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Atlanta Streetcar’s First Test Under Power Takes Place October 1

September 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Politics, Streetcar

First test will be at slow speed to allow simultaneous tests of other vehicle systems

Atlanta Streetcar Rendering courtesy of MARTA

Atlanta Streetcar
Rendering courtesy of MARTA

On Wednesday, October 1, Atlanta Streetcar 1001 will make its first trip around the system’s 2.7 mile route under its own power.

The electric streetcars are powered by an overhead wire carrying 750 volts DC. All four Atlanta Streetcars must undergo and pass specification, performance, and safety tests to be ready for passenger service later in 2014.

The test of Streetcar 1001 will take place overnight, beginning at approximately 11 p.m. and going until the early morning hours of Thursday, October 2. The streetcar will travel slowly – at approximately 5 m.p.h. – along the route, and will stop at each of the 12 stops to ensure the vehicle’s self-leveling mechanism is performing as designed. For safety and to allow streetcar personnel to work efficiently, spectators are asked to remain on the sidewalks and not to come up onto the streetcar stops during testing. The Atlanta Police Department will escort the vehicle along the route.

The test will start along Auburn Avenue at Fort Street, through Woodruff Park, north on Peachtree Street, west on Ellis Street to Carnegie Way and Andrew Young International Boulevard. The vehicle will then turn south on to Centennial Olympic Park Drive, head east on Luckie Street, south on Park Place, east along Edgewood Avenue, north on Jackson Street, and complete the loop on Auburn Avenue.

Motorists are advised that rolling closures will take place along the streetcar route and traffic may be delayed; they are advised to take alternate routes while the testing is taking place.

Drivers are also reminded that vehicles along the streetcar route need to be parked fully within the white lines of the parking spaces, and that double-parking is not allowed. Illegally parked vehicles along the route will be ticketed and/or towed.

The Atlanta Streetcar is a collaborative effort among Atlanta’s political, business and transit communities to bring to fruition critical infrastructure that will connect the metro area and the greater region. Partnership and innovation, key qualifiers for the federal government’s TIGER II Discretionary Grant program, are exhibited by this joint effort involving the City of Atlanta, the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, and MARTA.

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

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NTU and German scientists invent award winning 2-in-1 motor for electric cars

September 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News

New Motor Design for Electric Cars Photo courtesy of NTU

New Motor Design for Electric Cars
Photo courtesy of NTU

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor which increases the range of electric vehicles.

This innovative engine integrates the traditional electric motor with the air-con compressor, typically two separate units. This novel, space-saving design allows the use of bigger batteries, which can increase the range of electric vehicles by an additional 15 to 20 per cent.

Prof Subodh Mhaisalkar, Executive Director of the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N), said: “The biggest challenge with electric cars in tropical megacities is the range that they can travel on a full-charge, because their batteries are needed to power both the engine and the air-conditioning. In tropical countries like Singapore, up to half the battery’s capacity is used to power the air-conditioning system.”

The new 2-in-1 design allows the electric motor to be more efficient in powering the car’s wheels, while its integrated air-con compressor uses less power due to synergy between the engine and the compressor, which can also tap on energy regenerated directly from the car’s brakes.

With the potential boost in range through the efficient use of energy, the joint invention recently won the Best Originality Award in the TECO Green Tech International Contest held in Taiwan.

The competition saw 19 entries from top universities including Boston University, University of California (UCLA), Waseda University, and universities from China and Russia.

NTU’s partner, DLR, the German aerospace and space agency will conduct further tests and improvements to the new engine with the aim of eventual commercialisation. The team is applying for a Proof-Of-Concept (POC) grant in Singapore. After the development of the prototype, test bedding and refinements will be done at DLR’s facilities in Germany.

Prof Mhaisalkar, said this innovation will pave the way for extending the range of electric cars, as the integrated design combines the two of the most important parts of an electric car, thus reducing its complexity into one highly efficient solution.

“With the global population of electric vehicles set to grow rapidly to 20 million in 2020, a more efficient electric motor and air-con compressor will enable cars to travel further on a single charge,” added Prof Mhaisalkar. “This energy efficiency will in turn reduce overall greenhouse emissions and promote sustainable transportation solutions.”

“This integrated design solution for air conditioning will go a long way in reducing the range anxiety of drivers, reduce maintenance costs, and will save time and money for the driver.”

For the automobile manufacturers, the new electric motor will also cost less to produce, as it requires less material than its counterparts. Both the weight and size of the electric motor are reduced, creating more space for other components such as an auxiliary battery source.

Dr Michael Schier, from DLR’s Institute of Vehicle Concepts, said: “For electric vehicles, the air conditioning uses a lot of electrical energy, thereby cutting down the range of electric cars by up to 50 per cent. To increase the energy efficiency and therefore the range of electric cars, the thermal management and the integration of additional functions into existing powertrain components play a major role.”

“By integrating the refrigerant compressor directly into the electric motor, we save components, weight and cost. Simultaneously, the more regenerative braking part of the kinetic energy is passed directly to the refrigerant compressor and thus the efficiency is further increased,” added Dr Schier.

Research scholar Mr Satheesh Kumar from the Energy Research Institute @ NTU said his award-winning, integrated electric motor challenges conventional design that goes way back to the 1960s when air-conditioning first became popular.

“Back then, air-conditioning was something new that was an add-on feature to a car’s combustion engine,” said the 29-year-old Singaporean.

“Since we are now designing electric vehicles from scratch, I see no reason why we should keep both units separate. As we have proven, combining the two gives us synergy – a more efficient use of electricity and it also improves engine braking, which stops the car faster with lesser wear on the brake pads.”​

This research is part of NTU’s focus on sustainability research. Sustainable Earth and Innovation are two of NTU’s Five Peaks of Excellence, which are areas of research that the university hopes to make its global mark in. The other three peaks are Future Healthcare, New Media, and the Best of East and West.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Nanyang Technological University.

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Los Angeles Breaks Ground on New Regional Connector Light Rail Project

September 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Light Rail, Subway

Federal, State & Local Elected Officials Join in Groundbreaking Ceremony

Metro joined U.S Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx along with state and local elected officials today to officially break ground on the $1.420 billion Regional Connector Light Rail Project in downtown Los Angeles that will better connect the Metro Blue, Gold and Expo lines with the rest of the region.

“This project will mean people can take a one-seat ride through Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Monica, the Eastside and points in-between,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “Bringing our rail lines together and making transfers simpler will make it easier for people to use rail and will help take more cars off the road.”

The Regional Connector Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

“The Regional Connector will dramatically improve passengers’ daily commutes,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina. “It will provide them with better connections to the rest of the Metro Rail system without requiring them to transfer from one line to another. The Regional Connector is a major step forward in transforming Los Angeles County’s mass transit network into a truly world-class system.”

The Regional Connector Project is an important rail connection project overwhelmingly approved by the voters and funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax ordinance for LA County transportation improvements. In additon to Measure R funding, a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the federal government secures $670 million for the project. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Metro a loan of $160 million for the Regional Connector project from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan (TIFIA) to complete the project.

“Los Angeles is a world-class city and deserves a world-class transit system. Today’s groundbreaking for the Regional Connector represents the coming together of federal and local efforts to invest in our rail system and put Angelenos to work building our city. These new improvements will provide significant economic and environmental benefits for Angelenos not just in downtown L.A., but throughout Los Angeles County,” said Congressman Xavier Becerra.

“The Regional Connector is an example of our commitment to develop transportation projects that serve the entire County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe. “This project will make it easy and seamless for commuters to get to their destination, which has a huge impact on their quality-of-life.  Linking lines that cover nearly every corner of the County will vastly improve Metro’s network and the experience of our riders. This is exactly the type of project voters asked for when they approved Measure R – expanding transit to serve all residents.”

The Regional Connector Project, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.

“The groundbreaking for the Regional Connector is another welcomed step in increasing the efficiency of our Metro system,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard.  “When the Regional Connector is completed, many of my constituents commuting through Downtown will have a chance to reduce their commuting time by 20 minutes.  I hope that Metro Rail’s expansion plans will continue to bring rail service to new parts of L.A. County.  Many of the communities I represent, including the Southeast cities, would benefit greatly from further Metro expansion.”

The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout the County. Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.

“While its execution will be grand in scale, the Regional Connector’s true aim is simply to make the lives of those who depend on public transit better,” said Los Angeles Councilmember and former Metro Board Member José Huizar. “From helping parents get home sooner to be with their children, to taking the stress out of being stuck in traffic, to reducing pollution so the air we breathe is cleaner – these quality of life attributes will be the true legacy of this great project and I am proud to help bring the Regional Connector to Downtown L.A.”

In April, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors approved a $927.2 million contract to Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc. and Traylor Brothers Inc. to design and build the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.

In awarding the contract, it was noted that Skanska/Traylor had the overall highest ranking including the highest technical score and the highest evaluated score for pricing, based on the criteria in the request for proposals. In recommending the award of the contract, staff noted that Skanska/Traylor indicated that they plan to finish construction 115 days early and will absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors.

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Los Angeles Metro.

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More New Trains for Singapore

September 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Light Rail, Streetcar, Subway

Image courtesy of Singapore MRT

Image courtesy of Singapore MRT

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and rail operator SMRT Corporation (SMRT) will be adding another 29 new trains to further boost the capacity of the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) and to meet higher ridership demand. Together with the procurement of 41 trains earlier announced by LTA and SMRT in March 2013, these 29 new trains will bring the NSEWL fleet to 198, or a 40% increase from the current fleet[1], by 2019.

These new trains are expected to arrive progressively between 2016 and 2019. Apart from easing crowding along the more heavily-utilised stretches of the NSEWL, the bigger train fleet will also allow more trains to undergo critical maintenance works and older trains to be upgraded as part of the ongoing programme to upgrade the NSEWL’s signalling system.

The additional 70 trains in total will also meet the higher ridership needs of an expanded MRT network, when the Tuas West Extension on the East-West Line and the Canberra station on the North-South Line open.

[1] The current NSEWL fleet is 141 trains. 13 new trains arrived this year and the remaining 28 trains will arrive from 2016 to 2017.

About MRT and LRT

All aboard! With a network of 142 stations across the island and more to come, the MRT and LRT system is one of the most popular modes of transport in Singapore with a ridership of well over 2 million passengers a day. Projects like the fully opened Circle Line, the upcoming Downtown Line as well as the future Thomson and Eastern Region Lines will expand our coverage further.

Map courtesy of Land Transport Authority

Map courtesy of Land Transport Authority

Our target for 2030 – to double the rail network from 178km today to about 360km. By then, eight in 10 households will live within 10 minutes of a train station. Commuters can expect two new rail lines – the Cross Island Line (CRL) and the Jurong Region Line (JRL), as well as extensions to the Circle Line (CCL), North East Line (NEL) and the Downtown Line (DTL). We are also studying the possibility of adding a station on the North-South Line between Sembawang and Yishun.

With 360km of rail network, Singapore will have a total rail length that is higher than major cities such as Tokyo or Hong Kong today, and comparable to New York City.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Singapore Land Transport Authority.

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Formula E car to star in Paris Motor Show

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

Photo courtesy of Formula E

Photo courtesy of Formula E

The Formula E car will take centre stage at the Paris Motor Show later next month to showcase electric vehicle technology.

From the very first battery-powered land speed record holders to the cutting-edge 21st century technology driving Formula E, the FIA’s presence at this year’s Paris Motor Show will demonstrate how the federation has been at the forefront of innovation on the race track and the road for more than a century.

Since its foundation in 1904, the FIA, the governing body of motor sport worldwide, has helped advance automotive technology. Whether it be through the promotion of safety in the city-to-city races of the early 20th century, via the technical advances made in the golden age of sports car racing or through its current push for fuel efficiency across its major championships, the FIA has always played a key role in driving change.

To highlight this fact, the FIA will display two landmark racing machines – separated by more than 100 years – at its Paris stand.

The first is one of just two ‘Jamais Contente’ cars in existence today. The vehicle lent by the Musée National de la Voiture was the first to go over 100 kilometres per hour, when intrepid Belgian racer Camille Jenatzy took the torpedo-shaped electric car to a top speed of 105.85km/h in 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France.

Fast forward 115 years and the second car on the FIA stand, which is co-hosted by FIA member L’Automobile Club Association, represents electric racing technology at its most advanced.

The Formula E Spark-Renault SRT_01E racing car is at the heart of the new FIA Formula E Championship, the inaugural race of which was held in Beijing on 13 September.

Commenting on the FIA’s role in automotive development, FIA President Jean Todt said: “Since its foundation 110 years ago, the FIA has had a proud history of driving innovation through motorsport and is today a leading promoter of clean, safe and accessible mobility for all. The 2014 Paris Motor Show is a fantastic opportunity to highlight our commitment to ensuring that motorsport continues to play its role as an accelerator of progress in the automotive sector in the years to come.”

Finally, the FIA – which also represents over 150 mobility clubs worldwide – will invite members of the public to vote for better roads and transport in the UN’s MY World 2015 survey: The results of the survey, which asks citizens to choose their priorities for a better world, will be shared with world leaders when setting the next global development agenda and its implementation by the UN.

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