Renault Enters Smart Home Energy Market

Renault has launched a smart energy system, which looks to make use of second-life EV batteries for domestic and commercial energy storage.

Partnering with Powervault, the system will undergo trials with customers who already have solar panels installed. A total of 50 units will be involved in the trial, which will involve eligible M&S Energy customers along with social housing tenants and schools in the South East.

The system stores energy generated by the solar panels for use when the demand is greatest. It also allows owners to charge from the grid at off-peak rates, for use during peak times.

Powervault will use batteries that have come to the end of their usable EV life from Renault, as the French manufacturer enters the home energy storage market like its group partner Nissan, and other plug-in manufacturers Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes Benz.

Nicolas Schottey, Program Director, EV batteries and infrastructures at Renault, said:

“Thanks to this home energy storage partnership with Powervault, Renault is adding a new element into its global strategy for second life batteries, which already covers a large number of usages from industrial to residential building and districts.

“The second life use not only gives additional life to electric vehicle batteries before they are recycled, but also allow consumers to save money. It’s a win-win-win: for EV owners, home-owners and the planet.”

Source: ZapMap via Fuel Included News

Cleaner Than Ever: Latest Numbers Show Electric Vehicle Advantage Is Growing

OAKLAND, CA (May 31, 2017)—Everywhere in the US, driving electric is cleaner than driving a typical gasoline-powered car. That’s truer now than ever before, and the advantage electric vehicles have over comparable gasoline cars is only continuing to increase.

New analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows that in 70 percent of the country, driving electric produces fewer emissions than driving a traditional gasoline car that gets 50 miles to the gallon. On average, today’s electric vehicles are as clean as gasoline cars that get 73 miles to the gallon. That’s thanks in large part to significant improvements in power generation, with more regions cutting their use of coal and increasing investment in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

“Driving electric is one of the best choices a consumer can make to reduce emissions in their own lives,”

said David Reichmuth, senior vehicles engineer at UCS.

“As the electric vehicle market has emerged over the last five years, electric vehicles are better than a 50 mpg gasoline car for 70 percent of Americans, up from 50 percent. It’s been remarkable to see the improvements.”

Over their whole life cycle—from manufacturing to driving to disposal—electric vehicles produce half the emissions of a comparable gasoline vehicle. By far the largest share of emissions comes from driving, which is where electric vehicles have a big and growing advantage.

The new analysis is based on updated numbers on power generation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which show reduced greenhouse gas emissions from power generation in most of the country over the past five years.

“The future of driving is electric,” said Reichmuth. “We need to keep working to make sure these cars are accessible to more drivers, that we have the infrastructure to charge them, and that we continue to replace old dirty sources of power with new renewable technology.”

UCS has also updated an interactive online tool that drivers can use to learn how much cleaner different models of electric vehicles are where they live, as well as a map showing how electric vehicle emissions compare across the country.

Source: USCUSA via Fuel Included News

Lyft and nuTonomy are deploying a fleet of self-driving electric cars in the US

The ride-sharing platform Lyft has been quite active through partnerships in the self-driving space. It took an important $500 million from GM to work with them on the deployment of autonomous cars in their fleet. They also announced a similar deal with Alphabet’s Waymo last month.


Now they announce another partnership with a self-driving car startup, nuTonomy, in order to use their vehicles for a fleet in the US – starting in Boston.

nuTonomy already operates similar test programs in Boston and Singapore, but through this partnership with Lyft, customers will be able to experience the vehicles through the ride-sharing app:

“The collaborative R&D effort will take place in Boston, MA, where nuTonomy has been testing its self-driving electric cars since the beginning of the year. The tests are being conducted in Boston’s Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park and the adjacent Seaport and Fort Point neighborhoods. An engineer from nuTonomy rides in each of its vehicles during testing to observe system performance and assume control if needed.”

What is also interesting here is that nuTonomy has been using electric vehicles as a platform for its self-driving technology, namely the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Renault Zoe.

“Thousands” of the vehicles should end up in the new program in Boston as the two companies develop the technology.

Karl lagnemma, CEO and Co-founder of nuTonomy, commented on the announcement:

“By combining forces with Lyft in the U.S., we’ll be positioned to build the best passenger experience for self-driving cars. Both companies care immensely about solving urban transportation issues and the future of our cities, and we look forward to working with Lyft as we continue to improve our autonomous vehicle software system.”

Here’s a demonstration of nuTonomy’s latest autonomous driving system:

Source: electrek via Fuel Included News 

A third of Britons set to make switch to electric cars

New figures show that 29 per cent of UK motorists are considering making the switch from a conventionally fuelled vehicle to a zero-emissions one or replacing one electric vehicle with another.

