WHILE the Scottish Government makes claims about sustainable transport that may not stand close scrutiny, the US is simply getting on with the job, and in a neat twist, it is ExxonMobil that is playing a key role by sponsoring an all-electric car-sharing and rental programme called AltCar at the Maryland Science Centre in Baltimore, Maryland.
The new electric vehicles at the science complex, called the Maya-300, are powered exclusively by enhanced lithium-ion battery technology.
According to Exxon, they are one of the first fleets of all-electric vehicles using this technology in a consumer car-sharing and rental programme in North America.
The energy giant says its proprietary battery separator film enables the use of Electrovaya’s Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery in the vehicle.
The battery separator film is produced at a plant in Nasu and enables battery manufacturers to significantly increase the power, capacity, mechanical strength and safety margins of today’s lithium-ion batteries.
Under this scheme, Baltimore residents and tourists can rent these vehicles at the science centre in the Baltimore Inner Harbour during the day to drive around the city to experience the feel of an electric vehicle.
Exxon says the five-door, five-passenger machine is equipped with the safety, performance and convenience features common to conventional city cars.
“This programme is a perfect example of the important role innovative companies and organisations such as ExxonMobil, Electrovaya and the Maryland Science Centre will play in addressing the world’s need for safe, low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles,” Sankar Das Gupta, president and chairman of Electrovaya, said in a statement.
In addition to the car-sharing scheme, and to help r aise awareness among Baltimore residents and science-centre visitors of the future of energy-efficient transportation, ExxonMobil has also developed a state-of- the-art exhibit for the science centre which includes hands-on activities for children and a full-scale car that showcases clean transportation technologies currently being used in the automotive industry.
The super-major says it has invested more than half-a-million dollars in the car-sharing programme and exhibit, including the purchase of the vehicles and development of the exhibit.
It would be brilliant if either BP or Shell were to do something similar for the London Olympics.
In the past five years, ExxonMobil has invested more than $1.5billion to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases.