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News & Events - November '11
30.11.2011Honda CR-Z iCF
The Honda CR-Z iCF is to be launched, a 130+ mph sports hybrid with Civic Type R performance.
With almost 50 per cent more power than the standard car, this 175 PShybrid marks the strengthening of the engineering partnership between Honda (UK) and MUGEN Euro following the limited edition Civic Type R MUGEN in 2010.
MUGEN Euro engineers have tweaked the 1.5-litre power unit, retaining the 3-button IMA modes, adding a centrifugal forced air induction system, charge-air cooler and induction system and a MUGEN Euro-mapped ECU.
The result is outstanding power to weight, and increased torque helping to deliver 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds - over 3 seconds quicker than the standard car.
Martin Moll, Head of Honda (UK) marketing said, "MUGEN has created a super responsive yet eco-conscious model building on our sporting credentials and giving us the ability to compete in the "hot hatch" marketplace as we move into 2012."
Production development continues at MUGEN Euro, with cars available for test drive through the eight Honda UK MUGEN dealers in spring 2012.
Prices have yet to be confirmed, but are expected to be approximately £24,000.
Read our Honda CR-Z hybrid road test
30.11.2011Volkswagen Cross Coupé
The Volkswagen Cross Coupé is an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid crossover between a four-door coupé and an SUV.
The concept is being showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show this week.
It also defines a new stage in Volkswagen engineering design, being the first model based on the company’s new ‘modular transverse matrix’ – or MQB – to be shown publicly.
The concept car being shown in Tokyo is larger than a Golf and shorter than a Tiguan. It has short overhangs, good ground clearance, a front angle of approach of 24.2 degrees, with 32.5 degrees at the rear.
The four-seat Cross Coupé is powered by two electric motors (one front and one rear) which generate 40 kW / 180 Nm of torque and 85 kW / 270 Nm respectively, and a TSI direct injection turbo petrol engine. With overall power of 265 PS, the Cross Coupé can accelerate to 62 mph in just seven seconds and on to a top speed of 125 mph. It can travel up to 40 km on purely electric power.
The all-wheel drive system with ‘electric drive shaft’ also represents an innovation for Volkswagen, with the rear axle being driven by the rear electric motor. In this situation power is supplied to the rear electric motor by the one at the front, which during this phase acts as a generator powered by the TSI engine.
This means that in the Cross Coupé, the flow of electrical energy thus replaces the conventional transfer of power by means of a drive shaft – which creates room in the central tunnel (which would usually house the drive shaft) to hold the lithium ion battery. The resulting low position of the battery and layout of the drive systems give the vehicle a very low centre of gravity and a balanced spread of axle loading, endowing the car with dynamic coupé-like handling qualities – says Volkswagen.
See our Volkswagen Scirocco road test
The electric Honda EV-STER, the next-generation electric small sports concept model, will have its world premiere at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
The Honda EV-STER is an electric rear-wheel drive two-seater convertible sports car.
The use of carbon materials means that it is light, helping the vehicle’s performance and giving it a range of approximately 100 miles.
The EV-STER can accelerate from 0-37 mph in 5 seconds.
Honda says that the driver can adjust vehicle characteristics such as motor output and suspension settings.
The EV-STER will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011, which will take place at Tokyo Big Sight from Saturday, December 3 to Sunday, December 11, 2011.
Read our review of the Honda CR-Z hybrid
28.11.2011London’s new Low Emission Zone
London’s new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) comes into effect on 3 January 2012 which requires larger vans, minibuses and other specialist diesel vehicles to meet ‘Euro 3’ emission standards.
Otherwise if these vehicles are driven within the LEZ they will have to pay a huge daily charge. Typically, Euro 3 vehicles are those registered after 1 January 2002, affecting those that will be 10 years old from January next year.
The LEZ will continue to apply to Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) but from 3 January 2012, the regulations will demand an increase from Euro III to Euro IV standards. Vehicles first registered as new on or after 1 October 2006 will meet the Euro IV standard, but the 2010 Motorparc shows that 32% nationally, and 29% in Greater London, do not meet the LEZ threshold.
New research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has shown that of the 3.57 million vans on UK roads at the end of 2010, 31.1% were not eligible for London’s new Low Emission Zone. More surprising is the fact that London exceeded the national average with 37% of vans (almost 85,000) not meeting the emission standards.
Penalty charges are high: £500 for vans, pick-ups and 4x4 light utility vehicles between 1.205 tonnes unladen - 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, motor caravans and ambulances 2.5 - 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, and minibuses (with more than 8 passenger seats) 5 tonnes or less gross vehicle weight.
The penalty charge increases to £1000 for trucks more than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight and buses and coaches more than 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight. All charges are halved if paid within 14 days.
“It’s not only emissions that improve when owners and operators upgrade, fuel efficiency also gets better, returning real-world benefits on top of the LEZ savings,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “SMMT anticipates a slight rise in commercial vehicle registrations in this last quarter of 2011 as owners and operators buy-into more efficient, compliant vehicles. The CV market has been strong all year and is up 20% for the year-to-date. It’s clear that those businesses and individuals running vans and trucks in the capital have already begun to renew their vehicles and we’ll be watching with interest how the market performs over the next few months.”
Transport for London provides further details and guidance on the London Low Emission Zone, the vehicles affected and options open to commercial vehicle operators at its website http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/lez/default.aspx
See electric vehicles for London
21.11.2011Diesel-hybrid cars to have lower BIK tax
Diesel-electric hybrid cars will not incur the 3% benefit-in-kind surcharge that applies to conventional diesel-powered cars.
Diesel-electric hybrids have now been incorporated in the type A tax band rather than the previous type D, which covers diesels but attracts a 3% levy on the Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax payment. This is likely to translate to a considerable saving for company car drivers, depending on the price of the vehicle.
The new ruling is because the extra 3% applies only to diesel cars, and a car with a hybrid system is no longer just a diesel. The new diesel hybrid tax clarification has come from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
This means that cars such as the world’s first diesel-electric hybrid, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, will benefit from a 10% threshold for personal BIK taxation rather than a 13% rate. This will also apply to forthcoming diesel-electric cars such as the Peugeot 508 Saloon and 508 RXH HYbrid4 – as well as Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 models.
For a company car driver, a vehicle such as the Peugeot HYbrid4 means low BIK, and for the company it means lower Employer National Insurance contributions, as well as an allowance for the company to offset 100% of the list price, in the first year, against its taxable profits.
The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, to be launched in 2012, will also benefit from the same rate. This means very low company car tax for vehicles that have low emissions yet high performance – 49 g/km CO2 and 285 hp in the case of the Volvo V60.
18.11.2011BMW i at the Tokyo Motor Show
The plug-in hybrid BMW i8 Concept will be capable of 0-62 mph in less than 5 seconds as well as 94 mpg and it will be on display with the all-electric BMW i3 Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show.
