Minister unveils EV rapid charging station
18 January 2012
Transport minister Norman Baker MP was in Retford to unveil the UK’s first privately-owned Direct Current (DC) rapid-charging station for electric vehicles.
The publicly available station, which can recharge an EV battery in as little as half an hour, has been installed at the headquarters of family-run printing company RCS in Retford, Nottinghamshire, just 5 miles from the A1. An example of a private-public partnership, it was bought by RCS with financial support from the government-backed Plugged-in Places project, being delivered in the Midlands (as Plugged-in Midlands) by Cenex and Central Technology Belt. Delivered and installed by ABB, the Terra 51 DC station is part of the Plugged-in Midlands network of charging points that are currently being installed across the East and West Midlands.
Baker said: “Our strategy to increase electric vehicle adoption is clear – encouraging motorists to switch through provision of a comprehensive, accessible infrastructure of charging points operated by both the public and private sectors. The installation of this advanced, DC charging station at RCS will not only make it easier and faster for Electric Vehicle owners to recharge away from home, but demonstrates how the Plugged-in Places programme is helping to stimulate private investment in vital infrastructure.”
Mike Todd, managing director of RCS, said: “This new rapid charging point is the next step in our own environmental programme, and provides a convenient addition to the charging infrastructure, close to the A1, for motorists and companies that have embraced Electric Vehicles.”
Plugged-in Midlands, a consortium of Midlands-based businesses and local authorities led by Cenex and Central Technology Belt, has been created to provide the infrastructure necessary to support and encourage electric vehicle adoption. In December 2010 it secured up to £2.9 million of funding from the Government to support a £6.3 million programme which plans to install more than 500 charge posts in high profile locations, including shopping centres and railway stations, across both the East and West Midlands.
Government launches hydrogen project
18 January 2012
International companies from the utility, gas, infrastructure and car manufacturing sectors are joining with the Government to launch a joint project to look at the potential for hydrogen transport to deliver economic and carbon reduction benefits in this country.
UK H2Mobility will look at what’s needed to make the UK a serious global player in the manufacturing and use of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15. The project will be launched in London today (January 18) and Vauxhall will be unveiling its 4th generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle HydroGen4. Vauxhall says that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles combine the advantages of electric propulsion, with the convenience of fast fuelling and long range, thereby playing an important role in its alternative propulsion portfolio.
GM/Vauxhall have been investing in research and development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for over a decade. Supported by an extensive test fleet in Europe and the US with over 100 fuel cell vehicles logging around 2 million miles since 2008, Vauxhall expects the technology to be ready for market introduction by 2016. Bill Parfitt, Vauxhall Motors’ director for Government Affairs and Public Policy, said: “Following our company’s unrelenting focus on hydrogen fuel cell technology development, the launch and successful roll-out of these vehicles will now depend on the availability of hydrogen to the consumer in a real life environment. We therefore greatly appreciate this very timely initiative, gathering various stakeholders, under government lead, to establish an adequate strategy for future hydrogen development in the UK.”
Project infrastructure spokesman Kevin Michaelis, who is regional vice president of Liquid Bulk/Generated Gases–Europe, Air Products, said: “This project brings together the leading hydrogen infrastructure providers, at the forefront of deployment worldwide, with the common goal of supporting the rollout of hydrogen transport across the United Kingdom. The hydrogen infrastructure sector has been working over a number of years to develop hydrogen transport in the UK. We are very pleased that the progress made is being recognised by the Government in this groundbreaking initiative that will shift the focus from R&D to deployment of hydrogen infrastructure. Working together with Government and leading car manufacturers we can support the creation of a hydrogen transport infrastructure that will dramatically cut harmful vehicle emissions and move the UK towards a zero carbon transport system.”
VW Up! Wins top What Car? title
17 January 2012
Volkswagen's new Up! city car has been named What Car? Car of the Year 2012. The new BMW 3 series was declared the best executive car, and the Audi A1 was named best supermini. Kia was recognised for the low fuel consumption of its vehicles.
Low Emission Zone changes kick-in
12 January 2012
As of January 3rd all light commercials older than 10 years (pre-Euro 3) with a kerb weight greater than 1,205kg are no longer welcome in London; unless the operator pays a £100 daily charge. Failure to comply results in a £400/day fine. In essence the changes to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) encompass all vans — bar those that are car-derived — pick-ups, 4x4 utility vehicles and minibuses with more than eight seats. Full details of which vehicles fall foul of the new emissions remit can be found here.
Diesel price 'to hit record high'
12 January 2012
Fleets could be facing record diesel prices after the steepest and fastest ever rise in wholesale costs over the festive period, according to RMI Petrol.
From Monday December 19 to Thursday January 5 the cost of diesel increased by nearly 4.50ppl and unleaded petrol by as much as 5ppl with 20% VAT to be added. RMI Petrol fear that average UK prices for diesel, currently close to 141ppl, will soon push past the May 9 peak of 143ppl and hit new record levels - perhaps even breaching 145ppl in the next few weeks. These increases have been so rapid that fuel retailers have had scant time to react over the holidays and few have made any significant increase yet to their pump prices, says RMI Petrol.
However, from this weekend prices will have to move upwards quickly in order to protect the already wafer thin margins which have caused the independent retailers such financial stress through 2011. Movements in sterling were not significant against the US dollar over the holiday period but the following market drivers have caused prices to suddenly shoot up: