Birò solves the battery recharging problem reports gizmag. (See photo above.) Drivers can remove the vehicle’s battery if there is no charger in the area and take it with them to charge indoors. The two-seater EV, a big seller in Europe, comes with two brushless 48-volt in-wheel electric motors (in the rear) that can generate a top speed of 45 km/hour (28 mph). Its lithium-ion Re-Move battery provides approximately 40 km (25 miles) of driving range, and can be charged in four hours. The Re-Move has wheels and is mounted on a track, so it can be easily slid out through a hatch in the back of the vehicle once it’s parked. No wires or plugs need to be detached. In effect it is like the removable cell in your small electric appliances. In addition users can quickly swap in a freshly-charged battery for one that’s depleted – something that could come in handy for rental or car-sharing applications. Moreover, a car with no battery is going to be pretty difficult to steal. The lithium-ion Re-Move battyer goes for €3,990 ($5,307) – so the total price for a Re-Move-equipped Birò adds up to €11,980 ($15,934). See video of the Birò here.

Technician Online discusses the difference between a fast EV charger and a slower Type-2 charger. ABB’s new fast-charging technology can fully charge an EV in one hour. The Type-2 charger takes four hours.  The difference is that the ABB technology uses only direct current (DC) while the Type-2 uses a combination of alternating current (AC) and DC.  And there is a vast difference in price too.  ABB’s charger costs $30,000 versus $2000 for the Type-2 charger.

Digital Trends wonders if hydrogen fuel cell cars will ever be successful.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology is proven, clean, reliable and scalable. But is that enough to make it viable as part of our overall and entrenched fueling matrix?…The main roadblock for hydrogen vehicles is finding a place to gas up. Until that issue is solved, we can expect the proliferation of hydrogen cars to continue on a small scale.

And as electric and hybrid vehicles ride an increasing wave of popularity, we wonder if hydrogen-powered cars, which draw their fuel from natural gas, a not-so-distant cousin of liquid fuel, are too little too late and on the wrong side of fuel technology in the grand scope of the changes underway in vehicle propulsion.

Switched On Scotland creates a road map for Scotland’s electric vehicle future. To meet the government’s policy of eradicating petrol and diesel emissions from towns and cities by 2050, every Scottish government vehicle will be replaced with an EV. Charge points will be installed at main government buildings to support the move. Also, members of the public driving electric vehicles will be offered half-price travel on ferries to the islands of Mull and Bute. The roadmap looks specifically at fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids but adds that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles will complement these in the future. Other policy plans to promote EVs are:

  • Investing over £14m over the next two years to encourage motorists and businesses to switch to electric vehicles.
  • Offering 100% funding for the installation of home charging points.
  • Offering funding to businesses and employers to encourage recharging points to be installed at workplaces.
  • Supporting public sector fleet operators to access evidence-based analysis to create new opportunities for the deployment of plug-in vehicles.
  • The deployment of rapid charge points at intervals of at least 50 miles on Scotland’s primary road network to enable extended all-electric journeys.

Build it and they will come? As regular readers of Earth’s Energy know, the UK has put a lot of time and effort and money over the past two years into trying to get electric cars on the road to reduce C02 emissions.  Not only has the government used public funds to provide generous subsidies to consumers for the purchase of EVs, it has financed the construction of tens of thousands of EV charging stations in an attempt to reduce “range anxiety” for potential EV owners.  Yet those EV charging stations are not attracting EV drivers. The city of Sunderland in northern England is an example. In Electric car charging points sit unused across Sunderland we get a snap shot of how little these EV charging stations are being used. The Sunderland Echo found many charging points are sitting empty across the city with some used just twice in the past year.

Ten of the 30 charging points in council-owned car parks across Wearside have been used less than 10 times in the past 12 months; 17 less than 20 times, while only five have been used more than 50 times…Figures obtained by the Echo reveal six of the city’s 30 charging points have either been closed or reported faulty at some point during the past two years.

TheGreenCar notes those UK subsidies to consumers are not generating demand for EVs. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association finds that purchases of EVs remains less than the growth in the overall car market with the number of vans being purchased declining.

“These figures show that the current strategy for driving uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is not working,” said BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney…Instead of focusing on grants for buyers of electric vehicles, the association wants to see vehicle users offered longer-term, in-use incentives such as ten-year road tax exemption, free parking and financial support when installing charging points at work premises.

The Canadian city of Montreal is building 80 EV charging stations reports CNW. To be placed in municipal parking lots, the 240-V charging stations are expected to be installed by the end of this year.

The Rochester Business Journal tells us Frito-Lay North America is adding 20 all-electric trucks to its fleet in the US state of New York. The company also is adding 20 charging stations for the vehicles which will be located at its distribution centers in Rochester, Albany, Buffalo and New Paltz,

If you are headed to Disney World in Orlando, Florida you can try out an EV.  The East Valley Tribune reports on a new program called Drive Electric Orlando, Anyone who rents one of 15 Nissan Leaf cars from Enterprise Rent-A-Car will be able to charge the car for free when driving around the city. There are about 300 charging stations in the greater Orlando area, with many located at hotels, near theme parks, the Convention Center, and downtown outside of City Hall.

In effort to attract buyers, GM Europe has cut the price of the Opel Ampera by 17% according to Reuters. In Germany, for example, the price is being lowered by 8000 euros to 38,300 euros ($50,400). Only 828 new Ampera cars were registered in Germany last year out of a market of 3.08 million vehicles.Similar to the Chevy Volt in North America, the Ampera can travel between 40-80 kilometers electrically. Once the battery is depleted, the car can drive another 500 kilometers with its combustion engine range extender.

TRL reports that government subsidies for electric cars are affecting their resale prices...negatively. A new study conducted by CAP Consulting found sellers of EVs get a higher price for their car in those countries which do not have government grants (Italy, Germany) than countries that do (UK, France. EVs typically depreciate twice as quickly as a conventional petrol car and government grants appear to be pushing resale prices down even further. With a government grant staring them in the face, potential EV buyers are more likely to buy new than used. CAP believes that instead of giving government grants, they should consider other incentives such as cheaper parking for EVs, permission to use bus or multiple occupancy lanes, and exemptions from city centre driving restrictions.

The Daily Tech informs us that Volkswagon wants to be the market leader in EVs by 2018. Having focused on diesel engines until now, the world’s largest car manufacturer recently introduced two new electric cars  for 2015 – the e-Golf and the e-up!  See also treehugger, VW unveils two upcoming production electric cars. VW says the driving range for the e-Golf is between 130 and 190 km (81 and 118 miles), depending on driving conditions. For the smaller e-up! it is between 120 and 160 km (75 to 99 miles), depending on driving conditions.

Meanwhile VW subsidiary Audi is sticking to hybrids rather than going the all-electric route. CAR ADVICE interviewed Audi AG Chairman Rupert Stadler who said:

“We decided that out of our feedback and studies no customer wants to sacrifice range. He wants to have the freedom and security, if he wants to go further he has everything on board…Audi has decided to go the way of the e-tron concept, so electric drive with internal combustion engine, because we are a strong believer that our customer wants to have the range.”

The US city of Washington is buying diesel-electric buses says Next-Gen Transportation News. The Metro Washington Area Transit Authority has entered a contract to buy 85 diesel-electric hybrid, 42-foot buses to be delivered within a year. In addition, the contract calls for the potential purchase of an additional 498 additional 42-foot buses and up to 71 60-foot buses over a five-year period.  These latter are likely to be a mixture of diesel-electric hybrid buses and compressed natural gas buses.








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