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News & Events - June '11
30.6.2011Gordon Murray Design T.27 electric car
Gordon Murray Design has unveiled its latest ultra-compact city vehicle, the T.27, billed as the world’s most efficient electric car.
The design and development programme for T.27 is a £9 million project, made possible through a £4.5 million investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. From a clean sheet of paper to a running prototype the programme has taken just 17 months including the design and build of a completely new electric powertrain by Zytek Automotive Ltd, one of the Consortium partners.
T.27 specifically targets the urban city environment via a unique, holistic, manufacturing process (‘iStream’). Developed by consortium lead partner Gordon Murray Design, it aims to significantly reduce lifecycle impacts and enable low cost, efficient manufacture within the UK. The electric car sets new standards in weight, footprint, small car dynamics, safety, packaging and efficiency whilst addressing full lifecycle CO2 emissions, congestion, parking and low cost motoring.
Gordon Murray Design’s patented iStream® manufacturing technology has produced new levels of lightweight structure and safety in city cars. The iFrame geometry in the T.27 has allowed every aspect of the vehicle to be optimised including Zytek Automotive’s integrated powertrain, another world first.
On unveiling the T.27, Professor Gordon Murray, CEO of Gordon Murray Design said: “Lightweight is the most powerful tool we have in our armoury in the fight against emissions and fuel consumption. This is true of all cars and especially so with electric vehicles. A lightweight car means a lightweight battery increasing the levels of safety and reducing the retail price dramatically. The T.27 represents a huge step forward in protecting our mobility and our environment.”
Gordon Murray Design recently achieved first-class results in a second crash test on the vehicle - the EuroNCAP 50kph mobile deformable barrier (MDB) protocol, confirming the structural integrity of an iStream® manufactured chassis during a side impact.
The real world performance of T.27 closely correlated with simulation revealing virtually zero cabin intrusion during the dynamic phase of impacting. The exemplary performance of T.27 in side impact presents a further milestone in vehicle safety development for the company.
The consortium has also released the updated specification and performance targets for T.27: a top speed of 65 mph, 0-62 mph in less than 15 seconds, and a range of 100 miles on NEDC, 130 miles on ECE15.
In comparison to other electric cars the T.27 has much lower energy consumption per mile, the Smart EV uses 29% more energy per km, the Mitsubishi iMiEV uses 36% more energy per km, and the Mini-E uses 86% more energy per km, making the T.27 the most efficient electric car by some margin.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said: “I must congratulate Gordon Murray Design and their partners for developing the T.27 prototype – and in rapid time. The growing pressure for more environmentally friendly transport, from both customers and regulators, is creating new business opportunities in the fast-developing market for low carbon vehicles. The Technology Strategy Board exists to help drive dynamic technological innovations such as the T.27, which are key to meeting our climate change goals”.
Gordon Murray Design is currently talking to three possible manufacturers for the T.27. The car will make its public road debut at the RAC Future Car Challenge on 5th November 2011.
28.6.2011Renault Fluence Z.E. price announced
Renault has announced that the price of its all-electric Fluence will be £17,850, after the £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant, making it the UK’s most affordable electric car.
However on top of this will be a battery lease cost of £75 per month – a figure which will be based on 6,000 miles per year over 3 years (additional mileage and contract length details will be available closer to the UK launch).
The five-seat, four-door Fluence Z.E. saloon won’t be on sale in the UK until 2012, but you can pre-reserve a Fluence Z.E. in ‘Prime Time’ guise online for £20.
This means that the Fluence costs less than rival electric cars from every volume manufacturer by a sizeable margin, not to mention its own diesel Mégane Hatch. Among the electric car competition, opting for Renault’s Fluence Z.E. instead of the £23,990 Mitsubishi i-Miev would leave £6,140 in change.
The initial launch version of Fluence Z.E., Prime Time, comes with equipment including 16” alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, ecoMeter and Carminat TomTom Live smart satellite navigation, together with charging sockets on both front wings.
The Fluence Z.E. has 70kW (95hp) power and 226Nm of instant torque on tap. The range of the Fluence is up to 115 miles, depending on driving and road conditions.
Registration online is free and enables prospective buyers to choose their vehicle and benefit from priority availability and test drives as soon as it comes to market. These customers will then be contacted by Renault to obtain confirmation of their reservation as the date of the vehicle's release approaches.
26.6.2011500 mph in an electric car
The Bluebird team is aiming to smash the 500 mph barrier in an electric car, and the next stage is breaking the UK Land Speed Record over 2/3 July 2011.
