Electric cars On the road to greener transport? EurActiv

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Electric cars: On the road to transport?

Summary

A combination of issues and the need to cut greenhouse gas in order to curb climate and air pollution means policymakers are than ever to encourage to look at environmentally-friendly transport

Added to this, Europe s sector like that of the States is undergoing restructuring many see as an opportunity for a major towards cleaner, greener

The risk is that the economic will force automakers to cut in RD which would set back the of electric vehicles by several

As part of a package of support for the the European Union earmarked billion in its economic recovery for the Green Car Initiative (EurActiv ).

The plan includes support for clean transport technologies and is not dedicated to electric cars. not all in the auto and environment sectors are that fully electric cars are the way forward. Hydrogen and cells also have the of an EU public-private Joint Technology (JTI).

However, the Green Car is explicit in its call for research on and hybrid vehicles, with a on the following areas:

High-density

electric engines, and;

electricity grids and their with vehicles.

The Green Car draws on €4 billion in from the European Investment (EIB) and a further €1 in research funding coming the Seventh Framework Programme for (FP7) and the private sector. EU states are also encouraged to cut on low-emission vehicles in order to customers to buy electric, hybrid or green cars.

Issues

At the level, Brussels and EU member including local governments jumped aboard the movement for cars.

At a meeting in Brussels in 2009, Janez Potočnik, the EU s and research commissioner, challenged s auto industry to come up practical solutions for the electrification of transport by next year 27/01/09 ).

Transport accounts for 25% of CO2 and 73% of all oil consumed in Europe, and the commissioner is industry to fast-track work on cars ahead of the next Research Arena in Brussels in

At a conference on Public Private in June, he called for greener and a smarter transport system, electrification of road and urban and research into hybrid and announced further details of the Car Initiative.

Government support, and local

There is a growing of the impact that city and authorities can have in making preparations for an electrified road system.

The mayor of Paris, Delanoë, has introduced thousands of cars under his Blue Car The car-sharing initiative allows to pick up a car from one of 200 locations the capital and leave them at of the city s car parks. London Boris Johnson announced the of a similar system and said he half of his city s 8,000-strong fleet replaced by electric and buses.

At national level, Spain has to put one million electric cars on the by 2014 and Portugal is to install sockets for electric cars in its towns and cities over the two years. The Portuguese plan mean it can boast of having s first national recharging for electric vehicles.

The UK plans to subsidies of up to £5,000 to encourage to buy electric or plug-in hybrid and, demonstrating the global away from fossil US President Barack Obama has one million electric cars be on American roads by 2015 a viewed by environmentalists as lacking in when compared with and others.

Technology choices unclear

While there has broad agreement that transport is essential, not all are agreed on technology will dominate roads in twenty years There has been some as to whether plug-in hybrids, electric cars or hydrogen-powered deserve most investment.


A million Joint Technology (JTI) pushing for rapid of hydrogen and fuel cell features projects in 29 research This is significantly less the envelope available under the Car Initiative, but still signals EU leaders are not yet ready to back cars exclusively.

The JTI calls for the of hydrogen-fuelled buses at a time others are pushing for the electrification of the transport network.

Local which would be responsible for the practical infrastructure associated electric cars such as stations have called for signals as to which technology is to emerge as a viable mainstream

Adapting power sources

grids in several European are ageing and in need of an overhaul. It is that the existing system is of slowly recharging cars a period of several hours, them suitable for urban but less attractive to long-distance

Preparing the electric grid to with an upsurge in the number of cars is central to the public and viability of electrification.

In addition, if vehicles are to live up to their credentials, a significant chunk of power will have to be from renewables or low-carbon

One of the major challenges to the grid by electric cars is that production from renewable tends to fluctuate more traditional fossil fuel generation.

There are concerns current power grids be unable to cope with the in demand which would from millions of electric car plugging in after rush

So-called smart grids been proposed as a way to manage Battery Electric Vehicles This would mean cars during off-peak when power is cheaper, as during the night when for electricity is typically low.

can also supply power to the grid. This would provide energy during periods, and could even act as an backup supply during

Consumer acceptance

From a point of view, acceptance of vehicles as the new norm in private will require a refuelling which is as convenient as the current of making a short stop at stations. Charging stations in and in public places are envisaged by with others proposing exchange sites where could trade-in their batteries for new ones.

Other concerns include the need for electric vehicle chargers and An initiative is now underway in Europe to electric plug-in connections and to that cars can handle the voltages found across countries.

