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News & Events - July '07
23.7.2007New Modec EVs for Islington
Islington Borough Council will be the first local authority in the UK to introduce pure electric Modec vehicles to its fleet.
The zero emission, battery powered Modec will go into service as part of a wide range of new green initiatives being employed by the Council. It will be used specifically for highways maintenance and will be the first vehicle on call for emergency repairs during the night due to its virtually silent operation.
The Modec is the first of its kind, and is unrivalled in concept and performance terms. After an overnight charge it drives all day; covering over 100 miles, accelerating swiftly to a governed maximum speed of 50 mph while carrying a payload of two tonnes. Incurring zero congestion charge, zero road tax and zero operator license the Modec not only makes practical sense, it also provides a cost-effective solution. The current range includes chassis cabs, flatbeds and box vans.
Chris Rutherford, fleet and depot manager for Islington Council said: “We have implemented the use of many alternative fuels in the borough and most recently electric vehicles with performance rivalling conventional engines in a London borough the size of Islington. The benefits of silent running vehicles with zero emissions are obvious and we are hoping to install solar panels into the depot to ensure the vehicle is run entirely on renewable energy.”
Cllr Lucy Watt, Executive Member for Environment, Islington Council said: “If we want to become Britain’s greenest local authority – that means we must lead by example. Greening the fleet is a sound investment towards this goal. Choosing electric-powered vehicles keeps us efficient and puts us in pole position in the race to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.”
For more information: Modec
9.7.2007Islington green parking scheme
Owners of 'gas guzzlers' will soon feel extra strain on their wallet if they reside in Islington, North London. Plans to charge residents with high-polluting cars significantly more to park in the Borough have just received the backing of the local electorate.
In a ballot of all those on the electoral roll, 56% of Islington's residents support the plans that will charge an annual fee of £200 for cars with engine sizes over 2500cc. The new fee is more than double the current charge of £95 (a £20 discount currently applies for vehicles with engine capacities less than 1400cc or those that have a greener fuel source).
Council leader James Kempton told the BBC that the move was aimed not at increasing income from parking charges but at encouraging residents to opt for smaller, more environmentally friendly vehicles [including battery electric cars]. Kempton further added that "By doing this [green parking scheme] we are challenging people to think about the cars that they drive and their impact on the environment. I hope that this will ultimately persuade people to switch to less polluting vehicles."
Islington Council is not the first to give the go-ahead for a green residential parking scheme; similar proposals have already been announced by a number of other London Boroughs and local authorities across the UK. Camden is planning a scheme with fees based on a car's CO2 emissions with charges up to £145 for the highest polluting vehicles. Richmond-upon-Thames plans to charge households with more than one high-emission car £750 a year for a parking permit, compared with £200 now, whilst making the greenest cars exempt. Manchester have also opted for a 'Green Badge' parking scheme, whereby motors that emit more than 120gCO2/km will be charged a further 25% on the price of a yearly NCP car park pass.
6.7.2007New e-max scooter launched
June saw the launch of the Italian designed and German engineered Baroni e-max electric scooter – and is the latest zero-emission powered two-wheeler to arrive in the UK.
The e-max is powered by a 4kW electric motor built into the rear wheel, is capable of speeds in excess of 40 mph and can be fully charged in around three hours. With the top speed restricted to 30 mph, the e-max is categorized as an L1e moped and legally ridden on UK roads by anyone with a car license.
Baroni Electric Vehicles was one of the first importers to bring road legal electric mopeds to the UK market. Whereas first-generation electric scooters (such as the Baroni EFV) are essentially conversions of conventional models, the e-max is a second-generation scooter designed from scratch as an electric vehicle. As highlighted by Sam Clarke, Director of Baroni EV Ltd, “With such large steps now being achieved in regards to technology and performance we have decided to create a new product that is designed and engineered to be electric from its conception.”
Electric two-wheelers such as the e-max have the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of road transport. Travelfootprint estimates that the overall impacts are ten times less than for a small petrol car. With zero road tax and fuel costs less than 1p/mile, on-road costs are also reduced.
For more info: e-max
3.7.2007Vectrix e-Motorbike Launched
May saw the launch of the World's first high performance, zero-emission electric motorcycle in London.
While its not the first commercial electric two-wheeler, the Vectrix is the first electric bike to combine its green credentials with the performance of a 400cc motorbike. The bike has a top speed of 62 mph and a typical range of 68 miles. According to WhatGreenCar?, the Vectrix scores 3 (out of 100) the lowest overall environmental impact of any powered vehicle in the UK.
Newride attended the bike's launch at London's new Spitalfields Market and took a test drive, on an escorted ride around London by Metropolitan Police no less. The verdict is that the Vectrix electric motorcycle is a real alternative to petrol-driven motorcycles and scooters, and may even tempt some car drivers out of their vehicles for inner city trips. The bike accelerates rapidly from zero to 50 mph in under 7 seconds, giving a fast and responsive ride. Oh yes, an its a very enjoyable ride too!
To recharge, the bike simply plugs into a standard three-pin socket, the only limitation for owners being that access is needed (at home or work) to an 'off-street' socket. A 2-hour recharge delivers up to 68 miles of operation. That said, on-street charging points are starting to appear in London and are likely to quickly increase in number over the next few years.
While the initial price of just under £7000 may seem a little high, this is more than balanced by very low fuel costs (typically less than 2p/mile), zero road tax, and free parking in many parts of London and other cities. The one big unknown with most electric vehicles is the battery. However, the bike uses nickel-metal hydride batteries that are designed to last around 50,000 miles (as opposed to lead-acid which are still used by many EVs). Battery replacement costs are estimated at around £2000.
While Newride doesn't often recommend vehicles, in this case we make an exception. Go take a test drive and see what its like to be the greenest thing on powered wheels.