The UK’s Connected Kerb is to install electric vehicle chargers to deliver sustainable, affordable and accessible charging infrastructure to hard-to-reach UK communities.
The “first-of-a-kind” scheme, in partnership with Kent County Council, offers a blueprint for local authorities across the UK, says Connected Kerb.
All income from the first phase of 40 chargers – which are being installed at sites in small communities across Kent, such as village halls, pavilions and car parks from this month – is to go to the local community or be used to support the rollout and maintenance of further chargers.
Installing public charging infrastructure outside of busy urban areas has traditionally been a challenge for the industry due to the lower grid capacity and fewer connections increasing upfront cost and lower footfall extending the return-on-investment period.
It is hoped that the Connected Kerb scheme will give local residents, businesses and visitors the chance to charge in small towns and villages across Kent, with each charger to provide a 7kW-22kW fast charge and contactless payment via the Connected Kerb app.
The chargers are designed to last at least 20 years, with the infrastructure itself located below ground with passive chargers that can be easily “switched on” by adding the above ground chargepoint to match consumer demand.
The chargers also feature additional smart capabilities that can facilitate air quality monitoring, parking management, CCTV, road sensors, 5G connection, autonomous vehicles, route planning and power demand forecasting.
The scheme has been financed from a variety of sources, receiving funding from the Kent Lane Rental Scheme, the Department for Transport, the parishes themselves and, for some locations, 75% of the costs were financed through the on-street residential chargepoint scheme.
Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb, said that this project shows that the economics of installing EV charging in non-urban areas “is much more favourable than many believe,” adding, “it is vital that access to public charging is equitable across the entire country.”
Swedish parcel locker delivery company Instabox is entering the Dutch market through the acquisition of Red je Pakketje, a Dutch market leader in same day deliveries. The acquisition gives Instabox a complete and frictionless last mile delivery solution, with home delivery, parcel locker delivery, label-free returns and flexibility to change destination during the delivery.
Founded in 2015 in Stockholm, Instabox operates one of the widest locker networks in the Nordics. With partners such as H&M and IKEA, Instabox delivers e-commerce goods to millions of consumers, mainly through lockers but also direct to the front door via emission-free bike deliveries.
Instabox has been growing by more than 300% annually, making it one of the fastest growing companies in Europe. The Dutch acquisition follows €75 million funding raise earlier this year, led by investor EQT Ventures.
Red je Pakketje has more than doubled in size each year for five consecutive years and is the Dutch market leader in same day deliveries. Instabox’s acquisition will offer a complete solution to consumers and merchants, by providing both locker and home delivery options. Both companies say they share a relentless focus on improving consumer experience and developing a sustainable, completely fossil-free parcel delivery service.
Alexis Priftis, CEO and founder of Instabox, “When we researched the Dutch market we quickly saw that Red je Pakketje have done an amazing job in creating a premium, same-day shipping service that consumers love. I’m especially excited about working with the team since they share our consumer obsession and our passion for making deliveries green.”
Sam Rohn, founder of Red je Pakketje, “This acquisition will enable us to further speed up our growth and offer the fastest most complete delivery solution on the market, whether the customer chooses to receive their parcel at home or to a locker. We know that over three quarters of consumers have abandoned an on-line shopping cart due to a lack of preferred delivery options. We hope to be able to fix that and change an industry that has been shaped by traditional postal companies.”
Locker deliveries is an emerging trend across Europe with countries such as Poland and Germany having 10-30 lockers per 100,000 inhabitants. The Netherlands currently offers less than two lockers per 100,000 inhabitants, meaning there is significant untapped potential. Instabox’s planned expansion will see the Netherlands leapfrog many countries, not only in locker proliferation – but also, it claims, in the quality of the technology.
Founder Rohn commented: “Instabox has already shown that it can truly disrupt a market, having taken a huge market share from the traditional players in the Nordics. Not only by offering better, consumer focused services, but also by applying technology that enables precise delivery slots – at the point of purchase. Becoming part of Instabox will help us to complete our journey and achieve the same dominance here in the Netherlands, as well as expand into other territories.”
