Tag Archives: electric vehicles

NORTHERN POWERGRID AND NISSAN SIGN INDUSTRY-LEADING PARTNERSHIP

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Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that keeps the lights on for 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, and the leading electric vehicle manufacturer Nissan have signed an industry-leading partnership.

The two organisations, through a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), will work together to explore a range of innovation projects over the next six years.

The projects will look at how electric vehicles (EV), batteries and other technologies can support energy networks.  They will also explore how new technologies can enhance the capacity, capability and resilience of the region’s power network to make it more active and responsive to the growing and changing demands of both domestic and commercial customers.

The partnership also represents another step forward for Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint in Europe, which aims to demonstrate how electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF – the world’s best-selling EV – can work in tandem with energy providers and grid infrastructure to deliver a cleaner, more efficient energy networks.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, for example, allows electric vehicles to be fully integrated into the electricity grid, improving network capacity and helping to make renewable energy sources more affordable and more widely available. It also provides an opportunity to create mobile energy hubs, by integrating large numbers of electric vehicles directly with the grid. This enables Nissan LEAF owners to connect and charge their vehicle during low-demand, cheap tariff periods, and use the electricity stored in the vehicle’s battery at a time when costs are higher, or even feed it back to the grid to generate additional returns.

Jim Cardwell, head of trading and innovation at Northern Powergrid, said:“Building on what we are already doing around innovation projects, this signals the start of a ground-breaking industry partnership to explore new innovations that could support the creation of smarter, greener energy networks and help shape future technologies to support the efficient roll-out of electric vehicles.”

Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, said: “We’re both major employers in the region.  By bringing together our expertise we will help the region – as part of the Northern Powerhouse – play a leading role in exploring innovation and technological advances that could potentially benefit future generations, communities, businesses and industries both in and outside of the UK.”

Following the signing of the MOU, Northern Powergrid and Nissan will work together over the coming months to develop plans for a series of projects.  Project learnings will be shared in due course.

Ed Jones, EV manager, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, said: “We’ve always known that Nissan’s EV technology can be used for so much more than just getting people from A-to-B and we’re delighted to be sharing our expertise to help create more sustainable energy networks in the UK. Through the integration of Nissan EVs, we can find new solutions that will help shape a society whose energy use is sustainable, efficient and affordable.”

Pictured: Patrick Erwin, policy and markets director at Northern Powergrid, with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.

Source: Northern Powergrid.

ChargePoint Raises $82 Million to Pave the Way for e-Mobility in Europe

Daimler leads funding round, underscores collective commitment to establishing the continent’s most comprehensive electric vehicle charging network ever developed

ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, today announced it has secured an initial $82 million in funding, part of a larger multi-million dollar fundraise, led by Daimler. The first close of the company’s latest fundraising round is the largest in the Silicon Valley company’s history. The investment will support the expansion of the company’s charging network into Europe, enabling the region to complete the shift to e-mobility.

Existing investors BMW i Ventures, Linse Capital, Rho Capital Partners, and Braemar Energy Ventures also participated in this latest fundraising round. To date, ChargePoint has raised more than $255 million, a testament to ChargePoint’s proven business model that underscores a collective commitment to electric mobility worldwide. As more types of vehicles become electrified, such as trucks and buses, this new funding will help ensure ChargePoint is ready.

“The automobile industry is at an inflection point, with more vehicles coming onto the market offering highly advanced electric powertrains than any other time in the world’s history,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “The significant investment by our lead investor Daimler and others not only underscores a collective commitment to e-mobility around the world, but lays the groundwork for Europe’s most comprehensive charging network.”

ChargePoint already makes it easy for drivers in North America to charge an EV everywhere they go, with more than 33,000 charging ports where they can refuel. Thousands of drivers have selected ChargePoint to meet EV charging needs with more than 6,500 companies selecting the brand for their employees, customers, fleets and tenants. Now, ChargePoint is committed to bringing EV drivers in Europe the same level of convenience that makes the charging experience effortless.

ChargePoint also announced the appointment of Daimler AG executive Axel Harries to the company’s Board of Directors. Harries has a deep history with Daimler, serving in a number of management roles including Vice President of Quality and Director of Mercedes-Benz G GmbH, as well as on teams including Commercial Vehicles and e-Business. In his current role, Harries is responsible for shaping the newly established CASE-unit within Daimler (Connected, Autonomous, Sharing & Services, and Electric Drive), charged with developing technologies and innovations for next generation Mercedes-Benz vehicles, particularly the new electric product brand, EQ.

