Greenbuddies Tips – April 2020

PV Love In The Covid Times

The coronavirus pandemic has arrived finally to the renewable sector. In addition to slowing down the supplies from China, the challenge is now to find available human resources.

Mass measures against the spread of coronavirus are also beginning to be felt in the renewable sector according to Pv-magazine and Tagesspiegel, the German daily.
While the production of components for solar projects in China fell in the first two months of this year, their shortage began to be visible somewhat later. Although the production of PV panels in China has been strengthened again after a sharp decline in February, it is not 100% today. As a result, the order backlog keeps growing, rather than reducing supply delays. We felt it on some multimegawatt projects, where the delay in module delivery delayed the start of construction by up to 2 months. However if everything goes well, we will enjoy even more hectic autumn than every year.
At the moment, the lack of manpower for running projects is more critical: components started to arrive to construction sites, but due to the gradual tightening of cross-border movement, many Eastern European workers have returned home and photovoltaic power plants in Western Europe has no one to build.
Greenbuddies currently has over 120 staff permanently in Western Europe. Given that we are among the companies of the so-called “critical infrastructure”, we are gradually succeeding in bringing more workers for PV sites. However, it is extremely complex, we have to be extremely careful not to bring Coronavirus into our teams, and it is also extremely stressful for workers who have been working almost non-stop for many months in order to maintain the existing infrastructure and deliver new solar power plants.
Fortunately, we all realize that our people are in a relatively effective quarantine and in a healthy environment: where else would our people be in closed teams, in the fresh air, and naturally adhere to social distance of 2 meters than in the teams that work at roof or field solar powerplant!

Projects Zutphen & Bergambach

In these days we have finished two bigger projects which were under construction since autumn last year. Both of them are located in The Netherlands. The first one, where we were responsible for the mechanical completion of 33 MW was indeed challenging. Since the power plant is located in an area of water channels, unfortunately one old channel was not properly refilled with soil and once we started to distribute materials with heavy machinery, it was raining and so the soil became a marsh. Therefore a lot of materials were needed to be transported manually, because the heavy machinery was unable to cross the field. Even though this resulted in a 3 month delay, we successfully finished the construction while working under these extreme conditions. The second construction site near the city Zutphen was a 9 MW solar park, where we did both the mechanical and the electrical completion. Fortunately this site was better prepared than the previous one and all the work was carried out in accordance with the original time schedule. Fun facts: almost 6 km of earthing cable and more than 330 000 pcs of cable ties were used in these projects. We are more than happy to have delivered the power plant within the scheduled 3 months.

Czech Start-up Proves Electric Cars Can Be Made With Elegance & Style

MW Motors, a startup company located in Štěnovice, a town near Plzeň, West Bohemia, started to create a new electric car that defies the paradigm that battery powered cars need to be arguably as uniform and spirit-lacking as most of their large-batch combustion engine and BEV counterparts. The Luka EV, as the newly-born was named after the son of the company founder, has been recently joined by the second member of the MWM family, a military-style SUV Spartan. It is the first electric car to come to market with an authentic 4×4 functionality.
The Luka EV

The car is designed to be able to go acceptable 300 kilometers on a single charge. The two-door two-seater, in spite of its new technology, has a definitely retro look and is inspired by the Tatra JK 2500, a Czechoslovakprototype from 1956. It is also reminiscent of other famous sports cars from the 1960s such as the James Bond-cherished Aston Martin DB4 or the Reliant Sabre.The car is being marketed – similarly to the marketing approach of Cezeta and their popular electric restro-style „pig“ scooters – as having “style from the past, technology from the future.” “Our team set out to make a stylish M1 class car.” Engineers and researchers wanted to use lightweight and novel technologies to create a more efficient and smarter car. We have developed the first production car to use in-wheel hub motors. And what is more, MW Motors is ready to launch the car,” the company states on its website. In-hub wheel motors are common on electric bikes and scooters, however, what is worth mentioning here is that the Luka EV is the only current electric car to use the technology.  In the Luka EV, each in-wheel hub motor has 12.5 kW of power for a total output of 50 kW, or 66 horsepower.

The motors are powered by 21.9 kWh battery packs. Charging the battery to the full takes nine hours from a domestic single phase 220 V socket or roughly two hours with a three-phase rapid charger. clear advantage is that the electric motors do not occupy the space in the car, leaving more room for passengers and cargo. They also help to create a lower center of gravity. This two-seater coupe is remarkably light, weighing only 815 kg. It measures 4050 mm in length, 1620 mm wide and 1220 mm in height. Luka EV is an entirely unique project. The combination of its light weight and battery pack capacity enables you to drive for less and further. We aimed at efficiency and the end result is an ultralight, all-electric, highway certified passenger car,” MW Motors states. Acceleration from zero to 100 km / h takes 9.6 seconds, the top speed is 146 km / h. The interior will have standard leather upholstery. Air conditioning, power windows, infotainment and navigation will be standard. The car is made from fiberglass on an aluminum chassis. The performance figure is approximate and these days is being certified by a lab. Crash testing has also yet to take place. Based on the latest information from the manufacturer the Luka EV will be available in the end of second quarter or beginning of third quarter this year, and lead times may range between 3-5 months in line with the actual demand.

MWM Spartan

The Spartan range, which has been recently announced by MW Motors, is based on the legendary 4×4 Hunter platform produced by long-term proven UAZ, Russia, frequently used in the past by Czech Army. Featuring battery packs from 56 kWh to 90 kWh and a correspondingly powerful electric drivetrain the car combining MWM electrification technology and the UAZ 4×4 platform is believed to be a perfect match for customers who have been neglected by global car manufacturers. Target segments for Spartan are genuine 4×4 enthusiasts, the farming community, forestry industry, extreme aktivity aficionados & under-ground mining companies.Simply anyone who cares about rugged pure performance and not stylish fancy interiors with heaps of options and accessories. We may argue that MWM Spartan is a thoughtfully selected name denominating this vehicle that does pretend to be something else than what it really is: heavy duty companion for hard working conditions, fairly easy to maintain and fix whenever needed. Important remark also revolves around nowadays so frequently used term „sustainability“. I find it fascinating that unlike other car manufacturer brands who most often tend to build large factories that naturally carry pretty significant environmental impacts. MW Motors has cleverly decided to use existing UAZ (Ulyanovskij Avtomobilnyj Zavod) factories in Russian Federation and match them with MWM own world class finishing facilities in Europe. What a simple and highly practical idea! By the way, let me finally unveil the company brand abbreviation MWM which stands for Marcus Ward Motors, and bears the name of the founder, head designer, and lead mechanic for MW Motors. MW Motors is no the only Czech company working on electric cars. Škoda Auto, member of the VW group and the country’s largest exporter, has promised a range of electric cars that will be launched by 2025. I do’t know if you agree but I keep my fingers crossed for every entrepreneur who has the courage to challenge the big players and is willing to break the existing rules and customs. Clearly Marcus Ward is one of them and undoubtedly deserves the credit for returning to so-long forgotten practice of manufacturing cars with unique identity and true spirit. Lots of success MW Motors!