All posts by Jo Pegram-Mills

Paris to host on-demand driverless vehicle service

Europe’s first on-demand driverless vehicle service on open roads is set to begin operating in France later this year.

Delphi Autonomy

The pilot service, a collaboration between Delphi and French-based public transport operator Transdev, will see autonomous vehicles operating in Saclay, a Paris suburb, and Rouen in Normandy.

In Paris, initially one shuttle will operate along a fixed route from the train station to the campus of the University of Paris-Saclay.

In Rouen the service will operate in an area of the city where there is currently no public transport, and will initially consist of two driverless Renault Zoe cars.

Customers will be able to use a smartphone app to book a ride in the vehicles, which will be tracked by a remote control and command centre. A driver will initially sit in on the journeys to monitor the vehicles, but by 2018 the companies hope to operate the service without a driver on-board.

For the pilot the companies have chosen the so-called “last-mile” of public transport – the journey between a train or bus station and the commuter’s place of work, for example – as it is seen as an area of particular need, according to Serge Lambermont, director of automated driving at Delphi.

“People like to travel by public transport, but this last mile, how to get from your subway station to your destination, is an inconvenience,”

he said.

“So if you can arrive with the ticket already on your smart phone connecting you to an automated, mobility-on-demand taxi or pod system, which takes you on to your location, you take all the inconvenience out.”

Read more: The Engineer via Fuel Included news

Renault Kangoo ZE small electric van now on sale with longer range

French automaker Renault has given its small light commercial electric vehicle a handful of upgrades, including a significantly longer battery range.

Renault Kangoo ZE 2017

The Renault Kangoo ZE is now officially on sale with a longer rated range, a more powerful charging system, and a heat pump to keep the little van efficient in the coldest temperatures.

Renault revealed the Kangoo ZE back in 2010 as an electrified option for light commercial vehicle buyers, even before its 2012 Renault Zoe subcompact electric hatchback.

An electrified Master ZE joined the smaller van earlier this year. Just shy of six months later, the Kangoo ZE updates should receive a warm welcome from commercial-vehicle buyers with an eye for efficiency.

Rated range for the updated electric van jumps from 170 kilometers (105 miles) to 270 kilometers (167 miles) on the New European Driving Cycle.

Renault Kangoo ZE 2017

However, Renault acknowledges the NEDC’s shortcomings, noting that a real-world range of 120 km (74 miles) to 200 km (124 miles) may be more likely.

That’s still a jump from its previous non-NEDC estimates of 80 to 125 km (50 to 77 miles).

Read more: Green Car Reports via Fuel Included news

Renault Commended Twice In Awards

Renault received commendations in two categories at last night’s Auto Express Awards with ZOE in the Electric Award category and All-New Grand Scénic in the Best MPV category.

The Renault ZOE, fitted with the new 250-mile range (NEDC) Z.E.40 battery, was commended in the Electric Award category. The Renault ZOE’s new Z.E. 40 battery delivers almost double the range of the previous battery, providing motorists with an electric vehicle option that is better suited to many lifestyles with the average daily commuting distance being well within the ZOE’s capabilities.

The All-New Grand Scénic, recently launched in the UK, was commended in the Best MPV category.

Commenting on the commendations, Graham Hope, Editor at Auto Express said: “The ZOE is doing a great job of making electric motoring a realistic option for more and more buyers. With its increased range, it makes running an EV viable for many, it doesn’t cost the earth to own and it’s an enjoyable car to drive, too.

Read more: Fleet Point via Fuel Included news

Projections estimate UK electric car sales will hike in the next five years

Recent studies have suggested that electrically powered vehicles could become more affordable within the next five years.

The revolution of electric cars got off to a somewhat slow start in the UK, but figures have been slowly improving over the last few years with sales in 2015 reported to be around 49,700.

With the battery pack accounting for around 25 per cent of the overall price, electric cars were somewhat unaffordable on their initial launch.

However, research conducted by Nature.com highlighted battery pack prices (measured by the cost per kilowatt-hour) fell by around 80 per cent between 2010 and 2016, causing vehicles sales to soar in the UK.

Using current trends and patterns, optimistic researchers have predicted electric car battery prices might pass the affordability threshold soon after 2020, with overall sales figures said to be at a staggering 1.6 million in the UK alone.

Read more: Car Keys via Fuel Included news

The Inevitable EV

Four decades ago, the electric car looked set to be an acceptable commuting vehicle within a few years.

The electric car seems inevitable. As oil resources dwindle, it will appear far more prudent to develop an automobile powered by electricity, charged by an already-in-place power generation system, than to invest in huge plants to produce synthetic gasoline. Electric automobiles would snuggle nicely into a large, unexploited niche in the electric economy by recharging at night when electric demand is low and power plant capacity idle.

But as yet electric cars have proven abysmal technical failures. For example, in its 1975 tests of two electric cars on the market, Consumer Reports magazine found ‘major safety and operating problems.’ The cars performed poorly, not even living up to their modestly advertised abilities. They accelerated sluggishly, balked at hills, and petered out at inopportune times. The magazine declared that ‘it would be foolhardy to drive either car on any public road.’ The electric cars now on the market have a range of only about 30 miles at 50 miles per hour, with 0-to-30 acceleration times of about 12 seconds. What’s more, the cars were not significantly cheaper to run than comparable gasoline-powered subcompacts.

