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New research shows smart electric vehicle charging can cut carbon footprint by 20% and save drivers £110 a year

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Drivers of electric vehicles could save an average of £110 a year – and cut their carbon footprint by 20% – by using “smart charging” to power up their cars at the best possible times, a report by a research team involving Swansea University experts has shown.

Smart charging helps spread out demand for electricity to avoid overloading the National Grid. This is a major issue given the huge growth in the number of electric vehicles, with up to 11 million forecast to be on Britain’s roads by 2030.

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Already people can get cheaper electricity by charging at certain times, usually in the early hours of the morning. But smart charging could go much further than this. For example, it could mean charging when windy weather means surplus wind power is being generated, or having your charging automatically coordinated with your neighbours.

The report is based on research by the FRED project (Flexibly Responsive Energy Delivery). Led by Evergreen Smart Power, it also involved Swansea University energy experts from the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, in collaboration with myenergi, GenGame, and Energy Systems Catapult.

The team recruited 250 members of the public who already had electric vehicles and were using myenergi’s zappi charging points and software to help them charge more efficiently.

Throughout the project Evergreen managed the FRED participants’ EV charging using its smart charging software platform. The platform used artificial intelligence to shift charging times to maximise efficiency and minimise cost. Participants supported the project by providing feedback as to how smart charging affected their driving experience.

The researchers found that smart charging cuts the cost of various charges that make up the overall price of energy for consumers.

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This means an overall saving of £110 a year for an average electric vehicle driver – with even bigger savings if you drive, and therefore recharge, more than average

These savings come from various factors – for example avoiding times when network charges or energy wholesale prices are high, and switching customers to payment per half-hour rather than per hour

In addition they found that further savings of up to 45% are possible with better incentive schemes. Smart charging reduces the carbon footprint of car charging by over 20%, providing a strong environmental incentive.

Peter Bullock from Evergreen said: “Our research showed that smart charging using the platform can make a big difference, even where people are already charging efficiently. It cuts the cost and the carbon for cheaper, cleaner driving.In our emerging green energy system, the energy we generate – for example through wind and solar – can be variable. Luckily, with electric cars, it is easy to be flexible with the times we consume energy. This is where smart charging is crucial, helping us create an energy system that is both low-carbon and efficient.”

Mark Spratt from the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at Swansea University said: “SPECIFIC created the Active Buildings on the Bay Campus to demonstrate how buildings that generate and store electricity can have a positive impact on the grid by managing their energy intelligently.  These buildings, together with our fleet of electric vehicles, provided an ideal platform for testing the smart charging strategies of the FRED project.

“The financial and carbon savings demonstrated in the FRED project are a validation of the need for Active Buildings as we make the transition to net zero.”

The project was made possible by support from the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. SPECIFIC’s contribution was enabled by funding from Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Revealed: Swansea is one of the UK’s worst cities for road rage – although not as bad as Cardiff

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Swansea has been revealed as the 9th worst place in England and Wales for road rage according to new research.

The city saw 51 instances of recorded road rage in the last year.

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The Road Rage Index, was compiled by specialist car group Motorfinity, which sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the country.

Drivers in Swansea also had 15 cases of dangerous driving.

Cardiff topped the list, with 301 instances of drivers ranting at other road users in the city, followed by Leicester at 291.

A combined figure of 240 incidents puts Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in third place.

Meanwhile, both Lancaster and Preston had 191 reports of road rage between them that attracted the attention of police, while Leeds had 108.

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Police forces for Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and Lancaster and Preston were only able to provide the data when grouped with the other cities.

With 32 million motorists vying for space on British roads, it’s little surprise that things get heated. In fact, it’s claimed that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to sometimes suffering from road rage whilst they’re driving.

Top 10 cities with the most road rage incidents

CityRoad rage incidents in 2021
1Cardiff301
2Leicester291
3Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)240
4Lancaster and Preston (combined)191
5Leeds108
6Sheffield79
7Bradford68
8Derby51
9Swansea51
10Hull49

As part of the research, Motorfinity also asked police forces for the number of counts of dangerous driving incidents, of which the city of Oxford came first with 480 counts, followed by 363 for Bradford.

Top five cities with the most dangerous driving incidents

CityDangerous driving incidents in 2021
1Oxford480
2Bradford363
3Leeds321
4Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)178
5Newport121

Motorfinity CEO Daniel Briggs believes that, although all the top 10 cities in the list are very busy urban areas, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more motorists means more anger.

He said: “The fact that the top few cities have so many more incidents than others suggests that drivers there may unknowingly copy each other’s bad behaviour. These results show that there are some clear hotspots when it comes to angry or impatient drivers.

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“It’s never ideal to be on the receiving end of road rage, but it’s also pretty unpleasant to be a regularly angry driver. Motoring should be an enjoyable experience, or at least one that people don’t dread.

