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Updated: 10 hours 57 min ago

Germany: First Fastned High Power Charging station live

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 03:00

Fastned opens their first ultra-fast charging in Germany today. Located on the A3 motorway, the site serves electric car drivers with charging powers of up to 350 kW. It is the first of 25 such stations the Dutch will install across the country with hundreds more planned across Europe.

Fastned was quick to secure funding from the German government that allocated 4.1 million euros. Enough for the Dutch company to install 25 charging stations with no less than 17 scheduled to be ready this year.

The first such location in Germany features two such HPC points with one ChaDeMo and CCS connection each. For now, their charging power is limited to 175 kW but Fastned says they are configured to deliver 350 kW with some minor changes needed once the first such electric vehicles will get on the road. Another classic multi-standard charger joins the bunch at the A3 motorway close to Limburg.

In general, Fastned uses a modular design for their charging stations, so that the company may add high power charging points as required. While the German location has two installed for now, it is ready to be expanded to up to 8. Another stopp located at “De Watering” in the Netherlands however, only includes two stops but both are ready for HPC at 350 kW.

The latest station also features Fastned’s Autocharge function that is to make any fob or charge card redundant in future. Instead the charging station recognises the vehicle once registered with Fastned and automatically starts charging via CCS.

Overall, Fastned aims to install a network of 1,000 charging locations across Europe. To date, the Dutch company operates 73 charging sites in the Netherlands. Apart from Germany that is to become one of their main markets, Fastned is preparing to enter the UK reportedly as well as Belgium to install a few hundred high power charging stations there as well.

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UPS launches custom-made cargo e-bikes

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 17:22

34 new cargo pedelecs have joined the European fleet of logistics giant UPS. The bikes were specifically developed for the carrier together with Rytle. After initial testing in Germany, the cargo e-bikes are now coming to France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In total, the UPS fleet will grow by 34 electric cargo bikes. 23 have been deployed in the German cities of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich. The remaining eleven are on their way to relieve post men and women in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

UPS had developed the pedelecs together with Rytle and their Box Movr includes a 1.7 cubic metre box that enables faster and easier loading as it can be removed.

The bikes can take a load of up to 350 kilos. The motor is at a standard 250 Watt but delivers a peak of 1,000 Watt when the drivers starts pedalling in order to get the heavy cargo pedelecs into motion. (in German)

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EU carmakers spend 7x more on EV production in China than at home

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 16:43

Transport & Environment has analysed investments of European carmakers and found that they spend 7 times more on electric car production in China than they do at home. This is down to failed EU policies, T&E suggests.

According to public announcements by European carmakers that the environmental organisation compiled, China has secured 21.7 billion euros of investment in the past year to manufacture electric vehicles while Europe secured only €3.2 billion.

Market size cannot explain the difference as the disparity is too large. China produces a third more cars than Europe does (23.5 million passenger cars manufactured in 2017 versus 17 million in Europe).

Instead T&E concludes it is “China’s ambitious mandate” or EV sales quota that requires carmakers to produce electric vehicles in the country that pushes those investments. And it is a policy that Europe lacks.

While the European Commission proposed new car CO2 reduction targets of 15% and 30% in 2025 and 2030 respectively, it fell short of any effective sales target for zero-emission vehicles. EU environment ministers meet on June, 25 again to discuss the ambition of the proposal with many countries expected to push for a strengthening of it.

For Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment, this means: “The EU ministers have two choices: either we set an EV sales target to keep auto jobs at home, or allow European carmakers to go on selling dirty diesels here while investing the earnings into EV production abroad and importing back made-in-China electric cars.”

Indeed Volkswagen, Daimler and Renault-Nissan are racing to invest in Chinese EV production. Volkswagen Group aims to increase EV sales to 1.5 million globally by 2025 and will launch 7 PEV with FAW in China. Nissan has pledged €8 billion as part of a joint venture with Renault and Dongfeng and Daimler teamed up with China’s BAIC in a venture worth €1.6 billion to expand the production of Mercedes-Benz EVs to a new facility in Beijing.

Europe, it appears is still waiting for its electric car mandate.

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Daimler reforms coal plant into EV battery storage unit

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 16:04

Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy has turned a coal power plant into an energy storage facility. It holds close to 2,000 electric car batteries for a combined capacity of near 10 MWh available to the energy market. On top, these batteries may also return to power new smart electric vehicles.