Two test electric vehicles recently commissioned by the Energy Research and Development Administration could mark some resurgence for the electric car. The two electric car versions are being built for E.R.D.A. by General Electric Co. and AiResearch Manufacturing Co.

Read more: Technology Review via Fuel Included news

EU contemplates introduction of minimum quotas for the sales of electric vehicles

BRUSSELS – The European Commission is considering the introduction of a ‘zero emission vehicles’ (ZEV) mandate.

If translated into legislation this means that Europe’s car makers will have to comply with minimum quotas for the production and sales of zero emission vehicles. Such a move will give an unprecedented push to the supply of electric vehicles in Europe, while putting an end to the transport sector’s stubborn CO2 emissions which have seen no significant decline over the past decade and still remain higher than in 1990.

he introduction of a ZEV mandate is being deliberated as the EU regulation setting CO2 standards for new cars and vans (together referred to as light duty vehicles) is currently undergoing reform. Late last year the Commission conducted a public consultation, to which Bellona submitted its views, strongly supporting the tightening CO2 standards, and the inclusion of a targeted mechanism, mandating quotas for the sales of zero emission vehicles. The Commission’s legislative proposal is expected later this year, following which it will be handed over to the European Parliament and Member States.

Read more: BELLONA via Fuel Included news

New Renault Kangoo Z.E. Gets Larger Battery, Motor, Charger And Heat Pump

This summer Renault is introducing four major upgrades for the Kangoo Z.E. – a new battery, a new motor, a new charger and the incorporation of a heat pump for the climate control system.

Renault Kangoo Z.E. (Z.E. 33)

The battery option is the new Z.E. 33 (33 kWh), which extends range by around 50% compared to previous one:

  • 270 km (168 miles) NEDC compared to 170 km
  • 200 km (124 miles) real range in the summer (previously 125 km)
  • 120 km / 135 km (84 miles) with heat pump in the winter

The new electric motor is still rated at 44 kW (225 Nm), but this time it’s all-Renault designed and produced, which should help with costs.

On-board charger power has (thankfully) doubled to 7 kW (now required 6-hours for a full recharge).

And finally, for the very first time in an electric LCV, there is a heat pump. Additionally, Renault has implemented a pre-heating feature. All welcome additions.

Renault Kangoo Z.E. (Z.E. 33)
Renault Kangoo Z.E. (Z.E. 33)
Renault Kangoo Z.E. (Z.E. 33)
Renault Kangoo Z.E. (Z.E. 33)

Read more: Inside EVs via Fuel Included news

Mayor reveals zero emission London transport plans

Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn has revealed the proposals that will help achieve his aim of dramatically cutting vehicle emissions in the capital. The plan is to make London’s transport network zero-emission by 2050.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone and T-Charge proposals are already confirmed to come into force in the near future, but zero-emission zones will be launched in phases, with central London and town centres first from 2025, inner London between 2035 and 2040, and a blanket London-wide zone by 2050.

Between now and 2025, a ‘major expansion in electric vehicle charging points’ is planned, along with the installation of at least 15 hydrogen refuelling stations in and around London. These investments in infrastructure will continue in a significant manner to encourage expansion until at least 2035.

In terms of public transport, all new buses bought will be hybrid, electric, or hydrogen, before all buses operating in the capital being zero-emission of hybrid from 2030. All buses will be zero-emission between 2035 and 2040.

 

Read more: Next Green Car via Fuel Included news

The U.K. Wants to Lead World in Driverless and Electric Vehicles

The U.K. government plans to invest more than 800 million pounds ($1 billion) in new driverless and zero-emission vehicle technology as it seeks to boost its economy while leaving the European Union.

Investment in research and new recharging infrastructure is intended to make Britain a “leader” in electric and autonomous vehicles, Queen Elizabeth II said in a speech marking the state opening of Parliament in London on Wednesday. The technology may be worth 28 billion pounds to the economy by 2035, the government estimates.

In order to deliver on that goal, the government will:

  • Extend mandatory vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles
  • Set a target for almost every car and van to be zero emission by 2050
  • Allow government to require motorway service areas and large gasoline stations to install electric vehicle recharging points
  • Require a set of common standards for charging points so they can be used widely across all vehicles
  • Invest 200 million pounds in researching and testing driverless car infrastructure and 600 million pounds during the course of this Parliament in supporting the ultra-low emission vehicles, sums which had been previously announced

The measures were welcomed by businesses, which had been concerned that Prime Minister Theresa May’s focus on withdrawing Britain from the European Union would push issues like air pollution down the agenda.

Read more: Bloomberg via Fuel Included news

EVs are ‘clearly’ the future despite slow start, Renault’s Normand says

The global market for electric vehicles has not grown as fast as Renault expected when CEO Carlos Ghosn announced a bold investment of 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) six years ago to develop the technology, said Gilles Normand, the automaker’s senior vice president for electric vehicles.

Although most EV buyers are in cities or suburbs, increasing numbers of people in rural areas are choosing battery powered cars, Normand says.

However, electric vehicles are “clearly” the future of the automotive industry, Normand told attendees of the 2017 Automotive News Europe Congress here on Wednesday.

In 2011, Ghosn had predicted that the Renault-Nissan alliance would have the ability to produce half a million electric vehicles by 2013. Last year, total sales of electrified vehicles including pure electric and plug-in hybrids from all automakers were about 465,000.

While overall sales figures have not hit Ghosn’s early target, the alliance is the global leader with its Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf electric cars.

Read more: Automotive News via Fuel Included News