A trial is about to start around Paris main airport Charles de Gaulle with two autonomous electric shuttle buses ferrying passengers. The three month project is a cooperation between Groupe ADP, Keolis and Navya.
It is the first time that a French airport is carrying passengers around in self-driving shuttles. The latter have been designed by Navya. During the trial in Paris they will run in the the business district Roissypôle until July.
There, the 700 meter stretch includes three stops, namely RER Train Station, La Maison de l’Environnement, and Groupe ADP’s headquarter, who runs Paris CDG airport. With the shuttles open to the public, user feedback will be part of the evaluation of the trial.
The route is designed to test how the automated electric vehicles will behave on a busy roadway and the way in which they merge in with many pedestrians. Specific traffic signals to communicate with the shuttles have been introduced for further safety when crossing the road.
Says Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP: “With this first trial, Groupe ADP is paving the way for developing this technology within our networks. In these constrained environments, autonomous technology is a lever for optimising infrastructure for new mobility offers.”
The Navya autonomous electric shuttle Arma can carry up to 11 seated and four standing passengers and has a maximum speed of 25 kph.
For operator Keolis and Navya it is not the first cooperation as they are also working together in a project that sees the shuttles scouting up and down public roads in Las Vegas reportedly. French Navya has been working on production facilites in both the States and Australia.
Navya introduced their electric self driving minibus Arma for the first time in 2015 and has since started projects and trials across Europe and abroad.
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The city council of Liverpool is currently discussing a new clean air plan to curb NOx pollution. Transport got a big role to play, meaning that EVs will be incentivised and charging infrastructure installed, while diesel may be banned.
At least from the council’s own fleet as they strive to not deploy any more diesel-fuelled vehicles in the inner city from 2019 with the wider city to follow by 2024.
The trade is encouraged to switch to electric too. Furthermore, Liverpool plans to install 100 additional EV charging stations.
On a more prohibitive note, proposals were made to introduce fines for drivers who keep their engines running while they wait for someone, also known as vehicle idling. A campaign to encourage more people to switch to more ecological modes of transport like walking or cycling may be introduced as well.
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Fortum Charge & Drive has opened its first high power charging station in Norway. It marks the beginning of a HPC corridor through the Nordics that is to connect Oslo, Stockholm and Helsinki before the end of 2018 as a start.
The station is located at Nygårdskrysset, 20 minutes south of Oslo, on the motorway leading to Stockholm and was set up in partnership with in partnership with Reitan Convenience stores. Fortum Charge & Drive says that this charging station is able to charge EVs up to 7 times faster than other quick chargers on the market today.
The charging station is part of the High-Power Charging (HPC) corridor that the provider is installing between Norway, Sweden and Finland. This means that electric cars with a range around 300 km will be able to drive from Helsinki to Oslo and won’t take longer for the journey than conventional cars.
The aim is to establish a Nordic charging network. Says Rami Syväri, Vice President of Fortum Charge & Drive: “Norway is an important market for Fortum Charge & Drive, incentives and EV uptake,” to explain why they chose Norway first.
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European bus operator DB Arriva has won a large contract to take over bus services that include a new electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the Swedish city of Helsingborg. The 8 year contract followed a competitive tender.
Deutsche Bahn (DB) company Arriva thus scored 185 million euros to supply Helsingborg with 76 buses with another six held in reserve from June 2019. Thirteen of these buses will form part of the electric BRT system which has been called the Helsingborg Express line. By 2023, their number is to double with another 13 scheduled to arrive to then build a BRT made of 26 electric buses.
Arriva’s offer went beyond the sheer supply of vehicles and included a whole range of services and planning such as ticketing and integrated timetables for an expected 16 million passengers. Says Johan Åhlander, Managing Director of Arriva, Sweden: “To win the contract we submitted a strong tender which focused on making travel easier and simpler for passengers, including new timetables, services, technology and improved integration with the train network. The city’s new Bus Rapid Transit system is an exciting development which will help connect passengers in and around the city.”
DB Arriva has been active in Sweden since 1999 and now employs 3,900 people here. The Deutsche Bahn subsidiary for public transport is active in 14 European countries to date.
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German SME Akasol is to deliver all battery systems for the Citaro electric bus by Daimler subsidiary EvoBus. The Citaro is scheduled for serial production before the year’s end while battery development has been running since 2015.