Red je Pakketje’s founders will stay with the new company, reinvesting parts of their proceeds into Instabox. The roll-out of lockers is set to start next month, and merchants will be able to start to ship to lockers during the summer.
Germany’s ZF and Mobileye, an Intel company, have been chosen by Toyota to develop advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) for use in multiple vehicle platforms. As part of the agreement, ZF will also supply its Gen 21 mid-range radar and be responsible for the integration of camera and radar in Toyota vehicles.
Mobileye’s EyeQ4 system-on-chip vision processing device will be combined with ZF’s Gen 21 mid-range radar technology to interpret the environment around the vehicles. Together, these technologies will help prevent and mitigate collisions and enable new levels of assisted lateral and longitudinal vehicle control.
This new relationship with Toyota significantly extends the reach of Mobileye and ZF safety technology. Professor Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and president and CEO of Mobileye, says, “Mobileye is delighted to be working with ZF to develop leading driver-assistance and safety technology for Toyota, the world’s largest automaker.”
“ZF looks forward to working closely with Toyota and Mobileye to develop advanced safety systems designed to meet advanced global safety regulations,” adds Christophe Marnat, executive vice president, Electronics and ADAS division at ZF.
The UK’s energy regulator Ofgem is investing £300 million to kick start investment in the cabling, substations and other infrastructure needed to support the country’s EV charging sector.
The investment will support installation of 1,800 ultra-rapid charge points at motorway service areas and key trunk road locations, tripling the current network. A further 1,750 charge points will be supported in towns and cities.
The investment will be delivered in the next two years and is part of a much bigger plan to provide the energy infrastructure needed to support the move to low carbon transport and heating, an investment expected to be in the order of over £40 billion through Ofgem’s regulation of energy networks.
According to Ofgem, every region in Britain will benefit from the announcement, with 204 net zero projects worth £300 million across England, Scotland and Wales, expected to start this year, supporting clean transport and heat, and opening up local electricity grids to take on more low carbon generation.
While electric car ownership is on the rise, Ofgem research has found that 36% of households that do not intend to get an electric vehicle are put off making the switch over a lack of charging points near their home. An extensive motorway charging network and more charging points in cities and train stations will help address concerns over range anxiety, so Ofgem is accelerating investment to boost charge point installation.
Cities like Glasgow, Kirkwall, Warrington, Llandudno, York and Truro will benefit from increased network capacity to support more ultra-rapid charge points, increased renewable electricity generation and the move to more electric heating for homes and businesses. Investment also covers more rural areas with charging points for commuters at train stations in North and Mid Wales and the electrification of the Windermere ferry.
Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem said, “This £300 million down payment is just the start of building back a greener energy network which will see well over £40 billion of investment in Britain’s energy networks in the next seven years.
“The payment will support the rapid take up of electric vehicles which will be vital if Britain is to hit its climate change targets. Drivers need to be confident that they can charge their car quickly when they need to.
Rachel Maclean, Transport Minister said, “With more than 500,000 electric cars now on UK roads, this will help to increase this number even further as drivers continue to make the switch to cleaner, greener vehicles.”
David Smith, chief executive at Energy Networks Association, which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses said, “Over £300m of electricity distribution network investment will enable wide-ranging projects that help tackle some of our biggest net zero challenges, like electric vehicle range anxiety and the decarbonisation of heavier transport.
“This new funding shows the social, economic and environmental benefits that can be brought forward by industry working closely with a flexible regulator.”
Keith Bell, Member of the Climate Change Committee, said, “It will be an essential complement to a smarter power system where innovative information technology and attractive energy tariffs for consumers will ensure we make best use of our electricity system infrastructure.”
Ofgem, the Energy Networks Association and each of the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) launched a call for evidence in February for energy networks to come forward with projects that could help Britain reach net zero emissions faster and support the economy as the country comes out of the pandemic.
Last year, Ofgem announced its greenest ever price control with billions invested into network companies and the system operator from April this year. The regulator has also indicated that it will allow billions more investment and better use of flexible technologies and innovations for the local electricity networks from 2023.
Australian micro mobility company Beam has teamed up with Israeli journey planning app Moovit to give real-time access to nearby e-bikes and e-scooters across Sydney and Canberra.
