Council aiming to turbo-charge electric car use in Oxford
AN ATTEMPT to jump-start Oxford’s slow uptake of electric vehicles is now in motion, with up to 30 new charging points arriving in the next 12 months.
People and businesses across the city are being called on to help develop the plan and find suitable places for the trial stations, which will be bought in the summer.
In April this year Oxford City Council received an £800,000 grant to add an extra 100 charging stations to the city – where only 85 people currently drive electric cars.
John Tanner, the council’s board member for climate change, said: “What we have at the moment is the early adopters, the enthusiasts.
“But with more plug-in points around the city, I think more people are going to take the plunge and buy electric vehicles.”
There are currently 13 on-street charging stations around Oxford, of which three, Summertown Car Park, Cowley Road and Worcester Street Car Park, have reported faults.
It is hoped the 100 new devices will begin to be rolled out in 2018, making make electric vehicle ownership possible for 16,000 extra homes.
Mr Tanner added that another barrier to more people making the switch was the initial cost of a vehicle, which he said was comparatively “quite high”.
But he added: “We have to get into our heads that although these vehicles cost a lot to buy in the first place, they are very cheap to run, and don’t pollute the atmosphere.
“A petrol or diesel vehicle is pumping nitrogen dioxide into Oxford’s atmosphere. To switch to renewable energy from fossil fuel is the right way to go.”
Those already driving an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) could struggle to get around Oxford due to a lack of available charge points.
Low Carbon Hub CEO Barbara Hammond, who lives in a terraced house on Osney Island, bought a Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid – which can switch between electrical power and fuel-burning – three years ago.
She said: “When we get the space outside we would like to plug in from our house and use a ‘cable gully’ – a safe means of getting the cable across the pavement.
“If you live in a city being able to charge it is an issue. A lot of people would have an electric vehicle if they could be sure of charging it.”
Research recently carried out by the city council suggested one in five people would consider going electric with their next vehicle.
Giles Dobson, 37, the owner of Oxford River Cruises based at Folly Bridge, said he would definitely buy an electric car if there were a place to charge it.
The Lake Street resident said: “My introduction to electric vehicles was the boats we operate – they’re electrically propelled themselves.
“To me the attraction of electric vehicles is the environmental benefit primarily, but also they have company car and tax benefits.”
Mr Dobson was among a small group of Oxford residents who met with the council on June 8 to discuss having a charging point on their street.
He added: “Lake Street is one of the worst for on-street parking because of the community centre, the health centre and the swimming pool.
“This scheme would make it feasible for me to get an electric car.”
A wireless charging system has been unveiled in the US that has the potential to match the power output of plug-powered fast-chargers and is capable of charging electric cars on the go.
The 20kW wireless charging system, which is already around three times faster than some plug-in alternatives, has been developed over the past three years by the government-backed Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with Toyota, Cisco Systems, Clemson University and Evatran.
The system has been demonstrated with a Toyota RAV4 fitted with an additional 10kWh battery, with energy transferred from a transmitting plate in the ground to a receiving plate underneath the front of the car, from where it is then transferred to the battery.
“We now have a technology that is moving closer to being ready for the market,” said Madhu Chinthavali, ORNL power electronics team leader.
ORNL says its next target, along with developing the system’s ability to charge a vehicle in motion, is to up the system’s output to produce 50kW, which would match the power of some plug-powered high-speed charging stations.
Wireless charging of electric vehicles in motion is something which is being developed with a focus on commercial vehicles rather than passenger cars, ORNL says.
Commercial EVs, such as buses, which travel on regular routes and stop at predetermined intervals, would benefit most from wireless charging systems integrated into the road, charging them on the move and also when stationary at bus stops.
The cost of implementing the system is a drawback to more widespread use, though, as it could cost up to $2 million (£1.4m) per mile to incorporate the system into roads, according to ORNL, and the system is still some years away from being implemented.
The institute, which benefited from vehicles and guidance from Toyota in the system’s development, expects to reach its 50kW target this year, but it would take a minimum of a100kW system to make wireless charging viable for bigger commercial vehicles.
The fastest charging station currently is Tesla’s Supercharger, which is capable of delivering up to 120kW and an 80% charge in 30 minutes, while the slowest three-point plug 3kW chargers take around 6-8 hours to deliver a full charge.
Wireless charging systems are set to be tested in the UK, with the government committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, and Nissan has outlined its plans to implement such a system for its cars.
