Volta makes moves on North American electric truck market

Volta makes moves on North American electric truck market

Swedish start up Volta Trucks has announced its Zero electric trucks will be operating on the streets of Los Angeles by the end of next year.

Volta made the announcement as part of the release of its full US strategy which will see the company appoint an “experienced” US-based manufacturing partner later this year and develop its own network of service and maintenance facilities.

“Since the launch of Volta Trucks in 2019 and the reveal of the Volta Zero in September 2020, we have used London, Paris, and other European launch cities, where fleets are increasingly converting to electric, to prove that our concepts align to customers’ needs. With more than 6,000 vehicle pre-orders in hand, from some of Europe’s largest fleet operators, it is time to expand our geographic horizons and look towards the significant market opportunity in North America,” said Carl-Magnus Norden, Volta’s founder.

Volta is expecting that its Class 7 truck – equivalent to a European 16-ton vehicle – will be ready for customer evaluation next year. The smaller Class 5 and 6 models, akin to European 7.5- and 12-ton trucks, will follow shortly afterwards.

An initial fleet of 100 pilot trucks will be available next year before full production kicks into gear in 2024. To date, the company has built 24 road-going “Design Verification” prototypes which are currently undergoing testing in Europe.

Similarly, the company will set up its service and maintenance centres across the US – similar to its operations in Europe – and essential to the company’s “Truck-as-a-Service” proposition.

Truck-as-a-Service is designed to be a one-stop-shop to help companies transition to electric fleets, bundling everything into a single offering with a monthly payment. Initial site assessment of customer facilities to understand charging needs, as well as installation, are included along with the financing and insuring of the vehicles to “accelerate adoption” and “derisk” ownership. Servicing and maintenance are included over the lifetime of the trucks.

The first Class 7 trucks are to be built at Volta’s existing site in Steyr, Austria but the later Class 5 and 6 vehicles bound for North America will be built in the US starting from 2024/25.

Carl-Magnus Norden, Volta’s Founder and Executive Chairman is speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

Bird research validates benefits of pneumatic e-scooter tyres

Bird research validates benefits of pneumatic e-scooter tyres

Research from micromobility provider Bird appears to resolve a question that probably isn’t uppermost in riders’ minds when they hire a scooter, but might be by the time they return it. Shocks or no shocks?

Most shared scooters rely on one of two tyre models, explains Bird, either solid/semi-solid tyres with suspension “shocks” or pneumatic tyres without them. A scooter’s tyres are also one of the most critical components impacting traction and stability, argues Bird, so it’s important for shared micromobility providers to invest in designs that improve vehicle safety.

Bird’s approach has been to work with a tyre manufacturer to develop an automotive-grade 6-ply tubeless pneumatic scooter tyre specifically designed for the rigors of the shared micromobility industry.

But is the right solution? That was the question Bird recently set out to address at its R&D facility in Southern California.

Its engineers compared a Bird Three scooter equipped with custom pneumatic tyres and a mass-produced scooter model used by many operators worldwide with semi-solid tyres and shocks.

The tests were designed to test the two core assumptions underpinning Bird’s approach. Firstly, pneumatic tyres tend to offer better shock absorption over a wider variety of common street surfaces including gravel and cobblestone.

And secondly, while solid tyres become rigid with dropping temperatures, decreasing their traction when it’s needed most, the air in pneumatic tyres compresses in colder temperatures making them softer and more compliant.

Both scooters were fitted with handlebar-mounted instrumentation to detect the vertical acceleration that would be experienced by riders as jolts and vibrations. Bird then ran each scooter multiple times down test tracks over a range of surfaces including gravel, cobblestone and a wide variety of other simulated street surfaces that riders encounter across the globe.

In each test, the tubeless pneumatic tyre performed better than the solid tyre with shocks, experiencing on average 33% less vertical acceleration.

“This reduction in vibrations is significant because it means 33% more stability and control for riders when experiencing everyday bumps and uneven road conditions” said Scott Rushforth, Chief Vehicle Officer at Bird. “Pneumatics are demonstrably better at damping vibration and low-frequency bumps than solid or semi-solid tyres with suspension, and this most recent testing clearly validates that.”

In addition to the safety benefits that come with fewer vibrations and better handling and stability on bumpy streets, Bird’s says its pneumatic tyres have a hidden environmental benefit. Limiting the amount of shaking cuts down on premature wear and tear, increasing sustainability. Pneumatic tyres can also easily be changed when damaged, salvaging the wheel hub, while solids are typically serviced by replacing the entire wheel or motor assembly.

MOVE, which takes place at ExCeL London on 15/16 June, is an opportunity to hear from senior Bird executives including Victoria Springthorpe, Head of UK & Ireland Public Policy and James Padden, General Manager – UK & Ireland. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

Arrival granted EU certification for it electric Bus model

Arrival granted EU certification for it electric Bus model

Electric commercial vehicle startup Arrival has been granted EU certification and received European Whole Vehicle Type Approval for its Bus model.

