Utrecht supports development of bi-directional EV charging ecosystem

Utrecht supports development of bi-directional EV charging ecosystem

The city of Utrecht, the Netherland’s fourth largest city, and EV car sharing and bi-directional charging operator We Drive Solar have done a deal with German EV developer Sono Motors to provide the city with 100 of its Sion solar cars. The initiative supports Utrecht’s goal of becoming the first region in the world with a bidirectional EV charging ecosystem.

Sions, which incorporate range-extending solar panels in the vehicle’s body, are one of the first cars to offer vehicle to grid capabilities. They will access We Drive Solar’s bidirectional chargers and feed energy back to the grid through their 54kWh batteries.

This will allow the energy stored in the car’s battery to reduce grid instabilities by delivering 11kW either directly to other electric vehicles and homes or back into the grid via the bi-directional on-board charger.

Combined, the 100 Sions will be able to provide 1.1 megawatt peak power to the city, which says Sono, is equivalent to the energy generated by a photovoltaic power plant the size of two football fields.

“This is the perfect project for Sono Motors to further our vision of a world free from fossil fuels as it is a clear demonstration that electric vehicles can support the transition of the energy sector as a whole,” stated Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.

The cars will plug into We Drive Solar’s bi-directional electric vehicle charging network, which is claimed to be the largest in the world. It currently offers 250 V2G charging stations, and 2,000 solar panels. We Drive Solar recently completed a deal with Hyundai and 150 bi-directional Ioniq 5s will join the Sion’s as part of the Utrecht-based shared, bidirectional electric vehicle fleet.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with an innovative company like Sono Motors. They are the perfect partner for this venture as they already incorporate the use of solar energy, sharing and bidirectional charging into their product offering” said Robin Berg, Director of We Drive Solar in a statement.

Hyundai backs plan to develop 65 electric urban-air ports worldwide

Hyundai backs plan to develop 65 electric urban-air ports worldwide

Urban-Air Port and the Urban Air Mobility division of Hyundai Motor Group plan to develop 65 electric urban-air ports worldwide to meet the growing demand for autonomous airborne drones and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger vehicles.

The partnership aims to establish a global network of urban-air ports across the US, UK, EU and Asia Pacific and provide the infrastructure “to unlock clean urban air mobility worldwide”.

Hyundai is developing its own eVTOL vehicle which it plans to enter into service in 2028. In large part its motivation in developing air mobility hubs is the lack of infrastructure remains a major block on market growth.

Urban-Air Port plans to plug this gap with more than 200 electric air mobility hubs worldwide in the next five years.

The collaboration is set to deliver the world’s first fully operational urban-air port – named Air-One – early next year in Coventry, UK.

Ricky Sandhu, founder and executive chairman of Urban-Air Port, said, “The sector is soaring and we know that a future with electric flying vehicles and drones in cities is going to be a reality soon.

“But it can’t happen if we don’t have the infrastructure on the ground and in the air to make it happen. Urban-Air Port will change the way we travel forever – unlocking clean urban air transport for everyone, improving connectivity in congested cities, cutting pollution and boosting productivity.”

Urban-Air Port’s modular hubs are specifically designed for compact environments, supporting any eVTOL or drone vehicle, and with maintenance and charging able to take place on-site.

The ultra-compact off-grid design enables urban-air ports to be located in dense urban areas and remote locations and can be easily moved to alternative sites, as the air-mobility sector develops.

Urban-Air Port is also partnering with hydrogen fuel cell developer AFC Energy to provide zero emission off-grid power. The first roll out of the system will be deployed at Urban-Air Port’s Air One site in Coventry.

Osprey’s planned UK EV hub network uses Finnish charger optimisation technology

Osprey’s planned UK EV hub network uses Finnish charger optimisation technology

UK EV charging network operator Osprey Charging has released plans to install over 150 high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging hubs across the UK by 2025.

Collectively offering around 1,500 150-175KW rapid chargers, the hubs, essentially EV service stations, will be located on strategic A-roads and adjacent to motorways.

The £75 million rollout, from one of the country’s largest and fastest-growing public rapid EV charging networks, will see the first use in the UK of innovative Finnish charger optimisation technology developed by Kempower. Its load-balancing technology distributes power based on demand, which varies significantly between individual vehicles based upon factors such as the maximum charging rate and the battery charge percentage at the time of charge.

The load-balancing technology also allows multiple high-power chargers to be installed without the need for more grid power.

