As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

Environment

Sparking The Ride: JLR Provides Electric Taxis.

Luxury sports car and SUV building company Jaguar Land Rover has agreed to support the capital of Norway, the City of Oslo with the world’s first high-powered wireless taxis.

In a programme known as ‘ElectriCity’, the global vehicle manufacturer will join Fortum Recharge (the region’s biggest charge point operator), Nordic taxi operator Cabonline (NorgesTaxi AS), along with US technology developer Momentum Dynamics, and the city itself to build wireless, high-powered charging infrastructure for taxis in the Norwegian capital. This lays the groundwork for Norway’s push to have, by 2025, all new cars sold as zero emission vehicles.

The project will be the first wireless high-powered charging system for electric taxis in the world. As a test bed it will prove the validity of providing a charging infrastructure model that can be implemented almost anywhere, and it will help the rapid adoption of electric vehicles globally.

Fortum Recharge, who will be supporting the installation and electrification of the project, have identified a need for a more efficient charging experience for taxi drivers in Oslo and have partnered with and enlisted the support of Momentum Dynamics in integrating the wireless charging infrastructure.

Jaguar Land Rover will provide 25 Jaguar I-PACE models to Cabonline, the largest taxi network in the Nordic region. The brand’s performance SUV has been designed to enable Momentum Dynamic’s wireless charging technology, making it an ideal vehicle to drive the initiative. A team of engineers and technicians from both Momentum Dynamics and Jaguar Land Rover were engaged to help in testing the solution, and Cabonline signed up to operate the fleet as part of Oslo’s ElectriCity programme.

For usage efficiency, taxi drivers need a charging system that does not take them off route during their working hours. Multiple charging plates rated at 50-75 kilowatts each, are installed in the ground in series at pick-up-drop-off points. This allows each equipped taxi to charge while queuing for the next fare. The below-ground and cableless system provides a no-contact method for charging, engages automatically and provides up to 50kW for an on average 6-8 minutes of energy per each charge. The taxi then receives multiple charges throughout the day on its return to the rank, maintaining a high battery state of charge and the ability to remain in 24/7 service without driving range restrictions.

The Oslo ElectriCity partnership is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to make societies healthier and safer, whilst reducing emissions. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving Destination Zero, a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive, said: “We’re extremely proud of our track record in electrification and we’re committed to making electric vehicles easier to own and use. The taxi industry is the ideal test bed for wireless charging, and indeed for high-mileage electric mobility across the board. The energy efficient and inherently safe,high-powered wireless charging platform will prove critical for electric fleets, as the infrastructure is more effective than refuelling a conventional vehicle. We’re delighted to be part of ElectriCity and to continue to lead the field in electric vehicle technology. This is a great step forward to reaching our Destination Zero mission.”

Arild Hermstad, the City of Oslo’s Vice Mayor for Environment and Transport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome private enterprises to help us to turn our vision into reality.

As part of our commitment to reducing emissions by 95 per cent before 2030, we have put many exciting measures in place, but transport continues to be a key challenge. By improving infrastructure and providing better charging to the taxi industry, we are confident that by 2024 all taxis in Oslo will be zero emission. To reach our goal, the public sector, politicians and private enterprises must come together, as we do in this project.”

An Abundance Of Energy: H2X Australia

Australia’s car manufacturing industry is dead. Long live the Australian car manufacturing industry.

But all is not yet lost…Hydrogen is seen as the potential next step in powering automobiles on Earth, and the technology has been around for decades, featuring strongly in the aerospace industries. Australian company H2X, based in Sydney, has been quietly working away since 2015 on using the most abundant element known, hydrogen, as the source material for automotive propulsion.The heart of a hydrogen powered vehicle is the fuel cell. Take hydrogen and oxygen, wave the magic wand, and electricity is made. The resulting leftover is water. Simple H2O. The efficiency of this process varies and comes in between 40 to 60 percent. Waste heat can be reused and brings efficiency to over 80%.