This represents a critical step towards Arrival Buses carrying passengers on public roads in Europe and the United Kingdom. The certification has been granted after the Arrival Bus successfully completed all required system safety testing.

Denis Sverdlov, Founder and CEO at Arrival described the certification as a key milestone for Arrival and “a testimony to our innovative technologies and our unique new method of design and production of electric vehicles. The Arrival Bus is different from any that has come before, employing technologies developed in-house to create benefits for operators, passengers, and the planet.”

Since the Arrival Bus shares technologies and components with the Arrival Van and Arrival Car, learnings from the certification contribute to all vehicle programs. The startup says this is one of the many benefits of its unique approach to the design of its electric vehicles.

The Arrival Bus has been developed to meet the needs of cities looking to transition their public transportation infrastructure into a sustainable ecosystem. The vehicle features flexible passenger seating capacity across the entire flat floor, improving comfort and creating more standing space.

The Bus also includes wrap-around exterior and interior screens, adaptable lighting, a transparent roof, and a suite of digital features. Arrival’s software ecosystem enables full connectivity, digital customisation, and deep access to vehicle behaviour and data.

The UK-based business plans to build all its products in rapidly-scalable and highly automated local microfactories, where multitasking robots will do most of the manufacturing work. Since setting up a microfactory costs a lot less than a traditional assembly plant and employs far fewer people, Arrival says this method should result in significantly cheaper products than other comparable electric vehicles and even today’s diesel-powered vehicles.

The company started trials of the Bus late last year and production is expected to commence imminently.

Airbus leads German multi-stakeholder urban air mobility initiative

Airbus leads German multi-stakeholder urban air mobility initiative

Airbus is leading an initiative that will look at launching urban air mobility services using eVTOL aircraft in Germany.

The aerospace company announced it is working with several other partners to launch an Air Mobility Initiative, focused on exploring how eVTOL operations could be implemented in Germany, including what would be required to support unmanned traffic management services and ground infrastructure.

“In many parts of the world, eVTOLs will offer a whole new mobility service in the near future,” said Markus May, head of operations for urban air mobility at Airbus, in a press release. “Airbus and the partners are aware that the introduction of such a system requires the cooperation of many players with different competences. Our goal is to build a transport service that benefits society and this is what we are setting up here in Bavaria.”

Along with Airbus, some of the other partners include the City of Ingolstadt, railway company Deutsche Bahn, air traffic control company Deutsche Flugsicherung, consultant Droniq, Diehl Aerospace, and Munich Airport.

The partners have secured €86 million in private and public investments that will be used over three years. This includes €17 million from the state of Bavaria, and €24 million from the German federal government.

According to Airbus, the partners will start by looking at the technological, infrastructural, legal, and social requirements needed to implement urban air mobility services in Germany, and will later use that knowledge in a demonstration project under real conditions with eVTOL aircraft.

Airbus, which is developing the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft, will be leading the eVTOL research activities with Diehl Aerospace, the University of Stuttgart and other partners.

The aerospace company will also work with Droniq, funke, Avionics, SkyFive, BrigkAir, DFS, and Telekom, as well as universities from Munich and Hamburg to explore unmanned traffic management requirements.

Meanwhile, Munich Airport, Deutsche Bahn, Bauhaus Luftfahrt, Airport Nürnberg, and the universities of Ingolstadt and Munich will conduct research on vertiports and city integration.

Shell supports ZeroAvia’s hydrogen infrastructure in US and UK

Shell supports ZeroAvia’s hydrogen infrastructure in US and UK

The UK’s ZeroAvia, a leader in hydrogen powered aviation, has announced a collaboration with its strategic investor Shell, who will design and build two commercial-scale mobile refuellers for use at ZeroAvia’s research and development site in Hollister, California.

Shell will also provide compressed, low-carbon hydrogen supply to the facility and other locations in the Western US through ZeroAvia’s test facility in Hollister.

This strategic collaboration will support ZeroAvia’s flight testing program in the US and will advance the company’s hydrogen airport refueling ecosystem.

The deal comes as ZeroAvia has unveiled Europe’s first landside-to-airside hydrogen airport pipeline at ZeroAvia’ development hanger at the private general aviation Cotswold Airport, a former RAF base and once home to the Red Arrows.

ZeroAvia’s zero-emission powertrains use hydrogen fuel in a fuel cell to create a chemical reaction which produces electricity. That electricity then powers electric motors that spin the propellers, while producing no emissions other than water.

Arnab Chatterjee, VP Infrastructure, ZeroAvia, says, “These milestone announcements represent significant hydrogen infrastructure advancement for ZeroAvia and the industry. Hydrogen-electric aviation is the only practical, holistic, and economically attractive solution to aviation’s growing climate change impact. Fuel provision needs to be economical and convenient for airlines to achieve operational cost benefits and ZeroAvia is leading these pioneering infrastructure developments together with leading partners like Shell.”

“Shell recognises the aviation sector has unique challenges in decarbonisation and needs practical and scalable net-zero solutions,” adds Oliver Bishop, General Manager, Hydrogen at Shell. “We believe ZeroAvia’s technology is a viable option, and this agreement will allow us to demonstrate successful provision of low-carbon hydrogen supply while supporting development of codes, standards, and refuelling protocols for hydrogen-powered aviation.”

Hyundai expected to locate US EV plant in Georgia

Hyundai expected to locate US EV plant in Georgia

Hyundai is planning to build a new electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in the US and has held discussions with officials in the state of Georgia. The Korean car maker confirmed it will release its plans imminently but declined to comment on any details.

“We are excited to announce a new EV plant plan in the United States soon, but we do not have details to share at this stage,” Hyundai said in a statement to Reuters.

Hyundai is understood to have been in advanced discussions with state officials to build a dedicated EV facility in Georgia, which would serve both Hyundai and Kia as the brands move to roll out a pair of fully electric SUVs – the Ioniq 7 and EV9 – aimed at the US market.

Georgia’s Economic Department declined to comment, but a deal would mark a major economic development win for Georgia, which has set out to establish itself as a regional hub for the emerging EV industry.

The announcement of a potential investment deal comes at a time when President Joe Biden has been pushing for more investment in EVs and related suppliers to create jobs and drive a clean-energy agenda.

The Biden administration has said it will allocate more than $3 billion in infrastructure funding to finance EV manufacturing. Biden wants half of vehicles sold in the United States to be electric by 2030.

Biden is set to travel to South Korea on May 20 for meetings with South Korea’s incoming president Yoon Suk-yeol, an advocate of steps to shore-up South Korea’s ties with the United States.

Hyundai announced a $300-million investment last month to manufacture the all-electric Genesis GV 70 and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe at its Alabama plant. The Genesis model would be Hyundai’s first EV made in the United States.

Hyundai affiliate Kia also recently said it was looking to shift production to the United States but was not considering a dedicated EV factory on its own.

Kia has said it will have 14 EVs by 2027. Hyundai has said it will roll out 17 by 2030, including six for its luxury Genesis brand.

A number of senior Hyundai executives are speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June including Marcus Welz, Vice President Smart Mobility; Liran Golan, Head of Future Mobility; and Oxana Grishina, Head of Section, Future Retail and Transformation. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

Renault sells stake in Korean business to China’s Geely

Renault sells stake in Korean business to China’s Geely

Renault is to sell a third of its Korea business to China’s Geely Automobile Holdings for $200 million, freeing up funds for the French car maker to invest in its core markets and electric business.

Renault is implementing a turnaround business strategy designed to tackle falling global sales over the last three years, which includes splitting its electric vehicle and combustion engine businesses.

The move comes weeks after reports that Renault, the top shareholder in Nissan, may lower its stake in the Japanese company.

Renault has been making and selling cars in South Korea, mostly based on European models, for over two decades via Renault-Samsung Motors. But sales have declined dramatically in recent years.

Geely tends to operate through global partnerships. It owns Volvo Cars and a 9.7 percent stake in Daimler. The Renault acquisition gives Geely a foothold in the South Korean market, dominated by Hyundai and Kia. It also gets Geely closer to three important EV battery makers in South Korea, LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation and Samsung SDI.

Geely and Renault announced a partnership in January to develop hybrid vehicles at Renault’s factory in South Korea’s second city Busan.

Viewpoint: is Brazil the sleeping giant in the global EV transition?

Viewpoint: is Brazil the sleeping giant in the global EV transition?

While Europe, China, and the USA are leading the global electromobility transition, less is reported on what is happening in other markets. If you were to guess which country might have millions of electric cars within a few years, you might not not look to South America. But our man in Brazil, Jose Gaspar, sets out why the country is potentially poised to become a major global market for electric vehicles.

The Brazilian automotive market is big. Last year 1.56 million new cars were registered in the country. That puts it sixth in the world, and although a long way short of the sales volumes in China, USA, Japan and India, it’s not far behind Germany and ahead of other significant European markets including UK, France and Italy.

But a crucial question is whether Brazilian consumers are ready to adopt electrified cars. On first glance, it’s not obvious.

In 2021, electrified cars (that’s HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs) represented just 1.8% of sales, at just under 35,000 units. Of these, the vast majority were hybrids, with just 8% pure battery electrics.

The president of the Brazilian Electric Vehicles Association (ABVE), Adalberto Maluf, puts that in context, “The electrified cars market share is way below the potential,” he says. “In the first quarter of 2022 it represented just 2.6% and counting only plug-in hybrids and pure battery electrics, the percentage drops to 0.8%”.

In contrast, he points out, the European PHEV/BEV market share in 2021 was 19%, 15% in China and 4% in the USA.

While there are many factors to explain the slow and low uptake, the overriding view is prices remain high, especially for pure battery electrics, and the charging infrastructure is limited. There is even a national debate over whether BEVs are appropriate in the Brazilian context. Some in the industry argue the country should pursue biofuels such as ethanol. In fact 90% of cars registered last year were flex-fuel, which means they can run using petrol, ethanol, or mix of the two.

However dig a little deeper and the signs are more positive. The volume of electrified cars (HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs) registered in 2021 grew 77% compared to 2020. And compared to 2019, sales of electrified cars have increased by 195%, while sales of internal combustion engine cars actually plummeted in the pandemic.

Jumping to 2022, sales of electrified vehicles in the first quarter were 115% greater than in the same period the previous year. March registered a jump of 12% over February and potentially very significantly, March was also the first month in which battery electrics outsold plug-in hybrids.

Despite the challenges and the current populist political climate, there is a solid future for electrified cars in Brazil. In August last year, ANFAVEA – the Brazilian National Association of Automotive Vehicle Manufacturers, published “The Road to Decarbonization in the Automotive Industry”, which outlined three potential scenarios, namely:

  • Inertia (no strategies for electrification)
  • Leadership in biofuels (focus on biofuels)
  • Global convergence (following global trends in electrification)

Following the global convergence path, ANFAVEA forecasts 62% of the new light vehicles will be electrified by 2035, with annual sales of 2.5 million. This would require an investment of around US$ 3 billion to build out the charging infrastructure, increasing the number of public charging stations from 1,250 presently to about 150,000 by 2035.

Unquestionably the electrification of the Brazilian fleet would be a revolution for the industry and a huge economic, environmental and social opportunity for the country. It would create the need to develop a whole ecosystem for new energy vehicles, attracting global players and encouraging emerging businesses and homegrown startups.

And it feels like that movement is already starting to happen… but more on that next time.

(Photo credit: Nissan Brazil)

Jose Gaspar is founder and editor of Zev.news, a South American-focused publication on the transformations in the automotive industry, caused by the rise of zero emission vehicles – the so-called ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicles). “More than just publishing news,” says Gaspar, “it’s about explaining why it’s news. Analytical, contextualizing, Zev.News aims to offer clear perspectives, based on the facts responsible for the changes taking place.”

A look back at success from MOVE 2021

A look back at success from MOVE 2021

With the fourth MOVE event at ExCeL in London only just over a month away (15/16 June), it’s a timely moment to reflect upon how MOVE has networked thousands of budding mobility leaders across the entire value ecosystem to facilitate partnerships and challenge transport industry practices.

As the event expands many more perfect business partners are being matched, bringing outstanding sustainable solutions to provision across future fuels, energy charging, autonomous vehicles and different transport modes.

Since MOVE 2021, a powerful testimony that has come to light is by Founder of Powered by Hydrogen, Sashe Annett, whose meeting with Technology and Digital Strategist at Ricardo plc, Rushab Shah sparked a successful collaboration that continues to evolve and combine both their passion projects in hydrogen buses.

This is truly an example of a working ‘perfect match’ partnership which will be replicated again at this year’s MOVE 2022 on 15th and 16th June. Register here

Describing their positive encounter at MOVE, Sashe begins: “Part of our mission at Powered by Hydrogen is to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen technologies across the transportation sector by initiating scaleable demonstration projects.

“I was already working on a pilot hydrogen bus project when I attended MOVE 2021 last November.

“At the MOVE networking event, we met Rushab Shah, a representative from Ricardo, a global environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company headquartered in the UK. Ricardo is working on a repowering solution that coverts a diesel buses to hydrogen fuel cell buses at nearly half the cost while saving around 45,000 kg of embedded carbon relative to a new fuel cell bus. It ended up being a perfect match…”

Together they have gone on to work closely to create a meaningful ripple through the alternative fuels market.

She continues: “We have since forged a partnership with Ricardo’s UK and US commercial and hydrogen departments and are exploring further collaborations across transit authorities, academia and suppliers.”

Powered By Hydrogen is a US based non-profit organisation advancing hydrogen technology through education and legislative advocacy, which since it founded, has achieved significant visibility through the MOVE event.

A world-class environmental, engineering and strategic consulting company, Ricardo plc provides exceptional levels of expertise in delivering leading-edge and innovative cross-sector sustainable products and solutions, helping their global customers increase efficiencies, achieve growth and create a cleaner and safer future.

Their united mission is clear – to create a safe and sustainable world.

You will have the opportunity to meet and learn from these companies: Wejo, Volvo, Ford, Dassault Systemes, Ridecell, Axon Vibe, Hogen Lovells, Otonomo, Invers, Continental, Vaimoo, BMW, Rolls Royce, bp, Aurora Innovation, Nikola, Hyundai Motor Europe, TFL, Jaguar Land Rover, Marsh, Kolumbus AS, GoMetro, SAE International, SWITCH Mobility, Gorillas, Volta Trucks, plus many more!

Secure your place now to discover similar networking opportunities at #MOVE2022.

Book now for MOVE 2022

Stellantis buys Share Now car-sharing business from BMW and Mercedes

Stellantis buys Share Now car-sharing business from BMW and Mercedes

Stellantis has agreed to buy the Share Now car sharing business from BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the two German groups focus more on the software part of their mobility alliance.

Formed last year through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA, Stellantis wants to become a global leader in car-sharing, using this acquisition to expand its existing business in the area, reports Reuters.

The deal reflects different approaches by carmakers who are trying to tap new sources of revenues beyond selling vehicles, most notably in the developing area of mobility services.

“We think this reinforces our belief that premium OEMs like BMW and Mercedes will focus on private car ownership and less on fleet services,” Royal Bank of Canada analyst Tom Narayan told Reuters.

“Conversely, it makes sense that volume players like Stellantis are pursuing these alternative revenue streams.”

No financial details were provided for the transaction. Italian daily la Repubblica said it was worth around 100 million euros.

By selling the division, BMW and Mercedes-Benz will focus on the two remaining parts of their mobility cooperation: Free Now, an app that enables the booking of cars, taxis, e-scooters and e-bikes, and the charging infrastructure booking app Charge Now.

Brigitte Courtehoux, who heads Stellantis’ mobility division Free2move, said the deal was part of the group’s plans to grow net revenues of that business to 700 million euros in 2025 and to 2.8 billion euros in 2030.

Stellantis said the deal would allow Free2move to add 14 major European cities and 10,000 vehicles to its current 2,500-strong car sharing fleet, gaining over 3.4 million customers.

Courtehoux added the Free2Move fleet would not turn 100% Stellantis but said “step by step we’ll have more and more Stellantis cars in it”.

Industry calls for ambitious EU hydrogen refuelling infrastructure

Industry calls for ambitious EU hydrogen refuelling infrastructure

Over 100 leading vehicle manufacturers, fleets and energy companies have called on EU member states not to delay or dilute the European Commission’s proposal to set binding national targets for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure under the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).

The AFIR is the key piece of EU legislation to ensure sufficient deployment of public infrastructure needed to decarbonise mobility such as electric vehicle charging points and hydrogen stations.

Companies including BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Iveco and Linde argue that ambitious binding targets for building hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are key to tackling climate action. Decarbonisation, they say, extends beyond the electrification of vehicles.

In an open letter to EU policymakers, the companies said, “We are strongly convinced that a widely available hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) network, alongside other low-emission refuelling, and recharging infrastructures, will be essential for a rapid transition of the road transport sector. Hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are particularly interesting for customers with preferences for fast refuelling and for whom flexibility is paramount.”

They claim a multi-technology approach will ensure the transition to zero emission transport is faster, more cost-efficient and serves all business models, than focusing solely on electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“A rollout of both HRS and battery electric vehicles (BEV) charging infrastructures will be cheaper than relying solely on one type of infrastructure or restricting specific technologies to specific road transport segments.”

The companies have set out a timeline for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that would see a hydrogen station every 200km by 2025, and every 100km by 2027.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Hydrogen Europe CEO, commented, “The AFIR targets for hydrogen refuelling stations are the bare minimum for hydrogen road mobility to develop and in turn help decarbonise the sector, which is responsible for 20% of the EU greenhouse gas emissions. The industry stands ready to invest along with public authorities into the technology and the rollout of hydrogen infrastructure. However, adequate political commitments are instrumental in sending a strong signal for both automotive and hydrogen infrastructure companies. Reducing the mandatory minimum capacities of stations and shrinking the ambition will seriously harm the sector’s development.”

Southern Californian traffic light project promises environmental and safety gains

Southern Californian traffic light project promises environmental and safety gains

Iteris, the Californian-based provider of hardware, software, and consulting services for smart mobility infrastructure management has been awarded a $3.7 million contract from the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for a multi-year regional traffic signal timing project.

The population of southern California’s Orange County is expected to increase 13% by 2035 and to ease growing traffic demands, OCTA, the California Department of Transportation, the County of Orange and all 34 cities “are working together to coordinate traffic lights across the county” says Iteris.

The programme will significantly reduce countywide travel time, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving safety, mobility, reliability, and overall travel experience for all road users, including vehicles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. “And by reducing delays and stops on key corridors for passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles, the project will help reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, which in turn will contribute to sustainable environmental and air quality improvements,” says Iteris.

Under the project agreement, Iteris will provide operations and infrastructure improvements at key intersections. Work includes identifying upgrades for traffic signal equipment, intelligent transportation system equipment and communication infrastructure, designing and constructing traffic signal system improvements, and developing and implementing optimised traffic signal synchronization timing plans throughout the cities of Santa Ana, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Westminster, and the County of Orange.

As part of the operations and maintenance phase of the program, Iteris will apply traffic data and analytics from the mobility intelligence capabilities of its ClearMobility Platform to optimise traffic management operations on an ongoing basis. Iteris will:

  • monitor the health and safety of intersections, and arterial travel times and reliability
  • identify and prioritise signal optimisations and arterial retiming efforts
  • identify congestion hotspots
  • understand how highway traffic impacts surrounding arterials

“We are proud to continue to support OCTA’s goal of improving the safety and mobility of road users by leading this traffic signal timing and infrastructure upgrade program,” said Bernard Li, vice president, Mobility Consulting Solutions at Iteris. “This initiative represents the continued expansion of Iteris’ mobility consulting services across the west coast, and will ultimately help to increase the value and effectiveness of the region’s existing transportation infrastructure, while also improving safety, air quality and reducing fuel consumption.”

ABB E-mobility supports Shell’s global EV charging network ambitions

ABB E-mobility supports Shell’s global EV charging network ambitions

Switzerland’s ABB E-mobility has signed a new global framework agreement with Shell to supply ABB’s end-to-end portfolio of AC and DC charging stations, which ranges from domestic wallboxes to the Terra 360, the world’s fastest all-in-one electric car charger

Through the collaboration, ABB E-mobility and Shell say they will help address two of the challenges to increasing EV adoption – namely charging infrastructure availability and the speed of charging.

Shell is targeting the operation of over 500,000 charge points globally by 2025 and 2,500,000 by 2030, either at residential, commercial or Shell retail sites.

Frank Muehlon, CEO of ABB E-mobility commented, “ABB and Shell are innovating to drive progress in e-mobility. We have been working together on the roll-out of public charging infrastructure since 2019 and this latest agreement takes that collaboration to the next level.

“We are excited to support Shell in realising its objective to create a global charging network. With access to the full breadth of our charging portfolio, we are ensuring that Shell can select the most appropriate solution for every use case, helping to get more people charging regardless of their location.”

Lucid secures huge Saudi purchase commitment

Lucid secures huge Saudi purchase commitment

US electric carmaker Lucid Group has announced an agreement with the government of Saudi Arabia for the purchase up to 100,000 vehicles over a ten-year period, with an initial commitment to purchase 50,000 vehicles and an option to purchase an additional 50,000 vehicles over the same period.

The deal marks the latest tie-up between the California-based EV company and Saudi Arabia, whose Public Investment Fund has a 61% stake in the company, making it Lucid’s largest shareholder.

Lucid, which currently manufactures its vehicles at a plant in Arizona, also plans to build its first overseas production factory in Saudi Arabia later this year, where it expects to eventually build up to 150,000 vehicles per year.

Under the deal, which is among one of the largest-ever purchase commitments for electric vehicles, Lucid has pledged to start delivery of the vehicles no later than the second quarter of 2023 and volumes are expected to reach between 4,000 and 7,000 vehicles annually by 2025.

Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s CEO and CTO, says, “Delivering up to 100,000 Lucid electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia represents another pivotal moment in our acceleration of sustainable transportation worldwide. We are delighted to be supporting Saudi Arabia in achieving its sustainability goals and net zero ambitions by bringing our advanced luxury EVs to Saudi Arabia.”

VW and bp plan rapid roll-out of fast EV charging infrastructure

VW and bp plan rapid roll-out of fast EV charging infrastructure

Volkswagen and bp have set up a strategic partnership that aims to transform access to EV charging in key European markets by rapidly building a fast charging network across Europe by 2024 and delivering a “seamless experience for EV drivers”.

Based upon Volkswagen’s Flexpole 150kW charging units, which feature two charge points and have an integrated battery storage system, which means the units can be connected to a low voltage grid, removing the requirement for a dedicated substation and costly construction work. This significantly reduces installation times while still providing fast charging speeds of up to 150kW, enough to deliver up to 160km of driving in as little as 10 minutes, depending on the model of electric vehicle.

The first phase of the roll-out will see up to an additional 4,000 charge points at bp’s Aral fuel retail sites in Germany and bp retail sites in the UK over the next 24 months. By the end 2024, up to 8,000 charge points could be available across Germany, the UK and other European countries.

