The UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has announced six winners of the Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge—a competition to identify and promote low carbon innovations with the potential to cut carbon emissions and other environmental impacts arising from transport in cities.
The winning ideas proffer solutions to the problems posed by the need to travel in crowded urban areas. The proposals include a lightweight, driverless electric bus; a system to improve the efficiency of urban freight transport; a bus-taxi hybrid (a “buxi”); a low carbon, community-managed car club; plus two variants of lightweight, single seat electric vehicles.
The six winning entrants of the LowCVP 2012 Technology Challenge were selected on a competitive basis from entries covering a variety of solutions. Their selection by an expert panel was based on the merits and impacts of their technology for reducing vehicle CO2 emissions, commercial viability and ease of integration.
The judges included senior representatives of: the Technology Strategy Board; the Transport Research Laboratory; the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and other leading industrial organisations and experts drawn from the LowCVP’s wide membership. The winners of the LowCVP’s Technology Challenge are:
Capoco Design Ltd. Capoco Design’s Mobilicity system is a collective system that uses lightweight, electrically-powered, driverless pods to transport people far more efficiently than current transport designs. The current design can carry up to 24 passengers, including 11 seats and 1 wheelchair space. Research for the system, which bundles a number of advanced technologies began in 2002. Capoco is now seeking funding for technology demonstrators.
Ecospin Ltd. Ecospin is a research, design and development company which has developed the first road-legal, 3-wheeled, stand-on, rear wheel-powered electric vehicle. The vehicle, called Raptor, is aimed at business-to-business organisations such as the police, airport security, post office deliveries, paramedics and a range of private organisations.
Esoterix Systems Ltd. Esoterix is a Bristol-based start-up dedicated to developing and deploying novel solutions to urban transport problems. “Buxi” is Esoterix’s flagship product. It combines the efficiency of a bus with the flexibility of a taxi. Users book journeys at short notice and a buxi vehicle provides door-to-door transport at an agreed time. Passengers share the vehicle space, and cost, with others. The designers say the system is affordable, convenient and reliable.
Hugh Frost Designs Ltd. Hugh Frost Designs is an independent design company working in the area of green transport and supply chain logistics. It entered three individual projects with a fourth that combines key elements: Freight*Lift—removes the requirement for the pallet (1billion + are wasted annually); Cool*Run—combined with Freight*Lift enables transport of multi-temperature products in one vehicle without traditional chillers and insulated body constraints; Freight*Bus—utilizes surplus bus capacity at off peak times to transport freight; and “To-you it’s local” model—consolidates the preceding technologies into a unique system for businesses.
SusMobil Ltd. SusMobil presented a design for a low carbon, community-managed car club specifically aimed at short inner-city journeys. A micro-factory will be established in each city employing staff to assemble the vehicles, install and manage the infrastructure and train in engineering and technology skills. SusMobil proposes placing a fleet of cars, and a network of charging points allowing local residents and business users to access low carbon vehicles for short-hop journeys with a simple per-minute hire charge.
WeatherVelo Ltd. WeatherVelo specializes in eco-vehicles for personal urban mobility, to bridge the gap between two-wheelers and cars. The WeatherVelo Prime cabin-scooter is a pure-electric single-seat vehicle weighing under 150kg for optimal energy efficiency: less than 8g/km CO2 well-to-wheel. It is a slender and manoeuvrable three-wheeler with roofline equivalent to cars, for safety in traffic. The working prototype is nearing completion.
The LowCVP Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge follows the LowCVP’s successful Challenge format of previous years. Past LowCVP Challenges have focused on innovative technologies for passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and also brought forward new ideas in the areas of policy, marketing and community engagement.