Saturday, 30 November 2013

EU says UK must install 70,000 public charge points by 2020

This week, European law-makers passed a resolution that will compel the UK to install a network of 70,000 electric vehicle recharging points as well as hydrogen and natural gas stations by 2020. The Japanese CHAdeMO charging protocol will effectively be grandfathered in the EU.

The European Parliament today endorsed a draft directive that aims to reduce dependence on oil and boost take-up of alternative fuels, so as to help achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050. 

The draft rules would require member states to set targets for building publicly-available networks of electric vehicle recharging points and refuelling stations for other alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by 2020.

The UK’s legally binding minimum number of publicly-accessible EV recharging points is currently set at 70,000, behind Germany’s target of 86,000 and Italy’s 72,000.

MEPS say private sector players should play a leading role in developing this infrastructure, but Governments should provide tax and public procurement incentives for them to do so.

The 2020 targets contained in today’s directive, include:

* A minimum number of recharging points for electric vehicles provided in the draft directive would have to be put into place by member states, especially in towns,

* In countries where hydrogen refuelling points already exist, a sufficient number of refuelling points should be made available, at intervals not exceeding 300 km. MEPs added a requirement for building up numbers of hydrogen refuelling points in member states where they do not yet exist, with a deadline of 31 December 2030.

* For heavy duty vehicles, refuelling points for LNG along the roads on the TEN-T Core Network should be established at intervals not exceeding 400 km 

* A sufficient number of CNG refuelling points should be available, at maximum intervals of 100 km.

When setting targets, member states should pay particular attention to proving sufficient number of re-charging points and refuelling points in urban areas, say MEPs.

Nationally-coordinated policy plans would have to include targets and measures to boost the take-up of alternative fuels, said the Transport Committee. These plans should also provide for the supply of “green” electricity for electric vehicles and include targets for reducing urban congestion and deploying electrified public transport services, it added. 

MEPs pointed out that some funding for these plans could come from EU programmes such as Horizon 2020, the Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the Connecting Europe Facility.

For electric recharging, Transport Committee MEPs backed a European Commission proposal for “Type 2” connectors, but added that, where required by national law, these may be fitted with additional safety shutters.

For fast recharging, "Combo 2" connectors should be used, although for a transition period ending on 1 January 2019, fast recharging points may additionally be equipped with “CHAdeMO” connectors. Recharging points installed within three years of the directive’s entry into force could nonetheless remain in service.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Branding cars in the 1950's

From In 1955, while attempting to find a name for their hugely anticipated new car, Ford decided to approach the most unlikely of people to assist in the matter: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Marianne Moore. Moore, who was known by the wife of one Robert Young, an employee in the car manufacturer's marketing research department, was soon contacted by letter; she agreed to help, and proceeded to supply them with a magnificent selection of words with which to brand their car. The entire chain of correspondence, from initial enquiry to baffling conclusion, can be read below.

As can be seen, all of Moore's delightful suggestions were ignored. The Ford "Edsel" was finally unveiled in 1957. It flopped spectacularly.

(Source: Letters from and to the Ford Motor Company.)

October 19, 1955

Dear Miss Moore,

This is a morning we find ourselves with a problem which, strangely enough, is more in the field of words and the fragile meaning of words than in car making. And we just wonder whether you might be intrigued with it sufficiently to lend us a hand.

Our dilemma is a name for a rather important new series of cars.

We should like this name to be more than a label. Specifically, we should like it to have a compelling quality in itself and by itself. To convey, through association or other conjuration, some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design. A name, in short, that flashes a dramatically desirable picture in people's minds.

Over the past few weeks this office has confected a list of three hundred-odd candidates which, it pains me to relate, are characterized by an embarrassing pedestrianism. We are miles short of our ambition. And so we are seeking the help of one who knows more about this sort of magic than we.

As to how we might go about this matter, I have no idea. One possibility is that you might care to visit with us and muse with the new Wonder which now is in clay in our Advance Styling Studios. But, in any event, all would depend on whether you find this overture of some challenge and interest.

Should we be so fortunate as to have piqued your fancy, we will be pleased to write more fully. In summary, all we want is a colossal name (another "Thunderbird" would be fine). And, of course, it is expected that our relations will be on a fee basis of an impeccably dignified kind.

Robert B. Young
Marketing Research Department


October 21, 1955

Let me take it under advisement, Mr. Young. I am complimented to be recruited in this high matter.

I have seen and admired "Thunderbird" as a Ford designation. It would be hard to match, but let me, the coming week, talk with my brother who would bring ardor and imagination to bear on the quest.