Daimler’s and EvoBus’ Citaro will premier at the IAA this September before getting serial straight after. With the 12 metre electric bus revolving around an electric portal axle and a modular battery set up, Akasol will deliver all batteries.
Up to ten such battery packs can fit into the electric bus. Located on the roof and in the rear of the bus, they can combine to deliver a maximum 243 kWh for the Citaro in the full set up. The batteries have been developed by Akasol in close cooperation with EvoBus as well as Samsung with the work going as far back as 2015.
The batteries inside the Citaro are able to fast-charge and supply all onboard systems as well as the electric drive of course. With the water cooling, the packs are able to supply the electric bus for a range of 150 kilometres in almost any climate. Over the coming years, this range is to be expanded. Winter testing has been commenced successfully in Finland as you can see below.
Akasol’s task for the Citaro is to assemble the power packs, using the cells from Samsung, at their new facility in the German town of Langen, close to its headquarters in Darmstadt. Capable of manufacturing storage systems for up to 3,000 electric buses or an output of 600 MWh per year, Akasol says it is the biggest battery assembly specialising in battery packs for utility vehicles in Europe. The SME invested 10m euros into the implementation of the semi-automatic production line. Akasol also counts Dutch VDL Bus & Coach and British Alexander Dennis among their customers for electric bus batteries.
akasol.com (PI, in German)
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March marks yet another record month in Norwegian plug-in sales as the country registers a total of 8,034 electric cars and plug-in hybrids. PEVs thus took a marketshare of 55.8 percent, with most of them being all-electric, pointing at yet another record.
5,362 units of all plug-ins sold in Norway in March were all-electric cars, thus gaining a 37 percent marketshare. Bestselling among them was the Nissan Leaf, that booked 2,172 new registrations in a single month – almost three times more (+335%) than previous (record) months.
This means the Leaf held a 15% market share in March and remains on top of the list of Norway’s favourite EVs. Tesla follows after with 727 Model X and 676 Model S having rolled into garages of Norwegians this March. Next up were the BMW i3 with 528 units sold, while Renault managed to sell 347 Zoe EVs.
Overall, electric cars constituted 5.1% of the entire passenger car stock in Norway in 2017, up from 3.7% at the end of 2016. It appears, the trend continues in 2018.
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Deutsche Post/DHL and Ford are expanding their cooperation in order to be able to offer their electric StreetScooter Work van more widely. The large versions can now be ordered at selected Ford Transit dealerships across Germany.
This intensification of DHL and Ford’s cooperation means that the StreetScooter Work and Work L are now available at over 80 outlets across Germany. The decision to offer their in-house electric vans to third parties had first been announced last year when Deutsche Post DHL and Ford officially launched the StreetScooter Work XL.
The larger StreetScooter vans are based on the Ford Transit and equipped with a custom-made electric drive and chassis. Being essentially bigger than even the latest StreetScooter Work L, it features a modular battery system delivering 30 kWh to 90 kWh for a range of between 80 km and 200 km. Production of 2,500 units is scheduled for 2018.
However, Deutsche Post/ DHL may even go further. The weekend’s wire transmitted rumours of floating the StreetScooter business publicly in order to collect 1 billion euros for further expansion.
Just a few days earlier, they also announced the founding of a new business unit tasked with StreetScooter marketing, among other things. Heading the new unit is Jürgen Gerdes, who was also responsible for the StreetScooter so far. In a 2017 interview with our German mothership electrive.net, he said that “electric mobility just makes our business better.”
StreetScooter is reportedly working on completing a second factory to build more StreetScooter vans. Located in the German town of Düren close to Aachen and Cologne, it will help to reach the planned annual production capacity of 20,000 electric vans. Half of them will be reserved for sale to third parties.
By 2050, Deutsche Post/ DHL plans to have electrified their entire fleet and the company is already using renewable energy sources to power their StreetScooters.
dpdhl.com (PI, in German)
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Daimler’s compact car outlet Smart is turning into an all-electric brand in Europe as well, after the same strategy had already been decided upon in the States. On the continent, Mercedes will flick the Smart switch by 2020.
