Tag Archives: electric vehicle

How UPS deliveries are electrifying London’s streets – and beyond

Urban delivery fleets are often considered the natural environment for electric vehicles, so it stands to reason that a logistics giant such as global parcel company UPS should be one of the pioneers of EVs in the British capital.

The company got into the London plug-in game early, with its first EVs going into service in 2008.

Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability at UPS Europe, said, “A lot of our routes in Central London are relatively short, so we don’t have particular range restriction difficulties and it’s ideal in terms of being able to address some of the pressing air quality concerns the city has.”

PETER HARRIS, DIRECTOR OF SUSTAINABILITY, UPS

Range anxiety is a frequent hang-up for businesses operating electric vehicles. UPS’s London fleet hasn’t been affected by it in the slightest but power supply, which reared its head when the firm reached 10 EVs, has been a far bigger issue. An upgrade to the local supply bought some time and capacity but it wasn’t cheap, nor was it a permanent fix if the plug-in fleet was to expand, so the company looked for alternatives.

“We wanted [something] that would get beyond this conventional grid upgrade, so we’re implementing a technology called a smart grid, which will make much better use of the available energy that was already present throughout the entire charging period but [which] we didn’t have access to, because our vehicles were recharging in the conventional way.”

Via the medium of various different tie-ups, including with Innovate UK – a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – UPS has embarked on a trial of a smart charging system, with the capacity to optimise the timing and the amount of available power based on grid loads and the fleet’s needs.

Harris explained, “It will be a combination of a conventional grid upgrade with a smart grid, in conjunction with local energy storage. It’s a two-year project that started in April, and we want to come out at the end of it with a strategy on the optimum way to electrify any of our urban fleets. We want to be able to take the strategy into any of our buildings in Europe, or indeed globally, that will allow us to lay out the optimum approach.”

“If this smart grid is successful in the way that we think it will be, it will unlock the ability for us to effectively deploy an entirely electric Central London fleet – that’s all 170 vehicles. If that is the case, then we will certainly plan to proceed down that road.”

The move has allowed the firm to increase the number of electric vehicles based out of its Kentish Town depot. It currently has 52, was limited to 63 by its outgoing power supply, and can now handle a further 20, bringing the total to 72. The trucks themselves are 7.5-tonne items, converted from UPS’s existing diesel vehicles.

UPS CHARGES ITS OWN VEHICLES OFF-GRID AT ITS KENTISH TOWN DEPOT

“What we’ve been doing for the past five or six years is a conversion programme in conjunction with a German company called EFA-S. We take Mercedes Vario-based distribution vehicles – that already have UPS bodies on them – but at mid-life, which is about the seven-year mark, we work with EFA-S to convert them from diesel to electric. Some of the work is done in-house at UPS and some of the work is done in Germany. We’ve done about 150 of them across Europe now and about a third of those are in Central London.

“It’s been a practice that has worked out well for us [but] it’s not where we want to be long term; it’s a bridge technology. We want to eventually to get to the point where we can deploy brand new vehicles from the ground up. The market doesn’t yet supply those, so this is what we are doing in order to not be held back.”

The first 10 of the new vehicles are due to hit the streets in the final quarter of this year, the second 10 in the first quarter of 2018 and, according to Harris, they will perform exactly the same duties as conventional, diesel trucks. “One of the things that we require from our alternative fuel programme is that the vehicles are able to step in and replicate what their diesel predecessor would have done. So if you looked at an electric P80, as we call them, they look exactly the same as their diesel counterpart; even inside as far as the driver is concerned, there is very little change.”

Harris admits that pure electric delivery trucks don’t work in every scenario but says the firm is also working on range extenders capable of switching between internal combustion for the motorway and battery power for zero-emission travel in cities.

UPS CONVERTS VEHICLES MID-LIFE TO RUN ON ELECTRICITY, WITH GERMAN FIRM EFA-S

“For most of our other locations, pure EV is not the perfect solution because [they] require a greater range than a pure EV can, at the moment, provide. To address that challenge, we are working on another technology, also with Innovate UK and in conjunction with a company called Tether, which is a British start-up, and we have developed a range extended EV. It’s just like the EFA-S conversion, but this vehicle also carries a range extender engine, which acts as a series hybrid. It’s not connected to the wheels, but it’s able to drive a generator to put more charge back into the battery during the day.