The Verge Covers this story here: http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/23/11291566/nissan-new-mobility-concept-car-video-electric-vehicle
The future of transportation is a tough thing to peg down. It could involve Hyperloops, or self-driving cars, or some strange mix of both. Two years ago, Nissan started up an experimental wing called “Future Lab” to address this shifting landscape. And the first project is the Nissan New Mobility Concept — a squat, four-wheel electric vehicle that Nissan has taken from Renault and modified for the United States.
Aside from different plugs, and a slower top speed of 25 miles per hour, it’s essentially the same thing as the original Renault Twizy. The doors swing open like they would on a Lamborghini, which is cool, but the rest of the vehicle is rather spartan. It has a tiny screen that shows you the battery level, range (up to 40 miles), and speed — but there’s no smartphone connectivity. One of the models comes with a rear seat, but good luck comfortably fitting a full-grown adult back there for more than a few miles. And there are no side windows, so you’re probably going to want to avoid driving one in anything other than the best weather.
Nissan brought a few of the New Mobility Concepts to Manhattan for the New York International Auto Show, and I got to drive one on a quick tour of Midtown. It’s nowhere near as fun as some of the other electric vehicles I’ve tried, like the Arcimoto SRK trike, or even an electric longboard. And sure, it doesn’t do well over bumps and potholes, the open-air design is sure to turn off a number of people, and I had to make myself forget what might happen if I got sideswiped by a bus. But it was otherwise a relatively enjoyable way to maneuver around the traffic that plagues 7th and 8th Avenues.
As someone who commutes more than an hour total every day, I’m constantly thinking about better ways I could get around this city. Uber and Lyft are popular options here, but so are CitiBike, ZipCar, and Car2Go. Something like the Nissan New Mobility Concept might someday have a home here, and by the time I parked it back in front of Madison Square Garden I found myself wishing that were the case.
What exactly Nissan will get out of the New Mobility Concept is hard to say because it’s still a young project. Josh Westerhold, Future Lab’s senior manager, tells The Verge that right now the team is focused on asking a lot of questions.
In fact, Westerhold rattled off a handful in a matter of seconds: “Is this a real trend? What would make a better product [for Nissan], if we need a better product? Is there interest? What are the demographic breakdowns? How do younger people use it, how do older people use it? How do females use it? How do males use it? How do those that are mobility challenged use it?”
But the most important questions, at least concerning Nissan’s involvement, are the last two Westerhold poses: what would the product and the business model have to look like?
Nissan is already searching for the answer to these last two. The company is six months into an exploratory program in San Francisco with the New Mobility Concept car. Future Lab partnered up with Scoot Networks, a sharing service akin to ZipCar or CitiBike that lets people rent electric scooters all around San Francisco. Nissan gave Scoot 10 of the little electric cars (branded as Scoot Quads in the city), and both sides are still trying to tease out answers to the rest of those bigger, broader questions.
Westerhold describes the contract between Nissan and Scoot as “semi-indefinite,” and that it’s still too early to say what the next step for the program will be. Nissan could give 100 more cars to Scoot just as easily as it could wrap up pilot program and move onto something else. (For what it’s worth, Westerhold says it hasn’t been easy — or cheap — for Nissan to import and convert the dozen or so vehicles that are here.)
For now, the two sides are happy to continue benefiting from the hands-on research and feedback that the program provides. That also means it’s not going to be sold here any time soon, so if the idea strikes you, you’re going to have to move to Europe and lay down €6,000 or so.
The New Mobility Concept is just one take on what urban transportation will look like in the future. It’s not the fastest or the sexiest, but after taking a spin in one it’s easy to see how it could play a part in the miniaturization, electrification, and personalization of our future cities.
2,500 mile bucket list road trip is being driven for the first time this April.
The official ‘Route 57’ electric car will be hitting the road and heading through 57 must-see destinations across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The road trip runs from 6- 26 April, starting in Plymouth and ending in Galway, visiting villages, towns, and cities along the way.
Route 57 was designed as the UK and Ireland’s answer to US Route 66, by Jurys Inn Hotels who are supplying accommodation along the way, to the driver, motoring journalist Jess Shanahan. Jess will be doing the road trip in a KIA Soul EV supplied by electric car leasing company DriveElectric, and stopping at charging stations along the route, mapped out by ZapMap.
As well as promoting local tourism, the campaign’s use of an electric vehicle (EV) seeks to challenge common myths around electric cars. A recent survey by the AA (infographic available for use as long as credit with a link to source is given) shows that the ‘range’ of an EV is one of the top reasons why people are not buying electric cars. The Route 57 campaign will show that these perceptions do not match reality with today’s green car technology, and that an electric car can drive more than 2,580 miles across four countries.
