Trolleybuses may be long gone from our roads, but the concept behind them is once again being evaluated, this time for HGVs: Although numerous governments and major truck manufacturers are exploring liquid fuel cell technology as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in road freight transportation, Germany is additionally considering an entirely different approach, with a government advisory body recommending railway-style overhead lines along 2,500 miles of its autobahn network. It is still uncertain whether the country will greenlight this unique solution, but automotive systems firm and tyre maker Continental shares that it’s already working to develop pantographs for the system.
Electric vehicles account for a growing proportion of the UK car parc and will continue to do so in the years to come. This move from combustion power is a thrown gauntlet that garages and vehicle servicing firms need to pick up sooner rather than later, and also a transition that requires a visible investment in charging capabilities.
Hankook Tire confirms that its tyres will be original equipment on Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, the ID.4. The tyre maker will supply its Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 ev in numerous sizes from the vehicle’s market launch. OEM fitment on the ID.4 follows the pairing of prototype Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 ev tyres with the VW study ID. Crozz, the design of which the new ID.4 is based on.
During the pandemic year 2020, connected and intelligent car solutions reached a value of 1.8 billion euros. A third of the market is represented by ADAS systems (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, equating to 600 million euros). The largest segment is constituted by so-called solutions for the connected car, which in 2020 slowed down to 1.18 billion euros (-2%), after having grown in double figures during both 2018 (+ 31%) and in 2019 (+ 14%). Similar trends can be seen across Western countries, which oscillate between -5 per cent and + 5 per cent.
Full-electric commercial vehicle manufacturer and services provider Volta Trucks, has issued a guarded welcome to the publication of the UK Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan, but has called for a greater level of ambition to tackle the climate and air quality emergency faced by the environment.
When Lucid Motors brings the Air to market in the second half of 2021, this inaugural model from the EV start-up will wear Pirelli’s very first high load index tyre – a new type of tyre dedicated primarily to electric or hybrid cars and SUVs. This original equipment arrangement initially pertains to Lucid Air models sold in the USA and sees Pirelli supply its P Zero to Lucid in size HL 245/35R21 99 Y XL for the front axle and HL 265/ 35R21 103 Y XL for the rear.
The handling, comfort and longevity when fully laden offered by Davanti’s DX440 van tyre helped the brand to become the original equipment specified tyre for London Electric Vehicle Company’s VN5 electric commercial van. The company said it developed the range with the driver at the centre. “It’s important to remember that, if a van is getting new tyres, that could be a sole trader losing money or a fleet unable to respond to as many calls in a day,” said Sean Maddocks, Davanti Tyres’ sales director for the UK and Ireland. “The DX440 is designed to last longer – reducing the number of times van drivers need to replace their tyres. The tread design and compound achieves that without losing sharpness or control – even under full load.”
Electric propulsion is becoming increasingly attractive for heavy vehicle operators, and Continental is thus working together with truck and bus manufacturers on tyre solutions that meet these vehicles’ specific requirements. It is currently conducting testing at its Contidrom facility in northern Germany with an electric truck made by electric commercial vehicle specialist Futuricum.
Telematics and fleet management services provider Masternaut has launched its new MoveElectric solution. With MoveElectric, the Michelin-owned firm aims to support the management of company fleets as they transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV).
Nissan is set to invest £1 billion Nissan in building what it calls EV36Zero, “a world-first EV manufacturing ecosystem”, according to the company. Located alongside the company’s Sunderland factory, the project sees Nissan partner with Envision AESC, a battery maker, and Sunderland City Council. Comprised of three interconnected initiatives, Nissan EV36Zero brings together electric vehicles, renewable energy and a 9GW of battery production. With plans for a new UK-made Nissan-branded crossover car model incorporated, the factory investment is also welcome news for the original equipment tyre business, which has been hampered by reduced production and factory closures across the country in recent years.
Sailun Tire Group is developing the ERange EV, tyre line-up in order to cater for growing demand for electric vehicles. According to Sailun Tire Americas, the new range is expected to reach the (US) market in 2022. At the point of its launch, the ERange EV portfolio will offer 90 per cent coverage of the electric vehicles on sale.
Thurso, Scotland-based AMTE Power plc has been selected as the lead supplier in a new government-funded three-year project called ULTRA focused on bringing two AMTE Power lithium-ion batteries to automotive readiness.
Michelin has launched what it calls the “first tyre specifically designed for automatic guided vehicles (AGV) operating in ports.” This is the Michelin X AGVEV, which the tyre maker currently offers in one size – 18.00 R 25 – through its dealer networks in Europe and Asia. Michelin intends to extend availability to other regions at a later date.
Work has begun on an ambitious new project by First Bus that will transform its Glasgow Caledonia bus depot into the UK’s largest Electric Vehicle (EV) charging hub. The plans mark another major milestone on the leading transport operator’s sustainable travel roadmap and follows its pledge to only invest in zero-emission vehicles from December 2022, with a 100 per cent zero-emission fleet by 2035.
The BMW Group is beginning to test near-standard vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive train in everyday conditions on European roads. Prototypes of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT will examine how effectively the CO2-free drive train, model-specific chassis technology and vehicle electronics systems work together under real-life conditions. The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is a pure electric vehicle that uses hydrogen as fuel by converting it into electricity in a fuel cell. The recently launched testing programme will pave the way for the BMW Group to present a small-series model with this sustainable drive technology, developed on the basis of the BMW X5, in late 2022. Extensive field testing of these vehicles will provide practical experience in the use of this sustainable drive technology.