Initially Moovit’s app will show users where nearby Beam e-bikes can be found in Sydney, and e-scooters can be found in Canberra, with more cities to be added soon.
According to Moovit’s 2020 Global Public Transport Report, people tend to drive to their main transport hub or will forgo public transport and drive directly to their destination, but could be encouraged to use shared micro mobility to improve the first and last segments of their journey.
Juan Carbonell, Moovit head of solutions in Australia and New Zealand, said, “Offering more alternative transport options that can easily get people to their destination, especially during a pandemic, is a critical component of any MaaS ecosystem.”
“This is why we are excited to partner with Beam. In Sydney and Canberra, riders can now find several alternative mobility options to enjoy the most convenient ways of getting from A to B”, Carbonell says.
Tom Cooper, Beam general manager, Australia and New Zealand, says, “Our partnership will make it easier to find and ride Beam vehicles. We are excited to work with Moovit and be a leader in bringing integrated and creative transportation options to Australian cities.”
By combining public transport operators and authorities’ information with live information from the user community, Moovit offers travellers a real-time picture, including the best route for the journey, service alerts, and get off notifications.
Moovit recently partnered with Ventura Bus, Victoria’s largest bus provider, and Department of Transport Victoria to launch FlexiRide, offering “Melbourne’s first Demand Responsive Transport service”, to bring more convenient and efficient mobility to people traveling to major local transport hubs.
German electric car start-up e.Go Mobile plans to enter the Mexico market and launch a production plant in Latin America’s second-biggest economy.
e.Go is positioning itself at the lower end of the electric vehicles market, seeking to launch a series of small budget cars that would be affordable for the wider population. It also makes light electric buses and electric vans.
e.Go is working with strategic and technology partner QUESTUM, a subsidiary of Monterrey-based industrial consortium Grupo Quimmco, the company said in a statement.
Ali Vezvaei, chairman of the management board at e.GO, said the QUESTUM tie-up will allow it to use the Mexican business’s “long-established supply relationship with key industrial groups and fleets”.
Manuel Valdes, QUESTUM’s CEO, said he sees e.GO as a new pillar to help diversify the business, helping “to further expand our business in the e-mobility and automotive sector”.
The UK’s Geospatial Commission has launched the second phase of its transport location data competition, in partnership with Innovate UK.
The competition supports the use of location data to spark innovation and support the future of mobility. Following successful completion of phase one in March with 28 winning innovative companies progressing, the second phase of the competition will award funding of up to £500k for the strongest of these 28 innovations to progress to development and pilot.
These products and services will harness innovative geospatial solutions that can help solve four contemporary transport challenges, namely:
Mobility as a service – to help better integration of transport types
Active travel – creating safer ways to enable active travel
Supply chains – helping better distribution, storage and delivery
Boosting capacity – increasing efficiency of transport networks
Winners will develop pilots to commercialise and bring ‘market ready’ geospatial solutions to our transport challenges and support the future of mobility.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Lord True CBE said: “Smarter mobility solutions, underpinned by location data, will enable us to make the most of our transport networks by boosting capacity, reducing environmental impacts and decreasing travel times and I look forward to seeing how this second round competition helps to boost the UK’s future of mobility.”
Volocopter, the German urban air mobility (UAM) group, has unveiled its newest aircraft, VoloConnect, offering a larger aircraft with a longer range. This electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), says Volocopter, is designed to connect suburbs to cities on trips of up to 100km.
The new aircraft will be integrated into Volocopter’s existing portfolio of eVTOLs: VoloDrone, VoloCity, VoloPort, and the digital platform, VoloIQ.
VoloConnect uses a hybrid lift and push design to transport up to four passengers electrically at a cruising speed of 180 km/h, with a top speed of 250 km/h. The compact aircraft is naturally stable and efficient during forward flight while maintaining a low stall speed – critical factors for urban flights.
Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO, says: “VoloConnect embodies the next dimension of our mission to offer affordable, efficient, and sustainable flight mobility solutions for cities around the globe. Leveraging customer insights from our existing VoloCity and VoloDrone, VoloConnect’s capacity to support longer missions and higher payloads serves another strong growing market demand.”
