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Driving Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq line-up; cost-effective efficiency and dynamics

21 February 2017

Hyundai has begun the US roll-out of its Ioniq line-up of electrified vehicles: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric. (Earlier post.) The Ioniq Hybrid offers up to the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg / 4.05 l/100 km) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge / 25 kWh/100 miles).

In addition to efficiency and value, a key design goal for the Hyundai team was driveability: specifically, a fun-to-drive, “segment-appropriate” driving experience. During the media launch last week in Santa Barbara, California, Hyundai provided production versions of the hybrid and battery-electric vehicle, and a pre-production version of the plug-in hybrid. Based on relatively short drives in all three variants, we conclude that Hyundai nailed its goals. In addition to the fuel efficiency of the powertrains (described in this earlier post), the Ioniqs are quiet, comfortable, and appropriately dynamic—although not high-performance, all models are a pleasure to drive.

Continue Reading “Driving Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq line-up; cost-effective efficiency and dynamics”

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MAN and Austria’s CNL partnering on medium- and heavy-duty electric trucks; trials this year, production 2018

21 February 2017

MAN Truck & Bus, a member of the Volkswagen Group, and the Austrian Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enter into a development partnership on electric drive medium- and heavy-duty trucks. MAN also presented an all-electric prototype of a semitrailer tractor unit for urban distribution transport.

As part of its partnership with CNL—a group of fifteen of Austria’s largest companies in the retail, logistics and production sectors—MAN will be making test vehicles available to nine CNL member companies for practical trials from the end of 2017. Further, MAN intends to begin producing electric versions of the MAN TGM series—manufactured at its Steyr, Austria site—from the end of 2018. CNL plans to up its use of eTrucks for inner-city and suburban distribution transport from 2020 onwards in order to make an active contribution towards reducing emissions in cities.

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New enhanced-range Volkswagen e-Golf now available for order in Europe

21 February 2017

Volkswagen’s new e-Golf, with a larger battery pack and enhanced driving range (earlier post), is now available for order in Europe. Compared to its predecessor, the new version offers more power, longer range and extended standard features. Prices for the zero-emission model start at €35,900 (US$38,000) in Germany.

The new e-Golf features a new lithium-ion battery the energy capacity of which has been increased from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 kWh. Its driving range in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) is 300 kilometers (186 miles). Volkswagen says that the e-Golf will cover up to 200 real-world kilometers (124 miles) or more in everyday driving depending on driving style, the use of air conditioning and other parameters. This increase the range compared to its predecessor by up to 50%, depending on driving style and usage.

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California Energy Commission selects 16 hydrogen station projects for up to $33.4M in funding

21 February 2017

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 15 new main hydrogen retail station projects for up to $31.7 million in combined funding, as well as one connector station project for up to $1.5 million in fund. Among the program requirements are that each station dispense a minimum of at least 33% renewable hydrogen (per kilogram).

Eight of the main stations projects identified in the Notice of Proposed Awards (NOPA) are to be completed by First Element Fuel; the remaining seven are to be completed by a partnership of Shell and Toyota Motor.

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IACMI launches new technical collaboration project for advanced compressed natural gas storage

21 February 2017

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)—a 100+ member, University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Department of Energy led consortium committed to increasing domestic production capacity and manufacturing jobs across the US composites industry—launched the first technical collaboration project in the compressed gas storage focus area.

The project will combine partnership efforts from DuPont Performance Materials (DuPont), the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI), Composite Prototyping Center (CPC) and Steelhead Composites. The target objective of the project is to provide unique advantages to the storage of compressed natural gas with the use of thermoplastic composite technologies to achieve better durability, weight reduction and recyclability.

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Peugeot launching Partner Tepee Electric at Geneva Motor Show

20 February 2017

Peugeot will launch the Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. The electric leisure activity vehicle will go on the market in September. The new Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric has a 170-km (106-mile) range on the New European Driving Cycle.

Designed based on the Peugeot Partner Tepee leisure activity vehicle with an internal combustion engine, the new Partner Tepee Electric borrows the electric powertrain from the Peugeot Partner Electric van, introduced in 2013. The electric motor—compact, synchronous with permanent magnets, 49 kW (67 hp)/200 N·m—is located under the hood. The electric motor is paired with a single-speed constant-ratio transmission.