“While pursuing the systematic expansion of our CASE ecosystem based on our new product brand EQ, we also remain open and ready for partnerships and cooperation at the highest level. ChargePoint is a company of experts in the field of electric mobility charging solutions with a great deal of know-how in both hardware and software. Together we will be able to significantly expand the product portfolio in the area of intelligent charging solutions and provide the customer with an all-embracing premium offer for electric mobility,” he said.

ChargePoint is the only company that offers a charging solution for every part of an EV driver’s life—at home, at work, around town and on the road. This comprehensive product portfolio positions ChargePoint to offer the right innovation for each market in Europe and meet a variety of driver needs. Painstakingly engineered by EV charging experts, ChargePoint hardware and software solutions make it easy for drivers to charge and simple for station owners to manage with custom access controls, pricing and reporting tools, among other smart features. In addition to advancing e-mobility in the region with innovative technology, ChargePoint will build on its long history in North America of promoting EV-friendly policies through partnerships with policymakers, utilities and automakers in Europe.

More than 20 European countries already provide attractive incentives for purchasing EVs, which has helped make Europe the world’s second-largest EV market. As more EVs hit more European roads, the need for a comprehensive charging network is more important than ever. Currently, there are dozens of providers of EV charging hardware, software and driver networks in a fragmented market. They all work differently and often require drivers to sign up for separate accounts, which creates a confusing and cumbersome charging experience for EV drivers.

ChargePoint is committed to being the first company to introduce a complete charging solution that serves EV drivers in Europe everywhere they go. By collaborating with innovative companies like Daimler, one of the largest producers of premium vehicles and a world leader and pioneer in automotive electrification, ChargePoint will be able to lay the foundation for Europe’s most comprehensive and intelligent charging network.

Total planning EV charging points at its French stations – CEO

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French oil and gas giant Total is planning a network of electric vehicle charging points at its petrol stations across France, the company’s Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said on Tuesday.

“We plan to do it. We are thinking of how to equip our stations with electric charging points,” Pouyanne told journalists at the sidelines of the SER renewable energy conference in Paris.

Pouyanne said the company was looking at installing the charging points mostly outside city centres and was talking to car makers such as PSA.

“Our plan consists of looking at how to create a charging point network around French highways to have charging points every 150 or 160 km (100 miles),” he said, adding that there was demand from clients.

“We are preparing the investment for it,” Pouyanne said, adding that Total is targeting about 300 petrol stations. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Geert De Clercq)

Source: Reuters

 

Ultra-Fast Electric Vehicle Charging Station Network Plans For European Roads

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BMW GROUP, DAIMLER AG, FORD MOTOR COMPANY AND VOLKSWAGEN GROUP WITH AUDI AND PORSCHE PLAN A JOINT VENTURE FOR ULTRA-FAST, HIGH-POWER CHARGING ALONG MAJOR HIGHWAYS IN EUROPE

  • Joint venture to deploy a high-powered DC charging network for battery electric vehicles covering long-distance travel routes in Europe
  • Power levels up to 350 kilowatt significantly reduce charging time compared to today’s systems
  • Buildup of about 400 ultra-fast charging sites planned in Europe
  • Network is based on Combined Charging System standard, which uses a connector that is fully compatible with most current and next-generation battery electric vehicles
  • Unprecedented collaboration of the automakers to form a brand-independent network for charging infrastructure

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick buildup of a sizable number of stations to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This is an important step toward facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption.

The projected ultra-fast charging network with power levels up to 350 kilowatt will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The buildup is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020, consumers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most battery electric vehicle drivers to date. The experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System standard technology. The planned infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kilowatt. Vehicles engineered to accept the full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s battery electric vehicles. The network is intended to serve all Combined Charging System-equipped vehicles to facilitate battery electric vehicle adoption in Europe.

BMW Group

“This high-power charging network provides motorists with another strong argument to move toward electric mobility,” says Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG. The BMW Group has initiated numerous public charging infrastructure projects over the last years. The joint project is another major milestone clearly demonstrating that competitors are combining forces to ramp up e-mobility.”

Daimler AG

“The breakthrough of e-mobility requires two things: convincing vehicles and a comprehensive charging infrastructure. With our new brand EQ, we are launching our electric product offensive: by 2025, our portfolio will include more than 10 fully electric passenger cars. Together with our partners, we are now installing the highest-powered charging infrastructure in Europe,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The availability of high-power stations allows long-distance e-mobility for the first time and will convince more and more customers to opt for an electric vehicle.”