Reuter adds: “We are confident that this aircraft family, and the years of experience and leading innovation on which it’s founded, will pioneer the way for electric UAM services to launch commercially and internationally.”
Volocopter is the first and only eVTOL company so far to attain Design Organisation Approval from European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Two Canadian companies, Suncor Energy and ATCO are collaborating on early-stage design and engineering for a potential blue hydrogen project near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
Blue hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced using natural gas, with the CO2 emissions generated during the process captured and stored.
According to the partners, the project could produce more than 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, reduce Alberta’s CO₂ emissions by more than two million tonnes per year, significantly advance Alberta’s hydrogen strategy, generate substantial economic activity and jobs across the province, and make a sizable contribution to Canada’s net zero ambition.
Suncor Energy is Canada’s leading integrated energy company, whose controversial operations include oil sands development, production and upgrading, offshore oil and gas, and petroleum refining in Canada and the US.
The hydrogen production facility would be located at ATCO’s Heartland Energy Centre near Fort Saskatchewan and could be operational as early as 2028 provided, say the partners, that it has the required regulatory and fiscal support to render it economic. In addition to supplying hydrogen to Suncor and the Alberta gas grid, the project would make hydrogen volumes available for Alberta’s other industrial, municipal and commercial transport users.
The parties anticipate that Suncor would construct and operate the hydrogen production and CO₂ sequestration facilities and ATCO would construct and operate associated pipeline and hydrogen storage facilities. The hydrogen production facility design would be capable of being replicated.
It is expected that 85% of the produced clean hydrogen would be used to supply existing energy demand. Specifically, 65% of the output would be used in refining processes and cogeneration of steam and electricity at the Suncor Edmonton Refinery, reducing refinery emissions by 60%. In addition, approximately 20% of the output could be used in the Alberta natural gas distribution system, also further reducing emissions.
Although several provincial and federal policies, fiscal programs and regulations have been put in place to support decarbonization and the development of a low-carbon fuels industry, Suncor Energy and ATCO maintain that further regulatory certainty and fiscal support is required for the project to progress to a sanctioning decision.
The UK based Green Finance Institute has launched the Coalition for the Decarbonisation of Road Transport, bringing together global experts and leading figures from the finance, automotive, energy and infrastructure sectors to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles.
The Coalition’s mandate is to unlock the level of private finance necessary for transport decarbonisation to happen at pace and at scale, co-creating financing solutions required to support the transition to zero emission vehicles.
Analysis undertaken by the Green Finance Institute, with support from KPMG’s Future Mobility Team, estimates that more than £150 billion of gross capital investment may be required to decarbonise the UK road transport sector between 2021 and 2030, requiring a significant acceleration in the rate of investment into zero-carbon transport solutions.
The Coalition for the Decarbonisation of Road Transport will focus on developing finance solutions initially in three core areas:
Consumer finance and leasing. Financial innovation is needed to help consumers overcome the barriers to choosing electric over fossil-fuel vehicles. Key to the approach will be mechanisms to mitigate the upfront costs of EVs and accelerate the maturity of the used EV market. The private sector has an instrumental role to play, including in providing affordable finance solutions to consumers and small businesses.
EV charging infrastructure. The Green Finance Institute estimates that to meet growing demand more than 6.7 million chargers are required, at a total cost of over £20 billion. Public and private sector collaboration will be needed to unlock the finance for a national charging infrastructure roll-out.
The commercialisation of battery technology. The UK urgently needs to scale up current levels of investment into battery manufacturing to build a globally competitive battery sector. A capacity of up to 60 GWh per annum may be needed by 2030, requiring at least three UK gigafactories and more than £5 billion in investment. Other issues to be addressed include safe and sustainable battery disposal, as well as the creation of a sustainable supply chain.
Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute, said, “The Green Finance Institute has already demonstrated the impact of bringing together experts to co-design innovative financial solutions and promote the enabling conditions needed to channel capital towards net zero goals.
“Identifying the most effective interventions and public investments in order to catalyse private sector finance requires thorough, detailed analysis as well as creativity and ingenuity. We’re excited to be working with our founding coalition members to tackle the challenge of financing the decarbonisation of road transport.”