The electric BMW i3 Concept is a vehicle designed for urban areas. The BMW i3’s innovative LifeDrive architecture makes the Concept light, safe, spacious and dynamic. Innovative use of materials and intelligent lightweight design enable the i3 Concept to travel long distances on a single charge and provide superb safety in the event of a collision, and they also help give the car its excellent driving dynamics.
The electric motor over the rear axle generates output of 125 kW/170 hp and torque of 250 Nm from a standstill. The i3 also has a small turning circle. The BMW i3 Concept accelerates from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than eight seconds.
The so-called Life module conjures up a feeling of space inside the car, with four seats, wide-opening opposing "coach" doors, a boot capacity of around 200 litres and an additional functional compartment in the front.
Innovative connectivity functions create a connection between the BMW i3 Concept and its customers' lives outside the car. Remote functions accessible via a smartphone enable owners to find their vehicles, flag up nearby charging stations, allow battery charging and preconditioning at the touch of a button, and supply information on the current status of the vehicle. Meanwhile, intelligent assistance systems ease the stress on drivers in monotonous city driving situations and allow them to arrive at their destination more safely and in a more relaxed state of mind.
The BMW i8 Concept has an innovative plug-in hybrid concept combining the modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept - fitted over its front axle - with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Working in tandem they deliver the performance of a sports car but the fuel consumption of a small car.
Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three litres per 100 kilometres (approximately 94 mpg) are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance. Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 20 miles on electric power alone. Added to which, the 2+2-seater offers enough space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday practicality.
The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept has been carefully adapted to enhance the vehicle's sports car character, and therefore to deliver excellent performance and driving dynamics. The motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear are connected by an "energy tunnel", which houses the high-voltage battery. This gives the car a low centre of gravity - and the dynamic benefits that come with it. The positioning of the electric motor and engine over their respective axles and the space-saving and well-balanced packaging of all components result in an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.
An additional range of mobility services - which can also be used independently of the cars - will be an integral component of BMW i alongside the vehicles themselves. A totally new development in this area will be vehicle-independent mobility services. Here the focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning and premium car-sharing. In addition to service packages developed in-house, the BMW Group is pursuing co-operations with partner companies as well as strategic capital investments with providers of mobility services. BMW i Ventures was established with this purpose in mind. The company aims to expand the product portfolio of BMW i over the long term with stakes in highly innovative service providers, such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse.
Read our BMW i feature
17.11.2011Fisker Karma achieves 135 mpg
The Fisker Karma electric vehicle with extended range has achieved 135 mpg combined fuel economy while emitting just 51 g/km of CO2, as well as an all-electric range of 51.6 miles.
This is according to independent testing by the Technischer Üeberwachungs Verein (TÜV), Europe’s recognised automotive certification agency.
The Karma is a 400-horsepower luxury saloon that can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.
These figures are possible due to the Karma’s cutting-edge EVer (Electric Vehicle extended range) powertrain technology, which combines the zero-emissions and efficiency of electric drive with the range and freedom of petrol-powered cars.
Technically a series plug-in hybrid, the Karma gives drivers the ability to run emission-free on demand, as well as travelling long distances without the range anxiety or long recharge times associated with pure-electric vehicles.
While the Karma can run on all-electric power in Stealth mode for 51.6 miles, it has a total range of 300 miles before a stop for petrol or recharge is required. When driven in charge-sustaining Sport mode the Karma achieved 31 mpg combined fuel economy in TÜV tests.
The Fisker Karma also looks fantastic.
16.11.2011Honda Jazz EV
Honda has unveiled the all-new 2013 Jazz EV (known as the Honda Fit in America) EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show and announced plans to begin leasing the battery electric commuter vehicle in the US in summer 2012.
The introduction of the Jazz EV to Europe has yet to be confirmed.
It will have a range of 123 city-miles per charge or 76 mile range combined adjusted city/highway, according to American cycles.
The Jazz EV is based on the Jazz and is a part of Honda’s diverse portfolio of alternative fuel vehicles that includespetrol-electric hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell-electric and natural gas-powered models.
American Honda will begin leasing the Jazz EV to customers in select California and Oregon markets next summer, and will expand to six East Coast markets in early 2013.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Pricein America is $38,675 with an estimated lease priced at $399 a month. Honda will monitor market acceptance, but expects volume at this early stage of production to be approximately 1,100 Jazz EVs over the next three years.
The Jazz EV is designed to meet the needs of an average urban commuter, offering an estimated driving range of 123-miles on a single charge using the US EPA city cycle test methods (Honda anticipates a combined city/highway EV range of 76 miles on the new Fuel Economy labels).
The Jazz EV will be powered by a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 92 kilowatt coaxial electric motor. The high-density electric motor, derived from the motor used in the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, delivers excellent efficiency and power while remaining quiet at high speeds.
Driving range of the Jazz EV can be maximised by using several innovative features, including a 3-mode electric drive system, adapted from the Honda CR-Z Hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal and Sport to change the driving experience to maximise efficiency or improve acceleration. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17 per cent compared to driving in Normal mode. Acceleration improves significantly when in Sport mode.
In addition to the 3-mode driving system, the Jazz EV includes interactive coaching features designed to assist the driver in maximising battery performance and driving range. The power meter alerts the driver to optimal driving conditions. Additional energy-saving features include a highly efficient electric air conditioning system and new regenerative braking system.
The 6.6 kW, onboard 32 amp charger allows for convenient recharging of the Jazz EV. With a 240-volt charger, the Jazz EV can fully recharge in as little as three hours. At launch timing, Honda will have a preferred Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) charging supplier.
To help the driver manage the electric vehicle ownership experience, the Jazz EV will have a standard telematics system that allows the driver to stay connected through a smartphone, personal computer or interactive remote. Through the Jazz EV smartphone and computer applications, the driver can remotely view the vehicle’s state of charge, initiate charging and activate the air conditioning and heater, to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid which maximises battery range on start-up. The mobile application and website also offers the ability to set charging notifications and alerts to optimise charging times based on varying utility rates and provides access to 24-hour roadside assistance.
The Jazz EV will come equipped with a standard Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System that provides the ability to locate public charging stations and frequently updated traffic information.
The interactive remote allows the driver to monitor the vehicles state of charge and cabin temperature. Additionally, the driver can initiate and terminate charging and remotely turn on the air conditioning using the interactive remote. The interactive remote does not require an internet or mobile connection to operate however the driver must be within 100 feet (30 metres) of the vehicle.
15.11.2011Businesses in Camden offered electric vehicle trials
Businesses in Camden have been offered free trials of electric vehicles to see if they make sense for their company, and the initiative has been launched by comedienne and Camden resident Victoria Wood.
In partnership with electric vehicle manufacturers, Camden Council is offering local businesses free two-week electric vehicle trials to encourage more companies to consider zero emission cars or vans.
