Consumers and businesses will have to be more energy-efficient and switch to alternatives to fossil fuels
[From 4 December} The Paris climate change summit will conclude at the end of next week. It aims to reach an international agreement on limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming. The main source of these emissions is the burning of fossil fuels – oil, coal and natural gas – that power industry, and heat and light our homes.
One big area where technology is helping is through the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The energy from these sources has increased by a factor of four in the past 10 years. Biofuel production, which is more environmentally friendly than extracting oil from the ground, has increased at a similar rate.
If we can get another four-fold increase from renewable energy sources over the next decade, a total of around a quarter of the world’s energy needs can be met from renewables, nuclear energy and hydro-electricity – without burning fossil fuels and creating greenhouse gas emissions.
Another area where technology is having a big impact is in the development of electric cars. Bigger and better batteries are being developed so that electric cars can be charged more quickly and drive further without recharging.
These developments in technology will enable society to cut its dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the damage to the world’s climate.
But there will still need to be changes to our lifestyles and the way in which businesses operate.
The first change is that we are going to have to become a lot more energy-efficient at home and at work. The less energy we use overall, the easier it will be to reduce our carbon emissions. Consumers need better-insulated homes and smart meters to monitor their energy use.
Posten, the Norwegian postal service, has ordered 240 Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E.s., marking one of the world’s biggest electric vehicle purchases so far.
The Kangoo Maxi Z.E. is well-suited to the everyday tasks of many business types, including administrative and courier companies, thanks to its official range of 106 miles (NEDC), which Renault estimates to be between 53 and 84 miles in the real world, depending on ambient temperature and driving conditions. Posten’s red Kangoo Maxi Z.E.s will mostly be used in areas of high population density.
Posten, which already has a fleet of 900 electric vehicles (cars, bikes, quadricycles, trailers), is taking a further step forward in environmental responsibility with the purchase of Kangoo Maxi Z.E. The service is targeting a 40 per cent reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2020, a substantial measure considering Posten alone accounts for no less than one per cent of CO2 emissions in Norway as a whole.
Over the last few years, electric vehicle sales in Norway have been stimulated by a committed government incentive policy. At the end of 2015, electric vehicle sales account for 20 per cent of all new vehicle sales in the country. It is expected that there will be 200,000 electric vehicles across the country by 2020, accounting for 10 per cent of all cars on Norwegian roads.
In Norway, electric cars are exempt from VAT and road tax. They pay no parking fees, road tolls or ferry charges, and they are entitled to use bus lanes.
The Renault electric vehicle line-up in the UK consists of Twizy, ZOE and Kangoo Van Z.E. all providing zero emissions in use motoring, a silent and calming driving experience and strong electric power delivery at all speeds.
Government reaffirms UK’s commitment for almost all cars and vans to be zero emission by 2050 at Paris COP21 conference.
The UK government has continued to lead global efforts to cut vehicle emissions at the international climate conference in Paris today (3 December 2015).
The UK was one of 13 international members of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance to sign a commitment to promote cleaner motoring and slash transport emissions, alongside Germany, Holland, Norway and California. It includes an agreement to make all passenger vehicle sales zero emission vehicles by 2050.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
“The UK already has the largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles in the EU, and the fourth largest in the world and today’s pledge reaffirms our commitment to ensuring almost every car and van is a zero emission vehicle by 2050.
“Electric cars are greener and cheaper to run and we are making them more affordable, spending more than £600 million between 2015 and 2020 to support the uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles here in the UK.
“By leading international efforts on this issue, we are playing our part in helping achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 1 billion tonnes per year across the world by 2050.”
The ZEV Alliance formed in September this year with the ambition to increase the global uptake of greener vehicles through international co-operation.
As well as the UK, members include:
Germany, the Netherlands and Norway in Europe
California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in the United States
Most general automotive observers note nearly a 25% drop in Volkswagen’s U.S. car sales last month compared to one year ago.
“The November sales results reflect the impact of the recent stop-sale for all 2.0L 4-cylinder TDI vehicles as well as for the 3.0L V6. The voluntary stop-sales were issued in light of notices received by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding emissions compliance.”
Diesel Gate is setting in, as Golf sales sunk by 64%, but how is all this affecting the all-electric e-Golf?
