Tesla VS Dyson, as the latter Challenges Tesla With $1.4 Billion Battery Tech Investment

April 5th, 2016 § Comments Off on Tesla VS Dyson, as the latter Challenges Tesla With $1.4 Billion Battery Tech Investment § permalink

Dyson, the U.K. producer of innovative vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, will spend 1 billion pounds ($1.44 billion) on battery development over the next five years as it increases its efforts to expand into new sectors.

It follows a 2015 acquisition of Satki3, a U.S. maker of solid-state lithium-ion batteries, for $90 million. Dyson Ltd. had previously invested $15 million in the Michigan firm, which said it has found a way to produce batteries with twice the energy storage potential of standard lithium-ion models, at a half to a third of the cost.

Dyson’s battery efforts also received a lift from the U.K.’s 2016 budget, announced last week. As part of the package, the British government awarded Dyson a 16-million-pound grant to undertake research on longer-lasting batteries. The grant came from a regional development fund.

Batteries are a key component in Dyson’s cordless vacuum cleaners, a category that grew 66 percent globally in 2015 and in which Dyson currently holds about a 25 percent share of the market, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

While the immediate application for new batteries would probably be in Dyson’s existing cordless products, they have potential uses in everything from electric cars to tablet computers. In moving into the battery field, Dyson is taking on the likes of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, which is also developing advanced cells to power vehicles and home appliances.

From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-21/dyson-challenges-tesla-with-1-4-billion-battery-tech-investment

Better Late than Never: Renault Twizy, or rather Nissan “New Mobility Concept” gets kudos

March 24th, 2016 § Comments Off on Better Late than Never: Renault Twizy, or rather Nissan “New Mobility Concept” gets kudos § permalink

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.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Baby steps: Affordability of Electric Cars Expected to Increase Rapidly

March 15th, 2016 § Comments Off on Baby steps: Affordability of Electric Cars Expected to Increase Rapidly § permalink

By 2022 it may be possible to buy an electric vehicle for the same amount as a vehicle powered by a traditional petrol or diesel engine, according to a report published by Bloomberg Business this month.

At the moment the biggest barrier to wider EV adoption is arguably their high asking price. And with infrastructural improvements and technological upgrades, this type of eco-friendly vehicle is becoming more practical by the day, leaving the upfront cost as an enduring issue.

But if analysts are accurate in their predictions, it could be just six years before the choice between EVs and other cars is not affected by such considerations.

The main reason that EVs are comparatively costly today is that the batteries required to power them still put a significant burden on the total expense of the vehicle. But the report points out that battery prices have fallen by just over a third in the past 12 months and are likely to continue to tumble as demand rises and the technology involved in manufacturing them improves.

In 2015 there was a 60 per cent increase in the number of EVs sold internationally. And within 25 years they are expected to account for 35 per cent of the market as a whole.

This suggests that petrol- and diesel-powered cars will still be in the majority by 2040, or hybrids will account for the rest of the market. But ultimately it seems like complete EV dominance is only a matter of time.

Today less than a single percentage point of the new car market is made up of EVs. But as battery prices slide southwards, the predictions made in the report suggest that a major up-tick in sales is just around the corner.

While this is great news for drivers who want to reduce the harmful emissions their motoring activities produce without feeling the sting in their wallets, there are other economic considerations involved with the rise of EVs.

Specifically, it is the industries built around supplying the fossil fuels that power current cars which are likely to suffer. And analysts believe that by 2023 the need for oil will have dropped by up to two million barrels per day.

For companies and indeed entire countries which rely on the demand for oil to survive and thrive, this could be a significant issue. Some are even warning of a looming crisis which will come if steps are not taken today to ensure that the falling need for oil is balanced by investment in other areas.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are expectations surrounding the rise in EV ownership in terms of how this will impact the electricity infrastructure of the UK and other developed nations. With more people charging up their cars at home or while parked elsewhere, the demand for power will only increase.

Globally the amount of power drawn annually by EVs could be equal to a tenth of all electricity generated around the world in 2015. This annual total of 1900 terrawatt-hours of consumption is not likely to be hit until 2040, but it gives an indication of the scale of the challenge that electricity providers are going to face.

This will no doubt lead to debates about the resources which are consumed in order to provide the electricity to charge EVs. Because getting rid of a petrol-guzzling car only to replace it with an EV that plugs into a mains connection supplied by a power station that burns coal will seem like a less than perfect solution to many motorists.