One of the main barriers to the uptake of EVs is a lack of willingness to invest in new technologies without seeing the benefits first hand. The trials give businesses the chance to find out for themselves that electric vehicles are ideal for inner London.
To launch the project for Camden, comedienne and Camden resident Victoria Wood tested out an electric Nissan LEAF. Meanwhile other Camden celebrities - author Ben Elton and actor Derek Jacobi – have also shown their support for the trials.
Following her trial Victoria Wood said: “Electric cars are a great idea and I was really interested to see what it would be like to drive, especially as I have started to recognise what a problem air quality in London can be. Going electric took a bit of getting used to as it was completely silent, but overall the electric car was really nice to drive. It quickly felt just like a real car as I nipped about and it is so much better for the environment and improving air quality.”
Ben Elton said: "I often notice the polluted air in central London and think that schemes like this - which help to encourage businesses to adopt new cleaner and greener vehicles - are a really fantastic way to make London a nicer and healthier place to live. Electric vehicles make so much sense in London, with zero tailpipe emissions and being easy to drive, before long they're going to make other cars look really old fashioned."
Derek Jacobi said: "It's great that Camden is working in partnership with these manufacturers to help local businesses try cleaner and greener vehicles for themselves. It sounds like a really innovative and exciting project which will help to make London's air much healthier and more pleasant."
Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Transport Cllr Birch, said: “Electric cars are a very important and practical way to improve air quality. Camden is the perfect location for electric car use and we want to get as many businesses as possible to take up electric, reduce the use of polluting petrol and diesel and protect the environment for us and future generations.”
Benefits of electric cars include:
• electric vehicles produce no air pollutants and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions
• they are extremely easy to drive
• they are quiet
• they are exempt from the London Congestion Charge and they provide tax breaks for company car drivers
• they are exempt from road tax
• electric vehicles qualify for a 100% first-year capital allowance
• they have extremely low running costs and they often benefit from reduced parking charges
• there is also a £5000 government incentive available
To book a trial call 0207 974 2260 or email email@example.com
15.11.2011LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards winners
The LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards winners were revealed at an event in Westminster last night.
The awards recognise best practice in key areas from vehicle manufacturing and fleet operation to the development of products and services that reduce greenhouse gases from road transport operations.
The winners were announced at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) Gala Reception, held at One Birdcage Walk, Westminster, at an event held in association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The Awards presentation was preceded by a keynote speech from Tony Juniper, independent environmental adviser and writer and former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth. Tony Juniper emphasised the importance of leadership in the face of the climate challenge. He said: “It’s all too easy to take a back-seat on this agenda. We need much more leadership. The winners of these LowCVP Awards have demonstrated leadership in their various fields; we need more individuals and organisations like them.”
The Awards are accredited by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) which means they meet a robust set of criteria and by doing so demonstrate high quality and validity.
In a rigorous judging process – involving 28 senior individuals from across the range of organisations with a stake in this agenda - a total of 44 companies and organisations made the Awards shortlist.
The winner of the prestigious overall award was Nissan GB. In making the award the judges said that Nissan has been at the forefront of EV and battery technology development and its efforts have culminated in the launch of the ground-breaking fully electric Nissan LEAF in March 2011.
Individual Awards were presented to Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000) and to Richard Parry-Jones, Industry Chair of the Automotive Council, who spent 38 years at Ford Motor Company.
Other Low Carbon Champions winners were Coca Cola Enterprises Limited, Gasrec, WhipCar, Iveco, Flybrid Systems LLP, Element Energy and Stagecoach Group.
Winners for the LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards 2011:
Low Carbon Car / Van Manufacturer of the Year
For the company that has done the most to develop or supply the market for lower carbon cars or components that significantly improve vehicle efficiency or reduce carbon emissions.
Winner: Nissan GB
About the winner: Nissan has been at the forefront of EV and battery technology development culminating with the launch of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF in March 2011. Nissan is committed to working with partners to provide a strong charging, sales and service infrastructure to help consumers and corporate reduce their carbon footprint.
Runner-up: Ford Motor Company
Highly commended: Renault UK
Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicle Manufacturer of the Year
For the company that has done the most in the last year to develop or supply the market with lower carbon vehicles or components that significantly improve vehicle efficiency or reduce carbon emissions.
Winner: Iveco UK Ltd
About the winner: Iveco offers the most extensive range of low carbon commercial vehicles available in Europe. Its natural gas-powered range spans the complete 3.5 to 32 tonne sector with vehicles available in van, chassis, crew cab and articulated configurations. It also includes the cleanest and greenest heavy truck available in the UK and makes an innovative electric-powered light commercial range from 3.5 to 5.2 tonnes. During recent years Iveco has continued to add to its low carbon range with the launch of the ECOStralis tractor range.
Joint runner-up: Hardstaff Group, Leyland Trucks
Highly commended: Volvo Group
Low Carbon Vehicle Operator of the Year
For the company or organisation that has most effectively reduced emissions from vehicles it operates or leases. This may be through the use of new lower carbon technology, fuel and /or driving techniques or through new business processes.
Winner: Stagecoach Group
About the winner: International transport company Stagecoach Group is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its bus and rail services across the UK and North America. The Group has in place a comprehensive Sustainability Strategy and has implemented a number of measures to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment.
Runner-up: Transport for London
Highly commended: University of Warwick
Low Carbon Fuel Initiative of the Year
For the company or organisation that has done the most to bring forward lower carbon sustainable fuel technology or the supply of sustainable low carbon fuels into the market.
Joint-winner: Coca Cola Enterprises Ltd, Gasrec
About the winners: Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE) has embedded corporate responsibility and sustainability into its daily business activities.
Gasrec’s innovative biomethane vehicle project has rigorously evaluated climate change, air quality and noise benefits, culminating in an investment in excess of >£1.5m in gas powered vehicles for CCE’s North London operation.
Gasrec produces Liquid Biomethane from waste gas which is 70% lower in CO2 than diesel. 2010 was Gasrec’s breakthrough year with the fuel now widely adopted by companies such as Tesco, Sainsbury and Coca Cola. The fuel has also been chosen by UPS the logistics operator for the Olympics as its low carbon fuel for the Games.
Highly commended: Greenergy Ltd
2011 Award for Low Carbon Innovation by an SME
For the company providing the most promising technology that can reduce vehicle carbon emissions through any means. This includes technologies that enable other technologies to be more effective.
Winner: Flybrid Systems LLP
About the winner: The CFT KERS device from Flybrid Systems is a low cost mechanical hybrid system that uses an innovative clutch-based transmission to transfer energy in and out of a small high-speed rotating flywheel. The product promises up to 20% emissions reduction for a much lower cost than electric hybrid systems.