UK Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean, added, “As we accelerate towards a net zero future, I’m delighted that government and industry are coming together to encourage more people to make the switch to zero-emission vehicles.”
Florida-based electric vehicle charging equipment and services company Blink Charging has established a European foothold through the acquisition of Blue Corner based in Antwerp, Belgium, including its portfolio of over 7000 charging ports and charging network.
The acquisition was secured with a combination of cash and stock for €20 million and gives Blink complete operational control of Blue Corner and its EV charging assets.
The acquisition is part of Blink’s international expansion plans and provides the company a significant infrastructure footprint in Europe. Blue Corner chargers are located across Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France.
Blink’s European expansion allows the Company to capitalise on Europe’s burgeoning EV industry. “EVs enjoy a much higher market share in Europe. This brings increased utilisation for EV charging stations. In addition, the historically higher price of fuel makes driving an EV a stronger value proposition for drivers,” said Blink Founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael D Farkas.
Sales of plug-in electric vehicles in Europe rose 137% to 1.4 million vehicles last year, whereas US sales rose just 4% to 328,000, according to ev-volumes.com. In addition, European regulations are further accelerating widespread EV adoption regulatory support for zero-emission vehicles.
“We are very excited about this acquisition and the opportunity it provides Blink to have a significant presence in Europe quickly. As a key contributor to the expanding EV landscape, we are continuously looking for opportunities to strategically increase our global assets while also making EV charging more accessible.
Sydney-based Splend, which specialises in vehicle ownership plans for rideshare drivers, has entered a Memorandum of Understanding with electric vehicle supplier Nexport to provide 3,000 electric vehicles. The order is Australia’s largest single electric vehicle order to date and a significant boost to the country’s modest electric vehicle fleet, which is currently at just over 20,000 vehicles.
The deal is also the first major outcome of an exclusive distribution agreement signed in February between Nexport and Chinese manufacturer BYD for the supply of electric vehicles in Australia and other right hand drive markets.
BYD is rapidly establishing itself as a key global EV OEM, having sold more than 180,000 pure-electric passenger vehicles last year.
Splend launched in Sydney in 2015 as a technology-enabled vehicle subscription provider that “helps people earn a living through on-demand apps such as Uber”. Claiming to be much more than a vehicle supplier, Splend says it provides resources and a community for drivers, helping its members “take control of their careers”.
Splend is currently operational in nine cities across Australia and the United Kingdom. With rapid acceleration plans, the deal with Nexport, it says, is part of its commitment to transition to a zero emissions electric vehicle fleet.
Hydrogen fuel cell engine developer Plug Power and BAE Systems are to collaborate on thedevelopment of hydrogen-powered electric bus powertrains for the North American market.
The deal is an all-inclusive strategic partnership to supply zero-emissions powertrains to heavy-duty transit bus OEMs along with hydrogen and refueling infrastructure to end-customers.
BAE Systems is an established manufacturer in power management and efficient propulsion and was an early advocate for hydrogen-based transit, having integrated fuel cells into its electric propulsion systems since 1998.
Plug Power develops hydrogen fuel cell engines for OEM integration ranging from 30kW to 125kW. It has also built more hydrogen refuelling stations than any other company and has become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen globally.
Together, says a statement, these companies are now “leveraging their complementary capabilities to bring the sustainability, efficiency and cost advantages of green hydrogen to more cities in North America and beyond”.
Hydrogen-electric powertrains offer more range than battery electric vehicles, the statement continues, and unlike electric trams or EVs, which require extensive route infrastructure, hydrogen fuel cell buses can refuel quickly in existing depots equipped with hydrogen dispensers.
GO Green, the parent company of Dutch shared electric moped provider GO Sharing, has raised €50 million, led by investment company Opportunity Partners. GO Sharing plans to use the investment to convert its current service into a multimodal shared mobility program with the addition of e-bikes and electric cars. It will also support and accelerate international expansion with new services about to start in Belgium, Germany, UK and Turkey.
Sister company GreenMo, which recently acquired a majority stake in Dutch start-up e-bike to go and took over the Belgian company zZoomer, will support GO Sharing in its modal and geographical expansion. The company already leases more than 10,000 e-bikes in the delivery market.