The speed trial, on the 4-mile stretch of beach at Pendine Sands, South Wales, is part of the preparations for an attempt in 2013 to break 500 mph.
The Bluebird Electric car – which set eight UK Electric Land Speed Records including the UK outright record a decade ago – is being used as a test and development vehicle to try differing battery technologies and drive units.
This will allow the team to evaluate and develop the right package to take the project forward toward to its goal of 500 mph in an electric-powered car.
The current car is undergoing re-engineering work on the chassis and aerodynamic improvements to the body before test and trials begin on Pendine Sands – site of Sir Malcolm Campbell's first ever official World Land Speed Record.
The runs will commence from 1.00pm on Saturday 2nd July and 2.00pm on Sunday 3rd July 2011.
Don Wales will drive the car and is following in a family tradition started by his grandfather, Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE and continued by his Uncle, Donald Campbell CBE.
Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the speed record nine times in various Bluebird cars powered by both Napier and Rolls Royce engines. His records set at Pendine Sands were:
25 September 1924 – 146.16 mph
21 July 1925 – 150.766mph
4 February 1927 – 174.88mph
He achieved 301.12mph in 1935 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
His son, Donald, continued the record breaking tradition and broke the 400mph barrier in a turbine powered Bluebird.
Don Wales, nephew of Donald, holds a World Land Speed Record, two American National Records and eight UK records.
20.6.2011Transport emissions drop over 90% from One Tonne Life project
‘One Tonne Life’, a collaboration project between A-hus, Vattenfall, Volvo Cars and other partners, has shown that households could reduce their carbon output from 7.3 tonnes to a stable 2.5 tonnes per person.
With more extensive changes it’s possible to get this figure down to just 1.5 tonnes per person, a level that could help us become carbon neutral and avoid serious climate change according to ‘A One Tonne Future’.
In January 2011, Swedish family, the Lindells, embarked on this six month groundbreaking project to find out if they could reduce their carbon emissions to hit this important target. They were helped in a variety of ways, not least with a climate-smart house featuring solar cells on the roof that were used to recharge the electric car parked in the driveway.
The family – father Nils, mother Alicia and children Hannah and Jonathan – undertook this inspiring journey which involved moving to a new, climate smart house and examining each of their everyday habits to find out where they could reduce or, indeed, eliminate their carbon emissions.
The family report that with their energy smart house, appliances, energy meter and electric vehicle, reducing their emissions to 2.5 tonnes did not require any major compromise in their everyday lifestyles. After that, however, things got harder and living at the 1.5 tonne level was a tough compromise.
The family made most progress in transport and electricity consumption. Emissions from transport dropped by more than 90%, mainly due to the family’s Volvo C30 Electric being recharged with electricity from hydro-power. The family’s house, built by A-hus, produces its own electricity and, with supplementary renewable electricity from hydro-power, carbon dioxide emissions from purchased electricity reduced to almost zero. In total, carbon dioxide emissions from the family’s home were more than halved compared to their emissions level in their previous home.
The family also made immense progress through their eating habits. By meal planning and being more informed about the food we eat, varying the choice of meat and eating more vegetables, it is possible for people to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Towards the end of the trial period, the Lindells ate only vegetarian dishes, and dairy produce was replaced with soya and oat-based alternatives.
In order to reduce their emissions still further, in the final 1.5-tonne week the family reduced the size of their home by closing off one room. They went without TV, shopping and eating out. However, their “rucksack” of 900 kilograms stopped them from reaching the one tonne target. This “rucksack” consists of the CO2 emissions that take place when various products are manufactured, such as the house, solar panels, car, furniture and clothes. However, they demonstrated that it is possible to get very close to one tonne, but it does involve a change in lifestyle and the information to make the right choices.
The wooden ‘One Tonne Life’ house has triple-layer walls with exceptional insulation, minimal air leakage and low-energy windows and doors. Through its solar photovoltaic system the house is a net producer of energy. All electricity not consumed by the family was fed into the national grid or used to recharge the electric car. The family’s Volvo C30 Electric emits no carbon dioxide at all when recharged with renewable electricity.
Household appliances account for up to half of a normal household’s total energy consumption, so the house is equipped with the latest energy saving appliances from Siemens. To help track progress the Family had an ‘Energy Watch’ system that registers the power usage and compiles data for analysis. This allows consumption to be followed in real time or over a selected time period and learn how their personal habits influence electricity consumption.
Experts from the Chalmers University of Technology followed the family in order to ensure a reliable calculation of the family’s carbon dioxide emissions.
20.6.2011Switch EV trial completes 50,000 electric miles
The 44 electric vehicles in the Switch EV trial have completed 50,000 miles across the North East.
Electric cars, placed with individuals, organisations, local authorities and the regional car club, are being used for every day commuting, the school run, business trips and days out in the country, as part of everyday life by the trial candidates. Switch EV is one of the most significant and far reaching trials of new electric cars and is supported by the Technology Strategy Board, with 5 vehicle manufacturers involved, and it also works with the regional recharging project, Charge Your Car, monitoring the usage and areas of demand for charging points across the North East.
The most recently delivered Peugeot iOns have boosted the number of miles completed, with the Simon Bailes Peugeot supporting the trial with 20 cars. The vehicles are now being spotted across the region, from the rural areas within Northumberland National Park, to the borders with Yorkshire close to Stockton on Tees and in the region’s car club.
Simon Bailes said: “Simon Bailes Peugeot is a proud partner of Plugged-in Places and Switch EV and I am passionate about ensuring that the North East and Peugeot are at the forefront of such an important scheme.
Globally, Peugeot is constantly striving to be a leader in eco-driving and we’ve embraced the development of electric vehicles for many years. It’s now very exciting to see all the plans coming together.”
The Leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, said: “The Council has made a firm commitment to cut its carbon emissions and is involved in a wide range of work aimed at delivering on that promise.
“We are delighted to be taking part in the Switch EV trial, which offers us the benefit of reducing both carbon emissions and costs.
“Council officers have already travelled several hundred miles in the car and we look forward to the completion of the trial, when the information gathered will be used to plan the future development of electric vehicles and the recharging infrastructure.”
Jon Bird, Head of Sustainability for CE Electric UK, said, “As the company that runs the electricity network by which electric vehicles get recharged, we have a great interest in how electric vehicles are used and recharged. And what better way than by getting first hand experience. Everyone involved has found the iOn fun to drive and keen to test its potential.”
The Switch EV trial is also providing an iOn for the regional car club operator, Commonwheels. The Commonwheels car will be in prime location on Grey Street in central Newcastle, where Commonwheels members can book and use the car for £4.25 per hour.
Paul Balmont, managing director from Commonwheels commented: “Having an electric car in the fleet is a fantastic development for the car club. It gives any member of the public the chance to drive an electric car by joining Commonwheels. The car club provides people with an alternative to owning their own car, with them instead using one of our low emission standard cars or the electric car on a ‘pay as you drive’ basis. For people who don’t drive everyday, it can save them a lot of money. Commonwheels also works for business for their staff travel.”
Switch EV brings together vehicle providers Nissan, Simon Bailes Peugeot, Smith Electric Vehicles, AVID Vehicles Limited, and Liberty Electric Cars, with research and data analysis completed by the Transport Operation Research Group at the University of Newcastle, and with project management by Future Transport Systems. This is one of eight consortia projects taking part in the Technology Strategy Board’s £25m UK-wide Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, delivered in partnership with the Department for Transport (DFT). The Switch EV trial will see 44 electric cars on the roads of the North East for up to 2 years.
Switch EV is supported by the Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with the Department for Transport, and One North East.
15.6.2011British Gas to supply charge points for Renault
Renault has announced that British Gas will be its preferred supplier of vehicle charging points for its new range of electric zero-emission car and vans in the UK.
The deal builds on British Gas’ agreement with Renault’s Alliance partner, Nissan, to be the preferred supplier of charge points to their electric car in the UK. Market analysis suggests that British Gas will be the preferred supplier for 70% of the electric vehicle market in the UK in 2012.
The agreement with Renault means that British Gas will supply and install electric vehicle charge points in homes and businesses across the country. Renault launches the electric Kangoo Van Z.E. later this year, followed by a family of fully-electric cars - the new Fluence Z.E. and Zoe car models and an innovative tandem two-seater, the Twizy.
Today’s announcement is further indication of the growing electric vehicle market in the UK. Experts predict that by 2020, electric vehicles could account for approximately 10% of all cars sold in the UK. This equates to 260,000 UK households owning an electric vehicle. With 700,000 homes expected to have solar panels by 2020, there is major potential for those households with both solar panels, electric vehicles and charging points to run their cars with free renewable energy. The average annual earnings of up to £900 generated by a standard-sized domestic solar panel installation can offset the average annual running costs of a zero-emission electric vehicle.
Customers will pay from £995 including VAT for the domestic installation of a charging point by one of British Gas’ nationwide network of qualified installers. Charging points are more convenient and safer than plugging vehicles directly into the home electricity system and will cut the charging time by a third. Research shows that 59% of charging in 2020 will be at home, compared to 32% at work and only 9% will use public charging.
British Gas customers will also benefit from three years of its free Home Electrical Care which gives the customer unlimited call outs for all home electrical repairs, including parts and labour. British Gas has also recently announced an electricity tariff designed specifically for electric car owners. This will make it cheaper to charge vehicles overnight and could save customers as much as £1,200 a year compared to owners of petrol vehicles. British Gas is trialling the tariff with customers this summer and the new tariff will be fully available from the beginning of 2012. All customers on the tariff will have a smart meter installed which will give them access to flexible “time of use” tariffs, put an end to estimated bills and give them access to smart appliances.
British Gas figures show that home owners with a mid-sized solar array (2.52kWp systems) will make around £884 a year from the generation element of the Feed-In Tariff and £64 from the export element
Electric v petrol figures are based on British Gas calculations using average UK standard Economy 7 night rate, 100 mile charge range, and 95% charging efficiency. £1200 based on a comparison with a 1.6-litre vehicle comparing the annual cost of fuel for 10,000 miles. The Kangoo Van Z.E. will cost 1.25p per mile – so £125 for the year compared to 15p a mile for the petrol vehicle (£1463 per year). The calculation assumes 42.2 miles to the gallon and petrol costs of 135.8p a litre. For the standard petrol vehicle, a 50-litre tank gives 464 miles. The Kangoo Van Z.E. can do up to 100 miles per charge (costing £1.25) so needs to do 4.64 charges to replicate the 50 litre tank costing £5.80 (or £6 rounded up). Changes in driving style, use of radio and air conditioning, and terrain will affect driving range.
10.6.2011Electric vehicles have lower carbon footprints than normal cars
Electric and hybrid cars create more carbon emissions during their production than standard vehicles – but are still greener overall, according to a new report.
The report highlights the increasing importance of accounting for whole life carbon emissions to compare the greenhouse gas emissions of low carbon vehicles. The report was prepared by Ricardo for, and in collaboration with, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) that includes major vehicle manufacturers and oil companies.
The study found that some of the CO2 savings made during the use of low carbon vehicles is offset by increased emissions created during their production, and to a lesser extent disposal. However, overall electric and hybrid vehicles still have lower carbon footprints than normal cars.
For example, a typical medium sized family car will create around 24 tonnes of CO2 during its life cycle, while an electric vehicle (EV) will produce around 18 tonnes over its life. For a battery EV, 46% of its total carbon footprint is generated at the factory, before it has travelled a single mile.
Greg Archer, LowCVP Managing Director, said: “This work dispels the myth that low carbon vehicles simply displace emissions from the exhaust to other sources. However, it does highlight the need to look at reducing carbon emissions from vehicles throughout their lifecycle.
“The automotive industry is already taking positive steps to address this issue - the recent announcement by Toyota of a solar array to provide electricity to power the hybrid Auris production facility and wind power at the Nissan Leaf plant are excellent examples of this.
For a standard mid-sized gasoline ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle the embedded carbon in production will be around 5.6tCO2e, around three quarters of which is the steel in the vehicle glider. This highlights the importance of deploying low weight, low carbon alternatives to current steels in the ultra-low carbon vehicles of the future. A similar electric vehicle will have embedded production emissions of 8.8tCO2e, 43% of which arise from the battery. Decarbonising both electricity supply, through renewables; and the production of batteries will therefore be essential for electric vehicles to deliver ultra-low carbon lifetime emissions.
The report also indicates that lifecycle carbon emissions for mid-sized petrol and diesel vehicles doing a similar lifetime mileage are almost identical – the greater efficiency of the diesel being offset by high production emissions. It also highlights that some regulations designed to improve recyclability, safety or reduce air pollution can increase carbon emissions in production or use.
Ricardo Chief Technology & Innovation Officer and Chairman of the LowCVP, Prof. Neville Jackson, said “There is an emerging consensus that we need to move towards a more holistic analysis of whole life CO2 emissions in order to make more informed and better long term decisions on future technologies.
“Life cycle analysis is still in its infancy, with little defined process and standards. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership report is an important contribution to this type of analysis and highlights the need to work toward a common methodology and approach to deliver consistent and robust life cycle data on CO2 emissions.”
As a wider range of electric, biofuel and potentially hydrogen vehicles compete with petrol and diesel models in the future it will become essential to compare vehicles on a whole-life carbon basis. The study shows the complexity, but also the practicalities of calculating whole life carbon emissions and highlights the need to develop a standard methodology acceptable to vehicle manufacturers.
Greg Archer added: “We already measure the whole life carbon emissions of biofuels and doing the same for vehicles is entirely feasible. However, it does require effort to be directed now, at agreeing how this should be done consistently at an EU, or possibly global level.”
Vehicle Whole Life Carbon Emissions Analysis
Estimated lifecycle emissions
Proportion of emissions in production
Estimated emissions in production
Standard gasoline vehicle
Plug-in hybrid vehicle
Battery electric vehicle
Based upon a 2015 vehicle in use for 150k KM using 10% ethanol blend and 500g/KWH grid electricity.
The LowCVP (www.lowcvp.org.uk) was established in 2003 to take a lead in accelerating the shift to low carbon vehicles and fuels in the UK and to help ensure that UK business can benefit from that shift. It has approaching 200 organisations from the automotive and fuel industries, the environmental sector, government, academia, road user groups and other organisations with a stake in the low carbon vehicles and fuels agenda.
The report was released as part of the LowCVP Annual Conference 2011, “Just over the Horizon: mobility to 2020 and beyond”. The conference was held on Thursday 9 June 2011 at the Clifford Chance Auditorium, Canary Wharf.
For further details see: http://www.lowcvp.org.uk
2.6.2011Evida batteries for new Mia Electric MicroBus
The new Mia Electric MicroBus will feature lithium-ion phosphate batteries from Evida, a battery company with its European HQ in the UK.
The French-German Mia Electric MicroBus is available as a three or four-seater, and has been designed by the former Volkswagen chief designer Murat Günak.
Mia’s first zero-emission city vehicles are scheduled to be delivered to public sector and commercial fleet operators in the third quarter of this year.
Mia will install the Evida battery packs on its assembly line in France. It is expected that Evida will supply Mia with up to 10,000 units per year until 2016.
Evida previously announced a $250 million contract with Mia Electric, one of the largest deals in the EV sector to date, at the recent 2011 Geneva International Motor Show.
Evida has its European headquarters in Coventry (UK) as well as a Chinese production facility and an Israel satellite office. Evida also has engineers in Mia’s French assembly plant in order to assist with the integration of the battery system within the vehicles.
The Mia Electric MicroBus has a central driver's seat enabling the driver to get in and out of the car on both sides. There are three models of the vehicle, the mia, mia L, and mia box van. The four-seat mia L has three back seats.
The three-seat model weighs only 750 kg including the standard 8kWh battery and has a top speed of around 66 mph.
The standard lithium ion phosphate battery is capable of covering a distance of around 50 miles and it can be fully charged in three hours using a regular household power outlet. As an option, a more powerful 12 kWh battery is also available.
The Mia costs from 23,500 Euro, the Mia L starts at 24,500 Euro, and the Mia box van starts at 22,500 Euro.
1.6.2011Modec team joins Liberty to create EV support centre
Engineers from Modec, the company producing electric commercial vehicles which recently went into administration, have joined Liberty Electric Cars to form a new Electric Vehicle support centre.
Liberty, a relatively new company itself, is best known for its electric Range Rover, the E-Range, which is now available for orders. The company is now expanding its operations to offer engineering support for EVs – for its own vehicles and for those of other manufacturers.
The company has set up its new Innovation & Customer Support Centre in Coventry. Liberty has used Modec’s staff to grow the resources of its EV engineering and development centre, known as Liberty E-Tech, and now the firm has created a support and maintenance facility, called Liberty E-Care.
Organisations that bought a Modec have been wondering how they will be supported in the area of maintenance and servicing; now they have a solution. This means that Liberty will now be working with electric commercial vehicles as well as cars.
Ian Hobday, Managing Director of Liberty Electric Cars says: “Liberty Electric Cars has created one of the most highly skilled EV engineering teams in the world. With this tremendous know-how in EV technology, Liberty will create the most exciting and high performing electric drivetrains ever seen. We have already been contacted by OEMs to develop new generation EVs for a worldwide market that we expect to grow significantly over the coming years.”
Modec was founded by Lord Jamie Borwick in 2004 and was widely regarded as the market leader in electric commercial vehicles and one of the most promising low-carbon business opportunities for the West Midlands. When take-over talks failed in March 2011, the company had no option but to call in the administrators.
Liberty Electric Cars is a clean technology company based in Coventry, which is designing, engineering and manufacturing leading-edge electric vehicle technology to serve growing demand for zero-emission transport solutions in markets around the world. Its engineers have invented innovative, patent-protected new electric vehicle (EV) drivetrain technologies that can be employed in a wide variety of vehicle platforms.
Liberty Electric Cars’ flagship product is the Liberty E-Range, which is the world’s first pure electric 4x4 and has a range of 200 miles.