Powersystems Announce First Major Bus Electrification in Scotland

Powersystems Announce First Major Bus Electrification in Scotland

Powersystems UK are part of a nationwide team that design, install, commission and maintain electrical vehicle (EV) infrastructure for bus and vehicle manufacturers as well as fleet transport operators.

As a leading high voltage engineering specialist, Powersystems have been appointed to design, supply, install, test and commission the electric vehicle charging infrastructure for 22 BYD ADL Enviro 200EV buses for First Bus, Glasgow.

As part of the project Powersystems will also be installing the client’s High Voltage (HV) and Low Voltage (LV) infrastructure, which, will include high voltage substations, transformers, LV distribution switchgear and LV cables connecting to 80 kW electric vehicle charge points.

In parallel Powersystems will be engaging with SP Energy Networks to enable the design and installation of the HV assets from the connection point to the metering substation which will be adopted by Scottish Power.

Mark Tanner, Contracts Manager at Powersystems said, “There are a number of factors you need to consider when upgrading local electricity network for your bus or fleet infrastructure projects. Early engagement is key to enable clients to secure grid capacity.”

The delivery of this project will be overseen by Gary West, Engineering Director for First Bus in Scotland, he said: “We are delighted to be working alongside SP Energy Networks and Powersystems UK to future proof our depot with the installation of 22 Electric Vehicle charging points as part of our electric bus launch. This project will see us introduce the first fully electric commercial bus service to Glasgow. The installation of the Electric Vehicle charging points also allows us to plan for and consider more fully electric vehicles for future fleet investment.”

First Bus continues to invest in a modern fleet, manufactured in Scotland by Alexander Dennis.

The electric buses are being fully funded as part of SP Energy Networks £20million Green Economy Fund, which supports Glasgow’s mission to become the UK’s first net zero emissions city by 2030. It also contributes to the Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to meet climate change targets, boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for their communities. Powersystems have been engaging with and assisting the major bus and fleet operators in the UK with their grid and infrastructure requirements as the nation moves towards decarbonised transportation.

For more information about Powersystems please visit the website www.powersystemsuk.co.uk

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UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging

UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging

UK should stop plans to ramp up use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging, MPs warn.

Compostable plastic packaging has been criticised by a committee of MPs

The use of ‘industrially’ compostable packaging should not be promoted in the UK because the waste management infrastructure to deal with it is ‘not fit for purpose’, a committee of MPs has warned.

Much of the compostable packaging produced for the UK market only degrades in industrial composting facilities in specific industrial conditions, rather than in home composting – but not all is sent to these facilities. Industrial composting conditions require “elevated temperatures (55-60°) combined with a high relative humidity and the presence of oxygen”.

In its latest report on plastic food and drink packaging, UK’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee stated: “Although industrially compostable plastic packaging is appealing as an alternative to conventional plastics, the general waste management infrastructure to manage it is not yet fit for purpose.

“In addition, we are concerned that consumers are confused about how to dispose of compostable packaging, particularly if there is no dedicated compostable waste bin available. This could result in contamination of dry recycling as well as littering. We therefore don’t support a general increase in the use of industrially compostable packaging at this stage.”

However, it went on to state that industrially compostable packaging could play a role in closed loop environments, such as sporting events and workplace with catering facilities, where there is a dedicated disposal and collection service.

The news comes as the use of alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastic are being adopted by many food and drink companies, cafes, takeaway coffee venues, cafes and retailers.

Overall, experts that gave evidence to EFRA echoed the committee’s concerns over industrially compostable packaging.

‘Problem to marine life’

Sarah Greenwood, packaging technology expert at the University of Sheffield, said: “There is a perception with compostable packaging that it turns into compost, but it does not. It turns into carbon dioxide, water or methane with a tiny amount of biomass left behind.”

Environmental NGOs told the committee that the rapid introduction of such alternatives could actually increase plastic pollution.

Juliet Phillips, ocean campaigner of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “If a biodegradable cup gets into the sea, it could pose just as much of a problem to marine life as a conventional plastic cup.”

Trade body the Environmental Services Association highlighted that “there are a number of barriers to ensuring compostables work effectively with the waste management system and actually offer an environmental benefit”. The organisation said that industrially compostable packaging should be “sent to an In-Vessel Composting facility (IVC)”.

