Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Range anxiety 'non-existent' in practice

Research by psychologists at London Metropolitan University has revealed that range anxiety for electric vehicles is almost non-existent in practice.

The study, called ‘Rewriting the Psychology of Electric Cars’, saw 340 drivers take to the roads in full-electric vehicles in what was claimed to be the largest EV trial in the world.

It found exceptionally positive results, as Dr Louise Bunce, lecturer in psychology at the university who led the study, explained: “Despite initial scepticism, drivers quickly adapted to the vehicles and were extremely positive about aspects of performance, including acceleration and speed.

“Drivers soon discovered that recharging their vehicle was more convenient than having to stop en-route to refuel at a petrol station. Not to mention, it costs around a mere £2 to go 100 miles.

“There are zero tail-pipe emissions for the health-conscious and people felt environmentally and socially responsible while at the wheel.”

Monday, 29 October 2012

Tesla Model S UK review

Quentin Wilson reports on the Tesla Model S: there’s now an electric car that’s as fast as a BMW M5. The slinky new 416bhp Tesla Model S can hum to 60 in an ­astonishing 4.4 seconds.
Brainchild of PayPal creator Elon Musk (he bet his billions on this car), it’s one of the most usable and exciting electric vehicles in the world.
Made from lightweight ­aluminium with ­batteries developed by electronics giant Pioneer, top models can do 300 miles on one charge and seat seven.
And unlike other EVs, it looks deliciously horny.

There’s air suspension, eight air bags, a 17-inch touchscreen (the biggest in any production car) that dominates the cabin, air-con and sat-nav powered by Google Earth.
Testers have ­described the ­acceleration as “immensely quick”, and at the limited top speed of 130mph all you hear is tyre and wind noise.
The centrally located batteries, front double-wishbone and multi-link rear suspension give crisp, fast handling, and you can even change the steering setting between ­Comfort, Normal and Sport at the touch of a button.

And with the longest range of any electric car on the market, the Model S could even woo Jaguar XF, Merc E-Class and BMW 5-Series buyers, given that its kick-off price is a relatively reasonable £50k. And that’s why the Californian firm has already taken 13,000 orders and is ready to churn out 20,000 cars every year when the S goes into full production in 2013.
With zero road tax, a potential of over 200mpg and generous ­company car tax incentives, this is one ­luxury barge that defies convention, costing literally pennies to run.
Those 300 miles will set you back a piffling £2 in electricity.
We get it next autumn.

Friday, 26 October 2012

UK's first EV Car Club

NextGreenCar reports that the UK’s first all-electric car club E-Car has launched in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, as part of a new nationwide network.

E-Car is offering Milton Keynes residents and businesses the chance to sign up to the scheme and hire a Nissan LEAF or Peugeot iOn for around £5.50 per hour.

Members of the scheme are given a smart card and pin code and once they have booked a vehicle online, by phone or on their mobile, they can walk to where the cars are parked, tap the card on a reader in the screen, unplug the charging cable and drive it away.

There are three ways for businesses to access an electric vehicle through the E-Car scheme:

* Pay as you Go – businesses join the club and add drivers to their account with monthly itemised billing on account holder’s usage hours;

* Business Account – if a company is going to hire a vehicle for a few hours per week, a business account entitles them to a 20% discount and the ability to block book vehicles in advance. Usage can be tracked online and costs are invoiced monthly;

* E-Car hosting – if a hub isn’t available locally, businesses can provide a publicly accessible parking space for a vehicle and E-Car will take care of the rest. Businesses can replace or extend their existing fleetwith E-Car managing the fleet on their behalf.

Each E-Car club is set up in cooperation with local communities and low carbon groups to ensure it runs the type of vehicle that potential users require.

“We believe E-Car is being launched at a very exciting time for motorists as many want to experiment with driving an electric car before they make the decision to own one,” explained E-Car chairman Andrew Wordsworth. He continued: “We hope to grow the E-Car network over the coming months.”