As new tax rules punish drivers of all but the lowest-polluting vehicles and cities around the country consider charging drivers of older, more polluting vehicles for using their roads there has been a rapid growth in interest in electric and other ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV).

Industry figures for the first quarter of this year show that sales of alternative fuel vehicles, including all-electric and hybrid engined cars, have risen by 29.9 per cent over the same period in 2016, and now account for a larger share of the market than ever, with 33,405 alternative fuel cars sold.

Neil Addley, managing director of NFDA Trusted Dealers which commissioned the survey, said:

“Our research has revealed that a significant number of car buyers are now seriously considering low emission vehicles for their next car, but are at a loss on where to start. On the Trusted Dealers site we have seen more green cars filtering through to the used car market, with more than 200 vehicles listed on our site.”

Source: iNews via Fuel Included News

Charging points for electric cars could be made available across South West Wales

More charging points could be made available across South West Wales to cater for an increase in electric cars

An electric car show in Swansea has prompted calls for electric car chargers to be placed over Wales

More charging points could be made available across South West Wales to cater for an increase in the use of electric cars.

A Clean Air Roadshow organised by Swansea Council took place in Castle Square on Saturday to showcase electric and hydrogen vehicle technology.

Electric cars owned by the authority and Swansea University were on display, as well as a battery-powered one-man from the 1980s car known as the Sinclair C5, while there were also live shows from Titan the friendly robot.

Following the event Swansea Council announced it is exploring the concept of introducing more charging points in collaboration other public bodies in South West Wales.

Martin Nicholls, director of place at Swansea Council, said:

“The Clean Air Roadshow was a great success, with many thousands of visitors coming along to Castle Square from across South Wales and beyond on the day to discover electric and hydrogen vehicle technology.

“With the profile of this type of technology being raised, it’s important we explore how we can help in terms of ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to support it.

“That’s why we’re working closely alongside our local authority, university and health board partners across the region on a study that could see more electric vehicle charging points in place in future all the way from Neath Port Talbot and through the Swansea Bay City Region to Pembrokeshire.

“We support technology of this kind because it’s sustainable and helps Swansea cut its carbon footprint as we look to become a greener, more environmentally aware city.

“We already have a number of electric vehicles in our council fleet, which are used by staff in departments including recycling and corporate building and property services. These numbers are due to grow over coming months.

“This builds on the work that’s already on-going to promote and improve other forms of sustainable transport in Swansea, including cycling.”

An electric car show in Swansea has prompted calls for electric car chargers to be placed over Wales

Source: Wales Online via Fuel Included News

Charging an Electric Car: How it is Nothing Like Refuelling a Petrol or Diesel Car

People who have never owned an electric car don’t understand how different charging one is compared to fuelling a petrol or diesel car. Therefore I’m going to explain what charging an electric car is like so that potential owners can understand it better.

Home charging a Nissan Leaf (Image: Nissan)
Home charging a Nissan Leaf (Image: Nissan)

The point I want to get across is that charging an electric car is much easier and more convenient than filling a fossil-fuelled car. That’s an idea that can be difficult to grasp. Now that I’ve upgraded to electric (I’m on my second all-electric car) I could never go back, any more than I’d give up my smartphone and make do with a landline.

Here I’ll concentrate on the ins and outs of home refuelling, and cover charging away from home another time.

Charging System

Most electric cars come with a charging cable (fitted with a 13 Amp plug) that can be used to charge the car; such cables can be bought separately where they are not supplied with the car. One name given to these items is ‘granny cable’ as they can also be used to charge up while visiting relatives.

BMW i3 ‘occasional use’ charging cable (Image: BMW)
BMW i3 ‘occasional use’ charging cable (Image: BMW)

Another name they are given is ‘occasional use cable’ as they are not intended to be used frequently. They will also be slow to charge the car (12 hours or more) as a standard home socket is not capable of providing as much power as the car can potentially take.

Instead most car owners will have a special charge point installed at home to charge their car. This often comes free with a new car. It is typically wired straight into the main house consumer unit. It will be capable of passing higher power than a standard socket – usually either 16 or 32 Amps – and will be designed for frequent use.

Using a third-party ZOE granny cable while visiting my brother (Image: T. Larkum)
Using a third-party ZOE granny cable while visiting my brother (Image: T. Larkum)

These charge points can be installed either inside a garage, or on a garage or other outside wall. Sometimes they’re just put on a post beside the driveway. They are all waterproofed and can be used in all weathers (including heavy rain). They usually come fitted with a tethered cable to match the car but sometimes just have a socket to which the owner can connect different cables, for example if the unit has to charge electric cars with different types of connector. The pros and cons of having a tethered versus untethered charge point are covered elsewhere.

Charging an Electric Car: Frequency

How often does an electric car need to be charged? This is an important question, and is key to why charging is more convenient than conventional refuelling.

The obvious answer, at least to someone used to a conventional car, would be “when it’s empty”. That’s because most people let their cars run low on fuel before refilling. There is no good reason for this; it simply reflects the fact that conventional refuelling is so inconvenient that it is to be avoided whenever possible. It takes time, and usually also involves a diversion from where you actually want to go.

With an electric car you could choose to do the same thing, relying on public charge points, and that can work if you can’t do home charging. However for the majority of electric car owners with a home charge point the easiest thing is simply to charge at home overnight every night.

Charging a Renault ZOE on the drive (Image: Fraunhofer ISE)
Charging a Renault ZOE on the drive (Image: Fraunhofer ISE)

Electric cars use Lithium-Ion batteries, similar to those found in mobile phones (though they have significantly more sophisticated charge management systems than phones and so last longer). Lithium-Ion likes to be kept charged unlike previous technologies (e.g. Nickel-Cadmium batteries) that you were supposed to run down before recharging. Therefore it does no harm to plug in every night and so have the car battery fully charged every morning ready to go.

Using a dedicated high power charge point allows a typical electric car to be charged in about 4 hours. It’s also fine to only partly refill it. Therefore it can be perfectly practical to drive, say 100 miles during the day for work, then go home and – those evenings when it’s useful – top it up for an hour or two and go out again for, say, another 50 miles.

Charging an Electric Car: Process

It’s very easy to charge an electric car once you have a dedicated charge point. If you are lazy, like me, then you have a tethered one with its cable permanently attached so you don’t have to unpack a cable each time. Similarly, I choose to leave mine switched on permanently for convenience.

In this case, charging is as simple as the following:

  • Open the charge point door on the car
  • Uncurl just enough of the charge cable to insert its connector into the car’s charge socket

The car will automatically start to charge when it sees the electrical connection made. It will control the charge and finish it automatically.

On my original Renault ZOE the charge point door was unlocked using a button on the key fob or a switch inside the car. The charge socket was in the nose and so required walking around to it to insert the connector. The total time taken was about 15 seconds; this would also be typical for the Nissan Leaf.

Charging a Nissan Leaf in the garage (Image: Chargemasterplc.com)
Charging a Nissan Leaf in the garage (Image: Chargemasterplc.com)

On my current BMW i3 the charge point door is always unlocked if the car is unlocked, and the charge socket is on the driver’s side. Therefore I can insert the connector after I have parked the car and as I walk out of the garage; there is literally no additional time taken to set the car for charging. The Hyundai IONIQ Electric also has the socket on the rear quarter, though on the passenger side.

Charging a BMW i3 on the drive (Image: BMW)
Charging a BMW i3 on the drive (Image: BMW)

People sometimes ask me how long it takes to charge my car. They probably expect to hear me say ‘4 hours’ or whatever, but actually it takes me personally no time at all, not a single minute. That’s because I don’t care how long it takes for the battery to fill up while I’m in the house (and probably asleep).

Charging a Hyundai IONIQ Electric on the drive (Image: T. Heale)
Charging a Hyundai IONIQ Electric on the drive (Image: T. Heale)

With my i3 having a range of about 120 miles, and my commute being 45 miles, it’s not even a problem if I forget to charge for a day or two. However, like with your smartphone, making charging it a daily routine is generally the best option.

Summary

One of the great things I love about a car that’s electric is no longer having to spend time fuelling it. It’s just 100% full every morning when I get in, as if by magic. I certainly don’t miss having to travel to petrol stations, often standing in the dark and rain, to hand over large amounts of money.

Now instead I fuel the car myself using renewable energy. During the week I charge it from wind (courtesy of our renewable electricity supplier) and a fill-up costs about £2.50. At the weekend I can charge it from our solar panels for free.

Source: Fuel Included Blog

Scientists say the pace of sea level rise has nearly tripled since 1990

A new scientific analysis finds that the Earth’s oceans are rising nearly three times as rapidly as they were throughout most of the 20th century, one of the strongest indications yet that a much feared trend of not just sea level rise, but its acceleration, is now underway.

An iceberg is pictured in the western Antarctic peninsula in March 2016. (Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images)

“We have a much stronger acceleration in sea level rise than formerly thought,”

said Sönke Dangendorf, a researcher with the University of Siegen in Germany who led the study along with scientists at institutions in Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.

Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.

The cause, said Dangendorf, is that sea level rise throughout much of the 20th century was driven by the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms, but sea level rise in the 21st century has now, on top of that, added in major contributions from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

“The sea level rise is now three times as fast as before 1990,”

Dangendorf said.

