Friday, October 17, 2014

News: AMP showcases next generation vehicles


Vehicles that don't rely on fossil fuels were turning heads at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham recently, an occurrence that is likely to take place more often in the immediate future.

South Yorkshire businesses took the opportunity to test drive the latest electric vehicles as part of the initiative that is making them more affordable for business use.

As part of a Government initiative to lower vehicle pollution by 28% before 2020, the Inmotion! project is encouraging the uptake and use of electrically charged vehicles. Funding from the Government's Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), has been matched with local contributions to create a pot of £72m to support a range of schemes which bring environmental, health and economic benefits.

Representatives from Inmotion! and partners, npower brought a fleet of vehicles that are available in the scheme to the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), including the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Renault Twizy, Nissan NV200 and Renault Kangoo. Sytner BMW also showcased the German manufacturers' i3 and i8 hybrid supercar.

As part of the initiative, 80 businesses could benefit from a grant of up to £10,500 for the flexible lease of a Plug-in van or £7,500 for a Plug-in car for up to 48 months, plus an additional grant of £500 towards the cost of installing a workplace charging point. Companies making the switch to Plug-in electric vehicles can also benefit from low running costs (approx. £2 for 80 miles), no road tax and a reduction in exhaust emissions to help create healthier and cleaner roads in our region.

The AMP is also set to be at the forefront of the pioneering use of hydrogen to power vehicles. Sheffield-based specialists ITM Power have announced that the first ever hydrogen refuelling station incorporating an on-site electrolysis system will be located at Waverley. The firm already has a presence on the site and is commissioning a wind hydrogen fuel project partially funded by Rotherham Council which will see a Hyundai ix35 fuel cell vehicle deployed in the South Yorkshire region.

The AMP system is unique in that the energy stored in the hydrogen grid is created by wind power, which means that the vehicles it powers will not contribute to carbon dioxide emissions.

The latest system is part of a collaborative project known as Island Hydrogen, UK which brings together the likes of IBM, Vodafone, SSE, Cheetah Marine, Toshiba, Arcola Energy, NPL, University of Nottingham and University of South Wales. ITM Power's HFuel system generates hydrogen by electrolysis, compresses it, stores it and dispenses the gas on demand at high pressure. Combining an electrolyser based refueller with the on-site renewable energy source at the AMP will enable 80kg per day of low-carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as a vehicle fuel.

Used to power road vehicles including Hyundai ix35, Microcab and Ford Transit vans, it will be an important part of the UK hydrogen infrastructure roll out and commissioning is underway.

Hyundai's ix35 Fuel Cell emits only water from its exhaust and is fitted with a 100 kW (136 ps) electric motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 99mph with a 0-to-62mph time of 12.5 seconds. Where electric vehicles like the Zoe and Leaf used batteries to store energy, a pair of hydrogen tanks, located between the vehicle's rear wheels, enable the vehicle to travel up to 370 miles on a single fuelling.

For the Inmotion! team, the next event in Rotherham will highlight the Eco-Business Driving scheme which is designed to help businesses reduce their vehicle fuel and maintenance costs, and improve general wear and tear and collision rates through driver education and organisational support.

On the morning of Friday October 24 at the Holiday Inn Rotherham-Sheffield M1, businesses can find out how staff can develop their ability to drive safely whilst minimising the environmental impacts of vehicle use and improving their fuel consumption.

Inmotion! website
ITM Power website

Images: Tom Austen


Tom,  October 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM  

I got to go in the Twizy, Leaf and Zoe.

The technology is changing how we think about car travel and the South Yorkshire initiative just makes financial sense, let alone environmental sense.

I was also taken on a test drive in the i8. It is every bit a supercar!!

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