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Changes to everyday mobility have become, in the last two decades, one of the key problems of European social, spatial and transport policy. Exerting an influence on mobility of the society and on development of infrastructure appear to be the most pressing issue in the context of transport policy. Process of a rapid growth of automotive industry dates back to the beginning of 70’s of the XX century. However, it should be also mentioned that the years to come will shape timeless, large-scale changes in mobility, which are de facto not caused by the development of technology itself, but by the influence of ecological ideas, which continuously transfer the world of technology into more environment- and human-friendly.
Before 1990, when a car was a luxury, available only for the chosen few, no special attention was attached to the influence of cars on natural environment. Nowadays, road transport is 2nd biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 12% of the total carbon dioxide emissions. Progress in science, even greater amount of vehicles and contamination, caused by combustion engines, shaped the development of mobility, which is increasingly searching for new solutions in the field of generating energy for vehicles.
Electric vehicles are the most frequently mentioned alternative to combustion cars. They were one of the first cars used for movement of people. In addition, they are silent and in case of an accident, they reduce the risk of a car explosion, what substantially enhances their safety. Moreover, they are characterized by a low operating cost, although prices for electric vehicles are ridiculously high. By applying electric drives, which work whisper-quietly, one can achieve much better efficiency than in the case of combustion engines. Moreover, they transfer from 70 of up to 90% of supplied energy to mechanical energy what results in the fact that they produce much less heat so they doesn’t have to be cooled so intensively.
Today, electric car’s market undergoes the pace of growth and development. Its expansion is substantially influenced by legal regulations and organizational changes. Countries, which introduced those regulations experience much rapid growth of alternative mobility. In Poland, the accessible electric vehicles still belong to minority on the market and on roads, especially in public transport. In May this year, at the airport in Łódź (Poland) the tests of electric cars took place. They were conducted with regard to putting them into permanent service. At the same time, it is also crucial to remember that the people also, equally as in the case of their own car, enjoy benefits from offers of private entrepreneurs or car-sharing, which is becoming increasingly popular. In both of these cases, company Green Taxi offers attractive opportunities. Green Taxi deals both with rental of zero-emission car fleets (e.g. for taxi companies) and with conversion of combustion vehicles into electric ones. It is therefore of importance, even in this automotive sector, to consider a more economical alternative of a car with lower maintenance costs.
The innovative project of a passenger car, which would be both efficient and cheap in operation, appears to be the prototype ELV001, which was developed by Green Cars Cluster (www.carspl.eu). Streamlined shape of ELV001, when looking at the rear of the car, remind us of V generation of Volkswagen Golf; and at the front – of the first version of Land Rover Freelander. This car can place four passengers and instead of using a combustion engine which is driven by electric units with a nominal power of 15 kW for each of them. The prototype ELV was described in the article under the title “ELV- an innovative prototype of Green Cars Cluster as a breakthrough in electric cars.”
In spite of a vast amount of advantages, electric cars distinguish themselves with a significant drawback: long charging. Meanwhile, in view of environmental concerns, one implemented the EU project, which, in the framework of climate policy, contributes to reducing emissions of harmful substances. This concept promotes utilizing hydrogen drive and it was a reason, for which already in April 2014 in Great Britain, the international programme aimed at creating hydrogen filling stations was launched. The conference was attended among others by automotive companies, such as BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, as well hydrogen fuel suppliers like Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde and OMV. In Germany the first public hydrogen filling station was installed already in 2012 in Freiburg. Electric energy is derived from solar batteries. More than a dozen of stations were also established by Air Liquide group, not only in Germany, but also in Norway, Switzerland or Japan.
Other architects of hydrogen driven cars, such as Honda and Hyundai, are also looking forward to the installation of additional hydrogen filling stations. The latter has lately indicated a record of car movement driven by fuel cells, covering the distance of 700 km on one of hydrogen tanks. Koreans were the first who in 2013 started a batch production of zero-emission, hydrogen powered model and inhabitants of California, to 2025, would like to have even one and a half million of these cars. So far, government’s support in the field of development of hydrogen technologies, is estimated at above 400 million dollars.
Even today the majority of Polish cities plan to implement electrification of urban transport. This is a sign which is predicting huge changes and is, thus, a forecast of the growth of electric automotive sector. However, the question arises: what would be the charging time of such a vast vehicle? Against all appearances, buses doesn’t require to develop an expensive infrastructure, but only nodal infrastructure on bus stops or terminals, what has an impact on the cost reduction.
One of the ways of complementing electric energy without the necessity of longer stopovers seems to be induction charging. In this case the vehicle would be equipped with a charging device, installed on the chassis, which is lowered while passenger is boarding and alighting; however, at its stopover induction loop should be built. Other method consists in mounting on the roof an arm fitted with a head resembling a pantograph. In this case charging also takes place on the bus stop. What is more, charging a battery is unnoticed for passengers and doesn’t have an impact on the vehicle stopover. However, batteries and routes should be well adjusted. Energy efficiency of cars with EV drive enables at the moment to drive from 40 to 240 km depending on the intensity of the use of additional receiver, such as air conditioning, heating or electronic information.