However, the Government’s “preferred option for treating food waste is anaerobic digestion (AD), meaning that the infrastructure portfolio will move increasingly in that direction and away from IVC”, the ESA added. The trade body went on to say that compostable packaging “is not currently processed by AD plants, and so operators will seek to extract it as they do with plastic contamination, and send it to energy from waste or landfill”.

However, not all the experts who gave evidence to EFRA’s report were critical of compostable packaging and gave praise to the material.

Vegware (@vegware), a compostable packaging manufacturer, stated that “where suitable composting is not possible, we advise people to put our products in general waste”. Vegware also stated that “the benefits of choosing lower carbon, renewable, recycled or reclaimed materials apply no matter what happens to them after use” and stated that studies showed that incineration of their products “produces more heat than newspaper, wood or food waste”, which is beneficial when producing energy from waste, and that “it produces no volatile gases and leaves little residue”. It added that “in landfill, studies show that compostable packaging and does not give off methane”.

The Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) has stated that compostable materials are an “answer to specific packaging challenges and could substitute around 5-8% of current plastic packaging”.

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Jaguar Land Rover announce huge electric vehicle investment

Jaguar Land Rover announce huge electric vehicle investment

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a huge investment to build electric cars in the UK.

The investment will be centred around the Coventry car maker’s plant in Castle Bromwich, the home of Jaguar, but other plants will also benefit.

Dr Ralph Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The future of mobility is electric and as a visionary British company, we are committed to making our next generation of zero-emission vehicles in the UK.”We are co-locating our electric vehicle manufacture, electronic drive units and battery assembly to create a powerhouse of electrification in the Midlands.”

The news was welcomed by the Government and the trade union Unite.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the UK automotive industry – protecting thousands of skilled jobs.

“It reflects our determination for the UK to be at the forefront of the development and manufacturing of the next generation of electric vehicles.”
Our sister website BusinessLive is running a live blog on Jaguar Land Rover’s announcement today You can find it. He added: “JLR’s announcement recognises the strength of the excellent workforce at Castle Bromwich and acknowledges the efforts of many parties, including the government and the Mayor Andy Street, to invest and build a sustainable future in the region for advanced manufacturing, safeguarding jobs and skills.”

The investment, which was revealed in the media earlier this week , marks the run-out of the existing XJ, which was made at Castle Bromwich.

It comes in the wake of an agreement by employees to work a four-day week at the Birmingham site.

The agreement was drafted between the company and Unite and hailed as a deal that would secure the future of the Castle Bromwich plant and pave the way for future investment. Employees will still work a 37-hour week.

Huge electric investment, what the credit rating downgrade means, Slovakia update and F-Type spy shots – your Jaguar Land Rover digest Unite’s assistant general secretary for manufacturing Steve Turner said: “Today’s trailblazing announcement by Jaguar Land Rover is testament to the skill and hard work of Unite members and shop stewards.

“Once again they have pulled out all the stops to secure the new investment needed for this new model which will be the first UK built all-electric executive saloon.

“Not only is it a fantastic boost to the UK car industry, but it ensures that Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich site remains a powerhouse of the regional economy providing a living for thousands of workers and supporting many more in the supply chain.

“This is a proud day for our members and Jaguar Land Rover.

“The Government and Theresa May’s replacement as prime minister must make sure it is not the last for the UK’s world beating car workers and their families. “

The Castle Bromwich plant, near Junction 5 of the M6, employs around 2,500 workers.

It produces the XE, XF, XF Sportbrake, F-Type and the current XJ models.

Jaguar Land Rover said the transformation of Castle Bromwich will be “the most significant in the plant’s history”.

The new electric vehicles will be based on the company’s Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA).

Mr Speth said: Convenience and affordability are the two key enablers to drive the uptake of electric vehicles to the levels that we all need. Charging should be as easy as re-fuelling a conventional vehicle.

“Affordability will only be achieved if we make batteries here in the UK, close to vehicle production, to avoid the cost and safety risk of importing from abroad.

“The UK has the raw materials, scientific research in our universities and an existing supplier base to put the UK at the leading edge of mobility and job creation.”

Jaguar Land Rover was the Jaguar I-Pace, which is made under contract by Magna Steyr in Austria.

Batteries for new electric vehicles will be made at a new factory being built in Hams Hall in Warwickshire, while the electric motors will be manufactured at Jaguar Land Rover’s engine plant near Wolverhampton.

The news of investment will come as a welcome shot in the arm for Jaguar Land Rover, as the firm battles the triple woes of falling sales in China, declining demand for diesel vehicles and ongoing uncertainty over Brexit.