November 2014 marked the first full month of e-Golf in the U.S., sales so it’s hard to judge by the year-over-year increase of 297% from just 119 in November 2014 to 472 in November 2015.
However, by comparing the ratio of consumers who opt for the electric version instead of conventional Golfs, we see a clearer picture. In November 2015, 11.5% of all Golfs sold in the U.S. were e-Golfs.
Overall, share of e-Golf out of total Volkswagen sales (including SUVs) is at a record high of 1.98%, so we’d say that Diesel Gate is positively affecting e-Golf sales.
[Note that although the video is in French, you can switch on Captions and through the YouTube Settings button you can set it to auto-translate to English]
From 8 to 28 July 2015, Sandra Reinflet (writer, singer and photographer) and Mathilde Terrier (journalist) took ZOE out on a most unusual Tour de France. The challenge would be to find electricity for charging the car every 150 kilometres along the way, with the help of the growing community of ZOEnautes and other electric car buffs. The three-week adventure gave rise to a documentary portraying this pioneering movement, along with its values and its commitment to progress and the environment.
For COP21, an event on which it is an official partner, Renault is proud to unveil this unique film, which will also be shown at the major climate conference.
Summer 2015, Sandra and Mathilde set out into uncharted territory with their Renault ZOE, roaming the roads throughout the country and knocking on the doors of total strangers, members of the electric vehicle movement. A strong community spirit would ensure there was always a power outlet available for recharging their batteries.
It was an original way to show that you can go far with an electric car, and meet a lot of interesting people along the way.
It paints portraits of these electric vehicle pioneers. They’re all very different, but what they have in common is that they’ve stopped being mere bystanders and decided to take an active part in the shift toward environmental responsibility.
For some behind-the-scenes insights into this unique experience, don’t miss Sandra Reinflet’s talk at the COP21 Solutions exhibition in the Grand Palais, from 11:30 to 12:00 on Saturday 5 December.
Carwatt presents a unique automotive application for second-life batteries from electric vehicles
On the sidelines of the COP21 summit, in the Solutions Gallery running from 2 to 9 December 2015 in Le Bourget near Paris, Carwatt and its partners —Renault, Paris City Council, BPI France, the Alès École des Mines Engineering School, and the Bobigny Business Campus — are showing a very special electric Renault Trafic. This prototype vehicle, the only one of kind in the world, is powered by second-life lithium-ion batteries recycled from Renault electric cars.
Circular economy at work with electric vehicles
When, over time, the batteries of a Renault electric vehicle fall the performance threshold specified for their initial automotive power duty (around 75% of initial capacity), they can still provide valuable service in “second-life” applications before end-of-life disposal at a recycling centre. Experiments are already under way on power storage applications, for example.
Carwatt develops innovative applications for using these batteries to convert used urban commercial vehicles into electric vehicles. In giving a second automotive life to these batteries, Carwatt provides a good illustration of the founding principles of the circular economy, in that the whole-lifecycle battery value is optimized through successive usages.
Lower pollution and less expense
Electric conversion of urban commercial vehicles reduces investment levels as well as makes a concrete and immediate contribution to reducing urban pollution levels, since 94% of commercial vehicles are diesel-fuelled. In 2016, Carwatt and Paris City Council will be experimenting with other Renault commercial vehicles converted to run on electricity.
I see more electric cars on the road every day now, they are no longer the novelty they used to be. In my area I see many Nissan Leafs and a few ZOEs. And, of course, it seems like the Mitsubish Outlander PHEV is everywhere!
I saw my first Tesla Model S in my hometown of Northampton a few months back – that seems like a milestone of sorts.
A week later I was travelling down to London and called in to the London Gateway services for a charge. By the time I had finished and was packing up to leave I had been joined by an Outlander and a BMW i3, all 3 cars lined up in a row at the chargepoints. Hopefully such a tableau will be commonplace in the future.
Of course, it did highlight that only the ZOE has its charging socket at the right end!
The government will spend more than £600 million between 2015-16 and 2020-21 to support uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the UK, maintaining the global leadership that has seen 1 in 4 of all European electric vehicles built here and keep the UK on track for all new cars to be effectively zero emission by 2040.
This investment will save 65 million tonnes of carbon and help deliver the Long Term answer on urban air quality.