Bernard Looney, chief executive officer, bp says, “EV charging is one of the key engines driving bp’s transformation to an integrated energy company. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with Volkswagen. When you bring together one of the world’s leading car makers and one of the world’s leading energy companies – the opportunity is huge. This is a significant step-forward on our journey to accelerate the electrification of transport in Europe.”

Unveiling the first charger in Dusseldorf, Germany, Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, said, “Volkswagen has been pioneering the transformation to e-mobility across Europe. Investing in everything from software to batteries and charging is part of our strategy to make individual mobility safer, more convenient and fully climate-neutral. The decarbonisation of Europe’s economy requires close collaboration across borders and sectors. We’re pleased to team up with bp to accelerate the roll-out of the fast-charging network across Europe.”

The charger locations will be integrated into the navigation and other in-car apps of VW, Seat and Skoda vehicles as well as into Volkswagen’s charging application, Elli, making it easier for drivers to find available charging points. However the new chargers will be available to all EV drivers through the bp pulse and Aral pulse network.

Thomas Schmall, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Group and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, said, “Together with bp, we will bring thousands of fast-charging stations to life within a very short time. Rapid expansion of the charging network is crucial now. To make that happen, our pioneering flexible, fast chargers offer a perfect solution, since the time and costs required for installation are minimal.”

Under the terms of their agreement, VW and bp will also look to pursue further opportunities together to provide future solutions for lower carbon mobility.

Michigan State University autonomous bus starts carrying passengers

Michigan State University autonomous bus starts carrying passengers

Following six months of extensive on-campus testing and more than 650 test runs, Michigan State University’s full-size autonomous electric bus initiative has started accepting passengers on a 2.5-mile campus route.

The 22-seat Karsan Autonomous e-ATAK bus, believed to be one of the largest of its kind to be deployed on public US roads to date, was recently approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The project is a collaboration with the State of Michigan, bus manufacturer Karsan and Michigan-based ADASTEC, which develops SAE Level-4 automated driving software platforms for commercial vehicles.

ADASTEC’s flowride.ai software platform incorporates a range of sensor, safety and mapping equipment on the bus that also supports data sharing, mission control and fleet management operations. The bus is also fitted with a wheelchair ramp along with audio messaging for accessibility.

Traffic lights along the 2.5-mile route are equipped with intelligent roadside units which communicate with the bus to enable vehicle to infrastructure interoperability. A licensed safety driver and operator from ADASTEC’s Ann Arbor office will be on-board at all times.

Michigan State University will study and analyse various aspects of the project, from vehicle to infrastructure communication technologies to the user experience for people with disabilities.

Connected Kerb launches ultra-compact bollard dual-charger

Connected Kerb launches ultra-compact bollard dual-charger

British electric vehicle charging infrastructure firm Connected Kerb has revealed its new and ultra-compact bollard-style Chameleon charger designed for on-street public charging.

Connected Kerb says the Chameleon is one of the lowest impact and smallest dual charger on the market. The unit stands under one metre tall and most of the key components of the modular charging unit are located underground, which Connected Kerb claims both reduces the space it takes up on a pavement and allows for charging infrastructure to be put in place ahead of time.

The Chameleon can charge two vehicles simultaneously at 7kWh or 22kWh. Its low height means it is not subject to planning permission in the UK, and Connected Kerb says it is also accessible for wheelchair users.

The unit supports technologies such as 5G connectivity, IoT and air quality sensors. Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, says, “We’re committed to facilitating the widespread transition to electric vehicles for users who cannot charge their vehicle at home. Our latest charger design – the Chameleon – is a real game-changer in the EV infrastructure market. To pack so much technology into a small post with a dual socket is no mean feat and the solution is a credit to the product & innovation of the Connected Kerb team.”

UAP opens Air-One, a world-first fully operational eVTOL hub

UAP opens Air-One, a world-first fully operational eVTOL hub

Urban-Air Port, the UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones, has opened ‘Air-One’, a world-first demonstration of a fully-operational hub for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

Urban-Air Port – backed by the UK Government and supported by Hyundai’s Supernal – will operate Air-One in the city of Coventry for at least one month.

Air-One will provide a blueprint for more than 200 vertiports planned worldwide by Urban-Air Port over the next five years to meet growing demand.

It will demonstrate aircraft command and control, eVTOL charging, cargo loading for unmanned drones, and will host demonstrator flights.

West Midlands Police and Skyfarer will be among the first to operate flights from the site, showcasing how vertiports can provide drone bases for ‘sky protection’ and high-value cargo deliveries in the near future.

Flights of large cargo drones will also be demonstrated by UK-based drone developer, Malloy Aeronautics.

Drone demonstrations will be conducted throughout Air-One’s entire stay in Coventry. Air-One is located at Westminster Car Park, in the centre of Coventry.

