and digital lifestyles. In-dash technology is the most important part of a vehicle's interior for a majority (59 percent) of Gen Y respondents, with almost three-quarters (73 percent) seeking touchscreen interfaces. Gen Y consumers also rank smartphone applications as highly desirable in a new automobile (72 percent).

    Is this a trend I see before me....

    Global EV sales 15% by 2025

    KPMG's new Global Automotive Executive Report suggests that global EV sales will not exceed 15% by 2025, a reduction on the previous forecasts.

    There is a significant difference between countries, with Japanese executives the most optimistic about EV uptake, believing EVs will take a 25% share of new car sales by 2025, followed by China at 15%. China's more centrally planned economy would certainly facilitate this, with plans already in place for 2,000 charging stations with 400,000 charging poles in 70 cities.

    Tuesday, 14 February 2012

    EV adoption curve steeper than hybrids

    The Motley Fool compares the EV adoption curve with that of hybrids (shown) ten years ago. Here are their conclusions:

    • The Volt and the Leaf combined have nearly double the first-year sales of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, the only two hybrids available in 2000.
    • More EV models will be sold in 2011 -- two years into major EV adoption -- than were sold until 2005, a full six years into the hybrid adoption curve.
    • If EV adoption is anything like the hybrid situation, we're more likely to see about 366,000 EVs on the roads at the end of 2015.
    • There were only 197,000 total hybrids at the same point in the adoption curve.
    • As many hybrids sold in 2005 as were sold in all prior years combined.
    • It's still really early in the EV adoption curve, and monthly data isn't enough.
    Are EVs the solution to all our problems? No, but they're a step in the right direction. Predictions that aim for the moon and miss don't help, but politicians and executives are both known to exaggerate. Don't expect an EV revolution by 2015 -- but if hybrids are any guide, the five years that come after will be the real game-changers. EVs and hybrids are hardly cut from the same cloth, so the parallels won't be exact. But the early numbers aren't as dire as you might think, especially if you ignore unrealistic predictions and take a longer view.

    Sunday, 12 February 2012

    Next up: Mercedes Citan

    Mercedes have announced the Mercedes Citan (city van - get it?).

    A re-skinned Renault Kangoo Z.E. with the same electric drivetrain, 60 hp electric motor and li-ion pack, delivering 100 mile range and 80 mph, it will allow Daimler-Benz to chase the growing segment of restricted emissions, incentivised, delivery vans for inner cities.

    Friday, 10 February 2012

    Tesla Model X unveiled

    Tesla has revealed the Model X, a crossover SUV for 2013 launch and 10,000 units in 2014. With a 0 - 60 mph in 4.4 seconds it is faster than a Porsche 911. The big feature is the 'falcon wings' which enable the doors to open in tighter spaces than gull wings because they bend in the middle.

    Thursday, 9 February 2012

    88% Chinse motorists 'would purchase an EV in next 5 years' reports that according to the TÜV Rheinland Global Electric-Vehicle (EV) Survey 2011, released in the fourth quarter, a majority of car owners in India and China would choose to purchase an EV in the next five years.
    TÜV Rheinland Group has a broad range of specialists and labs for vehicle safety testing in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, China and the USA. This report draws findings from a poll of 6,421 people, conducted by their vehicle testing specialists in 12 main markets including China, Germany, Japan and the USA. From this sample, a total of 502 adult drivers in China were surveyed. The respondents owned a representative variety of cars varying in size, brand and category.

    When discussing the results, Dr. Thomas Aubel, Executive Vice President of Mobility at TÜV Rheinland, indicated that “These alone will (have) a significant impact and completely change the market perception and conditions”. The survey shows that although the problem of charging is the biggest concern for Chinese drivers, most people are still willing to invest more for the sake of environmental protection. In addition, Japan and Germany are perceived as the leaders in EV technology and thus customers would prefer to buy Japanese and German EVs. Potential EV buyers selected Volkswagen as their preferred brand.

    The survey confirmed that Chinese drivers commute mainly in cities and most driving is short- or mid-distance. When asked if they would purchase an EV in the coming five years, approximately 88% of the Chinese respondents said that they would, trail just behind India with 92%. The poll finds that 44% of respondents would use an EV in the same way as their present car, while 39% would prefer to use the EV only for regular trips. Over 60% of driving journeys are in cities and 87% of those surveyed drive less than 100km in their daily lives, with journey times of less than 2 hours. The study shows that families with a higher income drive longer hours and distances than those with lower incomes.

    The report found that most of the Chinese respondents drive fewer than 100 miles per day. This makes driving an EV viable because the battery needs to re-charge after a certain distance and this is likely to be satisfied. Thus, Chinese people are more willing to buy an EV than others.

