When we talk about electric mobility, we often think along the lines of Tesla, BMW or maybe e-bikes – but all-terrain vehicles? Well, we should, said Neil Roth, COO of the Las Vegas-based company Xtreme Green Electric Vehicles when we spoke to him at the Hanover Trade Fair. “You’d be surprised. There are a lot more people using electric specialty vehicles, than there are people using electric car vehicles,” he adds. Police, border patrol, parks and recreation – they all benefit from these small EVs. And the climate does as well. When replacing a petrol-powered car with an electric one, the savings of carbon emission “are minimal,” Roth explains, “because they already have all the catalytic converters.” That’s not the case for ATVs or UTVs. And “they make sense from a financial standpoint.” Best watch the whole interview to see what other hidden advantages these little power-houses have.
What have the Netherlands done right when it comes to charging infrastructure? That’s what we asked Wibo Elzinga, Business Development Manager at ICU Charging Equipment, at the Hanover Trade Show. The small country has the second largest EV fleet per capita after Norway and more than 6,000 charge points. But that wasn’t always the case. According to Elzinga, one of the things that the Netherlands did right, is that it didn’t bother with the chicken-or-egg question and just began installing public chargers “even though there were no cars yet.” And it worked. There are some 90,000 plug-ins in the Netherlands by now; so many, that the country now has to install more chargers to meet demand. But the Dutch have some other advantages, Wibo Elzinga says. What those are and what other [European] countries can learn from the Netherlands, he explains in the interview.
Range anxiety is still a common. Professor Jay Lee from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) and Director of the Research Center on Intelligent Maintenance believes that transparency and smart batteries are the answers. Smart batteries take into account the driver’s behaviour, road conditions and traffic to calculate a more exact range, while “today’s estimates are still based on the battery”, Lee told electrive.com’s Carla Westerheide at the Hanover Trade Fair. And if a driver is given that information, he or she can respond and adjust. “If I drive carefully and with enough skill, I can extend my miles,” says Lee. “You don’t have unlimited miles – nobody has – but you can have a controllable mile.” So does he believe the electric car to be a disruptive technology? And what about software? Will it become more important than hardware? Watch the video to find out what Professor Jay Lee has to say about the issue!
What does the future of charging look like? Claas Bracklo has a very clear vision: He is head of electric mobility at BMW and CEO of the Charging Interface Initiative (CharIn). But what’s behind this association that set out to install EV charging solutions using the Combined Charging System (CCS)? electrive.com’s Carla Westerheide asked the man himself at the Hannover Trade Fair 2016. “CCS is a holistic system approach,” he said right at the beginning of the interview. Translation: one plug fits all and does everything from “slow charging” (i.e.3 kW AC) to “super fast-charging” with 350 kW DC. Customers therefore don’t have to worry about a station’s charging capacity and can be certain that they have a place to charge. That is what makes CharIn’s approach “holistic” and gives it a claer advantage over other systems, says Bracklo. The initiative has also gotten a lot of attention from abroad recently, with both Chargepoint and Tesla joining earlier this year. “The games are open,” he says about (or almost to) the newest member from the United States. Does that mean the new Tesla will come with a CCS adaptor or will CCS-able cars be one day able to plug in at the Supercharger? And what about the CCS competitor from Japan – will one triumph over the other? You better see for yourself what the EV charging expert had to say. Fact is: whoever is in charge of the future of EV infrastructure in Europe should definitely not miss this interview!
“You need a comprehensive network first… And we have committed to building the first 100 stations or so, no matter how many or how few [fuel cell] cars there are,” Markus Bachmeier, Head of Hydrogen Solutions at Linde AG told electrive.com during the Hanover Trade Show 2016. If someone is fuelled by hydrogen, than it’s this man! His company is setting up hydrogen filling stations across Germany and already has 50 FCVs in its fleet. Though the goal of setting up 50 H2-pumps by the end of 2015 was not met, Bachmeier remains optimistic: “It’s not so much a half a year earlier or later,” he says, but about setting up reliable infrastructure “in the right places.” From then on, H2 filling stations will be added as more fuel cell cars hit the road. And when they do, stations have to be as small as possible and high-performing. As for the location – setting up shop at an already existing petrol station can prove useful. So will it be battery-powered and fuel cell cars on the road, or will one outshine the other? Watch the whole video to find out what the Head of Hydrogen Solutions has to say about the issue.
Tags: FCEV, Fuel cell, Hydrogen, Linde, Markus Bachmeier
British infrastructure on the German Autobahn? David Martell from Chargemaster says it will happen “in the early part of next year,” as the company is now starting to ship units to Germany. That might explain why electrive.com Editor-in-Chief Peter Schwierz ran into Martell at an event in Munich. Chargemaster, the UK’s largest provider of EV charging infrastructure, wanted to “show off to (our) friends in Germany and the rest of Europe.” Watch the video interview to see how David Martell believes electric mobility and charging infrastructure will evolve in the [near] future!