Denmark is seen as a in the area of preparing its power infrastructure and has teamed up with and acedemia for the EDISON project. The is to develop the smart infrastructure for the large-scale roll-out of electric After a period of RD, a demonstration is foreseen on the Danish island of which has a population of 40,000.

The produces much of its energy wind.

Battery range: A obstacle

One major technical to developing a viable electric for the mass market is the distance vehicles can travel without to refuel or recharge. The fully cars produced to date tended to be suited to short-distance in an urban setting, but are unattractive to who expect to be able to drive

This is the primary reason early electric models did not mass-market penetration in the early century, particularly compared to engines. The EV1 electric vehicle by General Motors had a range of with nickel metal batteries in 1999. Hybrid energy storage technology and fuel cells have touted as potential solutions.

recently, innovative developers been working on using turbine engines and supercapacity to help energy-conscious consumers to further. On-board chargers and batteries can power a vehicle for 60 to 80km on one charge. The new generation of batteries will have 4.7 cells, compared to the 3.2 volts by existing lithium-ion batteries.

A by the European Road Transport Advisory Council has said RD on batteries and components will be a for the establishment and long retention of electric car production in Europe.

In 2009, Japanese carmaker revealed plans to build an car battery plant in Sunderland, England. The new facility will around 60,000 batteries per and create 350 jobs.

Energy and raw issues

Although electric cars do not emissions directly, their demand for electricity generation has implications for carbon dioxide the chief global warming

The so-called well-to-wheel (WTW) production of electric cars is than conventional vehicles, but it be improved where electricity does not rely on fossil WTW emissions for electric cars are in countries where hydro and power are more common coal power plants. energy from renewable would further reduce the footprint of electrically-powered cars.

The continues as to whether nickel or batteries are likely to prove attractive. In any case, both are to be in demand if Europe successfully its transport network.

Although are finite, there are believed to be reserves of lithium in Bolivia, the US, Russia and China. Russia and are believed to be the main source of but France, Australia and others have some of the mineral. prices have fluctuated in years, rising in 2006 and but then falling off significantly.

issues

Many of the safety arising from motorised also apply to electric Moreover, some electric are so quiet that they are a greater danger to pedestrians and the impaired than conventional which have combustion

The introduction of a minimum noise has been proposed. which require automakers to find a way to audible noise.

Hype and

Electric vehicles have had false starts. On multiple over the past century, cars were declared to be the This includes a period the early 1970s oil crisis politicians urged industry to transport independent of foreign

As recently as the late 1990s, it that General Motors was set to the market when it launched the mass-produced electric car, the The car was available only in a limited of US states and it could not be purchased The cars were leased to of drivers and became a common particularly on the roads of California.

all the EV1 cars were repossessed in after the California Air Resources was forced to revoke its earlier which effectively required carmakers to produce and sell vehicles.

Despite the apparent of some drivers to purchase EV1s from the company, option was not offered to consumers who had the cars. The majority of the EV1s crushed, with the exception of a of cars which are still in museums and engineering schools.

The proved so controversial that a of disgruntled EV1 drivers were for protesting about GM s decision to and destroy the cars, and a documentary entitled Who Killed the Electric was released which examines the behind the rise and fall of the mass-produced electric vehicle.

the current concerted push by industry and environmental lobbies to have sufficient momentum to viable electric cars to the market. Unlike previous this time consumer for an environmentally-friendly car appears to be strong, but continue to raise questions whether drivers will switch to the new technology if it is perceived as to petrol engine vehicles.

Positions

Janez Potočnik . the EU s and research commissioner, has said the economic outlook, instability in energy markets and the urgent to address greenhouse gas emissions work on electric cars be fast-tracked.

The initiatives we have working on have to be sped up. We don t time for new long-winded visions and he said.

The commissioner has called on the to present greener, smarter and cars at the next Transport Arena, scheduled for June in Brussels, and noted that accounts for 25% of CO2 emissions and 73% of all oil consumed in

Let me respond to these challenges by you a challenge of my own. Can you, the next year, provide solutions to the electrification of transport in s cities?

He said the automotive would be central to innovations in transport and that progress in area would depend on between the public and private

Helmut List . vice-chairman of the Road Transport Research Council ( ERTRAC ), said he is convinced by the necessity of investing in the of Europe s transport system. He the current crisis cannot be without cooperation between the industry and governments.

We are very to the green car initiative. The public and sectors must share the for such a major long-term We have to jump at the same he said.