    Environmental Benefits of EVs are high on Chinese respondents’ minds In China, 40% of those interviewed said that they would like to buy an EV because of environment protection. Saving fuel (19%) tops the list of environmental concerns; including combating global warming, air pollution, protecting our future from environmental changes and environmental protection through reduced oil exploration. The cost is also relevant; for example, the rising fuel price weighs quite heavily with 32% of respondents. To this end, 16% may choose an EV to save money on fuel. The purchase price, governmental subsidy and tax credits can also assist in the adoption of electric vehicles.
    More than four out of five (80%) are willing to pay more to buy an EV to support environmental protection. 38% of the respondents claimed that they would prefer an EV to a regular vehicle even if the price of the EV was 20% higher. The study finds that those with a higher household income are more likely to value environmental protection, with 63% wanting to buy an EV, which is 11-12% higher than those with a lower income. One in four of the low-income respondents said that they were discouraged by the cost of environmental protection.

    Access to charging points and battery safety are the greatest concerns. Data shows that charging options, convenience and accessibility will be critical to EV adoption. People worry about the need to recharge the battery after a certain distance (22%), the availability of charging stations (19%), the number of hours required to charge the battery (9%) and loss of power while driving (4%).
    However, 9% of the respondents would not buy an EV due to safety considerations. Of these, 50% of them are very concerned about battery leakage/explosion (17%), battery safety (17%) and loss of power in the street (16%).

    From the Chinese perspective, Japan and Germany are perceived as the leaders in EV technology. The specialists from TÜV Rheinland Group found that when asked which country was the most technologically advanced with regard to EV technology, more than half of the respondents perceived Japan (50%) and Germany (49%) as the leaders, followed by the USA (33%) and China (31%).
    This result shows that Chinese drivers will choose Japanese or German brands because they believe these lead in vehicle technology. The survey also reveals that people’s first car buying experience has a direct impact on their next purchase. Volkswagen was selected as the best choice for an electric vehicle for its brand reputation and not for a specific product. In fact, the German automaker so for does not sell EVs in China.

    Monday, 6 February 2012

    Top 10 battery manufacturers

    The Pike Pulse Report: Electric Vehicle Batteries, Assessment of Strategy and Execution
    for 10 Leading Lithium Ion Battery Vendors states that the Li-ion automotive market is currently led by Japanese and Korean companies that originally produced cells for the consumer electronics and computing markets. These veteran companies are being challenged by companies mostly from China and North America that are slowly gaining customers, mostly in their domestic markets. The Li-ion automotive market is entering a mature phase that will see some smaller companies fail or be acquired due to an inability to reach volume production. The market will likely see volatility during 2012 as some supplier agreements change hands.

    This Pike Research report evaluates 10 of the leading electric vehicle battery manufacturers and rates them on 10 criteria for strategy and execution, including vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, product strategy and roadmap, geographic reach, market share, sales and marketing, product quality and reliability, product portfolio, and staying power. Using Pike Research’s proprietary Pike Pulse methodology, vendors are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing industry participants with an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the emerging electric vehicle battery marketplace.
    Top 10 Vendors:
    1. LG Chem
    2. Johnson Controls
    3. GS Yuasa
    4. AESC
    5. A123 Systems
    6. Panasonic Group
    7. SB LiMotive
    8. Hitachi Vehicle Energy
    9. BYD
    10. Electrovaya

    Sunday, 5 February 2012

    Survey says key to EV purchase is price not range

    The in the UK has polled its readers and the main finding is that 74.3% of those polled say it is purchase cost that is preventing them from buying an electric car.

    The next most cited reason was ‘range anxiety’, which 38.1% gave as a reason for holding off on a purchase.

    And 62% are considering buying an electric vehicle.

    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    VW e-Up! 2013 launch

    Volkswagen have confirmed that tyhe 90 mile range e-Up! will be launched next year.

    No price has been announced, although the speculation is that it will cost £15,000 to £17,000.

    European cities charge point update

    London has 400 charge points installed (and 2,313 electric cars).

    Oslo has a network of 200 charge points with reports suggesting that there are3,900 electric cars, more EVs per capita than any other capital in the world.

    Amsterdam has a network of 1250 charge points, Lisbon 480, Madrid 270, Stockholm 114 and 40,000 homes with access to electric charging through existing facilities.

    Wednesday, 1 February 2012

    The Netherlands recharging network

    Electric Vehicle Update report that ABB and BP are collaborating to support the creation of a nationwide recharging network in The Netherlands, as part of its goal to see one million EVs on the road by 2025.

    The charging points will be administered by Dutch EV charging operator, New Motion. The company is currently coordinating a project to create a network of 80 quick chargers throughout the Netherlands. Keen to bring in strong partners, New Motion is now working with BP, Liander, Nissan Europe and Markeur Holdings.

    ABB has provided BP with the hardware and New Motion will, having integrated the chargers into their wider network, manage the systems on a day-to-day basis. This includes providing clearing, billing, charge passes, back office integration and a 24 hour helpline for all customers.
    ABB are installing two types of Terra chargers, designed to meet the anticipated needs of customers at the various BP stations. The Terra 51, is a single-port charger and is designed for locations with regular traffic. The second type, the Terra Base Station 100.2, can charge up to two cars at the same time and is better suited to locations that are expected to see an increase in electric-vehicle traffic over the next few years.

    With 10,000 smart (slow) chargers and 80 quick chargers, the relatively small and flat Netherlands will it is claimed be ready for the large scale introduction of EVs.