Sincerely yours and your wife's,
Marianne Moore

October 27, 1955

Dear Mr. Young,

My brother thought most of the names I had considered suggesting to you for your new series too learned or too labored, but thinks I might ask if any of the following approximate the requirements:


This plant, of which the flower is a silver sword, I believe grows only in Tibet, and on the Hawaiian Island, Maui on Mount Háleákelá (House of the Sun); found at an altitude of from 9,500 to 10,000 feet. (The leaves—silver-white—surrounding the individual blossoms—have a pebbled texture that feels like Italian-twist backstitch all-over embroidery.)

My first thought was of a bird series—the swallow species—Hirundo, or, phonetically, Aërundo. (A species that takes its dinner on the wing—"swifts".) Malvina Hoffman is designing a device for the radiator of a made-to-order Cadillac, and said in her opinion the only term surpassing Thunderbird would be hurricane; and I thought Hurricane Hirundo might be the first of a series such as Hurricane Aquila (eagle), Hurricane Accipiter (hawk), and so on.

If these suggestions are not in character with the car, perhaps you could give me a sketch of its general appearance, or hint as to some of its exciting potentialities—though my brother reminds me that such information is highly confidential.

Sincerely yours,
Marianne Moore


November 4, 1955

Dear Miss Moore,

I'm delighted that your note implies that you are interested in helping us in our naming problem.

This being so, procedures in this rigorous business world dictate that we on this end at least document a formal arrangement with provision for a suitable fee or honorarium before pursuing the problem further.

One way might be for you to suggest a figure which could be considered for mutual acceptance. Once this is squared away, we will look forward to having you join us in the continuation of our fascinating search.

Sincerely yours,
Robert B. Young
Marketing Research Department


November 7, 1955

Dear Mr. Young,

It is handsome of you to consider renumeration for service merely enlisted. My fancy would be inhibited, however, by acknowledgement in advance of performance. If I could be of specific assistance, we could no doubt agree on some kind of honorarium for the service rendered.

I seem to exact participation; but if you could tell me how the suggestions submitted strayed—if obviously—from the ideal, I could then perhaps proceed more nearly in keeping with the Company's objective.

Sincerely yours,
Marianne Moore


November 11, 1955

Dear Miss Moore,

Our office philodendron has just benefitted from an extra measure of water as, pacing about, I have sought words to respond to your recent generous note. Let me state my quandary thus. It is unspeakably contrary to procedure to accept counsel—even needed counsel—without a firm prior agreement of conditions (and, indeed, to follow the letter of things, without a Purchase Notice in quadruplicate and three Competitive Bids). But then, seldom has the auto business had occasion to indulge in so ethereal a matter as this. So, if you will risk a mutually satisfactory outcome with us, we should like to honor your wish for a fancy unencumbered.

As to wherein your earlier suggestions may have "strayed," as you put it—they did not at all. Shipment No. 1 was fine, and we would like to luxuriate in more of the same—even thosle your brother regarded as overlearned or labored. For us to impose an ideal on your efforts would, I fear, merely defeat our purpose. We have sought your help to get an approach quite different from our own. In short, we should like suggestions that we ourselves would not have arrived at. And, in sober fact, have not.

Now we on this end must help you by sending some tangible representation of what we are talking about. Perhaps the enclosed sketches will serve the purpose. They are not it, but they convey the feeling. At the very least, they may give you a sense of participation should your friend, Malvina Hoffman, break into brisk conversation on radiator caps.

Sincerely yours,
Robert B. Young
Marketing Research Department


November 13, 1955

Dear Mr. Young,

The sketches. They are indeed exciting; they have quality, and the toucan tones lend tremendous allure—confirmed by the wheels. Half the magic, sustaining effects of this kind. Looked at upside down, furthermore, there is a sense of fish buoyancy. Immediately your word "impeccable" sprang to mind. Might it be a possibility? The Impeccable. In any case, the baguette lapidary glamor you have achieved certainly spurs the imganation. Car innovation is like launching a ship—"drama."

I am by no means sure that I can help you do the right thing, but performance with elegance casts a spell. Let me do some thinking in the direction of impeccable, symmecromatic, thunder blender... (The exotics, if I can shape them a little.) Dearborn might come into one.

If the sketches should be returned at once, let me know. Otherwise, let me dwell on them for a time. I am, may I say, a trusty confidant.

I thank you for realizing that under contract esprit could not flower. You owe me nothing, specific or moral.

Sincerely yours,
Marianne Moore

November 19, 1955

Some other suggestions, Mr. Young, for the phenomenon:

or Intelligent Bullet
or Bullet Cloisoné or Bullet Lavolta

(I have always had a fancy for THE INTELLIGENT WHALE—the little first Navy submarine, shaped like a sweet potato; on view in our Brooklyn Yard.)

(That there is also a perfume Fabergé seems to me to do no harm, for here allusion is to the original silversmith.)

