Researchers from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have released outline details of a new concept for rechargeable batteries made of cement. The concept could allow buildings to become giant renewable energy storage units.
The idea involves a cement-based mixture with small amounts of short carbon fibres added to increase the conductivity, sandwiched between a metal-coated carbon fibre mesh with iron for the anode, and nickel for the cathode.
“Results from previous studies into concrete battery technology showed very low performance, so we realised we had to think out of the box, to come up with another way to produce the electrode,” says lead researcher Dr Emma Zhang. “This particular idea – which is also rechargeable – has never been explored before. Now we have proof of concept at lab scale,” she says.
Working with Professor Luping Tang, the pair produced a rechargeable cement-based battery with an average energy density of 7 Watthours per square metre. A modest estimate is that the performance of the new Chalmers battery could be more than ten times that of earlier attempts at concrete batteries. The energy density is still low in comparison to commercial batteries, but this limitation could be overcome because of the huge volume at which the battery could be constructed when used in buildings.
According to Dr Zhang, the fact that the battery is rechargeable is its most important quality. “The possibilities for utilisation if the concept is further developed and commercialised are huge,” she says. Energy storage in building is an obvious possibility. The researchers see applications that could range from powering LEDs, providing 4G connections in remote areas, or cathodic protection against corrosion in concrete infrastructure.
It could also be coupled with solar cell panels, for example, to become the energy source for monitoring systems in highways or bridges, where sensors operated by a concrete battery could detect cracking or corrosion,” suggests Dr Zhang.
The concept of using structures and buildings in this way could be revolutionary, because it would offer a large volume of energy storage. Concrete is the world’s most commonly used building material, says Zhang, but from a sustainability perspective, it is far from ideal. The potential to add functionality to it could offer a new dimension.
“We have a vision that in the future this technology could allow for whole sections of multi-storey buildings made of functional concrete. Considering that any concrete surface could have a layer of this electrode embedded, we are talking about enormous volumes of functional concrete,” she says.
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.”
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.”
“People feel more protected in their car than in public transport,” says Guillaume Saint of the consumer research organisation Kantar, which recently surveyed 9,500 residents in 13 cities worldwide as the basis for its 2021 edition of its “Mobility Futures” report.
The obvious consequence, he suggests, is a shift to green travel could be slower than thought.
Saint says cities face a pivotal moment as they build back from a pandemic that has reshaped work, life and travel. While he expects the fall in public transport use to persist, he said cities have a one-off chance to transform.
Authorities can capitalise on a growing enthusiasm for biking and walking, while temporary bike lanes in some cities showed it was possible to nudge residents towards green choices.
“They can entice people back to public transport with flexible tariffs for part-time commuters, offering tickets that are valid on multiple types of transport, and making stations more bike-friendly,” he added.
But the resounding message from the report, which polled residents in major cities including New York, Chicago, Beijing, Mumbai and Paris, is the pandemic will fundamentally shape the future of urban mobility.
Work-from-home policies and remote schooling led to a significant drop in urban journeys – a scenario likely to continue as many institutions embrace hybrid working, it found.
City dwellers also spent more time locally and looked to cut their human contact to reduce the spread of infection.
While the share of journeys made by bike or on foot rose by 3% on average during the pandemic that shift was far outweighed by a 5.6% drop in journeys by public transport and a 3.8% rise in those by car.
Last year’s Mobility Futures report predicted that journeys made by green transport would overtake those by car by 2030. But for this to happen, says Barbara Stoll from European environmental campaign group Transport & Environment, “Mayors need to heed the call of thousands of urbanites who are crying out for more space for walking, cycling, public transport and greenery.”
UK firms Oxbotica and Navtech have launched Terran360, the world’s first all-weather radar localisation solution for industrial autonomous vehicles, with a claimed typical location accuracy to within 10cm on any vehicle, in any environment.
Combining Navtech’s FMCW radar sensor and Oxbotica’s autonomy software platform, Terran360 is said to be an entirely new offering to the off-road autonomy market. It utilises a single long-range, high-definition radar sensor to give a detailed 360 degree picture of a vehicle’s surroundings, allowing it to work alongside conventional systems and be deployed in GPS-denied environments or in harsh conditions not suitable for LiDAR or vision while maintaining full pinpoint localisation at all times.
Navtech’s high-resolution radar sensor is able to operate in the harshest conditions – such as in rain, fog, dust, or dirt and in complete darkness. The vibration resistant and IP67-certified sensor is designed to be maintenance free for 10 years, helping to reduce disruption to operations with no compromise to precision, reliability, or safety.
Terran360’s output can be fused with other sensor feeds or used as a standalone system, and is also able to provide independent and highly accurate vehicle motion. The system operates on any vehicles, from slow moving to speeds of up to 120kph (75mph) and has been comprehensively tested on different vehicle platforms and in dramatically different environments, including in mines, on urban roads, on railways and in marine settings.
Paul Newman, Founder & CTO at Oxbotica, said: “We are delighted to launch Terran360 in collaboration with Navtech. We are bringing a game-changing localisation system to market that gives operators and manufacturers a new way to answer the crucial autonomy question of “Where am I?” – and one that is unimpeded by environment or place.”
Phil Avery, Managing Director at Navtech Radar, commented: “We are extremely proud to launch this outstanding product for commercial use, offering a radar localisation solution never seen before. Thanks to decades of experience in delivering radar solutions for safety and mission critical applications, and together with Oxbotica’s world-leading autonomy software platform, Terran360 is trusted to answer the fundamental question for autonomous vehicles: “Where am I?”, everywhere, every time.”
Munich based smart parking solutions provider Cleverciti has introduced its new parking guidance solution at El Monte, a suburb of Los Angeles.
The system is designed to make it easier for locals and visitors to access and support the local shopping district by finding parking easily, while also encouraging ridership on Metrolink by attracting commuters with real-time parking availability and train ridership level updates.
The technology is being deployed at El Monte’s Main Street and MetroLink parking lots, two of the most heavily trafficked and congested areas of the city. Once installed, Cleverciti’s smart parking solution will offer motorists digital turn-by-turn signage to nearly 400 parking spaces. Additionally, a city-branded Cleverciti Guidance app will offer smart phone access.
As motorists approach the parking lots, they will see LED signs fixed to existing lamp posts displaying live parking information including directions to available parking spaces.
“The pandemic-induced work-from-home mandate gave Southern Californians a glimpse of what cleaner air and less traffic congestion could do for the climate and quality of life,” says Alma Martinez, City Manager of El Monte. “We are leveraging game-changing technologies like Cleverciti to create new commuting habits and lifestyle choices for people without them feeling like they are compromising convenience or safety. With Cleverciti, we are confident we will rewrite the commuter and local driver experience for the better and help everyone reduce vehicle miles travelled.”
It is also hoped streamlined access to parking will encourage footfall to local cafes, restaurants and retail shops struggling to compete with online shopping, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, says Cleverciti, commuters who have previously struggled to find parking spaces at the Metrolink lot before boarding a train will experience a new level of confidence in their transportation choice.
The approach is part of El Montes’ campaign to remove “barriers to boarding the train”. Joe Survance, SVP of Sales, Cleverciti says, “It is encouraging to see this California city take a proactive approach to reduce traffic congestion and improve parking availability – both of which have a tremendous impact on quality of life and quality of climate.”
A project in New Jersey will act as a testbed project for Californian based Velodyne’s new Intelligent Infrastructure Solution that combines artificial intelligence, mobility data-gathering, analysis and sharing technologies.
The solution is based upon Velodyne’s lidar sensors and Bluecity’s traffic network and public space monitoring artificial intelligence software. It generates real-time data analytics and predictions, helping, for instance, to improve traffic and crowd flow efficiency while protecting vulnerable road users.
The testbed programme is being run by Rutgers University’s Centre for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) in New Jersey.
CAIT will install Velodyne’s sensors at multiple intersections in New Brunswick, New Jersey as part of the Middlesex County – Smart Mobility Testing Ground project in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
“The acquisition and analysis of mobility data is crucial to creating a safer pedestrian and cycling environment and ultimately integrating autonomous vehicles,” said Dr Ali Maher, professor and director at CAIT. “Velodyne’s Intelligent Infrastructure Solution captures data on various traffic activity including vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists in all types of environmental conditions. We envision the solution as playing a critical role in helping us create a safer environment for all road users.”
Anand Gopalan, Chief Executive Officer, Velodyne Lidar adds, “Our solution, powered by Bluecity’s AI-powered traffic monitoring software platform, will be key in the efforts to transform our roads and transportation infrastructure into smart cities, paving the way for a more sustainable, safer future.”
The system creates a real-time 3D map of roads and intersections, providing precise traffic monitoring and analytics. Velodyne says it reliably collects data in any lighting or weather condition, supporting 24/7, 365 days a year operation. The solution advances safety through multimodal analytics that detect various road users including, vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Furthermore, it can predict, diagnose and address road safety challenges, helping municipalities make informed decisions to take corrective action.
Velodyne says the approach is more cost-effective and easier to install than radar and camera-based systems. This lower price point, it says, is because a single lidar sensor installed on a traffic pole can cover an entire intersection or highway section compared to radar and camera-based systems that typically need multiple sensors to cover the same area.
Lidar, it says, also has a privacy advantage over camera-only systems because it does not record details such as hair, skin colour or facial characteristics, which is a growing concern for civic applications.
Velodyne and Bluecity previously collaborated on a traffic monitoring system in Kelowna, British Columbia in a pioneering 5G smart city project. The initiative showed how the lidar-based solution could track near-misses of accidents at problematic intersections, improving roadway safety in a cost-effective and efficient way.
“We are excited to partner with Velodyne in order to bring to market this breakthrough solution that collects and analyses detailed traffic data about road users while preserving anonymity and trust,” said Asad Lesani, CEO at Bluecity. “We believe that Velodyne sensors are best-in-class and this solution will be a game changer for the smart city industry.”
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.
A new report from IoT research analysts Beecham, sponsored by UK-based mobile virtual network operator Caburn Telecom, warns that in the race to deliver the EV charging network needed to support the rapid expected transition to electric vehicles, the importance of connectivity must not be overlooked.
As Caburn explains, IoT systems acquire data from devices, process it for use in applications, and generate real-time information that is communicated to third parties.
In EV charging, the public charge points are the devices. They process operational status, metering and user data and communicate the information so that the charge point operators (CPOs) can monitor their maintenance needs, users can be billed, and the utility and communications companies can be paid.
Uptime is critical, but the track record to date is poor. And that, says Caburn, is largely because the complexity of the connectivity part of any IoT solution is too often underestimated.
The report points to anecdotal negative media coverage and research data that indicates outages have already become a serious issue for EV charge points.
It says a UK 2019 survey conducted by Zap-Map found that almost 25% of public charge points were out of service. Of those, 7.5% were flagged with a problem, but 16% were not communicating their status.
This, say Caburn, suggests the charge point operators were either unaware of the status of the charge points or unable to rectify them remotely.
The key point, it says, is it is hugely frustrating for users – already subject to range anxiety – to find that available charging points are not working. And unless addressed this will become a major obstacle to the wide-spread adoption of EVs. That in turn could prove a significant blocker to the UK Government’s ambitious transport decarbonisation agenda.
A priority for CPOs, believes Caburn, is to ensure they offer high uptime for their charging points and provide accurate real time information on their status. And CPOs that fail to provide this, it warns, risk reputational damage and loss of market share that will become increasingly severe over time.
The solution, says Caburn, is CPOs should not by default simply turn to their regular enterprise mobility partner. Instead they should be looking to partner with a mobile virtual network operator that offers non-steered access to multiple networks, and a management platform that allows the CPO to monitor the charge-points in real-time and to remotely correct faults.
Multi-network roaming, it says, maximises geographical coverage and connection resilience. Non-steered access ensures that no network is prioritised and in the event of a connectivity issue the charge points can change between them automatically and with minimal delay.
And to meet driver expectations for trouble-free journeys, concludes Caburn, CPOs need to make a detailed evaluation of their requirements when selecting their communications partners. Connectivity is a crucial resource and must be planned at an early stage of any IoT project to ensure its long-term success.
Over the last year, 5G mobile technology has been rolled out in markets around the world. Offering data speeds up to 100-times faster than 4G and ultra-low latency, the new technology is potentially transformative, allowing subscribers to download 4K videos in seconds or interact with one another seamlessly in virtual reality.
However, 5G’s real impact goes far beyond novel consumer experiences and higher quality communication. In fact, the biggest value from 5G will not be realised by mobile subscribers, but by enterprises, who will use its high bandwidth and low latency to unlock yet more technologies, from machine learning and artificial intelligence to automation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
But what impact could 5G have on the transportation industry?
Perhaps the most exciting and high-profile use cases in this space are related to autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars will need to communicate with one another and make automated decisions about its environment almost instantaneously when on the road, with 5G crucial in delivering the required ubiquitous connectivity.