Nissan’s fleet sales director, Barry Beeston, also added: “We welcome the launch of E-Car as it makes LEAF accessible to a number of consumers and business users who previously may not have had access to an electric vehicle... E-Car has some excellent corporate services set up which are increasingly important as companies aim to reduce their carbon footprint.”
E-Car’s mission is to increase mobility while reducing travel costs and emissions. E-Car will be also launching in North Oxford later this autumn.

To find out more about E-Car Club, email the team at or visit the E-Car website at

Reva 's India recharging plan

EVWorld report: Even as Mahindra Reva prepares to launch its first four-seater electric car NXR by November end, the company is aggressively working to fight off “range anxiety” — the customer concern over the company’s ability to power the car’s batteries. The company is tying up with electricity distribution companies, malls, entities such as State Bank of India and Café Coffee Day to install charging stations, besides putting plug points at Mahindra dealerships and Mom & Me stores.
“By the time of launch we will have 50-200 charging stations per city. We want to ensure that within five kilometres or so there is a place for charging,” Chetan Maini, chief technology officer and founder, Reva, told HT. “In Delhi, we tied up with electricity distribution company which installed 50 charging points.”

In Bangalore companies such as Infosys and Wipro provide charging points for their staff. “SAP has 25 plug points,” said Maini. With Mahindra’s marketing muscle and sales network behind it, Reva looks to sell 10,000 battery-powered cars in a year.

The company is banking on lower interest rates and easy finance options to steer growth.
While State Bank of India is already offering lower interest rate for loans for electric cars, Mahindra Finance will launch attractive finance schemes for Reva cars. The company also hopes that the restoration of government subsidy for electric vehicles will push sales of this car. Electric cars earlier received a subsidy of Rs. 1 lakh, which was withdrawn since April, as the new policy was being formulated.

Reva is also banking on the recently-launched National Electric Mobility Mission 2020 for a nationwide rollout of charging infrastructure.

The company will also announce another innovative technology to addresses range anxiety at the time of launch,” he added.

That will probably be REVive then, the remote emergency energy system. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Solar recharging

EVUpdate report: Solar-powered or solar-supplemented EV charging systems are helping to offset the carbon emissions associated with driving electric vehicles.
On the evening of September 24, the Tesla Motors design studio was dark, and packed with journalists and industry watchers as Elon Musk, wearing a black t-shirt, walked onto the stage.
There are three major roadblocks to wider EV adoption, he told the crowd: the inconvenience related to recharging EVs while on long road trips, the issues around the business case for charging, and the carbon emissions generated by EV charging.

The term "zero emissions" is often used in association with electric vehicle (EV). It's a great marketing tool, but it is also a misnomer.

Even putting the embedded energy and carbon emissions associated with manufacturing and shipping an EV, the energy used to recharge electric vehicle batteries is often derived from coal -- at least partially, and often depending on the local power supply.
With much fanfare, Musk unveiled Tesla Motor's latest product: the SuperCharger. Over the summer, the carmaker had been quietly installing six of these 90 kilowatt solar-powered EV fast-charging stations around California.
The stations are placed strategically along highways such that Tesla Model S drivers in major coastal cities could stop for a recharge on their way to, say, Las Vegas or Lake Tahoe. They are also located along the coast so that one could drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The chargers are linked to arrays of solar panels made by SolarCity, a California solar power provider of which Musk is an investor and chairman
Equipped with an 85 kWh battery pack, in 30 minutes they can give the Model S enough power to drive 150 miles. Plus, they're free to use. This is a boon … for Model S drivers.
No other EV drivers will benefit, however, since Tesla uses a non-standard charging platform
Cleaner electrons
Still, the SuperChargers are an important EV industry development in that they address environmental concerns around the source of the energy used to power EVs.

To be clear: the SuperChargers do not convert solar radiation directly into battery power. Each charger is connected to the electricity grid and a battery pack, which stores the energy that the panels generate during daylight hours. That power is then either pulled into a vehicle or directed toward the electric grid, where it becomes part of the local energy mix.
A number of businesses, such as Google and Dell, use solar-powered EV chargers on corporate campuses to power employee fleets and there have been some solar charger rollouts among car dealerships.
But solar-powered chargers could also be used in a number of scenarios benefiting consumers, businesses, as well as utility providers.
One of solar power's most appealing characteristics is that it opens the door to establishing EV chargers in remote locations, where connecting a charger to the local power grid would be either impossible or prohibitively expensive.
DBT, a French manufacturer of electrical equipment including EV chargers, has established an off-grid, solar-powered charger in Jordan.
"Jordan is a good fit because there is a lot of sun and some tourist destinations that are off the grid. It's pretty rugged there, as well, so if it works in Jordan it can work anywhere", says Jake Edie, the vice president of DBT USA, the company's US subsidiary.
DBT USA recently acquired its first Underwriter's Laboratory certification for a level 2 charger which it plans to begin selling into the US market soon. However, Edie says the company has its eyes on a couple different business models for bringing solar-powered chargers to the U.S.
Establishing this electrical service can cost up to $100,000, he says. "Level 3 is much more expensive [than level 2], because you need contractors with more training and certifications to do that work".
Installing a solar-powered EV charger with a battery pack could enable a fast-charging (level 3) station without having to wire the site with a 480-volt electrical hookup. The battery pack linked to solar panels would store an extra boost of power to supplement the charge. For drivers looking to go from a 30 percent charge to 70 percent, for example, such a charger set-up could give a 30-minute fast charge to approximately three vehicles before the battery would be depleted. Once this occurs, the charging station would provide a level 2 charge (until the solar panels recharge the batteries).
Another compelling case for supplementing a charging station with solar power, he says, is to use it as a tool for reducing energy costs for the entity – a business, say, or a public building or school – that pays for a level 2 charger's electric bill.
During times of high demand, many utilities increase electrical rates. Relying on a battery to provide extra power during these times would smooth out that financial hit. A solar panel to power the charger's battery is not necessary in this scenario, Edie notes, but doing so would add more clean, renewable energy to the local energy supply. Plus, if enough solar-and-battery based charging stations were installed throughout a municipality, he says, energy regulators could use the batteries as a tool for frequency regulation.
If demands for power spike, additional load could be pulled from the batteries. If power demand falls and regulators need to balance the load on the grid, excess power could be absorbed by the batteries.
Sunny times for solar
A number of solar installation companies are now selling solar-based EV chargers for home installation, or in some cases are partnering with EVSE companies to provide a combined solution to the residential market.

Last year, SunPower and Ford Motor Company announced a partnership through which consumers who purchase the new electric Ford Focus can receive a 2.5 kilowatt rooftop solar system for around $10,000.
The system would accommodate a customer who drives around 1,000 miles per month. That is a pretty penny to pay for emissions-free fueling at home, but the solar system should generate around 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

It would also enable consumers to offset a good chunk of their home energy bills, depending on how energy efficient their homes are and how much power they generally draw from the grid.
SolarCity, which is providing the solar technology for Tesla's SuperChargers, says it has already installed around 500 solar-powered EV charging stations, and "thousands more" through it SolSource, another solar firm it acquired.

A SolarCity spokesperson told EV Update that it partners with a number of EVSE companies, including ClipperCreek, Coulomb, Schneider, on these chargers.
Michigan-based ViSole Energy has found a niche as a supplier of solar-powered EV charging canopies. Through a partnership with General Motors, the company offers the canopies to GM dealerships and other GM facilities. The panels help power the Chevy Volts in stock at the dealership, but they also offset the grid power consumption at adjacent GM buildings.

