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all-electric newsgathering vehicle

News: Technology

Megahertz presents all-electric newsgathering vehicle

At IBC 2018 UK system integrator Megahertz is showing the world’s first all-electric newsgathering vehicle (stand 12.F20). The ev-SAT concept vehicle is built on a Nissan e-NV200 electric van, and immediately after IBC it will enter trial service with BBC News in London.

“We recognised that running diesel-powered broadcast trucks into city centres was becoming increasingly untenable,” said Steve Burgess, CTO of Megahertz. “Broadcasters have their own environmental responsibilities, and cities are increasingly imposing heavy penalties on particulate-emitting diesel vehicles. We wanted to demonstrate that we could provide the right functionality in an all-electric vehicle for newsgathering in the urban environment.”

The new vehicle draws on the large number of rapid response newsgathering vehicles Megahertz has built for broadcasters. It provides the facilities to get to a story quickly, capture footage, transmit live, and/or edit on site, and forward it via satellite or bonded cellular. Any electric newsgathering unit has to provide all this core functionality.

ev-SAT contains the same standard equipment as diesel-powered units, Aluminium racks and fittings are used wherever possible to reduce weight, and cable runs have been carefully optimised. Lithium batteries are used for technical power, as they provide a considerable saving in terms of size and weight.

At IBC2018 ev-SAT will be demonstrated with the new lightweight AirPro 75cm Ka-band dish from Vislink. In service with the BBC, though, the vehicle will be fitted with a 1 metre Ku-band dish from AVL, to make the unit compatible with the rest of the fleet. “The clever part of the design comes in powering everything,” Megahertz’ Burgess explained. “The 400V traction power system cannot be touched as the vehicle has to manage that. So we are developing a neat way to intercept at the charger socket, which will negotiate with the power source, and distribute the charging between technical power and traction power. “This allows the operator to determine the priorities at any time,” he added. “We can even tap into the vehicle’s auxiliary 12V feed – which normally powers systems such as the windscreen wipers and radio – and use that to top up the technical power if you just need a few more minutes of technical power to complete an edit or send the package.”

While the concept vehicle is built on a Nissan e-NV200 chassis, the design is such that it can be adapted to other, potentially slightly larger vehicles as they become available in pure plug-in electric form. According to the AA in 2017: “Air quality in urban areas is an important issue and more than 200 cities in 10 countries across Europe are now operating Low Emission Zones where the most polluting vehicles are either banned or charged an access fee,” so the timely launch of ev-SAT means that broadcasters will be able to freely access these areas, which are set to increase.  
The BBC is committed to the Albert certification scheme. Made up of 300 ‘screen arts’ companies, Albert exists to support the UK production and broadcast industry’s transition to environmental sustainability, working in collaboration to accelerate the adoption of best practice. This scheme allows teams to measure their efforts of mitigating their impact on the environment. 

The ev-SAT will be the centrepiece of the Megahertz presence at IBC2018. Megahertz can be found in its usual place, at the entrance to hall 12 on 12.F20. (9/18)