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News & Events - April '09
30.4.2009ECC launches the all electric Citroen C1 ev'ie
The Electric Car Corporation Plc (ECC) announces the launch of the UK's first 4-seater, 'all electric' production car, which is available to buy today.
The launch coincides with the Government's announcement to support and subsidise electric car use and their commitment to make the UK 'a world leader' in producing and exporting electric cars. This is further supported by the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who has announced his plan to introduce 25,000 recharging points for electric cars throughout the city.
Called the Citroën C1 ev'ie, this is the first all electric, 4-seater car, to offer the purchaser the comfort, performance and a full range of standard safety features expected from a petrol car (to date most electric models have been classed as quadricycles). With a range of 60-70 miles when fully charged and a top speed of around 60mph, it provides the driver with a completely 'normal', yet silent, driving experience. The C1 ev'ie can be fully charged in 6-7 hours from a domestic 13 amp socket at a cost of around 90p, which results is fuel costs of less than 2p per mile.
The Citroën C1 ev'ie is assembled in the UK from the donor car. Over 50% of the value of the car originates from the UK assembly, creating UK employment and a technology leadership in electric vehicle production. ECC expects to produce around 500 C1 ev’ies over the next 12 months, rising to between 2,000 and 4,000 units in 2010, dependent upon demand and continued government support.
Xavier Duchemin, Managing Director of Citroën UK commented, “We are committed to providing greener alternatives for motorists and are delighted to be supplying ECC with C1s for this exciting project.”
David Martell, Chief Executive, ECC plc, added, “We believe this is the first serious alternative to a petrol or diesel car. It drives just like a petrol car and has excellent capacity for use in any town or city in the UK.
"The key to building a successful electric car is an efficient battery management system (BMS). ECC has developed an advanced and sophisticated system, which when coupled with regenerative breaking, can provide the driver with much greater range and better performance."
According to the manufacturers, the C1 ev'ie is way ahead of other electric cars having excellent functionality, performance and refinement and is available to buy today. Interest in the C1 ev’ie is expected to be high. It is priced at £16,850 and is available directly from ECC.
28.4.2009evstores to bring Tazzari ZERO to UK
evstores has been selected to distribute the Italian-manufactured electric Tazzari ZERO in the UK and Ireland, adding to evstores' growing range of electric vehicles.
Based in Modena in Italy, the home of exotic sports cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, the Tazzari Group plans to manufacture the innovative, stylish super mini the environmentally conscious urban enthusiast.
The sporty, aluminum-bodied Tazzari ZERO delivers zero emissions, has a top speed of 56mph and a number of creature features, such as a removable sunroof, heating and leather interior, stereo radio with MP3 and CD player, 15in custom coloured wheels, all-round performance disc brakes, fog lamps and leather seats.
Using state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries the Zero promises a range of up to 88 miles and will recharge in around 6 hours from the mains or in 50 minutes with optional super-fast battery charger.
The Tazzari ZERO will be introduced in December 2009 at the Bologna International Motor Show and will be on sale in the UK immediately thereafter. evstores will start taking orders and deposits from this summer
evstores is a private limited company that promotes, sells and supports electric cars. From its main offices at Park Lane, Mayfair, London it distribute products from MyCar, Micro-Vett, Tazzari and e-max scooters. All vehicles distributed by evstores are pure electric and are fully approved for road use in the EU.
21.4.2009GM and Segway collaborate on e-scooter
Struggling US car giant, General Motors, has unveiled a prototype two-seat electric scooter, which it has developed in combination with forward-thinking personal mobility specialists, Segway.
The prototype scooter - the outcome of Project P.U.M.A (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) - is intended to ease traffic congestion in urban areas and reduce pollution from road transport.
The collaboration is also part of GM's efforts to secure further funding from the current US administration by recasting itself as an environmentally conscious and technologically progressive manufacturer.
The vehicle runs on a lithium-ion battery and has a top speed of 35 mph and a range of 35 miles. It rides on two side-by-side wheels, and has a zero turning-radius, meaning it is easy to park in small spaces. Like the current Segway, which has been on the market since 2002, the PUMA is able to stabilise and balance itself.
The two companies say that a full recharge of the PUMA's batteries takes approximately eight to 10 hours, but will only cost around 40 pence per charge. Segway president and chief executive officer, Jim Norrod, said: "We think 35 miles in a city is pretty reasonable to do in one day ... Then you get back and you charge it overnight, and we think that’s sufficient."
The collaborators have said that there are no current plans for a market release, instead characterising the unveiling as a technological demonstration. "It's a directional statement that we're making ... in urban transportation we need to reinvent how we move people around in cities and towns," said Norrod.
The project, which began over 18 months ago, has come to fruition just a short time after the firing of GM’s chairman and chief executive officer, Rick Wagner, and Barack Obama's call for the company, along with fellow Detroit based manufacturer, Chrysler, to "restructure" and "modernise".
After Obama's suggestions that Wagner lacked the necessary vision to move the company forward, GM's vice-president of research and development, Larry Burns, was keen to promote the PUMA as a symbol of the company’s newly found focus. "Imagine small, nibble electric vehicles that know where other moving objects are and avoid running into them," he said. Further to this, the company has also signalled its intention to cease production of its controversial Hummer brand in an effort to appease the Obama administration.
16.4.2009Govt to offer £5,000 to buy electric cars
Following previous announcements by the Prime Minister and Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, today the government unveils £250m worth of incentives and investment in electric cars and recharging infrastructure.
As part of this strategy, car buyers will be offered £2,000-£5,000 to purchase new cars that run entirely, or for the vast majority of their time, on electricity. Although yet to be confirmed, this will definitely include battery-electric cars and may include some plug-in hybrids. The aim of the grants will be to kick-start the mass-market for electric vehicles with a view to reducing UK road transport carbon emissions by 26% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said: "Cutting road transport CO2 emissions is a key element to tackling climate change. Less than 0.1% of the UK's 26 million cars are electric, so there is a huge untapped potential to reduce emissions... The scale of incentives we're announcing today will mean that an electric car is a real option for motorists as well as helping to make the UK a world leader in low carbon transport."
Commenting on the viability of electric car technology, Hoon continued: "Given that 60% of journeys by car are under 25 miles, there's no reason why someone using a car for commuting on a regular basis will not be able to charge up their car at home, take it to work and come home again well within the distance an electric vehicle should be able to travel."
In parallel with these purchase grants, due to become operational in 2011, the strategy will also include investing £20m to roll-out of more public-access recharging facilities across the country, as well as providing 200 demonstrator electric cars that will be available for test drives by the public. Car manufacturers will also be offered £100m for research and development of electric vehicle technologies.
"What we've got to get people used to is the idea that electric cars will become quite normal, quite usual," said Hoon. "That it won't be exceptional and, without being unkind to existing electric vehicles, they won't be slightly odd, they will be cars that conform to appropriate safety standards and we can use on an everyday basis."
On the planned industry investment, Hoon commented: "What we want to see is the UK firmly in the lead in the manufacturing sense because we want to ensure the incentives ... benefit, broadly, manufacturing in the UK".
14.4.2009Mayor to make London 'EV Capital'
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has challenged the Government to 'put its money where its mouth is' and back his ambitious plans to make London the electric car capital of Europe, helping to create jobs, cut carbon emissions and improve air quality.
The Mayor outlined a series of initiatives to achieve at least 100,000 electric vehicles on the capital's streets as soon as possible, equating to 5% of total vehicles. The initiatives include: installing 25,000 EV re-charging points across London by 2015; converting at least 1,000 Greater London Authority fleet vehicles to electric by 2015; amending the London Plan to require the installation of new re-charging points in all new developments; guaranteeing the 100% exemption of the London Congestion Charge (Alternative Fuel Discount) for electric vehicles; and developing the London Electric Vehicle Partnership, bringing together key players to coordinate the introduction of electric vehicles.
The Mayor, said: "The time for simply talking about electric vehicles is over – we need real action on the ground to make the electric vehicle an easy choice for Londoners. I am [therefore] committing millions to install the infrastructure needed for when, in just a few years time, these vehicles become much more widely available.
