It is not uncommon to see Tesla Roadsters zooming along the highways between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. You even have a supercharger station when you get to San Jose. Better Place, founded at Silicon Valley, has been oddly absent amid all the Chevy Volts, Ford Focu Electrics, and Nissan Leafs in the Bay Area.
Better Place was actually busy setting up EV charging networks in countries like Denmark and Israel. The company operates swapping stations where customers can bring their depleted batteries and get fresh ones. The company was able to provide a good coverage for electric vehicles in the island-like countries.
By next year, Better Place will do something for its home state. It will launch a whole fleet of taxis in the Bay Area that runs on switchable batteries.
The energy commission of the state approved the funding for the eTaxi program. The partnership aims to spread awareness about the green vehicles to more sectors of the society. One may not be able to afford an electric car but in California, you will be able to ride one.
The initial phase of the project will involve putting up two stations for battery switching. These will primarily serve Coda electric vehicles going around the area. Eventually around six stations will be built to serve a fleet of at least sixty taxis.
The battery swapping infrastructure is more practical for a fleet of taxis whose drivers do not have all the time in the world to wait for the battery pack to be recharged. The battery can be swapped with the installation completed in a few minutes.
Better Place is shifting to taxis and corporate fleets as it struggles after I tried to win consumers in Denmark and Israel. They also have lost around $71 million just in the third quarter for their projects in the said countries.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the concept vehicle called F125! last month in Frankfurt and it might just be the answer to the questions of the luxury vehicle segment on what ride they can get that gives out some power but then greener, just like how every regulation in different countries ask for.
The F125! actually checks a lot of boxes in the wish list of car manufacturers for the future. It has high quality materials, driving that is computer assisted, high tech telematics, and the fuel cell hydrogen drivetrain.
The F125! might sound like a big science project but according to the research and development team of Mercedes-Benz, it holds the key to the future of the S-Class line of the brand. The car, according to the team, was built keeping in mind what the car in 2025 will look like.
The future S Class puts it way above the regulatory standards of today. By 2025, the fuel mileage of a vehicle must average 54.5 miles per gallon while in EU the CO2 emission must average only 130 grams per kilometer by 2015. These limits puts manufacturers of big internal combustion engined vehicles like the S Class against the wall, that is why Daimler decides to go with an electric drive.
Going electric does not solve the dilemma on the S-Class since the market for this car demands power, and cruising range. And Mercedes-Benz is thinking of 1,000 kilometers with zero emission which will meet tough regulations by 2025. To address the range and power issue, the only answer is to go with fuel cells to run the 4 electric motors of the F125!.
Daimler though is giving the F125! the feel when you start your ride today, so instead of using the standard design, the concept vehicle makes use of a system which is still on research stage. The technologies involve are next generation systems but is still under development.
It may look cute and all but early on, the 2011 Think City automobile is facing two major safety issues. The first one deals with the improper installation of seat belts. The other one tackles the defroster system. These issues were raised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Because of such issues in safety regulations, the car company Think North America has recalled all of the 16 2011 Think City units that has been sold in order to address the improper installation of the seat belts by Think’s Elkhart, a final-assembly plant based in Indiana. According to the NHTSA, the seatbelt on the driver’s side do not have a tensioner that is a requirement in order to support the mandatory Child Restraint System. NHTSA added that due to the improper installation of the seat belts, there is an increased risk of injury.
The company’s dealers are willing to do a free inspection and replacement of the seat belts. However, Think North America has yet to coordinate with NHTSA for the scheduled owner notifications so the owners have yet to be notified, otherwise, you can reach Think North America at 855-698-4465.
As for the defroster system problem, the NHTSA has said that the car’s fluid heater system is functioning poorly and might have a hard time cleaning the windshield during cold weather, which then adds to more risks in injury and accidents. Likewise, the company’s dealers will address the problem and replace the existing defroster system in your 2011 Think City unit.
Premier John Brumby stood at Port Melbourne with Australian Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas and President Masahiko Takahashi of Mitsubishi Australia to welcome the arrival of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the first commercial vehicle that is fully electric. Twenty units of Mitsubishi i-MiEV rolled onto the Webb Dock East.
Brumby said in a statement that these i-MiEV units will play a part in the Victorian Government’s trial for electric vehicle. He mentioned that the government is fully committed in their initiative to make the state a greener and cleaner environment; therefore, the $5 million electric vehicle test trial is the government’s way of ensuring that the state is electric vehicle-friendly.
Brumby also mentioned that the Victorian Government is working hand-in-hand with the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) in looking for at least 180 families who are willing to take part in the test trial. These families will get to test drive the electric vehicles for almost three months. This is a good way to see how the plug-in charging, electricity network, and the test drives will fit into the daily lives of the test applicants and how successful the electric vehicles are in adapting to day-to-day situations. The test trial will also include light commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and two-wheelers. Brumby said that the test trial is part of the Victorian Government’s $38 billion Transport Plan and that this will enable the government to see how they can make the these electric vehicles more useful on the road and for the people.
Ener1, the leading lithium-ion producer of the US, is contemplating the possibility of expansion as it teams up with ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU has played a major role in providing specialized equipment and materials to different lithium-ion manufacturers around the world.
Recently, the two partner companies have signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that sets the parameters of their relationship with each other. The MOU centers on Ener1’s entry into the Japanese market.
ITOCHU has established networks and partnerships with Japan’s automotive community. With this strategic partnership, Ener1’s entry into the new market should be smooth sailing.
This partnership also sets the floor for Ener1’s entry into Japan’s solar power market. This new niche provides further possibilities for Ener1’a already thriving business.
To date, Ener1 is the sole company capable of large-scale lithium-ion production in the United States. It produces enough batteries to support 1.17 megawatt hours of electricity every year. With an even stronger partnership with ITOCHU, Ener1 is looking at a 3.12 megawatt hours expansion this year.
The manufacturer of REVA G-Wiz, GoinGreen, discloses the specs and price tags of the highly anticipated G-Wiz L-Ion. The G-Wiz L-ion will be the first car in mainstream market that is powered by Lithium-Ion battery.
The L-ion can run for 75 miles on a single full charge. GoinGreen will also build fast charge stations that can boost the battery power up to 90% in just an hour or give the car a full charge in 1.5 hours.
The L-ion derives its technology from the G-Wiz DNA and improved with new safety and performance technologies. Some of the notable features are:
- Improved ranged
- Beefed up acceleration
- Better charging efficiency that requires 20% less energy requirement per charge
- Decreased charging time on a normal duration of 6 hours
- Off-board fast charge capability
- Maintenance free batteries
Johnson Controls is known to auto makers as a tier 1 supplier of car parts. The company shows off in the Detroit Auto Show the re3 Concept which is a preview of what else they can offer.
The goal of the concept car is to create a smart driving environment in more efficient vehicles that have lighter bodies and good engine fuel economics. With the re3, Johnson Controls eyes all green bases and is sure to hit a run.
The tag re3 actually means re-think, re-new, and re-spond. The car draws a new picture of what small cars should be like in the future. Through innovative engineering the re3 Concept aims to deliver an overall experience of comfort and sustained appeal with the consumers.