Earlier this year the company announced plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs and later posted losses of £358m (or £3.6 billion if a writedown on the value of assets was taken into account) for the 2018/19 financial year.

Rumours have persisted of a tie-up with, or takeover by, French car maker PSA Group, though Jaguar Land Rover has recently signed a partnership deal with BMW to produce electric drive units (EDUs) for the next generation of electric vehicles.

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Press Release – 1st energisation at the Clocaenog Forest Wind Turbine Farm

Press Release – 1st energisation at the Clocaenog Forest Wind Turbine Farm

Powersystems completed the 1st energisation at the Clocaenog Forest Wind Turbine Farm 132kV compound with 2 Grid Transformers

Powersystems UK were appointed to design, supply installation, testing and commission a 132kV grid connection by Ruthin-based Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK who is the principal contractor and working closely with the Clocaenog Forest Wind Turbine Farm for developer innogy Renewables UK.

This marks a massive milestone in the renewable energy development project in Denbighshire to connect 27×3.6MW Vestas Wind Turbines. And further progress the £120 million scheme.

Powersystems have constructed the dual transformer 132kV substation to enable the 96MW of power generated from the wind turbines to be exported to the grid.

Within Clocaenog Forest itself, Powersystems the electrical engineering company has also laid 181km of 33kV power and fibre optic cable works to connect all 27×3.6MW Vestas Wind Turbines.

Managing Director Chris Jenkins said: “We’re proud to get to this milestone in the project and again, prove our capability to deliver for our clients.

“Operating at 132kV requires specialist capability and at Powersystems we have a track record of delivering projects at this high voltage level.

“Final connection works to the turbines continues and we see the completion of this over the summer of 2019, with first generation expected in June.

Powersystems UK, have installed the infrastructure for 3GW of Wind Farm generation across the UK representing 25% of on-shore windfarms built.

The wind farm, situated within the working forest managed by Natural Resources Wales, will have the capacity to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of up to 63,800 average UK homes per year.

Wind Farms

Experience in the design and installation of high voltage electrical infrastructure has placed Powersystems in a position ideally suited to carryout wind farm electrical balance of plant contracts. Since our first wind farm installation at Goonhilly Downs in 1992 we have been actively involved with wind farm projects ranging from single turbines to 60 plus turbine sites.

For more information about the Clocaenog Wind Turbine Farm project please visit https://www.powersystemsuk.co.uk/project/15382-clocaenog-wind-farm/

For more information about Powersystems UK please visit the website www.powersystemsuk.co.uk

Notes To Editors – Contact Information

This article is written by Jules Daly, Marketing and Communications Manager at Powersystems UK. Email jules.daly@powersystemsuk.com Telephone 01454 318000

Photography Copyright please credit all images used to www.powersystemsuk.co.uk

Powersystems UK Ltd are a specialist High Voltage electrical engineering company established in 1977.  Our head office is located in Yate, Bristol. Our current turnover to December 2018 is in excess of £27 million, in 2019 we celebrate our 42nd year of trading.

Powersystems have grown by reputation to become a major force in the design and installation of high voltage infrastructure across the whole of the United Kingdom.

As one of the first Lloyds National Electricity Registration Scheme ‘s accredited Independent Connection Providers we are capable of delivering contestable grid connections at voltages up to 132kV.

We have supported and delivered projects for diverse clientele; this includes:

  • Dyson Hullavigton, electric vehicle research and development facility for UK electric vehicle production
  • Millbrook Proving Ground, electric vehicle testing facility
  • EV infrastructure, for bus transportation projects UK wide
  • Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio, London
  • Rolls Royce Aero Engines and Airbus
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Formula One Race Teams (Mercedes Petronas, Williams F1 and Red Bull Technologies)
  • Public Sector – Ministry of Defence, Universities, NHS Trusts UK wide, Schools, Water Utilities.
  • Bristol, Newport and Southampton Port Authorities

Powersystems UK Ltd. is an Employee Owned Business and as such has a keen interest in the well-being of all its employees. We encourage and empower you to be imaginative, share great ideas and be involved in the success of our business.

 

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Employee ownership sector shows positive growth

Employee ownership sector shows positive growth

Latest employee ownership sector shows  positive growth in top 50 report

Employee ownership businesses enjoy higher levels of productivity. In the latest publication of the Employee Ownership Association’s (EOA) annual 2018 Top 50 Report, shows positive growth for the employee ownership sector. With a combined sales value of nearly £20bn, five new entries to the Top 50 and an almost 10% median increase in operating profits.

 Productivity Rising in the Top 50 year on year

25% UK-Registered companies are under employee ownership

The Top 50 list, covers independent UK-registered companies that are at least 25% owned by their employees on a broad basis. And UK subsidiaries of non-UK companies that are more than 75% employee owned. Nigel Mason, Director of the RM2 Partnership said: “It’s been a challenging year for UK businesses. Especially for those on the high street, but total sales for companies on this year’s Top 50 list are up 6.5% on a like-for-like* basis. A figure that shows resilience and sustained high growth in the employee owned sector.

250 Companies transitioned to employee ownership since 2014

“More than 250 businesses including Aardman Animations and Riverford Organic Farmers have transitioned to an EOT since 2014. Many of them below the Top 50, which has helped the sector diversify in size. As more businesses realise the benefits of this business model. We will continue our conversations with government about support for employee ownership. We are very confident that the sector will continue to grow.” 2018 has been a particularly interesting year for the EOA. It enjoyed significant attention in the national media, which generated new levels of interest and engagement in the sector. In addition, the three main political parties in the UK directly consulted with the EOA to incorporate elements of employee ownership into their manifestos.

The top findings from the employee ownership report include:
  • £19.8bn combined sales of Top 50 employee-owned companies (up 6.5% on like-for-like basis)
  • 9.2% median increase in operation profits
  • 7.3% increase in productivity year-on-year (Compared to UK productivity which fell by 0.1% Q1 2017 to Q1 2018)
  • 171,000 combined employees (down 1% on a like-for-like basis)
  • 54% of companies with no net debt

For the first time in five years, there has been a decrease in the combined sales of the Top 50. This is because of tough trading conditions in the retail sector. Mainly due to the demise of wholesaler Palmer and Harvey. Meanwhile, there was a fall in profits and head count for the Top-50’s number one John Lewis & Partners, which still fared better than many of its high street counterparts.

Employee owned businesses securing future business values

Employee-Ownership-Trust

Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “It is an exciting time for the sector with founders of big British brands such as Riverford, Aardman and Sawday’s choosing employee ownership. In order to secure the future of the business’ values and ethos while rooting the jobs and associated value to the region in the UK indefinitely. “A tough time for retail in 2018 has had an impact on the total sales of the Top 50. This shows that no business is immune to market pressures. However, like-for-like total sales are up by 6.5%, and our sector has seen a continuing rise in productivity bucking the national trend. Findings that only add weight to the evidence and recommendations of the Ownership Dividend. Evidence shows that the independent nature of EO business and the structures they adopt to engage their employees allow for growth over the longer term and have a huge, positive impact on business performance.”

The ownership dividend report

This year The Ownership Dividend report was published. Chaired by Baroness Sharon Bowles, the inquiry Report contains the most comprehensive, robust and compelling evidence about employee ownership in the UK to date. This report shows how the employee ownership sector can provide the positive solutions needed to face many of the challenges currently facing the UK economy.

The employee-owned sector counts for over £30 billion contribution to UK GDP and is growing by a rate of 10% a year. Despite this, the sector’s profile is comparatively low and its potential contribution to the economy is under-exploited as a result.

To view the full findings of the Employee Ownership Top 50 Report, please visit https://employeeownership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Employee-Ownership-Top-50-2018.pdf

Powersystems UK Ltd. is an Employee Owned Business and as such has a keen interest in the well-being of all its employees. We encourage and empower you to be imaginative, share great ideas and be involved in the success of our business.

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Powersystems the environment, transportation and the electric vehicle revolution (EV)

Powersystems the environment, transportation and the electric vehicle revolution (EV)

The Electric Vehicle Revolution, Transportation and Environment

To understand the electric vehicle revolution, it helps to look at the key elements driving it today.

Consumer tastes and preferences are changing. The driver to these behavioural changes can almost be linked to technological innovation.

Technology is one part of a three-pronged phenomenon that’s behind the electric vehicle revolution. The other two key drivers are environmental awareness and political policy changes.

Awakening environmental consciousness

Air pollution – reducing emissions

Air pollution, particularly in cities is not a new problem. In the Middle Ages the use of coal in cities such as London began to escalate. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th century was centred around the use of coal. Burning coal for domestic and industrial uses, meant that air pollution reached very high levels.Air-pollution-Britain

Following the clean air act of 1956 and 1968, air quality improvements continued through the 1970s. Further regulations were introduced through the 1974 Control of Air Pollution Act. This included the regulations for the composition of motor fuel and limits for the sulphur content of industrial fuel.

