German environmental NGOs take legal challenge to VW, BMW and Mercedes

German environmental NGOs take legal challenge to VW, BMW and Mercedes

Greenpeace Germany and environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) have coordinated statements saying they will take legal action against Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and gas and oil firm Wintershall Dea, if the companies fail to step up their policies to tackle climate change.

The cases would be modelled on one Greenpeace brought against Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands last year. In it, Greenpeace lawyers argued the Royal Dutch Shell’s lack of climate action constituted a failure in its duty of care to citizens, which led to a court ruling in May 2021 mandating the company to reduce its CO2 output by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030.

In the new initiative Greenpeace and DUH are demanding that the car makers stop producing combustion engine cars by 2030 – earlier than the 2035 ban proposed by the EU in July – and that Wintershall Dea refrains from exploring any new oil and gas fields from 2026.

These deadlines, say Greenpeace and DUH, are necessary to meet the goals of the Paris climate accords and German climate law.

They have set a near deadline for the companies to respond to their demands. Should they fail to do so, the NGOs will file lawsuits in German courts, they said.

According to the NGOs, the German automotive sector’s sales of diesel and petrol engines around the world amount to a greater CO2 footprint than the whole of Germany’s in 2019.

“Anyone who delays climate protection harms others and is thus acting illegally,” says Roda Rehyen, one of Greenpeace’s lawyers. “Civil law can and must prevent corporations from destroying our livelihoods and depriving our children and grandchildren of the right to a secure future.”

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.

NZ Fleet management company rolls out driver fatigue system

NZ Fleet management company rolls out driver fatigue system

New Zealand-based fleet management solutions company EROAD is to integrate Seeing Machines’ Guardian technology into software to help combat driver fatigue and make roads safer.

Seeing Machines’ Guardian technology uses face and eye-tracking algorithms to detect fatigue and distraction, enabling proactive intervention before a risky driving incident occurs.

According to Seeing Machines’ research, in-cab alerts reduce fatigue by upwards of 60%, and continuous driver monitoring decreases the occurrence of fatigue by an additional 30% to achieve a reduction in fatigue-related driving events of more than 90%.

The integration of this technology, says EROAD, will provide operators with a single tool for managing video telematics where previously there were two separate managing systems. This makes it easier for fleet managers to prioritise actionable insights from data, as well as developing a greater understanding of the risks associated with their fleet and coach drivers.

“Our mission at EROAD is to help every community enjoy safer, more productive roads,” says Steven Newman, CEO of EROAD. “We’re all about improving fleet safety through better driver behaviour and the integration of Guardian technology will help us achieve that. The technology is set to become a vital element in the MyEROAD portal to ensure safer and more sustainable outcomes for fleet operators and drivers.”

“We are very happy to be partnering with EROAD,” says Paul McGlone, CEO of Seeing Machines. “Our Guardian technology has seen expanding global penetration into long haul and heavy transport fleets and will be a huge benefit to EROAD users not only in New Zealand, but Australia and America as well. The Seeing Machines purpose is to get everyone home safely so we are closely aligned with EROAD as both companies take pride in helping make roads safer, knowing this integration will help achieve that.”

Japanese researchers improve recovery of rare earth elements from EV motor magnets

Japanese researchers improve recovery of rare earth elements from EV motor magnets

Nissan and Waseda University in Tokyo have announced the start of testing in Japan of a jointly developed recycling process that efficiently recovers high-purity rare-earth elements (REEs) from EV motor magnets. The testing is aimed at enabling practical application of the new process by the mid-2020s.

Most motors in EVs use neodymium magnets, which contain scarce rare-earth metals such as neodymium and dysprosium.

The new method of testing has shown that the new recycling process can recover 98% of the motors’ REEs.

The method also approximately twice as fast as current recovery processes because there is no need to demagnetise the magnets, or remove and disassemble them

In a press release, Nissan states, “Reducing the use of scarce rare earths is important not only because of the environmental impact of mining and refining, but also because the shifting balance of supply and demand leads to price fluctuations for both manufacturers and consumers.”

Nissan has been collaborating with Waseda University since 2017, which has a strong track record of researching non-ferrous metal recycling and smelting.

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.

Piaggio strengthens Japanese-founded Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium

Piaggio strengthens Japanese-founded Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium

Italian scooter maker Piaggio has joined forces with a Japanese consortium of major bike manufacturers set up to encourage the use of swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and light electric vehicles.

The newly enlarged and rebranded Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) aims to broaden the use of light electric vehicles, such as scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, and support a more sustainable management of their batteries, a joint statement said.

It will focus on issues such as battery life, recharging times, infrastructure and costs and will work on defining international standard technical specifications for swappable batteries.

The companies in the consortium said they welcomed others joining them to extend standards to as many companies as possible.

“Urban mobility is going through a delicate transition moment towards electrification. Thanks to this consortium motorbikes will keep their key role,” Piaggio Chief of Strategy and Product Michele Colaninno said.

Honda’s Motorcycle Operations Chief Officer Yoshishige Nomura added the consortium’s objectives are to make electric motorbikes more convenient for clients, as their “use on large scale can substantially contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society”.

Fast-fuelling hydrogen system game-changer for air taxi operations

Fast-fuelling hydrogen system game-changer for air taxi operations

California based hydrogen fuel cell innovator HyPoint has teamed up with US vertical flight pioneer Piasecki Aircraft to build the world’s first manned hydrogen helicopter. A hydrogen powertrain potentially offers a huge increase in range and payload compared to current battery electric eVTOL aircraft.

The aim is to develop a fully US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified hydrogen system that would allow electric aircraft to carry several times more energy on board, vastly boosting flight endurance and reducing refuelling time.

HyPoint claims its turbo air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell system will be able to achieve more than three times the power-to-weight ratio of traditional hydrogen fuel cells systems. It will also offer an energy density around five times existing commercially available lithium battery packs.

HyPoint says the system has been validated in laboratory prototypes, proving it can produce sufficient power to handle the demands of vertical takeoff and landing without the need for a buffer battery.

The initial plan is to develop a 650-kW hydrogen fuel cell system and to integrate this into Piasecki’s PA-890 compound electric helicopter.

The PA-890 is designed to meet existing FAA Part 27 standards for commercial certification. While the FAA has granted experimental certification to several fuel cell aircraft it is yet to do so for commercial uses.

A long-range, fast-fueling hydrogen system would be a game-changer and a solution to a problem that many of the companies vying to set up air taxi operations are currently not fully addressing. With existing eVTOL powertrains, the planes will need to spend large chunks of their service periods recharging and the planned vertiports, often located in dense inner cities, are unlikely to have enough space to allow the planes to recharge and support a viable level of service

“We are laser-focused on the development and qualification of a 650-kW system for our PA-890 eVTOL Compound Helicopter, which would be the world’s first manned hydrogen-powered helicopter,” says John Piasecki, President and CEO of Piasecki Aircraft. “Success will pave the way for collaboration with other eVTOL OEMs with different platform sizes to ensure broad application of this technology.”

“Initial lab testing funded has demonstrated the technical viability of HyPoint’s hydrogen fuel cell system,” he continues. “While we are benchmarking HyPoint’s technology against alternatives and continue to rigorously test and validate findings, we are very optimistic.

“Our objective is to develop full-scale systems within two years to support on-aircraft certification testing in 2024 and fulfil existing customer orders for up to 325 units starting in 2025.”

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.”

Robotaxi reveal keeps Motional’s 2023 autonomous taxi service on track

Robotaxi reveal keeps Motional’s 2023 autonomous taxi service on track

Motional the Boston-based autonomous vehicle company founded in March 2020 as a joint venture between Hyundai Motor Group and auto supplier Aptiv, has unveiled its first commercial robotaxi.

Based on the all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5, the IONIQ 5 robotaxi is an electric Level 4 autonomous vehicle that Motional says remains on target to begin transporting public passengers in 2023 through a partnership with Lyft.

The robotaxi has more than 30 sensors – a combination of cameras, radars, and lidar – that provide robust 360-degree perception, high-resolution images, and ultra-long range detection of objects for safe autonomous operation in diverse driving environments.

Woongjun Jang, Head of the Autonomous Driving Center at Hyundai, says, “Hyundai Motor has evolved its IONIQ 5, a battery electric vehicle built on its EV-dedicated platform, into a platform for fully autonomous vehicles. For the IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, we have applied various redundancy systems, in addition to a suite of essential technologies to ensure safety and convenience of the passengers. By successfully integrating the Group’s IONIQ 5 robotaxi with Motional’s autonomous driving technology, we are proud to announce that we have achieved another important milestone on the road to the commercialization of our robotaxi.”

“This robotaxi represents Motional’s vision of a driverless future becoming a reality,” adds Motional President and CEO, Karl Iagnemma. “Through our strategic partnership with Hyundai and Aptiv, we have unparalleled automotive and software expertise across our entire vehicle development process. This deep collaboration enables us to manufacture a robotaxi that’s both highly safe and reliable, and is cost-optimized for global production and mass commercialisation.”

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.”

Renault and Jiangling launch model designed for ride hailing

Renault and Jiangling launch model designed for ride hailing

The joint venture between Renault Group and Jiangling Motors is to launch the new all-electric Mobilize Limo.

Designed primarily for taxis, private hire, and ride-hailing, the car will be offered on a subscription basis and won’t be available to buy.

“The first Mobilize model, Limo, is the new brand’s response to the evolution of the ride-hailing market,” says Clotilde Delbos, the company’s CEO. “This offer, which combines a vehicle and flexible services, illustrates Mobilize’s ability to the changing needs of vehicle users.”

