Rumours and News: November

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Early in December at the COP28 Transport Day in Dubai, the Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced a £70 million investment in electric infrastructure which will allow motorway services to provide ultra-fast charging facilities. The idea is that this network capability will encourage more private investment in charging infrastructure, developers being confident that the demand for super quick charging will pay dividends. Initially, there’s going to be 10 trial sites equipped with the new capacity.

The dispensation allowing electric vans plated at 4.25t GVM to be driven by drivers otherwise restricted to vehicles having a GVM of 3.5 tonnes was introduced with the best intentions but had unforseen complications for operators. These finally seem to be getting ironed out and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has hinted that changes which could include scrapping the requirement for an annual MOT type test from the vehicles first birthday, and reconsideration of the rule requiring the use of a tachograph should the vehicle operate further than 100kms from its base. All good news for those who need to maximise the payload carried in their electric van.

Okay, I know trucks are a little outside of the remit of this newsletter but, it was great to hear that Volta Trucks has been bought out of administration by a US based hedge fund, Luxor Capital Group, Luxor being a lender to and shareholder in the original Volta. It’ll be interesting to see how things progress from here but hopefully we’ll see the company move toward production of its inspiring electric trucks. I had a chat with the founder of the company Carl-Magnus Norden to see what the rescue meant to him, and how he saw the next few weeks as the company regroups. You can listen to this interview by clicking this link.

Renault has unveiled an all new Master van, although following Ford in its habit of announcing vehicles well in advance of production, you’re unlikely to see the new French van until well into 2025. The fully electric versions will be powered by a motor producing 131PS or 143PS with 300Nm of torque. Presumably with the urban, high payload market in mind, the lower powered Master will have a modest but light 40kWh battery providing a range of 113 miles, with the 143ps unit being supplied with an 87kWh pack offering 256 miles of range. There is lots of tech too, the new Master could well shake up the large electric van market a little…