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Simona de Silvestro drives Formula E car through Geneva

March 1, 2015 in Electric Vehicles, Europe, EV enthusiast, EV News, FIA Formula E, Geneva, Switzerland

Photo courtesy of Formula E Simona de Silvestro drives Formula E car through Geneva

Photo courtesy of Formula E
Simona de Silvestro drives Formula E car through Geneva

Swiss fans got the chance to see the Formula E car in action for the first ever time when the fully-electric single-seater drove through the streets of Geneva.

The event, organised by Formula E’s Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner TAG Heuer with the support of Global Partner Julius Baer, saw local driver Simona de Silvestro behind the wheel of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E.

Setting off from the newly opened TAG Heuer Geneva boutique the SRT_01E continued along the Quai-du-Général-Guisan and past the Geneva branch of Julius Baer. There, Simona found a popular face in the Formula E family; Nick Heidfeld waiting for her just outside the Swiss bank office. The Formula E car stroll then continued crossing the Pont du Mont Blanc Bridge before finishing on the Quai du Mont-Blanc.

Simona de Silvestro, who has driven in IndyCar and tested for the Sauber F1 Team, said: “It was a special moment for me to drive the Formula E car here in the streets of Geneva on the day which celebrates the return of motorsport in Switzerland. For me it was the first time I drove the Spark-Renault SRT_01E and the first feeling I had is that there was no noise! For a driver every new challenge is a great experience and this was even more special; the acceleration of this car is really good and I had a lot of fun. I am sure that the American fans will love to see Formula E in Miami and Long Beach in the next weeks.”

The last motor race to be held in Switzerland was at the circuit of Bremgarten, near Bern, in 1954. Now, after a historic decision by the National Council to adopt a motion by MP Fathi Derder, Switzerland can welcome professional motorsport back into the country. It was Mr Derder who actually gave the start of the street demo, waving the Swiss flag ahead of the car.

The new law – to be confirmed by the Council of States – is restricted to only electric vehicle racing. This opens up the possibility for Formula E to race on the city streets of Switzerland in the future.

“We would never have dreamed of getting an ePrix in Switzerland off the ground without TAG Heuer and Jean-Claude Biver’s continuing support,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. “We are very proud to have TAG Heuer as a founding partner, and thankful that they are able to assist us in this exciting challenge. If the race takes place, TAG Heuer will definitely be our title sponsor. The ePrix will strengthen our close relationship with this country, which is the home market of our Global Partner Bank Julius Baer. They have been fully behind us since the very first race in Beijing.”

This month will also see attention turn to Geneva as the capital of the motorsport world with the launch of the Geneva International Motor Show from the 5-15 March. The Formula E car will be on display with the e.dams-Renault car also on show at the Renault stand.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Formula E.

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Solar Impulse 2 Soars Across the Skies of Abu Dhabi

March 1, 2015 in Electric Plane, Electric Vehicles, EV News, Middle East, Renewables, Solar, UAE

Photo courtesy of Masdar Solar Impulse 2 Soars Across the Skies of Abu Dhabi

Photo courtesy of Masdar
Solar Impulse 2 Soars Across the Skies of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi – Solar Impulse 2, the solar aircraft of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, soared across the skies of Abu Dhabi during its first test flights in the emirate on Thursday.

With Piccard and Borschberg taking turns in the cockpit, the revolutionary single-seater sustainable aircraft will attempt the solar-powered flight around the world beginning this March from Abu Dhabi. Si2, the first airplane able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel, has successfully completed its maiden flight in the capital.

For 4 hours, professional test pilot Markus Scherdel tested the aircraft’s performance in the skies in the early morning. Following the initial test flight, Solar Impulse co-founder, CEO, and pilot Andre´ Borschberg, took to the skies of Abu Dhabi with Si2 for a full day test flight. They soared above Abu Dhabi landmarks including Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Corniche and Eastern Mangroves. The initial results are in line with calculations and simulations. For pilots Piccard and Borschberg, and their team of engineers, the purpose of these first test flights in Abu Dhabi were to test the aircraft’s performance and viability in a new environment with varied weather conditions. These flights were Si2’S first flights following the plane’s disassembly in Switzerland and reassembly in the emirate. There are several additional test flights scheduled for the coming week in order for the team and the aircraft to prepare to circumnavigate the world.

Commenting on the test flights, Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability for Masdar, said, “Today, Solar Impulse 2’s first test flights in Abu Dhabi mark a major milestone in the plane’s preparation for its historic attempt to fly around the world. Masdar and the emirate share Solar Impulse’s commitment to reinforcing the importance of innovation in achieving sustainable development. We are proud to host Solar Impulse as the team diligently prepares for their innovative endeavor that underscores the viable application of solar energy and clean technology,” said Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany.

“These first test flights in Abu Dhabi are an important stage – a step closer towards the impending round-the-world solar flight attempt. Moreover, these flights are an emotional step for the entire team that has worked diligently over the past 3 weeks to reassemble the aircraft. I am elated to report that the plane’s performance is on par with our initial simulations. Si2 incorporates innovative technology to render the aircraft more efficient, reliable, sustainable and in particular, better adapted to long-haul flights. It is the first of its kind, an aircraft with perpetual endurance and now, we must ensure the sustainability of the pilot in-flight,” remarked André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder, CEO and pilot.

Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse initiator, chairman, and pilot added; “Today, suspense filled the air! The results indicate that our team of engineers can be very proud of their successful reassembly of the aircraft and their efforts since the vision’s inception 12 years ago. We’re one step closer to our round-the-world attempt and one step closer to inspiring people across the world to be pioneers in their own lives.”

This article (2-26-15) is an EV News Report repost, credit: Masdar.

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Vattenfall wins concession for Horns Rev 3

February 28, 2015 in Denmark, Environment, Europe, EV News, Greentech, Grid, Renewables, Subsea Cable, Sweden, Wind

Infographic courtesy of Vattenfall  Vattenfall wins concession for Horns Rev 3

Infographic courtesy of Vattenfall
Vattenfall wins concession for Horns Rev 3

Vattenfall Wind Power has won the concession to build and operate the offshore wind farm Horns Rev 3, with a total capacity of 400 MW. The wind farm will produce electricity for 450 000 households from 2017.

Vattenfall’s CEO Magnus Hall welcomes the decision that Vattenfall had the most competitive bid. Now the company awaits approval from the Danish Parliament and EU.

– The construction of Horns Rev 3 is an important step towards both Denmark’s and EU’s goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, goals that stipulate that 30 % of the total energy consumption in 2020 shall origin from renewable energy sources. For that reason, we trust the political majority to go along with the agreement and find a solution suitable for all parties, says Magnus Hall.

– This large, planned offshore wind farm will affect Vattenfall’s ambitions concerning wind power and especially our focus on offshore wind farms. Today we are the second largest operator of offshore wind power farms in the world and one of the largest operators of on shore wind power in Denmark. That gives us even better ways and means to develop sustainable energy production to become both profitable and competitive – in benefit of the Danish consumers, says Magnus Hall.

With Vattenfall as owner of the concession for Horns Rev 3, the company gets a unique opportunity for synergies between several offshore wind power farms, according to Alberto Mendez Rebollo, Head of Vattenfall Nordic Wind Power operations.

– Our Control Center in Esbjerg today monitors more than 1000 wind turbines, offshore and on shore, and Horns Rev 3 will imply positive synergies in operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms in the Nordic Sea. Both the Control Center in Esbjerg and the community Esbjerg, will gain a more important role as a chain of support when Horns Rev 3 is in operation, says Alberto Mendez Rebollo.

Offshore, Vattenfall owns 60 % of the wind farm Horns Rev 1, 80 wind turbines, and is currently building, together with Stadtwerke München, two offshore wind farms in the German part of the Nordic Sea: Dan Tysk and Sandbank. Besides that, Vattenfall is developing the wind farm Kentish Flats in the UK.
In total, Vattenfall owns approximately 1800 MW, of which 1000 MW are offshore.

About Vattenfall

Vattenfall is a Swedish owned energy company with operations in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, UK, France and Finland. Vattenfall’s vision is to create a strong and diversified European energy portfolio and to be among the leaders in developing an environmentally sustainable energy systems.

This article (2-27-15) is an EV News Report repost, credit: Vattenfall AB.

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UK Transforming the North’s Railway

February 27, 2015 in Electric Vehicles, Europe, EV News, Rail, Trains, UK

Announces publication of the invitations to tender for the next Northern and Transpennine Express rail franchises.

Image courtesy of GOV.UK UK transforming the north’s railway

Image courtesy of GOV.UK
UK transforming the north’s railway

A transformation in transport connectivity between the cities of the north is vital to realising their potential to become a ‘northern powerhouse’ for the UK’s economy.

On 27 October 2014, the government set out how it intended to work with Transport for the North, Network Rail and the Highways Agency to develop a new transport strategy for the north.

A central plank of this work is improving the railways connecting the northern cities. As announced by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, this includes the development of proposals for HS3, a high speed rail link designed to cut journey times between these great cities, boosting businesses and creating more jobs and security for hardworking people.

This work continues apace, and it remains the government’s intent to publish an interim report shortly.

In the meantime, I am pleased to inform the House that I published today (27 February 2015) the invitations to tender for the next Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises.

I have also published today ‘Transforming the north’s railway”, a stakeholder briefing document that sets out the government’s response to the consultation on the 2 franchises that took place from June to August 2014.

These publications mark an important first step in the transformation of the train services in the north of England to support economic growth. More people than ever are using the north’s railways, and the demand for travel by rail into our great northern cities is predicted to grow into the future. Passengers, businesses, local communities and their representatives across the north told us that railway services must be revitalised and expanded upon under the new franchises in order to be fit for the twenty-first century and to achieve our vision for the ‘northern powerhouse’.