PlugSurfing saves users and operators the hassle: When it comes to charging electric vehicles, “there are so many problems that arise because the market has no standard,” says Adam Woolway, Founder and CEO of the company PlugSurfing. The start-up claims to have the answer, delivering a simplified and standardised user-interface, while able to adapt to different charging models, include parking fees and consider special deals via their backend. electrive.com Editor-in-Chief Peter Schwierz spoke Woolway about the company’s challenges and how a simple smartphone app and billing system can be lucrative. Watch the whole interview to find out.
Tags: Adam Woolway, Interview, PlugSurfing
Design and innovation –two things the Australian company Tritium wants to combine with its DC fast-charging station Veefil. Tritium’s European Representative Manuel Fernandes told electrive.com in this exclusive interview at the Hanover Trade Fair that on top of the station’s “unique liquid cooling technology” and reduced weight, “there is also a better business case behind it.” According to the manufacturer, the charger and needs little to no maintenance, “making the return of investors a lot faster.” Fernandes hopes this charger from Down Under will also get EV sales moving there, but that “it is difficult when we are the ones to start.” Still, there is hope that if a charger from Australia can become popular, it can push the adoption of electric mobility there as well.
Tags: Manuel Fernandes, Tritium
Europe only used to be a tough market for CHAdeMO, the Association’s European Representative Tomoko Blech told electrive.com at when we met up with her at the Hanover Trade Fair. When the European directive was drafted in 2013, “there was a bit of confusion in the market […]. Now that the European directive is all set and the EU has embraced multiple standards,” she says there is room for CHAdeMO to grow. Even in Germany, where the government prefers to support its own CCS standard, investors are including CHAdeMO chargers. “A logical decision,” says Blech, since CHAdeMO compatible EVs still occupy a majority of the market. Still, Blech continues, all standards have their advantages, which is why multi-standard charging stations are the way of the future – and not just in terms of DC charging. AC chargers, too, will become more prominent as EV sales increase and more people will want to charge at home. Watch the whole interview to learn more about CHAdeMO’s plans for the future.
Tags: CHAdeMO, Tomoko Blech
“Hardware is not the only thing that is important,” says Juha Stenberg, Managing Director of Ensto Chago. The Finish manufacturer of EV charging infrastructure now offers its third generation of chargers and Stenberg says it will also increasingly focus on services for EV drivers. Ensto Chago has a diverse portfolio of charging stations and “they all have their role in the whole charging network that we are now building,” says Stenberg during our exclusive interview at the Hanover Trade Fair. AC chargers, for instance, are needed in Finland and Sweden where plug-in hybrids are more popular than purely electric cars, while 20 kW DC fast charging stations are a better fit for restaurants and shopping centres, because they are easy to install and easier on the grid than stations with a higher output. Still, Stenberg agrees that there is a trend towards faster charging and hints that it is not the end of the line in terms of development of EV infrastructure made in Finland. Enjoy the video!
Tags: Ensto Chago, Finland, Juha Stenberg
“The industry will not let it die again,” Chris Paine says about electric vehicles. The American filmmaker is known for his documentaries “Who Killed the Electric Car” (2006) and “The Revenge of the Electric Car” (2011). Obviously a big fan and supporter of EVs, he took part of the Wave Trophy 2014, where he met up with our editor Marc Kudling to talk about the past, present and future of electric mobility in an exclusive interview:
Why did the electric car have to die at the turn of the century?
There are at least a dozen reasons. But if you put them all in a movie, you’d lose your general audience. It would just be too long. So we focused on 7 reasons – and almost none of them had anything do with the electric car! It was a disruptive technology on a core level. By 2003, the technology had threatened too many foes and it needed more time to gather some strength. 4 other culprits would have been: the press, corporate lawyers, low gas prices, and fear of change. In short, those electric cars were terrific- but they also threatened a lot of old habits and industries and were destroyed almost in secret.
Why has its “rebirth” been so successful?
This time the cat is out of the bag and it is not climbing back in. The technology is just too good and the advantages like shifting off gasoline, driving experience, the ability to drive with renewable energy and decreasing prices make this trend almost impossible to stop. Other factors helped — higher gas prices, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, and even boredom with conventional cars from consumers. GM’s bailout and the prices of lithium batteries dropping were also big factors. Even carmakers understand their days were numbered if they didn’t start innovating and getting on the band wagon. The debate is still ongoing, which is why we need to keep pressure and consumer support vibrant.
Gilles Bernard, Chairman of the Board at GIREVE SAS says that just putting in place charging stations is not enough. One also has to coordinate operators and their service to make charging easier for users. At Hubject’s Developers Conference in Berlin, Bernard told electrive.com exactly how GIREVE plans to do that in France and where he sees the European electric mobility market in comparison to the U.S. and Asia. GIREVE is a company whose founding shareholders are five major players (i.e. EDF, Renault) in this market, united by their converging interests in electric mobility.