Final preparations are in hand for the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) which is taking place in September. Electric vehicles will travel from Paris to Prague, calling upon thirty cities en route. Gordon Foat (right) of Green MotorSport met Louis Palmer, the founder director of WAVE in London, to discuss their plans for WAVE and the future of electric vehicles in Europe. The first thing is to make sure that there is a first class infrastructure and the WAVE will be a pioneer in establishing the requirements for inter city electric driving. If you would like to take part in this opportunity, please contact us immediately so we can send you our sponsorship info pack.
Louis Palmer, (left) the founding Director of the World Advanced Vehicle Expedition (WAVE) has given Gordon Foat of Green MotorSport (right) the exclusive opportunity to drive for the UK in ‘the WAVE’ this year. Current Sponsors
Building up the recharging infrastructure
In the UK, 25 Mitsubishi and 20 smart electric cars have been evaluated for the past year as part of the UK Technology Strategy Board’s £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme. Despite initial scepticism surrounding the capability of EVs and concerns over range anxiety, they have been found to be more than capable of meeting the needs of drivers that require efficient urban transportation. This is reflected by the finding that most journeys undertaken (77%) lasted less than 20 minutes and only 2% used more than 50% of the battery - enabling a return journey to be made without the need for recharging in the majority of cases. The data also showed a trend towards drivers travelling longer journeys over time - indicating increased confidence and reduced range anxiety.
It’s already clear that EVs offer a viable, practical urban transport solution. We must now consider how our homes, offices and public spaces will need to evolve in order to cater to both users’ needs and the rapidly developing technologies powering these vehicles.
The most popular point at which people commenced charging was when the battery had between 81-87% of its charge remaining. With the majority of journeys using less than 2kWh of power (around 12% of charge) this behaviour indicates that charging habitually takes place upon reaching a destination.
Low running costs
The average charge time of an electric car studied was between 2-3 hours (typically equivalent to 50% of a full charge) with an energy transfer of 6kWh costing around 60-80p depending upon tariff. (equivalent to one load in a washer dryer). Peaks for charging were observed from 7-9am and from 6-7pm, which can be most likely attributed to charging on arrival at work in the morning or home in the evening. Another peak was monitored after 11pm when project participants used timers to take advantage of off-peak energy tariffs.
The most popular time to charge a vehicle is rightly overnight. But as most journeys are relatively short (with five average journeys per charge) this allows scope for exactly when the car is charged each night to minimise cost and maximise carbon savings. Such evidence supports the need for automated intelligent charging technology that will allow EVs to interact with the distribution grid.
Journey data over the first 18 months of the trial showed that the battery range of electric vehicles more than covers most users’ needs, with most drivers finishing their daily journeys still with over 40% charge remaining. Typical users only need to recharge every 2-3 days and choose the convenience of a home charge overnight or at their place of work over 85% of the time. Public charging points provided as part of the trial are proving popular, but less necessary than originally thought, as users gain confidence in the range capability of the vehicles. The trial has shown that the current generation of low carbon vehicles are as capable as conventional diesel and petrol engines for performance and ease of use, whilst having significantly lower emissions and operating costs.
Ecotricity launches the electric highway
For the first time electric vehicles will be able to travel the length and breadth of Britain using the world’s first national charging network at motorway service stations across the country. Every charging post will be powered with 100% green energy and means that electric car drivers (and ev motorcycle riders) will be able to drive from London to Edinburgh or Exeter completely free and with vastly reduced emissions. This breakthrough in electric car infrastructure removes one of the main barriers for people wanting to buy electric cars – range anxiety – which currently restricts people to driving within their own city. The first ‘top-up zone’ has been installed at Welcome Break’s South Mimms services [at the Junction of the M1 and M25], and the first phase of the network spread across 12 motorway services will be completed by September. Each post will be located outside the main entrance, with two sockets that can be accessed by registering for a free swipecard.
Within 18 months all 27 Welcome Break motorway services will have charging points. Green MotorSport has already registered an electric car to test these outlets. Electric car owners who want to register for a free swipe card can visit Ecotricity’s website at www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-the-road
Electric cars can top-up in just 20 minutes using rapid recharge points (32A supply) or fully charge in two hours; while those using the slower (13A supply) will be able to recharge fully if staying overnight at motorway service hotels.
1p/mile for electric compared with 10p for petrol
Recently Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity, said: “Until now, charging posts have all been in city centres like London, but statistics show that it’s not in towns and cities where electric cars need to recharge, but on longer journeys between cities – and that means motorways. We’re creating the infrastructure to get Britain’s electric car revolution moving. This marks the beginning of the end for the old combustion engine. With world oil prices going through the roof, you’ll now be able to get around Britain using only the power of the wind. It costs 1p a mile in an electric vehicle, compared with 10p in a petrol car (at today’s oil prices). We consume 25 million barrels of oil every year in the UK to do the 250 billion miles we drive every year. But we could power all that with 10,000 of today’s windmills, or just 5,000 of tomorrow’s.” A driver doing a year’s typical 12,000 miles of motoring could save almost £2000 in petrol costs at today’s prices, and save around 2500kg in CO2 emissions.
2011 has been dubbed ‘The Year of the Electric Car’, with major manufacturers launching all-electric mass-market models including the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MIEV and Peugeot iOn. Ford will also launch an all-electric version of its Ford Focus, on sale in 2013.
UK Government plans for recharging infrastructure
The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond has announced the publication of their proposals for the electric vehicle recharging infrastructure entitled Making the Connection: the Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy. It sets out the steps that Government and industry will take to support an infrastructure that encourages the majority of recharging at home, at night, and after the peak in electricity demand, supported by workplace charging for commuters and fleets, and a targeted amount of public infrastructure. Public charge points are part of the answer but it is most convenient for drivers and best for the energy system for the majority of charging to happen at home. The strategy will ensure that Britain’s smart metering is implemented so that cars can charge when it’s cheapest for the consumer. They will provide comprehensive information through a National Charge point Registry, so that motorists know where to find a public charge point. They will encourage local authorities to include plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure in new domestic, workplace and retail developments. This strategy builds on the existing favourable tax regime for private and business purchasers of ultra-low emission vehicles, and over £400m worth of investment to promote this agenda, including up to £5,000 consumer grants for plug-in cars; and £30m to kick-start installation of recharging points in test-bed areas.
New charging system
Recently there has been much talk about Inductive Power Transfer systems for wireless charging electric vehicles. Green MotorSport is researching these systems currently and is searching for a cost effective technology to share with its current drive train customers.
Drive Train Technology
The M1 motor is our flagship product, designed for demanding applications. It is a product of ongoing prototype development, leading to a cost effective electric motor for volume production. The motor can be used in several applications, for boats, sports utility vehicles or in our conversion packs to enable family vehicles to be changed to electric drive. Green MotorSport’s products are designed to achieve the highest quality and we ensure that every part of the package is cost effective. Our M1 motor is achieving excellent performance and we are now building our volume manufacturing facilities in order to meet the overwhelming amount of inquiries received for the product during the last year. For the heavier and larger electric car, the new GMS Dual power drivetrain MK3b module fits onto and interfaces with all existing vehicle systems. It also provides the user with complete diagnostic information. GMS believes that this is the best EV powertrain in pre-volume production that delivers such a high level of drive train efficiency due to its innovative design.