Who cares about Clark Kent?

With the arrival of the mobile phone, phone boxes are now obsolete. So, what to do with all those boxes and their infrastructure? Ireland is applying adaptive reuse of the well-positioned phone booths by turning them into EV chargers.

Irish telecoms company Eir and EV charging network EasyGo will replace 180 phone boxes with EV rapid charge points. EasyGo will use DC rapid chargers developed by Australia-based Tritium.

Gerry Cash, director of EasyGo, explains the reason for the innovative collaboration:

We’ve a culture of going into towns and places of convenience. Typically, the locations of the phone boxes are in those types of places. And that’s what we want to do — make the experience of charging a car easy, comfortable, and safe for people.

Way too reasonable a solution to satisfy Americans. Or someone really important…like the board of directors of AT&T.

60 years later, the Berkeley Bandit returns as an EV

Six decades after it came and went without much fuss, the Berkeley Bandit is ready to make its triumphant return. And in order to actually stick around this time, the sporty speedster will come with two very modern features: an electric powertrain and sustainable parts.

Late last week, the recently resurrected British automaker, best known for its compact sports cars, announced that it would relaunch with a new and improved Bandit. And a zero-emission powertrain isn’t the only way the new car with differ from its predecessor; it will also be available as a roadster or a coupe.

The original Bandit was supposed to be the car that would push Berkeley into the mainstream, but before that got a chance to happen, the automaker declared bankruptcy in 1960, pulling the plug on operations before the car could make it to production. Despite this, the roadster is still looked upon fondly by British sports car lovers, some of whom view the two-seater as having been “ahead of its time.”

As did the original prototypes, 60 years ago, Berkeley designers proved that simple, smooth, ain’t a bad way to design an automobile. I liked their work back then. Like it even more, now.

Germany matches France — making electric car charging stations mandatory at all gas stations

Germany has announced that it will require all its fuel filling stations across the country to set up electric car charging stations…The chargers will be installed under its EUR 130 billion economic recovery plan to help remove refuelling concerns and boost consumer demand. The move is expected to boost EV (electric vehicle) demand along with a wider stimulus plan under which the country plans to raise taxes to penalise owning large polluting ICE (internal combustion engine) SUVs and provide a EUR 6,000 subsidy towards EV costs. The German government’s announcement follows that of the French plan announced last week…

Meanwhile, Congress prepares itself for the annual summer thumb-twiddling competition.

Aptera Claims Three-Wheel EV Can Go Shopping on Solar Only

❝ Aptera…is claiming its forthcoming electric three-wheeler can operate on solar power without ever plugging in to charge.

Every hour it’s parked in the sun generates five miles of range, so Aptera claims 44 miles of range in a day based on solar charging from the summer sun in San Diego.

Users can still plug in the Aptera EV, which Aptera recently claimed will have a 1000-mile range between charges.

Interesting reads, warts, caveats and all. If it performs as promoted – and affordable in my retiree household – it makes all the sense in the world. Our average weekly shopping trip to town rarely exceeds 30 miles roundtrip. We’re in sunny New Mexico with all the solar energy you could ever wish for pouring down every day. Enough room for my wife and me + groceries, etc..

Ford EV Owners will have access to VW’s 12,000 US charging stations

❝ Ford is sweetening the deal for its future electric car owners. The “Mustang-inspired” EV crossover that’s on its way will come with access to 12,000 charging stations Ford is calling the “FordPass Charging Network.”

❝ While they might have the Ford name attached to them, these stations were not built by Ford, and the Blue Oval also won’t be building any new ones itself. However, Ford EV owners will have access to all of them for the first two years of ownership. Some of the 35,000 plugs among the 12,000 stations will be DC fast chargers built by Electrify America. With one of those 150 kW chargers, Ford says its electric cars will be capable of gaining 47 miles of range in just 10 minutes. A charge from 10 percent to 80 percent will be a 45-minute wait, according to Ford. One can likely thank the recent Ford-VW partnership dealings for this Electrify America (a VW subsidiary) access, as the two companies continue to share more technology and resources with each other.

❝ The FordPass app and FordPass dashboard assistant will help make charging easier, as well. Despite Ford saying owners will have “complimentary access” to the charging network, owners will still have to pay to charge. This can be done via the FordPass software baked into the car’s infotainment system. It also has a trip planner to help identify charge points along your route, similar to Tesla’s navigation system. You’ll be able to tell if a charger is available or not on your vehicle’s dashboard…

Don’t need all the grunt of my old 4WD Ram Pickup, nowadays. Love to have someone offer an affordable, lightweight, not-so-big electric pickup for the kind of tasks where that vehicle class shines. Something akin to this VW TriStar concept – electrified!

Battery advances could double electric car mileage and power

❝ Electric car batteries could soon ditch the liquid electrolyte chemicals of yesteryear for a technology that’s more energy dense, more flame resistant, and optimized for the road. Researchers at Michigan Technological University announced the publication of three new articles this week around solid-state batteries — and the research could give a big boost to electric cars.

❝ Solid-state batteries encompass a variety of techniques, but most of them involve dropping the liquids that conduct electricity and interact with the lithium, replacing them with an alternative, solid material…

The research published this week analyzes the way lithium acts in a battery at scales under 500 nanometers, confirming that the material is surprisingly strong, a stepping stone to what engineers agree is essentially redesigning batteries from scratch. The papers were published in the Journal of Materials Research. Erik Herbert, the lead researcher and assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Technological University, tells Inverse these cells could pose an alternative to current electric car batteries.

RTFA. Too brief and I’ll keep my eyes open for more depth to follow.

Tesla rewrote the book on electric car sales last month

We’ve been pointing out the many electric vehicle sales records on the board in 2016. Nearly every month established a new high for the plug-in segment in the U.S., and June was best on the books. Still, Tesla had yet to have that breakout sales showing that rattled an industry built on gasoline. In September, things changed. Tesla not only shattered EV sales records on every level; it also outsold 13 long-established brands, including Porsche, Mitsubishi, and Volvo.

InsideEVs estimates Tesla delivered 4,350 Model S sedans and 3,200 Model X SUVs in September. Both are record totals for Tesla; Model S’s total is the highest ever for plug-in vehicle; and as a brand Tesla more than doubled the best EV sales by any other automaker in America…Overall, Tesla reached 24,500 deliveries worldwide.

The showing puts Tesla on pace to break the annual sales record (30,200) set in 2014 by Nissan Leaf. The industry as a whole was buoyed by the performances of Model S and Model X…

Parochial motorheads who favor EVs may be peering worried into their lite beers; but, globalized gear monkeys know the future is guaranteed. At least through the next few 5-year plans in the world’s largest auto market – China.

The government there has committed to electric transport, cars, truck, trains, for all the good reasons from fighting pollution to climate change. Doing so at a level we aren’t likely to approach in the GOUSA – even with Dems in the White House and controlling the lobbyist country club called Congress.

The cars will be built and available. Even if we’re only stealing a small share of what is destined for Asian shores.

SNL’s version of a Mercedes EV

I’ve been hearing about this for about a week, I guess. Everyone in the EV and alt-power car segment of the enviro world has been chuckling and discussing the video.

For me, once again it proves that CGI is now affordable [for some folks] and incredibly powerful. And the sense of humor of the best part of the history of Saturday Night Live is still alive and well.

Canada will replace government limousines with electric vehicles

electric parking lot GWN

Under the leadership of its Liberal Party and new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has unveiled its latest budget. While much of the 2016 budget focuses on supporting and growing the country’s middle class…Canada also addresses a host of environmental concerns, including greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuel technology. In fact, there’s a whole chapter on A Clean Growth Economy.

In the budget, Canada proposes setting aside $62.5 million Canadian for the alternative fuel infrastructure, which includes EV charging and natural gas and hydrogen fueling stations. “Early action is needed to support the transition to low-carbon transportation fuels, as vehicle choices made today will determine the mix of technologies on the road in 2030,” the budget reads. It is also expanding tax incentives to businesses to invest in EV charging and electricity storage. “These resources will also support technology demonstration projects that advance electric vehicle charging technology…”

Another $56.9 million is proposed for a cleaner transportation sector, which was responsible for 23 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2013. Included in this proposal is the development of international emissions standards for air, rail and marine transport. The budget also looks to improve life for city dwellers through improvements in public transport. As cities have expanded, public transit hasn’t kept up. Congestion and longer commutes are hurting businesses, families and the environment. The new budget proposes investing up to $3.4 billion in public transit over three years. “These investments,” the budget reads, “will help to shorten commute times, cut air pollution, strengthen communities and grow Canada’s economy.”

In the spirit of putting its money where its mouth is, the Canadian government has announced plans to get rid of its limousines and replace them with electric vehicles. In a country that has taken a hit from low oil prices…it’s a heartening gesture to see a focus on a cleaner economy and transport.

Mail me a penny postcard when our Republican-controlled Congress decides that language and guidance like this should be included in our federal budget. If they had their way, we’d probably still be using kerosene lamps for lighting.