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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Ford and Schaeffler demonstrate Fiesta-based e-WheelDrive car; follow-up research project in the works

April 26, 2013

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Fiesta eWheelDrive. Click to enlarge.

At Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, Ford Motor Company and Schaeffler demonstrated the Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car. (Earlier post.) Powered by independent electric motors in each of the rear wheels, eWheelDrive technology could lead to improvements in urban mobility and parking by enabling smaller, more agile cars, Ford said.

This technology could in the future support the development of a four-person car that only occupies the space of a two-person car today. At the same time, eWheelDrive steering system designs could enable vehicles to move sideways into parking spaces—a boon as cities become more populated and congested. Ford said it will work with Schaeffler and other partners on a follow-up research project, including producing two more drivable vehicles by 2015.

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Frost & Sullivan consultant suggests European EV success will require radical lightweighting plus enabling legislation

December 17, 2012

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The 400 kg (curbweight) Aixam quadricycle, with a 400cc two-cylinder diesel, is an example of the size and weight needed in future city vehicles, Meilhan suggests. Click to enlarge.

Significant vehicle weight reduction and an accompanying change of enabling regulations and norms is the way forward in the quest to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, according to Paris-based Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan.

The car of the future is a small city car, but not necessarily electric, Meilhan suggests. The future of electric vehicles (EVs) depends on regulations from governments and the European Union, incentivizing the consumer to buy them. Legislations for taxing weight size and engine power will help produce and sell such a car. Making parking even more expensive for regular cars will help. Other incentives for small cars, such as being allowed to drive in bus lines, as practiced in Norway, would certainly improve the business case for EVs.

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NYU-BMW i report explores future urban mobility; sustainability and resilience

November 13, 2012

A new study released by BMW i and New York University (NYU) finds that, in the coming years and decades, fundamental changes in the demographic makeup of cities will profoundly alter the way people travel.

This report, prepared by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with the assistance of Appleseed, a New York City-based consulting firm, examines several aspects of the challenge of urban mobility in the twenty-first century: the growth of the world’s urban population, and changes in the characteristics of that population; emerging patterns of urban mobility; and changes in technology design and connectivity.

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LowCVP announces winners of Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge

September 04, 2012

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.

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Ford developing a strategy to address urban personal mobility globally; a mobility company, not just an auto company

July 15, 2012

Ford blueprint
Rough map of Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company is mapping out a strategy to address the requirements for personal mobility in the context of the megatrend of increasing global urbanization, both in mature economies as well as in emerging markets. If Ford thinks of itself as a mobility company, rather than just an auto company, said Ford Chairman Bill Ford at the recent, second annual “Go Further with Ford” trend conference, “that really opens up possibilities.”

The Ford chairman had already begun talking about the future of urban personal mobility in the context of ever-increasing congestion at the TED2011 conference in Long Beach. During his keynote address at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, he outlined a plan for connected cars to help avoid a potential future of what he called “global gridlock—a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources.” (Earlier post.) At the Go Further with Ford conference, he expanded on a broader vision for personal urban mobility supported by an integrated network of different modes of transportation optimized for cities of the future.

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