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Study links PM2.5 pollution with millions of preterm births globally

19 February 2017

A new study, led by a team from The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York, has found that in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally—or 18% of all pre-term births—were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).The open-access study is published in the journal Environment International.

There are many known risk factors for preterm birth—from the mother’s age, to illness, to poverty and other social factors. Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution could also be a risk factor. The researchers combined national, population-weighted, annual average ambient PM2.5 concentration, preterm birth rate and number of livebirths to calculate the number of PM2.5-associated preterm births in 2010 for 183 countries.

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Strong honeycomb cargo shelf in new Ford EcoSport SUV made of recycled paper; 6lb floorboard holds ~700 lbs of cargo

18 February 2017

The adjustable cargo floorboard in the all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport is made of high-strength 100% recycled paper honeycomb. Constructed from all-natural paper and water-based glue, the six-pound honeycomb floorboard is both eco-friendly and strong enough to handle nearly 700 pounds of cargo across its 38.5-inch by 25.25-inch surface.

Ford introduced the EcoSport for North America in November 2016 (via the first Snapchat reveal). The EcoSport is intended to combined space-saving convenience, SUV capability and connectivity. The adjustable floorboard will debut as an all-new feature when EcoSport arrives early next year.

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Georgia Tech team furthers four-stroke-cycle active-membrane piston reactor for enhanced SMR for H2 production

17 February 2017

Steam methane reforming is currently the primary pathway for hydrogen production worldwide. However, due to its high operating temperature and use of sequential units for the reaction stages, industrial SMR does not scale down well for distributed, point-of-use applications such as fuel cell vehicle refueling stations.

Seeking to develop an SMR system suited for such distributed applications, a team from Georgia Tech in 2014 proposed the sorption-enhanced CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston reactor (CHAMP-SORB)—a variable-volume batch reactor for the production of hydrogen from catalytic steam reforming of methane that operates in a cycle similar to that of an internal combustion engine. Now, in a paper published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the team has developed a comprehensive analysis of the system, focused on understanding the heat/mass transfer and reaction/separation interactions to develop guidelines for scale-up.

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USC team uses mixed conduction membranes to suppress polysulfide shuttle in Li-S batteries

17 February 2017

One of the major issues hobbling the commercialization of high energy-density lithium-sulfur batteries is the “polysulfide shuttle”—the shuttling of polysulfide ions between the cathode and anode. The polysulfide shuttle is a major technical issue that limits the electrical performance and cycle life of this type of battery. Addressing this polysulfide shuttle—which causes self-discharge, low charging efficiencies, and irreversible capacity losses—has been a major focus of research and development.

Now, in an open-access paper published in the January issue of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, Sri Narayan and Derek Moy of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute report a novel approach to the problem. The USC team developed a “mixed conduction membrane” (MCM)—a thin non-porous lithium-ion conducting barrier that simply restricts the soluble polysulfides to the positive electrode.

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Update: SAE J2954 wireless charging validation to 11kW, Recommended Practice to enable autonomous vehicle parking and charging in 2017

17 February 2017

At the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium last week, an overview of the plans for testing to validate power levels up to WPT 3, (11kW) for SAE J2954TM were shown along with a preview of the technology to be standardized in the upcoming Recommended Practice. (Earlier post.)

The SAE Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) and Alignment team has been working with the Idaho National Lab and US Department of Energy (DOE) regarding testing for the validation of WPT 1-2 (3.7-7.7kW) in 2016. In 2017, bench testing for both matched and interoperable assemblies to validate the WPT 3 (11 kW) power level under both ideal conditions and maximum offset is being planned.

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New ultrafast camera for self-driving vehicles and drones

17 February 2017

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed an ultrafast high-contrast camera that could help self-driving cars and drones see better in extreme road conditions and in bad weather.

Unlike typical optical cameras, which can be blinded by bright light and unable to make out details in the dark, NTU’s new smart camera can record the slightest movements and objects in real time. The new camera records the changes in light intensity between scenes at nanosecond intervals, much faster than conventional video, and it stores the images in a data format that is many times smaller as well.

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