Joint runner-up: Delta Motorsport, Ashwoods Automotive
Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year
For the most successful programme or campaign designed to reduce road transport carbon emissions. This could be through stimulating the market for lower carbon vehicles or fuels; uptake of more efficient fleet management or driving practices by others (transport operators can enter another award); or, promotion of public transport, walking, cycling or any other approach to reduce vehicle use. The award is open to both publicly and privately funded programmes.
Winner: WhipCar Ltd
About the winner: WhipCar is the world's first peer-to-peer car club. Its service enables car owners to rent out their vehicles for money whenever they are not using them. Nearby drivers are given able to access these cars - replacing the need to buy their own. WhipCar is free to join and deals with practical issues from insurance and breakdown cover to bookings, payments and alerts.
Runner-up: Campaign for Better Transport
Highly commended: Gateshead College
2011 Outstanding Low Carbon Publication or Report
For the report/publication that has either most effectively enhanced understanding of the challenges and solutions to reducing road transport emissions; or has most effectively encouraged behaviours that lower road transport carbon emissions.
Winner: Element Energy - Influence on the Low Carbon Car Market from 2020-2030
About the winner: This study, by Element Energy, examined the long term costs of low carbon vehicles from 2020 to 2030, using the very latest data on technology costs from vehicle manufacturers. Launched to coincide with the Low Carbon Vehicle Expo, the work has since been reported in over 60 articles across 17 countries.
Highly commended: Ricardo UK Ltd
There were also two special awards:
Outstanding Individual in Promoting Low Carbon Transport
For the individual(s) that have contributed the most to reducing road transport carbon emissions.
Joint winner: Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport; Richard Parry-Jones, Industry Chair, Automotive Council
Outstanding Achievement in Low Carbon Transport
For the entry that the judging panel considers to be the overall outstanding achievement across the full range of activities to encourage the shift to decarbonised transport.
Winner: Nissan GB
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 is a partnership of around 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.
Read our review of the LowCVP Conference 'Moving to a life cycle assessement of vehicle emissions' that took place prior to the awards ceremony.
15.11.2011Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show
There will be the world premiere of the Toyota FCV-R (Fuel Cell Vehicle – Reality & Revolution) concept and theFT-EV III (Future Toyota – Electric Vehicle III) concept at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
Based on the Toyota iQ, the FT-EV III (Future Toyota – Electric Vehicle III) is a 4-seater electric vehicle concept suitable for short-distance trips.
Toyota is developing EV technology with the aim of launching a vehicle suitable for short-distance travel in 2012. Equipped with a lithium-ion battery, the FT-EV III achieves an estimated cruising range of 65 miles on a fully charged battery (under the Japanese JC08 test cycle).
The FCV-R (Fuel Cell Vehicle – Reality & Revolution) concept is a practical, family-sized vehicle fuelled by hydrogen. This concept model represents the next step towards the commercial launch of a Toyota fuel cell vehicle by 2015.
With the fuel-cell unit located beneath the specially designed bodyshell, the vehicle can accommodate up to four passengers and boasts impressive luggage space. The fuel cell stack, with a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank, has been improved to provide a cruising distance of approximately 430 miles (under the Japanese JC08 test cycle).
15.11.2011Nissan at the Tokyo Motor Show
Nissan’s display at the Tokyo Show will include three concept electric vehicles: the ESFLOW, a pure EV sports car; the TOWNPOD, an EV for business or leisure; and the PIVO 3, an urban EV.
• World debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011.
• Pure EV sports car concept uses technology pioneered in Nissan LEAF.
• Rear-wheel drive two-seater configuration.
• Two independently controlled mid-mounted electric motors, each driving a rear wheel, with active optimisation of vehicle dynamics and driving feel to suit individual preferences and road characteristics.
• Laminated lithium-ion batteries mounting position engineered for ideal front-to-rear balance.
• Styling with wrap-around windscreen for enhanced visibility over low bonnet, made possible by EV package.
• 0-62 mph in under five seconds.
• Over 150 mile cruising range on one charge (US LA4 mode).
• Unveiled at the Paris Auto Show in September 2010.
• Vehicle flexibly adapts to user needs.
• Exterior combines coupe and roomy van design elements.
• Rear cargo space designed to be functional
• Three split doors and a split open sunroof
• Touch-screen display links to driver’s smartphone.
• Zero emission mobility.
• Automated Valet Parking (AVP) enables PIVO 3 to automatically drive, locate a parking space and park without driver assistance. It can also charge itself and return to its driver at the AVP exit when called by smartphone.
• Compact 3-seater body under 3 metre-long, narrow-tread rear tyres and in-wheel motors with wide steering angle allows PIVO 3 to make a U-turn on a road only four metres wide. The PIVO 3 has zero turn gap, so if the front wheels can make the turn, the rear wheels will follow without scraping the body side.
• Central driving position.
NSH-2012 Smart House of the Future
Nissan will display its Smart House "NSH-2012", an implementation of the “LEAF to Home” (V2H) electric supply system, which uses power stored in Nissan LEAF's batteries. The Smart House combines solar panels, fuel cells and Nissan LEAF's batteries to maintain a steady power supply to the home, independent of weather conditions. Even during a power outage in a disaster, solar power and Nissan LEAF batteries can continue to supply the home with electricity.
15.11.2011Honda at the Tokyo Motor Show
Honda has announced a range of green concepts for the Tokyo Motor Show, including a Small Sports EV Concept, a plug-in hybrid and an electric city commuter vehicle.
The Small Sports EV Concept is a next-generation compact EV sports model that Honda claims will be fun to drive while achieving excellent environmental performance.
The AC-X is described as a plug-in hybrid vehicle offering urban or long-distance motoring with the choices of an “engine drive mode” for more spirited driving or an “automatic drive mode” for more relaxed driving.
The Micro Commuter Concept is a micro-sized, futuristic, electric city commuter vehicle which Honda says will become a highly accessible form of mobility. It also features a Honda Motor Compo two-wheel EV fitted inside this vehicle. This is a compact EV commuter which offers the mobility of a two-wheeler, but also strives to be useful even when it’s not being ridden, by allowing its detachable battery to be used as a power source in everyday life.
Honda will also be showing its E-Canopy, a commuter developed by installing an EV system on Honda’s unique three-wheeled scooter. This vehicle can be utilised for business use such as a delivery service by adopting a rear storage compartment.
There will also be the RC-E, an EV version of a super sports bike with a 250cc-class compact body.
The company will also showcase the Honda FCX Clarity advanced fuel cell electric vehicle, the EV-neo electric scooter, an EV-MONPAL electric cart, as well as the Honda Smart Home System which features several Honda-developed energy production technologies, including a gas engine cogeneration unit and a solar powered system to reduce household and mobility CO2 emissions. The progress Honda has been making in its testing programme of these technologies also will be showcased.
The Tokyo Motor Show will take place at Tokyo Big Sight from Saturday 3 December to Sunday 11 December 2011.