Ford Motor Company

“A reliable, ultra-fast charging infrastructure is important for mass consumer adoption and has the potential to transform the possibilities for electric driving,” says Mark Fields, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Ford is committed to developing vehicles and technologies that make people’s lives better, and this charging network will make it easier and more practical for consumers across Europe to own electrified vehicles.”

AUDI AG

“We intend to create a network that allows our customers on long-distance trips to use a coffee break for recharging,” says Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of AUDI AG. “Reliable, fast charging services are a key factor for drivers to choose an electric vehicle. With this cooperation, we want to boost broader market adoption of e-mobility and speed up the shift toward emission-free driving.”

Porsche AG

“There are two decisive aspects for us: ultra-fast charging and placing the charging stations at the right positions,” says Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG. “Together, these two factors enable us to travel in an all-electrically powered car as in a conventional combustion engine vehicle. As an automobile manufacturer, we actively shape our future, not only by developing all-electrically powered vehicles, but by building up the necessary infrastructure as well.”

The automobile manufacturers intend to make substantial investments to create the network, underscoring each company’s belief in the future of electric mobility. While the founding partners – BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group – will be equal partners in the joint venture, other automobile manufacturers will be encouraged to participate to help establish convenient charging solutions for battery electric vehicle customers. The joint venture also intends to cooperate with regional partners to ensure a quick network realization.

The joint venture formation is subject to execution of definitive agreements and merger control approval in various jurisdictions.

Source: Ford

Chargemaster signs two-year Formula E deal as Official Charging Infrastructure Supplier

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. London ePrix, Battersea Park, London, United Kingdom. Sunday 3 July 2016. Nicolas Prost (FRA), Renault e.Dams Z.E.15, Sebastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams Z.E.15 and the Renaults eDams team celebrate on the podium. Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _79P3094

Chargemaster will be supporting the wireless charging on the official safety and medical cars and be providing legacy charging infrastructure to the cities visited by the series.

Following the growth of the FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series – and a successful first year’s partnership, Chargemaster is delighted to announce a new two-year contract as the Official Charging Infrastructure Supplier to Formula E including the support of wireless charging of the official course cars.

Ahead of this weekend’s race in Marrakesh, Chargemaster’s announcement is hot on the heels of three major vehicle manufacturers – Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes-AMG – confirming that they will intend to have factory-backed teams joining the series. Growing in stature, the 2016/17 calendar consists of 12 rounds, starting last month in Hong Kong and finishing in Montreal, Canada in July 2017.

As part of the two-year deal, Chargemaster’s technicians will support the wireless charging of the official course cars, including the BMW i8 Qualcomm Safety Car and the BMW i3 medical car. This is paramount to ensure each is fully charged, and can be on-hand to support the race as soon as required.

In addition to assisting with charging on-site at Formula E race events, Chargemaster works directly with local cities to establish charging infrastructure in each location. Each hosting city is offered a number of Chargemaster units, boosting awareness and making it easier for local EV drivers to stay charged and on the go.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said “We are delighted to renew our existing partnership with Chargemaster to assist with wireless charging infrastructure for our official course cars. Formula E is a series dedicated to promoting pioneering technologies, and with the support of Chargemaster we are able to provide course cars with innovative wireless charging capabilities.”

“The recent announcements from major car manufacturers proves that Formula E is a genuine game-changer, and helps make electric vehicles appeal to a new breed of enthusiasts and drivers,” said David Martell, Chargemaster Chief Executive. “I have always been a strong believer in the power of Formula E to bring sustainability to motorsport, and I am delighted to announce our new partnership. We’ll have technicians on hand to support and continue to leave charging points in every city we visit – an amazing legacy for Chargemaster, too.”

Chargemaster is the UK’s largest provider of EV charging infrastructures. At present it operates a 5,500-strong public POLAR network, and has supplied over 30,000 homes with its Homecharge units.

About the FIA Formula E Championship

The FIA Formula E Championship is the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series, competing on the streets against the backdrop of some of the most iconic cities – including Hong Kong, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Monaco, Paris, New York and Montreal. The championship represents a vision for the future of the motor industry, serving as a platform to showcase the latest innovations in electric vehicle technology and alternative energy solutions. Future seasons will see the regulations open up further allowing manufacturers to focus on the development of motor and battery components, which in turn will filter down to everyday contemporary electric road vehicles.
The 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship sees 10 teams and 20 drivers go wheel-to-wheel in 10 cities spanning five continents in the fight to be crowned Formula E champion. The inaugural season of Formula E sparked into life in September 2014 around the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing. The third season of the electric street racing series gets underway on October 9 in Hong Kong, with the season finale double-header in Montreal on July 29 & 30.

