RTCC 2013 Awards: Electric Vehicle Innovator

Nominations for the inaugural RTCC Climate Change Awards, due to be presented at UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw

RTCC 2013 Climate Change Awards: full nominations

The Armadillo-T from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Pic: KAIST)

Tesla Motors

Tesla made their first quarterly profit in 2013 and repaid their Department of Energy loan nine years early in May.

The Tesla Model S, released in late 2012, is able to recharge anywhere with an electrical outlet, and can get 62 miles for every one hour of charging time with a high power wall connector. With a one-hour stop at a Supercharge station along an interstate, the Tesla S model is fully charged and ready to go 300 miles.

The company has also established six solar-powered Supercharger stations in California, which are capable of adding 50% of a Model S’s charge in 30 minutes. Tesla says it will have more than 100 stations open in 2015.

Tesla Motors’ Model S was named Car of the Year by Motor Trend magazine in November 2012, which was the first time in the 63-year history of the award that a vehicle with a non-combustion engine has been awarded the prize, and the first time the Motor Trend jury chose a winner by unanimous decision. It was also named Car of the Year by Automobile Magazine and by Yahoo! Autos in November 2012.


Nissan overhauled its Leaf this year to achieve a 50% charge in just 30 minutes.

Due to its regenerative brake system, the Nissan Leaf collects back some of the energy the motor expends, and a dashboard indicator shows whether energy is being used or gained back.

Nissan is also leading the way in developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK, and the new rapid charging network at Welcome Break service stations is part of a long-term plan to install more than 150 rapid chargers across the UK by April 2014 with Ecotricity for an ‘Electric Highway’.

They are also developing the “LEAF to Home” power supply system which can supply electricity from Nissan LEAF EV onboard batteries to a home when used with the “EV Power Station” unit developed by Nichicon, which was featured in the Sustania100 2013.


The i3 has been called ‘the most innovative thing to come out of Munich in a decade’ by Wired magazine.

The vehicle can be fully recharged with a 220-volt charger in three hours, and BMW says a special fast-charging system can get the i3 fully charged up in 30 minutes. The Wall Street Journal quoted BMW global sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson declaring that the i3 “would be profitable from Day One on each vehicle it made”.


Renault’s Zoe was released 2013 and is affordable, silent and features a TomTom satnav that knows if there’s enough battery left to reach your destination.

Drivers are able to remotely control the charging process, view its range status and preheat the cabin remotely via iOS or Android app.

Renault is a supporter of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s circular economy principles and the Zoe was Business Green’s Green Car of the Year 2013.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology: Armadillo-T

Controlled by a smartphone app, the “Armadillo-T” experimental electric car can navigates a target parking space, then fold itself almost in half.

To make it work, side or rear mirrors have been replaced with small digital cameras that transmit images to a dashboard screen. Once folded, the small and light electric vehicle takes up only one-third of a five metre parking space, the standard parking size in Korea, allowing three of its kind to be parked.

According to Reuters it is not road-legal yet, and may never go into production, but gained global media coverage and research is ongoing. It is intended for use either as a personal car or as part of the public transit system to connect major transportation routes within a city.


Qualcomm began a pilot for its Halo EV charging technology on 50 cars in London in 2013. This enables a wireless energy transfer between a transmitter pad in the road and receiver pad in the EV to enable automatic charging when an EV is parked, and was included in Sustania’s Sustania100 2013 of the most transformative sustainable innovations across the world.

According to Qualcomm, 15% of the total environmental burden from EVs comes from the batteries. The halo system could make EV batteries smaller because they could be charged up regularly, in small, frequent shots – meaning cheaper EVs.

This year Qualcomm also announced a partnership with Formula E to provide wireless-charging and augmented-reality technology to help the teams taking part and the public watching the races. Formula E is planned for 2014 as an alternative to Formula 1 to encourage electric vehicle development.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology: OLEV technology

Piloted as a world-first ‘electric road’ which is able to recharge electric vehicles as they drive over in Gumi, South Korea in 2013 meaning vehicles fitted with compatible equipment do not need to stop to recharge and can also be fitted batteries that are around one fifth smaller.

Two public buses are already using the technology and there are plans to add 10 more by 2015. Since 2010, this technology has powered trams at an amusement park in Seoul.

BYD ebus

This electric city bus has a 250km range on a single charge in urban conditions and can be fully charged in about five hours, meaning it can be charged at night during offpeak hours.

If all buses in Shenzhen, China, were replaced with the ebus, CO2 emissions reductions are estimated at over 1 million tons per year, according to the Chinese company’s data.

It is now being deployed in the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, Uruguay, Hungary, Colombia, Canada, USA and China. Trials have also begun in Poland. The BYD was the winner of Sustainia’s Top 10 Sustainability Innovations for 2013 as the best solution for transportation.

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