Euro EV Items

A few things happened of late in Europe related to the electrification of the automobile that are the sorts of things that underline things are moving rapidly in that direction.

A few things happened of late in Europe related to the electrification of the automobile that are the sorts of things that underline things are moving rapidly in that direction.

Although people often think that the vehicle manufacturers are the ones who have substantial control over what they will or won’t do, there are two other parties that play significant roles in what can happen: Governments and Suppliers.

Item: Interim findings supporting electric vehicles (EVs) have been release by the cologne-mobil project, based in Cologne, Germany. The study is jointly sponsored by the city of Cologne, RheinEnergie AG, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and Ford. The program has had 10 Ford Transit battery-electric vehicles and 10 Ford Transit Connect Electric vehicles being operated by fleet customers throughout Cologne since April 2010. Among the findings:

· Commercial EVs are well-suited to demands in urban environments

· The driving range was “more than adequate,” with drivers traveling between 25 and 70 km per day.

· Charging has not been a problem.

Although this study focuses on delivery vehicles, the University of Duisburg-Essen also created a virtual fleet of 30,000 EV passenger cars to calculate both energy requirements for that many vehicles as well as driving range. They’ve calculated that the electricity consumption is 3.7% of the total comparative electricity demand of households and that the typical Cologne resident drives an average 30 km per day, so EV range is adequate.

The main project also calculated the amount of CO2 emissions were related to the vehicles: 90% less on a comparable basis, well-to-wheel. European governments are keenly interested in things like that.


Schaeffler ACTIVeDRIVE

Item: Schaeffler Group, which specializes in things like bearings used in engines and transmissions, announced that it is creating an eMobility Systems Div. In making the announcement, Rolf Najork, Schaeffler director of Transmission Systems and Electric Drives, said, “Electric mobility is generating sustained and growing interest. As a development partner and supplier, we must react to this development.”

In other words, this supplier sees opportunity and is organizing accordingly.

Earlier this year, the company revealed a concept EV that it calls the ACTIVeDRIVE. The four-wheel-drive vehicle, based on a Skoda Octavia Scout, uses a Schaeffler-developed electric differential on the front and rear axles. The eDifferential system uses two water-cooled permanent magnet synchronous machines from a Schaeffler company, a planetary gear, a gearbox, and a lightweight differential. One of the electric machines provides drive and the other torque distribution. The ACTIVeDRIVE uses lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. It is configured to provide a driving range of up to 100 km.

Item: ABB, the Zurich-based company that specializes in power and automation technologies, serving the likes of electric utilities around the world, recently purchased Epyon B.V., a provider of EV charging stations, based in Rijswijk, Netherlands. In making the announcement, research from Pike Research on the potential global growth of charging stations was cited: 1.6-million by 2015. Clearly, a lot of upside.

An interesting aspect is that Epyon as DC fast-charging units: 15-minute charge times can be achieved, compared with the 6 to 8 hours of AC chargers.

Conclusion: The auto industry isn’t just about the car companies. It is about the environment in which they operate, the environment that supports them, the environment their customers live in. And clearly, there is a wide range of interest in electrification, as evidenced simply by a small sample of what is assuredly a much greater set.