Source: Chargemaster

 

Chargemaster named among top tech companies for third year running

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Chargemaster in Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 for third year in a row
• Tech Track 100 lists UK’s fastest-growing technology companies
• The EV charging point supplier has supplied more than 50,000 units

The UK’s premier electric vehicle (EV) charging point supplier, Chargemaster has featured on the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 list for the third consecutive year, meaning that it has once again posted exceptional sales growth.

The league table lists the UK’s top 100 fastest-growing private technology companies, based on their sales over the last three years. Chargemaster first appeared on the table in 2014, and is ranked 66th on this year’s list.

Chargemaster’s third consecutive appearance on the Tech Track 100 list demonstrates the impressive sales success that it has enjoyed in recent years. Its UK manufacturing facility now produces 2,000 EV charging units each month, with the company supplying its 50,000th charger this year.

The company’s focus on quality products and services has meant that it is well-placed to serve the growing EV market, partnering with a number of electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi, Nissan and Tesla. It has also joined forces with the AA, to educate motorists about the benefits of owning an EV.

David Martell, Chargemaster CEO, commented: “To be included in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 list for a third time in three years is an exceptional achievement, which we are hugely proud of. Chargemaster continues to go from strength-to-strength, thanks to a focus on product quality and reliability, as well as a strong EV market in the UK and Europe.”

The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 is compiled by Fast Track and was published in the Sunday Times on September 11 2016.

Source: Chargemaster

 

Chargemaster UltraCharger Leads The Way For Next Generation Of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

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Chargemaster has revealed its new UltraCharger, a rapid charger for electric vehicles, which modernises electric vehicle charging through a number of innovations.

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Unveiled at leading low-carbon show LCV2015 by Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, the UltraCharger promises to revolutionise electric vehicle charging.

Manufactured at the company’s plant in Luton, Bedfordshire, the UltraCharger is the only rapid charger to be designed and built in the UK. Chargemaster expects to build 1,000 units in its first full year and will be exporting the UltraCharger globally, with an initial focus on Europe.

Measuring 120cm(H) x 60cm(W) x60cm(D), the UltraCharger is considerably smaller and lighter than previous rapid chargers on the market, meaning it does not need planning permission to be installed in many instances.

Electric vehicle owners will not only be able to access the UltraCharger via an RFID membership card, but also a contactless debit or credit card. It can also be controlled using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), meaning that on recognising a vehicle’s number plate, it will authorise the user and automatically start charging.

With an improved user interface, which has a large 12-inch touchscreen with graphical display, users will be greeted personally on screen when presenting their card to the UltraCharger. Owners will also receive a text message to inform them when charge has reached a pre-set level.

The UltraCharger offers three cables making it compatible with all EVs on the market that charge up to 50kW units. The design-focused unit is not only aesthetically improved on previous rapid chargers but also has cable retraction, removing untidy cables from view when not in use.

Chargemaster CEO David Martell commented: “We’ve always been at the forefront of electric vehicle charging, and we’re proud to unveil the UltraCharger, which takes the industry a massive step forward in terms of modernisation.

“We are proud to be able to manufacture these in the UK, supporting the local economy, while offering high-quality good-value rapid chargers to the electric vehicle market.”

He added: “With a host of innovations, such as automatic number plate recognition and contactless payments, the UltraCharger will make life even easier for EV owners.”

Business Minister Anna Soubry said: “Research and development is vital to the long-term productivity and growth of our successful automotive industry, and will help companies secure a big share of growing international markets like low carbon and electric vehicles. UltraCharger is a good example of this and I am delighted to unveil it at LCV 2015.”

Source: Chargemaster

 

Lampposts to Charge Electric Cars

 

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Street lights would double up as charging points for electric cars under a scheme to cut vehicle emissions, which is in line for government funding.

The so-called light and charge technology has been developed by BMW and is due to be tried out in Germany next year.

It could also be tested here after being shortlisted for funding as part of a £35m Department for Transport scheme to create “ultra low emission” eco-cities.

