The future is electric?


Electric roads could be way to driverless future
A technological breakthrough is needed, and many companies are working on ways to make charging faster and travel range longer. Advances have been frustratingly slow. A small Israeli start-up called Electreon has another idea: electrify the roads to recharge vehicles as they are driven.NYT News Service | October 08, 2019, 07:59 IST

Up to now, wireless charging has been mostly limited to parked vehicles.

Up to now, wireless charging has been mostly limited to parked vehicles.
BEIT YANNAI (ISRAEL): Electric vehicles can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at least in theory. But challenges to wide acceptance remain significant: Batteries are expensive, charging stations are few and far between, and recharging takes far more time than a fillup at the pump.

A technological breakthrough is needed, and many companies are working on ways to make charging faster and travel range longer. Advances have been frustratingly slow. A small Israeli start-up called Electreon has another idea: electrify the roads to recharge vehicles as they are driven.

At its test site on a boarding school campus outside Tel Aviv, the company has placed copper coils under 900 feet of circular pavement that transmit recharging wireless energy to an electric Renault Zoe test car as it drivers by.

Since there are countless miles of road around the world, Electreon is aiming to electrify urban bus and shuttle routes first, in an effort to clean Israel’s city air and reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil.

Over time, Electreon executives hope to go global and make “all-electric city transport” the wave of the future.

“This project has the potential to move the electrification revolution to mass implementation,” said Noam Ilan, a company co-founder and vice president for business development.

But first Electreon is taking baby steps with two separate pilot projects planned.

The city of Tel Aviv and the local, private Dan bus company are planning to deploy a mile of electrified road at the end of the year and gradually expand deployment of the coils to specified lanes around the city for buses, trucks and eventually autonomous cars. The Israeli Ministry of Transportation has granted $2 million in seed money for the project, while Dan has contributed an electric bus and invested $3.3 million in Electreon.

Sweden is planning a similar project on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland using Electreon technology to recharge an airport shuttle bus supplied by Dan and an electric truck at a cost of $12 million, mostly financed by the Swedish government. The test will be an initial step in Sweden’s plans to eventually build more than a thousand miles of electrified high-speed highways at a cost of $3 billion.

Up to now, wireless charging has been mostly limited to parked vehicles. Electric cars are becoming more popular around the world. But battery-charged buses have barely made a dent in the global market outside of China, which has developed a large fleet with government subsidies and other incentives.

If proven to be economically viable, Electreon’s “smart roads” concept could revolutionise urban public transportation. “The future for us is autonomous shuttles and trucks with tiny batteries, no driver and 24-7 operations. Drivers are going to disappear,” Ilan said

Electric roads could be way to driverless future - ET Auto


Sweden awards Smartroad Gotland and Electreon a test road in Visby
First publishedon

Swedish inductive road consortium Smartroad Gotland has won a contract to convert 1.6km of road around Visby into an electric vehicle demonstration bed.

The award by Sweden’s government transport administration agency Trafikverket covers a route used by buses and is also popular with logistics vehicle drivers between Visby Airport and central Visby. The former Hanseatic city, with a population around 25,000, is on the island of Gotland and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Visby joins the city of Lund in what Trafikverket is calling a pre-commercial knowledge tender to set up pilot projects of electrified roads. The goal of both projects is for Trafikverket to gain knowledge about the environmental and commercial viability of such electric roads. Cost of the project is around US$12.5 million.

“We believe that electric roads are an important contribution to reducing CO²-emissions from heavy transportation,” said Jan Pettersson, programme manager at Trafikverket. “Demonstrating and evaluating new technical solutions for electric routes is one of our most important steps in our long-term plan for a potential rollout of electrified routes on the heavy road network in Sweden.”

(Photo courtesy Electreon) - 2.png

The electrified track will be around 8cm under the asphalt running along the centre of the lane (photo courtesy Electreon)
The Israeli technology company Electreon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Electreon Wireless, will lead the project’s next phase to provide a dynamic wireless mobile power transfer system embedded in the pavement along 1.6km of the 4km route. The company says that the public-private initiative will be the first in the world to charge inductively both an electric truck and and an electric bus while in full motion.

The consortium said that long-haul heavy trucks benefit significantly from the Electreon’s solution since no heavy and costly batteries - nor stops for charging - are needed. After acquiring demonstration results, Trafikverket can evaluate the potential for investing in larger electric road infrastructure.

Other companies in the Smart Road Gotland consortium include Dan Transport, a major Israeli bus operator and a strategic investor in Electreon. Dan will provide a Higer E-Bus based on Supercapacitor.

Hutchinson, a major French manufacturer, will manufacture the underground coils that will be 8cm under the road surface and activated only when specially equipped vehicles travel over top of it.

The system is compatible with all types of electric vehicles, according to Electreon, including buses, trucks, passenger cars and self-driving vehicles. A typical passenger car can be equipped with just one 12kg receptor for picking up the electric current. Meanwhile, heavier vehicles such as logistics trucks can have more than one receptor to optimise charging levels.

More information can be found on the website of Electreon.
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Will electric cars be the norm in the UAE soon?
At Gitex Technology Week, EVs and autonomous transport are making a big splash

Published: October 07, 2019 16:55 Last updated: October 09, 2019 13:05Jay B. Hilotin, Senior Web News Editor

Tesla model 3 Oslo
A shipment of Tesla vehicles. Norway, a country of little more than 5 million people, has the world’s highest number of electric vehicles per capita, thanks to generous incentives.Image Credit: Bloomberg
Dubai: Where are the charging points? Why are they too expensive? I can’t wait forever to get badly-needed spare parts.