So while the batteries serves as stationery energy storage, they are also stored and kept as replacement parts for the third generation of electric smart cars. It is this somewhat third-life for batteries that makes this facility unique and why Mercedes deems their setup a “win-win” for the energy turnaround (Energiewende).

The facility is an old coal power plant in the town of Elverlingsen and now houses a total of 1,920 battery modules, forming what Daimler calls their “live replacement parts store” for the fleet of third generation electric smarts. The stored battery modules are sufficient for at least 600 electric vehicles.

First though, the facility with an installed power output of 8.96 MW and energy capacity of 9.8 MWh, is available to the energy market. Its modular design enables the system to continuously and automatically stabilise the power grid with balancing power for example.

In return, storing batteries in this way keeps them fit to become a replacement as a battery needs regular cycling during the storage period, that is deliberate charging and discharging. This prevents exhaustive discharge which can lead to a battery defect.

Daimler has been looking to enter the energy market and therefore set up Mercedes-Benz Energy. This latest project had them join forces with The Mobility House and Getec to launch their energy storage unit.,

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USA: 9 states release plan to boost electric vehicles

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 15:42

In a Trump-defying move, 9 states of America with California in the lead have released an action plan to boost electric vehicle sales. The plan lists 80 steps that the industry, utilities, state officials and infrastructure companies should take until 2021.

The steps as such include initiatives to increase awareness, on testing events for example as well as the installation of infrastructure and the continuation of offering electric cars at all.

Their most important call however, is that they ask this regardless whether the Environmental Protection Agency lowers fuel-efficiency standards as expected.

In addition to California, signees include the mostly Northeast states of Oregon, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Together they make up one-third of the U.S. car market.

Their call comes after the dispute over the Trump administration trying to lower “Obama” emission standards had become more heated. While the current legislation allows for states to impose higher standards than are federally mandated, this had been questioned. As a consequence, California and 17 other states, including all of those on the action plan, sued the Trump administration last month for weakening the Obama fuel-efficiency rules.

This move as well as the new plan has been welcomed by carmakers, especially as they have already invested in electric car technology and intend to continue to stay on that path.,

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Solaris readies fuel cell electric bus for 2019

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 15:21

Poland’s prolific busmaker Solaris will present their first hydrogen bus next year. The fuel cell electric vehicle is based on their Urbino series but with a longer range of up to 350 km on one fill. A traction battery is to support the bus at peak times.

Solaris has been working on extending their portfolio to finally include the last missing zero emission technology. In fact, their hydrogen Urbino not only built on their existing model but on a prototype with fuel cells that had been testing in Hamburg since 2014. There, the fuel cells serve as range extender.

In the upcoming model however, the hydrogen drive is to take centre stage. The driveline of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen will get its power from two 60 kW fuel cells powered from hydrogen stored in a tank on the roof. It is enough for a range of more than 350 km (217 miles), says Solaris.

Additionally the bus will feature a traction battery of 29.2 kWh to support the fuel cell when the demand for energy is highest. In turn, the fuel cell will also recharge the battery although it may also be plugged into a charging outlet just as any conventional electric bus.

An axle with dual integrated electric motors, with a nominal power of 60 kW each, will constitute the drive unit. The twelve-meter bus will be able to carry up to 80 passengers.

Both fuel-cell-fitted Solaris Urbino buses delivered to Hamburg in 2014 still cover bus route 109 on a regular basis. Additionally, the Polish bus producer supplied the first trolleybus with fuel cells to Riga last year and ten such hydrogen vehicles will drive across the capital of Latvia in total before the year’s end.

The all-hydrogen Urbino by Solaris is slated for launch in 2019.

Meanwhile, Toyota has already launched their fuel cell bus, the SORA in Japan.

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Lime to launch electric kick-scooter fleet in Paris (video)

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 14:51

California’s two-wheeler sharing export Lime is coming to Paris, where they will launch a free floating fleet of electric kick-scooters on June, 22. Not only are those little last-mile LEVs easy to ride but a base price of 1 euro promises some good fun.

Lime has been rolling out different services in Europe since starting their (electric) bicycle sharing business in the USA. For their latest advance into Paris, the startup chose their offer with the easiest access – anybody knows how to drive a kick-scooter.

The Lime-S fleet will cost Parisians or tourists a minimum 1 euro to begin a ride and Lime says there will be “hundreds” to start with. Know though that every minute thereafter cost 0.15 euro so that a half an hour ride adds up to almost 5 euros. The electric scooters can be left anywhere to be located and booked via the Lime app.