The technology, says Osprey, has the potential to revolutionise EV charging. Tomi Ristimäki, CEO of Kempower, said, “We are extremely happy to launch Kempower EV charging solutions with Osprey Charging. The UK is one of Europe’s fastest-growing EV markets and we have the technology and expertise to accelerate this shift. The modularity of Kempower products ensures they have a small footprint, allowing our customers to make use of limited space in densely populated cities and choose solutions that drive meaningful electrification.”

Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid added, “The widespread transition to EVs means we need to rethink how we make, move and use energy. The power demand for charging will be significant, so it’s crucial that we use the cleanest and cheapest power in our cars and to make the most of each grid connection. By optimising power management at charging facilities, we can ensure a smooth transition away from petrol and diesel whilst maintaining a stable and effective electricity grid.”

Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging, said, “The EV market is booming, with sales up over 117% year-on-year and EV adoption continuing to grow exponentially. In less than nine years’ time, buying a new petrol or diesel car will be impossible, so it’s crucial that public charging infrastructure stays ahead of the curve.

Construction is already underway at four sites and Osprey’s first hub will open later this year in Wolverhampton, adjacent to the A463 near the M6. Construction will be underway on the first 10 hubs before the end of the year, with over 150 hubs planned over the next four years.

Chargers, says Osprey, will be capable of adding 100 miles of range in 10 minutes and each hub will be located near food and retail amenities including Costa Coffee, Lidl, Aldi, Pizza Hut, KFC and Curry’s PC World.

All Osprey chargers are compatible with every rapid charging EV on the market today and do not require a membership or subscription to initiate charging – drivers can simply tap their contactless bank card or smartphone.

Volvo and Ericsson trial simulates 5G continuity across national borders

Volvo and Ericsson trial simulates 5G continuity across national borders

Volvo Cars and mobile operator Ericsson claim to have overcome the technical challenges of achieving seamless service continuity for vehicles on 5G networks across national borders.

As part of the EU-funded 5GCroCo project, the test at the AstaZero test track in Sweden, was set up to model and test cross-border handovers between national networks that will need to happen routinely when connected and autonomous vehicles cross from one country to another.

The 5GCroCro project is an EU initiative preparing for large-scale connected car trials along a 5G corridor between Metz in France, Merzig in Germany and Luxembourg.

The trial used 5G connectivity to ensure maps were constantly updated with the latest real-time information to aid future autonomous driving and build up an understanding of the environment beyond the range of the vehicle and its sensors.

Mikael Prytz, Research Director, Ericsson Area Networks, says, “Sharing an updated map with other cars is a latency-sensitive task and requires high network performance within and across multiple networks. During the test at the AstaZero track, we could tackle this challenge with promising results.”

Luna and Tier partner on e-scooter-based mobile sensor networks

Luna and Tier partner on e-scooter-based mobile sensor networks

Irish micromobility tech platform Luna is to partner with European e-scooter operator Tier to explore the use of computer vision to capture accurate and up to date mapping and geospatial data.

Luna’s vision and AI technology will identify, for instance, if an e-scooter is operating in a heavily pedestrianised area and modify its drive settings to react appropriately to its environment. It also equips e-scooters to detect the kind of lane or surface they are riding on, again modifying the vehicle’s response.

But beyond this, Luna is developing a series of algorithms and analytics tools that will allow scooter operators and cities to gain new insights into how the urban realm is performing.

In an early application Tier and Luna are exploring the possibility of trialling the approach in Paris, where Tier operates a fleet of 5,000 scooters.

The two companies are also looking at opportunities in the Middle East with “smart city stakeholders” to examine the potential for bespoke computer vision solutions to tackle local issues around safety and infrastructure optimisation. Additional pilot projects are also being explored in Spain

The principle is scooters capture data on a daily basis, compared to traditional condition surveys that might typically take place on an annual basis.

Tier and Luna are also embarking on a technical integration project to examine how the Luna’s computer vision hardware can be built into Tier vehicles at the point of manufacture.

Luna chief executive Andrew Fleury said, “Luna is thrilled to be partnering so closely with Tier across multiple geographies in the EU and Middle East.

“Cities and stakeholders everywhere are looking towards smart technology to help find solutions to some of the operational challenges that are holding the shared scooter industry back from fulfilling its potential.

“Tier is embracing Luna technology, even at this early stage of its evolution, in order to pioneer the future of micromobility, and deliver safe and sustainable services.”

