Toyota i-Road not just a crazy concept: you can rent one

Toyota i-Road not just a crazy concept: you can rent one

Toyota has announced the introduction of the i-Road personal mobility concept to the “Ha:mo” urban transport system trials in Japan. The concept, which made its début at 2012 Geneva motor show, will be used alongside existing Toyota COMS personal mobility vehicles from early 2014.

In other words: this is more than a crazy concept, it’s actually going to be in use in Japan. Users will be able to rent and return vehicles at 17 new locations from October, an increase from the four currently in operation.

Much like the Nissan Zero Emission concept, this is a vehicle which fills a niche that currently doesn’t really exist: another manufacturer using the electric vehicle revolution to re-invent personal transport?

The overall concept of e-mobility makes a great deal of sense – long-term it’s not enough to replace combustion vehicles with EVs and ULEVs, we should be looking at personal transport from the ground up, and using technology to connect all modes of transport and reduce our overall energy consumption at every stage. But I’m still not convinced that niche, impractical little vehicles like these are where the OEMs need to be focussing their efforts right now.

Trying to engage the public towards EVs as a (more…)

India: Reva ties up with Carzonrent to offer electric cars to rent

India: Reva ties up with Carzonrent to offer electric cars to rent

Mahindra Reva, the maker of the four seater-e2o electric small car and a part of the $16.2-billion Mahindra group, has tied up with India’s largest cab company Carzonrent to offer self-drive options in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

“A 10-minute test drive is not sufficient for customers to experience the convenience and benefits of an electric car. Hence, this new association will allow customers to use the e2o for a few hours or days and get an insight into this new and exciting next-generation, hassle-free mobility solution,” Chetan Maini, CEO, Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles.

Carzonrent aim to install around 100 charging stations in each of these cities to provide power back to potential customers.

Full story from India’s the Economic Times

Founded in 1994, the REVA Electric Car Company (RECC) was launched as a joint venture between the Maini Group of Bangalore and AEV LLC of USA. With global patents in energy management, remote diagnostics and battery management to their credit, the company unveiled the two-seater REVA electric vehicle in Bangalore in 2001. Subsequently, the same electric car was launched in London as the G-Wiz (2004).

In May 2010, the company was acquired by the US $15.4 billion Mahindra Group and rechristened Mahindra (more…)

Billing company Orga joins Germany’s “SMART EM” e-Mobility infrastructure project

The SMART EM project is designed to look at business and market models and infrastructures that will enable sustainable and viable electric mobility. The core of the analysis focuses on the individual, in particular the impact of technological developments and dynamic pricing systems around user behavior. The research will define market and business models, as well as the design and prototype implementation of the software components of an intelligent charging, network and ICT infrastructure.

The Consortium is now made up of…

University of Paderborn – Academic research
Orga Systems GmbH – Billing systems and software implimentation
E.ON Westfalen Weser AG – User and network data
Morpho Cards GmbH – infrastructure and data
UNITY – Management Consultancy

The full press release from Orga Systems…

Orga Systems takes part in prestigious research program on e-Mobility
Paderborn consortium from science and industry explores electric vehicles’ future opportunities

Paderborn (Germany), 24 September 2013 – Orga Systems, a leading software vendor for real-time charging and billing solutions, with an international customer base in the telecommunications, utilities and automotive markets, is a research partner of the project SMART EM. In cooperation with strong players such as energy supplier Westfalen Weser Netz (former E.ON Westfalen Weser) and (more…)

Nissan claims a waiting list for electric cars – The Irish Times

Looks like good news all round for the Nissan supported ESB trial project in Ireland:

“17th September, 2013 – ESB announced today that the first Great Electric Drive, which got underway in September 2012, has drawn to a close with 21 ambassadors covering a total of approximately 105,000 kilometres of pure electric driving. In the process, they recorded combined fuel cost savings of €13,500, eliminating over 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions.”

The Irish Times are reporting that Nissan have a waiting list for the Nissan Leaf in connection with the project:

“Nissan, which sells the Leaf electric car in Ireland, said it has compiled a waiting list for the latest three models, which are not expected to be seen on Irish roads until early next year”

Reading the facebook page and the blog contributions from the participant in the trial; the people using the cars were very happy and even without the fast charge stations being available, they found range less of an issue than expected.

There were problems though, in-particular the journeys required a little more pre-planning. That fast-charge network will be pivotal for ESB and for the EV sales Nissan is hoping for in Ireland.

But hats off to ESB: This project directly addressed (more…)

Siemens Exits the Charging Station Business – but is that surprising?
About the market

Siemens Exits the Charging Station Business – but is that surprising?

According to Deutsche Welle and The Wall Street Journal; Siemens are leaving the Charging Station Business as “demand and market development turned out weaker than expected”. But they are going to continue to produce charging equipment for home/private use.

It’s interesting that the journalists pick up on the idea that it’s the lack of charging stations which is preventing the uptake of EVs, and now there are going to be fewer suppliers of charging stations. The old circular problem: EVs don’t sell because you can’t charge them, and without EVs on the road there is no demand for charging stations and no market.

But I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. For sure; Siemens can’t sell charging station equipment because there aren’t enough big projects: the station networks are not being built, the integrators are not getting the funding for the projects, there isn’t enough policy to support large projects, there isn’t enough standardization from the OEM vehicle manufacturers etc… etc…

Is that a direct result of low demand for EVs? do we have to have lots of people buying EVs for there to be a demand for charging stations?

I think not: too simple a statement. It’s becoming clear from the many live (more…)