Even now one can encounter a lot of these types of vehicles on EU roads, but it should also be stressed out that the vast majority of them was produced in Poland. The most innovative product of the Polish company Solaris – Urbino electric – was awarded with the prestigious title of “Bus of the Year 2016” in Spain. This vehicle driven by electric energy, can be provided with different types of batteries of various capacity. Furthermore, producer offers a lot of systems of their charging: plug-in, pantograph charging or induction charging, depending on the infrastructure of carrier. In January this year the roads in Częstochowa were filled with first in the world hybrid buses with gas-electric drive. Company “Solbus” – inventor of this innovative solution guarantees that thanks to quiet operation of the engine, the vehicles are more passenger-friendly. Hybrids – on account of its ecological value – are also to diminish the air pollution in Jasna Góra.
So far the producers on the Polish market place at our disposal only the purchase of cars, not taking into consideration the charging infrastructure. The availability of the properly adjusted facilities plays an entirely significant role in maintaining the growth dynamics of EV market. It is indispensable to ensure an appropriate amount of charging stations so as to electric cars would cease to be only the urban car allowing for longer journeys. For this reason in the previous year Poland submitted to the European Commission two projects based on implementing charging infrastructure of electric vehicles. IEVIS (Interoperable Electric Vehicles Infrastructure System) belongs to one of them. This is a pilot project describing the construction of interoperable infrastructure of charging stations of vehicles equipped with supporting systems on the given route of TEN-T network in Poland. The initiator of the project is Green Cars Cluster in collaboration with Green Electric Cars (www.gec.greenpl.eu) who coordinates this undertaking (Please, read more about IEVIS project in the article entitled ‘’Infrastructure shapes mobility, the development of alternative fuels infrastructure.”)
In case of mobile technology a multi-faceted approach is needed. Green Cars Cluster, contrary to companies focused primarily on prototypes of even newer cars, concentrates on the conditions required for implementation of modern solutions, bearing in mind an appropriate offer. Conversion of old cars or the development of charging infrastructure are, at this very moment, priority issues associated with placing zero-emission vehicles on the Polish market. Such types of actions have also a positive effect on the Polish economic zone, thus, bridging the gap between Poland and 15 countries of EU regarding the development of infrastructure or quality of transport systems.
In 2011 Green Cars Cluster conceived a project, which purpose was a purchase and assembling of electric vehicles’ charing points in designated locations. In the framework of this investment one established charging points situated in public places (so-called PPŁ) and charging points located on the private area of the user of electric vehicle (GPŁ). These points can be found in Warsaw, Katowice, Mielec and its number ranges from 15 to 42 per city. At the moment, charging the vehicles is popular in public transport. Charging points are installed in strategic locations enabling to refill the energy in batteries within just 30 minutes. An attractive solution in this case is fixing fast alternating current loaders in places where an average user spends no more than an hour, e.g. parking in front of the cinemas or shopping centers.
Vehicle charging stations might be equipped with one or more charging points and have integrated functions of smart energy management. They use GSM/GPRS to contact with the car as well as with the electric network, thanks to which checking the availability of stations or the course of charging process does not pose any problem. Development of infrastructure is an indispensable part ensuring the comfort of user possessing a car with EV drive. What is also crucial, already today there is a possibility to mount such a station in a private house, on the wall of a garage or as a separate distributor, what makes it substantially easier to control the battery charge.
Environment protection is one of many advantages arising out of using the sources of green transport. Electric energy can be generated from many alternative sources, thanks to which its application in transport would considerably decrease the emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Vehicles with EV-drive are also thoroughly economic. They are characterized by high efficiency and high torque what makes it possible to minimize travel costs. Additionally, modern technologies allow recovering energy from braking, what extensively improves its range while prolonging the life of brakes. It is also relevant that the environment and people savings benefit from using electric cars, but what about the performance? Vehicles with EV-drive are not inferior in comparison to combustion cars. They don’t have either a transmission or a clutch, what makes the journey even more comfortable and their acceleration is incomparably greater as a result of a high torque. What is more, these vehicles are also noiseless.
It should be underlined that even today one can convert (e.g. with the aid of specialists of the abovementioned Green Cars Cluster) any car to an electric one, and, thus – the user is not limited to choosing from several models available presently from dealers. It is also the cheapest form of replacing the conventional engine. Not to mention the fact that such an offer improves competitiveness and possibilities of electric automotive sector and may result in economies of scale, because the price of conversion a combustion car into an electric one is much lower than the price of purchasing a new or used electric vehicle. Thus, green transport constitutes not only an alternative for conventional vehicles, but also the necessity.
As one can observe there are dozens of possibilities to replace a combustion engine, starting from increasingly popular electric batteries, through cars with hydrogen drive, to PAMAR-4 engines, which are nowadays subjected to tests. However, there is still a lot to be done both in the area of charging or filling up such types of vehicles, as well as in the field of implementing them on the large scale. A considerable economic factor, which slows down this process, is a price of environmental-friendly cars. Unfortunately, vast majority of people in Poland cannot afford a conversion of an engine. Despite this fact, the future of Polish transport is bright, although it will certainly take some time before the cars will turn into noiseless and eco-friendly vehicles.
Source: Green Economy