Jess will be posting updates on the Route 57 website: www.route57.org.uk along with Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – and taking driving music suggestions through the Twitter hashtag #route57, or adding them directly to the Route 57 Spotify playlist. Audiobook suggestions are also welcome – Jess will be fittingly listening to Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ to begin with.
Jurys Inns Hotels designed the original Route 57 road trip as an equivalent to US Route 66, which has a similar mileage and drive-time, to help people explore the UK & Ireland, and encourage local tourism
An estimated 200,000 people travel from across America and the world every year to drive all or part of the iconic Route 66 (1) stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, providing jobs and revenue from tourists which generates millions of dollars for locations along the route. (2) Route 66 has great historical and cultural significance, forming part of a ‘bucket list’ for many people, and ranked by Britons in the top 10 of ‘things to do before you die’. (3)
(1) Route 66 Recommissioning Initiative: http://www.bringbackroute66.com/theplan.html
People can continue to charge their electric vehicles at no cost apart from the on-street or car park charge for a further 12 months after it was agreed at committee yesterday (Tues 15 March).
Aberdeen City Council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure committee approved a report on the service.
Aberdeen City Council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: “This is a fantastic scheme and will help to encourage more people to change to electric vehicles.
“We hope many more motorists will go electric and will make use of our facility of not charging for the electricity.”
The report to committee said the supply and installation of the EV Charging Units has, to date, been 100% grant funded by Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government Transport Agency, OLEV, the UK Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Energy Saving Trust Scotland. Funding has been awarded to Community Planning Partnerships in each local authority area with Community Planning Partners (CPPs) the recipients.
Since the Aberdeen public network was installed in 2013, the cost of providing the electricity for these units has been absorbed by the City Council.
Figures obtained from EDF, the City Council’s energy provider, reveal that, since they were installed, the cost of running the 34 charge points that the Council has figures for is £13,116.
The Aberdeen Air Quality Action Plan (2011) identifies road traffic as the main contributor to poor air quality in Aberdeen. Given that Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHEVs) offer zero and reduced tailpipe emissions respectively when compared with 100% Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, facilitating the use of such vehicles could make a difference to Aberdeen air quality.
The report to committee further said evidence suggests that people choose EVs and PHEVs partly for their environmental credentials and partly due to the low running costs. An 80 mile journey in an EV typically costs around £2.50 in electricity, around a quarter of the price of an equivalent fossil fuelled vehicle. Still, only 1% of new car sales in Scotland are EV and PHEV and it is argued that the current low cost of petrol and diesel at the pumps is doing little to help uptake.
The free use of the charging infrastructure could be considered as a significant incentive to stimulate interest. If this is not offered, the uptake could be limited and this could have a detrimental impact upon sustainability and environmental issues.
Aberdeen City Council won a Scottish Transport Award in 2015 for its work “Powering ahead with electric vehicles”, and is regarded by the Electric Vehicle Association Scotland (EVAS) as the best EV Council in Scotland. By continuing to present the city as EV friendly, the Council aims to uphold this reputation both with users and transport professionals alike.
The Model 3 would be the most important moment in Tesla’s history to date. It would be the car that takes Tesla from a niche company into the mainstream by offering a fully electric car with a range of more than 200 miles and a price of less than £30,000.
With a release date falling somewhere in 2017, the Model 3 would likely arrive just as traditional car manufacturers get their own all-electric offerings into gear and off the end of the production line. With just a few weeks to go until the big reveal, here is everything we know so far.
The reveal might not be all that big… for now
Last year we heard that the Model 3 was coming in March, and with the world-famous Geneva Motor Show opening to journalists on 1 March, this appeared to make perfect sense. However, now we are not so sure. Tesla is attending the Geneva show – in Hall 4 with Honda, Renault and Toyota – but boss Elon Musk recently said the car would not be revealed until the end of the month.
Furthermore, Musk said the company is being “a little coy” with the Model 3 and would not be showing the car off in full at the late-March event. This could mean we only see a teasing, shadowy photo or that Tesla would reveal an early, non-functioning concept car, possibly with blacked-out windows and no interior. It is to cost less than £30,000
Speaking at the Prince’s Trust Leadership Dinner in London in January, Musk said the Model 3 would cost less than £30,000. He has also previously said it would cost less than $30,000 (£20,000), but the difference here would be cancelled out by UK tax and the cost of shipping cars over from California.
At this price, the Model 3 will be positioning itself against the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Mercedes C-Class, all of which start between £25,000 and £30,000. This is arguably the toughest market for any car company to crack, and would open Tesla up to fleet buyers looking to order company cars in bulk for their staff.