Ingolf Schädler . director-general for innovation at Austria s ministry for transport, innovation and . said it is important to include all in finding green transport particularly cities and regional He called for greater clarification industry on how to get value for public

There is uncertainty among authorities as to which technology to in. There are so many solutions now we need the industry to give a signal as to what the right is for each problem, he said.

JAC J3 EV Electric Cars

Di Giusto . president and CEO of Centro FIAT . said it remains whether electric cars provide the long-term solution to s transport needs.

Although it is unclear whether the simple of the plug-in car will prove to be the solution given all the different it does correspond to a feasible, solution which can be exploited in the term.

Nissan s Chief Officer Toshiyuki Shiga his company would cut emissions by 90% by and pledged to be a pioneer in the rapidly field of low-carbon cars.

Nissan will be a leader in vehicles. EV is the answer.

Renault . is sharing technology with has said its electric cars have a unique style consumers will recognise on roads within a couple of

We want a real signature for our range, so when people see one in the they will know it is a electric car, said Steyer . Renault s development for small cars. He said acceptance is essential for the long-term of electric vehicles.

The key is to do this frightening customers away. must be tempted, and not rushed too Maybe there is room for very radical to rewrite the rules that can be found electric. So far we can t find it, though.

But it is possible in the future thanks to the and possibilities of battery technology.

Kramer . founder of CalCars.org . an Palo Alto-based non-profit promoting plug-in hybrids, the company had two very promising but that they were far commercialisation.

Today, every automaker is now hard at work its first production plug-in in the next four years existing technology, Kramer Once ETV Motors has fully prototypes, potential customers be able to analyse both the and cost benefits of the new systems to other contending advanced he said.

Arnold Roth . ETV chief operating officer, the company was discussing options to manufacture parts of the system or license it out to a larger company.

We been approached by Tier 1 who are interested in our technology, Roth The CEO said their hybrid would be cheaper than hybrids on the market today.

the European Automobile Manufacturers . says both electric power and hydrogen have the to be the long-term solution for mobility.

progress has been made the last few years, however breakthrough development is needed to the cost of technologies further While electric and hydrogen do not emit tailpipe emissions, it is to also consider the Well-to-Wheel i.e. including the production of and hydrogen.

The automakers group new technologies usually begin in low volume and at a significant cost which needs to be offset by which ensures that are affordable.

A supportive policy is needed for companies to innovate and launch the new technologies Industry and need EU-wide harmonised and standardisation of regulation. In order to industry s global competitiveness, authorities need to enable the EU industry to reach policy more cost-effectively, ACEA in a policy commentary released in 2009.

Orgalime . the European Industries Association, has expressed about safety issues may arise in recharging electric In position paper published in 2010, the organisation says inexperience could heighten the It also voiced concern the level of safety of installations in risks being undermind.

We believe that standardisation and the EU will have an important to play to ensure security and safety which could hamper the introduction of e-vehicles. It be essential to ensure that the equipment solutions comply all essential requirements and that compliance of products to safety is strictly enforced through market surveillance authorities in Orgalime said in its position

The engineering group sets out of the specific options available for these challenges and suggests a new special plug for charging vehicles needs to be designed and

Furthermore energy and power are key functionalities to consider when both regulation and standards in the of charging infrastructure. It is important charging infrastructures designed already take into future developments in the area of Beyond the necessary control and functions for charging, the communication of the equipment to the vehicle or to the grids include some other that will be required by the and the grid in the future, it says.

1884: English inventor Parker claims to perfected a electric car.

1897: commercial application of electric as fleet of taxis hits the of New York.

1899: Belgian driver Camille Jenatzy the 100km/h speed barrier in an vehicle.

1917: First car released by Woods Motor Company in Chicago.

1970s Energy crises prompt investment in electric cars.

GM showcase its Impact Concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

A fleet of GM s EV1 is leased to customers in cities.

1999: GM recalls the

1999: Toyota Prius on sale.

2007 2008: prices surge as volatile oil grab the headlines.

November EU launches €5 billion Car Initiative as part of economic plan.

March 2009: EU states agree to reduce consumption in transport and increase of electric cars.

June Transport Research Arena in Brussels.

Late 2010: GM to introduce Volt, its jet turbine-powered car.

Late 2010: plans to begin sales of its new cars.

2012: Renault-Nissan mass production of electric

Nissan LEAF Electric Cars
Nissan LEAF Electric Cars

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