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Grenoble Becomes a ‘Smart City’ in October; Launching 100% Electric Car-Sharing Program Connected to Public Transport

June 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV Mass Transit, EV News, Toyota

  • Urban transport of the future will become a reality in October in the French city of Grenoble thanks to a partnership between the City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, EDF Group, Toyota and Citélib
  • 70 Toyota “i-ROAD” and “COMS” ultra-compact electric vehicles will be available in a car-sharing scheme, promoting interconnectivity between public and private electrified personal transport
  • Vehicles can be charged at around 30 charging stations managed by Sodetrel (EDF Group) and located close to public transport stops
  • Called “Citélib by Ha:Mo”, this innovative service is ready for pre-registration by Grenoble commuters on and will be operational for a three-year real-life test
Toyota i-ROAD with Citélib by Ha:mo logo Image courtesy of Toyota

Toyota i-ROAD with Citélib by Ha:mo logo
Image courtesy of Toyota

In October 2014, 70 Toyota i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles, and around 30 charging stations developed and managed by EDF’s subsidiary Sodetrel, will be open for service for a period of three years thanks to a unique partnership between the City and the Metropolitan Area of Grenoble, French energy company EDF, Japanese car maker Toyota and Citélib, a local car-sharing operator.

Connected to the public transport system’s IT infrastructure, this new car-sharing scheme will complement Citélib, the current car-sharing service of Grenoble, by allowing users to pick up one of the small EVs at one location and drop it off at another. The project also aims to promote interconnectivity of public transport methods (trams, buses, trains) and a new type of personal mobility using small vehicles that don’t take up as much space as a normal car. The main idea is to allow commuters to drive the first or last kilometres of their journey for increased flexibility and time-saving, thus contributing to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in city centres.

Citélib by Ha:mo responds to today’s challenges… and saves you time

Recent social trends and consumer behaviours make it clear that sustainable mobility is here to stay. The only question is how fast this market will develop.

Surveys show that the average daily commute in Europe takes between 40 and 50 minutes. Increasingly, commuters use public transport, but most of them still have to walk a good 15 minutes to reach their final destination. New IT technologies, paired with innovative mobility solutions, are starting to allow the introduction of more flexibility to urban mobility, and will undoubtedly make up the cornerstone of future smart cities.

Just imagine: it’s Monday morning. You leave your apartment on the outskirts of Grenoble at 7:25 to go to work. Half asleep, you take the tram to the city centre―a 20-minute ride. You get off, and wait for the connecting bus for five minutes. Ten minutes later, the bus drops you off five minutes from your office.  It’s 08:05. You’re late, again, for the 8:00 meeting and haven’t even had time for a coffee. Sometimes, for more flexibility, you take your car. You drive to the city but this means you must leave even earlier, at 7:15 – and that’s not a guarantee you’ll arrive on time, with traffic and the time it takes to find a parking spot. Sound familiar?

With Citélib by Ha:mo, say goodbye to stress and delays. During your tram ride, you whip out your smartphone. With an app, you can visualise the available i-ROADs at your usual stop. In a few clicks, you reserve and pay. Another app can also allow you to see the status of traffic and public transport before you leave, so you can plan the best route that day.

Once you get off the tram, all you have to do is flash your phone onto the charging station to release your i-ROAD. In six minutes, you ride to the charging station near your office, two minutes away. It’s 7:53 – plenty of time for a coffee before the 8:00 meeting. You just saved 30% of your commute time. Going somewhere else that morning? No problem. There are around 30 stations in Grenoble, a network tight enough to get you as close as possible to your destination.

Graphic courtesy of Toyota

Graphic courtesy of Toyota

A unique partnership with a common vision of tomorrow’s urban mobility

By bringing together their respective competencies, the project partners are offering Grenoble an innovative service which will allow a real-life, thorough evaluation of the potential of this new form of mobility. “The Grenoble-Alpes Métropole community has always been open to innovation,” explains Christophe Ferrari, President of the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole. “In terms of scale, it’s perfectly suited to this kind of test, and in Grenoble, we have a tradition of daring to do things. The partnership itself, between us, Toyota, EDF and Citélib, a local car-sharing operator, is in and of itself also an innovation in France,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity for our community to test, for three years and exclusively in Europe, a new mode of mobility that’s not only innovative but also economic and ecological It’s an experimentation that is bound to be followed by others for the benefit of our citizens.”