Similar in size to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, Mobilize says the Limo offers drivers “the most ergonomically and acoustically comfortable seat possible”. It also has a small fridge between the front seats to keep the driver supplied with chilled beverages through their shift.

For rear passengers the Limo offers a good amount of room with USB charging ports, adjustable air vents and reading lights.

The Limo has a tight turning circle and is powered by a 110 kW electric motor that offers modest but appropriate performance of 60 mph in 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 140km/h

It has a range of “more than 450km” which, says Mobilize, is enough for “one or even two full days of work without recharging.”

Baltic ferry powered by solar modules comes into service

Baltic ferry powered by solar modules comes into service

German ferry company Oderhaff Reederei Peters has put a solar-electric ferry into service for the short crossing from the port town of Kamp on the German Baltic coat to the island of Usedom. Power comes from solar modules on the ship’s roof.

Usedom is a tourist destination and particularly popular with cyclists. The new ship carries 20 people and 15 bicycles at a service speed of 8km/h hour across the Szczecin Lagoon, which is only 500m wide at this point. The boat has a maximum speed of 15 km/h.

The solar modules generate a power output of 4.3 kilowatts, which is sufficient for the short journey, although the boat has an 80Kw/h back-up battery.

The 14.65m-long boat took steel sheet manufacturer Ostseestaal three months to construct with input from sister company Ampereship, a specialist in electric solar-powered ships and ferries.

The new emission-free ferry should save 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year compared to the diesel ferry it has replaced.

Meanwhile Ostseestaal and Ampereship, both based in the Hanseatic city of Stralsund on the German Baltic coast, have a full order book for similar electric-solar boats for various inland navigation services within Europe.

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

Volvo secures largest order of electric trucks in North America

Volvo secures largest order of electric trucks in North America

Performance Team, a US warehousing and distribution company owned by Maersk, has placed an order for 16 Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks — Volvo’s largest commercial order of the North American zero-tailpipe emission model to date. The VNR Electric model will also be Performance Team’s first zero-tailpipe emission, battery-electric Class 8 truck.

Designed for local and regional freight distribution, when put into service by the end of the year, all 16 vehicles will be carrying regional loads daily to customers across Southern California.

“The shift toward electrification is an exciting time in the commercial truck space and Performance Team is leading the way with its largest order of the only battery-electric Class 8 model in scalable serial production today,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Through its commitment to deploy 16 Volvo VNR Electrics by the end of 2021, Performance Team has demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, and this is another great step forward in reducing the trucking industry’s overall carbon footprint.”   

The acquisition of the new Volvo VNR Electric models is part of Maersk’s Environment Social Governance (ESG) strategy to decarbonize logistics. Performance Team is participating in a State of California South Coast Air Quality Management District grant to reduce emissions in the transportation sector by replacing diesel trucks with electric trucks and creating new, future charging infrastructure. The El Segundo, California-based company operates a North America warehousing and distribution network of 45 locations and a fleet of 215 trucks.

“We’re seeing a 30% growth rate in our warehousing and distribution business,” said Jason Walker, executive vice president of operations of Performance Team. “Customers are looking for more truck power to meet high volume delivery demands. This new order of will give us firsthand experience on their performance carrying regional loads and environmental benefits. Our findings will help determine next steps in our fleet modernisation and the electric infrastructure necessary for future operations.”

Google Maps tie up sees Spin’s biggest integration into journey planning apps

Google Maps tie up sees Spin’s biggest integration into journey planning apps

A tie up by Spin, the micromobility business of Ford and Google Maps, means Google Maps users are now able to see, in real-time, the nearest available Spin e-bike or e-scooter in 84 towns, cities and campuses in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Spain.

The information offered includes how long it will take to walk to the vehicle, as well as estimated battery range and expected arrival time. Users will then be directed to the Spin app to pay for the vehicle, unlock it and take their ride.

The integration is designed to bring wider public awareness of Spin’s vehicle availability and point people towards a more sustainable option for short journeys in urban areas.

“With this integration, Spin is making it easier for hundreds of millions of Google Maps users to easily incorporate shared bikes and scooters into their daily trips,” commented Ben Bear, CEO of Spin.

“Our goal is to make it as low friction as possible for consumers to plan multi-modal journeys. It needs to be just as easy, and even more convenient to get around with bikes, buses, trains and scooters as it is with a personal car. This collaboration with Google is our biggest platform integration yet with many more in the pipeline.”

Spin says micromobility is continuing to gain traction and is becoming a mainstream transportation solution, particularly for those living in urban areas or campuses. As e-scooters and e-bikes are being increasingly built into journey-planning platforms, residents and visitors can more easily take a multimodal approach to the way they get around cities.

This latest integration follows Spin’s recent addition into a number of global and regional journey planning platforms such as CityMapper, Moovit, Transit app and Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (KVB).