BYD supply E6 electric 'taxis' to London

BYD have announced that they will supply 50 electric cars to London cab service firm Greentomotocars, marking another move by the Chinese car maker to expand overseas markets.
The 50 pure electric e6 cars will be taking to London's roads in the second quarter of 2013.

BYD's E6 model has a pure electric drivetrain and they claim it is capable of traveling 186 miles on a single charge.

Audi F12 e Sport announced

Cleantechnica report on Audi's recent announcement of the F12 e Sport, built with the same chassis as the Audi R8 e-tron supercar. They look alike, but their internal builds are quite different — primarily because of the new battery pack and electric drivetrain, jointly developed by Audi and Bosch.

“The lithium-ion battery pack delivers 38 kWh of power, a little less than the Audi R8 e-tron, sending power to three electric motors. At low speeds, the electric motor at the front wheels drives the Audi F12 e Sport in a manner that saves energy. At higher speeds, two rear-mounted electric motors propel the car in conjunction with the front motor. The combined power output of this electric motor trio is a respectable 204 horsepower and 405 ft-lbs of torque.”

There’s a heat pump present to keep the battery cool, though the batteries are also designed to be able to store heat, allowing the engine an easier warm up on colder days. The new model also makes use of a removable tablet computer as the control panel.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

China EV parc around 13,000 units

Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a research note that EV sales in China totaled about 13,000 vehicles from 2009 to 2011, and that figures for 2012 are “not expected to be orders of magnitude higher,” the London-based researcher said in a statement released today.

The Chinese government aims to have 500,000 cumulative sales by 2015 and 5 million by 2020. Those targets were outlined in the New Energy Vehicle Industrial Plan for 2012 to 2020 released in July, part of an effort to cut pollution and help the Chinese auto industry catch up with foreign competitors, New Energy Finance said.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

2014 Kia EV

Rumours abound that Kia will release an all-electric Kia Soul EV in 2014, with a redesign based on the Trackster Concept (above). Nice.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Paris Autolib an early success.

There are now 1,750 Bollore Bluecars parked at 670 kiosks along the streets of Paris,as the Autlib car-sharing system proves a success.

More than 37,000 people have already joined the system, and Autolib' enrolls another 1,200 every week.

The Bluecars have been rented more than 500,000 times in 10 months, covering more than 3 million miles (5 million km) in total.

Today, they are rented 4,000 to 5,000 times a week, with highest usage on the weekends. You can't spend 15 minutes in central Paris without seeing one pass by on the street.

When all 3,000 cars are on the streets, they are expected to travel 40 million zero-emission miles (60 million km) a year, collectively reducing emissions by the equivalent of 22,500 cars in Paris.

While users were predominantly men at first, more and more women are taking to the Autolib' system. Most users are 25 to 39 years old, and 70 percent of them do not own a car.

Most interesting, because the cars don't have to be returned to the original station, fully 90 percent of the trips are one-way. The car is dropped at a different Autolib' kiosk, just as it is for Velolib bikes.

By the end of next year there may bas 3,000 Bluecars in operation. Wow.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

'Why electric cars are our future'


1. Electric vehicles are inherently more efficient at turning energy into miles driven. Most people do not realize this, but electric drivetrains are much more efficient than internal combustion engine (ICE) drivetrains (about 75% vs 25%, in fact). In fact, there is little hope that ICE drivetrains could ever compete with electric drivetrains in terms of efficiency. Why are ICE drivetrains so inefficient? There are many reasons, including heat losses and inertial losses of various kinds, but ICE's are also thermodynamic systems with efficiencies limited by the heat cycle they operate under. Engineers have done amazing work in improving the efficiency of gas-powered cars, but they are up against fundamental limits. In contrast, a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt can go about 40 miles on 11 Kilowatt-hours (KWH) of electricity, the energy equivalent of a third of a gallon of gasoline. And since the national average cost per KWH for electricity is only $0.11, this performance translates cost-wise into the equivalent of more than 120 miles per gallon.

2. Electric vehicles are greener than gasoline-powered cars. There are those who have tried to argue otherwise, but the most credible research has shown that most of a vehicle's carbon production comes during operation rather than production, and electric vehicles that consume only a third as much energy in operation are inherently greener no matter what fuel is used to generate the electricity they use. And electric vehicles powered by electricity from hydro, solar, wind, or nuclear sources produce no carbon in operation.

3. Electric vehicles can be powered by electricity produced from multiple energy sources. Electricity can come from wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, biofuel, and fossil fuel sources including natural gas, oil, and coal. All but one of those sources is produced almost entirely within the U.S. from local natural resources. So electric vehicles have the potential to support the U.S. economy and reduce our dependence on imported oil.

4. An efficient distribution network for electricity already exists in the U.S. This seems obvious, but compare this situation to that of other next-generation vehicle fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen.

5. Range is less of an issue than most think. Most Americans drive 40 miles per day or less on the average, well within the range of almost all available electric cars, and future models will have 10 times this range or more. And for advanced designs like the Chevy Volt, driving distances are unlimited as long as one keeps filling the gas tank, because an onboard gasoline powered generator can provide electricity when the battery is depleted. In fact, statistics monitored daily at on over 1700 Volts in operation indicate that the median Volt owner drives 80% of their miles using the stored energy in the battery, and consumes only one gallon of gas per 177 miles driven. So these drivers get benefit of the greater efficiency of an electric vehicle and the unlimited range of a gasoline powered car.

6. Next generation technologies, such as fuel cell vehicles, will require electric drivetrains to propel the vehicles. Fuel cells can be efficient, portable sources of electricity running on a variety of fuels, but all cars and trucks using these energy sources will use electric drivetrains. In fact, there are new fuel cell technologies that use natural gas as a fuel to produce electricity, but in a chemical reaction rather than a combustion reaction. These advanced fuel cells produce sequesterable Carbon that can be simply buried rather than being emitted into the atmosphere.

2.4m charge points globally by 2020

TheGreenCarWebsite reports that almost 45,000 public charging stations could be installed around the world during 2012, taking the global total to just short of 200,000.

That’s the prediction of Pike Research, which has just published a 99-page document raising key questions on the roll-out of charging points for plug-in electric vehicles.

It predicts almost 2.4 million charging points to be in place by 2020, marking a 12-fold increase in the space of eight years.

Pike’s study expects global sales of charging equipment to grow at a steady pace in line with the plug-in vehicle (PEV) market.

It notes “a major uptick” in electric vehicle supply equipment over the past year but says sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have been disappointing when compared to government targets.

Still, 2.4m charge points is starting to look like success to me!

Monday, 1 October 2012

smart Forstars electric concept

Ssang Yong electric crossover

At the Paris Motor Show, SsangYong, owned by Mahindra & Mahindraa, showed its e-XIV Concept (electric – eXciting user Interface Vehicle) ‘range extender’ Electric Vehicle. The SsangYong e-XIV is a crossover which uses an 80-kW Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM), giving a range of 80km by taking power from the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. Four hours are required for charging a fully discharged battery, and 20 minutes for quick recharging.

SsangYong has earlier displayed its XIV 1 B crossover concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, and the XIV 2 Coupe at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. Now it is equipping the e-XIV with a small 1 litre petrol engine to give the car real range extender capability.
The car also features a range extending system comprising a two-cylinder 1,000cc petrol engine and a 20-kW generator. Once the 80km distance has been achieved, the petrol engine supplies additional power via the generator to extend the range up to 600km. One of the talking points of the e-XIV’s sci-fi design is the glass roof solar panel which converts solar energy to electric power and operates interior equipment such as the air conditioning, audio system and internal lighting. Drivers can also select their preferred method of driving by activating the car’s VCU (Vehicle Control Unit) via a smart phone or remote control. This a compact crossover and of course what you see here is a pure concept but it will yield a production version in the future