The scale of this integrated and complex project means it’s impossible to realize alone: partnerships and collaboration are key to its success – between the project partners of course, but also with the local communities.

  • EDF is bringing around 30 charging stations to the project, but also more than a half-century of experience in developing electric mobility, both through battery technology and managing charging infrastructures. EDF aims to accompany its public, corporate and private customers in transitioning towards modes of transport that are more sustainable, less noisy and CO2-emission free. “To become the city of tomorrow, Grenoble must be both attractive economically, and a nice place to live. Electric mobility offers a good measure of both, by allowing different types of transport to complement one another. It brings together traditional types of transport with innovative ones such as this type of last-mile mobility brought about with this project,” says Christian Missirian, Director of EDF Commerce Rhone-Alpes Auvergne.
  • Sodetrel, a fully-owned subsidiary of EDF, brings its considerable expertise to the project: this includes management of charging infrastructure for EVs and PHEVs, commercial management of charging services, and car-sharing service management for the public and private sectors.
  • Toyota is providing the 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles used in the project: the Toyota COMS (single-seater, 4 wheels, a small rear storage compartment) and the Toyota i-ROAD (two-seater, 3-wheel with Active Lean technology). The latter introduces a completely new and fun way to drive. Very compact, it combines the exceptional handling of a motorcycle or a scooter with the comfort and stability of a car. 4 i-ROADs occupy the footprint of a single car.
  • Toyota is also developing a data management system that will enable the visualisation and reservation of the vehicles. The system will integrate with Grenoble’s existing transport IT system to offer route planning with different modes of transport from a smartphone. Citélib by Ha:mo is Toyota’s second “Ha:mo” (short for Harmonious Mobility) project and the first outside Japan. “This concept fits within our overall future mobility vision which is based on four pillars: safety, comfort, ease of use and ecology,” commented Michel Gardel, Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe. “Ha:mo was designed to reduce the stress caused by traffic jams, peak traffic hours, and searching for a parking space. It also allows a reduction in emissions that cause poor air quality in city centres,” he added.
  • Citélib was chosen for its track record, with more than 10 years of experience in running car-sharing programs in the region. “On top of our current vehicle range, from two to nine occupants, Citélib by Ha:mo will fill an important gap for short-distance travel and allow our customers to pick up and drop off their vehicles at different locations,” explains Martin Lesage, General Director of Citélib. “We have seen 30% annual growth of car sharing in Grenoble, and our service attracts 50% private and 50% corporate customers. It supports the development of economic activity in various areas of the metropolitan area, and links university campuses and research centres,” he said.

Why Grenoble?

Toyota COMS with Citélib by Ha:mo logo Image courtesy of Toyota

Toyota COMS with Citélib by Ha:mo logo
Image courtesy of Toyota

Grenoble has long been an innovative city. Its famous “Presqu’île” science park is home to prestigious institutions and companies, such as the CEA and ST Microelectronics. Its slogan is: “Where we imagine the city of tomorrow”. Its university has more than 60,000 students on one of the most modern campuses in France. In 1987, Grenoble was the second French city after Nantes to re-introduce electric trams. In 2013, 78 million people used the local public transport network. Today, the fifth line of the tram network is beginning operation. Other ecological modes of transport have also an important place in the city’s transport system, such as 5,000 “Metrovélo” bicycles and more than 320 km of bicycle lanes.

Grenoble citizens can reserve now

Grenoble metro community citizens can already pre-register for Citélib by Ha:mo. If they register as early as this summer, they will receive time credits towards future usage of the service when it becomes operational in October.

This article is a repost, credit: Toyota. Video courtesy of Toyota.

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The Peak Oil Crisis: Iraq on the Precipice, By Tom Whipple, Post Carbon Institute

June 30, 2014 in EV News, Oil, Politics

Tom Whipple Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

Tom Whipple
Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

The daily newspapers are now full of stories predicting that Iraq, as we know it, will soon disintegrate into three or more warring states. In the last two weeks Sunni insurgents led by the extremist ISIS have routed a good part of the Iraqi army, taken over much of northern Iraq not controlled by the Kurds, and now are moving close to Baghdad. Despite the dispatch of American and Iranian military advisors to at least assess the situation, most observers say government forces are too weak to drive back the insurgents and retake the lost territory. Washington is refusing to get involved unless the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government makes radical changes in its relations with the Sunnis and Kurds.

Our concern here, however, is what all this has to do with the world’s oil supply and, closer to home, our gasoline prices. In recent days we have been told innumerable times that most of Iraq’s oil is way south of Baghdad where it is relatively immune from the turmoil in the north so there is little chance that Iraq’s 2.5 million barrels a day (b/d) of exports will be affected. While this may true for the next few weeks or even months, the Sunni resurgence in the north is not a short-term problem and in the past week the ISIS has captured some formidable assets which could bring heavy pressure on, if not strangle, Baghdad.

ISIS now has control of one of three major refineries in Iraq which supplies the motor fuel and oil for power stations for the northern part of the country. [As of 6/30/14, control of the Baiji refinery appears to remain in dispute. -Ed.] Lines are already forming at gas stations. The ISIS controls the Euphrates and will likely gain control of the Haditha power dam, which supplies 360 MW to the national power grid. With control of the river dams, reduced flows of water could make life very difficult in southern Iraq before the summer is over. It is doubtful if the thousands of foreign oil workers that are expanding and overseeing Iraq’s oil production would stick around too long. Some non-essential-to-production foreigner oil workers are already leaving the country or moving to safer areas.

Another facet of last week’s developments is that the insurgent forces in Anbar province are getting very close to Baghdad’s airport. All it would take would be a few of the howitzers they captured from the Iraqi army and air travel into Baghdad could be restricted.

While it may be impossible for insurgent forces even of the fanatical variety to fight their way through thousands of Shiite militiamen to the southern Shiite shrines and oil fields, in a prolonged standoff (and this one has been going on for 1,400 years) serious harm is likely to be done to Iraq’s current and prospective oil production. Some observers are already saying that large increases in Iraqi oil production in the immediate future are unlikely, but as yet few are writing off the current 3.3 million barrels of daily oil production.

Let’s assume, however, that before this year or next is out, Iraqi oil exports drop substantially as it has in several other oil-exporting states undergoing similar political trauma. Just what does this mean for the world’s oil supply?

With 2.5 million additional barrels of oil disappearing from the market added to the 3.5 million that have already been lost due to lower production in Libya, Iran, Sudan, and Nigeria, the world markets would clearly be stressed.

The Saudis could probably come up with an extra million b/d for a while, but that is about it. Iran could sign a nuclear treaty this summer and be out from under sanctions, but it will take a while to develop significant increases in production. Libya, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Yemen show no signs of settling their internal political problems and start exporting significantly larger amounts of crude in the foreseeable future.

Keep in mind that global demand for oil has recently been increasing at a rate of about 1.2 million b/d or so every year, while depletion of existing oilfields requires that another 3-4 million b/d be brought into production each year just to keep even.

Many people, including government forecasters, are looking to increasing U.S. shale oil production and more deepwater oil from the Gulf of Mexico to keep the world’s supply and demand in balance without sharp price increases. Somewhere down the line there may be more oil produced from the Arctic; from Kazakhstan; from off the coast of Brazil; from East Africa; and even significant shale oil production from other than in the U.S. But it will be many years before these new sources can start producing significant amounts of crude, and none of these are likely to make up for any shortages that develop in the next few years.

Deepwater oil production from the Gulf of Mexico has been flat recently, and we are starting to get indications that the rapid increases in U.S. shale oil production, which have kept prices under control for several years, may be drawing to a close. The geology of shale oil production dictates that once it stops growing, a rapid decline in production is likely.

In sum, it looks as if there will be higher and possibly much higher oil and gas prices coming soon. If ISIS decides that the way to finish off the Shiite “infidels” is by cutting their oil revenues, then a bombing and terror campaign against southern Iraqi oil installations and oil workers would be a likely result. It would not take much to send the foreigners running. The Chinese are already moving out some of the 10,000 oil workers they have in southern Iraq, and others are likely to follow as we have seen in so many other places.

Where do oil and gas prices go? The official forecasters are only talking about another couple of dollars a barrel this year, but this is clearly too low if significant shortages develop.

This article is a repost (6-27-14), credit: Post Carbon Institute.

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Formula E hits London

June 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV enthusiast, EV News, FIA Formula E

London ePrix track location revealed

Battersea Park has been confirmed as the venue for the Formula E London ePrix which hosts the season finale on June 27 2015.

The Deputy Mayor of London Sir Edward Lister revealed together with Alejandro Agag that the chosen location for the race would be within the grounds of Battersea Park in the Borough of Wandsworth, South London, with further details to be announced in due course.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Fast, fun, and no doubt furious, the FIA Formula E Championship race in London is set to provide an awesome addition to the capital’s sporting calendar. The atmosphere will quite literally be electric and Battersea, which is already booming with the buzz of regeneration, will be alive with the excitement that this new, world-class event will no doubt spark. Hosting the championship final of this all electric race is a fantastic feather in our city’s sporting cap. It shows that there is great confidence in London’s ability to stage the biggest and the best global sporting events, which play such an important role in boosting our economy and our international reputation.”

Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Business & Energy, was also present during the evening to discuss the burgeoning UK motor sport industry and Formula E’s contribution to it.

Photo courtesy of Formula E

Photo courtesy of Formula E

This article is a repost, credit: Formula E. Video courtesy of Formula E.

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San Francisco Sustainable Race 11K (August 2nd), USA Sweat on the Green Course

June 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

Jack Collins Wearing a Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Collins prepares for the future delivery of the Nissan e-NV200 all-electric van, to be christened the Sustainable Race Van.

EV News Report CEO Jack Collins
Wearing a Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Mr. Collins prepares for the future delivery of the Nissan e-NV200 all-electric van, to be christened the Sustainable Race Van.

EV News Report has initiated a sustainability campaign, sending a Sustainable Race 11K sweatband to US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, encouraging Dr. Moniz to race the USA course to a green sustainable future. Sweatbands will be sent to numerous changemakers in the Bay Area in the coming days and weeks to encourage local leaders to sweat the green stuff, to go the extra K for sustainability.

“The Bay Area is the epicenter of change. It’s only natural that we take the lead on the two most pressing issues of our day, climate change and peak oil. We’re running to 100% renewable.” – Jack Collins.

Happy Fourth of July!

Sustainable Race 11K Update

Sustainable Race will have kilometer markers along the course with short messages on San Francisco’s progress on sustainability. Jack Collins will craft the messages, updating the information and ideas each year.

We will be having a group photo after the race with sunflowers in hand. Of course, runners are not obliged to be in the photo, but we hope to see your sweaty face in the picture. After all, you are the founding runners of Sustainable Race 11K.

Trophies for the winners are being designed by Ky Faubion, former president of the Dolphin South End Runners. Winners will also receive a special Sustainable Race 11K t-shirt, distinct from our founding runner shirts in the raffle.

The raffle will be dominated by Sustainable Race t-shirts and stainless steel water bottles. We will handle the raffle rapidly due to the number of giveaways.

Jack Collins will be running Sustainable Race 11K, representing the Pamakid Runners Club (masters running team).

Ky Faubion Wearing his Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Mr. Faubion explains his plans to design trophies using recycled aluminum

Ky Faubion
Wearing his Sustainable Race 11K sweatband, Mr. Faubion explains his plans to design trophies using recycled aluminum.

About EV News Report

EV News Report is a community blogging website for electric vehicle and greentech enthusiasts, as well as peak oil activists. We are sharing information and opinions to best facilitate the change from the fossil fuel age to a green sustainable future.

Two major world emergencies are driving this change:

1. There are over 7 billion people on the planet according to the United Nations. Today’s worldwide economic growth is placing tremendous demands on the energy sector. Unfortunately, according to the International Energy Agency, approximately 80% of the world’s energy is derived from fossil fuels. Absent an energy revolution, climate research tells us that the planet will be significantly warmer and altered for future generations.

2. The oil market is expensive and fragile. The door is open to green alternatives; however, high oil prices may destroy the currencies of oil dependent nations before the EV and greentech revolutions have a chance to reach mass adoption.

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Carlos Ghosn envisions the car of the future at the Automobile Club de France (ACF)

June 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Nissan, Renault

Video (6-27-14) courtesy of Nissan.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn
Photo courtesy of Nissan