Thursday, 15 November 2012

Honda testing new electric quadricycle.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan is currently reviewing vehicle categories for micro-sized mobility products, while in Europe, the L-7 motorcycle category caters for Electric Vehicles with an output of less than 15kW and weighing less than 400kg excluding the weight of the battery - called quadricycles. The G-Wiz and the Renault Twizy are examples of this category of car. 

Honda will begin demonstration testing in Japan in 2013 to verify its potential for everyday short-distance transportation for families with small children and for senior citizens, home delivery services, commuting and car sharing. The G-Wiz already did this in London a few years ago i.e. it demonstrated an appetite for low cost, low speed commuter vehicles for congested city streets.

The prototype's cabin is designed to seat one driver and two children in the 2.5m long body. Changing the rear seat can switch the layout to accommodate one driver and one adult passenger.

Other features include the use of a tablet device for functions such as meter display, navigation, audio and back-up camera display, and the ability to charge the battery of the tablet using roof-mounted solar cells. In addition, Honda is continuing research of onboard solar cells to provide solar energy to assist the driving (hmm, not sure...).

Honda's Micro Commuter Prototype has a range of approximately 60 km / 38 miles from a full 3-hour charge. It can reach a maximum speed of 80 km/h / 50 mph.

I like it.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Metroelectric signs contract with Liberty Electric Cars


Friday, 2 November 2012

Plug-in hybrids need to plug in more (not less)

It seems counter-intuitive, but plug-in hybrids need EV recharging infrastructure more than pure EVs.

Toyota summarized the results of a 200-unit plug-in Prius trial in Europe that showed that the 23 km electric-only range of the plug-in Prius was adequate for about 65% of trips, and that user behavior was the critical factor in overall fuel economy.

In the trial, 43% plugged in their cars fewer than 3.5 times a week, 25% of users plugged in their cars between 3.5 and 7 times a week, and 32% plugged in their cars more than 7 times a week, for an overall average of 0.9 times per day.  In comparison, users in Japan's Toyota City plug in their cars an average of 2.1 times per day. So while Japanese drivers use an average 2.23 liters of gasoline per 100 km (103 mpg), the European drivers used an average of 4.33 liters per 100 km (54 mpg).  To put those figures into perspective, Toyota advertises an average fuel consumption of 3.9 liters per 100 km (60 mpg) for the newest plug-free Prius. I guess there's some merit to the theory that it works better if you plug it in. So we do need lots more public recharging stations after all - in this case to keep the plug-in hybrids running on electric not petrol.

Ten-fold increase in electric car charging points by 2020

The GreenCarWebsite reports that the global market for electric car charging points is expected to grow ten-fold by 2020, new estimates from Lux Research suggests.

That means the market will be worth a cool $1.2 billion in eight years time, up from $140 million in 2012-a compound annual growth rate of 30 per cent. Although the adoption of electric cars has been slow, the steady increase in EV models supported by Government policy and investment from carmakers will support the charging station market, growing unit sales from around 120,000 in 2012 to 1.3 million by 2020.

“Success for EVSE will ultimately follow the success of electric vehixcles,” said Kevin See, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, ‘Charging Ahead: Finding Reality in the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Market.’ “It’s critical for those invested in charging stations to find the applications where there’s substantial growth.”

If you are looking for growth in the electric vehicle supply equipment market (EVSE) then Europe is the leading place to look, with sales of charging stations to reach 480,000 units by 2020.

While Europe leads in charging infrastructure, China will lead in energy consumption, the research finds, with the country’s plug-in cars projected to consume 1.9 TWh of electricity by 2020-translating into $155 million in revenue for Chinese utilities.

Partnership between carmakers and charging equipment providers as well as utility companieswill be key to the development of charging infrastructure for electric cars in the coming years. Recent partnerships such as BMWand Coulomb Technologies are already helping to advance the market.