MAN, Coventry, TU Graz, AVL, Venice.
Eco heavyweights: MAN Truck & Bus is taking part in the EU project ECOCHAMPS, that wishes to develop hybrid technology for passenger and commercial vehicles. Out of the 26 partners, MAN is looking to build a hybrid bus for cities and hopes to lower cost through the standardisation of components. Its driveline will be compatible with different energy sources, be it a gas generator or fuel cell.
National Battery Prototyping Centre: Coventry is becoming a centre for alternative mobility as plans are revealed to build a competence centre for battery research there. The proposal is backed by politicians, scientists, and industry alike. While the centre would focus on research and development, it could ultimately lead to a large scale local battery production. Still, Coventry seeks money from the government to execute the plans but already got the (idealistic) backing of neighbouring Jaguar Land Rover, that says it wants to build both EVs and batteries in England. Funding decisions will only be made after the General Election.
Another competence centre has been completed in Graz, where the ‘AVL-TU Graz Transmission Center’ offers ample space to research gearbox systems. 750 square metres will see testing of all sorts of transmissions, from hybrid drives to power axles for electric vehicles. It is a unique coupling of corporate and academic forces from which both partners hope to benefit.
Cleaning the lagoon: Venice wants to electrify its water taxi fleet and a new hybrid drive from British REAP may help. It can be retrofitted and works with a carbon drive belt. It is not the first attempt to keep noise and exhaust levels low as Siemens already fully electrified a Venetian vessel with more to come.
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