PSA plans all-electric versions of all its popular van brands by 2023

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Groupe PSA highlighted its ambition to electrify its LCV range to CV Show visitors this week. As part of the wider group’s Push to Pass strategy, the French-owned business will be rolling out fully-electric versions of all its popular van brands by the end of 2023.

On show on PSA’s stand are the Peugeot Boxer Electric and Citroën Relay Electric models, due to be launched later this year. These will be built at the group’s Sevel factory in Italy, with electric conversions carried out by partner BD Auto.

In the medium van sector, Peugeot Expert, Citroën Dispatch and Vauxhall Vivaro will all be available as electric models in 2020, with the latter being built in Luton, UK. While in the small van market, although Partner Electric and Berlingo Electric have been available since 1998, next-generation models are due to be launched in 2021 across Citroën, Peugeot and Vauxhall brands. And the Movano will get the all-electric treatment around 2023, following the base model’s transition from a Renault to PSA platform in 2021.

PSA has also been working on hybrid vans and fuel cell variants and is confident it will be ready with a range of zero-emission LCVs when customers need them.

“We’ll be ready at the end of 2020 to sell Jumpy, Expert and Vivaro fuel cell models” Philippe Narbeburu, senior vice-president Light Commercial Vehicles Groupe, PSA Business Unit

However, Narbeburu said the pace of change for operators to adopt new technology will depend on a range of factors, such as the growth of refuelling infrastructure and the strength of emissions regulations developed by cities such as London and Paris. “We will be ready as far as the product is concerned. But will the infrastructure be ready? If not, then one side of the coin is missing. It has to evolve in parallel.”

Brigade Electronics launches Quiet Vehicle Sounder at CV Show

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Brigade Electronics, the Kent firm which pioneered reversing alarms in the UK in 1976, has launched its Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS) at the CV Show.

Brigade has called the QVS “probably the biggest breakthrough in road safety since the reversing alarm” and chairman Chris Hanson-Abbott has campaigned for over a decade to require the fitment of a QVS to electric vehicles, which he has dubbed “silent killers”.

After 11 years and over 50 meetings the UN finally ratified regulation UNECE R138 specifying the standards for acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) and from September 2019 all new models of road-going battery electric, hybrid and fuel cell powered vehicles, including electric cargo bikes, must come fitted with an approved AVAS.

All new EVs registered after September 2021 will also have to fit an approved device but Brigade is urging operators already putting quiet vehicles on the roads to fit the sounders – which cost under £300 from Brigade – now to help prevent collisions with vulnerable road users.

Because EVs are nearly silent, pedestrians are often unaware that they are approaching or about to pull away. A study the Guide Dogs for the Blind shows that pedestrians are 40% more likely to be struck by an EC than a diesel or petrol vehicles.

Under UNECE R138, the AVAS must start emitting the sound, which is limited to 75dBA at a distance of 1m, as soon as the ignition is switched on, though it is disabled when the park brake is applied. The volume of the AVAS automatically increases as the vehicle speeds up but cuts off when the vehicle reaches 30kph by when tyre and other noise will be an adequate alert to the vehicles’ approach.

The pitch of the sound also changes as the EV speeds up and slows down, mimicking an internal combustion engine. After much deliberation, the UN committee ruled out fitting a ‘pause’ button enabling the driver to manually disable the AVAS.

“The sound must be distinctive and command attention but must not startle people or horses” Chris Hanson-Abbott, chairman, Brigade Electronics

One reason agreement on the standard took so long was the difficulty in finding a sound that was clear enough to be audible in heavy city traffic but would not disturb residents at night. Like Brigade’s smart ‘white sound’ reversing alarms, the QVS uses broadband sound frequencies to ensure it is directional and easy for pedestrians to locate the source.

Hanson-Abbott said: “We trialled over 40 different sounds and ended up with our patented QVS. It doesn’t need a lot of decibels because the broadband spectrum means it is impossible to mask the whole sound.”

The complexity of UNECE R138 means that while most of the volume EV manufacturers will produce their own AVAS, it will undoubtedly put off some smaller OEMs who will probably look to Brigade to supply its QVS product.

TfL, which operates a number of electric buses in London, is working with the Transport Research Laboratory to develop its own slightly different AVAS to differentiate its buses from electric cars, vans and, at some point, trucks.

l What does it sound like? To hear a demo  – it’s a no more than a low hum – go to https://brigade-electronics.com/products/reversing-and-warning-alarms/quiet-vehicle-sounder. The QVS consists of five sounds of different frequencies and pressures as specified by the regulations.