Today, the UK is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. For this to happen, the UK economy needs to transform while ensuring secure, low-carbon energy supplies to 2050.

Growth in cars, trucks and buses

During the early 1980s, the number of motor vehicles became more prevalent.  The early focus was on the effect of lead pollution on human health. By the early 1990s, the effects of other vehicle pollutants became a major concern.

Today, cars, trucks and buses powered by fossil fuels are major contributors to air pollution. As well as being a leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The transport sector is responsible for a large proportion of urban air pollution.Greenhouse-Gas-Emissions-Electric-Vehicle-Revolution

The automotive sector contributes somewhere between 12 and 70 percent of particulate air pollution. Another transport-related air pollutant that harms health includes ground level ozone (O3) a key factor in chronic respiratory disease such as asthma. Some of the precursors of O3 include nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO).

Automotive sector is responsible for a large amount of polluting emissions

Cars, trucks and buses produce air pollution throughout their lifecycle. This includes pollution emitted during vehicle operation and fuel production. Extra emissions are associated with refining and distribution of fuels and to a lesser extent, manufacturing and disposal of the vehicle.

Air pollution from cars, trucks and buses splits into primary and secondary pollution. Primary pollution emits into the atmosphere. Secondary pollution results from chemical reactions between pollutants in the atmosphere. These pollutants, now concentrated at their highest levels in the Earth’s atmosphere in the last 650,000 years, are now linked to climate change.

Climate change

Environmental studies around the impact of climate change suggest, that the Earth’s temperature will rise far more than two degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Unless significant changes are made to global manufacturing, energy supply, and consumer practices. At the same time, these pollutants have created smog and local pollution, creating health problems and choking major cities.

Broken promise

Key observers of the UK diesel-fuelled air pollution crisis, advised that the government decision to incentivise diesel vehicles, which produced less climate-warming dioxide, sparked the initial problems. The heart of the disaster a giant broken promise: the motor industry said it would clean up diesel but instead bypassed the rules for years. What of course actually happened was that diesel emissions limits were not met on the road. Motor manufactures could not manage the problem.

Bordering the edge of sharp practice

Since 2000 The European Union set tough emissions standards for Nitrogen Dioxide, which could have kept levels down. But rather than deliver cars that met these limits in everyday driving, manufacturers created vehicles that could pass the tests. Yet these vehicles emitted pollutants at higher levels once out of the test center.

This sharp practice motivated by the opportunity to shave costs and avoid the inconvenience of drivers needing to top up pollution-busting chemicals more than once a year. By the mid-2000s, it was clear to air-pollution experts that something was very wrong. Nitrogen dioxide levels were rising in cities not falling. And on-the-road testing was starting to show that diesel vehicles were producing more pollution then they were supposed to.

Following the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal, and glimpses at backroom dealing done by national governments to protect car makers from greener regulations. It was no accident, as large-scale public outcry in response to this trend was starting to build. Auto manufacturers began marketing alternative-powered vehicles that produced lower emissions. They did this by augmenting internal combustion engines with electric motors.

It may be the replacement of diesel, not cleaning them up, that finally clears the air.

Electric vehicle revolution early history

The invention of the first model electric vehicle is attributed to various people.

  • 1828 a Hungarian, Anyos Jedlik invented an early type of electric motor, he then created a small model car powered by this motor
  • 1834, Vermont blacksmith Thomas Davenport, built a contraption which operated on a short, circular electrified track
  • 1834, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh of Groningen, the Netherlands and his assistant Christopher Becker created a small-scale electric car, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells
  • 1859 Rechargeable batteries for storing electricity on board a vehicle with the invention of the lead acid battery by French physicist Gaston Plante
  • 1881 Camille Alphonse Faure, French Scientist improved the design of the battery increasing the capacity which led to their manufacture on an industrial scale
  • 1884 Thomas Parker an English electrical engineer, inventor and industrialist. Was responsible for innovations such as electrifying the London Underground, overhead tramways in Liverpool and Birmingham. Thomas Parker built the first production electric car in London using his own speciality designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries. His interest with the construction of motor fuel-efficient vehicles led him to experiment with electric vehicles
    First production electric car

    Thomas Parker built the first production electric car in London using his own speciality designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries.