H2X are applying hydrogen fuel tech to vehicles that they hope to have up and running by the mid 2020s. A minivan, a tractor, and an SUV are amongst the range that the company has in mind. The firm recently turned the dirt at a location at Port Kembla, south of Sydney. It’s here that they currently intend to build the vehicles and also invest in battery and super-capacitors. However, in a reasonable effort to minimise extravagant start up costs, the firm will first use pre-assembled parts readily available from Asia, and a fuel cell from a company called ElringKlinger.A common issue with starting a new company is sourcing people with the required expertise. Here, H2X don’t appear to have a problem. Their CEO is a person that comes from hydrogen related businesses plus a solid automotive background with BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen. Heading the design bureau is the designer of the Giulietta, Chris Reitz. He’s also worked with VW and Nissan. Saab and GM have their DNA running in the veins of Peter Zienau as he worked on hybrid and electric programs with the pair. Opel, Lotus, Volvo, Aston Martin and Tesla have given Peter Thompson over thirty years of experience, including his involvement in the Tesla Roadster.There’s more power to come in the board, with Alan Marder, also with plenty of experience in startups dealing with hydrogen fuel cell and automotive industries spanning 35 years. He’ll head the marketing and strategy section, while the former head of the VW Group Asia, Kevin McCann, who also works with Hyundai, Volvo, and Deloitte, will be on the supervisory board.

Picking Port Kembla, says H2X, was a given, as it’s a focus for industries H2X will need as supports. Rail, metal manufacturing in the forms of steel and aluminuim, the size of the port to allow cargo ships, and electronics makers at a military spec level will go a long way to assisting the rumoured workforce of 5,000.They’ve already put forward what they hope will be the first vehicle to drive off the production line. The “Snowy” SUV, with a mooted range of 650km, a refuel time of around three minutes, and a freeway speed reaching time of 6.9 seconds, will be backed by a bio-safe interior, smartphone apps, and autonomous emergency braking. The powertrain is said to be a combination of a 60kW Elring Klinger PEM fuel cell, a graphene ultracapacitor from Skeleton Tech, a powerful 200kW electric motor, and a 5.0kg-capacity hexagon Type 4 hydrogen tank. A key feature that’s under the radar is a suspension system that will, like braking regenerative energy, apply the same process from suspension travel. The Snowy is on track for a 2022 unveiling.

2020 Subaru Forester Hybrid – S Hybrid & XV Hybrid – Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Two new Hybrid vehicles for the Australian market, courtesy of Subaru. The Forester is the brand’s best seller, and along with the XV sees the company launch their first forays into the hybrid arena.

Each come with a varying trim range. The Forester Hybrid comes in Forester Hybrid-L and Forester Hybrid-S trim, and is available in four “normal” levels; 2.5i, 2.5i-L, 2.5i Premium, and 2.5i-S. XV is available in XV Hybrid AWD, and 2.0i, 2.0i-L AWD, 2.0i Premium AWD, and 2.0i-S AWD.

How Much Does It Cost? According to the pricing matrix on the Subaru Australia website, the entry Forester is $39,322, Forester 2.5i-L Hybrid starts at $44,731, with the 2.5i-S at $51,031 drive-away. XV kicks off at $33,546 in entry level trim, and $40,239 for the sole XV Hybrid.

Under The Bonnet Is: Where the changes lie. A 2.0L boxer four in the Forester replaces the normally fitted 2.5L The battery is located in the rear. The XV has the same layout, and also comes with a 2.0L petrol engine. The Forester and XV have a 48L tank. That’s down from the normal 63L. There are no changes to the Subaru signature all wheel drive platform otherwise.The spec sheet lists the peak power for the Forester and XV Hybrid as 110kW at 6000rpm, and 12.3kW for the electric motor. Torque is rated 196Nm at a typical 4000rpm, and 66Nm for the electric motor.

Economy for the Forester Hybrid, says Subaru, is 6.7L/100km combined, 7.5L for the urban, and 6.2L for the highway. For the Forester, we finished on 7.7L/100km. This was on a drive loop of 80% urban and a hilly backroads remaining 20%. XV Hybrid is rated as 6.5L/100km for the combined, 7.5L for the urban, 5.9L/100km for the highway and also finished on 7.7L/100km. Required fuel is 91RON. Both are heavier than their non-hybrid siblings, with the Forester at 1,603kg dry and XV at 1,536kg. Both are around 90kg heavier thanks to the battery pack.Transmission is a seven step CVT in both with manual mode. Torque vectoring is standard as well.