“Take, for example, the ones that we’re building at the moment, that we intend to deploy in Birmingham. We serve Birmingham from our base in Tamworth; with a pure EV we just can’t get from Tamworth to Birmingham, do a day’s work, and get back again. But what we will do is operate the range extender on the to/from routes, then switch it off at the boundary to the Birmingham city area, so the vehicle operates as a zero-emission EV all day, in Birmingham, just like our EFA-S ones do in London. The driver won’t control it; it will be controlled by geofencing, and the range extender will just be used for that to/from route to enable it to cover the distance.”

Source: SMMT

Aston Martin Confirms Production of RapidE Electric Car

Less than two years after being unveiled as a concept, Aston Martin has confirmed that the all-electric RapidE will enter production in 2019.

Set for a limited production run of 155 cars, RapidE is Aston Martin’s first all-electric model. As such it spearheads development of the brand’s low- and zero-emission vehicle strategy laid out by Aston Martin’s President and CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, in the company’s Second Century Plan.

RapidE sees a continuation of the collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering who worked on the original RapidE Concept. Based in Grove, Oxfordshire, Williams Advanced Engineering will assist Aston Martin with the complex task of engineering integration.

Based upon the forthcoming Rapide AMR concept, RapidE will deliver four-door sports car looks and dynamics of the Rapide S powered by an all-electric powertrain replacing the six-litre V12 engine. More information will be revealed about the RapidE’s all-electric powertrain in due course. Thhe instantaneous delivery characteristics of electric motors means the RapidE will offer a unique driving experience of a kind not experienced before in an Aston Martin.

Aston Martin President and CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said of the RapidE: “Having unveiled the RapidE Concept back in October 2015 we reach another milestone with the confirmation that we are now putting the first all-electric Aston Martin into production. RapidE represents a sustainable future in which Aston Martin’s values of seductive style and supreme performance don’t merely co-exist alongside a new zero-emission powertrain, but are enhanced by it. The internal combustion engine has been at the heart of Aston Martin for more than a century, and will continue to be for years to come. RapidE will showcase Aston Martin’s vision, desire and capability to successfully embrace radical change, delivering a new breed of car that stays true to our ethos and delights our customers.”

Paul McNamara, Technical Director at Williams Advanced Engineering said: “Williams Advanced Engineering has always endeavoured to work collaboratively with its customers to meet their sustainability challenges and find energy efficient solutions. For today’s car manufacturers, this is particularly important as legislation demands more energy efficient vehicles. This project with Aston Martin will draw on the extensive battery and EV experience we have accumulated and we are extremely pleased to be supporting this prestigious British company with their future electrification strategy.”

INSTAVOLT POWERS UP FOR GROWTH WITH £12M INVESTMENT PACKAGE

instavolt

Electric vehicle charging company InstaVolt is powering up its ambitious growth strategy thanks to a £12m equity investment from Zouk Capital.

InstaVolt, which provides the rapid charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, plans to use the funding to achieve its target of introducing rapid charging points in more than 3,000 locations by 2020.

It follows news unveiled in November’s Autumn Statement that the Government is to invest £80m in boosting the country’s ultra-low emission charging infrastructure.

Colin Campbell, Partner at Zouk Capital said: “Our confidence in InstaVolt’s experienced management team combined with the company’s distinctive open access rapid charging model lead us to believe that InstaVolt will be one of the frontrunners in this fast growing space. In our view, the rapid charging market is a very important part of the electric vehicle revolution and improving air quality.”

CEO of InstaVolt, Tim Payne, said: “We are fiercely ambitious and rightly so – the electric vehicle market has the potential to dramatically reduce pollution in the UK and this is recognised by the Government through the fact it is investing millions in improving charging infrastructure. The funding from Zouk will allow us to bring our five-year growth plan to fruition, introducing more than 3,000 rapid charging points in the process.”

InstaVolt, headquartered in Basingstoke, aims to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions by making the UK an easier place to drive an electric vehicle. According to Government statistics, one of the biggest barriers that deters people from buying electric vehicles is the fear of not being able to recharge. InstaVolt aims to change this by introducing thousands of rapid charging points all over the country.

Unlike many other providers, InstaVolt’s ‘open charger’ model allows anyone to use its charging points on a pay-as-you-go basis. The 50kW rapid charging units can provide an 80% charge in just 30 minutes and are listed on popular website, zap-map.com, so they are easy to locate.

The company is working with local authorities, businesses and land owners across the UK to install the rapid charging points, which deliver a financial return for those who house them. Among the organisations embracing InstaVolt’s unique solution is Mid Devon Council, which is in the process of installing several charging points across its land.

InstaVolt is able to install its charging points almost anywhere, including at the roadside and in supermarket car parks. It provides a full service, from design and installation to maintenance and monitoring.