Fleury added the technology would not only “do the basics of looking after rider and pedestrian safety,” but also “look to the future where scooter fleets act as mobile sensor networks in the smart cities of tomorrow.”

British Government to mandate EV charge points on all new-build properties

British Government to mandate EV charge points on all new-build properties

The British government has outlined details of new legislation that will require the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging points on all new-build properties in England.

The draft bill, revealed by the Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, covers both residential properties and offices, which will be expected to provide a charging point for every five parking bays.

Starting in 2022, the new law is expected to accelerate installations from the current rate of 500 charging points per month up to 700.

The plan, billed as the first of its kind in the world, will also require all charge points to be capable of smart charging.

Last year the Government said it would inject £1.3 billion into scaling-up the rollout of charge points for EVs in homes, streets and motorways across the UK.

The Transport Minister said, “We will publish our consultation response on requiring all new residential and non-residential buildings to have a charge point and we intend to lay legislation later this year.

“We also confirmed our intention to mandate that home and workplace electric vehicle chargers must be capable of smart charging.”

About a third of households in Britain have no off-street parking, meaning charging points installed at workplaces or on the street will be increasingly important.

The UK’s EV charging point network will have to expand by up to 20 times current levels to cope with increased demand to support the ban on sales of internal combustion engine cars from 2030.

Government grants have been issued to private households of up to £350 to install a further 200,000 charging devices across the country.

Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation and Electricity Systems at Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said, “To deliver the underlying infrastructure to support the move to net zero transportation, electricity networks must be able to make early investments in infrastructure as well as use new and innovative smart grid technologies.”

Dutch initiate inland waterway giant swappable electric battery pack network

Dutch initiate inland waterway giant swappable electric battery pack network

Dutch low carbon technology company Zero Emission Services (ZES) has modified the shipping vessel Alphenaar to run on exchangeable battery packs loaded within standard shipping containers. The Alphenaar’s conversion supports a 10-year deal with Heineken to ship its beer with zero emissions around the Netherlands using the country’s inland waterways.

According to ZES, the idea is simple, fill a standard container with batteries and sail under electric power to the next terminal where full batteries are ready to be exchanged. The depleted batteries are then recharged at the terminal and ready for the next swop.

Jorrit Harmsen, sustainable shipping consultant at Dutch technology research organisation TNO, is enthusiastic about the initiative, “This is certainly the first container ship that sails completely electrically. Inland waterway vessels require a large capacity with many batteries. What has been devised now, is a great solution.” It is also particularly suited, he says, to ships that sail fixed routes, meaning exchanging and recharging the battery containers take place at the same fixed places.

“In addition to directly contributing to the realisation of emission-free inland shipping, ZES is setting a standard that accelerates the transition to emission-free inland shipping,” says Willem Dedden, CEO of ZES. “We are laying the foundation with our ZESpack and a standard connector.”

In the near term ZES plans to expand its operations to include eight vessels, with 14 ZESpacks and eight loading stations, which can charge two packs in 2.5 hours (which potentially provide back-up storage capacity to stabilise the electricity grid). ZES says the technology is future-proofed in that it could work with other sources of energy, such as hydrogen or ammonia.

Longer term, the company aims to service 30 shipping routes by 2030, and by 2050 plans to have a fleet of 400 vessels in action, swapping up to 650 ZESpacks at 20 docking stations dotted around the country.

Zap-Pay signs up five more UK charge point operators

Zap-Pay signs up five more UK charge point operators

UK EV mapping service Zap-Map has signed up five more charge point operators to join its Zap-Pay payment system.

GeniePoint, char.gy, Motor Fuel Group (MFG), Revive and Mer have all recently signed up to join existing Zap-Pay networks ESB Energy and also Osprey, which was the Zap-Pay launch partner in September 2020.

The enlarged network means Zap-Map’s 150,000 monthly active users will benefit from being able to search, plan and pay from within a single app at an increasing number of charge points across the UK, with more networks to be added soon.

Zap-Pay was launched last year with a mission to include all the key charge point networks across the UK. As a single-app payment system that uses a credit or debit card to pay for charging, Zap-Pay avoids the hassle of using different payment methods across all the various networks.

Once all seven networks are live – expected to be by October this year – over 2,000 charging devices across the UK and over 4,000 connectors will be Zap-Pay enabled. It also means that the Zap-Pay partner network is not only nationwide, but now includes all types of EV charging, from the very latest ultra-rapid chargers through to on-street and lamp-post charging closer to home.