On The Outside It’s: Moreso a badge denoting the hybrids drive-train with E-Boxer than any wholesale changes since the cars were facelifted two years ago.Forester is much like the Outback. Both look like station wagons yet are SUV sized. Forester is 4,605mm in length, and stands an impressive 1,730mm to provide that SUV presence. It’s clever design work from Subaru in this area as compared to other brands, it simply doesn’t look like an SUV. The XV is 4,465mm, and is actually a little lower than the non-hybrid XV, standing 1,595mm, 20mm down on the roof-rail fitted non-hybrids. The XV is more a hunchbacked style visually though, thanks to the extra ride height it has over the Impreza hatch it’s based on. Ground clearance for both is 220mm. Wheelbases are almost identical, with a mere 5mm separating the pair at 2,670mm and 2,665mm respectively. Wheel and rubber combos for the two tested were 225/55/18s on the Forester S Hybrid with Bridgestone supplying the rubber. The XV has Yokohamas and 225/60/17s. There are eight paint colours for the Forester, including the deep aqua blue on the Forester Hybrid and a shade of aquamarine on the XV. It was a colour remarked upon by many as being a lovely colour.The C shaped LED lights in the front and rear clusters bring a model and brand defining look, as it’s common across the range Subaru offer. The Forester has self leveling front lights and they’re steering sensitive. The XV doesn’t get these features in Hybrid trim.

On The Inside It’s: Definably Subaru. There are the three screens, one in the dash binnacle, the touchscreen in the centre (smaller in the XV at 6.5 inches against the 8.0 screen in Forester S Hybrid), and the very useful info screen perched up high. Audio is DAB enabled however none of the information normally available such as artist and song could be accessed. The Forester had a Harman-Kardon supplied speaker system. There is also a CD player in each.

External views though, as part of the safety system, can also be accessed here, such as the left hand side when reversing and showing in crystal clear clarity the angle of the car in relation to the kerb. The steering wheel has a pair of tabs on the lower left arc, at around the seven o-clock position, and a flick back or forth is what changes the information on the dash display. The Info button on the spoke changes the info on the upper screen, and includes angles of incline, economy, and drive distribution when underway. Centre console rocker switches for the front seat heating sit close to the X-Drive control knob (chromed in the Forester, a tab in the XV) and they warm the seats quickly in the Forester. The XV has leather appointed cloth sports style seats and no heating is fitted here.

The driver’s seat is powered and has memory positioning. Leather trim is found on the Forester’s seats, cloth for the XV Hybrid. Cargo room is 509L to 1,779L in the Forester, 345L to 919L in the XV, showcasing the differing rear roof lines plus the higher cargo floor in the XV.

The dash design is classy bar one small niggle. The USB ports up front and well and truly buried in a niche that requires unnecessary fiddling to access. There’s some crouching down required in order to first sight the ports then actually insert cables. Ancillary controls for the driver are smartly laid out and visible above the driver’s right knee. There are a couple of acronyms in the pair; SRH is Steering Responsive Headlights and AVH is Auto Vehicle Hold, the braking mechanism on slopes.What About Safety?: From the Subaru website: Subaru’s Vision Assist technology featuring: Front View Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, Side View Monitor. There is also the Driver Monitoring System – Driver Focus3 featuring distraction and drowsiness warning. There is an icon on the driver’s dash display and warning tones aplenty of it reads the face and feels the eyes haven’t been looking forward. airbags are seven in number.On The Road It’s: Surprising in a couple of ways. In the case of the hybrid system in the Toyota range, the cars start in a fully electric ready to go mode. The cars then will reach 20kph before the petrol engine switches in. In the case of the Forester and XV, the petrol engine is rotating from the get-go. Select Drive, gently squeeze the go pedal, and there’s plenty of urge as both battery and petrol get the cars underway.There is an EV icon in the driver’s display area, and this appears moreso when the cars are cruising on the highway, and the petrol engine is barely ticking over. There’s a fair bit of engine noise when really pushing it, such as going up hills, and this was where the Forester really suffered in economy. That smaller tank didn’t help as just after 260 kilometres covered the gauge said it was half empty. The XV had more kilometres on the petrol engine and felt noticeably perkier, looser, more spritely.

