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How we’ll get around in the cities of the future: The LowCVP announces Technology Challenge winners

Tue 04 September 2012 | Back to news list


(LowCVP News Release:)The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has announced the 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 – in many cases futuristic - ideas proffer solutions to the problems posed by the need to travel in crowded urban areas. The winning 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.

The winning entrants were selected by an independent expert panel and will present their solutions to a specialist group of executives from vehicle manufacturers and other potential investors or supporters at a private event to be held in early October.

The winners are:

• Capoco Design Ltd
• Ecospin Ltd
• Esoterix Systems Ltd
• Hugh Frost Designs Ltd
• SusMobil Ltd
• WeatherVelo Ltd

The LowCVP Low Carbon Urban Mobility Technology Challenge follows the LowCVP’s successful ‘Challenge’ format of previous years, including the 2010 Challenge which brought forward innovative technical solutions for cutting carbon from heavy goods vehicles.

The LowCVP Managing Director, Andy Eastlake, said: “The LowCVP’s Technology Challenge shows how adept UK engineers and other specialists can be in developing innovative and effective concepts and solutions. The Challenge brings these great ideas for reducing the impact of our movements around cities to the attention of potential partners and customers providing new market opportunities for some outstanding UK businesses.

“The ideas again challenge conventional thinking and show how different approaches to mobility might reduce the overall carbon impact significantly.”

Dave Greenwood of Ricardo Ltd and Chair of the LowCVP’s Innovation Working Group (IWG) said: “The IWG actively seeks to promote development and deployment of new technologies to reduce CO2 and for the commercial benefit of the UK. Our series of technology challenges are devised to encourage new, sometimes radical thinking and to provide the winners with a platform to assist their ideas in gaining commercial traction. We are delighted by the breadth of the applications received and by the quality of the winning submissions. Once again the UK has shown its capacity for directed innovation.”

Past LowCVP Challenges have focused on innovative technologies for passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and also brought forward new ideas in the areas of policy, marketing and community engagement.

A past winner’s testimonial: “Winning the LowCVP Technology Challenge raised awareness of our technology not just at a national level but internationally, with interest being received from prospective customers and co-developers around the world.” David Tonery, Managing Director, Oxy-Gen Combustion 

The six winning entrants to the LowCVP 2012 Technology Challenge were selected on a competitive basis from entries covering a variety of solutions. Their selection by an expert panel was based on the merits and impacts of their technology for reducing vehicle CO2 emissions, commercial viability and ease of integration.

The judges included senior representatives of: the Technology Strategy Board; the Transport Research Laboratory; the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and other leading industrial organisations and experts drawn from the LowCVP’s wide membership.

The winners of the LowCVP’s Technology Challenge are:

Capoco Design Ltd
Capoco Design’s Mobilicity system is a collective system that uses lightweight, electrically-powered, driverless pods to transport people far more efficiently than current transport designs. The current design can carry up to 24 passengers, including 11 seats and 1 wheelchair space. Research for the system, which bundles a number of advanced technologies began in 2002. Capoco is now seeking funding for technology demonstrators.

Ecospin Ltd
Ecospin is a research, design and development company which has developed the World’s first road-legal, 3-wheeled, stand-on, rear wheel-powered electric vehicle. The vehicle, called Raptor, is aimed at business-to-business organisations such as the police, airport security, post office deliveries, paramedics and a range of private organisations.

Esoterix Systems Ltd
Esoterix is a Bristol-based start-up dedicated to developing and deploying novel solutions to urban transport problems. ‘Buxi’ is Esoterix’s flagship product. It combines the efficiency of a bus with the flexibility of a taxi. Users book journeys at short notice and a buxi vehicle provides door-to-door transport at an agreed time. Passengers share the vehicle space, and cost, with others. The designers say the system is affordable, convenient and reliable.

Hugh Frost Designs Ltd
Hugh Frost Designs is an independent design company working in the area of green transport and supply chain logistics. It entered three individual projects with a fourth that combines key elements:
- Freight*Lift – removes the requirement for the pallet (1billion + are wasted annually)
- Cool*Run – combined with Freight*Lift enables transport of multi-temperature products in one vehicle without traditional chillers and insulated body constraints
- Freight*Bus – utilises surplus bus capacity at off peak times to transport freight
- 'To-you it's local' model – consolidates above technologies into a unique system for businesses

SusMobil Ltd
SusMobil presented a design for a low carbon, community-managed car club specifically aimed at short inner-city journeys. A micro-factory will be established in each city employing staff to assemble the vehicles, install and manage the infrastructure and train in engineering and technology skills. SusMobil proposes placing a fleet of cars, and a network of charging points allowing local residents and business users to access low carbon vehicles for ‘short-hop’ journeys with a simple per-minute hire charge. 

WeatherVelo Ltd
WeatherVelo specialises in eco-vehicles for personal urban mobility, to bridge the gap between two-wheelers and cars. The WeatherVelo ‘Prime’ cabin-scooter is a pure-electric single-seat vehicle weighing under 150kg for optimal energy efficiency: less than 8g/km CO2 well-to-wheel. It is a slender and manoeuvrable three-wheeler with roofline equivalent to cars, for safety in traffic. The working prototype is nearing completion.

The Challenge winners will present their ideas to a specialist group of executives from vehicle manufacturers and other potential investors or supporters at a private event to be held in early October.

For more information and winners' contact details, please see the full press release.

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