THE ARC-en-CIEL (the rainbow)

Please do not feel that memoranda from me need acknowledgement. I am not working day and night for you; I feel that etymological hits are partially accidental.

The bullet idea has possibilities, it seems to me, in connection with Mercury (with Hermes and Hermes Trismegistus) and magic (white magic).

Sincerely yours,
Marianne Moore

November 28, 1955

Dear Mr. Young,

REGNA RACER (couronne à couronne) sovereign to sovereign
Fée Rapide (Aerofée, Aero Faire, Fée Aiglette, Magi-Faire) Comme II Faire
Tonnèrre Alifère (winged thunder)
Aliforme Alifère (wing-slender, a-wing)
TURBOTORC (used as an adjective by Plymouth)
THUNDERBIRD allié (Cousin Thunderbird)

I shall be returning the sketches very soon.


December 6, 1955

Dear Mr. Young,

Taper Racer
Taper Acer
Varsity Stroke
Tir à l'arc (bull's eye)
Cresta Lark
Triskelion (three legs running)
Pluma Piluma (hairfine, feather foot)
Andante con Moto (description of a good motor?)

My findings thin, so I terminate them and am returning the sketches—two pastels, two photos: from Mr. M. H. Lieblich.

Two principles I have not been able to capture: 1. The topknot of the peacock and topnotcher of speed. 2. The swivel-axis (emphasized elsewhere)—like the Captain's bed on the whale ship, Charles Morgan—balanced so that it leveled, whatever the slant of the ship.

If I stumble on a hit, you shall have it. Anything so far has been a pastime. Do not ponder appreciation, Mr. Wallace. That was embodied in the sketches.


I cannot resist the temptation to disobey my brother and submit:

TURCOTINGA (turquoise cotinga—the cotinga being a solid indigo South American finch or sparrow)

(I have a three-volume treatise on flowers that might produce something, but the impression given should certainly be unlabored.)


December 8, 1955

Mr. Young,

May I submit UTOPIAN TURTLETOP? Do not trouble to answer unless you like it.

Marianne Moore


[Message sent to Moore with a bouquet of roses, eucalyptus and white pine.]

December 23, 1955

Merry Christmas to our favorite Turtletopper.


December 26, 1955

Dear Mr. Young:

An aspiring turtle is certain to glory in spiral eucalyptus, white pine straight from the forest, and innumerable scarlet roses almost too tall for close inspection. Of a temperament susceptible to shock though one may be, to be treated like royalty could not but induce sensations unprecedented august.

Please know that a carfancyer's allegiance to the Ford automotive turtle—extending from the Model T Dynasty to the Young Utopian Dynasty—can never waver; impersonal gratitude surely becoming infinite when made personal. Gratitude to unmiserly Mr. Young and his idealistic associates.

Sincerely yours,
Marianne Moore


November 8, 1956

Dear Miss Moore,

Because you were so kind to us in our early and hopeful days of looking for a suitable name, I feel a deep obligation to report on events that have ensued.

And I feel I must do so before the public announcement of same come Monday, November 19.

We have chosen a name out of the more than six thousand-odd candidates that we gathered. It has a certain ring to it. An air of gaiety and zest. At least, that's what we keep saying. Our name, dear Miss Moore, is—Edsel.

I know you will share your sympathies with us.

David Wallace, Manager
Marketing Research

P.S. Our Mr. Robert Young, who corresponded with you earlier, is now and temporarily, we hope, in the services of our glorious U.S. Coast Guard. I know he would send his best.

BMW i3 REX (range extender)

The Daily Mail test drives the BMW i3 REX (range extender):

Price as driven: £36,985 (includes £5,000 subsidy on full price of £41,985)
Devilish fun: With its rocket-like acceleration, you quickly forget this is an electric car
Devilish fun: With its rocket-like acceleration, you quickly forget this is an electric car
  • It's not every day I get a police escort down The Mall from Buckingham Palace. But I did - well, sort of - in this head-turning electric car from BMW. 
  • Devilish fun to drive. It puts a smile on your face. Indeed, the rocket-like acceleration - especially to 30 mph - meant I could keep up with the police motorcyclists past the Palace, looking as if I had an official escort. You quickly forget this is an electric car.
  • Drives like an upmarket go-kart. Very tight turning circle. Leaves bossy taxis for dust. Going from 0 to 62 mph takes just 7.9 seconds - the same as a Mini Cooper S. Top speed is 93 mph, and it's great around town. 

    • The electric motor develops 170 bhp with charge stored in a lithium ion battery that lies flat under the floor. The Range Extender adds a 647 cc 2-cylinder petrol engine that acts like a mini-power station to generate more electricity. BMW claims an average equivalent of around 470 mpg. 
    • Take your foot off the accelerator and the electric motor switches from 'drive' to 'generator' mode, feeding power into the battery. 
    • Clean - just 13g/km CO 2 average emissions for the Range Extender - zero without; both exempt from road tax and London Congestion Charge. Low insurance rating. 
    • Looks like a proper BMW; this is no Noddy car. 
    • Gets you noticed. By the time I got back to the office after my Central London road test, I already had an email asking was it me driving down The Mall in an i3? People stopped to take pictures. 
    • Styling inside and out is modern, contemporary and hi-tech. You won't mistake this for anything else. It's also tactile and the materials are easy on the eye.
    • Two screens display all the key driving info and satnav directions.
    • The coach doors open like an oyster from the middle, which makes it easier to get into the back seat. 
    • Choice of four interior trim levels, all in sustainably sourced wood, natural fibres and leather.
    • Recharges from the mains in eight to ten hours, but in three with a BMW fast-charge unit. 
    • Built on a lightweight aluminium chassis with a carbon-fibre rein - forced plastic body shell.
    • Not cheap. My fully loaded version cost nearly £37,000 even with a taxpayer-funded grant. All-electric versions start at £25,680, and it's from £28,830 for Range Extenders. Most people will lease.
    • Something of a squeeze getting in the back, but it will seat four people in reasonable comfort.
    • You'll not get far just on electric power - 100 miles or so. The REX nearly doubles that. BMW says this is fine as the average daily commute is around 25 miles.

    UK EVs depreciating fast

    The Guardian reports on high depreciation rates of electric cars in the UK: Paul Fraser-Bennison bought an electric Renault Twizy for £7,200. When he wanted to part-exchange it after less than a year he was offered only £2,500, meaning it had lost 62 per cent of its value in less than 12 months. He eventually sold it for £3,500 which is still only 48 per cent of its price new.
    Further investigation reveals that this case isn't unusual. Renault's Fluence Z.E. sells new for £18,745 when you take the Government's £5,000 grant into account. You can buy a 2012 12-reg model with 5,371 miles for £8,000. That's 57 per cent depreciation. A little less drastic was the Nissan Leaf. I saw a 2012 model for £14,299. It would have been £25,990 new, meaning it's lost 45 per cent in a year.
    Renault Twizy
    The latest data from CAP Automotive shows that, over the past three years, all-electric vehicles have retained only 20.2 per cent of their value. There is some good news in that CAP is forecasting an improvement to 26 per cent retained value for RVs over the next three years/30,000 miles, but that's still way behind diesel cars which on average have retained 44.7 per cent of their value. Hybrids have retained 45.3 per cent over the past three years.
    Assuming that battery-powered cars will make up a significant part of our future motoring landscape, is depreciation of this magnitude going to become the norm?
    Mark Norman from CAP Consulting has done a lot of work on electric vehicles. He says: "The price is what is killing them at the moment. Even after the £5,000 subsidy they're too expensive and people still have questions about them. When the prices start to come down, they will become more popular, early adopters will become advocates, depreciation will slow and the market will stabilise."
    Nissan Leaf
    Currently, we're a long way from that stabilisation and it's impossible to know when we'll get to it. More worryingly for EV owners, the used prices the Twizy owner above was quoted were from Renault dealers. The reality is that dealers are trying to get away with offering as little as possible for a used model because they don't know what the used market for them is. As Norman says, they're used car "pricing pioneers".
    CAP's research shows that the actual amount of depreciation as a sum is almost the same in Germany as it is in the UK. However, in Germany there is no electric vehicle price subsidy: with a higher starting price, the rate of depreciation is significantly lower.
    So subsidies do nothing to help cars maintain their value. And with only 2,538 EVs going to new UK homes so far this year – 0.14 per cent all new cars sold – they plainly do little for sales. Sadly, the early adopters of electric motoring appear to be paying the biggest price.
    Conversely, the savage depreciation of a new electric car is precisely what could make it a good used buy. If an electric car suits your lifestyle, you can now buy a used example that represents better value than a conventionally fuelled alternative.
    A year-old Nissan Leaf will have cost £25,990 new, or £7,000 more than a similarly sized diesel Ford Focus at £18,700. After 12 months, CAP Automotive says the Focus will be worth about 63 per cent of its new price while the Leaf will be worth about 53 per cent. This will have helped the EV's premium shrink from £7,000 to £2,000. Buyers will probably get that back in the first couple of years courtesy of not having to buy diesel.
    Many dealers are as unsure about the prices they should be charging as buyers. They've taken a risk buying the used EV so the potential customer has nothing to lose with a cheekily low offer. Currently, the dealer probably doesn't know when, or even if, another customer will come along.