It is the first time that those “trottinettes électriques” can be rented in France and their Paris debut follows the successful launch of 150 Lime-S electric scooters in Zurich, Switzerland last week.

Lime also runs their service in Berlin although there they offer electric bicycles, the LimeBikes only. Electric kick-scooters such as the one in Paris are regulated by German law.

For Paris, Lime may come as a relief. Whilst the French capital was a pioneer in sharing schemes such as Vélib for bicycles or Bolloré’s electric car sharing AutoLib, both services have practically ground to a halt due to problems with the operators.

Last we reported, the Paris Autolib Velib Metropole syndicate led by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, would consider ending the contract with the Bolloré due to budget shortfalls and operational problems with the electric car hire scheme.

Lime on the other hand says their local Paris team has worked “hand in hand with city officials, including the transportation deputy’s office,” to make sure their electric kick-scooter sharing would, well, kick in immediately.,

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VW secures solid-state technology from QuantumScape

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:43

Volkswagen has advanced to the largest shareholder of Stanford-spinoff Quantumscape as the German corporation invests 100 million dollars. Forming a new joint venture with the solid-state experts, VW hopes to secure their grip on the new battery technology first.

The transaction is still subject to approval but everything suggests that Volkswagen will indeed become the largest partner of QuantumScape, a startup for solid-state batteries that VW had been working with since 2012.

On increasing their share, Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, says: “We want to accelerate the commercialization of QuantumScape’s solid-state batteries. And we combine forces to leverage Volkswagen’s experience as a production specialist and QuantumScape technology leadership.”

But the cooperation will deepen on another level as Quantumscape and Volkswagen form a new joint venture with the aim to enable scaling up the production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.

Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in California and holds about 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.

Volkswagen sees the future of electric cars in their technology. For example, a solid-state battery would increase the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometres compared with the present 300 km. While advances have been slow, Volkswagen says they successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power—an industry first.

Also in Japan, carmakers are rushing to commercialise solid-state batteries reportedly. Toyota, Nissan and Honda just joined forces with Panasonic to work on solid-state batteries for electric cars in a consortium that includes 23 firms in total. They aim to commercialise solid-state batteries in the early 2020ies. Clearly, the race for the next generation of battery technology is on.

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Volvo presents brand new S60 with two PHEV options

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:23

Volvo has taken the wraps off the long expected S60 series that marks the end of diesel or better, the beginning of the electrified era at the Swedish carmaker as the S60 comes in two plug-in hybrid variants. And it is another first as the car is made entirely in Volvo’s new U.S. factory.

The Volvo facility in Charleston, South Carolina is the first outlet for the Geely-owned company in the States as we reported in our newsletter today. Volvo will make the entire V6o series there, including those for export.

The S60 is the first Volvo model that does not feature a diesel engine but two plug-in hybrid options instead. Moreover, the top trim T8 Twin Engine is also available with a performance package by Volvo’s power arm Polestar.

The standard Volvo S60 with T6 Twin Engine delivers 250 kW while the conventional T8 Twin Engine AWD has 287 kW with the Performance version boasting the motor to 294 kW. Volvo has not disclosed any details on range as they probably expect results from the new testing cycles first.

The lines in Charleston are rolling though and after the S60, the U.S. factory will also be charged with producing the XC90 by 2021. In future, Volvo wants to build plug-in hybrid variants in all their global facilities according to their extensive electrification strategy.

The latter has just been reenforced with Volvo confirming that the next XC40 will be the first model to get an all-electric successor. This Volvo EV is scheduled to launch shortly after the all-electric Polestar 2 due to arrive in 2019. On top, the XC90 will be complemented with a purely electric car in 2021 as well.

Including a push for sales of new energy vehicles particularly in China, Volvo aims for fully electric cars to account for half of its total sales by 2025 (we reported). (S60), (XC40 & XC90), (US production)

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NEVS taking trifold approach to e-mobility in China

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:51

The Swedes (kind of) are coming to Shanghai as NEVS establishes both a new production facility and innovation centre in China. Their approach is trifold though with new partnerships to grow networks in not only transport but energy and information as well.

NEVs calls this their Tri-network, designed to install a whole ecosystem of electric mobility in the country. All taken together, NEVS wants to help the People’s Republic to progress from a Made in China to a “Designed by China” approach, as Xiangmin Chen, Secretary of the Songjiang District Committee in Shanghai, noted.