Questions about the mining processes and economic impact of extracting the minerals required to build the batteries which are found within EVs also exist. But in the long term there is no doubt that vehicles must shift away from a reliance on fossil fuels, since non-renewable resources are necessarily limited and unsustainable.

from: http://www.carcraft.co.uk/news/articles/2814/affordability-of-electric-cars-expected-to-increase-rapidly

98% of England’s motorway network’ within 20 miles of electric car 

February 12th, 2016 § Comments Off on 98% of England’s motorway network’ within 20 miles of electric car  § permalink

Some 98% of England’s motorway network is no more than 20 miles from an electric vehicle charge point, according to new research.

A study by motoring organisation the RAC Foundation found that the proportion of service stations offering the facility has risen to 72%.

It stated that the vast majority (92%) of the individual charge points are rapid, meaning batteries can be almost fully replenished in around half an hour.

When the analysis was extended to include major A roads managed by Highways England (HE), it was calculated that 82% of the strategic road network is within 20 miles of a charge point.

There are currently just over 20,000 battery-only vehicles licensed in the UK.
The report found that just 28% of the major road network in Scotland is within 20 miles of a charge point, and 45% in Wales.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.

“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats.

“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take about 30 minutes to fully replenish a battery. This is fine if you’re first in the queue but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a very long line.”

Research previously published by the RAC Foundation suggested that a third of charge points in London were not working at any one time.

From next month the £5,000 subsidy for electric cars is being reduced and replaced by a tiered system.

Vehicles with a zero emission range of over 70 miles will be eligible for up to £4,500 while those with a shorter range – such as plug-in hybrids with a petrol or diesel engine – can receive £2,500.
From: http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/98-of-englands-motorway-network-within-20-miles-of-electric-car-charge-point-11364039838523

VW plans radical new electric vehicle

February 9th, 2016 § Comments Off on VW plans radical new electric vehicle § permalink

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.
From http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/vw-plans-radical-new-electric-vehicle-2019

Will this work? – We hope so: “Electric cars to use bus lanes in UK cities”

January 26th, 2016 § Comments Off on Will this work? – We hope so: “Electric cars to use bus lanes in UK cities” § permalink

Guardian

From Guardian Website

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.

The schemes were announced by the Department for Transport on Monday as part of a £40m pot shared out among eight towns and cities. Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London are the main beneficiaries, but Dundee, Oxford, York, Derby have also won funding.

Electric cars are seen as a key way for the UK to meet its carbon budgets and cut the illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution that blight many British cities. While still relatively niche compared to combustion engine cars, the number of 100% electric cars registered in 2015 nearly doubled on the year before, to 9,934.

In Norway, incentives including generous tax breaks and allowing electric cars in bus lanes have spurred uptake of the cars which now account for nearly one in five of all new cars sold.

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.

Cheapest Electric Plugin Car Lease #deal on Mercedes-Benz C350e Sport 4dr Auto: @£326/mth 3+23 10k Miles p/a #wow

January 22nd, 2016 § Comments Off on Cheapest Electric Plugin Car Lease #deal on Mercedes-Benz C350e Sport 4dr Auto: @£326/mth 3+23 10k Miles p/a #wow § permalink

C350e Sport 4dr Auto

image:Mercedes-Benz C Class C350e Sport 4dr Auto

*image for illustration only

 

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Ford Wants To Develop Its Own Battery Chemistries For Hybrids, Electric Cars, But Why?

January 3rd, 2016 § Comments Off on Ford Wants To Develop Its Own Battery Chemistries For Hybrids, Electric Cars, But Why? § permalink

When it announced a range increase for its 2017 Focus Electric earlier this month, Ford executives also revealed an intriguing snippet about the company’s battery plans.

The company is conducting its own research into fundamental battery chemistries, and could develop its own cells for use in future electrified vehicles.

The question then becomes: Why? » Read the rest of this entry «

Plug-in car grant extended with extra £400m until March 2018

December 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on Plug-in car grant extended with extra £400m until March 2018 § permalink

The Government have vowed to extend the grants given to electric and hybrid car buyers
The government has announced that it is to extend the grants given to buyers of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) until March 2018, with the extra £400m package aimed at trebling the number of low-emission vehicles on Britain’s roads.

The grants, administered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), should mean more than 100,000 car buyers should benefit from the grants.

Those purchasing cars with a battery range of more than 70 miles and CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km will receive a grant of £4,500 off the list price (a reduction of £500 compared to the previous £5,000 grant).

Meanwhile buyers of plug-in hybrids – technology that will become increasingly widespread in the next few years, as manufacturers introduce new models – will qualify for a grant of £2,500 (which is half of the previous £5,000 grant) if it falls into two new categories: Category 2 cars will need to have a range of between 10 and 69 miles and emit no more than 50g/km of CO2, while Category 3 vehicles must have an electric range of at least 20 miles and emit between 50g/km and 75g/km.