Members of the public interested in attending can sign up for tickets at www.urbanairport.com/aironeeven

Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port, says, “The opening of Air-One is a momentous moment – the starting gun for a new age of transport, an age of zero-emission, congestion-free travel between and within cities that will make people healthier, happier and more connected than ever before.”

He adds, “From design, through to fabrication and now into operation, Urban-Air Port has delivered Air-One in just 15 months, setting the standard for deployment globally and opening up a world of possibilities for rapid response air mobility. Air-One is just the first model in our infrastructure fleet and our order-book is not only open but already growing. The interest is turning into recognition of the need for our technology and into demand.”

Mike Whitaker, Chief Commercial Officer of Supernal, comments, “Air-One serves as a valuable, tangible asset to helping build stakeholder confidence and trust in emerging mobility technology and supporting systems. The Coventry demonstration is an important first step forward to reimagining how people across the world will move, connect and live. Developing a scalable system to support advanced air mobility operations requires collaboration from all industries and corners of the world. Supernal’s support of Urban-Air Port reinforces our belief in fusing technology and innovation to enable humanity and society to reach new levels of potential.”

The UK’s first full-sized Level 4 bus starts live testing

The UK’s first full-sized Level 4 bus starts live testing

The UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus started live testing this week in Scotland as part of the CAVForth project.

Transport operator Stagecoach, in partnership with Fusion Processing, bus maker Alexander Dennis and Transport Scotland, will be carrying out on-road testing – with a safety driver and without passengers – in preparation for the launch of a pilot service in late summer.

Project CAVForth, which is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, will see five single-deck autonomous buses operating at SAE Level 4 over the Forth Road Bridge between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange.

The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s sensor and control technology, CAVstar, that enables them to run on pre-selected roads. The buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 36 passengers on the 20km bridge route, with capacity for over 10,000 passengers a week.

The on-road testing in Scotland follows successful depot-based trials, track testing and virtual simulation where the buses have been put through their paces to fine tune the autonomous drive systems.

To help support the delivery of Project CAVForth, Transport Scotland recently opened a section of Actively Managed Hard Shoulder for buses of 24 seats or more on the M8 eastbound. It will help to reduce journey times and improve reliability on the approach to Edinburgh.

As part of Project CAVForth, around 500 members of the public have provided feedback on what would make them feel comfortable and confident in travelling, a key finding being that passengers want a member of staff to be on board.

Consequently Stagecoach is in the process of recruiting over 20 Autonomous Bus Professionals from across its East Scotland business. When the service goes live, these experienced bus drivers will monitor the autonomous system alongside a bus Captain who will move around the saloon, talking to passengers about the service and answering questions, demonstrating what a future service might feel like.

Jim Hutchinson, Fusion Processing CEO, said, “We are delighted to be leading the world’s most complex and ambitious autonomous vehicle programme. CAVForth will provide a useful service to local people as well as being a great demonstration of automated vehicle technology. The buses are fitted with CAVstar which combines our own hardware and software to create, safe, full-size buses, operating at SAE Level 4. On road testing is an exciting milestone in the development of autonomous commercial vehicles and we look forward to welcoming passengers onboard in a few months’ time.”

Chris Gall, Alexander Dennis Group Engineering Director, said “The start of on-route testing is a milestone for our autonomous bus project and helps us to explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and even more efficient. As we move towards passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future technologies in transport.”

Chris Gall, Group Engineering Director at Alexander Dennis is speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here

ZipCharge to offer its portable EV power banks at hubs

ZipCharge to offer its portable EV power banks at hubs

ZipCharge has launched a quickly deployable portable electric vehicle charging solution that makes its suitcase-sized Go power banks easily available at any location.

Called GoHub, each hub contains either five or 10 portable chargers that can be accessed 24 hours a day. Designed for top up charging, the 4-kWh batteries provide a typical EV with 30 km of range in 30 minutes.

EV drivers reserve and pay for a power bank using the ZipCharge app, then collect the charger from the hub and wheel it to their vehicle, wherever they’ve parked.

ZipCharge says the ability to roll-out chargers at speed, and at a lower cost than traditional units, will help support EV uptake. Furthermore, it says they can be readily deployed in more rural areas that are currently underserved by charge points.

Jonathan Carrier, ZipCharge co-founder, said, “The ZipCharge Go and the GoHub enable the storage of clean energy, which can then be distributed for a multitude of uses from charging an EV to powering equipment.

“We predict our portable power banks will outsell fixed home chargers by 2030, in the same way mobile phones overtook landlines.”

ZipCharge offers the GoHub with optional upgrades including rainwater harvesting, wi-fi hotspot, mobile device charging, green roofs and renewable energy generation. Connectors can also be installed for e-bikes and e-scooters.

ZipCharge co-founder Jonathan Carrier is speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here