The news come after Daimler had announced to electrify the entire Smart lineup in the States last year reportedly. Norway had been included in the move already and now the whole of Europe is to follow by 2020.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced the move on the annual shareholder meeting, describing that Mercedes-Benz will offer at least one electrified version in each segment by 2022. “At the same time, we are electrifying our vans, trucks and buses. And we have many more plans – also going beyond our products,” added Zetsche.
Within the wider electrification strategy at Daimler, Smart’s electric models had been integrated into the EV label EQ some time ago already (we reported).
Also, Mercedes just announced to start a mini racing series. The Smart EQ ForTwo E-Cup will feature a small series using 16 electric Smart cars in Italy.
GM’s Buick is to unveil an all-electric SUV next week in China, ahead of the Beijing Auto Show. A first teaser for the Buick Enspire Concept has just been released and allows a glimpse on what’s to come but is scarce on technical details.
General Motors has asked Buick to choose China for the global launch of their new electric SUV. The Buick Enspire Concept is another extension of the label’s electric lineup with the Velite 6 having been set up as BEV and PHEV for China a week ago.
The press release reveals nothing more than calling the concept “an exploration of design and new technologies” and that it is an “application of future electric smart mobility.”
The Enspire concept is set to be unveiled in its entirety at the Buick Brand Night event in Wuzhen on April 17. It will go on display at the Beijing Auto Show after.
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You can try to enter a market longterm or go in there with a bang, which is what Partisan Motors is trying to do. Their first electric SUV is called Partisan One and has been designed with a pretty particular client in mind – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
Apart from wanting to take the Kremlin, the electric SUV is also boxy, that is entirely square and looks a bit like a tank, or maybe a Papamobil for very tough times.
On the technical side, there are four electric hub motors, one in each wheel. The company also promotes the fact that there is the option of mounting ballistic armour, and space underneath for fitting a hull for protecting against explosions, much like those plates Tesla used to fit – to protect their batteries though.
Partisan Motors further asserts that “even with armour in place, the Kremlin has supercar levels of acceleration,” but fails to list any technical specs. No word from the Russian president has been heard so far.
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The government of French Polynesia looks upon the launch of the solar-electric catamaran SoelCat 12 approvingly and has waived all taxes. The solar-powered boat is a cooperative effort and has launched into the seas of Bora Bora.
The electric boat has been designed by Soel Yachts with the support of the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea and the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort. The first SoelCat 12 is called ‘Okeanos Pearl’ and has taken to the South Seas, where it will charge energy from the sun and ship tourist around with zero emissions. Up to 24 passengers can find a space.
The electric catamaran first came to our attention last year, when Dutch Soel Yachts and Naval DC presented their ship, that can generate all energy for its propulsion system through its own solar roof. The 120 kW battery alone lasts for six hours of shipping at 8 knots and the company says that it runs at 60 NM. In other words, the SoelCat 12 requires 2.17kWh of battery capacity per nautical mile.
Add to this solar power generated on a bright day and the vessel’s cruising speed of 8 knots is prolonged to 8 hours. Lowering the speed to 6.5 knots then results in a 24-hour range, according to SoelYachts. The integrated boost mode allows higher speeds of up to 14 knots, about 25 kph.
The electric propulsion system was built by Naval DC and the SoelCat 12 features their Naval UI system, a read-out and monitoring solution that allows guests to follow the data while on board on their smartphones and tablets. On the technical side, the Naval UI enables the firm to remotely log-into the system and provide service support from all around the world.
The SoelCat 12 is intended as a show piece and out to make tourism more sustainable. The Okeanos Foundation funded and supported the development of this project. The organisation is committed to empower island nations by providing sustainable sea transportation and implementing a network of fossil fuel-free vessels in the Pacific.
“Tourism’s dependence on fossil fuel is problematic, especially in remote areas. Shipping fuel to those remote places is very costly and vulnerably to supply chain disruptions. So in the interest of the boat operator, the solar option is much more resilient,” according to Susanne Becken, Director and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at the Griffith Institute for Tourism.
The solar electric catamaran can be disassembled and shipped to destinations around the world, where a local crew can reassemble it.
Press information via email
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TCI Transportation has ordered 50 Tesla Semi trucks, providing another major haul for Tesla. The Californian TCI focuses on the rental and leasing of semi trucks.
