Abu Dhabi : UAE residents driving electric vehicles (EV) will face difficulties and challenges during the summer, since more power will be consumed by the vehicles' air-conditioning system, said Neville Jackson, Group Technology Director, Ricardo plc.

During a session titled "Fuels and Power Trains for Sustainable Future Transport," Jackson highlighted the fact that EVs are best suited to short-range applications in the medium term.

"Typical energy flow losses for a heavy duty vehicle at 100 kilometres per hour show opportunities to improve engine efficiency, ancillaries, transmission, aerodynamics and rolling resistance. The long term requires a mass market shift to new energy sectors and a mainstream alternative powertrain technology," said Jackson.

Questions such as how much energy did we use, how much CO2 did we reduce and how we recycle it should be highlighted, he added.

"There's no simple route to low-carbon transport fuels. The long-term objective is carbon free electric power supplemented with synthetic sustainable fuel," said Jackson

There are many technical options to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions, however, all have challenges. "There are no clear winners. All are likely to be required to win the battle through low-carbon vehicles achieved through improved efficiency and/or low-carbon fuels," Jackson said.

Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning and Zero Emission BU at Nissan, announced the launch of the first EV model known as Nissan Leaf by the end of the year in countries like Japan, the US and Europe. The car will be mass marketed globally by 2012.

"The Nissan Leaf will rely on lithium-ion battery generation which offers better resistance to overheating and gets rid of memory effect since the battery retains 80 per cent of its capacity on the long run," said Loing.


The most challenging factor facing Nissan regarding the lithium-ion generated vehicle is the high priced battery. "The cost is high because the battery is compact and 80 per cent durable for ten years and can be recycled and re-used at the end of its life," he added.

Even though competition among car manufacturers from a customer point of view is fierce, Loing expects that with proper incentives in place, the zero-emission mobility programme will be able to compete with a combustion engine.

"The car industry is extremely competitive because the margins are very low... however through technological improvement we know the battery will improve costwise," said the vehicle expert.


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