The Model S currently stretches from £50,000 to a little more than £100,000. We don’t expect the Model 3’s price to double with options, but a spread of £30,000 to around £50,000 sounds reasonable. Will there be an £8,700 Ludicrous Mode to make the Model 3 Ferrari-fast? Possibly not, but… It is to be faster than all of its rivals
Does anyone really expect Musk not to boast about the Model 3 being the faster car in its class? It might not have the 155mph top speed of some of its rivals, but it would still use that electric motor to launch off the line more quickly than anything else.
We suspect a 0-60mph time of four seconds (or three-point-something, if Musk really wants to brag) would be entirely possible, but don’t forget that a smaller car has to equal a smaller battery and less powerful motor. This is ‘the electric car of the people’, not a hot rod.
Render suggesting what the Tesla Model 3 may look like based on the Model S and XAuto-Moto
It would have a range of at least 200 miles
In March 2015, Musk said that 200 miles is the minimum expectation for an electric car. More specifically, he said this figure must be “real world” and not a case of the car only reaching 200 miles if the air conditioning is off and it is driven on a road as smooth as a snooker table. “Anything below 200 miles isn’t passing grade,” he added. “Most people [are] looking for 20% more than that.”
So let us take that to mean the Model 3’s target range is 240 miles – not far shy of the 275 quoted range of the cheapest Model S, the 70D, but a comfortable way behind the 340 miles of the 90D, which is twice the price of the Model 3.
But the Model 3 isn’t on sale yet, and battery technology is improving at an accelerating pace. The 200-240mph claim was made almost a year ago, and once the Model 3 goes on sale it would be two years old. Improvements between now and 2017 would likely see longer ranges across the board – but there is always be a gap to justify the higher prices of the S and X. It is on schedule – for now
Momentum built up by the Model S was knocked back a peg by delays to the Model X. Adding cool but complex details such as the ‘falcon wing’ doors swallowed up time and money, delaying the new model and disappointing investors and consumers. Delays for six-figure cars built in small numbers by a niche company and sold to wealthy early adopters are to be expected – but Tesla wants the Model 3 to be its biggest seller and take a large slice of a forecast 500,000 annual sales by 2020, up from 50,000 in 2015.
Consumers do not expect delays when they order a new Ford, BMW, VW or Audi. In switching to Tesla, they are already taking a gamble that a small company will whisk them into the future; the last thing they will want is a delay – especially if a novelty feature such as a complicated door hinge is to blame.
The Model 3 platform is to be shared with the Model Y
Rumours spread in early 2016 claimed that Tesla was ready to announce two versions of the Model 3. This now seems unlikely, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the Model 3’s platform could be shared with other Tesla vehicles in the future. Cars made by the Volkswagen group – VW, Audi and Seat – have shared platforms and common components for some time. It’s an obvious cost-saving measure, and something that Tesla should also do. I would expect the Model 3 to be a small five-door saloon, followed by an SUV crossover like the Nissan Juke, entitled the Model Y.
In October 2015, Musk tweeted a fan asking if the “Model 3 crossover” would have falcon-wing doors. He said: “There will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will.” Musk’s tweet was then deleted, but the story is a simple one: the Model Y will be to the Model 3 what the Model X is to the Model S.
It was supposed to be called the Model E
That last sentence made me angry at why carmakers don’t use fun, dynamic and interesting names any more. Instead of Daytona, Thunderbird, Cerbera and Spitfire, we have F12tdf, i10, C4 and Tesla’s range of seemingly unrelated Models. But hold on. In Tesla’s case we actually have Ford to blame for spoiling Musk’s joke: he originally wanted a line-up of Models S, E, X – with Y coming later. Geddit?
Well, now it’s S-3-X-Y because Ford’s lawyers came knocking, reminded Tesla that it owns the Model E trademark, and that no, it isn’t for sale. Ford also produced a Model Y, back in the 1930s, so Musk’s plans might have been thwarted there too. Sorry, Elon.
leading engineers have been challenged by company boss Herbert Diess to create an electric car that can be as iconic as the Golf.
The secret plan, uncovered by Autocar, has been hatched by Diess as a crucial pillar in the firm’s attempts to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the emissions scandal and is described as a watershed project similar in depth to the multi-billion-pound engineering undertaking that spawned the i3 at BMW, his former employer.
Diess has told Volkswagen’s engineering bosses to create “the Volkswagen for the digital age”, and the top engineering talent at the firm’s Braunschweig R&D centre is already working on the new car, which is tentatively due in 2019.