Teslas list of customers for their Semi keeps growing. The newest addition is on a list including FedEx and UPS, as well as beverage companies, such as PepsiCo or ecological management firm Bee’ah have ordered trucks. The total order between the four companies stands at 295 trucks, while more smaller orders have been secured from Walmart and the DHL Supply Chain.
In early march, Tesla made headlines with their Semi, as they began transporting battery components between Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and the factory in the 400km distant Fremont.
The developer has taken to showing off their electrified Ford Transit, made as a part of the eQVM project, on a road trip in the USA. First deliveries are planned after the trip and will commence in New York and Los Angeles.
The zero-emission developer, which normally works with commercial airlines, has decided to air out their newly adapted Ford Transit in a public tour through the USA. The tour starts at the Lightning Systems HQ in Colorado, going in two directions at once: One vehicle will drive west, through to California, while the other will tour all the way to New York City.
The LightningElectric Ford Transit has a vehicle efficiency rating of 61 MPGe in the city and 66 MPGe on highways. The vehicle also features a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can charge using DC fast charging as well as Level 2 charging systems, for a full charge in 30 minutes or sic hours, respectively. Another version, with a fuel cell range extender, and over 200 miles range, will be offered as of this summer.
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News of the fast charging problems with Nissan Leafs has been spreading across the internet under the hashtag #rapidgate. To be exact, the drivers are complaining that the fast-charging feature significantly slows down after multiple uses.
While the scandal doesn’t really compare to the Watergate in either its political nature, or the scope of the issue, the fast charging drop after repeated fast-charging to ca. 25 kW has been addressed by Nissan. The company stated that the charging slows due to security features, which are set up to protect battery longevity. The main reason for this is the lacking temperature management: a compromise had to be made to provide a larger battery capacity while keeping the size the same.
As our report recently concluded, the 2018 Nissan Leaf features a new electric motor, as well as a more powerful traction battery. The battery storage has remained the same size as the original, and is still mounted in the floor. The main difference is a 40 kWh power boost. As with the previous battery model, 192 battery cells were installed, which allow for a larger range due to improved packaging, as well as an updated cell chemistry.
In anticipation of the entry to the Formula E, Daimler has announced the Smart EQ ForTwo E-Cup for this year. The race will feature a small series using 16 electric Smart cars in Italy. The races will commence on the 8th and 9th of July with a double race on a street track in Turin.
A total of five races are currntly planned, and after starting in Turin, the show will move on to Misano (24/25 June), Milan (21/22 July), Vallelunga (15/16 September) and finally to Mugello (27/28 October).
According to first reports, the electric Smart cars will feature roll-cages, racing suspension and absorbers, as well as racing seats and tires. The weight will be decreased by the re-fitting from 900 to 750 kg. A list of drivers has not been released so far.
Only recently, the German car manufacturer announced the intention to sponsor this years Formula-E race in Rome. The company has multiple reasons for getting involved in the race: For one, they plan to attract attention to their EQ electric brand, as well as a potentially planned entry as a serious Formula-E contender in future.
Alfa Romeo is developing a coupé version of its Giulia car with a hybrid motor, which is set to be released next year. The company plans two different motors, which will feature tech similar to the KERS used in Formula 1 racing.
KERS stands for the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, which is used to recover “spent” energy while driving, and is primarily used in Formula 1 racing. The report states that the technology will be used to electrify the coupé version of the car, comparable to the LaFerrari using the HY-KERS-System. The vehicle may already be market ready by 2019, at least that is the currently planned date. However the report also sources the information from unnamed persons, so we are still waiting for the official statement.
Two motors are being planned, which indicates that the KERS-comparable system will be applied to the 2.0 liter combustion motor Giulia Veloce and the coupling from the 2.9 liter V6 from the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The first version could have a performance around 253 kW, and the second version possibly even up to 465 kW.
The US startup Nikola Motor has announced they plan to refund all prepayments for the pre-orders of their electrified trucks within the next 60 days, without the pre-order applicants losing their place in the production line, that is.
The company made the announcement via Twitter, and has stopped accepting prepayment for the Nikola One and Nikola Two fuel cell trucks. It seems that Nikola is attempting to gain some ground from Tesla with the business change, and is bragging about having pre-orders valued at 8 billion dollars already.