But first their core business, building electric cars, for which NEVS are setting up a new facility in Shanghai. Running under the name “NEVS Shanghai Industrial Base” the new factory will essentially copy the one that the China-owned former Saab outlet is currently completing not far from Beijing. Both plants will have a maximum production capacity of 200,000 electric cars annually, with 50,000 EVs in the first stage.

It will become a constituent part of the ‘Tri-Network Initiative & NEVS Shanghai Industrial Base’ that is to be established in the G60 Science & Technology Innovation Valley in Shanghai. NEVS’ approach is that the joint work on transport, energy and information networks will give rise to new business models for the electric vehicle industry.

For this NEVs has bought the support of two Swedish companies Elways and Mimer. Elways is working on mobile inductive charging via cables laid into a road and the company has already set up the eRoad Arlanda in Sweden as a proof of concept and testing ground.

Mimer in which NEVS now also holds a stake, then delivers database solutions. Elways will be tasked to integrate the electrified road technology along with Mimer’s database management and built-in data processing solutions to provide real-time transport data and enable electric vehicles to both drive and charge safely. (Tri-Network), (ElWays & Mimer)

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Scotland: Ever more money to switch to electric cars

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:18

The Scottish government has increased funding to programmes that bring them closer to their goal to finish all sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2032. Hence the budget for the Low Carbon Transport Loan has risen from £8m to £20m for 2018/19 with new schemes being introduced.

Overall, Scotland wants its citizen and industry to switch to electric vehicles of any kind. The latest increase in budget that almost triples the initial funding also includes new schemes such as the Switched on Towns and the Cities Challenge Fund to promote greater use of electric cars in cities.

Moreover, those travelling over land may benefit from the Electric A9 project, which aims to improve the availability of electric charging points on Scotland longest trunk road.

Says Transport Minister Humza Yousaf: “The Electric A9 will greatly expand and build further resilience into our existing ChargePlace Scotland infrastructure, which is already one of the most comprehensive in Europe.”

Each hub across the route will provide multiple charge points and access to amenities. At 273 miles (439 km), the A9 is the longest road in Scotland. Historically it was the main road between Edinburgh and John o’ Groats, and has been called the “Spine of Scotland”.

Transport Scotland had announced their plan to ban all sales of ICEs in March this year and Scotland is going for a stricter approach than neighbouring England both in terms of implementation date (8 years earlier) but also in terms of classification: While cars must have a plug-in system in Scotland in the future, England will accept also HEVs but exclude mild hybrids. However, there has been a call on the British government to move their low carbon plan forward by ten years (we reported). Westminster has yet to answer.

Up north in Scotland though, the Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund will even have £500,000 available for interest-free loans of up to £3,000 to help individuals and businesses purchase e-bikes and e-cargo bikes reportedly, making Scotland’s plan to decarbonise the country a most comprehensive one. (new funds), (Electric A9), (all loans & grants)

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Toyota tries to patent oldest range extender there is

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:32

This may be the strangest range extender patent ever given it has been filed by an automotive company. Toyota in this case clearly wants to take ride sharing and zero emissions to the next level and arrives where others have long been before.

Indeed Japan’s most prolific carmaker has registered an unexpected series of patents for their future autonomous and shared cars. While they could help lower costs of driving an EV, actual electric car drivers or car sharers may be a little confused if not irritated by the proposal.

Toyota’s patent draws up a pedal or crank that could generate additional energy, which would then relieve the charging stations and the wallet.

Our question is simply: Why not opt for an (electric) bicycle in the first place? But yes, it is a new take on the idea of pedal-assist, no doubt about that.

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Poland: Mobilis takes delivery of MAN hybrid buses

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 17:43

Poland’s largest transit provider Mobilis has taken delivery of 61 hybrid buses from MAN Truck & Bus. The partly electric vehicles will take up their service in Warsaw.

Officials had acted fast – it took Mobilis just two months to place the order after they had visited MAN in Munich. The Volkswagen company estimates their system can save up to 10,000 litres of diesel fuel a year and cuts emissions by about 30 percent.

The 61 MAN Lion’s City Hybrid buses are powered by a 184 kW EURO VI diesel engine combined with an electric motor. The latter receives additional power by recuperating the vehicle’s braking energy, which is stored in ultracaps.

Mobilis has been working with MAN for 25 years now which might explain why the company would not opt for local competitor Solaris to buy the buses.

