Mitsubishi iMiEV - click above for high res iamge gallery

The electric vehicle money is flowing everywhere. Following the U.S. DOE's announcement yesterday, the UK has announced it will spend £25 million ($40 million) on a large project to get EVs and "ultra-low carbon vehicles an everyday feature of life on Britain's roads in less than five years." Automotive partners include Ford, MINI, smart, Mitsubishi and Toyota. More information available at the links and in the press releases after the jump.

While EV fans here on AutoblogGreen will undoubtedly be happy to hear this news, there was a line in the Automotive News Europe (subs req'd) write-up of the announcement that doesn't exactly bode well. The automakers brought their vehicles together at the Guildhall in London for the day, which gave a reporter the chance to hear what the i MiEV sounds like: "When the demonstrator started the car and pressed the accelerator, it did not rev nor growl. It sounded like a toy." Really, a toy?

[Source: Automotive News Europe (subs req'd)]



  • Twenty-five of the first fifty all-electric Mitsubishi i MiEV city cars will go onto the Government's trial in November 2009

The all-electric Mitsubishi i MiEV city car is set to play a prominent role in one of the Government's recently announced Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator projects being run by the Technology Strategy Board. The Mitsubishi will take part in the West Midlands' CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators) consortium, which includes industry, council, academic and power organisations, and is led by design and engineering consultant, Arup.(1)

The Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, and Lord Drayson, the Minister for Science and Innovation, launched the Technology Strategy Board project yesterday, in which eight winning consortia will receive a total of £25 million from the Government to help speed up the introduction of ultra low carbon vehicles. The project brings together manufacturers, power companies, Regional Development Agencies, councils and academic institutions in an attempt to accelerate the reality of a greener future of transport in the UK.

Mitsubishi will showcase its award-winning all-electric i MiEV city car, with 25 vehicles going on the road as part of the trial from November this year. A total of approximately three hundred and forty vehicles will begin trials on UK roads within the next six to eighteen months, which makes this the biggest project of its kind.(2)

The i MiEV's vital statistics are sure to make it a prominent and successful player in the trials: with a top speed of 87mph, a range of well over 80 miles, and the ability to carry four adult passengers and luggage in comfort. It can also recharge from flat-to-full in 6 hours via a 240V UK supply, or fast-charge from flat to 80 percent in just 20-30 minutes – all features that will ensure the car shows off how practical it is for everyday use.

Mitsubishi's Managing Director, Lance Bradley, said "It is excellent news that the i MiEV will play such a prominent role in this real-world trial. It is a great platform for us to show off our advanced electric vehicle technology, which itself is acting as a catalyst for the many other CO2 lowering environmental technologies we have in the near future."
Toyota and EDF Energy awarded UK Government funding for innovative PHV road trial: 20 new PHVs on UK roads in 2010

Toyota and EDF Energy have been awarded UK government funding through the Technology Strategy Board's Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Competition to support a trial of up to 20 innovative Plug in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs). Based on Toyota's full hybrid technology, the PHV will come equipped with a powerful lithium-ion battery extending the vehicle's range in electric vehicle mode allowing for zero-emissions driving. The trial will start in London in 2010 for a period up to 3 years with the intention to lease the vehicles to a mix of public bodies and private companies including the Greater London Authority group and the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

"Together with our partner EDF Energy we are delighted that our competitive tender for a PHV demonstration in the UK has secured Government endorsement and funding. We often say that the PHV reflects 'the best of both worlds': it enhances the benefits of Toyota's full hybrid technology, while stepping over the constraints historically linked with electric vehicles. We've been testing a PHV in London since September 2008 and now we have the opportunity to demonstrate a fleet under demanding real-life conditions," said Miguel Fonseca, Managing Director of Toyota (GB) PLC.

"Our new PHV complements the newly-launched third generation Prius as plug-in technology extends electric driving mode almost tenfold, offering an even lower carbon transport solution for those customers with that specific need," he added.

Peter Hofman, Director of Company Shared Services & Integration at EDF Energy, said: "EDF Energy is at the heart of solutions to help combat climate change and has the expertise to help people use their energy more efficiently. That is why together with Toyota, we are delighted that our consortia has received funding and government backing for this trial. I am delighted that we will both be playing such a major role in continuing to develop this innovative technology as part of our ongoing work to make clean electric transport more accessible to everyone."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Toyota and EDF Energy have won funding to deliver innovative plug in electric hybrid vehicles onto the capital's streets. The Greater London Authority group will be trialling a number of these vehicles as part of our active participation in this winning bid. I want to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe and these trials will provide us with valuable information on what is needed to ensure they can become an everyday choice."

The trial will assess the vehicle's performance in urban driving conditions while also gathering information about the experience of drivers and passengers. This would include an understanding of their habits and preferences when recharging the vehicle – either at home, using a standard electrical point, or at charging points at vehicle fleet depots and elsewhere. Data collected by the trial will help inform future technology and policy developments and will be shared with Cenex – the UK Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon & Fuel Cell Technologies – and the Department for Transport, who are supporting this project through their contribution to the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Competition.

Toyota's PHV adds an extended electric driving mode to the proven benefits of Toyota's full hybrid technology: low CO2, exceptional fuel efficiency, seamless acceleration and quiet driving. The PHV can be driven as an electric vehicle for shorter distances or city commutes, while for long-distance journeys it operates as a full hybrid with its petrol engine serving as both a power source and battery generator when required. The battery is charged during driving, deceleration or braking, or by connecting its plug to a standard electrical point at home or at work.

Toyota will deploy over 500 new PHVs globally in Europe, Japan and the US – by 2010.

smart awarded £2.5m funding from Technology Strategy Board to create further electric car trials

smart has been awarded funding, as part of two industry consortia, to help create an electric car future for UK motorists, it was announced yesterday.

Smart ED
  • Smart ED
  • After showing the battery-powered second generation Smart ED at last year's Paris Show it came to the Detroit Show for the first time. Daimler will start leasing the cars in Europe later this year and in the US next year. At the show, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced that the California EV maker will be supplying battery packs and charging systems for the Smart.

With the support of the Technology Strategy Board grant, smart is inviting applicants to take part in two electric drive research trials: one project in London and the South East with smart as lead partner of a larger consortium, and one in the West Midlands alongside a number of other organisations with Ove Arup & Partners as lead. The research is a unique opportunity for users to influence the product development and design process, and will include a focus on domestic recharging behaviours over a 12 month period.

The Technology Strategy Board - the government body that exists to promote business innovation in technology - announced the winners of its Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator competition yesterday. The successful bids bring together car manufacturers, power companies, councils and academic institutions in eight consortia to accelerate the availability of innovative low carbon cars to consumers.

Dermot Kelly, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz, said: "smart has been conducting real-life trials of 100 electric cars with partner companies across the country since 2007. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and this has been instrumental in our decision to put the car into small series production and bring another 100 cars to the UK early in 2010."

smart is leading The London and South East consortium, which involves EDF Energy, Greater London Authority, Elektromotive and Westminster City Council. The West Midlands consortia is led by Ove Arup & Partners, and involves smart.

Kelly continued: "We're delighted that smart has been awarded this funding. It means we can offer electric smarts with state of the art lithium-ion battery technology at affordable monthly lease rates to participants."

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