VW’s ‘dieselgate’ puts spotlight on electric cars in Germany

October 25th, 2015 § Comments Off on VW’s ‘dieselgate’ puts spotlight on electric cars in Germany § permalink

The pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed auto giant Volkswagen is turning up the heat on the German government to make more determined headway in its self-declared “electromobility” goals, analysts say.
The “bitter irony” of the scam that has rocked the automobile sector around the world and plunged the once-respected carmaker into a major crisis, is that the billions of euros VW could potentially face in fines “could have been used to finance an entire electric car programme,” complained Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks recently.
Over the past six years, Berlin has put up 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for research into an electric car, the minister pointed out. And her ministry is looking into a series of measures to promote the electric car, such as tax incentives and purchase subsidies.
Her colleague at the Economy Ministry, Sigmar Gabriel, has said he was ready to support financial incentives, without specifying what form they should take.
And he is in favour of introducing quotas for electric vehicles in the car fleets of public authorities, with the aim of boosting demand.
Such ideas are enthusiastically welcomed by VDIK, the association of international motor vehicle manufacturers, which is calling for a purchase discount of “at least 5,000 euros” per electric car during a still undefined “transition period.”
In 2009, the German government formulated a goal to have around one million electric cars on the road by 2020. And it restated that target earlier this year.
But the goal is looking increasingly ephemeral and at the half-way point, the concrete numbers are woefully short of target, with a meagre 19,000 vehicles on the roads in Germany in September 2015.
The government’s goal “is quite simply not achievable,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Research in Bergisch Gladbach.
There was “a lot of euphoria, but no vision for a feasible economic model” for the electric car in Germany, he complained.
– ‘Concerted action’ –
The VW scandal may provide a chance to restart the electromobility debate in Germany.
“But for that, real concerted action is needed between automakers, suppliers and the authorities,” Bratzel said.
Offering car buyers a purchase discount would likely prove only a flash in the pan with regard to kickstarting overall demand, the expert argued.
The main determining factors for the lasting success of electric vehicles would be considerations of “battery autonomy, infrastructure and price,” Bratzel insisted.
Public subsidy of any electromobility initiative remains controversial.
The opposition environmentalist Green party is calling for a general overhaul of the system of taxes for vehicles, arguing that powerful, big-cylinder and pollutant engines should face the highest levies.
But that is a road the government appears reluctant to go down.
Instead, Berlin announced, just a week after the VW scandal broke, the construction of 400 battery-charging stations for electric cars at motorway service stations by 2017, as well as a number of “privileges” for electric vehicles on public roads.
They would, for example, be allowed to use bus lanes and benefit from free parking in towns and cities.
However, at the end of the day, it is the local and municipal authorities that have the final word on such initiatives and they “have no interest in jamming the bus lanes with private cars, even if they are electric cars,” said Bratzel.
As time progresses and the dream of electromobility remains pie-in-the-sky, environmentalist groups are losing patience.
“Every year, Germany squanders seven billion euros on privileges for diesel, which is a pollutant technology,” said Daniel Moser, who is responsible for transport issues at Greenpeace Germany.
The activists believe it will simply not be enough to transfer the privileges to electric vehicles.
What was needed was an entire ecological urban transport system, ranging from trams, to bicycles and electric buses, “not just more private electric cars clogging up towns,” Greenpeace said.

London gears up for all-electric Formula E racing series

June 14th, 2015 § Comments Off on London gears up for all-electric Formula E racing series § permalink

Motor racing is coming to the heart of London for the first time in 42 years. But you can forget the fumes and deafening noise – this is all-electric Formula E.
On 27 and 28 June, 20 cars will race at speeds of 220kmh around Battersea Park to decide the winner of the inaugural season, which has taken in 10 races at city centre tracks in Beijing, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin and Buenos Aires.

It marks quite a rise for an idea that Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag admits “was a PowerPoint presentation” just three years ago, but has since persuaded motorsports royalty such as Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Jarno Trulli and Michael Andretti to get involved, along with manufacturers Renault, McLaren and BMW, and major corporations including Visa, Virgin, DHL, TAG Heuer and Michelin. Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio and Boris Johnson are all fans, with the London mayor instrumental in bringing the race to Battersea Park.

Formula E car on Westminster Bridge

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ESCP Starts the electric car European #evTrip across it’s campuses in Nissan Leaf EV

March 17th, 2015 § Comments Off on ESCP Starts the electric car European #evTrip across it’s campuses in Nissan Leaf EV § permalink

The ESCP Europe Electric Vehicle Tour – Stage 1
Start date  : 21 March 2015
Start time  : 10:30 am
End time  : 05:30 pm
Location  : London


The students who join our Master in Energy Management (MEM) programme are committed, focused and incredibly smart. 

Driven by these character traits, MEM students formed the ESCP Europe Energy Society to further enhance their time at the School. 

On 21st March 2015, they will be hitting the road in a Nissan LEAF electric car for the first stage of their multicampus tour. The plan is to drive to all five ESCP Europe campuses (Paris, London, Berlin, Madrid and Torino) in a vehicle powered by renewable energy, combining networking and a forward-thinking attitude with the international spirit of ESCP Europe.

This inaugural stage will not only provide first-hand experience with electric vehicles (such as charging e-cars and appropriate route planning), but will also be great opportunity to network with Alumni. 

Launch Event Schedule

10:30 – 11:00 Meet at ESCP Campus for photo shoot with electric vehicles
11:00 – 12:30 (Part 1) EV Route begins, stopping off at Buckingham Palace and Big Ben
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch (restaurant TBC)
14:00 – 16:00 (Part 2) EV Route stopping off at Millennium Dome and Thames Barrier
16:00 – 17:00 Drive home to ESCP Europe London Campus
17:30 – Networking drinks at the Black Lion pub, West End Lane. 

There are limited spaces to take part in this event. Book yours 

Find out more:

Why electric cars better catch on

April 30th, 2014 § Comments Off on Why electric cars better catch on § permalink

Despite more funding, take up of electric vehicles remains low, so exactly why are the big car companies investing so much in this technology?

Owning an electric car is no longer a dream or an inconvenience. That was the line taken by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, as he today announced a £500 million scheme to accelerate the take-up of low-emission vehicles.

The figures aren’t quite so flattering. Yes, sales of electric and hybrid cars are growing, but from a very low base. By and large, consumers still feel happier with the added range and convenience of petrol and diesel engines, not to mention the lower purchase prices.
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Leonardo DiCaprio forms racing team to help speed up electric car sales

December 10th, 2013 § Comments Off on Leonardo DiCaprio forms racing team to help speed up electric car sales § permalink

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is to enter a team in the new electric motor racing championship Formula E.

He has co-founded a Monaco-based team with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, owner of electric carmaker Venturi Automobiles.

Formula E racing starts next year, with the declared aim of giving a boost to the electric vehicle market.

The actor, an environmental campaigner, said: “The future of our planet depends on our ability to embrace fuel-efficient, clean-energy vehicles.”

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