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EV billing breakthrough

Plugged-in: Elektromotive’s new charging station offers various billing options for the consumer.

Latest charge stations unveiled as electric vehicle experts meet around the world

General News logo26 May 2009

By DAVID HASSALL

BRITISH company Elektromotive has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first billing system for electric vehicle charging posts at an international EV symposium held in Stavanger, Norway.

Called EBConnect, the new system is designed to monitor electricity drawn from vehicle charging stations and then invoice the motorist or accept payment by a number of methods, including a personalised prepaid keyfob.

Costs can be automatically added to the consumer’s household power bill, or the balance can be settled remotely with the user paying via SMS text messages, interactive voice recordings or automatic registration number recognition.

The system is already being used in the company’s 160 Elektrobay charging stations in the UK, most of which are in London.

Elektromotive also revealed a 32-amp three-phase ‘fast charge’ prototype bay it claims is another world first, with two separate five-pin power sockets able to accommodate the so-called Mennekes plug, which is expected to become the European standard for electric commercial vehicles.

80 center image From top: Elektromotive charger 3, Metro Buddy 12 and Mennekes EV plug1.

Australia’s EV Task Force met for the first time in six-member executive form to identify the various local stakeholders who need to be consulted before the next meeting in about three weeks, when a series of reports will be tabled on issues affecting the roll-out of EVs in this country.

In Norway, the 24th Electric Vehicle Symposium was attended by about 1000 delegates from 45 nations, including VIPs Prince Albert of Monaco, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and the president of Iceland, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

More than 450 papers were presented at the symposium, there were about 100 speakers and an exhibition at the venue included representation from as many as 100 companies from 40 countries.

As well as a number of familiar EVs and plug-in hybrids such as the Opel Ampera, Think City, Tesla Roadster and Toyota Prius, two new EVs were unveiled – the Brusa Spyder from Switzerland and the Metro Buddy from host nation Norway.

The angular Smart-like Buddy three-seater was unveiled by local TV personality Siri Kalvig and production of 5000 units a year commences in October.

The Porsche-styled Brusa is clearly aimed at the Tesla, with two 95kW motors driving the rear wheels only and a claimed 0-100km/h time of around five seconds. However, there are no plans yet for series production.

Another interesting new technology on display was a multi-speed transmission developed specifically for EVs by British company Vocis Driveline Controls.

Vocis claims the two-speed transmission – a twin-shaft unit that allows the ratio to be changed with no break in torque delivery – substantially improves performance, range and battery life without any significant increase in overall cost or packaging volume.

“This is not the first two-speed EV transmission concept, but it is the first that overcomes the issues that have so far prevented their successful introduction,” said Vocis managing director Mike Everitt.

“Fundamental benefits of our technology are zero torque interruption during shifts, very low additional losses compared with a single-speed transmission, scaleability to any practical number of ratios, and mechanical robustness through the use of technologies that have all been proven in other applications.” Conference chairman Robert Stussi, who is also the president of the World Electric Vehicle Association, said he was overwhelmed by the turn-out at this year’s 40th anniversary event.

“The financial crisis that caused other events to close has certainly also had an impact on our event, but the facts show that it is a very successful EVS,” said Mr Stussi.

“This could be taken as a proof that companies, institutions and individuals are carrying on designing for and planning the future regardless of temporary financial turmoil.”

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