"This is an unprecedented package of measures to make London the electric car capital of Europe. By taking these steps, we will not only create green collar jobs, but also smooth the way for less polluting transport choices which will improve our air quality, reduce traffic noise and contribute significantly to my carbon emissions reduction target. It is time for the Government to put its money where its mouth is and back my plan to make electric vehicles the first choice for Londoners.'
The estimated cost of the 25,000 re-charging points and conversion of the Greater London Authority fleet to kick-start London's electric vehicle revolution is £60million – the Mayor has pledged to fund a third of this and is calling for the Government and the private sector to commit the remainder.
The Government has already increased its £100 million commitment to accelerate the development of a UK electric vehicle market to £250 million – the Mayor will be lobbying for London to receive a significant share of this in recognition of the importance of the capital to the uptake of electric vehicles. London is both the biggest car market and has the largest number of electric vehicles being already driven in the UK. Johnson had said he wanted to take a "sizeable chunk" of the fund, and floated the concept of an electric car hire scheme.
The growth of electric vehicles could be highly significant for the creation of a green economy and job creation. It is estimated that 100,000 cars would directly lead to thousands more jobs in car manufacturing, supply chain industries and in the provision and maintenance of the infrastructure for the cars. One UK based manufacturer of recharging posts, Elektromotive, is already a world leader in the recharging technology industry.
Electric cars could also deliver considerable environmental benefits by improving air quality, cutting emissions and reducing noise pollution. Almost 70% of particulate emissions in London come from road transport, whereas electric cars have zero emissions at their point of use. Electric vehicles also reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by 40%-80% (depending on energy source) as compared to their petrol and diesel equivalents.
However, the push for electric cars is not without its detractors. While Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins thought the Mayor's vision was admirable, he thought Johnson was missing the point. "Electric cars are only as green as the energy they run on and the UK's renewable energy industry is drastically underfunded. The government must urgently ramp up its support for renewable energy to ensure these cars – and our homes and businesses – all make efficient of use clean green fuel.
Atkins also highlights the bigger transport picture: "...Boris Johnson must invest in public transport, cycling and walking as well as electric cars. Only this holistic approach will be enough to cut London's emissions by 60% by 2025 and bring the whole of London within EU limits on air pollution."
7.4.2009Westminster staff trial electric scooter
Westminster City Council staff have swapped a car for an environmentally friendly electric scooter so they can zip around Westminster's 676km of streets checking up on the council's 15,000 lights and ensuring road works are getting carried out in time.
The scooter used is a lithium battery-powered ZrO scooter, which can be topped up at all of the council's on-street and off-street charging points will be used for short journeys around the city by staff where walking is not practical. The ZrO has a top speed of 30mph and takes between three and six hours to charge, once charged it will run for around 60 miles.
With the exception of a push-bike, the ZrO electric scooter is one of the most eco-friendly and cost efficient ways to get around the city – there are no emissions and it costs only 8 pence for a full recharge.
Councillor Danny Chalkley, Westminster's cabinet member for environment and transport, said: "We always encourage our staff to walk or use public transport to get around the city, but where this isn't always practical, this scooter will be really useful. The council is committed to improving the city environment, and part of that includes cutting the volume of CO2 coming from vehicles. I hope that this trial will lead to greater use of electric vehicles."
Jason Firmin Managing Director for ZrO Limited, said: “This type of bike uses new longer life lithium batteries which allow them to be used for longer periods than ever before and they can be fully recharged in about three to six hours. The lithium battery technology and lighter body construction used in this scooter makes it a practical way to get around the city without polluting the atmosphere."
The council's electric vehicle fleet is expected to grow next year to include electric vans. The council already operates an electric truck for moving bulky goods and materials such as paving slabs and other materials essential for Westminster's highway maintenance and street lighting work.
Westminster already has more on-street charging points for electric cars than any other local authority in the UK, and is looking to expand the network. The council boasts a total of 60 recharging points, 48 in car parks, and 12 at parking bays in locations across the West End and Covent Garden.