Also among the dozen ideas under consideration are smartphone-style charging points with internet access; tax breaks for employees who buy low emission cars through salary sacrifice schemes; electric car pools; and scrappage schemes encouraging drivers to swap their vehicles for low-emission versions.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: “We are determined to maintain international leadership on the uptake of ultra low-emission vehicles.”

 

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“Light and Charge is a simple and innovative solution which aims to seamlessly integrate a smoothly functioning charging station network into the urban landscape,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, speaking at the official inauguration of the first two integrated street light / charging station systems. “The BMW i ChargeNow card already offers access to the world’s largest network of charging stations, and now it gives us great pleasure, in cooperation with our partners, to further expand this network with the help of the Light and Charge project. After all, a seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future.”

With its modular LED design, the Light and Charge street light is much more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and provides more effective illumination. It can be installed anywhere and its modular design can to be tailored to different locations. Up to four LED modules can be used to provide night-time lighting on main roads, while one or two modules are sufficient to provide agreeable lighting on side streets and in residential areas. As is already the case with vehicle headlights, LED technology allows more targeted light distribution with less unnecessary and ecologically undesirable “scatter”.

With the development of the Light and Charge system, the BMW Group has signalled its commitment to the deployment of a seamless charging station infrastructure for electric vehicles. The solution it is developing in cooperation with the city of Munich can be grafted straight onto the existing local authority street lighting infrastructure, substantially increasing the number of public charging stations at a stroke. The pilot project will be launched in Munich next year. EV charging stations can be set up at any location where suitable parking is available, simply by replacing conventional street lights with Light and Charge systems.

The EV charging cable connects to a standard connector on the Light and Charge street light. The integrated control panel allows drivers to start charging with a simple press of a button. The electricity used is billed via the BMW i ChargeNow network – a system already familiar to users of the large numbers of public charging stations already participating in this network. Worldwide, the ChargeNow network already offers BMW i customers approximately 18,000 charging stations. In Europe, the concept of provider-independent charging can be further optimised with the help of the Hubject “e-roaming” platform. The Light and Charge systems presented and in use in Munich have been designed from the start for integration into the ChargeNow network and the Hubject platform. That will allow these additional charging stations to be used by as many drivers as possible, regardless of vehicle model and electricity provider.

Source: The Sunday Times/BMW

 

Gogoro The Smartscooter of the future

Gogoro unveiled it’s innovative smartscooter which features cutting edge battery technology & sophisticated charging station infrastructure at the CES 2015 show in Las Vegas.

The most interesting Gogoro-Front-Left-Quarter-Viewthing about the company is its swappable battery network it plans on building out in emerging and existing megacities.

The lithium-ion batteries have a more than 60 mile range—similar to what petrol scooter are capable of. When the rider is ready to swap the two batteries in the scooter, she is routed the nearest charging station through the Gogoro app where the charging station pops out two fresh batteries that are tailored to her driving style–if the rider is prone to going fast, they’ll probably need a stronger, fresher battery.

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The lithium-ion batteries were developed in partnership with Panasonic using the Japanese company’s cylindrical 18650-size batteries–the same used inside Tesla’s Model S. The batteries have 25 sensors in them and report back to the cloud every 10 minutes about their status. And the battery talks to the vehicle through near field communication (NFC) technology and to your phone through Bluetooth.

All the Gogoro stations will be synced up to determine which station has enough batteries charged to feed demand at particular locations. It’ll learn the behavior of regular users and be able to manage peak energy demands to better fit in with a city’s electricity demand. Batteries will spend their time charging in hours when energy isn’t in such high demand. Blackouts are a frequent issue in some big cities as energy demands spike more and more at certain times with rapid population growth. This is an attempt to offset those peaks.

“As population grows in megacities, electricity demand is only going to increase at that peak,” said Luke. “There’s the potential of charging surplus energy at night and have them ready for the day. … Imagine a world where your vehicle is so connected to the grid that it knows who, when and how you change batteries. You can design a grid that follows that pattern dynamically throughout the day and adjust energy levels to the amount of vehicles on the road.”

The swappable battery idea may bring to some people’s minds the disastrous cleantech failure that was Israel-based electric vehicle startup Better Place, which received nearly a billion in investment. But instead of the big hulking battery swaps that Better Place had to do with its four-wheel cars with the use of robots, you simply swap out two batteries into the Gogoro scooter using your own two hands. This makes installing the charging stations cheaper. To deploy the Gogoro stations, the company said it’ll cost $10,000–much lower cost than Better Place’s $500,000 charging stations.