For Warsaw the hybrid buses mark another step in electrification. Poland’s capital with 1.7 million people had recently won a bid for EU funding worth 41 million euros. The funds will help finance a large order of 130 all-electric buses which shall go into operation in Warsaw by 2021. For this the city indeed turned to local provider Solaris to deliver an electric bendy bus for testing reportedly but a formal tender has yet to be issued.

On a national level, Poland plans to procure no less than 1,000 electric buses throughout 2020.

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Brand new electric Smart cars to share in Stuttgart

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 17:05

The car2go fleet in Mercedes’ home town Stuttgart is the first to include the electric Smart of the latest generation. They boast the new faster charger and Smart wants to complete the exchange of all 500 electric cars with new ones this autumn.

For car2go the town of Stuttgart is basically their test bed by birth and they operate an all-electric fleet of 500 vehicles here. Since this week, the latest generation of the smart fortwo electric drive mingles among them and Mercedes wants to renew the entire fleet before the year’s end.

The latest generation is the first to feature a new charger that allows faster charging with 22 kW, thus increasing the availability of the electric cars for car2go members. The new Smart ED also come with an updated navigation and entertainment system and a panoramic roof.

The car2go fleet in Stuttgart is one of the largest exclusively electric ones worldwide. The 550 strong electric car fleet (including 50 Mercedes B-class vehicles) launched in 2012 and now counts about 125,000 members.

380 public charge points all powered from renewable energy positions Stuttgart among the cities with the densest EV charging infrastructures in Europe. (in German)

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Euronics offering EV charging with EnBW in Germany

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 16:46

Electronics retailer Euronics that operates stores in all of Europe has teamed up with utility EnBW to install charging stations at 50 locations in Germany. Customers will receive a charging voucher that can be used at any station in the EnBW network.

Euronics operates over 8,800 stores across Europe and has found a partner in EnBW to add electric car charging to their German locations. In a first step, they want to install 50 multi-standard charge stops by EnBW with a max. charge power of 50 kW. The first is to go online this year.

In a press release that we had retrieved ahead of publication, EnBW’s head of distribution, Time Sillober, announces the utility’s target to “realise 1,000 fast-charging stations by 2020”.

Hence, this latest cooperation with Euronics is just a start and comes with a twist. Customers will receive a voucher at the cashier. They may then upload the voucher through the EnBW app so that they can use it at any charging station within the EnBW network.

The German arm of Euronics had made the decision to include EV charging in their portfolio following a survey in which more than three quarters of participants welcomed the option to shop and charge.

Whether Euronics will launch similar electric car charging offers and cooperations at its locations in other countries in Europe is as of yet unknown. (PI, in German)

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Electric tow tractor by Goldhofer and Suncar delivers

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 16:12

Goldhofer and Suncar debuted an all-electric baggage tow tractor last October and have since been testing their technology at four airports in Europe. The Sherpa E prove a success with its extended towing and fast-charging capability.

Goldhofer Group is a provider of cargo solutions. For their electric baggage and cargo tow truck they teamed up with Suncar HK. Since launching the EV last autumn, they have hooked on to electrification projects at airports such as Frankfurt’s E-Port An.

The Sherpa E builds on Goldhofer’s existing Sherpa and adds a lithium-ion battery. It allows fast charging in just an hour and comes with on-board charging technology (22 or 44 kW). Moreover, with a maximum towing capacity of up to 80 t, it can tow both baggage but also cargo at an efficient speed.

The tow tractor forms a running showcase for Goldhofer’s and Suncar’s joint ‘IonMaster’ technology, which will the use in other electric vehicle projects under development as well.

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Electric double-decker buses coming to London

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 14:51

A whole pack of all-electric double-decker buses is coming to London. 68 of them are to arrive in summer 2019 and will electrify entire routes. They are being made by ADL, BYD and Optare and TfL says this will grow the fleet to 240 all-electric buses.

With Transport for London (TfL) being the public transit division serving the Mayor of London Office, it was down to Sadiq Khan to place the order. Thus the mayor has moved to increase the number of electric double-deckers in London more than ten-fold.

The new buses, which are being manufactured as part of a collaborative effort between BYD, Alexander Dennis Limited and Optare. It is the first and largest order for their brand-new double decker electric buses.

The 10.9m long electric double deckers feature ADL’s eye-catching bodywork with a glazed staircase and will be built to TfL’s specification. They will use BYD’s Iron-Phosphate battery technology which enables the buses to run all day on a single charge using cost effective off-peak electricity at the depot.

