Aston at forefront of low carbon testing

Aston lecturer Brian Price with Aston's electric smart car
Aston lecturer Brian Price with Aston's electric smart car

Aston University will be assessing the future of low carbon transport, thanks to a successful consortium bid which will bring a fleet of alternative energy cars to the streets of Birmingham and Coventry.

A total of 110 ultra low carbon (ULC) vehicles are set to be showcased in the two cities, following a successful £7.5m competition bid to Government (Technology Strategy Board), to trial a range of alternative transport technologies.

Known as CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators) the successful consortium, led by design engineering consultant Arup, will see one hundred electric, and 10 hydrogen passenger cars tested in the Midlands, over a period of 12 months. Aston University’s role will be to monitor and analyse the overall performance of the vehicles and examine ways to improve efficiency.

Participants involved in the study will have an electric power point provided at their home and place of work and an additional 36 power points are proposed for public areas in Coventry and Birmingham in places such as public car parks and supermarkets. 

All the cars, which include two- seater, four seater and sports utility vehicles from leading manufacturers are classified as <50g/km CO2 vehicles, with normal operation generating zero tailpipe emissions.
The data collated by Aston, will help to analyse and assess the achieved mileage per charge, the suitability of the vehicles involved and their ease of use. The vehicles’ journeys will also be logged via sataliete mapping, to help assess the best locations to have any future electric power points in Birmingham and Coventry.

The consortium, which includes partners from both vehicle manufacturing and infrastructure providers, together with academic institutions,  is supported by Birmingham and Coventry City Councils, Advantage West Midlands, E.ON., Aston, Birmingham and Coventry Universities.

Brian Price, lecturer in Engineering Systems and Management at Aston University believes the 18 month scheme, due to start later this year, will provide an ideal opportunity to test alternative transport and infrastructure options in a real world environment.  “This project will provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase alternative transport in the UK and to assess the feasibility of alternative fuel sources, such as electricity and hydrogen and the latest inductive power transfer technology as an alternative to plug-in street charging systems," he said.
"We will also be providing patterns of electricity usage, which will enable district network operators to assess the best locations for any future electric charging points and assessing the feasibility of hydrogen fuel points.”

A significant number of the vehicles have a strong connection to the region, either being built or fully or partially developed within the West Midlands, providing  UK supply chain companies with the opportunity to gain expertise and reputation in ultra low carbon technologies.
Companies involved in the project, include Jaguar Land Rover, Tata, Smart, Microcab, Mitsubishi and LTi. The four electric vehicles to be tested are the Mitsubishi I MiEV, smart car (ed), TX4E taxi and the Tata Indica Vista EV – as well as the hydrogen powered Microcab and Land Rover’s Range_e hybrid vehicle.

A total of 340 vehicles will be tested by eight regional consurtiums across the UK, with CABLED, the largest of the consortiums involved in the £25m government funded scheme.

Aston's low carbon research is featured in the latest Birmingham Mail 'Go Green' magazine >


Notes to Editors;

For further information and/or to arrange an interview with Brian Price, please contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Press Officer on 0121 204 4549

Companies involved in the project are;

• Arup – Project managers
• E-on – Charging points and electrical infrastructure
• RDM Automotive – Data loggers
• Coventry City Council - Infrastructure
• Birmingham City Council - Infrastructure
• Aston University – Data analysis
• Coventry University – User profiles
• Birmingham University – Hydrogen refuelling

• Mitsubishi – Vehicle provider
• Microcab – Vehicle provider
• Smart – Vehicle provider
• Tata – Vehicle provider
• Jaguar Land Rover – Vehicle provider
• LTi – Vehicle provider

Vehicles in the fleet will be;

• 40 Smart EV (EV – electric vehicle)
• 25 Tata Indica EV
• 25 Mitsubishi iMiEV
• 10 Microcabs Hydrogen Fuel Cell
• 5 Land Rovers EV
• 5 London Taxis EV