Monthly Archives: November 2015

Renault ZOE Rolling Down Assembly Line

Renault To Increase ZOE Production To 150/Day

Renault believes in the strong potential growth for ZOE electric car sales, and as such is gearing up for increased production.

Renault ZOE Rolling Down Assembly Line
Renault ZOE Rolling Down Assembly Line

The Flins factory (in France) is already producing about 120 ZOE a day (up from 90 in the Spring, when the Superbonus was launched in France).

Now the company says that production will expand again – to 150 units a day by the end of November. The sudden change is probably adjusting for expected growth from the expanded diesel scrapping scheme in France next year and also higher demand throughout Europe.

To date, over 18,000 ZOE were sold in just France alone (nearly 7,000 in the first nine months of 2015) and 32,000 in total worldwide.

At 150/day, Renault would be able to deliver 3,000 ZOE a month (considering the French employees on the single shift working 20 days a month). Annual production would be ~36,000, a level of sales that the ZOE has never experienced such high volumes in the past.

Source: Inside EVs

Wind farm in Europe (Image: EV World)

UK downgraded on global energy rating

The World Energy Council rates countries in their energy and climate policies. The recent rating is available on the WEC website. The WEC points out that only two countries have the triple A rating. This post from Reuters in The Guardian shows that the UK has lost that rating, because of the government scrapping onshore wind subsidies and cut solar subsidies.

Britain loses top energy rating after green policy U-turns

Wind farm in Europe (Image: EV World)
Wind farm in Europe (Image: EV World)

Britain has lost its top-notch energy policy rating from the UN-accredited World Energy Council after the government prematurely cut some renewable energy subsidies, creating uncertainty about how it will address support in future.

The World Energy Council has downgraded Britain to an AAB rating, from AAA, in its annual “energy trilemma index”, which ranks countries’ energy and climate policies based on the issues of energy security, equity and sustainability.

The downgrade reflects the damage the subsidy cuts have caused to Britain’s reputation as an attractive renewable energy market.

Earlier this year Britain scrapped subsidies for onshore windfarms, closed support for small-scale solar projects and changed the way other renewable energy projects qualify for payments, saying they were becoming too costly for taxpayers.

“The UK government must give more predictability to investors in the way the electricity market reforms are progressed,” said Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the World Energy Trilemma study.

Read more: Energy in Demand

The Defining Myth of Our Culture

Many people view the word myth as almost synonymous with ‘story’ or ‘fairy-tale’. This sells myth appallingly short, for it is much more that that, a trope that can give meaning and context to a whole culture.

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Myths can define a culture, giving a people a shared world-view, a common set of assumptions from which to experience the world. We may sneer and say the myths were wrong, for instance the view that the Earth is at the centre of the universe, requiring byzantine wheels within wheels to explain the movement of the planets in the sky. And yet even such a world-view is good enough to farm successfully, it was good enough for Ptolemy to be able to predict planetary motion reasonably well.

Religion is often a defining myth, indeed Christianity has probably been the defining myth of the West for much of its written history.

We believe, of course, that we are more sophisticated. We don’t need a myth. But we have one

Our myth is continual growth

Like Ptolemy’s geocentricity, it needs to be true enough to explain many observations. From where I’m standing it explains most things. I grew up in a world of coal fires, frost on the inside of windows in winter and pipes that froze up in the cold and vacuum tubes in the radio.

We now have central heating, iPods and a bewildering choice of all sorts of things. That’s growth for you, and pretty much continual growth at that. I’m not complaining, but I don’t think I’ll see another 30 years of it at the same rate.

So the myth of continual growth is a good myth for our times. Our economic system appears to be predicated on it, and until now it has worked pretty well. However, most natural systems have limits, beyond which they won’t go. Draw too much water from a well, and you don’t have any any more.

Read more: Simple Living in Suffolk

Renault ZOE Sales Top 30,000

Though sales of the Renault ZOE are far below the world’s #1 selling pure electric car (the Nissan LEAF), Renault is proud to report on a milestone achievement of having sold 30,000 ZOEs since it launch in 2012 through September. Actually, our tally had ZOE sales exceeding 30,000 back in August, but now Renault is making it official.

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Surely sales world be higher if ZOE (or Renaults itself) were offered in the U.S., but for an electric car offered mostly (almost entirely in its early years) under a battery rental program, we consider 30,000 to be an exceptional figure.

The latest ZOE updates add more range to the car and it’s now being offered with the battery included in several countries, so we expect (and have already seen so far this year) a sales surge in the coming months.

Source: Inside EVs

‘Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause.’ (Image: S. Thibault)

The gathering financial storm

Governments are liberating global corporations from the rule of law and leaving them to rip the world apart

‘Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause.’ (Image: S. Thibault)
‘Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause.’ (Image: S. Thibault)

What have governments learned from the financial crisis? I could write a column spelling it out. Or I could do the same job with one word: nothing.

Actually, that’s too generous. The lessons learned are counter-lessons, anti-knowledge, new policies that could scarcely be better designed to ensure the crisis recurs, this time with added momentum and fewer remedies. And the financial crisis is just one of the multiple crises – in tax collection, public spending, public health and, above all, ecology – that the same counter-lessons accelerate.