To find out more about the company visit www.instavolt.co.uk

Nissan e-NV200 Electric Van available in June

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Nissan e-NV200: the game-changer
Combining the best of Nissan LEAF and NV200 in one package, the all-electric Nissan e-NV200 is a game-changing, practical and sustainable city delivery vehicle

  • Zero emissions, best in class refinement and low running costs
  • The Nissan e-NV200 combines all-electric, battery-powered drivetrain from Nissan LEAF, and the class-leading cargo volume from NV200…

Highlights include…

  • New styling reflects 30 percent new components over existing NV200
  • 170 km NDEC homologated driving range, 120 km/h maximum speed
  • CHAdeMO quick charge capable (0-80% in 30 minutes)
  • Access to over 1000 public quick chargers in Europe
  • Global production from Barcelona

 Nissan continues to pioneer the electric vehicle sector with the introduction of the Nissan e-NV200, which brings unprecedented refinement, with zero emissions and ultra-low running costs to the compact van segment With this entry, Nissan will be the first automaker to have two all-electric vehicles in its global line-up, joining the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling EV.

Combining the best elements of two multi-award winning vehicles – Nissan LEAF and Nissan NV200, past World Car of the Year and International Van of the Year respectively – e-NV200 is ready to change the face of light commercial vehicles forever

The e-NV200’s high performance pure electric drivetrain, based on that used in the acclaimed Nissan LEAF, is allied to the class-leading cargo volume of the NV200 to create a practical and versatile vehicle capable of carrying people or goods while producing neither exhaust emissions nor noise pollution.

When sales start in June, e-NV200 will be available as a van or as a five-seat people carrier in Combi or more luxurious Evalia guises. Although mainly targeted at businesses, e-NV200 will also appeal to private users with large families. The e-NV200’s homologated NEDC range (170kms) is greater than the average 100km daily driving distance of over half the fleets who utilise this class of van and the payload and cargo area is the same as NV200’s.

The battery can be recharged overnight using a domestic 16-amp single-phase 3.3 kW supply which reduces to four hours if a 6.6kW/32-amp supply is used. A dedicated CHAdeMO DC 50 kW quick charger can recharge the battery from 0-80 percent in just 30 minutes or less if the battery is already partially charged. More than 1000 public CHAdeMO quick chargers are now installed across Europe, in addition a number of companies have installed their own dedicated quick charging facilities at their home depots or offices.

“The e-NV200 goes into a totally different market segment to the Nissan LEAF and alongside the world’s best selling electric vehicle will help us continue to lead the EV revolution. To do that we haven’t simply converted the NV200 to electric, we have thoroughly re-engineered to create a product that isn’t just a good electric van, it is a fantastic van by any standards said Guillaume Carter, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for Nissan Europe.

Director of Electric Vehicle for Nissan Europe, Jean-Pierre Diernaz is excited by what the e-NV200 brings to the range, commenting: “The proven and highly effective electric powertrain driving e-NV200 is ideally suited to the typical stop/start daily routine of a working vehicle. With no exhaust or noise pollution, e-NV200 is environmentally and people friendly, while the lack of fatigue-inducing noise and vibration from the drivetrain coupled with the single-speed transmission will provide genuine benefits to every hard working delivery or taxi driver. Fleet operators, meanwhile, will love the low running costs.”

Although based on existing hardware, e-NV200 has undergone a full engineering development programme as if it were new from the ground up. The drivetrain has been re-engineered in a number of significant areas to suit its new role, while changes have been made to the vehicle shell to ensure there has been no compromise to NV200’s cargo space.

The LCV version still has a cargo volume of 4.2m3 and can carry two standard Euro pallets, while sliding side doors on both sides and wide opening rear doors ensure that loading and unloading is as easy as possible.

A comprehensive ‘real-world’ test programme has been undertaken in Japan and Europe with pre-production models handed over to internationally known companies – including FedEx, Coca-Cola, DHL, IKEA, British Gas, EDF and the Japan Post Office – to operate as part of their everyday fleets. Feedback from drivers and fleet managers has been used to fine tune e-NV200 before series production began at Nissan’s major LCV facility in Barcelona, Spain.

“We believe e-NV200 will genuinely change the make-up of light van and taxi fleets as well as changing the environment in the heart of our cities,” added Diernaz.

Nissan e-NV200 in detail
Although based on significant elements of two existing vehicles, e-NV200 is a bespoke vehicle with a unique part count of more than 30 percent.