In addition, reports Zap-Map, use of Zap-Pay has been increasing significantly in recent months, which will accelerate further as more networks come online with Zap-Pay and drivers increasingly see it as the simple way to charge across networks, within the familiar Zap-Map app.

Alex Earl, Commercial Director at Zap-Map, commented, “As electric vehicles become mainstream, we need to make paying for charging as simple as possible, and that’s exactly what Zap-Pay does.

“I’m thrilled to see that Zap-Pay now covers such a broad network of different chargers across the country. The increase in usage also gives a clear indication that Zap-Pay is the solution Zap-Map users needed.”

Zap-Map, which was launched in June 2014, displays over 95% of the UK’s public charge points, of which around 70% show live status data updated every five minutes. Over 75% of the UK EV drivers have downloaded Zap-Map, which has grown 60% since 2020, in line with the electric vehicle market.

Sono bi-directional AC wallbox turns Sions into decentralised mega-storage

Sono bi-directional AC wallbox turns Sions into decentralised mega-storage

German solar-powered electric car start-up Sono Motors has launched what it claims to be the first bidirectional AC charging wallbox. The wallbox enables Sono’s planned Sion model, which incorporates range extending solar panels, to be used as a mobile power plant and feed stored electricity directly into the driver’s house or into the grid.

Sono says homeowners with photovoltaic systems, especially, will save a large amount of money as they are able to use more of any self-generated electricity without having to buy an expensive home storage system.

The Sono wallbox will charge and discharge the Sion with up to 11 kW via the integrated Type 2 charging cable, saving, claims Sono, up to 70% of costs incurred by DC bidirectional wallboxes available to date. Delivery is expected to take place with the Sion start of production in 2023.

“We want to drive the future of energy generation and make bidirectional charging possible for everyone”, says Laurin Hahn, CEO and founder of Sono Motors. “In combination with the Sion’s integrated solar technology, the new wallbox represents a breakthrough for bidirectional charging technology, as many homeowners can save themselves the expense of purchasing a new, costly home storage system. This is an important milestone for us on the way to 100% renewable energy,” says Hahn.

In contrast to the DC wallboxes previously available, Sono Motors has opted for an AC wallbox which is up to 70% cheaper. This is possible, Sono says, because the conversion from direct to alternating current takes place within the Sion itself and not the wallbox – significantly reducing costs. The Sono wallbox was developed in collaboration with the German manufacturer Kostal.

The wallbox will fully charge the Sion’s 54 kWh LFP battery, providing a range of up to 305km from a 5-hour charge. And if caught short during a long journey, the Sion can be charged at DC charging stations at a speed of up to 75 kW via the integrated CCS interface, achieving an 80% charge in around 35 minutes.

Furthermore the Sion functions as a vehicle-to-home electricity storage unit. Electricity from, for instance, a home’s photovoltaic system or even the solar panels integrated into the Sion itself, can be stored in the Sion’s battery during the day and delivered to the house at night.

The vehicle also offers a vehicle to grid capability meaning excess energy, such as surplus generation from wind turbines, could be temporarily stored in the vehicle’s battery, meaning Sions could collectively become a decentralised mega-storage system.

London study suggests cargo bikes significantly more productive than vans

London study suggests cargo bikes significantly more productive than vans

New research reveals huge opportunities for cargo bikes to make last mile deliveries, after GPS tracking of deliveries in London showed they were 1.6 times faster than vans.

The study by researchers at the University of Westminster used GPS data to compare routes taken by cargo bikes in London with routes that vans would have taken to deliver the same parcels.

It found that in central London, cargo bikes delivered nearly seven parcels an hour compared to four for vans. The bikes are also significantly cleaner than both electric and diesel vans, according to the researchers. And even when vans transition from fossil fuels to battery power, cargo bikes take less energy and resources to manufacture and operationally have an advantage in terms of occupying smaller road space and are intrinsically safer, say the researchers.

‘The promise of low carbon freight: benefits of cargo bikes in London’ was funded by the climate charity Possible. It used telematics data from 13,735 cargo bike deliveries by Pedal Me, a cargo bike logistics company with 55 e-assist cargo bikes in London that cover 25,000km per year.

The report also looks at carbon emissions associated with e-cargo bike deliveries, which it estimates to be 4.5g CO2/km for electricity and 22g CO2/km to produce the extra food used to fuel the cyclist.