  • 1888 Electric Construction Corporation was formed and had the monopoly on the British electric car markets.
  • 1899 Electric vehicles also held may speed and distance records. Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100/km/h (62mph) speed barrier by Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian race car driver with his rocket shaped electric vehicle 29 April

Electric vehicle revolution the golden age

In the late 1890s and early 1900s interest in motor vehicles increased. Electric battery-powered taxis became available at the end of the 19th century.

In London, Walter C. Bersey designed a fleet of such cabs and introduced them to the streets of London in 1897. Nicknamed ‘Hummingbirds’ due to the humming noise they made.

Electric vehicles had many advantages over their early-1900s competitors. They did not have the vibrations, smell and noise associated with gasoline cars. They also did not need gear changes. The electric vehicles were also preferred because they did not need a manual effort to start, as did gasoline cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine.

Electric vehicles revolution and city cars

Used as city cars, electric cars found popularity among well-heeled customers who used them where their limited range proved to be even less of a disadvantage. Electric cars were often marketed as suitable vehicles for women drivers due to their ease of operation; in fact, early electric cars were stigmatised by the perception that they were “women’s cars”, leading some companies to affix radiators to the front to disguise the car’s propulsion system.Electric-vehicle-revolution-Electric-city-car

Electric vehicle Infrastructure

Acceptance of electric cars was hampered by a lack of power infrastructure.

By 1912, many homes were wired for electricity, enabling a surge in the popularity of the cars.

A total of 33,842 electric cars were registered in the United States. And the U.S. became the country where electric cars had gained the most acceptance.

Most early electric vehicles were massive, ornate carriages. Designed for the upper-class customers that made them popular. They featured luxurious interiors and were replete with expensive materials.

Sales of electric cars peaked in the early 1910s.

In order to overcome the limited operating range of electric vehicles, and the lack of recharging infrastructure, an exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896.

The concept was first put into practice by Hartford Electric Light Company and the GeVeCo battery service and available for electric trucks.

The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company (GVC, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery.

The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover maintenance and storage of the truck.

Both vehicles and batteries were modified to ease a fast battery exchange.

The service was provided between 1910 and 1924 and during that period covered more than 6 million miles.

Beginning in 1917 a similar successful service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Wagon Company cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries.

The decline of the electric vehicle revolution

By the 1920s an improved road infrastructure required a vehicle with a greater range than offered by electric cars.

With the affordability of fuel as well as; cars becoming even easier to operate, coupled with the invention of the electric starter and finally the initiation of mass production vehicles from Henry Ford, the electric car began to lose its position in the automobile market.

By 1912, an electric car sold for almost double the prices of a fuel car. Most electric car makers stopped production in the 1910s. Electric vehicles-maintained popularity for certain applications where their limited range did not pose major problems.

Fork lift trucks were electrically powered. For most of the 20th century the majority of the world’s battery electric road vehicles were British milk floats. Electric golf carts were produced as early as 1954.

Years passed without a major revival in the use of electric cars. Electric vehicle technology stagnated.

In the late 1950s, Henney Coachworks and the National Union Electric Company, makers of Exide batteries, formed a joint venture to produce a new electric car, the Henney Kilowatt, based on the French Renault Dauphine.

The car was produced in 36- volt and 72-volt configurations; the 72-volt models had a top speed approaching 96 km/h (60 mph) and could travel for an hour on a single charge.

Despite the Kilowatt’s improved performance with respect to previous electric cars, consumers found it too expensive compared to fuel cars of the time, and production ended in 1961.

Electric vehicle revolution and the revival of interest

  • In 1959, American Motors Corporation (AMC) and Sonotone Corporation announced a joint research effort to consider producing an electric car powered by a “self-charging” battery. That same year, Nu-Way Industries showed an experimental electric car with a one-piece plastic body that was to begin production in early 1960
  • In 1967, AMC partnered with Gulton Industries to develop a new battery based on lithium and a speed controller designed by Victor Wouk
  • 1971, 31 July an electric car received the unique distinction of becoming the first manned vehicle to drive on the Moon; that car was the Lunar Roving Vehicle, which was first deployed during the Apollo 15 mission. The “Moon buggy” was developed by Boeing and GM subsidiary Delco Electronics (co-founded by Kettering) featured a DC drive motor in each wheel, and a pair of 36-volt silver-zinc potassium hydroxide non-rechargeable batteries
    Lunar roving vehicle moon buggy

    • 1971, 31 July an electric car received the unique distinction of becoming the first manned vehicle to drive on the Moon; that car was the Lunar Roving Vehicle, which was first deployed during the Apollo 15 mission.

  • 1970s and 1980s energy crisis brought about renewed interest in the perceived independence electric cars had from the fluctuations of the hydrocarbon energy market. General Motors created a concept car of another of their gasoline cars, the Electrovette (1976)
  • 1990 Los Angeles Auto Show, General Motors president Roger Smith unveiled the GM Impact electric concept car, along with the announcement that GM would build electric cars for sale to the public
  • Throughout the 1990s, interest in fuel-efficient or environment friendly cars declined among consumers in the United States. Instead they favoured sport utility vehicles, which were affordable to operate despite their poor fuel efficiency thanks to lower fuel prices. Domestic U.S. automakers chose to focus their product lines around the truck-based vehicles, which enjoyed larger profit margins than the smaller cars which were preferred in places like Europe or Japan
  • 2004 California electric car maker Tesla Motors began development on the Tesla Roadster. The Roadster was the first road legal serial production all electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells and the first production all electric car to travel more than 320 km (200 miles) per charge
  • 2010 The Nissan Leaf introduced in Japan and the United States became the first modern all-electric, zero tailpipe emission five door family hatchback to be produced for the mass market from a major manufacturer. As of January 2013, the Leaf is also available in Australia, Canada and 17 European countries
  • 2014, there were over 500,000 plug-in electric passenger cars and utility vans in the world. The U.S leading plug-in electric car sales with 45% share of global sales. The world’s top selling all-electric cars in 2014 were the Nissan Leaf (61,507), Tesla Model S (31,655), BMW i3 (16,052), and the Renault Zoe (11,323). Accounting for plug-in hybrids, the Leaf and the Model S also ranked first and second among the world’s top 10 selling plug-in electric cars
  • 2016, Norway became the first country where 5% of all registered cars was a plug-in electric vehicle
  • 2018, December starts to see the rise of the electric vehicle revolution the global stock of plug-in electric cars reached 5.1 million units, consisting of 3.3 million all-electric cars (65%) and 1.8 million plug-in hybrid cars (35%). Despite the rapid growth experienced, the plug-in electric car segment represents about 1 out of every 250 motor vehicles on the world’s roads at the end of 2018
    Electric Vehicle Revolution - Types of electric vehicles

    Source: Reuters Graphics and U.S. Department of Energy

Types of electric vehicles

Conventional vehicles – Use internal combustion engines. Fuel is injected into the engine, mixing with air before being ignited to start the engine.

Hybrid electric vehicles – Powered by both engine and electric motor. The battery is charged internally throughout the engine.

Plug-In Hybrid – Battery can be charged both internally and externally through outlets. Run on electric power before using the engine.

All-electric vehicles – Powered only by electric motor with no engine. Have large traction battery and must be plugged externally to charge.

 

Electric vehicle revolution and technology rises to the occasion

As consumer awareness continues to grow and governments around the world set rigorous new fuel economy standards, automotive technology has also upped its game. The electric Tesla Model S, introduced in 2012, has now sold more than 250,000 electric cars has set an entirely new standard of what was possible in an alternative-powered vehicle. Able to hurtle from 0-to-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, the four-door luxury sedan is the third fastest accelerating production car ever.

Suddenly environmentalists and enthusiasts alike can find something to get excited about in the burgeoning EV movement. Still, despite the rapid-fire growth coming from several different directions, just six countries – China, the U.S., Japan, Canada, Norway, and the UK – currently have EV market shares that are above one percent of total vehicle sales. That number is expected to grow exponentially over the next several years, though.

The key to that growth has been technological improvement in lithium-ion batteries. Technology improvements in this space are causing energy storage prices to drop precipitously.

Lithium batteries have seen an 89% reduction in price and a 73% increase in energy density.

Due to economies of scale, the price for the lithium-ion battery pack is dropping steadily by 15 percent every year and the energy density is increasing.  This results in a longer range for the same price. When the range increases more, consumers will accept EVs and the adoption moves along a classic technology adoption curve: from early adopters to laggards. This market is no different from other tech markets.

With this development, EVs will sooner or later reach the price/quality ratios that make them competitive with fossil-fuel alternatives. When this happens, the market will tip into a new direction quickly.

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