Hybrid cars GETTY

At least 100,000 car buyers will benefit from the grants
To get the full benefit of owning an EV, a home charger is vital
David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster
However plug-in hybrids costing over £60,000 will not be eligible for the grant (although full EVs with an electric range of over 70 miles, such as the Tesla Model S, will still qualify).

The grant is part of a total £600m investment in supporting the expansion of low-emission motoring, which also includes funding for chargepoints, grants encouraging low emission buses and taxis, and R&D funding for innovative technology such as lighter vehicles and longer-lasting car batteries.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and the plug-in car grant has been key to that success.

Extending the grant in a sustainable way ensures more than 100,000 people will benefit from financial support when purchasing these cheap-to-run and green cars. We are determined to keep Britain at the forefront of the technology, increasing our support for plug-in vehicles to £600m over the next 5 years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries.”

Support for electric charging at the homes of EV and PHEV owners will also continue, but is to be cut in half, a move that some have criticised, suggesting that it will reduce the incentive for plug-in owners, in particular, to have a charger installed.

David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, a provider and operator of charging points, said: “Reducing support for electric car owners to install a charger at home is premature and a step backwards for UK carbon reduction and the necessary push towards air quality improvement.

It means that many plug-in hybrid vehicle drivers will simply not bother fitting a charger at home and run their cars on fossil fuel instead. To get the full benefit of owning an EV, a home charger is vital.”

“Support for home charging offers much better value for money than many other areas that OLEV spends its resources on. It is also most regrettable that this change has been made giving little more than two months’ notice.”

“Until now, the UK government has led the way in supporting charging at home. This move is difficult to understand when the market is still fragile and only just starting to gain momentum.

It is even more surprising considering government’s recent announcement that it will allocate £600m to support ultra-low emission vehicles over the next six years. To reduce its annual support for charging at home from £12m to £7.5m is unfortunate at this stage of the development of the market.”

As Seen on http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/627976/Hybrid-electric-car-grants-Government

UK to have Tighter rules for Plug-in Car Grant

December 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on UK to have Tighter rules for Plug-in Car Grant § permalink

The UK Government is to continue its Plug-in Car Grant, intended to encourage motorists to buy electric cars – but the criteria are being tightened up.

Introduced in 2011 and previously extended until February 2016, the scheme will now continue until at least the end of March 2018.

However the most an electric car buyer will be able to claim back will be £4,500, instead of £5,000 as currently.

Also from March 2016 grants will be made in two categories. Cars offering a zero-emissions range, effectively all-electric, of more than 70 miles will be known as Category 1 and qualify for the £4,500. The vast majority of today’s plug-in hybrids, however will qualify for Category 2 and 3, in which the grant will be worth only £2,500.

Also Category 2 or 3 vehicles retailing at more than £60,000 will not be eligible for any grant.

According to Government figures around 50,000 owners have claimed payments under the grant since it was introduced, with numbers growing – 29 ULEVs (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) are now available on the UK market, some five times more than in 2011 when the grant was introduced.

“Extending the grant in a sustainable way ensures more than 100,000 people will benefit from financial support when purchasing these cheap-to-run and green cars,” Transport Minister Andrew Jones says.

“We are determined to keep Britain at the forefront of the technology, increasing our support for plug-in vehicles to £600 million over the next five years to cut emissions, create jobs and support our cutting-edge industries,” he adds.

The announcement is being welcomed by UK motor industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, CEO Mike Hawes saying the grant has helped Britain become the fastest-growing market for ultra-low emission vehicles in Europe.

“The recently agreed global climate change targets underscore the important contribution ultra-low emission vehicles make – and will continue to make – to reducing carbon emissions,” Hawes adds.

“Manufacturers are offering increasing numbers of these vehicles – but a consistently applied incentive regime is still needed over the coming years to help consumers adopt these ground-breaking technologies.”

Those who want to charge at home will still be supported, but with less money.
Those who want to charge at home will still be supported, but not to the same extent as previously.
Home charge grant cut

The Government has also said that it will continue to offer ULEV owners who want to install a home charging point a grant of up to £500 towards the cost. This is around half of the likely cost and down from the current £700 maximum grant, and has been criticised by David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster, the largest provider and operator of charging points in the UK.

“Reducing support for electric car owners to install a charger at home is premature and a step backwards for UK carbon reduction and the necessary push towards air quality improvement,” Mr Martell says.

“It means that many plug in hybrid vehicle drivers will simply not bother fitting a charger at home and run their cars on fossil fuel instead. To get the full benefit of owning an EV, a homecharger is vital.”

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