Studying the changing rate of sea level rise is complicated by the fact that scientists only have a precise satellite record of its rate going back to the early 1990s. Before that, the records rely on tide gauges spread around the world in various locations.

But sea level rise varies widely in different places, due to the rising and sinking of land, large-scale gravitational effects on the waters of the globe and other local factors.

Source: The Washington Post via Fuel Included News

People are really starting to embrace electric cars

Sales of green vehicles in the US and Europe are spiking.

As with any new transportation technology, it’s not as simple as building your first vehicle and expecting the whole world to change. And yet, it appears as if the world is finally cottoning on to this whole electric cars are better and cheaper to run thing.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has revealed that EV sales in the first quarter of 2017 are spiking. Overall, sales of so-called “Alternative Fuel Vehicles” have increased by an overall 37.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.

Those figures seem to mirror Bloomberg’s research into the state of the US electric market, which has seen demand trend northward. In the same period, American sales of electric vehicles jumped 49 percent, with sales totaling 40,700.

As heartwarming as the stats are, it’s worth noting that the law of small numbers makes them sound a little more impressive than they actually are. For instance, Germany’s 117 percent rise in EV sales reflects a jump from 2,332 cars in Q1 2016 to 5,060 now.

Around a quarter of European greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, as well as it being the primary cause of air pollution in cities. So there’s something of an imperative to get on with getting everyone to make the switch, which should be helped by cheaper, newer EVs, like the Renault Zoe.

Source: Engadget via Fuel Included News

China, India plans for electric cars threaten to cut petrol demand

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR: Demand for petrol in Asia may peak much earlier than expected as millions of people in China and India buy electric vehicles over the next decade, threatening wrenching change for the oil industry, oil and auto company executives warned.

They said refiners should prepare for a future in which petrol, their biggest source of revenue, will be much less of a cash cow.

Change is being prompted by policy moves in India and China, where governments are trying to rein in rampant pollution, cut oil imports, and compete for a slice of the fast-growing green car market.

Refiners should prepare for a future in which petrol, their biggest source of revenue, will be much less of a cash cow as electric vehicles gain traction. — Reuters

In its “road map”, released in April, China said it wants alternative fuel vehicles to account for at least one-fifth of the 35 million annual vehicle sales projected by 2025.

India is considering even more radical action, with an influential government think-tank drafting plans in support of electrifying all vehicles in the country by 2032, according to government and industry sources interviewed by Reuters late last week.

“We will see a clear shift to electric cars. It’s driven by legislation so electric cars are coming, it’s not a niche anymore,”

Wilco Stark, vice president for strategy and product planning at German car maker Daimler, told Reuters.

Stark and other executives were interviewed during the Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur this week.

Daimler sees electric vehicles contributing 15% to 20% of its overall sales by 2025 and at least an additional 10% of sales coming from hybrids, he said.

Electric cars currently make up less than 2% of the global car fleet, and any faster-than-expected growth in that percentage will materially impact oil demand and the refining business.

Source: The Star Online via Fuel Included News

Air pollution kills more people in the UK than in Sweden, US and Mexico

WHO figures show people in Britain are more likely to die from dirty air than those living in some other comparable countries

People in the UK are 64 times as likely to die of air pollution as those in Sweden and twice as likely as those in the US, figures from the World Health Organisation reveal.

A face mask placed on the statue of Queen Victoria opposite Buckingham Palace to highlight air pollution. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Britain, which has a mortality rate for air pollution of 25.7 for every 100,000 people, was also beaten by Brazil and Mexico – and it trailed far behind Sweden, the cleanest nation in the EU, with a rate of 0.4.

The US rate was 12.1 for every 100,000, Brazil’s was 15.8 and Mexico’s was 23.5, while Argentina was at 24.6.

The figures are revealed in the WHO World Health Statistics 2017 report, published on Wednesday, which says substantially reducing the number of deaths globally from air pollution is a key target.

The report reveals outdoor air pollution caused an estimated 3 million deaths worldwide, most of these in low- and middle-income countries.

Wealthy European nations had high levels of air pollution from fine particulate matter. The UK had an average of 12.4 micrograms of fine particulate pollutants (PM 2.5) for each cubic metre of air, which includes pollution from traffic, industry, oil and wood burning and power plants in urban areas. This is higher than the pollutant levels of 5.9 in Sweden, 9.9 in Spain and 12.6 in France. Germany had higher levels of particulate pollution than the UK at 14.4 and Poland’s was 25.4.

Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said the report confirmed that deaths from air pollution were higher in the UK than many other comparable countries.

 

Read more: The Guardian via Fuel Included News

News and comment on the Renault ZOE electric car – quiet, lively, and non-polluting for £300 per month including fuel.