But while autonomous vehicle technology is still very much in its infancy, there are many more transport applications for 5G that are far more within reach. From IoT sensors that can be deployed on railway lines to monitor the track, to smart motorways that can update drivers about traffic congestion in real time, the opportunities are growing as the transport and telecommunications spheres increasingly converge.
In a session called ‘Trains, Planes & Automobiles: 5G-enhanced mobility’ at this year’s inaugural, virtual 5GLive, event, a panel of experts will discuss the process of digitising urban transport systems, explore 5G transport use cases, and highlight the key challenges related to upgrading and expanding mobility systems. 5G Live is organised by Terrapinn and a sister event to MOVE.
FEATURED SESSION: Trains, Planes & Automobiles: 5G-enhanced mobility
18 May, 14:20 BST
Roland da Silva, Independent Strategy Advisor (Moderator)
Johannes Springer, Lead 5G Automotive Program, T-Systems
Philip Baulch, Director of Technology & Innovation – Public & Corporate Sectors, BT
Jos Beriere, Strategic Business Developer B2B, KPN
5GLive is free to attend! Visit the 5GLive website for more information.
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) and its national roads agency Highways England have announced an acceleration in adopting radar technology to detect stationary vehicles on the country’s all lane running (ALR) motorways. The commitment is widely seen as a bid to tackle mounting safety concerns over the country’s planned widespread adoption of all lane running (ALR) through its Smart Motorway Programme.
According to DfT every newly converted motorway will now open with enhanced technology in place to spot stopped or broken-down vehicles more quickly, while all existing ALR motorways will have the upgraded technology fitted by September 2022, six months earlier than previously planned.
The DfT maintains that ALR motorways are one of the safest types of road in the country. Drivers on a conventional motorways, it says, are a third more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers on an ALR motorway.
However a number of high profile fatal accidents have prompted a media backlash against the programme. DfT has also confirmed that dynamic hard shoulder motorways, where the hard shoulder operates only part-time, are being withdrawn and replaced with ALR motorways.
“Despite the data showing that fatalities are less likely on all lane running motorways than on conventional ones, this doesn’t mean all drivers necessarily feel safe on them,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The DfT has also announced that work has also been completed to make emergency refuge areas more visible with improved signage. Additionally, Highways England and the Home Office are developing new laws so motorists who drive in lanes marked as closed due to an incident can be caught and prosecuted.
Finland’s Trombia Technologies is running a pilot trial using its autonomous, electric cleaning robot Trombia Free to sweep the streets of the capital Helsinki.
The fully autonomous electric street sweeper, which was unveiled last year, is now being put through its paces as part of the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, Helsinki’s testbed for smart mobility.
The robot is already in use along the Helsinki Baana bicycle lane and other street cleaning duties across the city.
Trombia Free measures 3.5m long, 2.3m wide and weighs around 2,600kg. Because it is quiet, it can work at night when there are fewer pedestrians and the streets are generally less busy.
The street cleaner is equipped with all-weather autonomous, lidar-based, machine vision technology designed to operate in rain and snow. But although capable of fully autonomous driving, it will operate under human supervision during the pilot.
The technology is not only self-driving, it is also green. Trombia Technologies CEO Antti Nikkanen says the suction technology currently used in street cleaners was invented in the 1950s, and Trombia’s cleaning devices use less than 15% of the power.
Nikkanen adds, “High power diesel-fuelled suction street sweepers around the world produce over three million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, but smart cities can act to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions significantly by modernising the way street cleaning is undertaken.
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.
Indonesian ride-hailing company Gojek plans to make every car and motorcycle on its platform an electric vehicle by 2030 through partnerships with manufacturers and favourable leasing arrangements, co-Chief Executive Kevin Aluwi told Reuters.
Gojek announced the pledge within its first annual sustainability report, which analysts regard as a move aimed at bringing the company closer to a public listing.
But according to the Reuters report, analysts expect the cost of going electric in Indonesia will be high because the country only has around 100 EV charging stations at present.
“Our target is to work with various different players within the industry and government to reduce the cost of EVs to about 30% lower than internal combustion engine vehicles,” Aluwi said.
The Jakarta-based firm is instigating pilot programmes involving energy companies, financial services, scooter makers and car makers to support development of Indonesia’s EV industry, including how to build infrastructure such as battery swap and charging stations, he said.