In London they will enable two routes (43, 134) from Barnet to central London via London Bridge to be covered entirely by fully-electric vehicles.

TfL aims to run 240 electric buses next year and wants to ensure that all double-deckers will run on electricity by 2020. The electrification of the whole fleet including the lower coaches is scheduled for 2037.

The order comes in the wake of a call to action in which London and cross-party leaders urge the British government to end pure diesel and petrol sales in 2030, ten years earlier than planned (we reported).

London has also decided to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular boundary in 2021. The new ULEZ will cover an area 18 times larger than the ULEZ in Central London. The latter is being delivered in April 2019, 17 months earlier than planned (we reported).,

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Audi & Airbus launch air taxi test project in Europe

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 14:33

Audi homebase Ingolstadt is to become a first testbed for VTOLs jointly developed by the carmaker and Airbus. Their Urban Air Mobility project is part of a European initiative that also includes other cities such as Geneva or Hamburg.

The Urban Air Mobility project stands in the context of the marketplace for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC).

For Audi, it means building on their existing concept developed together with Airbus and Italdesign. Their Pop.Up Next is a two-seater cabin that can be either attached to a car body or a flight module. Audi CEO Bram Schot calls the new challenge “vertical mobility”.

The goal of the joint EU project is to be a model for air-taxi operations in the Ingolstadt region. Geneva and Hamburg may join the testing phase shortly.

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Scotland to build first sea-going hydrogen ferry

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 14:18

Scotland’s Ferguson Shipbuilders have managed to secure funding through the EU project HySeas III. With partners such as the Ballard or DLR and from different European countries they will build the world’s first sea going ferry running on fuel cells powered by hydrogen from renewables.

The supported development of the first hydrogen ferry ready to sail the world’s oceans is expected to cost around 12.6 million euros.

HySeas III is jointly led by Ferguson Marine based at Port Glasgow and the University of St Andrews. It includes Orkney Islands Council, Kongsberg Maritime (Norway), Ballard Power Systems Europe (Denmark), McPhy (France); the German aerospace agency (DLR) and Interferry (Belgium/US), a ferry owners’ organisation.

Employing Ballard technology, the initial objective is to construct and prove the vessel’s modular drive train onshore, testing for stress and durability under conditions employing real-world data from existing vessels.

Once the first ferry is then completed, the hydrogen-powered ship will first go on test runs around Orkney Island from 2020 or latest 2021. This testing phase is to ensure that the vessel is fully ready to take on the waves and distances of the open sea eventually and that more may be build.

Hydrogen will be produced from renewable electricity that is produced on and around Orkney already. Says Project Coordinator, Dr Martin Smith, from the University of St Andrews: “This opens the real possibility of Scotland and her key European partners delivering another world-first, not simply in shipbuilding but also in building sustainable local sources of fuelling in parallel.”

It is also a timely development given that the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently made the first ever deal to curb emissions from the shipping industry. 173 countries agreed at a London meeting to reduce emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 from 2008 levels.

Other initiatives have been looking into hybrid or battery-electric ferries serving shorter routes but only a few have been looked into hydrogen as fuel for their ferry. HySeas III Communications Manager, John Morgan of Ferguson Marine, admits, “there are a few European groups in the market with similar ambitions,” take the fuel cell cruise liner pilot from ABB for example, but HySeas III “still expect to be the world’s first vehicle and passenger Hydrogen ferry,” Morgan concludes.,

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Tesla CEO favours Gigafactory in Germany

Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:12

Elon Musk has taken to Twitter – no surprises here – to add some detail to plans for a Gigafactory in Europe. And – here’s the surprise – he named Germany as a “leading choice” mainly due to its location in the centre of Europe.

In concrete terms Musk added that a Gigafactory close to “the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries,” Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The position in central Europe would also bring the Tesla battery factory close to their assembly facility in Dutch Tilburg. Furthermore, the now subsidiary Grohmann Automation would not be far either so that Tesla could start making whole electric vehicles in Europe.

Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2018

As you can see from the tweet above, Musk had reacted to a question from a Swiss shareholder so it remains to be seen, how fixed these plans are. However, the Tesla CEO is also known for standing by his words, no matter how improbable they had seemed at first.

If Tesla would opt to build a Gigafactory in Germany it would be a rather loud call to arms for the local car industry, that much is certain. A battery supply agreement seems a little far off.,

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