Diess has challenged his team to set new benchmarks for electric performance as well as developing cutting-edge connectivity and infotainment systems and style the car so it stands out as a statement of VW’s technical capabilities.
The hand-picked team of engineers is currently defining the packaging of the new zero-emissions model, which is understood to be around 4400mm in length. That compares with the Golf’s 4255mm and suggests that it will fight for sales in the same segment while offering a unique powertrain, interior environment and look.
“It will make a huge statement,” a senior engineer with knowledge of VW’s research and development plans revealed. “It’s planned to use cutting-edge technology but at a price that makes it attainable for the average motorist,” the source added.
Autocar has been told the dedicated electric car will be the first to use the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB architecture, which has been developed specifically for electric cars.
The platform was showcased on the Budd-e MPV concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, with VW claiming the architecture “heralds a fundamental change in electric cars, and thus for the car in general, because the MEB throws all fossil fuel ballast of the present overboard, having been designed specifically for electric cars”.
As a result, Volkswagen says the body design, interior design, interior packaging and drive characteristics of electrically powered cars will change dramatically.
Changes compared with current car design are said to focus on the opportunity to have a far more spacious interior in a car with a much smaller footprint, greater agility and greater connectivity opportunities. In addition, Volkswagen has targeted a significant growth in electric range through the use of compact electric motors and high-performance batteries.
While Volkswagen is banking on a range of up to 300km (186 miles) for the next-generation e-Golf due in 2018, the engineering parameters for the new electric model are claimed to call for a range exceeding 500km (311 miles) – the same distance claimed by Porsche for the production version of its Mission-E saloon.
Despite the apparent parallels between the Budd-e concept and the stand-alone electric car, a key source at Volkswagen’s R&D centre said they were being developed separately, albeit off the same MEB platform.
VW Group CEO Matthias Müller has confirmed that there will be 20 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the VW Group’s range by 2020.
“We are using the current crisis to fundamentally realign the group,” he said. “I feel we now have the chance to build a new and better Volkswagen.”
To date, with the exception of the ultra-high-tech XL1, Volkswagen has concentrated its electric car developments on existing models such as the Up and Golf. Prior to the emissions scandal, it had been taking a cautious approach to electric car sales.
UK cities are to allow electric car drivers to beat congestion by using bus lanes, as part of a government drive to encourage uptake of the cleaner vehicles.
Milton Keynes and Derby will copy similar measures in Norway and allow the cars to drive in miles of bus lanes, while owners in Hackney will be able to plug in at street lights. York drivers will be able to recharge their batteries at a solar-powered park-and-ride and electric car owners in Bristol and Milton Keynes will be allowed to park for free.
London, which suffers the worst air pollution in the UK, gets the lion’s share of the funding. The Go Ultra Low fund will give the capital £13m for “neighbourhoods of the future” in several boroughs, where electric cars will be prioritised over other vehicles.
The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin , said: “I want to see thousands more greener vehicles on our roads and I am proud to back this ambition with £40m to help the UK become international pioneers of emission-cutting technology.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, gave the initiatives a cautious welcome but said ultimately it was up to industry to drive take-up.
“We are all in favour of encouraging drivers to go ultra-green, but the risk of relying on perks such as access to bus lanes, free parking and exemption from London’s congestion charge is that they can be at odds with other policies such as promoting public transport and easing congestion,” he said.
The government has pledged to continue a long-running electric car grant, but it will decrease in April from the maximum £5,000 currently available to between £2,500 and 4,500, depending on which models buyers choose.
The drive to see more electric cars on Tyneside has received a funding boost.
New electric filling stations will be installed at Science Central, in Newcastle, and on the A19 on the outskirts of Sunderland, after the North East Combined Authority announced it received £1.5m grant as part of the government’s Go Ultra Low fund.
Each filling station will feature six to eight rapid chargers which top up electric vehicles in 15 to 20 minutes – rather than the eight hours it takes for a standard charger.
And the stations will feature cafes for drivers waiting for their cars to charge.
NECA made a bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicle’s (OLEV) £40million Go Ultra Low Scheme in October last year and the results were announced on Monday.
Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and NECA portfolio holder for regional transport, said: “We made an ambitious bid to the Go Ultra Low City’ scheme and whilst its disappointing that we have not been awarded the Go Ultra Low City status – it’s great news that this development funding will help us showcase the filling stations of the future.
“We are seeing more and more people switching to electric vehicles in the North East and we have done a huge amount to make this a practical and viable choice by installing charging points across the region.
2016: “The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election for Labour were new plans to tackle the capital’s air pollution. These include more than doubling the size of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone.