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Infiniti unveils I4 Variable Compression Turbo engine; targeting 27% improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 engines of similar output

30 September 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Infiniti unveiled the new VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo)—the first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. (Earlier post.) VC-Turbo technology combines the power of a high-performance 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain without the equivalent emissions.

Transforming on demand, Infiniti’s VC-Turbo technology uses an advanced multi-link system to raise or to lower the reach of the pistons, detecting the car’s driving condition and driver inputs, and instantly selecting the most suitable compression ratio. The engine is able to offer any compression ratio between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency).

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UPS places 50 advanced hydraulic hybrids in its fleet in time for holiday rush

30 September 2016

United Parcel Service, Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions, placed 50 Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks in the Chicago metro area. The hybrid systems were partially funded by Drive Clean Chicago, a program that aims to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure in Chicago.

The first of the hydraulic hybrid systems were commissioned last week. The hybrid systems are converting Freightliner MT-55s with gasoline engines into cleaner and more fuel efficient delivery trucks and will reduce harmful emissions in Chicago as soon as they are deployed.

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Mercedes-Benz gets on the CASE with Generation EQ close-to-production electric concept

29 September 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its close-to-production concept Generation EQ electric vehicle—the forerunner of Mercedes-Benz’s new product brand for electric mobility, EQ. The name EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence” and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion and Intelligence”.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars, said that the mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE), adding that Mercedes-Benz has formed a CASE team. The Generation EQ is the logical fusion of all four pillars, he said.

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NVIDIA introduces Xavier AI supercomputer designed for autonomous driving

29 September 2016

At the inaugural GPU Technology Conference Europe, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled Xavier, an all-new AI supercomputer designed for use in self-driving cars. Xavier is a complete system-on-chip (SoC), integrating a new GPU architecture called Volta, a custom 8-core CPU architecture, and a new computer vision accelerator.

The processor will deliver 20 TOPS (trillion operations per second) of performance while consuming only 20 watts of power. As the brain of a self-driving car, Xavier is designed to be compliant with critical automotive standards, such as the ISO 26262 functional safety specification.

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Global Bioenergies reports first production of isobutene from wheat straw at the industrial pilot scale

29 September 2016

Global Bioenergies and Clariant announced the first isobutene production from a wheat straw hydrolysate, in the industrial pilot of Pomacle Bazancourt. This success is the result of a collaboration initiated more than 18 months ago, and has been made possible by combining Clariant’s proprietary process, allowing for the conversion of agricultural residues into sugar-rich hydrolysates, with Global Bioenergies’ proprietary process for the production of isobutene from various industrial-grade sugars.

Clariant has produced the wheat straw hydrolysate, rich in non food/non feed second generation sugar, in its Straubing facility in Germany. This hydrolysate was converted into renewable isobutene in Global Bioenergies’ industrial pilot operated by ARD in its Pomacle-Bazancourt facility. This result demonstrates the maturity, the complementarity, and the versatility of the two proprietary processes.

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Renault boosts range of ZOE EV to 400 km with new 41 kWh pack option

29 September 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Renault introduced its enhanced-range ZOE electric vehicle. Equipped with the new 41 kWh Z.E. 40 battery, ZOE now has a range of up to 400 km (249 miles) NEDC—twice the distance of the original launch version of the ZOE. At the same, ZOE owners can benefit from a range of new connected services and equipment upgrades. Order books for the new ZOE line-up are open. The new ZOEs fitted with the new Z.E. 40 battery are made at Renault’s Flins plant in France and will be available for delivery before the end of the year.

Renault said that new Z.E. 40 battery delivers a real-world range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) in urban or suburban areas. (The ranges are for ZOEs equipped with either the 75- or 90-horsepower version of the standard R75/90 motor, previously known as the R240 (earlier post). The figure used for this motor’s name now refers to the power output instead of the NEDC range as was previously the case. The R90 motor is available for all versions of the ZOE, with the exception of the French market’s entry level version which features the R75 motor.)

