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Contact details and location map for a selection of the main electric vehicle dealers across the UK
News & Events - November '10
30.11.2010Electric batteries may last over a decade
Data gathered from Smith Electric Vehicles sheds new light on the residual value debate: advanced battery technology suggests that electric commercial vehicles could be productive vehicles for a decade or more.
Smith Electric Vehicles has conducted extensive trials on the latest lithium-ion phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries in its Smith Edison and Smith Newton commercial vehicles. When combined with data from its customers' vehicles, Smith Electric can make a compelling case for the real operational productive life of its LCVs and light trucks being longer than initially expected.
Kevin Harkin, Sales Director for Smith Electric Vehicles, said: "The battery condition reports delivered much more impressive figures than we ever expected, demonstrating far lower levels of battery degradation than even the manufacturer forecast."
"Our own research – and independent tests that we commissioned – have verified that the battery should still have a minimum of 80 per cent capacity after 3,000 cycles. So even if the vehicle uses a full battery cycle, every day for 300 days a year, it will still be 80% efficient after 10 years. For example, a vehicle that had a 100-mile range brand new will still have an 80-mile range, a decade later."
Smith now guarantees its batteries for five years, as opposed to the 3-year warranty it could offer on Zebra batteries. And because the drive train on a Smith vehicle is friction-free, it does not wear in the same way as an internal combustion engine.
"Couple this to the extended battery life and you can see why many of our fleet customers are pushing out the operating life of our vehicles to seven, eight or even 10 years. This extended life creates a compelling saving on whole life costs – it's an extra three to five years without having to buy diesel," added Kevin.
Prior to the development of the new technology vehicles, the most profitable part of the Smith Electric business was the refurbishment and re-sale of road-going EVs to industrial and airport customers. Smith sees a similar model developing with its LiFePO4 vehicles – a fleet manager can operate an EV until its range capabilities decrease below their requirements; then sell the vehicle into an application that requires lower mileage.
Smith Electric acknowledges that there are many applications for used electric vehicles that have degraded batteries; for example, airside operations in airports do not need a full 100 mile range, and a refurbished vehicle is likely to satisfy requirments.
Although battery technology will undoubtedly improve as the EV industry matures, Smith does not expect that this will render older technologies obsolete. The company expects the value of older vehicles will be linked to their displacement of diesel costs – therefore, every increase in pump prices or congestion charging enhances the worth of an EV. There are road-going electric commercials built by Smith 30 years ago that are still working vehicles.
23.11.2010New ChargePoint at Top Gear Festival
The UK & Ireland's first wall mounted charging unit from ChargePoint will be displayed at the Top Gear Festival in Dublin this month (26-28th November).
In addition to the motoring exhibits, stunt shows and crazy antics from the Clarkson-Hammond and May trio, Ireland's biggest motoring show will be host to some of the latest electric vehicle charging technologies. ChargePoint's latest units will be displayed by Irish industrial electronics supplier MCC Controls.
The stylish 'CPS Major' is the first wall-mounted charging unit to be formally launched in the UK and Ireland. It is packed with features to provide a cost effective networked charging point for fast easy installation for corporate, public and private parking areas.
The CPS Major will be on display on the MCC Controls stand T6 on the top floor, MCC Controls are ChargePoint's distributor in Ireland and are industry experts with over 14 years experience supplying electrical products and services across diverse industry sectors.
Joe McCarthy, Managing Director, MCC Controls said. "ChargePoint Services are unique in their market position with their ability to provide charging solutions to meet all level of charging requirements. From single socket wall mounted systems, to multiple socket, 3 pin and 7 pin connectivity, utilising single and 3 phase charging.
"This gives enormous flexibility to purchasers looking for a long term solution which can grow as their requirement increases. We are confident that as distributors of ChargePoint's solutions, together with our own expertise in this sector, we can provide unique solutions to organisations looking for this technology in Ireland."
The CPS Major offers single socket 3 pin or Mennekes 7 pin connectivity with optional 3 phase 400v, with 3, 7 and 18 kWh charging. It provides RFID card activation and has an ultra bright TFT-LCD screen with customisable messages. It has thermal protection (RCD) which can be reset remotely.
"Its network communications through GPRS has remote diagnostics, control and upgrades. Other features include PLC Communication, a 1 GB memory, bespoke software dashboard for data collection with SMS/email notification to the user and bi-directional energy meter.
Alex Bamberg, Sales Director, ChargePoint Services, added. "MCC Controls is a great partner for ChargePoint, their position as respected suppliers within corporate and local authorities within Ireland as well as their understanding of the electric vehicle marketplace is a unique advantage.
"Ireland has already taken the step of agreeing its electric charging infrastructure will be 7 pin 3 phase throughout, and will only install charging points with this capability, and together ChargePoint and MCC are ideally placed to provide total electric vehicle charging solutions to meet this requirement."