The government has listened carefully to those views. The invitations to tender published today, the result of the government’s collaborative work with Rail North, representing local transport authorities across the north, require the shortlisted bidders for the 2 franchises to start on the journey of transformation that is needed.

This includes:

  1. a modernised fleet of Northern trains, including full replacement of the unpopular Pacers and the introduction of 120 new-build vehicles by 1 January 2020
  2. more frequent services, including on Sundays
  3. more seats at the busiest times
  4. dedicated funding for investment in Northern’s stations
  5. significantly increased funding for community rail
  6. challenging targets for increases in customer satisfaction
  7. wi-fi capability on all trains, providing free connectivity where there is coverage
  8. working in partnership with Network Rail to deliver the government’s £1 billion investment in the railway infrastructure of the north, including electrification and the Northern Hub
  9. retention of the important direct link between South Humberside and Manchester Airport

To complement a rejuvenated Northern franchise that serves the interests of its passengers and local communities, the government’s vision is that TransPennine Express becomes the intercity rail operator for the north, operating fast, high-quality inter-regional services, with a strong focus on serving its customers well.

Shortlisted bidders for the TransPennine Express franchise have until 28 May 2015 to submit their bids. For Northern, the deadline is 26 June 2015.

It is anticipated that the new franchises will start in April 2016. Franchise management will be carried out by a joint Rail North Ltd and Department for Transport team based in West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s offices in Leeds under a partnership agreement with my department, which we expect to complete soon.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: GOV.UK.

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Scotland £2.5 Million to Help Reduce Vehicle Emissions

February 27, 2015 in Climate Change, Electric Vehicles, Europe, EV Campaigns, EV News, UK

Edinburgh, Scotland Photo courtesy of Nissan Scotland £2.5 million to help reduce vehicle emissions

Edinburgh, Scotland
Photo courtesy of Nissan
Scotland £2.5 million to help reduce vehicle emissions

Harmful emissions from Scotland’s public sector fleets will be further reduced thanks to a £2.5 million Scottish Government investment announced today by the Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay.

The ‘Switched On Fleets’ initiative provides a major funding boost and is aimed at driving forward public sector fleets’ green credentials by increasing the number of electric vehicles on the road.

The Scottish Government ambitious climate change targets include phasing out all petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles by 2050, and has already seen the introduction of over 200 electric vehicles across Scottish Local Authorities. This latest round of funding shows the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to fulfil its ‘Switched On Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles’ manifesto by decreasing the number of fossil-fuelled vehicles within Scotland’s public sector fleets.

Making the announcement, Transport Minister Derek Mackay, said:

“I am delighted to be launching  this new initiative  which is providing expert analysis highlighting where electric vehicles can be most effectively introduced into fleets. We are also backing this analysis with £2.5 million of funding to enable councils and their partners to act by buying or leasing electric cars and vans.

“We are committed to freeing our towns, cities and communities from the damaging effects of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles  and Switched On Fleets takes us further down the road to achieving this. More electric vehicles on the roads is an important step in increasing awareness among drivers that there are viable alternatives to petrol and diesel cars.”

The Roadmap, which contains a range of commitments by the Scottish Government, has already seen over £17 million of investment since its launch in 2013 – including the installation of over 600 publicly available charge points across Scotland and a further 200  in non-public locations such as council depots, workplaces and people’s homes.

Recent figures released by intelligentcarleasing.com, which compared all 433 local authorities in the UK, showed that Scotland is leading the rest of Britain in electric vehicle take up, with four Scottish councils in the top five using the greener alternative.

Colin Ferguson, CEO of Switched On Fleets partner, Route Monkey, said:

“Our evidence-based analysis for Switched On Fleets enables Councils to make informed choices on electric vehicle deployment, so that these vehicles deliver cost savings as well as environmental benefits. Working closely with the Energy Saving Trust, we can help Scotland’s public sector fleets remain at the forefront of electric vehicle adoption.”

Ian Murdoch, Energy Saving Trust, said:

“With the growing network of public chargers in Scotland, it’s now a really practical and cost-effective option to run an electric vehicle. Fuel costs for electric cars are approximately a fifth of the fuel costs for a petrol or diesel car – and they have the added bonus of producing no harmful exhaust emissions and significantly improving local air quality.

Most major manufacturers including Nissan, Renault, Volkswagen and BMW offer at least one electric option with the majority providing a typical range of up to 100 miles. There are also a number of plug-in hybrid models that offer extended range through an auxiliary petrol or diesel engine. Energy Saving Trust, funded by Transport Scotland, can provide free, impartial advice for businesses and consumers on which electric vehicle might suit your needs best.”

With grants of up to £5,000 available towards the purchase cost of an electric car, £8,000 available for the purchase of an electric van and Scotland’s charging point infrastructure continuing to expand – electric vehicles are becoming more mainstream and affordable.

Electric vehicle owners currently pay no road tax and are cheaper to run at 2p to 3p a mile to power an electric car compared to 16p a mile for the average fossil-fuelled family car. Scottish households that buy an electric vehicle have the added bonus of a 100 percent grant for a home charging point.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Transport Scotland.