Certain sections of the acceleration curve felt more linear, less stressed than the Forester. However, no matter what, compared to the system in Toyota’s range, the petrol engines here felt more “always on”, and engage the EV system far less than Toyota’s. The Toyota setup is definitely EV up to 20kph, the Subaru setup says it should but doesn’t. Even on very light throttle pressing on the highway, the petrol engine is still engaged.

Also, the CVT isn’t bad, but there’s still that sense of energy sapping depending on how the throttle is used. Under hard acceleration there’s that constant sense of slipping however more a snese of gears changing. Lighter throttle pressing seems to have better response and more a traditional CVT feel with revs rising and motion increasing.The attached image shows Subaru’s intent. In real terms the engine package is the only difference in how they drive. The brakes have a slightly more responsive feel, the steering is quick and light to the touch, and there is little to quibble about in regards to the roadholding abilities. With the all wheel drive grip levels and torque vectoring facility, both cars can be pushed into turns and corners with plenty of confidence. On longer sweeping corners there is a distinct lack of need to constantly adjust the steering as well.

What About Safety?: Both cars have a five star rating. Both have Subaru’s much vaunted Eyesight safety system. There is a Driver Monitoring System that literally watches the driver’s face. There is facial recognition and looks for drowsiness and distraction cues. Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic, Reverse Braking for when sensors pick up an object in a reversal path, Forward Collision Warning (which can be a bit overly sensitive), and seven airbags round out a very solid package.

What About Warranty And Service?: Like most hybrid makers, it’s a little mixed. The main range comes with a 5 Years/Unlimited kilometres warranty period, with the Subaru New Vehicle Warranty period on high-voltage batteries for Subaru Hybrid vehicles is 8 years/160,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. It seems unlikely that drivers would do less than 160,000 over eight years.

Servicing costs for the hybrids are the same. The first checkup after one month is free, with the Forester S Hybrid and XV Hybrid on a 12 month or 12,500 kilometre cycle. The first service cost $350.25, followed by B’ Service 24 months or 25,000kms at $588.31, and then the ‘C’ Service 36 months or 37,500kms is $354.83. The final two are ‘D’ Service, 48 months or 50,000kms, $784.77 and ‘E’ Service 60 months or 62,500kms at $354.86.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s mixed feelings. Given Subaru’s own fuel consumption figures, and that we recently got 5.0L/100km from a Camry Hybrid, loaded with four adults, some baggae, and a mid sized pooch, they fall short of expectations. They’re not big cars, they’ve been driven in urban areas, yes, but with one aboard for pretty much most of the drive cycles. There is no question about the rest of the package, with the interiors largely up to the very high standard seen in Subaru vehicles, and the technology seen for some years now. But in a hybrid sense? More work to be done, we suspect. Pick your Subaru here. http://credit-n.ru/vklady.html

The Race To Zero Emissions

Once upon a time, we were all whispering about a possible conspiracy that someone had invented a car that ran on something that wasn’t fossil fuel but the Big Oil companies resorted to various forms of skulduggery ranging from buying out the patents or technology through to murder to ensure that petrol and diesel continued to reign supreme in the motoring world.  Fast forward to nearly 2020 (i.e. today) and there’s a new rumour on the block: the rumour that petrol and diesel powered cars are going to be phased out.

In fact, this is more than just a rumour.  They’re starting to do it already in the UK.  The famous university city of Oxford is going to ban fossil fuel powered cars from the city centre by 2020, meaning that only electric vehicles (and probably hydrogen powered vehicles) will be allowed to buzz around in the heart of the city.  Looks like the complaint made by JRR Tolkien back in the day about “the roar of self-obstructive mechanical traffic” in the streets of inner Oxford is going to be dealt with… well, at least the roaring bit.  The idea is to make the city centre the world’s first Zero Emissions Zone.  (OK, to be picky, it will be Zero Emissions as far as car exhausts go – there will still be carbon dioxide and methane emissions as long as human beings breathe, burp and fart.)

This move to ban petrol-based cars is not unique to places as notoriously academic and ivory-towerish as Oxford.  In fact, the Government of Scotland has announced that it will phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2023.  Ms Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has acknowledged in her statement (which covers other topics – the bit in question is about one-third of a way down if you want to find it) that it’s an ambitious project and is going to need a lot of infrastructure established.

This move by Scotland to be the first to phase out new petrol and diesel cars is ambitious, but it looks as though it’s part of a race between the old rivals England and Scotland to be the greenest.  Apparently, the UK government has announced  that it wants all new vans and cars on the roads to be zero emission vehicles (which is not a bad term for lumping electric, hydrogen and ethanol vehicles together – although it probably doesn’t include biodiesel vehicles). Because the UK has rules about the age of cars that they allow on the roads, this means that all their vehicles are slated to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2050.

What this means for the owners of vintage and classic vehicles, I don’t know.  I guess they’ll have some sort of exemption or they’ll only be allowed out on special occasions.  Or maybe they’ll have to be retrofitted to take biodiesel or ethanol.  I suspect that even the royal Rolls-Royces and Daimlers aren’t going to be exempt.

Naturally, if there’s rivalry between England and Scotland to do something first, you can bet like anything that the other ancient rivalry will flame up and indeed it has: France has also announced that it won’t be selling any new petrol or diesel cars after 2040.  Happily, the French government has also said that it will provide some sort of subsidy for poorer households so they can get an upgrade.  And yes, this puts the pressure on all those French marques like Citroën , Renault and Peugeot  to up their game and make sure that they’re only making hydrogen and electric vehicles by this stage.

Naturally, Scandinavia is already in on the game (and, incidentally, they’re old rivals of Scotland’s as well – which is why the north of Scotland likes to keeps up a few Viking traditions).  Norway is already smugly announcing that half of its new vehicle registrations are electric or at least hybrid, and it says the Norwegian target is to end sales of fossil-fuel-only cars by 2025.  Norway has been handing out tax breaks and concession for electrics and hybrids for ages, and it’s got the geography and rainfall needed to sustain the hydroelectric plants that are necessary to charge all those batteries.  The Netherlands and Germany are also in on the act. This means, of course, that all the German and Swedish car marques we love are going to concentrate on electrics and hybrids.  My beloved Volvo announced  that every new Volvo car and SUV from 2019 onwards will be electric in some way: full-time electric, plug-in hybrid or at least a little bit hybrid.

However, if governments can live up to their promises (IF!!!), then it looks as though Scotland wants to win the zero-emissions race.  I feel a song coming on, to be sung to the tune of Loch Lomond:

Oh ye’ll take the low road, and I’ll take the high road

And I’ll phase out petrol cars before ye

And me and my diesel will never drive again

On the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond.

In fact, it seems as though Australia is a little bit behind here, as we’ve been slower to embrace electrics, although they are becoming more and more common.  I’ve seen a few new charging points popping up near where I live, so people are starting to get on board.  The Green Party has asked the Australian government to jump on board, but the Powers That Be are hesitant.

And I think they’re right to be hesitant.  I’ve still got a ton of questions about the whole thing, though, as I guess many of us do.  What happens to old classics and collectors’ items?  Do electric vehicles and hybrids have the range to tackle our long Outback roads without stranding people in the middle of nowhere?  What if we can’t afford a new car?  How are we going to charge all those vehicles – are we going to just burn petrol and diesel in electric power plants instead of car engines (which seems pretty pointless)?  Where do ethanol (which we’re already using in Australia) and biodiesel fit into this picture?  Do we have enough charging points and can our electricity system handle all the new demand?  What will happen to all those old vehicles internal combustion engines?  Do they go to the landfill?  Is there a way to recycle the metal and plastics used to make them?  And what if we LIKE the cars we’ve got and what they can do??? Does the average Aussie driver get a say in all this?

