Recharge Wrap-up: Range-extended EV taxis in London, 2016 Chevy Volt interior two years old

Vattenfall, Bosch Use BMW Batteries For Grid Storage

The first Metrocab range-extended EV taxis are operating on the streets of London. The cabs use a 12.2-kWh battery and two 50-kW motors, as well as a 1.0-liter gasoline range extender. Fuel economy is 98 MPGe on the ECE101 cycle, and total driving range is over 348 miles before needing to charge or refuel. Cabbies can expect to save £20 to £40 (about $30 to $60) per day on average. "The cash savings on fuel are significant, the ride and comfort outstanding, and my first customers are thrilled with the new cab," says the first operator of the new EV taxi, Preston Morris. "With its air suspension providing unrivaled comfort, panoramic glass roof for views of the city and silent powertrain, what's not to like?" Read more in the press release below.

Chevrolet has had the interior design of the 2016 Volt finished for two years already, according to GM interior designer John McDougall. Beginning around 2010, GM received sketches from designers worldwide before narrowing it down to a handful of designs. Then the top three choices were molded from clay. The chosen theme was then refined for up to 18 months. "Every little thing you can imagine goes into that," says McDougall. "The glare angle from the windows, the placement of the controls, the placement of the seat. You have to create something that's beautiful and functional." Read more at GM Authority and at Inside EVs.

More details have emerged about the Second Life Batteries Alliance. Vattenfall has announced a research project in partnership with BMW and Bosch to use retired EV batteries for stationary, grid-connected energy storage in Hamburg, Germany. Over 100 lithium-ion batteries from BMW i3 and ActiveE vehicles will make up a two-mWh storage unit for grid balancing, enough to power 30 four-person households for a week. The system is "compact enough to fit in a small building," says Bosch. Such storage systems are especially fit for storing and moving alternative forms of energy, which often fluctuate in supply more than electricity from a traditional power plant. Vattenhall will operate the storage unit for 10 years, with Bosch managing the batteries, during which time the three partners hope to learn more about battery applications and their performance over time. Read more at Green Car Congress, or in the press release below.

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• Transport for London has licensed the new Metrocab to carry fare-paying passengers in London
• Metrocab is the first range extended electric powered taxi to be licensed in any metropolitan area in the world
• First fleet of pilot Metrocabs now being trialled in London
• Metrocab short-listed for prestigious 2015 London Transport Awards

Mytchett, Surrey, 11 February 2015 – Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive, the makers of the all-new Metrocab, are proud to confirm that the Metrocab has become the first zero-emission-capable taxi to be licensed by Transport for London to operate on a trial basis as a London Hackney Carriage.
The first few Metrocabs are already on the streets of London transporting fare-paying customers around the capital for the first time.

Metrocab chairman, Sir Charles Masefield, said: "The Metrocab has received numerous accolades and plaudits across the board in recent months, but now it is official – it is the first licensed range extended electric cab for London, and indeed the first in the world. We're very proud, and delighted with the Metrocabs' performance, economy and range at the hands of the first few London cabbies to be operating our range extended electric taxis."

The first London taxi driver to operate the Range Extended Electric (REE) Metrocab, Preston Morris, said: "It is great news for me, and for cabbies across London that the Metrocab is now licensed to work in the capital. The cash savings on fuel are significant, the ride and comfort outstanding, and my first customers are thrilled with the new cab. With its air suspension providing unrivalled comfort, panoramic glass roof for views of the city and silent powertrain, what's not to like?"

The Metrocab has also been shortlisted for the London Transport Awards 2015, in the Taxi & Private Hire Innovator of the Year category. Key note speaker at the awards presentation, to be held in London in March, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: "I am delighted, as always, to support these awards, which recognise all that our industry does every day to deliver transport innovation and progress for London and the UK, and congratulate those organisations and individuals nominated for their achievements over the last year."

British designed, engineered and built to help London meet its air quality targets, the Metrocab is a new generation zero-emissions capable range extended electric-powered taxi, and represents the cutting edge of green transport technology with styling both evolutionary and iconic. The Metrocab's Range-Extended-Electric (REE) technology delivers a range of 560km, typically saving a London taxi driver £20-£40 per day based on the average cab duty cycle in the capital.

London Mayor Boris Johnson has described the Metrocab as "superb and absolutely beautiful. A masterpiece of British engineering. The Rolls-Royce of taxis that can do 100mpg."

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