Differences between e-NV200 and NV200 include striking visual changes, a re-engineered chassis, interior revisions, a new battery pack, a higher capacity regenerative braking system and other modifications to ensure e-NV200 is better suited to its likely role as a city-based delivery vehicle for cargo and people.

The result is a near silent and emission-free future-proof electric vehicle that promises genuine advantages for drivers, fleet operators, passengers, pedestrians and city residents alike.

The most obvious visual difference between e-NV200 and its conventionally powered sibling is the adoption of Nissan’s EV “face,” familiar from Nissan LEAF. The central charging doors and unique blue tinted LED headlights give a modern look and distinct identity from its ICE sibling.

Blue-tinted arrow-like positioning lamps sit within new, crescent-shaped, headlamps that incorporate a distinctive ice blue light colour. LED bulbs are used in the rear lights of all versions as well as at the front on passenger models. The “electric” blue theme extends to the e-NV200’s badging.

Inside there’s a new instrument panel with a digital read out, while the gear selector has a simplified look and feel – shifting like a conventional automatic rather than the computer-style joystick of LEAF – to help drivers regularly moving from internal combustion engined vans into the e-NV200 acclimatise more quickly.

Digital information includes clear and easy-to-assimilate displays for vehicle speed, state of charge and vehicle range while a power meter shows the state of motor output/regeneration. The instrument panel is completed by a multi-function display that provides other time, distance and speed information.

Mechanically, e-NV200 owes much to the Nissan LEAF with independent front suspension by MacPherson strut from the world’s best selling EV. LEAF also provides the drivetrain, including its recently introduced second generation 80kW AC synchronous motor, which is now fully integrated with the battery charger and inverter in one compact, self-contained unit.

There are some significant changes, however, for e-NV200. Most notable is the Lithium-ion battery which has been changed to allow it to fit under e-NV200’s floor without compromising the cargo area. The new pack, which is built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK, and assembled in Barcelona, has the same number of modules – 48 – as in Leaf and the same 24kWh capacity, but is packaged differently.

The battery module is set low in the vehicle under the load floor and is mounted in a reinforced zone for extra safety protection in the event of an impact. The battery mounting assembly also helps boost the torsional and lateral stiffness of the vehicle by 20 percent and 35 percent respectively over NV200.

With a low centre of gravity, the ride and handling levels of e-NV200 are exceptional, even by the standards set by the NV200 while the instant torque delivery typical of an electric vehicle means the battery-powered version accelerates faster: its 0-100km/h time is quicker than the 1.5 dCi-powered NV200, with final figures confirmed last year.

Another drivetrain change over LEAF determined by e-NV200’s likely usage pattern is a new braking system with a higher regenerative capacity. This takes advantage of the vehicle’s typical stop/start city driving modes, while Hill Start Assist is fitted as standard, holding the vehicle for two seconds after the footbrake is released to allow smooth.

Source: Nissan

RAC launches first mobile electric vehicle charging unit

rac ev

The RAC is launching its first mobile electric charging system at GreenFleet Scotland to cater for the UK’s expanding electric vehicle (EV) market which now consists of more than 9,000 vehicles*.

A standard RAC diesel VW Transporter van has been fully equipped with an EVRESCUE, totally portable fast charging unit which can deliver around 15 miles of range to a stricken electric vehicle in less than half an hour. Equivalent to a ‘gallon of electricity’, the RAC believes this should be sufficient to get the driver safely on their way home or to the nearest charging point.

The unique 5kW unit, which is capable of completely recharging an electric vehicle’s battery in less than four hours, is going into service in the Birmingham area as the city has a well-established progressive EV record as a result of its charging infrastructure.

UK electric car sales are currently enjoying strong growth with 265% year-on-year growth in pure electric vehicles sales in the first three months of 2014**. The launch late last year of the BMW i3 range-extended supermini electric, which has been dubbed as the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up as an electric car, has no doubt helped these figures.

While the Government has not set a target for electric vehicles the Committee on Climate Change has recommended aiming for 1.7m EVs as a step towards achieving the UK’s long-term emissions reduction targets.

For company fleet operators electric vehicles offer many benefits, depending on their usage requirements, as they are cheaper to run than conventional vehicles, have wider tax breaks, and can be purchased with sizeable Government grants.

RAC spokesman Tim Hartles said: “As the electric vehicle market develops, the need for a mobile transportable energy source is becoming more important, not only to reduce ‘range anxiety’, but also to provide temporary cost-effective power for electric cars. Whether it’s at the side of a road in an emergency, or in a car showroom, portable power that is flexible, available and mobile is very much in demand so we wanted to invest in the required technology to make sure the RAC was completely ready to meet this need.

