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VW Eyes Opportunity for Commercial Battery Vans with e-Co-Motion

Clean delivery option for polluted megacities.

by on Mar.04, 2013

VW sees opportunities for a battery-battery commercial van in crowded and polluted megacities.

While battery power has severe range restrictions, automakers see great potential for small city car applications. But with the e-Co-Motion concept it unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this week, Volkswagen has yet another opportunity in mind.

The German maker’s truck subsidiary sees a promising niche for short-distance commercial vans that could meet growing demand for clean vehicles in polluted megacities.

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VW’s e-Co-Motion concept vehicle offers a large cargo area and the carrying capacity of eight hundred kilograms – nearly 1,800 pounds — of payload, while also producing zero emissions from its electric drive system, VW officials said.

“Electric mobility – especially in light commercial vehicles – could play a crucial role in meeting the growing transport needs of the world’s megacities,’ explains Eckhard Scholz of the Brand Board of Management.

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Electric Vans Likely to Save Owners Money

But battery cars likely to cost $1000s more, says new study.

by on Jun.20, 2012

Nissan is expecting strong fleet demand for the battery version of its NV200 van.

Electric passenger cars currently cost $5,000 to $6,000 more for their owners to buy and operate than an equivalent fossil fuel car over the vehicle’s lifetime, according to a new study by the Paris-based International Transport Forum (ITF).

But because of the different operating requirement, an electric delivery van costs is likely to cost as much as $5,000 less to own and operate when compared to a similar van running on gasoline or diesel, the same study found.

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The study also shows that:

  • The costs of reducing CO2 emissions by promoting electric cars, even with low-carbon sources of electricity, remain high.
  • In those cases where electric cars already compare favorably to fossil-fuelled vehicles, subsidies may be superfluous.

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Orders Roll in for Ford Transit Connect Electric

Battery van gaining fans.

by on Aug.30, 2011

Initial demand for the Ford/Azure Dynamics Transit Connect Electric van is exceeding expectations.

What was supposed to be a niche vehicle appears to be gaining some unexpected momentum.    Demand for the battery version of Ford’s Transit Connect van is pushing past initial expectations.

The Transit Connect Electric is a joint venture of Ford and the Canadian Azure Dynamics.  The Vancouver-based firm’s lithium-ion-powered driveline gives the compact commercial van a roughly 80 mile range, which the partners are betting hits the sweet spot for delivery services and other urban users.

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While that market is modest, so were Ford and Azure’s initial expectations, with first year sales targets of no more than around 700.  But early demand suggests that demand could push past that goal.

Azure Dynamics has announced its Norwegian Ford dealership, RøhneSelmer, has ordered an additional 100 all electric Transit Connect Electric vans. Its original March order was for just 58 of the vans, which were sold to a variety of clients, among them Norway Post.

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Is There A Bright Future For Bright Automotive?

by on Dec.17, 2010

Un-plugged for now: the Bright Idea.

What appeared to be a bright future is now a bit more cloudy for Bright Automotive, one of the many start-ups hoping to capitalize on the growing interest in electric vehicles.

Launched in January 2008 by the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute, Bright seemed poised to be one of the first makers to come to market with a competitive battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.  But battered by the recession and the tightening of the money markets, the spin-off has retrenched and is rethinking its strategy, but Bright still hopes to become a contender in the potentially lucrative electric vehicle market, contends its new chief operating officer.

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“We had to hit the pause button on our production program,” acknowledges Mike Donoughe, who signed on as Bright’s CEO in August.

The firm had been hoping to carve out a niche in what many believe will be the most promising segment of the battery-car market with the Bright Idea.  The plug-in hybrid delivery truck, which was previewed at the 2010 Washington Auto Show, was slightly larger than the Ford Transit Connect, a pure battery-electric offering that is just going into field testing.

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