And e-cargo bikes have substantially lower whole-life carbon emissions than either an electric or diesel van. Pedal Me estimates that one of its cargo bikes could be manufactured and ridden for over 300,000km before it produced the emissions of a brand new electric van rolling out the factory.

“Over its lifetime, a diesel van would emit at least eight times as much CO2 per kilometre as an e-cargo bike,” says the report.

It adds that delivery vans also cause congestion, spending at least nine minutes per trip looking for a parking space and frequently blocking pavements and cycle lanes when they can find nowhere to park.

Lead researcher Dr Ersilia Verlinghieri said, “Thanks to the availability of GPS cargo bikes data, we had the great opportunity to develop one of the first detailed simulations comparing actual cargo-bikes’ with vans’ routes.  The results highlight the great potential that cargo bikes can have in helping cities responding to the myriad of challenges they are facing. From tackling transport carbon emissions to reducing the negative health impacts of urban motor traffic, cargo bikes can be of assistance whilst simultaneously improving delivery times in densely populated areas.”

Arriva launches multimodal journey planning app in partnership with Moovit

Arriva launches multimodal journey planning app in partnership with Moovit

Transport operator Arriva Group has launched a travel platform designed to connect passengers to multiple modes and operators of public transport, shared transport and micro-mobility in the Netherlands.

Developed in partnership with journey planning technology provider Moovit, the “glimble” branded app is Arriva’s first MaaS (Mobility as a Service) solution in Europe.

The development of “glimble by arriva” came after Arriva Netherlands was awarded two pilot projects by the local authorities in the Netherlands to trial MaaS solutions. Seven pilot projects in total were awarded. Arriva was the only public transport company to be awarded pilots because of its strong reputation serving the Dutch market.

During the pandemic a number of European cities invested in new infrastructure to encourage cycling or walking, and some have introduced e-scooter trials. These initiatives have provided greater modal flexibility for people to move across cities. The glimble solution brings all these options together and allows Arriva to look beyond its own operations and provide integrated, multimodal journeys.

Anne Hettinga, Arriva Group Board Member and Managing Director of the Netherlands, said, “With this platform, we are set to become a leading mobility provider. In a world where everyone is constantly on the move and connection and accessibility is essential, we need to be adaptable and nimble. Our glimble brand has started its Arriva journey in the Netherlands, but we know it has pan-European appeal – and potential – and we are starting to explore this in countries where the necessary data sharing agreements exist.”

Working with Moovit means Arriva can launch with confidence in partnership with a technology provider with proven success. The functionality also incorporates accessibility features, such as screen reading features for low vision users, talkback and voiceover capabilities. The app also identifies wheelchair-accessible routes and stations, while also calculating step-free journeys. For those with hand-motor disabilities, glimble is designed with optimised menus and buttons.

Other functionality due to be added to the app includes parking locations and a search capability for electric car charging points.

Several mobility providers can be found in the app for a number of different modes including shared car hire, demand responsive transport, e-scooters, taxis, tram, rail, ferry, bus and e-bikes and bicycles. Arriva expects to add more and more carriers to glimble in the coming months and already has plans to expand to include Belgium and parts of Germany, an initiative in part designed to test glimble’s application for journeys involving cross-border travel.

Crowd-sourced dash cam data provides real-time status on road works

Crowd-sourced dash cam data provides real-time status on road works

Smart dash cam developer Nexar has launched a service for US transit agencies, cities and transport authorities that uses crowd sourcing to detect, monitor and map road works.

Based on the company’s AI-enabled CityStream platform, the company already collects data every month from 130 million miles and has a dataset of 3.2 trillion images. It is now extending its capabilities to the transportation industry because, says Nexar, work zones are generally unreported to mapping services.

The platform detects barriers in work zones using artificial intelligence and imagery from its dash cam network, remotely monitors the state of work zones in real-time helping to protect the safety of pedestrians, workers and drivers, the company adds.

Nexar co-founder Eran Shir says, “As a result of Covid-19, traffic patterns have become even more dynamic, which means valuable time is wasted optimising safety and moderating traffic congestion in work zones.”

“Nexar enables cities to go check work zone setups on-demand instead of being supported by old data or out-of-date plans, thus ensuring that cities and Departments of Transportation are addressing today’s transportation patterns. Using Nexar’s data to address this issue means benefiting workers on the road, governmental decision makers and the community itself.”

Nexar is offering a try before you buy package under which its new service is available for three months at no cost to government offices.