    Thursday, 28 November 2013

    Mahindra Racing to Complete in FIA Formula E Championship

    The Formula E Championship begins in September 2014. 
    The motor sports division of the Mumbai-based USD 16.2 billion multinational Mahindra Group has signed an agreement with series promoters Formula E Holdings to become the eighth and only Indian team to join the new zero emission series. 
    The innovative all-electric global race series will include 10 races in its first season in city-centre locations around the world, including London, Beijing and Los Angeles, designed to raise awareness about electric vehicles as well as help advance EV technology.
    The series has generated significant interest globally, and professional services firm EY recently released a report forecasting that Formula E will help contribute to the additional sale of 77 million electric vehicles worldwide over the next 25 years.
    Already a major global force in the development and production of electric vehicles through Mahindra Reva it was a natural step forward for the Mahindra Group to join the Formula E Championship.
    “We strongly believe that Formula E can provide an excellent global showcase for our electric vehicle technology,” said Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra Group. “With advanced operations and expertise in electronics, IT, automotive technologies and manufacturing, we are already seeing the fusion of this technology into our electric vehicle operations. Racing will further accelerate that trend while Formula E is set to raise awareness globally about the benefits of electric vehicles.”
    Mahindra is no stranger to international motor sport, with Mahindra Racing already established within the two-wheeled world of the MotoGP™ World Championship.
    According to Dr. Pawan Goenka, Executive Director and President (Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors), “As pioneers of electric mobility in India, we are extremely thrilled to extend EV technology to the exhilarating world of the Formula E championship. This will not only help us develop next generation EV technologies, but will also catapult our product development capabilities to the next orbit.”
    “We are very excited about our new adventure with Formula E,”says Mr S P Shukla, Chairman, Mahindra Racing and President- Group Strategy. “Mahindra Racing is relatively young, but we have seen how racing delivers benefits to our organisation, not only from the brand perspective, but equally in terms of technology advances and motivation. This is an excellent addition to our racing portfolio and we are looking forward to a successful future in Formula E.”
    Alejandro Agag, CEO, of series promoters Formula E Holdings, added: “We are very proud to have a major global company like Mahindra join the FIA Formula E Championship. Adding a manufacturer from India to what is already a real global mix of teams is fantastic news for the series. Everything is coming together very well and we look forward to presenting all ten teams to the FIA World Motor Sport Council next month.”

    Renault EV sales increase 100% so far in 2013

    Renault's Lineup Of Pure Electric Cars - No Plug-In Hybrids, Or Even Regular Hybrids To Be Seen...At Least Not Yet
    Renault’s Lineup Of Pure Electric Cars – Twizy, Zoe, Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Z.E.
    This from
    We’ve got our hands on the latest  preliminary sales data from Renault after the first ten months of 2013.
    The French company, which seems the most involved in EVs of all the European automakers (sorry BMW), sold over twice as many electric cars as in 2012. And this is despite Fluence Z.E. sales collapsing after Better Place went out of business.
    Growth rests on the shoulders of Renault ZOE, because Kangoo Z.E. sales grew just 6% YTD.
    Over 7,500 ZOEs were delivered this year, including some small number of a mystery light commercial van (LCV) version. In October, over 900 ZOEs were sold – this is still less than the Nissan LEAF in Europe and roughly 4-5 times less than LEAF worldwide, which mean that at this rate, Renault will never catch up to Nissan.
    Sadly, when we will count all vehicles, including Twizy, the situation is much worse. This is because Twizy is stuck at one third of 2012 sales. It is curious that in October, the largest market for summer-loving Twizy was Sweden with 73 units! Second was Germany with 64, and third Italy with 48. France took fourth – 46 units.
    Renault EV Sales After 10 Months of 2013
    Renault EV Sales After 10 Months of 2013

    Tuesday, 26 November 2013

    Liberty Electric cars UK chosen for EU city EV programme

    Green Automotive Company announced today that its UK subsidiary, Liberty Electric Cars, has been chosen by the European Union to be a major partner in the prestigious epsilon innovation programme. Selected due to the company’s leading electric vehicle design and engineering accomplishments, the project’s ultimate goal will be to successfully develop a small electric passenger vehicle that optimises safety, performance and comfort features while integrating all the benefits of a lightweight unique body construction. The project will be co-funded by the 7th Framework for Research and Technological Development which is the EU’s main arm for financially supporting essential research throughout the continent.
    Liberty Electric Cars will advise on the best materials to be used throughout the vehicle body construction and the precise manufacturing methods that will need to be employed, while directly contributing to the overall market research and resulting vehicle design specifications. In addition to balancing a low vehicle weight (less than 600 kg) with performance and comfort considerations, an ultimate goal will be to achieve an excellent vehicle safety rating for both occupants and pedestrians by receiving at least a 4-star Euro NCAP rating (equivalent to the American NCAP rating). The epsilon project also aims to successfully reach a new level of energy efficiency that can result in a pure electric driving range of at least 150 km in a realistic urban driving environment, with an acceleration time of 0-100 km/h in less than 10 seconds.