GO Sharing CEO Raymon Pouwels said, “Users will soon be able to book e-bikes and electric cars in our app, in the same way that they already book shared mopeds now. The e-bikes are a healthy alternative for short trips in the city. The electric cars can be picked up at strategically located hubs in the urban periphery, so that they become part of the journey between cities providing an essential element in our mission to turn vehicle ownership in to integrated shared mobility.”
Swedish full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer, Volta Trucks, is to launch four new fully electric commercial vehicles by 2024 and expects to produce more than 27,000 electric trucks annually from 2025.
Building upon its Volta Zero model launched last Autumn – a 16-tonne commercial vehicle designed for inner-city last mile deliveries – the company plans to expand its product line with three additional variants in the medium/lower-end of the heavy-duty class: 7.5-tonne, 12-tonne, 16-tonne and 19-tonne.
Volta says the first 16-tonne “pilot fleet” vehicles will be delivered by the end of 2021, with series production starting around 12 months afterwards. The vehicle, it says, is currently in the engineering development phase, with early prototype testing due to start shortly.
The 19-tonne and mid-size 12-tonne variants will be offered in 2023, with the smaller 7.5-tonne vehicles expected to start production in late 2024.
Also wrapped up in Volta’s Road-to-Zero emissions strategy is the launch of its Truck-as-a-Service (“TaaS”) proposition, which the company hopes will “revolutionise the financing and servicing of commercial vehicle fleets”. TaaS will offer fleet managers a “frictionless way to electrify their fleets”, with a monthly fee providing access to a Volta Zero, and all of its servicing, maintenance, insurance and training requirements.
Volta says it will also adopt a network manufacturing strategy with a number of assembly facilities distributed across its key geographies, minimising unnecessary transportation and cost.
Arrival, a UK based electric vehicle (EV) developer, is partnering with Uber to develop an affordable, purpose-built EV for ride-hailing drivers. The Arrival Car is expected to enter production in Autumn 2023.
Vehicles designed for ride-hailing and car sharing services have different design requirements to privately owned vehicles. For instance, a typical ride-hailing vehicle will drive 50,000km a year, compared to 12,000km for a typical vehicle. As a consequence, Arrival’s car will prioritise driver comfort, safety, and convenience, and that passengers enjoy a premium experience.
Uber has previously committed to becoming a fully electric mobility platform in London by 2025 and by 2030 across North America and Europe. It has also established an incentive scheme to support its drivers to purchase an electric vehicle, meaning the Arrival Car could become ubiquitous in cities across the globe.
Arrival has committed to collaborating with Uber drivers in the design process to ensure the new vehicle reflects the needs of both drivers and their passengers, with the final vehicle design expected to be revealed before the end of 2021.
Tom Elvidge, SVP Arrival Mobility UK said: “We are confident that electrifying ride-hailing vehicles will have an outsized impact on cities, and we are keen to support drivers as they manage this transition. Arrival Car will be designed around drivers’ needs to create a vehicle that is affordable, durable and desirable. Our focus is on developing the best possible product for ride hailing that elevates the experience of the passenger and improves drivers’ health, safety and finances.”
The Arrival Car will join Arrival’s previously announced commercial products, the Bus and Van, to provide cities with a multi-modal zero-emission transportation offer.
The tie-up with Uber is also a major boost for Arrival’s innovative approach to decentralised production within microfactories. This means vehicles are produced close to areas of demand, using local talent and paying local taxes. This strategy also enables the production of vehicles specific to the region in which they will operate.
Arrival’s model is based around low capital expenditure, rapidly scalable microfactories combined with proprietary in-house developed components, materials and software, to enable the production of best in class vehicles competitively priced to fossil fuel variants and with a substantially lower total cost of ownership. The company is this year deploying its first three microfactories in North and South Carolina, US and Bicester, UK.
Ford has revealed plans to establish a global battery centre of excellence – called Ford Ion Park – to accelerate research and development of battery and battery cell technology – including future battery manufacturing.
Ford says Ion Park will use state-of-the-art equipment to pilot new manufacturing techniques that will allow Ford to quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials once the company vertically integrates battery cells and batteries.