Wallbox launches 15-minute public charger aimed at drivers on long journeys

Wallbox launches 15-minute public charger aimed at drivers on long journeys

Barcelona-based Wallbox, a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions worldwide, has launched Hypernova, the company’s fastest public charging station to date.

Wallbox says as electric vehicles become increasingly popular, there is a need for reliable public chargers that are ultrafast, long-lasting and easy to repair.

The Hypernova can deliver up to 350 kW that allows it to fully charge an electric car in the time it takes to make a typical short rest stop and is substantially faster than most other ultrafast chargers on the market.

“We are thrilled to unveil our fastest public charger to date, which can fully charge an electric vehicle in under 15 minutes,” said Enric Asunción, CEO and co-founder of Wallbox. “Hypernova will be a game changer in building fast public charging infrastructure, especially on highways where drivers need to recharge and keep going,” Asunción added.

Hypernova employs advanced software that allows it to optimise available power and adapt to the number of EVs connected, making it ideal for public charging along highways and transcontinental road networks.

Hypernova’s integrated cable management system ensures easy handling and stores the cables inside the dispenser unit, maximising durability and helping to protect and keep the installation clean. It also offers several authentication and payment options, including RFID, screen QR Code and credit card reader with worldwide acceptance. Production and deliveries of Hypernova will start in late 2022.

Vantage Apex offers HD video, 4D radar sensor with integrated Al

Vantage Apex offers HD video, 4D radar sensor with integrated Al

California-based smart infrastructure software management company Iteris has launched Vantage Apex, which it claims to be the industry’s first high-definition video and four-dimensional radar sensor with integrated artificial intelligence.

Built on its machine learning platform, Vantage Apex identifies objects using AI video analytics, extensive image library, high-performance graphics processing, machine learning and neural network algorithms. This enables the high-precision and detailed classification of many different vehicle types and vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Full HD video streaming using 1080p cameras results in ultra-crisp vision with unmatched depth and clarity of traffic at intersections, which can be viewed at traffic management centres or remotely via an app.

Using forward-fire radar technology to virtually eliminate occlusion, the Vantage Apex hybrid sensor uses industry-leading 4D/HD radar technology with a field of view of 200m. The Vantage Apex system enables decision-zone safety functions, collision avoidance and advanced lane-by-lane detection that delivers precise traffic detection and data.

Vantage Apex is connected vehicle ready, with the ability to provide critical infrastructure data through vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications to connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).

Vantage Apex is fully compatible with iteris’ portfolio of infrastructure management software including VantageCare, ClearGuide SPM and VantageLive! as well as and other third-party web and mobile-based traffic measurement applications.

The Vantage Apex AI-powered smart sensor is a key component of Iteris’ ClearMobility Platform, which the company describes as the most complete solution for continuously monitoring, visualising and optimising mobility infrastructure around the world to help ensure that roads are safe, travel is efficient, and communities thrive.

“We are thrilled to announce the launch of Vantage Apex, the industry’s first 1080p HD video and 4D radar sensor with integrated AI algorithms,” said Todd Kreter, senior vice president and general manager, Advanced Sensor Technologies at Iteris. “With the addition of Vantage Apex to Iteris’ market-leading portfolio of smart sensors, transportation agencies now have access to unmatched detection and tracking accuracy of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as HD video display for traffic management centres to achieve their goals of improving safety, mobility and sustainability throughout complex transportation networks.”

Shell bases UK target for 50,000 on-street chargers on government funding scheme

Shell bases UK target for 50,000 on-street chargers on government funding scheme

Energy company Shell has set an ambition to have 50,000 on-street electric vehicle (EV) charge posts installed across the UK by the end of 2025, through ubitricity, which was acquired by Shell earlier this year.

The move is part of a wider effort to bring more EV charging availability UK drivers without private parking. More than 60% of households in English cities and urban areas do not have off-street parking – this rises to 68% for people living in social housing.

The UK government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) currently meets 75% of the cost of installing on-street chargers through the On-Street Residential Charging Scheme (ORCS).

And for local authorities looking to install ubitricity charge posts, Shell, under its new initiative, will cover the remaining costs, subject to commercial terms.

Around 3,600 ubitricity chargers are already in place in the UK, using existing street infrastructure such as lamp posts and bollards.

Globally, Shell wants to grow its electric vehicle network from more than 60,000 charge points today to around 500,000 by 2025.