12.11.2010French judge OKs Renault Zoe's name
Renault have been given the green light to call their new electric model the Renault 'Zoe', after they were taken to court by a French family who felt it would be inappropriate.
In a French version of 'A Boy Named Sue', Lawyer David Koubbi represented parents of two French children called Zoe Renault in court on Wednesday, as they felt that their children, and other Zoes worldwide, may end up enduring a lifetime of teasing and annoyance.
The families were fighting for Renault to change the name of the new electric model due in 2012. Lawyer David Koubbi said "There's a thin line between living things and inanimate objects, and that line is defined by the first name. We're telling Renault one very simple thing: First names are for humans."
The judge in court ruled against Koubbi in saying that there would only be a realistic case if there was proof that 'baptising' the car 'Zoe' would cause children "certain, direct and current harm."
Koubbi says that he will be appealing against the decision, and feels that thousands of children will be affected. Zoe is the 11th most popular girls name in France – the country has an estimated 35,000 girls with the name.
Koubbi expressed in an interview what he felt little Zoes might have to tolerate on the playing field, and even inferior, when they become a little bit older and somebody moves toward up to them in a bar and express that , 'Can they see their air bags?' or 'Can they polish their bumper?'
Renault however have been allowed to call the vehicle as they wished – a name that was chosen from the words 'zero' and 'emissions' thanks to its all-electric drive. The French carmaker has already given several of its models girl's names, such as the compact hatch Megane and the Clio – both popular girls' names in France.
The disagreement has generated considerable media attention in France, where a petition on a Facebook page called 'Zoe's not a car name' has gathered over 6,000 signatures.
9.11.2010Source London to launch in spring 2011
London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, has announced that the city-wide electric vehicle charging network will launch in spring 2011, under the brand name of 'Source London'.
Source London will deliver 1,300 public charging points across the city by 2013 as part of the Mayor's plans for London to become the electric vehicle Capital of Europe.
The network will create a single visual identity for electric driving across the capital, and allow members to charge their vehicles at any one of these public charging points for no more than a £100 annual membership fee. Currently, electric vehicle (EV) users have to register in each separate borough they want to use charge points in.
In preparation for this new network, the Source London website has been launched providing a single port of call for EV information, including a map of charge point locations across the capital. Drivers will be able to sign up online once the scheme has launched in the spring.
The development of Source London has been led by Transport for London (TfL) in close collaboration with the London boroughs and a wide range of private sector partners – who will play a key part in funding and providing locations for the network's charge points.
Discussions are now taking place with other UK cities developing charge point networks to ensure they can be used seamlessly by electric vehicle drivers and to ensure London's work can contribute to a national network of charge points. TfL have said that the Source trademark brand can be used nationally, to create better recognition.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Already there are more electric drivers in London than anywhere else in the UK, but we are now entering an incredibly exciting period in electric motoring. Major manufacturers are gearing up to launch more affordable, practical electric cars over the next few years, whilst the costs of traditional fuels are making petrol-free driving an increasingly attractive option."
"Through the development of Source London, we are seeking to create the fertile conditions for electric vehicles to flourish to make our city the electric driving Capital of Europe."
David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport, TfL said: "When complete, the Source London network will provide twice as many charge points than petrol stations, meaning owning an electric vehicle will be a genuine option for far more Londoners."
The Mayor has also confirmed a 100% discount from the London Congestion Charge for EV users – offering a potential annual saving over more than £2,000.
Greater London Authority
5.11.2010EV sharing scheme tops 1000 members
Europe's largest EV car sharing scheme manages to sign up its 1000th member this week. The 'Move About' fleet consists of 80 vehicles in total, 79 of which are THINK City electric vehicles – resulting in an almost zero emission operation.
The Move About car sharing scheme is a pioneering program that was set up in 2009 in Oslo. It has since expanded to Gothenburg and Copenhagen with collaborative projects also taking place in Germany and Austria. The THINK City dominated fleet represents one of the largest EV fleets in the world.
The THINK City is on sale across Europe with production reaching the milestone of 2,500 units recently. Sales and production are also about to commence in the US. THINK has been a unique innovator in pure electric vehicles and power-train technology for nearly twenty years, positioning the company as a world leader in producing cars on a dedicated and highway safe platform. The THINK City can maintain speeds of 70 miles per hour and travel up to 100 miles on a single charge. In total THINK has now sold approaching 10,000 EV's accumulating 35 million zero-emissions road miles to date.
"Move About is a very innovative organisation and we are proud to be their lead partners." says Michael Lock, Chief Marketing Officer at THINK, "This programme is a great example of intelligent, efficient and flexible personal mobility. It's an approach very much consistent with our philosophy to provide 21st century urban mobility solutions. We look forward to working in partnership with Move About as the scheme continues to expand in other major cities around Europe."
"The number of cars only tells half the story" says Michael Eimstad, Manager in Move About "The car sharing system enables many people to share relatively few cars. This is a much smarter way to use resources, and means that many more people will be able to drive electric cars."