Major car manufacturers unveil plans for electric charging network
In order to strengthen the infrastructure for electric cars, a group of manufacturers, including Mercedes, BMW, Ford, Audi and Porsche, have come together to sign a memorandum of understanding. This commits them to building a large number of super-fast chargers across Europe to make long electric car journeys more feasible.
Increasing the number of chargers available across Europe is important but it’s also imperative they’re capable of charging a car quickly. With the battery capacities of electric vehicles (EVs) growing all the time, and this proposed new network, owners will be less limited by range than ever before.
The quick charging times will be reliant on the latest technology with new chargers being able to charge at speed of up to 350kW. There aren’t currently any EVs on sale that can accept these speeds but the electric cars of the future will be able to, drastically reducing charge times for large capacity batteries. This futureproofs the whole network for the launch of vehicles with a large range.
The goal is to make charging an electric car as easy as refuelling a diesel or petrol car.
Currently the most powerful chargers available are the 160kW Tesla Superchargers, which can charge a 90kWh Tesla battery to 80 percent in 40 minutes. The new 350kW chargers will not be limited to just one make and will work with cars from all the manufacturers involved in the network.
The four main manufacturing groups – Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen Group and Ford – will all have an equal part to play in the network and will be investing huge amount of money. Other manufacturers will be invited to join so they can invest and make charging easier for their customers too.
There’s no doubt that a reliable, ultra-fast charging network across Europe will vastly improve the uptake in electric vehicles but there’s a need for convincing vehicles that are quick, fun and have a range similar to a traditionally-powered car.
The programme is set to start in 2017, with an initial target of 400 sites planned. Meanwhile, the group is planning for thousands of new sites to be operational by 2020. Full formation of the joint venture is, however, still subject to certain definitive agreements being put into place
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.