“Given that road rage is generally considered commonplace, it’s likely that someone experiencing it has also been on the receiving end of another driver’s anger at some point. So, it’s worth remembering that a car door probably doesn’t insulate your emotions as much as you first think.”

It has been previously said that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to regularly being angry at other motorists while they’re driving.

(Lead image: iStock)

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Motoring

New study from leading safety charity RoSPA finds e-scooters five times safer than bicycles

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A new study into the safety of e-scooters has been published today by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which found that e-scooters are significantly less risky than many other forms of transport on Britain’s roads.

The report recorded an incident rate of 0.66 collisions for every million miles travelled on an e-scooter – five times lower than bicycles with 3.33 collisions per million miles travelled and nine times lower than the figure of 5.88 for motorcycles.

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The study was carried out by the UK’s leading accident prevention charity RoSPA, with technical assistance from safety-focused e-scooter operator Neuron Mobility. It assessed the scale and nature of injury risk associated with e-scooters in comparison to other modes of transport. It covers data gathered by the Department for Transport (DfT) and provided by Neuron for the 2020 period.

With the numbers of e-scooters in the UK increasing sharply since 2020, both as part of the Government’s ongoing trials and often illegal use of private e-scooters, there is a pressing requirement for further research into how the safety of these devices shapes up against other vehicles.

In fact, of the incidents that did occur on e-scooters, figures showed that the overwhelming majority of them (94 per cent) took place in local authority areas that were not operating an e-scooter trial as opposed to areas with shared e-scooters available, further highlighting that so far, the UK’s shared e-scooter trials have proven to be remarkably safe.

Shared e-scooter schemes tend to feature a range of safety innovations and stricter rules and regulations when compared to privately owned e-scooters which are currently illegal for use on public land.

For example, Neuron’s rental e-scooters, which have been approved by the DfT, are fitted with GPS and geofencing which controls where they can be ridden and parked and their speed in different areas.

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With this technology, Neuron is able to set riding area boundaries, slow-zones, no-parking zones, and no-ride zones. Every trip is logged and all e-scooters have insurance, integrated safety helmets, identification plates, topple detection, and with daily safety checks and regular servicing, they are widely regarded as a safer option than private e-scooters.

Almost all incidents analysed as part of the study were confirmed to have taken place on the roads (94 per cent), mostly on unsegregated single carriageways.

The vast majority involved a collision between an e-scooter and a larger powered vehicle like a car, truck or lorry, highlighting the need for improved infrastructure and protection for riders.

The data also shone light onto the types of riders involved and the time of day incidents were most likely to take place, with the majority of collisions happening during daylight hours, between 2pm and 7pm, with peaks at 3pm and 6pm. Men (77 per cent) were far more likely to be involved than women.

Based on these findings, the report makes a set of recommendations to improve the safety of e-scooters further, including:

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  • Given the rate of crashes that take place on single carriageways, further investment in road design improvements, including segregated bike and e-scooter lanes, would be beneficial.
  • Safety standards should be applied to improve the visibility of e-scooters on the road, including those that relate to indication, lighting and braking.
  • Providing mandatory training on the Highway Code and the practical operation of e-scooters would be beneficial for all users.
  • Awareness and training on e-scooter behaviour for other road users, in particular car drivers, would be beneficial.
  • e-scooter users should be encouraged to wear helmets when riding

Nathan Davies, Executive Head of Policy and Portfolio at RoSPA said: “e-scooters are clearly set to be a long-term feature of our transport mix and it’s of pressing importance that we understand their impact on road safety and how they can be made safe for everyone to use.

This report shows that e-scooters compare favourably to other kinds of vehicles and do not represent any greater safety risk to other road users and pedestrians. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure they are integrated on our highways and make sure both e-scooter riders and cyclists are offered greater protections from motor vehicles, which were the source of the vast majority of incidents.”

RentaleE-scooter operators, like Neuron, taking part in the Department for Transport’s trial schemes have demonstrated a strong commitment to safety and rider education. However, we need to see these initiatives filter across to private sale models, where the majority of incidents occur, to ensure any wider rollout is done with safety as a priority.”

George Symes, UK Regional Manager at Neuron Mobility said: “As a relatively new mode of transport there is often a misperception that e-scooters present a greater risk than some other forms of transport, but the data shows this simply isn’t true. We welcome RoSPA’s report which shows that e-scooters – particularly rental e-scooters – compare very favourably to bikes and motorcycles when it comes to the number of incidents.

“Neuron’s number one focus is safety. We evaluate every incident that takes place in our cities to assess how we can reduce the risk of it happening again. Across the UK we have implemented a range of initiatives to make our operations safer, including an online safety course developed with RoSPA, regular ScootSafe events in city centres and universities and incentives for helmet use and safe parking.”

“We know that with the right investment in technology, education and infrastructure, e-scooters can be made even safer and more accessible.“

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(Lead image: Dirk Vorderstraße / Creative Commons)

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