HS2, space and electric cars in the Queen’s Speech

New laws to extend the High Speed 2 line will be announced in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech as part of a drive on key infrastructure projects.

A computer generated image of artist impression issued by HS2 of the proposed HS2 station at Euston.

Legislation to encourage space rockets to be launched from UK soil and to spread the use of electric cars will also be included in the two-year programme, which will otherwise be dominated by Brexit.

A Bill that will allow the extension of the HS2 rail project from Birmingham to Manchester will be announced in the Queen’s Speech. Officials say that as well as providing quick trains to London, the development will expand capacity on commuter lines.

Phase one of HS2 London to Birmingham has been approved by Parliament but even by the most optimistic estimates will not be completed for another decade.

The total budget for HS2 is £56billion but critics say the eventual bill could top £100billion

Ministers said they want to establish spaceports in ‘regions across the UK’, to allow satellites to be sent into space for the first time from UK soil, and to allow spacecraft to fly to the edge of the atmosphere. Satellites cannot currently be launched from the UK.

The new law will allow ministers to licence various space-related activities including rockets, ‘space planes’, and satellite operation. Other powers will make it easier for drivers of electric cars to register to use charging points. There are an estimated 100,000 electric cars and vans on Britain’s roads.

Source: Daily Mail via Fuel Included News

Autonomous cars with no human backup may hit the road next year

DETROIT — Autonomous vehicles with no human backup will be put to the test on publicly traveled roads as early as next year in what may be the first attempt at unassisted autonomous piloting.

Two on-demand Renault Zoe autonomous taxis will be deployed in Rouen, Normandy. Pictured is the standard version of the 2016 Renault Zoe. (Renault)

Automotive electronics and parts maker Delphi and French transport company Transdev plan to use autonomous taxis and a shuttle van to carry passengers on roadways in France.

The companies on Wednesday said they plan to combine Delphi’s self-driving technology with Transdev’s knowledge of mobility operations. Transdev operates trains, buses, ferries and other transportation services in 19 countries, including the U.S.

Two on-demand Renault Zoe autonomous taxis will be deployed in Rouen, Normandy, and a shuttle van will run between a rail station and campus in the university district of Paris-Saclay. Both will start with humans on board later this year, with the intent of going fully autonomous sometime in 2018. From the start, the shuttle van won’t have a steering wheel or pedals, and humans will be inside solely to communicate with passengers, said Leriche, chief performance officer at Transdev Group.

But humans at a central dispatch center would still be able to take control of the vehicles, said Glen De Vos, Delphi Corp.’s chief technology officer.

“We’re confident that in the event they would need to intervene, they can,”

he said.

The companies also plan a similar test in North America and are scouting locations, De Vos said.

He believes they’ll go through several iterations of self-driving software and systems before the French vehicles are fully operational sometime in 2019.

Transdev plans to gradually spread the technology throughout Paris and other cities that it serves, so the autonomous vehicles will be on roads along with human drivers.

It may take a while for people to trust the vehicles enough to use them, but Leriche said acceptance may not be that hard to get. Transdev has surveyed users in autonomous shuttle tests about the service and quality, and more than 90 percent were excited about the service.

“They were not afraid of the fact that there was no driver,”

he said.

The partnership comes less than a month after U.K.-based Delphi joined with BMW, Intel and Mobileye to develop autonomous vehicles. Delphi, which has U.S. operations just outside of Detroit, makes the computing platform that brings together information from the car’s sensors, cameras and computers.

Source: Jacksonville via Fuel Included News

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