Read our Honda CR-Z road test
15.11.2011Mitsubishi at the Tokyo Motor Show
The Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV II plug-in hybrid will make its world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Also on the Mitsubishi stand will be the Mitsubishi Mirage compact car, the MINICAB-MiEV light commercial electric vehicle due to be released in the Japanese market in December this year, and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle (EV) which is currently on sale in countries all over the world including in Europe, and is to be rolled out in the United States by the end of this year.
Alongside these will be the RVR compact SUV (Mitsubishi ASX in the UK market) powered by a new MIVEC engine that incorporates Mitsubishi’s Auto Stop & Go (AS&G) idle-stop technology, and the Pajero (Shogun in the UK market) SUV powered by a “clean diesel” engine.
The Mitsubishi stand will also feature the MiEV House, a concept of a “smart house” that tackles energy and global warming by managing energy usage between the home itself, “smart appliances,” EVs/plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), and “smart grids” all at the same time through HEMS (Home Energy Management System) and MMC’s own EIS (Electric Vehicle Integration System).
HEMS makes life more comfortable for people living in homes by continually monitoring power available to power being used and optimising both so that effects of energy shortages and energy costs can be reduced. Connected to a “smart home” with HEMS, EIS constantly monitors EV/PHEV battery usage and efficiency (which varies on how the EV/PHEV is driven), feeds this information to HEMS, which then optimises charging from the house so that the EV/PHEV always has enough energy in it.
In addition to the MiEV House will be the MiEV Café, a relaxation space powered by the battery of an electric vehicle parked right beside it. The electric vehicle will power the MiEV Café through a new heavy-duty power supply device (also on display) that enables the supply of up to 1500W from EV and PHEV batteries. The heavy-duty power supply device is to go on sale in Japan in the next few months.
The Mitsubishi Mirage’s design is focused on compactness, affordability, and high fuel efficiency in order to fit the needs of emerging markets as an affordable entry-level model, as well as needs of advanced markets for fuel efficiency and low-CO2 emissions. In addition, the Mirage features good maneuverability and easy drivability inherent to a compact car while also providing a comfortable interior space for five adults.
MMC has targeted top-of-class fuel efficiency (Japan market version) of 30km per litre through a variety of measures including reduction in weight throughout almost every part of the car, reduction in rolling resistance and higher efficiency through detailed improvements to the engine, transmission, brakes and tyres, and an aerodynamic body that reduces air resistance and drag. The new Mirage is due to go on sale first in Thailand in March 2012.
The Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV II is Mitsubishi Motors’ idea for a mid-size plug-in hybrid PHEV model that offers a long cruising range demanded by mid-size (and larger) vehicles. The Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV II contains a state-of-the-art drivetrain derived from MMC’s already existing EV technology that delivers the environmental performance and quietness inherent to an EV in an SUV package that provides more comfortable motoring and allows for higher utility outside of a city commuter.
MMC’s unique plug-in hybrid system fuses EV technology derived from the Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a small conventional engine that features MMC’s latest fuel and environmental efficiency technologies. This combination provides a combined fuel efficiency of more than 60 km per litre while maintaining a cruising range on a par with conventional engine-driven vehicles (over 800 km).
MMC’s plug-in hybrid system uses high-capacity batteries that allow the vehicle to cover over 50 km in all-electric mode alone, allowing it to be driven solely as an EV for most everyday situations. Depending on power consumption and remaining battery charge the system will start the engine automatically as a generator, and the engine can also be used to help drive the wheels if necessary. In addition, with the push of a button, the driver has the freedom to select Battery Drive Mode when he/she wishes to drive quietly and emissions-free (at sufficient battery levels) in residential areas or the countryside using pure EV power. At the same time, the driver can also switch to Battery Charge Mode while on the move, controlling use of battery power and using the engine as a generator to charge the batteries.
A socket fitted to the vehicle allows the electricity stored in the drive batteries to be used to power electric appliances when camping or in other outdoor pursuits, or to provide an emergency power source. In addition, the quick-charge port is vehicle-to-home (V2H) compatible.
Another feature of the Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV II is its drivetrain which uses a newly developed twin-motor four-wheel-drive system mated to Mitsubishi’s S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) advanced traction control system based on the four-wheel drive technology developed in the Lancer Evolution X models.
The Mitsubishi Concept PX-MiEV Ⅱ provides 100% instant off-the-line torque inherent to electric motors, giving it acceleration comparable to that of a 3.0-litre V6 engine.
Mitsubishi ASX road test
15.11.2011Suzuki at the Tokyo Motor Show
The Suzuki stand at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will include a number of green exhibits including the REGINA - a next-generation global compact car with excellent fuel efficiency and low emissions thanks to light weight and good aerodynamics.
The REGINA weighs just 730kg and has a drag coefficient at least 10% lower than that of current models. As a result, it has fuel economy of at least 32 km/L (measured in the JC08 test cycle) and CO2 emissions as low as 70 g/km (measured in the New European Driving Cycle) using a petrol engine.
Suzuki will also show the Q-concept, which is describes as two-seat micro mobility for everyday life. The Q-concept is an entirely new kind of mobility — one that’s positioned between conventional motorcycles and cars. With a 2.5-metre overall length and two seats in tandem configuration, it’s ideal for everyday journeys within a radius of about 10km.
In cities, the Q-concept is more practical than a car as it’s more manoeuvrable and takes up much less parking space. At the same time, a cabin makes it a more attractive, more comfortable option than a motorcycle.
Other Q-concept configurations are possible. For instance, the Q-concept can have a single seat for a parent at the front and a two-person child seat at the rear, or it can be configured as a delivery vehicle with a single seat at the front and a cargo area at the rear. So it offers new possibilities for people who live in towns where businesses, schools, hospitals and other essential facilities are all in relatively compact areas.
The Suzuki Swift EV Hybrid will also be on the stand: a compact electric vehicle with an engine-driven generator. A compact vehicle such as the Suzuki Swift is typically driven 20−30 km per day in Japan. The Swift EV Hybrid can cover such distances on battery power alone. And it can extend its range using an engine-driven generator.
Compared with an electric vehicle that depends entirely on battery power, the Swift EV Hybrid has a smaller battery that's quicker to charge, weighs less, uses fewer resources, and costs less.
The 42nd Tokyo Motor Show will take place from 2 to 11 December 2011 at the Tokyo International Exhibition Centre.
14.11.2011Audi A1 e-tron
Trials have now begun of the electric Audi A1 e-tron, an electric car with a range-extender engine, capable of fuel economy of 148 mpg.
