EEMS Accelerate reveals electric car technologies with most potential

May 18, 2012 By Paul Clarke

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EEMS Accelerate
, a consortium featuring four British designed and manufactured prototype electric sports cars, has revealed the first key findings from its 12 months of road trials and identified key technologies with the potential to fast track wider EV adoption.

The consortium, led by specialist energy, climate change and environmental consultancy, AEA, and which comprises
Delta Motorsport
, Ecotricity, the Lightning Car Company and Westfield Sports Cars, is one of eight which have received part-funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board under their £25million
Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles Demonstrator programme.

The ULCVD trial is one of the largest trials of its type across Europe; it was designed to gather real-life running data and change the public perception of electric vehicles. Its findings will be used to plan future infrastructure in the UK.

In total, the ULCVD trial featured more than 340 cars, recording more than 195,000 individual journeys and clocking up more than 1.1 million miles. Of these, the EEMS Accelerate vehicles accounted for 14 vehicles of a more sporty nature than their currently commercially available counterparts.

The prototypes were driven by over 20 different drivers, with more than 2,800 individual journeys made; when compared with other electric vehicle driving/charge habits, the general patterns in recorded data showed a number of similarities.

The aims of the EEMS Accelerate programme are to showcase electric vehicles with high performance and low emissions, using cutting-edge British design and engineering
.

The longest individual journey made by an EEMS Accelerate vehicle (the soon to be commercially available Lightning GT) was just over 118 miles, with the same vehicle notching up an impressive 7,450 miles worth of total running over the 12 months.

Between the consortium, several key findings were noted for future development or consideration in aiding the future adoption of EV vehicles.

Delta Motorsport worked closely with the University of Oxford to develop a powerful, high-torque electric motor with highly efficient direct-drive architecture and which is now licensed under the YASA Motors brand name. The Silverstone-based company also found that its trial experience has resulted in further development projects in the areas of torque vectoring (the control of torque to each wheel, which improves active safety and dynamic performance) and cheap, compact range extenders, both of which could have significant, wider impacts on the future commercial adoption of EVs.

Ecotrocity’s technologically-innovative Nemesis sports car was developed to be “ wind powered “, running on sustainably sourced electricity from the Gloucester-based electricity company. With one of the main aims of the EEMS Accelerate consortium being to “win hearts and minds” about electric vehicles, the Nemesis has played a key role in perception changing and stimulating debates on where electricity needs to come from to make transport sustainable. Ecotricity has subsequently launched an “Electric Highway” and is installing a national network of ‘free-to-join, free-to-use’ electric charging points , to aid the fast tracking of EV adoption across the country.

The Lightning Car Company used an innovative lithium titanate battery , the only vehicle in the consortium to do so. Having stood the rigours of the trial, the company is now confident of its expectations for further development of its 10-minute, fast-charging technology, which this battery technology enables. Recharging times are a key factor in changing the public’s perceptions of how usable EVs are.

Westfield meanwhile found that even the most staunch “petrol head” enjoyed the electric equivalent of its fun kit car model and the company is subsequently pursuing its aims to develop its lightweight sports cars for track events and motor racing . In these environments, range can be predicted, eliminating range anxiety, while the concept of electric vehicles can reach even larger audiences.

Head of Transport at the Technology Strategy Board, Andrew Everett said: “This was an exciting project from the outset, as it was a trailblazer for the development and eventual widespread uptake of high-end, ultra-low-carbon vehicles in the UK. In 2009, when the programme was launched, there was a broad perception that ultra-low-carbon vehicles could only take the form of very small city cars, and while those kinds of vehicles have their place and were trialled in our wider programme, the EEMS project blew that misconception out of the water.

“The project has shown, without a doubt, that these are desirable, high-performance vehicles that are going to have a real edge in the market. The project has also helped the EEMS consortium and the seven other projects involved in the Technology Strategy Board Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme to learn a lot about the speed at which people adapt to EVs.”

EEMS Accelerate

EEMS Accelerate is a consortium of organisations, including AEA, Delta Motorsport, Ecotricity, Lightning Car Company, Westfield Sports Cars and Green Motion. The consortium is one of eight which have received part-funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board under their £25M Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles Demonstrator programme.

The aims of the EEMS Accelerate programme are to showcase electric vehicles with high performance and low emissions, using cutting-edge British design and engineering; to motivate British industry to pursue further research and development in electric vehicles; and to challenge the preconceptions of electric vehicles held by general public, motorsport enthusiasts and specialists. These are tomorrow’s cars today.

Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body, which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information, please visit www.innovateuk.org .

About the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme

The Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles Demonstrator programme, launched in 2009, is the largest demonstrator trial of its kind in Europe. In all, 340 vehicles – ranging from high performance vehicles to small city cars and vans – have been driven by private and fleet drivers in seven different demonstrator hubs across the UK. The £25m programme is supported by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles. The aim of the trial is to show that ultra low carbon vehicle technology in the UK is at a promising stage of development and that the vehicles are suitable for everyday use, so that we are well placed to play a competitive role in an emerging global low carbon vehicles market.

The Lightning Car Company

The Lightning Car Company was built on a strong heritage of British design, inspired by motorsport. The Lightning GT car combines classic, British sports car design with clean technology. Lightning’s ambitious goal is to make the all-electric Lightning GT available to discerning customers as a desirably-different and highly-exclusive luxury GT supercar with zero emissions at point of use. The EEMS Accelerate project is the backbone of the testing and development of the all electric Lightning GT. For more information, please visit www.lightningcarcompany.co.uk .

Delta Motorsport

Delta Motorsport has a background in high performance engineering. It has built five E4 Coupes – a compact, lightweight, low-drag, 4-seat electric passenger car, with a super-efficient drive train to improve performance and range. The cars are fully functioning demonstrators, built as a showcase for its engineering prowess, with an aim to enhance Delta’s profile with OEMs developing mass market EVs to generate business. For more information, please visit www.delta-motorsport.com .

Ecotricity

Britain’s first green energy company is dedicated to changing the way Britain’s energy is made. Ecotricity’s founder Dale Vince OBE set out to prove that electric cars need not be boring but can be fast, exciting and safe, with the aim of building a car that can turn heads and minds. The Nemesis is designed and built by a team with F1 experience, with batteries which are charged using green electricity that has been generated by Ecotricity’s own wind turbines, hence the Nemesis has been dubbed the world’s first wind-powered car. For more information, please visit www.ecotricity.co.uk .

Westfield Sports Cars

Westfield is engineering-driven, focusing on lightweight, innovative sports cars, which lead the niche and component build markets. The company has been working since 2006 on low-carbon, high-performance vehicles to meet the needs of the future. With 30 years of experience, Westfield is one of the UK’s premier brands in the niche and kit sports car market, looking to expand globally and increase growth. For more information, please visit www.westfield-sportscars.co.uk .

Read our review of the Delta Motorsport E4 Coupe