Step back a pace and you see that all these crises arise from the same cause. Players with huge power and global reach are released from democratic restraint. This happens because of a fundamental corruption at the core of politics. In almost every nation the interests of economic elites tend to weigh more heavily with governments than do those of the electorate. Banks, corporations and landowners wield an unaccountable power, which works with a nod and a wink within the political class. Global governance is beginning to look like a never-ending Bilderberg meeting.

Read more: The Guardian

Car sharing club adds 20 ZOEs to Scottish fleet

A 20-strong fleet of Renault ZOEs has been introduced across a number of new sites in Scotland by car sharing company Co-wheels, the most recent being in Aberdeen, Dumfries and Dundee.

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The Co-wheels car club, which provides low emission, hybrid and electric cars on a pay-as-you-go basis for organisations and communities, has further locations for EVs in the pipeline with the ZOE confirmed as its electric car of choice. All of the club’s ZOEs have been bought outright or funded via Government grants.

Co-wheels customers can hire a Renault ZOE for £3.75 an hour or £22.50 for 24 hours. As part of the club’s drive to encourage electric car use, Co-wheels does not make an additional charge for mileage – making the ZOE its most affordable car to hire.

Pierre Fox, Director, Co-wheels, said:

“Feedback to the Renault ZOE has been excellent, customers liking how simple it is to drive and finding the controls to be very straightforward. It’s the ideal size too, and is the perfect vehicle for our car sharing model with 90% of customers’ journeys being local.

“Using the ZOE also fits with us operating as a social enterprise with a commitment to improving society and the environment. We aim to help our members save money, reduce car ownership and create a cleaner environment by making lower impact transport options available, and because we have received grants for some of the cars, we are able to pass this saving onto our customers.

“Everyone who has driven one of our ZOEs has been very positive about the experience, so much so that when it comes to adding more electric cars at new or existing locations, it will be our preferred choice of vehicle.”

Source: EV Fleet World

Oil and gas firms will be fossils by 2025

Technological development will transform the global marketplace over the next decade, with the oil and gas sector set to be the most negatively affected, according to Neptune Investment Management’s chief investment officer and economist James Dowey.

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Speaking at a press event, Dowey argued that the pace of technological change is likely to speed up over the next decade, with the development and adoption of new technology likely to drive returns in financial markets far more than traditional macro-economic factors.

‘Over the next 10 years macro-economic issues such as the growth of China are going to be far less important. Rather, technological innovation and change is going to drive markets, and many established businesses will have their current models ripped apart,’ says Dowey.

TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE

Pointing to the pace of technological change since the 1970s, Neptune’s newly appointed CIO says that markets continue to underestimate the transformative power of technology despite the exponential growth of firms such as Google over the past five to 10 years.

In particular, he argues that the oil and gas industry could be entirely wiped out by 2025, with consumers and industry far more likely to be generating their own solar energy in a decade.

‘The potential disruption to the energy sector is the most profound. I am not at all clear that we will still be digging oil out of the ground in 10 years’ time. Household energy consumption will be radically different, with most generating their own solar energy at home,’ says Dowey.

Read more: Money Observer

Plug-in Car Registrations in UK – October 2015 (Image: Inside EVs)

UK Plug-In Electric Car Sales Up In October

The British plug-in electric car market was above 1% market share in October and noted probably its 38th consecutive month of growth year-over-year.

Plug-in Car Registrations in UK – October 2015 (Image: Inside EVs)
Plug-in Car Registrations in UK – October 2015 (Image: Inside EVs)

The bad news is that 1,828 registrations is just 7% up – the slowest pace of expansion over the last three years.

Interesting is that all-electric cars went up by over 48% to 686, while plug-in hybrids fell over 8% to 1,142.

The new 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (number one in sales right now in the UK) hopefully will help to restore the high growth.

Through February 2016 there will be no changes in the Plug-In Car Grant.

Source: Inside EVs

Renault-Nissan CEO Speaks Of Importance Of Paris Climate Change Deal

Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn published a post discussing the importance of the United Nation’s COP21 climate conference in Paris, which is supported by Alliance EVs.

Ghosn hopes for a new, broad global agreement on the climate change, strongly believing that we should deal with environment impact.

As an example for the automotive industry, Ghosn shows 800 million vehicles on the world’s roads, which will grow to more than 2 billion by 2050, according to expectations.

“We cannot continue to rely only on fossil fuels to power those vehicles and supply the bulk of our energy if we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

Read more: Inside EVs

Audi Q7 e-tron PHEV

Audi Q7 e-tron 2016 Honest John Road Test

In future-proofing its big Q7 SUV, Audi has lost the 6th and 7th seats but, with an NEDC CO2 rating of 46g/km, has gained the Freedom the City of London for many years to come.

Audi Q7 e-tron PHEV
Audi Q7 e-tron PHEV

Losing the Congestion Charge involves charging a 17.3kWh liquid cooled lithium-ion battery that takes two and a half hours from a 400-volt industrial socket (or 8-12 hours from a domestic charging point).

But, driven sensibly, like the Volkswagen Passat GTE plug-in hybrid, it conserves and regenerates its energy very cleverly.

Depending on the circumstances, the Q7 e-tron can boost, coast and recuperate. The car drives off solely on electric power and normally most braking uses electric motor retardation that generates electricity. Set for hybrid mode, the MMI navigation system works with the hybrid management system using real time traffic data to become your “predictive efficiency assistant’ and compute an ideal driving strategy.

Read more: Honest John