For wanna-be electric vehicle (EV) owners, these are valid concerns, even turn-offs.

At the on-going Gitex Technology Week (it runs till October 10, 2019 at Dubai World Trade Centre) EVs, mobility and autonomous transport are making a big splash.
The Tesla all-electric Model S introduced at the new Tesla store in Dubai on July 12, 2017.Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
Gitex's Future Mobility programme explores innovations in self-driving, city-wide transport, e-scooters, mobility as a service.

They're signs of the times. Not only within the Gitex halls — but also in corporate boardrooms, under the hood, on the road. It's happening right here, right now.
Each day I drive on Dubai roads (about 20 minutes to work and back), I see maybe four or five EVs made by Tesla, the Apple of electric cars.
This is about to change. More affordable EVs are rolling off assembly lines, with really fun features — including Level 3/4 autonomous driving. Google's Waymo has reasonably achieved Level 4, a notch lower from Level 5 — at which point, your grandma or kids could simply push some buttons, ensure there's enough charge and they're good to go.
Level 0: No automation
Level 1: Driver assistance (adaptive cruise control, breaks automatically when your car gets too close to another on a highway)
Level 2: Partial Automation (steering, acceleration assist, but driver must be ready to take control at all times)
Level 3: Conditional automation (Level 2 + vehicle controls itself, no human attention needed at speeds of 60 km/h [37 m/h] or higher)
Level 4: High automation (Level 3+ responding to events, determining when to change lanes and use signals; but car cannot tell difference between dynamic driving situations or a merge onto the highway)
Level 5: Complete automation (requires absolutely no human attention)
What's more, there are over 400 EV makers trying to outdo each other in China alone. EVs are objects of awe. And disgust. They're fun, but high priced (Dh560,070 for a Tesla Model S 2018 P100D in the UAE).

The perceived lack of public charging points is an issue. So is the lack of spare parts, especially outside America.
These are just teething problems. Stanford University futurist Dr Tony Seba argues that the coming "EV tsunami" is unstoppable, and could inundate key industries today. But also huge opportunities for those willing to embrace them. Sort of what online classifieds did to newspapers.
How soon will the EV wave sweep the globe? Or is it a massive multi-billion-dollar bubble about to burst?
China is a huge part of the story: There are now 486 EV manufacturers registered in the mainland, more than triple the number from 2017. Amidst the super-intense competition, many of them may go bust.
But here's the upside: The survivor — or survivors — of this ruthless internal competition in China could prove unbeatable on the global stage. It's like how Alibaba survived ruthless e-commerce contest at home, and now slugging it out in the world.

Price of a Tesla Model X 2019 90D in the UAE
Meanwhile Tesla, currently the king of EVs from California, is about to start rolling out new Model 3s (maybe Model Ys too) from its Shanghai, China "gigafactory" before the end of 2019.
How soon will EVs take over our roads?
Estimates vary widely, from the low end to the high end of industry guestimates.
In 2016, only 0.1% of the total vehicles sold were EVs. At the low-end of industry estimates, only 1 per cent of vehicles sold in the world will be EVs by 2040.
At the high end of estimates, EV industry analysts claim that as much as 50 per cent of car sales of 2040 will be EVs.
Dr Seba says estimates are only informed guesses. History, however, is a best teacher.
He cited, for example, that the transition from horses to cars for transport happened in just a few short years.
The same thing with smartphones. About 100 years later, in 2007, Apple’s iPhone kicked off a radical transition, leaving non-smart phones and market leaders then, like Nokia, to bite the dust.
So would EVs do to cars what electric trains (like the Dubai Metro) did to diesel or steam-powered trains?
Following are the reasons why we see EVs putting an awful lot of rubber on the road sooner than later:
1. Fuel efficiency, low ownership cost
Electricity is the most efficient fuel for transport — and that's why we have electric trains, including the Dubai Metro (world's longest driverless train system, Red Line at 52.1km).
At 10 kWh, it is equivalent to about 40 miles per gallon (17 km/litre), yet costs about a $1 (Dh3.68).
Electricity also happens to be the cleanest fuel to go from point A to B — as long as it is generated from a non-fossil fuel source.
The last horse-powered trolley New York
The last horse-powered trolley in New York, circa 1917.Image Credit: Brown Brothers/Wikipedia
Just as electric (and driverless) trains had pushed diesel or steam-powered trains to the land of Dodos, internal-combustion engines may be heading the same way.
It may not happen tomorrow.
And it’s true: With EVs, we still have to charge them often to cover long distances. However, today’s EVs with a range of 380km to 400km have become the “new normal” — and market winner. Anything less will be gutted.
Tesla, with a run rate of 7,000 cars a week from its California factory, is set to ramp it up to 10,000/week, beefed up by new assembly lines housed in tents.
That’s not to mention the thousands of vehicles from its upcoming China "gigafactory", set to start rolling out the first vehicles before 2019 is over.

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With big money poured into battery research, a 1,000-km-range EV is just around the bend.
This is not to mention improvements in electronics and chemistry. Battery design life enough to cover 1 million kilometres will also cut the overall ownership cost of EVs.
The Indian-made Mahindra e2o EV.
The e2o EV, made Indian tech giant Mahindra, has a range of 120km, a top speed of 90 km/h and a base price of $7,677 (Rs5.46 lakhs). The car is made using recyclable plastic body panels bonded to a steel frame in a purpose-built factory in Bangalore, India. The entry-level City model, gets two airbags, ABS, ESP and Isofix points for the rear seats.Image Credit: File
Typically, a Tesla costs about $40,000 (base-model Telsa Model 3 starts at $35,000). So the cost per kilometer reckoned over a 1-million-km life is about $3.5 per 100 kilometres.
base price (Rs5.46 lakhs), of Mahindra E2O electric vehicle
That’s unbeatable anywhere.
With economies of scale, a decent $25,000 EV is not far from roll-out. In which case, the equation will be even better in favour of EVs.
2. Battery revolution + Convergence
Human ingenuity is limitless. Nearly 220 years since the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta unveiled the “voltaic pile”, the world’s first electric battery (in 1800), batteries have incredibly improved in performance.
Capitalism is the key driver: There's a high investor appetite and huge amount of human capital poured into research and development of batteries.
In the last 30 years or so, besides artificial intelligence (AI), no other technology has attracted so much attention from university researchers as much as EVs. Yet these two technologies reinforce each other.
There are moments when crazy people come together, with chunks of great ideas, around the same time. Then they decide to take it forward. In so doing, they create an entirely new ecosystem. Sort of like how app developers, chipmakers, touchscreen manufacturers rendered old phones obsolete. And who calls from pay phones today?

The early exponential growth of products is called the "J-curve". The full technology adoption trend is called the "S-curve" (see illustration, below).

S-curve graphs documents the historically radical adoption rates of technologies — from cars, to TVs, microwave overs, the internet and mobile phones. Over time, they become so compelling (much better or cheaper) than existing products or services.

The result: A radically new purchasing behaviour, transforming markets in a very short period of time.
S curve
The S-curve shows rate of adoption of different technologies in an "S" form on a graph from 1900 to 2005.Image Credit: Bloomberg
Today, the biggest draw in the battery sweepstakes is not personal electronics gear, like smartphones. Rather, it's EVs and grid-power storage, the type of batteries that power cities.
The numbers are quite mind-boggling: Since the early 1990s, more than 300,000 patents related to batteries had been published. Over 30,900 patents had been granted. Some 6,400 battery-related patents had already expired.

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The Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and Americans are investing heavily in battery research, development and manufacturing. European regulators and companies, keen to move the needle, have made huge bets on renewables, too.
EVs, renewables, high-powered chips, apps, AI and proactive regulations are part of the same ecosystem, and potentially virtuous cycle.
3. Technology disrupts, market decides
Today, there are about 200 EVs used as airport limos in Dubai, a city which has about 200 public EV charging points.
Dubai is an early adopter. It offers generous incentives for EV owners. Many countries boost EV adoption through subsidies, including EU nations and China.
A Tesla Model 3 car leaves a cargo vessel at a port in Shanghai, China February 22, 2019.Image Credit: Reuters
Base price of Hyundai Kona EV (top speed: range: 450km on one charge)
From January to July 2019, China saw a 40.9 per cent spike in EV sales to a whopping 699,000 units from a year ago, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show.
In the US, Tesla Model 3, despite its high base price (average $38,990), has become the 6th best-selling car in Q3 2019. It sold 43,000 units, further eating into the market share of every leading sedan (priced at $12,000 to $15,000 less on average than Model 3s).
Government policy also plays a role: Some countries are embracing EVs sooner than others. Certain countries reward EV buyers with lavish incentives.

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Norway is one example: In March 2014, one in every 100 passenger cars on the road was a plug-in electric in the Nordic country. The EV market surpassed 5 per cent in December 2016, and reached 10 per cent in October 2018.
In June 2019, electric vehicle sales in Norway was up by 87 per cent, when plug-in electric car registrations surged to the second-best result ever of 8,867 (up 11.2 per cent year-over-year).
Granted: The world, with its 7.53 billion people, is not Norway. But this awesome Nordic nation, a country with just 5.26 million inhabitants, could be a harbinger of things yet to come.
By 2030, the Dutch city of Amsterdam will ban all gasoline and diesel vehicles from the city. Other cities — from Paris and Madrid, Athens and Mexico City pledged in 2016 to ban diesel vehicles by 2025.
About a dozen countries and some 20 cities around the world have proposed banning the future sale of passenger vehicles powered by fossil fuels such as gasoline, LPG and diesel.
Tesla model 3 Oslo
A shipment of Tesla vehicles. Norway, a country of little more than 5 million people, has the world’s highest number of electric vehicles per capita, thanks to generous incentives.Image Credit: Bloomberg
These include India, China (the largest auto market globally), Japan (the third-largest auto market globally) that has comprehensive plans for a “hydrogen economy” by 2040.
Also on list are South Korea, Taiwan, also the EU auto market nations of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Costa Rica.
This 2019, London started imposing steep charges on vehicles in its city center that don't meet strict emissions standards. Several cities in Germany have already imposed restrictions on diesel vehicles.
4. Self-driving technology
Throw artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into the mix — eventually making self-driving EVs accessible to everyone — then EVs take us to a whole new world.
Add to this Moore’s Law (first described in 1965, in which computing capacity doubles two years, price remains the same, if not less), then you have something interesting going.
Abu Dhabi-based Ajlaan Saeed, who owns a Tesla Model S bought last year. The car, which he got after selling his Audi, had been imported into the UAE, but never driven by the owner.Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
What you get is a virtuous cycle working together: With computing power key to self-driving system coming down in price, you're looking at a major disruption. It's due to the confluence of technologies.
The result: Intelligent cars fitted with number-crunching processors and intelligent cameras that enable them to be “trained” for self-driving functions.
On September 26, 2019, Tesla released Version 10, its biggest software update ever, which includes a whole suite of entertainment features and "Smart Summon" — enabling an owner's car to navigate a parking lot and come to them or their destination of choice, as long as their car is within their line of sight.
Self-driving technology system is already a reality. It can read faces, road signs, traffic lights. It can even record crimes, if it happens within the line of sight of its cameras.
5. Convenience — less charging, more driving
Battery chemistry is the holy grail of the EV industry as well as power storage. The existing set of battery cells (2170 format) has a rated power density of 247 Wh/kg.
Optimised with battery pack design and software, a range of 386km (on a single charge) has become the standard.
This can take you to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and back, on a single charge.
Owners of the Tesla Model S show off their vehicles outside an Abu Dhabi shopping mall.Image Credit: Supplied
Using super-capacitors that would allow for quick charging (Tesla recently bought supercap manufacturer Maxwell), and dry battery electrode (DBE) technology, this would greatly improve the power packs.
And then there’s Dr John B. Goodenough, the inventor of lithium-ion batteries. He is is already 97-years old, but remains unstoppable. Dr Goodenough’s research team are developing new solid-state battery cells that could triple an electric vehicle’s range from what it is now — thereby cutting EV battery weight, or boosting range.
Nissan e-NV200 electric van posts
Nissan e-NV200 electric van posts record 10,000 orders in Europe as businesses switch to zero-emissions deliveries.Image Credit: Supplied
That’s just the kind of nudge that would take the EV market high above the clouds — with electric-powered aircraft.
6. Renewable power: For homes and cars
Renewable energy, though still in its infancy, is never inert. In April 2019, power from renewables accounted for 23 per cent of electricity generated in the US, surpassing coal at 20 per cent, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Still, renewables face a big barrier: Power from the sun, water, wind and from underground (geothermal) — require a huge up-front cost. But this giant is about to wake up.
Think about pumped storage hydro-electric power (PSHE), which has an efficiency of up to 87 per cent, compared to the typical thermal efficiency of 37 per cent for coal- and gas-fired power plants, and 60 per cent for combined-cycle gas-fired plants.
Dubai’s Dh1.43-billion PSHE plant, now under construction in Hatta, is expected to generate 250MW of hydroelectric power. The Hatta project, a first of its kind project in the region, uses the latest design to optimise nature, with an 80-year design life.
Dubai's Clean Energy 2050 plan seeks to provide 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050. The Hatta project, due for completion in 2024, could be a new global model for state-owned renewable energy projects.
Irena, the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, has documented what it calls the global energy transformation — which has already 11 million jobs in 2018, most of which are currently in China, Brazil, US and India.
7. Capitalism at work
Innovation, coupled with the right amount of capital, drives economies of scale, and wider adoption of new technologies. Early in its life, Tesla was saved by a $50-million investment from Daimler.
In September 2018, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has become a strategic partner of Silicon Valley-based Lucid motors by investing more than $1 billion in the EV maker.
A PIF representative told Reuters then that investing in the electric vehicle market makes long-term sense. “PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” PIF, and other huge sovereign wealth funds, are also known to have invested tens of millions in Tesla.
In 2008, Warren Buffett invested in a little-known mobile phone battery maker in Shenzhen. Buffett’s holding firm Berkshire Hathaway, through its MidAmerican Energy arm, announced it was pumping $230 million into BYD, at HK$8 a share.
BYD, formed in 1995, was just on the verge of getting into EVs. Today, BYD has become China’s biggest EV maker, and saw its share price spiking 60 per cent in 2018. China cut back subsidies on EVs, leading to a slowdown in sales and decline in profit. Still, MidAmerican Energy’s BYD stake is now valued about 10x more.
Therefore, it must be asked: What does the future hold for EVs?
Today, there are many affordable brands of EVs already out there, most of them are priced under $40,000. It's just Americans, Chinese and Europeans but also Indian manufacturers joining the EV drive.
It's not hard to imagine a moment in the near future when EV companies, governments — and the world market — figure out ways around the barriers, such as affordability and spare parts.



In no particular order, these are the very best 'affordable' (i.e. under $40k) electric vehicles you can buy right now:

- Hyundai Kona
- Chevrolet Bolt
- VW e-Golf
- Nissan Leaf Plus
- Hyundai Ioniq

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10:04 PM - Sep 27, 2019
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Battery-powered vehicles, in reality, are also a thing of beauty, able to beat ICE engines on Nürburgring track.

They good for your lungs, too: We all need more oxygen, and less CO2. The EV run about to hit a tipping point.
You could park your EV in your living room, even sleep next to it, and never worry about carbon monoxide poisoning. When power is out, you can use the EV battery for emergency home power.
When do come of age, all of us can probably look back to 2019, and realise that service, spare parts and charging are just teething problems.
And that the EV tsunami wasn't so bad at all.

Will electric cars be the norm in the UAE soon?


Free parking for electric vehicles has huge appeal
Dubai’s serious pursuit of Green Mobility by 2021 is evidenced by the pragmatic incentives it is offering to consumers

Published: January 06, 2018 19:00Gulf News

As incentives go, free parking slots for owners of EVs (electric vehicles) in Dubai has an unbeatable appeal not just because it will make owners of EVs happy, but because it will want to motivate many others to want to become EV owners. And that is the outcome that, deservedly, must take its place in Dubai’s systematic progress to help it become a city of world-class contemporaneity in form and function.
Green mobility is no longer a science-fiction; it is today’s reality. The sooner individuals as societies move towards making their dependance on fossil derivatives a thing of the past, the faster will the turnaround of the planet’s health become a certainty.
In this regard, the government of Dubai has, as always, demonstrated practice before preaching as it galvanised the choice for motorists to consider EVs as a happy option of transport by installing 100 charging stations at various locations in the city. A 100 more stations are planned to be set up this year. The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy announced last year that buyers of electric vehicles will be able to charge their vehicles for free at the charging stations until 2019. There is more: Besides free parking, with an initial outlay of 220 slots across the city, there is also free registration and annual renewal for electric vehicles as well as a free Salik tag and a licence plate sticker identifying the vehicle as an EV. Such a bouquet of offers only reiterates the seriousness with which Dubai is pursuing its Green Economy for 2021. This is a virtuous haste that should be the defining pace of all progressive governments as Dubai has shown.

Free parking for electric vehicles has huge appeal


Speak your mind: Electric cars are the way to go, say tweeps
Netizens shared their thoughts on using alternative methods to power their vehicles

Published: August 15, 2019 19:40Falah Gulzar, Staff Writer

RDS_190816 SYM - social media debate (3)-1565883592938
Electric car with a charging station on display during a press conference to announce a package of Incentives for Electric-Vehicle Users in Dubai in a press conference at Armani Hotel in Dubai on 24th September 2017. Photo: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf NewsImage Credit:
  • Are e-cars better for the environment?
Social media users highlighted the benefits of using electric vehicles and cleared some misconceptions around using them. However, there were those who believed such cars might not be effective enough and suitable for all regions.
Electric cars powered by new wind and solar projects will get six to seven times more power than petrol cars for the same capital cost.
Getting anywhere in an #ElectricCar takes way longer because people stop you in car parks to ask a million questions and admire your vehicle of the future.

Now that I’ve owned one [electric car] for a couple of weeks, I can say with great certainty: electric cars are freaking awesome.
RDS_190816 SYM - social media debate (4)-1565883604627

Living proof that electric cars can go through safaris, as well as car washes.

For electric car to be effective in Nigeria, we need stable electric power supply which we lack. Let’s fix that then people will appreciate electric cars.
The single most effective way to ‘save the earth’ is to stop eating meat and dairy. More than recycling, more than electric cars, more than shutting off light switches. Though those all help too. If you want to make an impact for now and future generations, go plant based.

Speak your mind: Electric cars are the way to go, say tweeps


Ex-Navy officer turned inventor signs a multi-million deal to produce his electric car battery that will take drivers 1,500 miles without needing to charge

By David Rose for The Mail on Sunday00:47 BST 20 Oct 2019 , updated 07:55 BST 20 Oct 2019

Imagine the satisfaction of driving your environmentally friendly electric car for 1,500 miles without having to stop to recharge the battery – a distance more than four times as far as the best and most expensive model currently on the road.

Under the bonnet is a revolutionary new type of battery which, unlike those used in conventional electric cars, can also power buses, huge lorries and even aircraft. What’s more, it’s far simpler and cheaper to make than the batteries currently in use in millions of electric vehicles around the world – and, unlike them, it can easily be recycled.

This might sound like a science-fiction fantasy. But it’s not. Last Friday, the battery’s inventor, British engineer and former Royal Navy officer Trevor Jackson, signed a multi-million-pound deal to start manufacturing the device on a large scale in the UK.

The father-of-eight battery inventor engineer, Trevor Jackson, 58 from Tavistock, Devon, who has signed a multi-million-pound deal to start manufacturing the device on a large scale in the UK

Austin Electric, an engineering firm based in Essex, which now owns the rights to use the old Austin Motor Company logo, will begin putting thousands of them into electric vehicles next year. According to Austin’s chief executive, Danny Corcoran, the new technology is a ‘game-changer’.

‘It can help trigger the next industrial revolution. The advantages over traditional electric vehicle batteries are enormous,’ he said.

Few will have heard of Jackson’s extraordinary invention. The reason, he says, is that since he and his company Metalectrique Ltd came up with a prototype a decade ago, he has faced determined opposition from the automobile industry establishment.

It has every reason not to give ground to a competitor that may, in time, render its own technology obsolete. Car industry sceptics claim Trevor’s technology is unproven, and its benefits exaggerated.

But an independent evaluation by the Government agency UK Trade and Investment said in 2017 that it was a ‘very attractive battery’ based on ‘well established’ technology, and that it produced much more energy per kilogram than standard electric vehicle types.


Game-changer: the aluminium-air fuel cell stores far more energy than a conventional battery

Two years ago, Jackson claims, motor manufacturers lobbied the Foreign Office to bar him from a prestigious conference for European businesses and governments at the British embassy in Paris, which was supposed to agree a blueprint for ensuring all new cars are electric by 2040. The bid to exclude him failed. Now, with the signing of the Austin deal, it seems he is finally on the road to success.

He has also secured a £108,000 grant for further research from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a partner of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. His technology has been validated by two French universities.

He says: ‘It has been a tough battle but I’m finally making progress. From every logical standpoint, this is the way to go.’

Jackson began working on new ways of powering electric vehicles after a distinguished engineering career. He worked for Rolls-Royce in Derby, helping to design nuclear reactors, then took a commission in the Royal Navy, where he served as a lieutenant on board nuclear submarines, managing and maintaining their reactors.

Before founding his own firm in 1999, he was working for BAE Systems, where he first started looking at alternative, green ways to power vehicles. By then he and his partner, Kathryn, were married. The couple have eight children, aged 11 to 27, and live in Tavistock, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

In 2001 he began to investigate the potential of a technology first developed in the 1960s. Scientists had discovered that by dipping aluminium into a chemical solution known as an electrolyte, they could trigger a reaction between the metal and air to produce electricity. At that time the method was useless for commercial batteries because the electrolyte was extremely poisonous, and caustic.

After years of experimentation at his workshop in the Cornish village of Callington, Jackson’s eureka moment came when he developed a new formula for the electrolyte that was neither poisonous nor caustic.

‘I’ve drunk it when demonstrating it to investors, so I can attest to the fact that it’s harmless,’ Jackson says. Another problem with the 1960s version was that it worked only with totally pure aluminium, which is very expensive.

But Jackson’s electrolyte works with much lower-purity metal – including recycled drinks cans. The formula, which is top secret, is the key to his device.

Technically, it should be described as a fuel cell, not a battery. Either way, it is so light and powerful that it could now be set to revolutionise low-carbon transport, because it supplies so much energy.

Jackson gave me a demonstration. He cut off the top of a can of Coke, drained it, filled it with the electrolyte, and clipped electrodes to it, powering a small propeller. ‘The energy in this will keep the propeller spinning for a month,’ he said. ‘You can see what this technology could do in a vehicle if you scale it up.’ Following last week’s deal with Austin, that is exactly what is about to happen. Three immediate projects are about to go into production.

The first is to manufacture for the Asian market some ‘tuk-tuks’ – the three-wheeler taxis used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last week during their Royal visit to Pakistan. The second is to make electric bikes, which will be cheaper and run for much longer than those made by rivals.

Finally, and most importantly, the firm is to produce kits to convert ordinary petrol and diesel cars into hybrids, by fitting them with aluminium-air cells and electric motors on the rear wheels.

A driver will be able to choose whether to run the car on fossil fuel or electricity. The cost of each conversion, Jackson says, will be about £3,500, and they will be available early next year. This, he adds, will be the stepping-stone to a full-blown electric vehicle powered by aluminium-air fuel cells. The car industry has already poured massive investment into a very different type of battery, lithium-ion.

Also found in devices such as computers and mobile phones, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable. Almost every electric vehicle on the road uses them. But they have big drawbacks. As well as lithium, they contain rare, poisonous substances such as cobalt. They can explode or catch fire, as seen with the spate of incidents that forced Samsung to recall tens of thousands of Galaxy Note 7 phones in 2016.

With repeated charging, car-sized models eventually become spent. Recycling them to recover the cobalt and lithium is extremely expensive – about five times as much as the cost of disposing them and starting from scratch.

Aluminium, on the other hand, is the planet’s most abundant metal. Many of the factories that refine it from ore or recycled junk are powered by green, renewable energy, such as hydro-electric dams.

And once an aluminium-air fuel cell is spent, it can be recycled very cheaply. According to Jackson, the cost of recycling means the running costs of an aluminium-air powered car would work out at 7p per mile. The cost of a small hatchback’s petrol comes to around 12p per mile. More important, lithium-ion batteries are heavy.

Accredited tests have shown that, weight for weight, Jackson’s fuel cell produces nine times as much energy as lithium-ion: nine times as many kilowatt hours of electricity per kilogram. The luxury electric car maker Tesla says its model S has a range of 370 miles from one charge. Jackson says that if you drove the same car with an aluminium-air cell that weighed the same as the lithium-ion battery, the range would be 2,700 miles. Aluminium-air cells also take up less space.

Jackson claims that if the Tesla were fitted with an aluminium-air fuel cell that was the same size as its current battery, it could run non-stop for 1,500 miles – almost enough to get from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again. An average British family – whose car will travel 7,900 miles annually – would need to change their fuel cell only a handful of times each year.

Scientists call the weight-to- energy ratio ‘energy density’. According to Jackson, because aluminium-air fuel cells have a much greater density than lithium-ion batteries, they could be used in buses or big trucks. If powered by lithium-ion, such vehicles would be unfeasibly heavy, with the battery weighing as much as the freight.

He says: ‘You could easily stack numerous cells in this type of vehicle – after all, getting rid of their diesel fuel tanks will give you plenty of space.’ Jackson adds that aluminium-air cells could also be used in aircraft. ‘We are in discussions with two aircraft manufacturers. It’s not going to be suitable for jets. But it would work in propeller planes, and be suitable for short-haul passenger and cargo flights.’

Meanwhile, the raw cost of a new aluminium-air cell is much lower.

In a Tesla, Jackson says, the battery costs about £30,000. An aluminium-air fuel cell that would power the same car for longer would cost just £5,000.

Drivers with cars that depend on lithium-ion have to charge their batteries from the mains when they are spent – a process that takes a long time, often overnight. But when an aluminium-air cell became exhausted, the driver would simply exchange it for a new one.

Instead of a vast network of charging points, all that is necessary are stores where cells can be swapped, just as people already swap propane gas bottles.

Swapping a battery, says Jackson, takes about 90 seconds.

He and Corcoran say they are in ‘advanced discussions’ with two major supermarket chains to provide this facility.


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India’s electric vehicle sales face challenges of affordability, charging

Bloomberg New Delhi | Updated on October 07, 2019 Published on October 07, 2019

Drive into the future - THE HINDU

Yet the world’s fourth-largest auto market has vast potential for electric vehicles.
Hyundai Motor Co. launched India’s first electric SUV this summer with a quirky TV commercial urging millennials to Drive Into the Future. A few months later, the automaker finds itself on a lonesome road.
In a nation of about 15 crore drivers, only 130 Kona SUVs were sold to dealers through August. That slow pace is emblematic of the difficulties carmakers face in establishing an electric foothold in the fourth-biggest auto market, even with committed government support.

The Kona sells for about $35,000 while the average Indian earns about $2,000 a year -- and the best-selling gas guzzler costs $4,000. Yet Kona’s sticker price only kicks off the conversation about why EVs aren’t gaining traction in India -- there’s also a lack of charging infrastructure, a reluctance by banks to finance purchases and an unwillingness among government departments to use EVs as directed.
Barely more than 8,000 EVs were sold locally during the past six years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China sells more than that in two days, according to BloombergNEF projections.

The affordability of electric cars in India is just not there, said R.C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., maker of the sales leader Alto. I don’t think the government or the car companies expect that in the next two to three years there will be any real buying of electric vehicles.
The segment still isn’t making meaningful strides more than four years after the government started promoting cleaner vehicles for one of the world’s mostpolluted countries. In February, the Centre committed to spending $1.4 billion on subsidies, infrastructure and publicity.
The potential of India’s EV market can’t be ignored. There are only 27 cars for every 1,000 Indians, compared with 570 for the same number of Germans, allowing global automakers an opportunity to challenge the dominance of Maruti - the unit of Japans Suzuki Motor Corp. that sells every other car on local roads.
Maruti’s not introducing its first EV until next year. Tata Motors Ltd. and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. build some base-level electric cars, yet they have a limited range or are exclusively for government use. The Kona gives Hyundai a first-mover advantage in a market where EVs may comprise 28 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2040, according to BNEF.
Not only Hyundai sees opportunity in Asia’s third-largest economy. MG Motor, the iconic British carmaker owned by Chinas SAIC Motor Corp., and Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. see EVs as a way to expand in the country.
Somebody has to take the leadership, and it will trickle down, said Rajeev Chaba, managing director of MG Motor India, which plans to launch an electric SUV by December.
The process of scaling up will be slow, and MG Motors would be satisfied selling 100 cars a month initially.
We have to start somewhere, Chaba said.
Right now, though, consumers pass over electric cars for bigger, longer-range and cheaper gas guzzlers, said Vinkesh Gulati, vice president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, which represents more than 80% of automobile dealers in India.
More than half of the passenger vehicles sold in India last year cost $8,000 or less, according to BNEF. Electric cars won’t achieve price parity with gasoline-powered cars until the early 2030s, BNEF said.
Consumers care about EVs, and the excitement is there, Gulati said. But that stops the moment we tell them the price.

Sparse charging infrastructure
Yet even for those who can afford the Kona, plugging in is problematic. Nidhi Maheshwary, a 40-year-old finance professional working near New Delhi, wanted to buy an EV to show her children an example of environmental responsibility.
So when Hyundai launched the Kona, Maheshwary ordered one. Sounds easy, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Almost immediately, she got into a spat with neighbours about charging the SUV in her apartment buildings basement lot. The resident’s society said it posed a fire risk - even though Hyundai engineers and the fire department said it was safe.
So Maheshwary charges the car at her office while weighing potential recourse against those neighbours. Hyundai offers two small chargers with the Kona, although it can take as many as 19 hours to fill up the vehicle.
India had an estimated 650 charging stations for cars and SUVs in 2018, according to BNEF. China, the largest market for EVs, has about 456,000 charging points, official data shows.
India’s inadequate charging infrastructure stems from locals chicken-and-egg approach to the issue.
At a conference in New Delhi last month, government officials and EV-component makers debated whether to create an adequate charging infrastructure to promote sales or whether to wait until there are enough EVs on the roads before building it out.
We are pretty sure that people are going to like our EV, but we would have our challenges like infrastructure, Chaba said. But we have our plans to handle that.
Those include first requiring that the buyer can install a charger at home, he said.
But there’s another factor besides income that makes it difficult to pay for one of these cars. The unaffordability of EVs also stems from the unavailability of financing, said Pranavant P., a partner at Deloitte India focusing on the future of mobility.
Until there’s an established secondary market for EVs, banks and other institutions are hesitant to extend purchasing loans, he said. A majority of Indian vehicle sales are financed by lenders.

Government support
The government, both federal and local, will have to offer help for EVs to be adopted in the mass market, said Puneet Anand, group head of marketing at Hyundai Motor India. The budget in July included incentives such as reduced taxes, income tax benefits and import duty exemptions for certain EV parts.
The first beneficiaries will be the ubiquitous scooters and motorcycles -- with subsidies meaning to support sales of 1 million two-wheelers, compared with 55,000 electric cars.
Yet the government still needs to practice what it’s preaching. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., a joint venture of state-run companies responsible for replacing state vehicles with EVs, awarded its first tender in September 2017 for 10,000 cars.
But as of July, agencies had accepted only 1,000 of them. Now EESL is offering vehicles to taxi companies.
None of that helps Devdas Nair, a 34-year-old advertising professional in New Delhi looking for new wheels. He wants to try an EV and says he’d pay somewhat more to help the environment and for future savings. Yet for him right now, its too much of a gamble.
I was excited about the Kona, but the price tag is just too much, he said. We don’t even know how the charging infrastructure is going to be in India. That makes me rethink -- actually not think about it at all.

Published on October 07, 2019

India’s electric vehicle sales face challenges of affordability, charging



Toyota confirms mass-market electric car for India
22nd Oct 2019 2:00 pm
India-bound electric car part of Japanese carmaker's entry into the global battery electric vehicle space; Toyota also confirms new BEV will arrive in 2021 and be brought along with Maruti.
Hormazd Sorabjee


Toyota has reiterated its commitment to introducing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the Indian market. Toyota's chief technology officer, Shigeki Terashi, has confirmed that Toyota India’s first all-electric car will be co-developed with Maruti. “India is one of the countries we have in mind for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) and we want to introduce them at an early stage along with Maruti,” he was quoted as saying. According to sources, this new EV, which will be co-developed with Maruti Suzuki and will share its platform and powertrain with the upcoming Wagon R-based electric hatchback, is expected to be launched in India in 2021.
As reported over the past couple of years, Suzuki and Toyota have been exploring ways to partner in India since February 2016. In November 2017, the Japanese brands had announced a Memorandum of Understanding to arrive at a joint strategy to introduce BEVs in India in 2020. The press release had said, “Specifically, Suzuki is to produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support.”
Maruti Suzuki’s Wagon R EV is expected to be launched in 2020 and will be priced relatively aggressively given that it will be made in India. The all-electric Wagon R is expected to have a real-world range of about 130km on a single charge and will support standard AC and DC fast-charging.
Toyota’s version of the Wagon R EV is still sometime away and may not launch as soon as the Maruti. In fact it will only come after the launch of a BEV for the European markets. Terashi also confirmed that Toyota expects to launch its first electric car there at the start of 2020. There will be multiple variants that will be developed across the Toyota and Lexus brands, based on public demand for the models.

The first Toyota product that has been launched under the alliance between the two Japanese brands – the Glanza – comes with mild-hybrid tech. What is essentially a badge-engineered version of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno gets the same 90hp, 1.2-litre petrol engine with an integrated starter generator (ISG).

At this year's Tokyo Motor Show, which opens on October 24, Toyota will showcase a new, production-ready Ultra Compact BEV. This two-seat vehicle is expected to go on sale in Japan in 2020, have a 100km range and reach a top speed of about 60kph. The Japanese brand has also been developing solid state battery technology and will showcase a concept powered by the tech in 2020, at the Tokyo Olympics.

Toyota confirms mass-market electric car for India

Toyota Cars in India

Toyota Camry

Toyota Corolla Altis

Toyota Etios Cross

Toyota Etios Liva

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Glanza

Toyota Innova Crysta

Toyota Innova Touring Sport

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota Platinum Etios

Toyota Prius

Toyota Yaris


RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (Bloomberg)

RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (Bloomberg)

Will not commercially launch EV for personal use next year: Maruti
1 min read . Updated: 24 Oct 2019, 06:09 PM ISTPTI
  • RC Bhargava also said for electric vehicles to be successfully sold at a mass scale in India, key components have to be made in India
  • The company, which had earlier announced plans to launch electric car based on WagonR by 2020
Maruti Electric Vehicles

NEW DELHI : Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India on Thursday said it will not commercially launch electric car, which it has been testing, for personal use next year, citing lack of infrastructure and government support.
The company, which had earlier announced plans to launch electric car based on WagonR by 2020, said by next year the vehicle will be "at a stage which can go to the next stage of trials and testing".
"(It is) not going to be launched commercially for public use at the moment. It won't be available for public," Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava told reporters here.
In 2020, he said the "electric WagonR, which has been introduced as a testing vehicle will be at a stage which can go to the next stage of trials and testing. These are not at a stage where they can be sold commercially to individuals. There is no government support for it".

Speaking here at the quarterly results announcement of the company, he said, "Both Suzuki and us, we have a programme going on what to do in this area. As we go along we will keep implementing that programme but don't expect any sudden announcement that now we are putting 1,00,000 EVs on roads".
Even the government's priority on electric vehicles (EVs) has changed and in order to launch such cars successfully for mass consumption there has to be infrastructure as well as support, he added.
"The government's own priority from the time the first announcement on EV was made some 18 months to two years ago, today it has changed substantially.
"Today as far as I have understood they are giving higher priority to electrifying two-wheelers, cars for personal use don't have any priority for them. The FAME scheme doesn't contain subsidy for personal cars," Bhargava said.

"If somebody is going to buy this car without any infrastructure in the country and at a pretty high price because there is no support of any kind, I can launch but what is the purpose?" he asked.
Bhargava also said for electric vehicles to be successfully sold at a mass scale in India, key components have to be made in India.
"If you want to do a EV programme in India, somebody has to manufacture battery in India," he added.

Will not commercially launch EV for personal use next year: Maruti