Of course, the entire model behind Gogoro could fall apart if it never manages to get cities on board to invest and install this infrastructure. Gogoro thinks it’ll need one station per mile in cities to build the infrastructure up enough for the Gogoro system to work. Gogoro is already in talks with several big cities around building this battery infrastructure–including at least one US city. Even though the target is young people in booming urban areas of the developing world, Gogoro plans to have some presence in Europe and the US. Gogoro said we should be seeing rollout plans around building out this charging infrastructure later this year.

No pricetag has been mentioned yet for the scooter, but the model will be centered around leasing the battery. People will buy the vehicle and get access to the charging station network. “We want to make sure the vehicle is accessible,” said Luke. “In EVs today, the battery makes up 40 percent of building costs. Batteries are that expensive. Removing that and the charging circuit reduces the cost of the vehicle. Our model is more of a mobile phone business plan.”

Before Gogoro, Luke had spent his time as the chief innovation officer at Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. But with the saturation of the smartphone market as it’s matured, it’s hard to grow in that space and major innovations soon dry up. “There’s so much money in the phone business that it’s practically like running the Olympics,” said Gogoro cofounder and CTO Matt Taylor, who followed Luke from executive positions at Microsoft and HTC to Gogoro. “You have the best teams at Motorola and Apple working on them. It’s hard to sit back and take a breath and really move things forward.”

Scooters seemed like the perfect place to move things forward—the industry hasn’t moved very far in the past 20 years. There are roughly 200 million scooters worldwide. Many people in the emerging megacities are coming into the middle class and desire a means to get around, but the transportation infrastructure isn’t keeping pace with city growth.

The long-term vision behind Gogoro is all around the battery. Gogoro hopes others will build products on top of the modular battery technology. They’re already talking about how the batteries a few years down the road could be used to serve as backup in server farms and commercial buildings.

“This company is not just about shipping vehicles but about starting a new industry and getting everybody rallied around smart energy,” exclaimed Luke. “We call it the smart scooter, not just the electric scooter. It’s connected, receiving, learning.”

The scooter can do a top speed of 60 Mph and can reach 0-30 in 4.2 seconds.

French billionaire Bollore brings electric hire cars to London

  • Vincent Bollore, CEO of investment group Bollore, poses by an electric car following a news conference in London March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

First it was pedal power; now Londoners are being offered electric transport to dodge their way around the city.

French billionaire Vincent Bollore on Wednesday unveiled plans to park 3,000 electric cars on London streets by 2016, as part of a car share project that emulates the popular bike hire scheme started in 2010 under Mayor Boris Johnson.

Bollore, chief executive of the group bearing his name which set up the Autolib electric car-sharing program in Paris in 2011, said electric car hire could help cut congestion and reduce pollution in the British capital.

“Pollution becomes a nightmare … so many cities where you can’t even go out and the planes can’t take off and you have to solve this problem,” Bollore told Reuters at the launch of the scheme alongside one of the compact, silver-and-white cars.

Facing tougher environmental regulation and growing demand for less polluting cars, automakers are investing heavily in electric vehicles, but many consumers have been deterred by the limited distance that electric cars can go on a single charge.

But Bollore, whose company has interests in transport, media and electricity storage, said the yet-to-be named car hire scheme would be serviced by 6,000 charging points installed around London by 2018, up from the current 1,400.

Users will be able to hire a car for £10 pounds an hour, using a smartphone app to find a pick-up point, then leave it at one of an unspecified number of locations.

CAR SHARE

Already established car share schemes such as Avis unit Zipcar, Hertz and independently owned City Car Club only allow drivers to collect and leave vehicles at the same spot. They also use mostly conventionally powered vehicles.

Bollore said drivers would be issued with a card which acted as a key and recognized them, even remembering their favorite radio station. He said 100 vehicles would be parked around London in the next year with the rest to follow by 2016.

The Bollore group, which also operates car clubs in the French cities Lyon and Bordeaux, said it was investing 100 million pounds on the UK initiative, with some 60 million to be spent a year on maintaining vehicles and running the business.

In Paris, the car share scheme has about 12,000 rentals a day with over 4,800 charge points. It expects to break even ahead of its expected target in November this year.

Bollore said he was planning to open his company’s first U.S. scheme in Indianapolis, Indiana, this year with 500 cars and 1,000 charge points.

A lawyer by training and previously an investment banker, Bollore, 61, has become rich by taking stakes in troubled companies, building an investment conglomerate from the family’s paper mills in Brittany, western France.

Source: Reuters