Originally Nikola Motor charged 1,500 dollars for a pre-order, providing a spot on the waiting list, as well as a benefit package with a 72 month leasing contract and unlimited hydrogen fueling in the USA. The money is now being returned, while the offers remain standing.
Recently the startup also announced plans for a 1 billion dollar manufacturing facility for its fuel cell trucks in Buckeye, near Phoenix, AZ. The construction of the new factory will take place next year.
End of January Nikola Motor had already received more than 8,000 pre-orders, according to their statements. By 2021, the startup plans to release their semi trucks Nikola One and Nikola Two onto the market. The new propulsion system for the trucks was developed in cooperation with Bosch. Both electric trucks will be powered with a performance over 735 kW and will use a 320 kWh lithium-ion battery. With a full tank of hydrogen, the vehicles will be able to reach a range between 1,280 km and 1,930 km.
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The British government changed the laws regarding driving permits to make alternative energy vans more attractive to the wider public. The normal drivers license now allows for drivers to drive a hybrid or electric transporter weighing up to 4.25 tons, instead of the previous 3.5 tons.
According to analysis by the ministry of transport, the change was necessary due to the increased weight of alternative energy vehicles compared to their combustion counterparts, which also decreases the load-bearing capability of identical vehicle models with different motor systems.
By allowing delivery trucks using electric and hybrid propulsion systems an extra 750 kg of weight for the drivers license class, it would equalize the load-bearing capacity between systems. The move is designed to motivate fleet operators to include more electrified transporters in their fleets.
The Freight Transport Association, which represents British transport companies, has readily welcomed the move, with Becki Kite, the organizations environmental policy manager stating, that “The FTA is delighted the government has listened to the logistics industry and taken this positive step to make it easier for transport and freight companies to operate electric vehicles…This [legislation] will make it cheaper and easier for firms to include alternatively-powered vehicles in their fleets.”
Mercedes-Benz has announced their intentions to further expand their electric brand EQ, next to the EQC in 2019 and the EQA presented at last years IAA, by another electric luxury sedan called the EQS, which will be designed with C-class sizing.
The report cites Michael Kelz, head of development for the EQC, GLC-/E-/CLS-class, who expects the EQC to be fully ready and available by 2020.
The sedan will be an individual model, based on the MEA architecture platform, and will not simply be an electric version of the existing vehicle, in this case the regular S-class. This marks a difference to the other traditional luxury car brands, as Audi and Jaguar both decided to electrify their vehicles instead of redesigning them, particularly with the Audi A8 and the Jaguar XJ. Concerning the name of the new vehicle, Mercedes has been planning the move since 2016, when they reserved the rights to the names EQA, EQC, EQE, EQG and EQS in the UK. Recently the car manufacturer also reserved the naming rights in Canada for the EQ family additions.
When asked whether the new CLS will be offered as a PHEV as well, Kelz opted for a more diplomatic answer stating that there are currently no plans to do so, however it is possible that it may be considered in future. Depending on demand, the company would consider adding a plug-in hybrid system to the CLS. Currently the vehicle is only offered as a mild hybrid.
More likely is the potential addition of a compact electric sedan being added to the EQ brand. Referring to an interview with Christian Frueh, the head engineer for the C-class, there was mention of a compact sedan which would be released in 2022, but would not be another C-class vehicle, but a stand-alone model to be added to the EQ family. The name of the planned car is still unknown.
The German Post has been considering strategic options to expand the business surrounding their StreetScooter vans. An external investor is being considered, as well as opening the venture for public investment.
The report considers several unnamed sources, who have indicated that the company is looking to increase the value of the StreetScooter venture to more than 1 billion euros, after it generated 200 million euros in 2016. When the company was prompted, the Deutsche Post decided not to comment, and spokesperson Anita Gupta stated unwillingness to talk about “speculation”.
The Post announced the founding of a new business unit, which will push the StreetScooter marketing, among other things. Heading the new unit is Jürgen Gerdes, who was also responsible for the StreetScooter so far. In a 2017 interview with electrive.net, he said that “Electric mobility just makes our business better.”
The StreetScooter is currently in use nation-wide with about 5,500 units delivering letters and packages, according to a new statistic. The vehicles are run with electricity taken from renewable sources. By 2050, the company is planning to convert all logistics vehicles to be completely emissions-free.