David Bunch, Shell’s UK Country Chair, says: “It’s vital to speed up the pace of EV charger installation across the UK and this aim and financing offer is designed to help achieve that. Whether at home, at work or on-the-go, we want to give drivers across the UK accessible EV charging options, so that more drivers can switch to electric.”

UK Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, adds, “Together with industry and local authorities, we can create cleaner, greener local communities – providing EV chargepoints for people without off-street parking across the country.”

Israeli telecoms company develops 5G for areas not served by fibre

Israeli telecoms company develops 5G for areas not served by fibre

Israel’s Ministry of Communications and the Israel Innovation Authority have selected telecoms infrastructure specialist RAD for a smart traffic pilot project designed to promote the use of 5G.

Traffic cameras deployed across Israel are generally connected over fibre optics networks and the pilot is to establish alternative telecoms access solutions at sites not served by fibre.

The pilot will be carried out together with Israel’s National Transport Infrastructure Company and forms part of a programme to develop smart applications to improve communications infrastructure around the country.

According to RAD, the new pilot will deliver live video feeds from traffic cameras over a 5G network using RAD’s SecFlow, which would enable addition of many new cameras regardless of fibre availability.

SecFlow is an IIoT gateway designed for large scale automated networks in smart cities, smart energy and smart industry environments. Featuring edge computing capabilities, it aggregates and securely delivers traffic from smart meters, sensors, control units, CCTV cameras and other smart devices over any network, with unified management and fast response.

“Our company has been very active in the areas of IoT and 5G. Our solutions in these fields attract attention around the world thanks to the innovation that they bring. RAD’s selection is a vote of confidence in our technology,” said Udy Kashkash, CEO and president.

“5G will revolutionise industry, transportation, infrastructure, and business. We at RAD are proud to be at the forefront of such initiatives that drive forward the Israeli tech industry.”

Designed for large scale automated networks in smart cities, smart energy, and smart industry environments, and featuring edge computing capabilities, SecFlow aggregates and securely delivers traffic from smart meters, sensors, control units, CCTV cameras, and other smart devices over any network, with unified management and fast response, RAD claims.

Intelligent control critical to grid during workplace EV charging

Intelligent control critical to grid during workplace EV charging

A programme to introduce workplace electric vehicle charging by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany’s largest research organisation, provided the perfect opportunity to research the commonly accepted position that simultaneous charging of many electric vehicles at one location will cause problems for the electricity grid.

The study, undertaken in collaboration with energy distribution network operator BN Netze, suggests the power distribution grid can cope with typical workplace EV charging – provided it is undertaken intelligently.

Furthermore, the project partners concluded that intelligent EV charging not only helps to limit the load on the grid but is potentially an opportunity to avoid unnecessary grid expansion.

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as part of the Charging at the Workplace project (LamA), installed 480 EV charge points across 36 of its Fraunhofer institute sites.

And with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg taking the lead, the project provided the perfect testbed to investigate both the charging behaviour of employees and the impact on the grid.

Working with BN Netze, Freiburg’s distribution network operator (DNO), the work established that intelligent control in the grid control system protects the grid from overloading when many users want to charge their vehicle at the same time, says Jörn Schumann from the Fraunhofer ISE project team.

However, he adds, it is important that charging is intelligently controlled. “If all users were to charge their vehicles at the same time, the load limit on the transformer could be exceeded. In order to avoid an overload of the distribution network due to massive power peaks and thus possible damage to the infrastructure, the charging power must be regulated by a control logic.

Central to the project’s success was a charging algorithm that generates a plan of when individual cars will be charged and at what rate. In addition to load forecasts the algorithm also factors in user requirements such as the desired departure time.

The charging management system monitors and controls the charging process. It also reacts to external control signals in the event of an impending overload of the grid. The charging power is then reduced. “This mode of operation leads to a more even distribution of charging power throughout the day and reduces grid expansion costs at the system level,” explain the Freiburg researchers.

The test programme also investigated deliberately increasing the load on the charging infrastructure to see how the how the system performed during limit violations. The charging management system apparently performed as designed, instantly reigning back charging to manageable loads.

“Charging electric vehicles at the workplace is an optimal use case,” says Schumann. “The private vehicle is parked in the company car park all day anyway. By implementing charging stations in company car parks, electromobility can become a viable alternative for the masses.”

Green hydrogen-from-solar fuels Austrian bus trial

Green hydrogen-from-solar fuels Austrian bus trial

Austrian solar energy company Fronius has completed a two-week test operation with a bus fuelled with green hydrogen at Wels in Upper Austria. The clean hydrogen gas is produced from solar power at Fronius’ SolHub facility at the SAN Biotech Park, in Herzogenburg, Lower Austria.

During the trial, the emission-free Solaris Urbino 12 Hydrogen bus was refuelled daily with around 13 kilograms of hydrogen. Refuelling took around 15 minutes which depending on operating conditions, provided a range of “at least 160 kilometres”.

“The best thing is that heat and water vapour are the only products of the chemical reaction in the fuel cell, they act as a kind of mini power station,” explains Abba Mejer, head of Solaris Bus. “Refuelling with hydrogen is short, convenient and hardly different from refuelling a diesel vehicle.”

Martin Hackl, Head of the Solar Division at Fronius says, “With the Solhub, we offer a complete turnkey solution that makes it possible to produce local, green hydrogen and use it to refuel fuel cell vehicles.”

Fronius’s aim with the trial was to prove the practical feasibility of locally produced green hydrogen. “We are showing that the technology works and is suitable for everyday use,” says Thomas Rührlinger, who develops new business models at Fronius.

“Sustainable and locally produced hydrogen holds great potential and strengthens domestic value creation as well as regional business models,” he adds. “In the next few years, we expect to see a large number of additional implementations with customers from commercial and production companies, municipalities and transport companies, as well as logistics, tourism, operators of special vehicles and in the context of renewable energy communities.”

Five little ducks will go shopping one day…

Five little ducks will go shopping one day…

German startup DroidDrive has unveiled the Trailerduck, a last mile e-cargo system that combines a bike with an electric cargo trailer, that can handle a two cubic metre payload of up to 300 kg, emission-free.

Connected by a draw-bar, the Trailerduck features “follow-me” technology that recognises what the towing bike is doing and then mimicks it, with the cargo trailer following the lead rider effortlessly.

At 1m wide, the trailer can travel both on the street and on bike paths and swappable batteries means there is no downtime for charging. DroidDrive says it will start shipping its first units for purchase or monthly hire towards the end of next year.

The company is also developing what it calls the Ducktrain system. This consists of a platoon of up to five Duck electric cargo vehicles which use LiDAR technology to wirelessly track and follow the human-driven leading bike or ebike. This means that although the ducks form a train, none of them are physically linked to one another.

DroidDrive envisages that within about three years, the Ducks will be able to travel at least part of their delivery routes autonomously, without the need for a guiding vehicle in front.

Inner London borough tackles EV inequality for those without off-street parking

Inner London borough tackles EV inequality for those without off-street parking

The London Borough of Lambeth and electric vehicle charging specialist Connected Kerb, have completed a project to demonstrate how affordable and accessible public EV charging infrastructure can be provided to tackle EV inequality and drive greater adoption among under-represented communities.

While EV ownership is increasing significantly, the transition to EVs has exposed disparities between different communities across the UK. For example, those living in urban centres, high-rise flats and council estates are significantly less likely to have access to a private driveway, making it difficult to install solutions for charging at home.

At the same time, these communities have the most to gain from the clean transport revolution, as often they are disproportionately exposed to the highest levels of toxic exhaust emissions and poorer air quality.

Approximately a third of residents in Lambeth live on estates managed by the council and a large proportion of drivers rely on public EV charging infrastructure. The project potentially acts as a blueprint that can be adopted at scale by other boroughs, councils and cities across Britain to deliver an inclusive and equitable EV transition, serving all members of society, including the 40% of households nationally without off-street parking.

“People often think electric vehicles are the preserve of a fortunate few with detached houses and driveways, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With running costs much lower than petrol and diesel cars, all communities, regardless of where they live, their social background, or whether they have a driveway or not, have lots to gain,” said Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of Connected Kerb.

“Unfortunately, some communities are being failed by a classic chicken and egg scenario. Without high EV adoption, charge point operators won’t build public charging, and without reliable charging, why would anyone go electric? We have designed our business model to overcome this and with Lambeth Council, we are delivering a fairer and equitable clean transport future – here and right across the UK.”

The project in Lambeth includes 22 on-street EV chargers across 11 of the borough’s housing estates to provide easy access to public charging, even for those without off-street parking. It forms part of the council’s wider strategy to work with multiple charge point operators to install more than 200 charge points by 2022, with the aim of ensuring every household with no access to off-street parking is within a five-minute walk of their nearest charge point.

Source: Zap-Map