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Volkswagen unveils I.D. EV concept; 1st MEB-based vehicle, to launch in 2020; up to 373 miles

28 September 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen staged the world premiere of the I.D., a concept vehicle presaging the first of a new fleet of Volkswagen electric cars and highlighting Volkswagen’s vision for the future in a number of areas, including autonomous driving and a new Open Space concept for the interior.

The compact I.D. is driven by a 125 kW electric motor powered by a battery pack, and has a range of 400 - 600 km (249 - 373 miles) under European test conditions. I.D. will be the first Volkswagen built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). The production version of the I.D. is due to be launched in 2020 at a price on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models. The I.D. concept car at the show further demonstrates a concept of autonomous driving for the year 2025.

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New high-performance foldable cathode for Li-S batteries based on 3D activated carbon fiber matrix

28 September 2016

A team at Sun Yat-sen University in China has developed new high-performance, stable cathode for Li-S batteries consisting of a 3D activated carbon fiber matrix (ACFC) and sulfur.

The structured 3D foldable sulfur cathode (ACFC-S) delivers a reversible capacity of about 979 mAh g−1 at 0.2C; a capacity retention of 98% after 100 cycles; and 0.02% capacity attenuation per cycle. Even at an areal capacity of 6 mAh cm−2—2 times higher than the values of Li-ion batteries—it still maintains an excellent rate capability and cycling performance. An open access paper on their work is published in Scientific Reports.

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NVIDIA and TomTom developing cloud-to-car mapping system for self-driving cars; DRIVE PX 2

28 September 2016

NVIDIA and TomTom, the Dutch mapping and navigation group, are partnering to develop artificial intelligence to create a cloud-to-car mapping system for self-driving cars.

The work combines TomTom’s extensive HD map coverage, which already spans more than 120,000 km (75,000 miles) of highways and freeways, with the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 computing platform (earlier post). Together, the solution accelerates support for real-time in-vehicle localization and mapping for driving on the highway.

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HERE unveils next-generation open platform real-time data services for automotive industry

28 September 2016

On the eve of the Paris Motor Show, HERE, the high-definition mapping and location services business company acquired by Audi, BMW and Daimler (earlier post), announced next-generation vehicle-sourced data services. The HERE Open Location Platform will harness real-time data generated by the on-board sensors of connected vehicles—even from competing car brands—to create a live depiction of the road environment.

Drivers will be able to access this view of the road through four services that provide information on traffic conditions, potential road hazards, traffic signage and on-street parking at high quality. The goal is to ensure that drivers have more accurate and timely information with which they can make better driving decisions. HERE plans to make the services commercially available to any customers both within and outside the automotive industry from the first half of 2017.

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BioSolar begins development of high-energy anode technology

28 September 2016

BioSolar, a developer of energy storage technology and materials, has begun development of a high energy anode for current- and next-generation lithium batteries. While this anode is an independent technology, the Company will seek synergies with the Super Cathode technology it has been developing. (Earlier post.)

BioSolar’s cathode technology, which has been the primary focus of its university-led research and development efforts, is a novel conductive polymer material that leverages fast redox-reaction properties rather than conventional lithium-ion intercalation chemistry to enable rapid charge and discharge. In contrast, BioSolar’s new anode technology is compatible with existing lithium-ion intercalation chemistries.

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Global Bioenergies joins Preem, Sekab and forestry in bio-isooctane project in Sweden

28 September 2016

In April this year, Preem, Sekab and Sveaskog entered into a collaboration to develop a gasoline fuel based entirely on forest resources with support from the Swedish Energy Agency. The consortium has now selected the bio-isobutene process developed by the French industrial biotech Global Bioenergies for the conversion of wood-derived sugars into a high-performance gasoline.

The consortium will study various plant scenarios t convert forestry products and residues profitably into bio-isooctane, a 100-octane rating, high-performance bio-based gasoline derived from bio-isobutene. The value chain will rely on Sveaskog’s forestry activities, Sekab’s CelluAPP biomass to sugar conversion process, Global Bioenergies wood-sugars to isobutene process and Preem’s gasoline production processes, blending and retailing activities.

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