“We’re already scaling production of all-electric vehicles around the world as more customers experience the fun-to-drive benefits of electric vehicles with zero emissions,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer. “Investing in more battery R&D ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower cost EVs for customers over time.”
Plans involve centralizing a cross-functional team of 150 experts in battery technology development, research, manufacturing, planning, purchasing, quality and finance to help Ford more quickly develop and manufacture battery cells and batteries.
The Ford Ion Park team is also exploring better integration and innovation opportunities across all aspects of the value chain – from mines to recycling. “We are creating new tools and solutions we need for a carbon-free, affordable and better future,” Thai-Tang said. “We are modernizing Ford’s battery development and manufacturing capabilities so we can better control costs and production variables in-house and scale production around the world with speed and quality.”
In addition Ford is to invest US$185 million in a collaborative learning lab in Southeast Michigan dedicated to developing, testing and building vehicle battery cells and cell arrays.
Opening late 2022, this world-class learning lab will include pilot-scale equipment for electrode, cell and array design and manufacturing and will use state-of-the-art technology to pilot new manufacturing techniques that will allow Ford to quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials once the company vertically integrates battery cells and batteries.
Electric Highway, the Ecotricity-owned UK trunk road network of electric vehicle (EV) charge points, has opened the UK’s largest high power motorway EV charging site.
The installation, the first under Electric Highway’s new partnership with Gridserve announced in March, is planned as the first of what is promised as the transformation of facilities on the country’s motorways and major roads.
The flagship installation, at MOTO’s new Rugby services at Junction 1 of the M6, includes 12 high-powered Tritium pumps. The contactless payment pumps can charge supported vehicles at 350kW – adding around 100 miles of range in less than five minutes.
As part of the major transformation programme – funded by Gridserve investor Hitachi Capital, all existing 50kW pumps on the Electric Highway network will be replaced this summer. In parallel, work has also begun on high power installations across its entire network.
Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve, said, “The rollout of high power chargers across Britain’s motorways in partnership with Moto provides drivers with the confidence to go electric today.
“Since announcing our Electric Highway partnership with Ecotricity we’ve been hard at work putting in the charging infrastructure needed to give people the confidence to make the transition to electric vehicles, by delivering 6-12 high power 350kW chargers across the network as quickly as possible, as well as replacing all the existing chargers with the latest technology.”
Dale Vince, Founder, The Electric Highway, added, “We began building the Electric Highway ten years ago. Back then, state-of-the-art charging was just 7kW and here we are today at 350kW in just a decade. This is our very first high power installation, and this new technology comes just at a tipping point in the adoption of electric vehicles.
“Our new partnership with Gridserve kickstarts a comprehensive programme where these installations will become ubiquitous on the motorway network, helping to make the experience of using an electric car no different to using a fossil-powered one.”
Lobby group, the European Clean Trucking Alliance (ECTA), has launched a campaign to encourage the European Commission to push for the decarbonisation of road freight. It says the imminent review of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) and launch of the EU’s Fit for 55 initiative, which will set out a plan to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, provide an opportunity “to make zero-emission freight a reality”.
In a new position paper directed at the European Commission, ECTA says manufacturers are ramping up their efforts to make more sustainable and zero-emission trucks, but the infrastructure to support such vehicles is largely missing.
Launched in 2020, the European Clean Trucking Alliance brings together major hauliers, logistics and consumer goods companies that support the decarbonization of road freight.
Fit for 55 and the upcoming revisions to the AFID, says the alliance, are an opportunity to ensure seamless cross-border operations and regional delivery operations and to develop legislation for zero-emissions truck infrastructure across the EU while facilitating the transformation of Trans European Network (TEN-T) into zero-emission freight corridors by 2027.
Additionally, the alliance wants city logistics in major urban centres to be “almost carbon free” by 2030 and for the Commission to implement a policy framework that ensures the proper supply, use and development of zero-emission vans and their infrastructure.
Vans, says ECTA are responsible for 22% of road transport emissions but account for only 2% of vehicles on the road. And sales of electric vans have not mirrored the surge in new registrations seen in the electric car market over the last two years.