However, we can certainly expect to be including a lot more electric vehicles in our car reviews, and it’s certainly an exciting time of change for the motoring industry, so we’ll do our best to keep you updated. http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/mgnovennye-zaimy-na-kartu-bez-otkazov-kredito24.html

Plastic Bags To Fuel: It’s For Real

If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you may have seen a few posts by various environmental groups kicking up a big stink about the amount of plastic that’s floating around in our oceans – and justifiably so. You might have seen a few pictures of the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch (floating around in the North Pacific somewhere between Japan and the USA). A lot of it is in the form of polyethelene, which is not biodegradable – the only thing that breaks it down is sunlight, which is why we deal with it by burying it in landfills underground where the sun can’t get at it. There are literally mountains and islands of it out there.

At the same time, folk are looking around at the existing crude oil supplies and realising that they aint gonna last forever.  This, as well as the pollution issue, is one of the spurs driving the push towards hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and biofuels.

Plastic is, however, another petroleum-based product.  In other words, once upon a time, the lid of your coffee cup, your chip packet and your polar fleece top came from the same stuff that you put in your car to get to work this morning.  What if this process could be reversed?  What if you could un-refine the plastic and turn it back into oil that could then be refined the other way and used to keep our cars (and trucks and trains and ships and aeroplanes) running?

Well, they can do it.  A few teams around the world have come up with ways to take all that waste plastic and convert it into something that can be used as a fuel feedstock – for diesel.  I’m not a chemical engineer, so don’t ask me why most of the fun new technologies for producing greener fuel end up producing diesel rather than petrol (with the exception of ethanol, which plays nicely with petrol, as we’ve known for years here in Australia). Although one Aussie company called Foyson  Resources (aren’t you proud?) has come up with a way to get petrol out of plastic.

The technology for converting plastic back into some form of oil has been around for at least 10 years, with companies in Japan, China, India, the Philippines and the US all having a go at it.

The process they use is called pyrolysis.  Those of you with a smattering of Greek may recognise the “pyro” bit, which indicates that heat is involved.  Literally, the process means “separating by heat”.  It’s been described as a sped-up version of how oil fields and fossil fuels came to be in the first place.  Basically, the long polymer strings made up of lots of carbon, oxygen and carbon atoms  get split apart into shorter bits about 18 carbon molecules long.

OK, let’s ditch the chemistry and describe it simply.

1: Appropriate plastics are fed into the machine, usually after being shredded or chipped. Suitable plastics usually include polyethylene, polypropylene and a few others – but not PET (Recycling #1), which is easier to recycle.

  1. The shredded plastic is heated slowly and turns to a gaseous form. The exact temperature at which this happens can be anywhere from 250°C through to 400°C, depending on the pyrolysis plant in question.
  2. The gas is cooled to a liquid: crude oil. Bingo!
  3. Other gases keep going and have to go somewhere. With some pyrolysis plant designs, the gas is captured and used to heat the pyrolysis chamber. However, some of the gases can be a bit nasty, which is why the kibosh was put on a Canberra plastic-to-fuel plant last year.
  4. Leftover solids come in the form of “carbon black”. This can be used as a construction material or just like old-fashioned coal, which it’s practically identical to.

It seems to be early days still for the plastic-to-oil process in Australia, with the Foy Group (the ones who have got the grant to start a plant in Hume, Canberra) facing a few hurdles thanks to the possible emissions. However, given (a) the amount of plastic waste we all churn out and (b) the need to find good supplies of the crude for our petrol and diesel, I’m sure these hurdles can be cleared.  I’m picking plastic-to-petrol as The Next Big Thing for greener motoring – and it won’t require any changes to our existing vehicle fleet.

If you’re really, really keen, it is apparently possible to do the plastic pyrolysis thing at home and make your own diesel. This probably comes with a heavy cost in the form of the energy input needed to heat a home-built plant, with the result that all the oil you produce will then be used to run the generator or powerplant used to heat the pyrolysis plant used to produce the oil and round it goes. At least it gets rid of plastic bags…

I personally would not try this at home and prefer to either cut down on the plastic bags I use or send them to the recycling depot.  However, if you are keen and want to try, this page tells you how.   No guarantees and do it at your own risk! http://credit-n.ru/trips.html