    Monday, 25 November 2013

    Yamaha Motiv.e - the world's most efficient EV?

    Gordon Murray's revolutionary iStream manufacturing process was used to develop this Yamaha electric car concept.

    The Japanese company has teamed up with the legendary race car designer to develop an electric car that’s even tinier than the Smart Fortwo, along with an efficient low-cost manufacturing process to go with it.
    At just 8.8 feet long and 4.8 feet wide, the Motiv.e concept is narrower than it is tall, but it offers seating for two and all of the safety equipment necessary to make it street legal.
    Key to this is Murray's design that features a steel cell with crush zones and anti-intrusion bars surrounding the passenger compartment. The powertrain is also installed within structure, while recycled plastic composite body panels are attached to the outside to help create a stiff chassis while reducing overall complexity and weight.
    This minimalist approach allows the Motiv.e to be powered by a compact, 8.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack (amazing!), which is exactly half the size of the one used in the electric version of the Smart Fortwo yet delivers up to 100 miles per charge compared to 76 miles for the Smart. A gasoline-powered version is also in the works.
    The vehicle was designed to be manufactured through a proprietary process called iStream that was invented by Gordon Murray, the mastermind behind several world championship-winning Formula One cars, along with the 1994 McLaren F1, once the fastest production car in the world with a top speed of over 240 mph.
    According to Murray, by eliminating the large metal presses and other equipment used in traditional automobile manufacturing, an iStream factory could be 80 percent smaller than today’s facilities with an equivalently small startup investment. Its streamlined system also cuts down on the energy required to build the cars and facilitates giving them more frequent updates.
    Murray has been shopping the brilliant iStream idea around for several years, but Yamaha is the first automaker to come on board. While it’s best-known for its motorcycles, ATVs and powersports vehicles, the company has developed automobile engines for Toyota, Volvo and Ford in the past and even built its own for Formula One cars in the 1990s.
    Murray and Yamaha never crossed paths in racing, but have their sights on making his futuristic small car a reality. No word on when exactly that will happen, or the price, but the two have reportedly been working together since 2008 and a production version could be silently stealing parking spaces in a city near you as early as 2016.

    North East UK more EV drivers per head than London

    The North East of the UK is claiming to lead the way in electric vehicles, with official figures showing more per head than anywhere in the UK including London.
    Over the past two years, the region has installed 1,163 charge points, making it the largest regional network of electric vehicle chargers and the second largest after London which has about 1300 installed.

    Sunday, 24 November 2013

    EV Euro NCAP crash test results

    Suzuki Extrigger electric bike


    Indian government considers $1.6bn EV programme

    Is India ready to enter the electric vehicle segment in a big way?
    Mahindra Reva's First Electric Vehicle...the e20
    Mahindra Reva’s First Electric Vehicle…the e20
    That does seem to be the case, as the nation’s government is currently considering a proposal that, if passed, could finance the development of electric vehicles throughout the county.
    The proposal calls for up to $1.6 billion to be set aside over an eight-year period.
    The monies will be used for several aspects of electric vehicle development, including for purchase incentives
    Actaully, the main focus of the proposal in on providing consumers with incentive, though the exact details are unknown to us at this time.
    If passed, the Mahindra Reva with its e20 electric will certainly benefit.  The e20 is currently India’s only mass-produced electric vehicle.
    E20 sales right now are less than 30 units per month.  The reason being cited for low sales is the high price tag attached to the e20.  If this incentive were to pass, the e20 could actually become cheaper to purchase than conventionally fueled vehicles in India.
    India is expected to take action on this proposal within the next month or two.

    Tuesday, 19 November 2013

    The beautiful i8

    Elon: The Mission of Tesla

    Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible. If we could have done that with our first product, we would have, but that was simply impossible to achieve for a startup company that had never built a car and that had one technology iteration and no economies of scale. Our first product was going to be expensive no matter what it looked like, so we decided to build a sports car, as that seemed like it had the best chance of being competitive with its gasoline alternatives.
    I suspected that this could be misinterpreted as Tesla believing that there was a shortage of sports cars for rich people, so I described the three step “master plan” for getting to compelling and affordable electric vehicles in my first blog piece about our company. This was unfortunately almost entirely ignored.
    In order to get to that end goal, big leaps in technology are required, which naturally invites a high level of scrutiny. That is fair, as new technology should be held to a higher standard than what has come before. However, there should also be some reasonable limit to how high such a standard should be, and we believe that this has been vastly exceeded in recent media coverage.
    How Does the Tesla Model S Fire Risk Compare to Gasoline Cars?
    Since the Model S went into production last year, there have been more than a quarter million gasoline car fires in the United States alone, resulting in over 400 deaths and approximately 1,200 serious injuries (extrapolating 2012 NFPA data). However, the three Model S fires, which only occurred after very high-speed collisions and caused no serious injuries or deaths, received more national headlines than all 250,000+ gasoline fires combined. The media coverage of Model S fires vs. gasoline car fires is disproportionate by several orders of magnitude, despite the latter actually being far more deadly.
    Reading the headlines, it is therefore easy to assume that the Tesla Model S and perhaps electric cars in general have a greater propensity to catch fire than gasoline cars when nothing could be further from the truth.
    Journalists with a deep knowledge of the car industry, such as the news editor of Automotive News, understand and attempt to rebut this notion, but they have been drowned out by an onslaught of popular and financial media seeking to make a sensation out of something that a simple Google search would reveal to be false. I would also like to express appreciation for the investigative journalists who took the time to research and write an accurate article.
    The degree to which this is outrageous is described well in the above-mentioned Automotive News article. There are now substantially more than the 19,000 Model S vehicles on the road that were reported in our Q3 shareholder letter for an average of one fire per at least 6,333 cars, compared to the rate for gasoline vehicles of one fire per 1,350 cars. By this metric, you are more than four and a half times more likely to experience a fire in a gasoline car than a Model S! Considering the odds in the absolute, you are more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime than experience even a non-injurious fire in a Tesla.
    Those metrics tell only part of the story. The far more deadly nature of a gasoline car fire deserves to be re-emphasized. Since the Model S went into production mid last year, there have been over 400 deaths and 1,200 serious injuries in the United States alone due to gasoline car fires, compared to zero deaths and zero injuries due to Tesla fires anywhere in the world.
    There is a real, physical reason for this: a gasoline tank has 10 times more combustion energy than our battery pack. Moreover, the Model S battery pack also has internal firewalls between the 16 modules and a firewall between the battery pack and passenger compartment. This effectively limits the fire energy to a few percent that of a gasoline car and is the reason why Dr. Shibayama was able to retrieve his pens and papers from the glove compartment completely untouched after the recent fire (caused by a high speed impact with a tow hitch). It is also why arsonists tend to favor gasoline. Trying to set the side of a building on fire with a battery pack is far less effective.
    What About Safety Overall?
    Our primary concern is not for the safety of the vehicle, which can easily be replaced, but for the safety of our customers and the families they entrust to our cars. Based on the Model S track record so far, you have a zero percent chance of being hurt in an accident resulting in a battery fire, but what about other types of accidents? Despite multiple high-speed accidents, there have been no deaths or serious injuries in a Model S of any kind ever. Of course, at some point, the law of large numbers dictates that this, too, will change, but the record is long enough already for us to be extremely proud of this achievement. This is why the Model S achieved the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested by the US government. The probability of injury is the most accurate statistical figure of merit, showing clearly that the Model S is safer in an accident than any other vehicle without exception. It is literally impossible for another car to have a better safety track record, as it would have to possess mystical powers of healing.
    Further Actions
    While we believe the evidence is clear that there is no safer car on the road than the Model S, we are taking three specific actions.
    First, we have rolled out an over-the-air update to the air suspension that will result in greater ground clearance at highway speeds. To be clear, this is about reducing the chances of underbody impact damage, not improving safety. The theoretical probability of a fire injury is already vanishingly small and the actual number to date is zero. Another software update expected in January will give the driver direct control of the air suspension ride height transitions.
    Second, we have requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conduct a full investigation as soon as possible into the fire incidents. While we think it is highly unlikely, if something is discovered that would result in a material improvement in occupant fire safety, we will immediately apply that change to new cars and offer it as a free retrofit to all existing cars. Given that the incidence of fires in the Model S is far lower than combustion cars and that there have been no resulting injuries, this did not at first seem like a good use of NHTSA’s time compared to the hundreds of gasoline fire deaths per year that warrant their attention. However, there is a larger issue at stake: if a false perception about the safety of electric cars is allowed to linger, it will delay the advent of sustainable transport and increase the risk of global climate change, with potentially disastrous consequences worldwide. That cannot be allowed to happen.
    Third, to reinforce how strongly we feel about the low risk of fire in our cars, we will be amending our warranty policy to cover damage due to a fire, even if due to driver error. Unless a Model S owner actively tries to destroy the car, they are covered. Our goal here is to eliminate any concern about the cost of such an event and ensure that over time the Model S has the lowest insurance cost of any car at our price point. Either our belief in the safety of our car is correct and this is a minor cost or we are wrong, in which case the right thing is for Tesla to bear the cost rather than the car buyer.
    All of these actions are taken in order to make clear the confidence we have in our product and to eliminate any misperceptions regarding the integrity of our technology and the safety of our cars.

    Norway: EV profile - EXCELLENT!

    Reported in Because of a broad package of incentives to buy and use electric cars, Norway is leading the way to electrify the road transport. There are over 15,000 electric cars driving in Norway in November 2013, and each month 500 new electric cars hits the roads. The long tradition of electric cars in Norway and the high number of electric cars per capita makes it an interesting case for other countries and the EV business.
    The Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association conducts an annual survey among their members and other Norwegian electric car owners. In the 2013 survey, 1,858 EV users contributed with their experiences and opinions.
    The typical Norwegian EV user is a middle-aged family father with higher education and income, and he owns a Nissan LEAF as one of two cars. A great majority of the respondents (85 %) has two or more cars in their household (Fig 2). This 
    is likely because of the shorter range of an electric car. They need a second car for longer journeys than current electric cars can provide. However, for everyday needs, the electric car is sufficient. Norwegians travel 42 km on average every day, mostly by car [5]. Households that already have two cars can easily switch one of them to electric. In Norway, more than 500,000 households currently have two or more cars. Maybe more surprisingly, 15 % of the EV owners 
    manage to do their daily transport with just their one electric car. For longer journeys, public transport or car rental/sharing is an option. In Norway, high taxation on traditional cars makes it expensive to own a car. You can rent a second car for many trips before the rental cost is exceeding the cost of owning your own traditional car. Some car dealers, like Nissan, even provide a free rental car for 20 days for their customers buying a Nissan LEAF. Four persons in each household is most common 33 %) for electric car owners, and two or more persons in the household represent 94 % of the respondents. Only 6 % is a single person household. 75 % of the survey participants are male and the majority is between 36 and 45 years old. They have significantly higher income than average in Norway, and a majority has education at university level (77 %).Since most electric car models for the moment only are available as new, it is logical that the average age and income is higher for EV owners. Today EVs are mostly available just for those that want to buy a brand new car. Most young people for instance cannot afford to buy a new car. Since there is relatively few second hand electric cars available, it is a more limited option for people with lower than average income. 

    Nearly half of the respondents to the 2013 survey own a Nissan LEAF, the bestselling EV in Norway (Fig 3) and among the top five at the general model ranking. In April 2013, the LEAF was even the second bestselling car model in total after Volkswagen Golf. The distribution of the rest of the electric car models is in a good way representing the existing electric car fleet in Norway. After Nissan LEAF, the triplets Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Peugeot iOn and Citroën C-ZERO are the most popular electric cars in Norway. There are also still a substantial share of the Norwegian electric cars Think and Buddy.  Still, owners of the new generation of electric cars are slightly overrepresented in this survey if you compare it to the total electric car fleet in Norway. We have to mention that 5 % of the respondents have more than one electric car. Most probably, a result of their long ownership of EVs, they keep their old electric car when they buy a new one. A movement to avoid owning traditional cars and the whole family can have an electric car for their daily transport. 

    To reduce emissions as much as possible we must find methods that will get electric cars to replace the use of traditional cars and not public transport or walking and bicycling. The users in Norway states that their electric car in most cases 
    replaces use of a traditional car (87 %). For the remainder, the electric car replaces walking, bicycling (1 %) and use of public transport.An earlier study from 2009 suggests that the electric car replaces public transport for commuting by a larger extent then our results at about 18 % [6]. A similar question is how much the electric car replaces a traditional car (Fig 5). 90 % answer completely or to a high degree. If you combine these two questions, it is a clear indication for concluding that the electric car replaces the use of a traditional car for the most extent. Hence, the electric car is not an addition to a traditional car, nor replaces use of public transport or walking and cycling. When that said, it is still important to find 
    measures to make public transport competitive compared to personal transport. 

    So, he uses his electric car on a daily basis instead of a traditional petrol or diesel car. He uses the electric car for commuting, after work activities, and not for longer holiday trips. He agrees on that his electric car saves him money and time and he is very satisfied as an EV owner. His next car will also be electric.
    The typical EV owner has a charging outlet at home and probably also at work. He uses public charging stations less frequent. Fast charging is important to extend the range of the electric car on extraordinary trips and as a security if the battery runs empty by accident. He is willing to pay between 2.5 and 6 Euros for a 15 minutes fast charging session. The location of fast chargers should be between cities and convenient locations where he drives on a regular basis.
    The broad package of incentives convinced him to buy his electric car. Although, it was the zero purchase tax and VAT that made the electric car competitive for him to consider in the first place. Low fuel cost, free toll roads and access to bus lanes are also important incentives. In order to get more people to buy an electric car, the EV user highlights longer range and predictable EV policy as the two most important requirements. One challenge to the electric car manufactures and one challenge to the world governments.