Founded in 2011, Gojek says it has over 2 million drivers across Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore, and is backed by big-name investors including Google and Tencent Holdings.
New analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts there will be 145 million electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads by 2030. But if governments ramp up efforts the global electric vehicle fleet could reach 230 million in the same period.
The Paris-based organization’s latest Global Electric Vehicle Outlook said roughly three million new electric cars were registered last year, a record amount and a 41% rise compared to 2019.
This jump pushed the total number of electric cars on the road to over 10 million, a figure supplemented by approximately 1 million electric buses, vans and heavy trucks.
The rise in electric car sales in 2020 was despite the worldwide automobile market contracting by 16% because of the coronavirus pandemic. And in the first quarter of 2021, electric car sales were almost two and a half times higher than during the same period in 2020.
“While they can’t do the job alone, electric vehicles have an indispensable role to play in reaching net-zero emissions worldwide,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
“Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake,” he added.
Birol urged governments to use Covid economic recovery packages to “invest in battery manufacturing and the development of widespread and reliable charging infrastructure.”
Hyzon Motors, the US developer of hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles, has announced the launch of the Hyzon Zero Carbon Alliance, to drive the development of hydrogen mobility supply chains globally
The new coalition includes Hyzon together with Ark Energy (a subsidiary of Korea Zinc), AXA, Bank of America, Hiringa Energy, Modern Group, NEOM, Raven SR, ReCarbon and Total.
A statement from Hyzon says, “No one entity can act alone to address the environmental challenges ahead of us and so Hyzon Motors has brought together a collective of companies committed to a cleaner transport future. Together, we recognise the role hydrogen can play in helping to eliminate emissions in hard-to-evade sectors like commercial transport.”
The alliance brings together organisations from across the value chain to contribute to the growing momentum behind hydrogen and catalyse the adoption of hydrogen heavy vehicles. Founding members include hydrogen infrastructure providers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, service and maintenance providers, financiers, insurers and fleet operators.
The approach, says Hyzon, is to “utilise the collective expertise, resources and capability of alliance members to foster knowledge and innovation, identify priority projects, create business models and support delivery of attractive solutions enabling customers to viably make the transition to cleaner hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles.”
Porsche is planning to set up a high-performance battery cell factory in Germany to support the company’s shift to electric vehicles, CEO Oliver Blume told a German newspaper.
“Battery cells are a key technology for Germany’s automobile industry which we must have in our own country,” Blume told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Porsche wants to play a pioneering role in this, he said, confirming that the battery cell factory would be built in Tuebingen.
The announcement is set against a background that European car makers are looking to reduce their dependence on Asian manufacturers as they shift to electric cars to meet tougher environmental rules in the European Union.
Porsche revealed it will also purchase EV batteries from its parent company Volkswagen Group, which recently announced plans to build six battery cell plants across Europe by 2030. But added Blume, “There will also be a segment for high-performance battery cells. It’s a Porsche domain. Just as we developed high-performance internal combustion engines, we now want to be at the forefront of high-performance batteries.”
London based parking app JustPark has teamed up with Zap-Map to give easier access to electric vehicle charge points on residential driveways.
Currently Zap-Map has over 1,200 Zap-Home points on its system and the addition of 800 JustPark chargers will take the number to over 2,000. These charge points will be visible to more than 150,000 monthly Zap-Map users, meaning EV drivers will, from June, be able to search, pre-book and pay for private but available EV chargers close to them via the Zap-Map app.
With the recent surge in sales of EVs, there are now close to 500,000 EVs on the UK’s road. But with around 40% of UK households not having access to off-street parking, new solutions for local charging, such as the sharing of charge points available on private land, will be increasingly important.
Anthony Eskinazi, founder and CEO of JustPark, said, “It’s understandable that EV ownership today is heavily weighted towards people lucky enough to have their own driveway to charge on. We need charging solutions that allow all EV drivers to easily and reliably recharge their car, and not force them to only rely on city centre chargers. By hosting our community of charge point owners on Zap-Map, we are ensuring that as many people as possible have access to reliable, affordable EV charging.”
Ben Lane, co-founder and CTO of Zap-Map, said, “The public charging network is expanding rapidly, but there is a real need for community charging closer to home. This new partnership with JustPark means EV drivers can more easily share their home chargers, giving Zap-Map users even more choice in finding a suitable charger when visiting new places away from home, or in their own backyard.”