“By adding an EVRESCUE unit to a fully-equipped RAC van, a stranded electric vehicle will no longer require recovery after running out of energy as we will simply be able to give the vehicle a quick charge to get it going again. As well as the obvious cost savings this new solution brings, it enables fleets and businesses to make EV choices when purchasing.

“If this pilot scheme is successful we will look to add EVRESCUE charging systems to more patrol vehicles in busy urban areas just as we have done with our 10 new mobile tyre-fitting vans which have been introduced to cope with the ever-increasing ‘puncture no spare’ issue.

“To that end we are in discussions with other progressive local authorities around the UK – including Scotland – to extend the reach of the trial.”

The UK has more than 5,000 public car charging points – most of which take more than four hours to charge a battery. Only 220 of these, however, are fast chargers, which can fully recharge a battery in about 20 minutes.

Source: RAC

Tesla Using AT&T Service in Cars

 
Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, picked AT&T  to provide high-speed wireless service to its vehicles, giving the carrier a boost in its effort to expand beyond mobile phones.

All Tesla cars come equipped with AT&T network chips, which allow two-way connections for services such as roadside assistance and stolen-vehicle location, the Dallas-based carrier said today. The Tesla service also includes Internet access, navigation and entertainment on a 17-inch (43-centimeter) touch screen. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

Tesla, which sells its cars directly to consumers at prices starting at about $70,000, is AT&T’s latest connected-car partner. In February, AT&T replaced Verizon Wireless as OnStar service provider to General Motors Co. (GM) cars beginning with 2015 models. Carmakers and mobile carriers are seeking to extract more revenue from users while they’re on the road.

“Tesla is the most appealing car to technophiles,” said Roger Entner, a wireless-industry strategist with Recon Analytics LLC in Dedham, Massachusetts. “Connecting cars makes a tremendous amount of sense.”

Chris Penrose, an AT&T executive in charge of emerging devices, plans to announce the partnership at an event in San Francisco today. AT&T’s service also could be used to provide in-car Wi-Fi hot spots, letting anyone in the vehicle connect to the Internet via mobile devices.

“We’ve been working with AT&T. They’ve been the service provider for Model S” in North America, said Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla. She declined to comment on cellular or data service changes provided by AT&T.

Cellular System

“Cars are becoming multimedia entertainment systems and there’s a lot of money in that,” Entner said.

Unlike conventional cars, Tesla’s Model S receives wireless programming updates via an installed cellular system to improve vehicle operations. Such updates typically occur when the car is recharging overnight.

Navigation, mapping and data functions in the Model S also rely on the cellular system. Some owners have said the speed of refreshing Google Maps displayed in the car needs an upgrade.

Model S owners such as Douglas Carlisle of Menlo Park, California, cite cellular speed as one of the few areas in which the car needs improvement. Tesla doesn’t currently charge data fees for the installed cellular system.

“At times the map refresh isn’t as smooth as it could be, so that could get better,” Carlisle said in a July interview.

Source: Bloomberg

General Motor’s EN-V…Is it just A Concept Car ?

General Motor’s EN-V…Is It Just A Concept Car?

gm-en-v-3

General Motor’s concept car EN-V short for ‘Electric Networked-Vehicle’ is a small 2-seat urban electric car. This car is a collaborative effort between General Motors, Segway and Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturing company SAIC.

The idea behind this product is to address the urban transport issues of the future.  As per the estimates, the world could be populated by over 8 billion people by the year 2030…most of them would be living in urban areas. This massive population could cause transportation problems in the cities that are already overflowing with people.

 

GM EN-V promises a cleaner, brighter and more convenient futuristic car to meet the growing demand for transportation. The vehicle’s platform is based on Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) technology developed by Segway, using Segway’s dynamic stabilization technology. Dynamic stabilization technology enables the vehicle to balance on two wheels and have a true zero turning radius.

This emission-free vehicle is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. These motors provide power for acceleration and also bring the vehicle to a stop. The lithium-ion batteries provide the power to the motors. These batteries can be charged using standard household power. The EN-V can travel upto 40 KMs on a single charge.

It’s a networked vehicle sharing information with other cars about its location and speed to anticipate and avoid collisions.  Finally it can drive itself, safely taking over the driving from a sleepy or distracted driver.

GM unveiled the EN-V models called Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic) and Xiao (Laugh) in Shanghai at the World Expo 2010. For now it’s purely experimental but it is far more than a typical auto show concept car.

Source: Jeremy Helms/Industry Tap