The Audi A1 e-tron is a range-extender electric car with an output of 102 PS and a top speed of 81 mph. If the battery runs low on charge, a compact combustion engine – the range extender – recharges it as needed to boost the vehicle’s operating range to as much as 155 miles. This compact electric car is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 31 miles of a trip – in city traffic, for instance. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle. The four-seat A1 e-tron was designed for daily driving in metropolitan areas. It offers ‘fuel economy’ of up to 148.7 mpg, for a CO2 equivalent of just 45 g/km (calculated as per the proposed standard for determining the fuel efficiency of vehicles with range extenders).
Twenty A1 e-trons are now on the streets of Munich as part of an extensive pilot trial and data capture exercise. The fleet trial project has been initiated by Audi, the power company E.ON, the public utility Stadtwerke München (SWM) and Technische Universität München (TUM), to see how electric power integrates into day-to-day motoring, and to identify how the existing transport and communications infrastructure might need to adapt to support this.
E.ON and SWM are responsible for expanding and maintaining the charging infrastructure in the Munich metropolitan area, and have already installed a demand-oriented charging network there - SWM within the Bavarian capital’s city limits and E.ON primarily in outlying areas. All the electric ‘fuelling stations’ offer power generated via renewable energies.
This trial is part of a project referred to as "Electric Mobility in Munich as a Pilot Region", sponsored by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. The Ministry is providing the region with some ten million euros for electric mobility. This project will address a number of issues, ranging from the power grid itself to data transfer between drivers, vehicles, and electric fuelling stations. For example, the use of a smartphone as a driver’s main interface will be examined.
E.ON has already developed commercially viable charging solutions for various scenarios. For example, it offers a package to private individuals in Germany that comprises renewable ‘green power’ and a charging box for use with electric vehicles at home. This is available subject to a safety inspection by E.ON of each customer’s electrical equipment to ensure that it can withstand the heavy loads associated with recharging an electric vehicle for hours.
E.ON also supplies charging stations open to the general public – primarily commercial customers. At these stations, two electric cars can recharge their batteries at the same time via different charging points. Magnetic-stripe cards grant drivers access. Both types of electric fuelling stations are being used in the Munich fleet trial. In addition, E.ON is focusing on direct-current (DC) fast charging as well as cable-free charging.
During the project, TUM is collecting and analysing data on mobility, concentrating specifically on the situations in which people drive electric cars, the degree to which they drive them and how this technology will influence the use of other means of transportation. To answer these questions, the departments of Automotive Engineering and of Ergonomics have developed a mobile application that all fleet-trial participants can use on their smartphones. These devices will thoroughly document participants’ mobility behaviour, taking into account everything from electric cars and combustion-engine passenger vehicles right through to buses, trains and bicycles. At the same time, the Department of Services Marketing is conducting a study to ascertain suitable models for billing electric-mobility customers.
14.11.2011SEAT Altea XL Electric and Leon TwinDrive plug-in hybrid
SEAT has unveiled a prototype electric car, the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive, and a prototype plug-in hybrid, the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive. However it will be 2015, ie. four years from now, before both are in production.
Over the next few months the Spanish car maker will make both models available to government institutions in Catalonia and Madrid for use in their vehicle fleets. This will provide SEAT with valuable information on use of the cars for assessment with a view to mass production of electric vehicles in the medium-term.
SEAT envisages the launch of its first electric plug-in hybrid car in 2015, to be followed a year later by an all-electric vehicle. SEAT’s strategy is to commit to a wide range of alternative technologies – which is why the company says it is unveiling two different but complementary models at the same time.
The announcement of the launch of the first electric vehicles coincides with the start of the biggest new product offensive SEAT has known; the company will launch four new models over the next 12 months, the first being SEAT’s version of the Volkswagen Up! – the Mii.
SEAT – the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain – is heading the CENIT VERDE project. This public-private-partnership between manufacturers, universities, research centres and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation is taking a holistic research approach to making the electric vehicle a reality in Spain.
The Altea XL Electric Ecomotive has a powertrain producing 115 hp (85 kW) and 270 Nm of torque. This translates into a limited top speed of 135 kph.
By location of the batteries under the rear seats and the boot, there is no intrusion into the passenger compartment. A regeneration system with adjustable braking torque optimises energy use. And when the electric Altea XL is parked in the sun, rooftop photovoltaic cells recirculate fresh air inside the passenger compartment, reducing the energy needed afterwards by the climate control system.
The new SEAT Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive, in full electric mode, has a range of 52 kilometres, with a top speed of 120 kph. In combined mode (electrical plus combustion) the consumption forecast is only 1.7 litres of fuel and 18.5 kWh per 100 kms, the equivalent of 39 g/km of CO2, with a top speed of 170 kph.
SEAT has the largest rooftop photovoltaic facility in Spain, and the biggest of its kind in the European automotive industry.
Next year, with connection of the final stage, will see installed power taken to 10.6 MW – meaning that SEAT’s CO2emissions will be reduced by 6,200 tonnes per year.
11.11.2011National Chargepoint Registry
The government is to create a National Chargepoint Registry, mapping the locations of charging points for electric vehicles.
The Registry, to be developed by POD Point – a UK-based chargepoint manufacturer - will be a publicly-accessible database of chargepoints across the UK. Alongside this, a new system – the Central Whitelist - will be created to make it easier for motorists to access each chargepoint without having to sign up to new schemes each time they charge in a different location.
POD Point will be hosting the data on a server, and is creating systems that will allow plug-in vehicle recharging schemes to easily upload and download information. They will also place data from the National Chargepoint Registry on data.gov.uk and will create a system that allows real time interrogation of this data by mobile devices such as mobile phones and in car navigation systems.
The Central Whitelist will be a registry of membership card information for different recharging membership schemes (e.g. for regional schemes such as the Plugged-In Places). The registry will make it easier for card holders to access chargepoints across the country, and potentially internationally, without having to sign up to new schemes each time they charge in a different location (provided the schemes in question have developed the necessary commercial arrangements).
Both systems are due to go live early next year. The project will develop and deploy the National Chargepoint Registry and Central Whitelist for a period of approximately 24 months after which it is expected that responsibility for the system will transfer over to the Plug-in Vehicle infrastructure industry.
The Government has a £30m fund to kick-start installation of recharging points in 8 areas across the country. The Plugged-In Places projects are installing infrastructure in London, Milton Keynes, North East England, the Midlands, Greater Manchester, the East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Government has made provision of over £400m to promote the uptake of ultra-low carbon vehicle technologies. This includes approximately £80m supporting research and development activities; £30m for the installation of infrastructure; and, subject to review, provision of around £300m to support consumer incentives for the life of the Parliament.
Norman Baker said: “We know there is public appetite out there for plug-in vehicles and as government we’re doing everything possible to make them a real option for both motorists and industry.
“This Registry will get us away from the mindset of; will I, won’t I get there? And I’m sure that public and private chargepoint owners alike will get behind the initiative because the more information we have up there the more motorists will be encouraged to make the switch to electric.
“The Central Whitelist offers charging scheme operators a really straightforward way to share membership card details – it will enable their members to access chargepoints outside their ‘home’ charging scheme. This freedom to roam between charging schemes is a very important step forward for the plug-in vehicle market.
“There is no doubt that low-carbon vehicles are here to stay, we will continue to work with industry to create a world-leading charging network that really reflects the needs of its users.”
Mark Prisk said: "The National Chargepoint Registry delivers our commitment to make it easier for motorists considering ultra low carbon cars to access charge points and so encourage their take-up.
“This is a real opportunity for companies to use the data in innovative ways while meeting consumer demand for information which will help them get to their destinations.”
The Registry will allow businesses to innovate and provide products, such as satnav and mobile apps, for plug-in vehicle owners to access. Motorists will then know where and how they can charge along their journey, so addressing concerns about the range of vehicles and the new ‘Central Whitelist’ will increase people’s charging options – enabling members of a particular charging scheme (e.g. the Source East) to easily access chargepoints in other areas of the country (e.g. the Midlands) .
Flora Heathcote, Commercial Director POD Point said; “Whilst we are perhaps best known as a charge point manufacturer, half our business is actually software development. We were the first company to introduce networked charge points to the UK, and currently run several of the charge point networks across the UK.
“We are delighted to be selected by OLEV to create the central charge point network, and believe this cements our position as the leading developer of charge point management systems in Europe.”
See the latest electric cars in the following features:
10.11.2011Global oil demand may peak before 2020
Research by Ricardo challenges the concept that ‘Peak Oil’ will be a supply side phenomenon; instead, demand for oil may well peak before 2020, falling back to levels significantly below 2010 demand by 2035.
This multi-client research study conducted by Ricardo Strategic Consulting was launched in June 2011 in association with Kevin J. Lindemer LLC, and involved participation of some of the world’s leading energy and technology companies and organisations.
“The world is nearing a paradigm shift in oil demand,” explains Peter Hughes, managing director of the Energy Practice of Ricardo Strategic Consulting. “The predominant role of oil in the global energy mix is facing an ever greater challenge from a number of emerging trends. Over the past few years a near ‘perfect storm’ for oil demand has been forming and gathering strength, created by a preoccupation in many quarters about the availability of future supplies.
“As a result, the drivers working against oil demand growth are increasing in number and intensity, with the world’s consuming nations increasingly focussed on their need to reduce their dependency on oil, supported by an ever stronger legislative framework. In this study we have drawn upon our deep understanding of both the energy and automotive and transportation industries, to take a fresh and insightful look at how the future of oil demand may unfold. This work has provided some unique and potentially very provocative conclusions that will be of keen interest to governments, energy sector companies and investors, and to the sector’s major consumers in all parts of the world.”
Summary of key findings of the research project
The approaching peak in oil demand: The study findings suggest that there is a strong chance of oil demand reaching its peak before 2020, at no more than about 4 percent above 2010 levels, before falling into a long-term decline trend, with demand in 2035 back down to some 3 percent below 2010 levels. This would also involve significant changes in the geographic distribution of demand and the mix of refined products required by the market. After incorporating a greater take-up of first generation biofuels, demand for hydrocarbon oil by 2035 may actually be more than 10 percent below its 2010 level, and its share of global energy demand fallen below 25 percent (from circa 33 percent today).
Regional differences and legislation: Oil demand growth will have its limits in every country. Ricardo believes that there has been a general underestimation of the future impact of government policies to improve fuel efficiency and promote alternatives to oil. This will be the case everywhere, including, very importantly, in China, where although demand is projected to grow by nearly 60 percent in the meantime, the study assesses that a peak could be reached as early as 2027, before starting to fall back thereafter.
The effect of fuel-efficient technology: Evolutionary change in the automotive sector will bring about a revolutionary change in fuel demand. The transportation sector will continue to see significant growth in the vehicle fleet, increasing by over 80 percent from 2010 to 2035. However the results of a detailed modelling exercise drawing on Ricardo’s deep expertise in this field suggest that efficiency improvements in the internal combustion engine will more than offset the rise in fuel demand deriving from the increase in the number of vehicles. Although new technologies, such as the battery electric vehicle, will be introduced and will have an increasing impact over time, the projected reduction in road transport oil demand does not derive primarily from the rapid penetration of such technologies.
The impact of biofuels: When considering the outlook for biofuels, the study concludes that the food vs. fuel argument may be poorly supported; for much of the last three decades, the agricultural sector has been constrained more by under-investment than by supply. If crop yields increase at historic rates, there will be enough surplus conventional fuel crops to displace a significant amount of fossil fuels. And more than likely, the higher current selling prices will drive investment in production and research to further increase yields, making more sugar, starch and biomass available for conventional biofuels production. As a result, the study projects that the production of first generation biofuels may increase by 5-6 times over today’s levels, without allowing for any additional contribution from advanced biofuels, whose prospects remain uncertain.
Improved gas supply outlook decouples the oil and gas markets: Ricardo believes the improving supply outlook for natural gas, with the potential for the surge in shale gas production in North America to be replicated elsewhere over time, and a gradual introduction of a more competitive market pricing dynamic in world gas trade, is likely to drive an increasing disconnect of the gas price from the oil price, encouraging substitution of oil in both stationary and on-road transportation (i.e. natural gas vehicles) sectors.
Diesel and gasoline demand disparity: As regards the downward pressure on transportation fuels, the study assesses the impact as being far more pronounced in terms of gasoline demand than diesel, which will provide a supply side challenge to the world’s refining business. The industry may need to make significant investments to match production with demand, particularly to balance gasoline and distillate production.
9.11.2011Nissan to install 400 new quick charging stations for free
Nissan is accelerating plans for a European-wide Quick Charge (QC) network for electric vehicles by giving away 400 new quick charging stations free of charge.
These new points, which will be capable of charging to 80% in 30 minutes, will boost existing networks and give EV customers greater freedom and flexibility by effectively extending the range of their car.
Countries across Europe have been asked to pitch for a charging network and the best ‘bids’ will win an allocation of chargers. In the UK, Nissan has put in a bid for 65 chargers which would be strategically located at selected service stations along the motorway network, creating a ‘pathway’ on major routes across the UK.
Contact has already been made with the three largest motorway service station chains who have a total of 100 stations across the country.
In addition, Quick Chargers would be located in some city centres and other key locations such as airports.
Nissan currently has a network of 32 EV dealers, 26 of which already have a Quick Charger installed. The remaining six dealers will be the first in the UK to install these new smaller units, the total number of dealers with QCs is expected to be 150 by the end of 2012.
By recharging batteries in a fraction of the time, Nissan hopes that this will help drive more customers towards electric vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF. The lithium ion batteries in the Nissan LEAF can be recharged from 0 to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes using a quick charger.
Although a range between charges of up to 110 miles will be enough for most Nissan LEAF owners, the spread of Quick Charger networks will allow drivers to travel longer distances in a day. Recharging a Nissan LEAF with a quick charger takes a little longer than it takes to refuel a conventional car and is significantly cheaper.
The move follows an agreement between Nissan and five of Europe’s leading utility and EV infrastructure supply companies to speed up the provision of the latest quick chargers developed by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., which are cheaper – up to half the previous price – and smaller than before. The target is to have a network of quick charge stations across Europe with several thousand units in place by the end of 2012 and tens of thousands by 2015.
To kick-start this ambitious programme Nissan is now announcing it will give 400 units away to Zero Emissions Mobility partners and volunteering companies across Europe, all of which are enthusiastic backers of the company’s ambitious electro-mobility plans.
A selection process has already started and winners will be awarded chargers according to how they fulfill a strict list of criteria developed by Nissan. These include convenient and accessible charger location, installation starting February 2012 and free or discounted charging for all Nissan LEAF customers for at least one year.
The new quick chargers are engineered to the CHAdeMo standard and can deliver up to 50 kW of high voltage direct current (DC) electricity. The CHAdeMO – Charge to Move – standard was developed and agreed by a coalition of Japanese companies including Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries. Nissan’s QCs, therefore, can be used not just by drivers of Nissan LEAF but also by drivers of EVs from Mitsubishi, Citroen and Peugeot. The QC stations are also ‘AC ready’ to support the arrival of EVs from Alliance partner Renault designed to 43kW AC quick charge standards. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is promoting infrastructure deployment based on AC-DC Mix Quick Charger strategy.
The Nissan LEAF was the winner of both the European and World Car of the Year awards in 2011.
The family hatchback, which has been awarded a 5 Star safety rating by Euro NCAP, is powered by an in-house developed compact electric motor and inverter in the front of the car which drives the front wheels. The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 90 mph. It comes fully equipped with features such as climate control, satellite navigation, a colour rear parking camera, a quick charge socket and innovative smart-phone connectivity.
8.11.2011Mitsubishi i-MiEV now £239 per month
The all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which costs £24,045 after the UK government’s £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) and first registration fee, is now available for just £239 per month.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV was the first mass produced pure EV to enter the global stage and as such was also the first to the UK market back in 2009.
The EU specification model has been on sale since January 2011 to coincide with the UK government’s Plug-In Car Grant (PICG)
Since 1st January, nearly 170 vehicles have been operating on the UK’s roads driven by a whole host of different customers from private retail customers and corporate fleets to public sector organisations. Out of the sales thus far, contract hire and leasing customers are responsible for approximately 10%.
The i-MiEV costs £24,045 after the UK government’s Plug-In Car Grant (PICG) and first registration fee, and is now available for just £239 per month, (excluding VAT) based on a rental period of 60 months (five years).
For a rental period of 47 months the monthly price is £279, and for 35 months it’s £350.
In addition to the new contract hire and leasing rentals, both retail and business user customers can benefit from a 0% APR Finance option. This offer is available on both regulated and non-regulated finance plans, with and without final balloon payments.
A minimum post grant deposit is required on both plans. For retail customers, this type of proposition means that ownership passes upon signing the agreement and for business users, the vehicle is an asset on the balance sheet and lower monthly payments aid cash flow. For example, for the 47 month plan, the initial deposit is £5,871, with a final payment of £6,000 (excluding VAT).
Independent residual value advisors, CAP, have predicted the Mitsubishi i-MiEV will retain 43% of its on-the-road price after the £5,000 government incentive PICG and after three years and 30,000 miles - which is better than most combustion-engined rivals.
The ultra-low running costs of the i-MiEV are also a key advantage over other cars, with additional incentives including ‘fuelling’ for as little as £1.05 per full charge (if using Economy 7 tariff), low servicing costs and minimal downtime. The i-MiEV is also exempt from road tax, is free from the London Congestion Charge and is entitled to free parking in some London Boroughs and cities such as Milton Keynes.
Company car drivers will further benefit as the i-MiEV is not subject to Benefit-In-Kind tax. Furthermore, businesses will benefit as they can write-down the vehicle’s full value in the first 12 months.
7.11.2011Rally Car wins most economical hybrid award at RAC Future Car Challenge
The unique Oaktec Honda Insight hybrid rally car that caused a storm when it was considered too fast to compete in its rally championship won a race of a different kind this weekend.
The controversial eco-car took on the world’s leading green car manufacturers, specialist companies and celebrity drivers in the RAC Future Car Challenge, an energy efficiency competition where the competitors are measured on the amount of energy they use to complete a timed course between Brighton and London. The Oaktec car, developed by an innovation company based in Lancashire, took on all-comers in the hybrid electric vehicle class and recorded an amazing 93.8 mpg on its way to a clear-cut victory.
Green-Car-Guide.com has supported the Oaktec hybrid rally car project since its inception in 2006. Green-Car-Guide’s founder and editor, Paul Clarke, who also took part in the RAC Future Car Challenge, driving the electric BMW ActiveE, said: “I’m delighted that a car that wins rallies can also win an economy competition. It shows that efficiency can mean speed as well as high miles per gallon.”
The Challenge began early on Saturday morning on Brighton seafront and ran a tortuous route into central London, finishing with a parade and display on Regent Street, which was closed for the event. The Future Car Challenge runs back-to-back with the world famous London to Brighton veteran car run and attracted an estimated quarter of a million spectators.
The Oaktec team of development engineers, Paul Andrews and Jeremy Dale, were awarded their trophy at a gala dinner in front of an audience of competitors and celebrities in the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall. Yet they nearly didn’t make the start line after a series of pre-event problems with the car’s development battery system. Oaktec believes that if the batteries had been working as normal they would have scored an even better economy result on the event, of over 100 mpg.
The Insight hit the headlines earlier this year when it was asked to step down from the Formula 1000 Stage Rally Championship after dominating the first three rallies of the championship.
Oaktec partner and rally co-driver Bill Meeson explained, “The Insight had proven itself to be so quick in the rallies that we had some doubters as to its genuine low carbon capabilities. We entered this event confident that we could score a good result, but a clear-cut win against such strong competition was tremendously satisfying. Without the problems we should have broken the magic 100 mpg barrier on the event, but these issues are expected when exploring the boundaries of technology.”
Paul Andrews added, “We hope this success will make the industry stand up and take more notice of the capability of small research and development companies such as Oaktec. The key to this is that it is exactly the same energy recovery technology that enables us to win both rallies and fuel economy competitions. I think there was a danger of us being seen just as a novelty green motorsport team, but we are very serious about development of new relevant technologies that can create jobs and revenue for UK business, and reduce vehicle ownership costs and CO2 emissions.”
Oaktec believes it can develop a vehicle to target 200 mpg for the 2012 RAC Future Car Challenge.
See the Oaktec Honda Insight hybrid rally car at the 2011 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.