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Global Automakers calls on EPA to withdraw proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 GHG standards, get back in alignment with NHTSA, provide more time

8 December 2016

Global Automakers, the trade association representing the US divisions of 12 international automakers (Aston Martin, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Maserati, McLaren, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota), has called on the EPA either to withdraw its proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 light duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards or to extend the comment period. On 30 November, EPA proposed leaving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for those model years in place, based on its technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet the targets, and proposed a 30-day comment period. (Earlier post.)

The final standards are projected to result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which is equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.31 l/100 km), if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements.

Continue Reading “Global Automakers calls on EPA to withdraw proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 GHG standards, get back in alignment with NHTSA, provide more time”

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Canada invests $1.9M to support Nano One advanced battery production technology

8 December 2016

The Government of Canada is investing up to $1.9 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in Vancouver-based Nano One to support the development of advanced battery technology for electric vehicles. Nano One produces low-cost high-performance energy storage materials for batteries as well as a wide range of advanced nanostructured composite materials. The new technology will reduce the cost of the energy storage materials in electric vehicle batteries, resulting in batteries that are longer lasting, easier to charge and able to produce more energy.

The funding, made available through the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP), will support the development and production of electric vehicle battery material in Nano One’s pilot plant. The facility will simulate full-scale production of lithium-ion cathode materials and showcase Nano One’s patented processing technology.

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San Diego MTS deploys 77 propane buses; Ford F-550 and E-450 chassis with ROUSH fuel systems

8 December 2016

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) rolled out its new fleet of 77 buses fueled by propane autogas. The alternatively fueled buses will help the agency reduce its operating costs, and will reduce emissions by 2 million pounds per year.

MTS purchased 31 minibuses and 46 paratransit buses fueled by propane. The minibuses are built on the Ford F-550 chassis and the paratransit buses are built on the Ford E-450 chassis. Each model features a Ford 6.8L V10 engine with a ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system. The ROUSH CleanTech liquid propane autogas fuel system consists of four major subsystems which include the fuel rail assembly; fuel line assembly; fuel tank assembly; and the powertrain control system.

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New crosslinked gel electrolytes could create high energy density supercapacitors rivaling batteries

7 December 2016

Researchers from Augmented Optics Ltd. and the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, have developed new, crosslinked gel-matrix polymer electrolytes exhibiting measured capacitance values more than 100 times those of conventional electrolytes. The new gel electrolytes are compatible with all normal production electrodes.

Augmented Optics, which has formed a subsidiary, SuperCapacitor Materials, to commercialize the materials, believes that the combination of existing electrodes and the new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems.

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Daimler joining MIT CSAIL Alliance Program for AI work; cognitive vehicles

7 December 2016

Daimler is becoming a new member of the MIT CSAIL Alliance Program. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the largest research laboratory at MIT and one of the world’s most important centers of information technology research. With 1,000 members and more than 100 principal investigators coming from eight departments, CSAIL includes approximately 50 research groups organized into three focus areas: artificial intelligence, systems and theory.

Key CSAIL initiatives currently underway include tackling the challenges of big data, developing new models for wireless and mobile systems, securing computers and the cloud against cyber attacks, rethinking the field of artificial intelligence, and developing the next generation of robots. CSAIL Alliances is a gateway into the lab for organizations seeking a closer connection to the work, researchers and students of CSAIL.

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Audi sponsors AI conference NIPS 2016, demonstrates how car develops intelligent parking strategies

7 December 2016

Audi is a sponsor this year of the annual Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) and is showcasing its expertise at the conference on artificial intelligence for the first time. Throughout this week, the automaker is showing, with the aid of a 1:8 scale model—the “Audi Q2 deep learning concept”—how a car develops intelligent parking strategies. On an area measuring 3 x 3 meters, the Q2 autonomously searches for and finds a suitable parking space in the form of a metal frame, and then parks itself there.

Self-learning systems are a key technology for piloted-driving cars, and Audi has already built up a body of know-how in machine learning. The company is the only automaker represented at NIPS 2016 with its own stand and a showcase. (Although engineers from Daimler are presenting a demonstration at NIPS 2016 on the detection of obstacles by an autonomous car.)

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Lucid Motors and Samsung SDI in strategic partnership on next-gen lithium-ion cells

7 December 2016

Samsung SDI and luxury EV startup Lucid Motors have entered a strategic partnership for battery cell supply. Samsung SDI will be a major supplier of lithium-ion cells for Lucid’s first vehicle, an electric executive sedan scheduled to begin production in late 2018.

Samsung SDI and Lucid have collaborated to develop next-generation cylindrical cells that are able to exceed current performance benchmarks in areas such as energy density, power, calendar life and safety. Significantly, this jointly developed cell also achieves breakthrough tolerance to repeated fast charging.

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Chevrolet’s 1st 9-speed automatic to debut in 2017 Malibu; available in 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox

6 December 2016

Chevrolet’s first nine-speed automatic transmission makes its debut in the 2017 Malibu and will be available in the 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox, with another Chevrolet model to follow by the end of 2017. The new, General Motors-developed Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed is paired with the available 2.0L Turbo engine in the Malibu, contributing to an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway (7.12 l/100 km)—a 3% increase over the 2016 model with the eight-speed automatic.

The new nine-speed has a wider 7.6:1 overall ratio compared to the eight-speed transmission, with a “deep” 4.69 first gear that supports excellent off-the-line acceleration and a “tall” 0.62 top gear for low-rpm highway cruising. That balance optimizes acceleration and fuel economy and reduces engine noise during cruising.

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Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017

6 December 2016

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.

Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.

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Honda to show EV concept with AI emotion engine from joint project with Softbank

6 December 2016

At CES 2017, Honda will showcase what it calls a future technology path toward a redefined mobility experience. The exhibit will include the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called the “emotion engine” that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers.

The emotion engine is the focus of a joint research project with Softbank Corporation that Honda announced in July 2016 to apply the AI technology in mobility products. (Earlier post.) The “emotion engine” is a set of AI technologies developed by cocoro SB Corp., which enable machines artificially to generate their own emotions.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for integrated biorefinery optimization

6 December 2016

DOE to issue funding opportunity for integrated biorefinery optimization

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001689) entitled, “Integrated Biorefinery Optimization.”

This FOA will support research and development to increase the performance efficiencies of biorefineries resulting in continuous operation and production of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower at prices competitive with fossil-derived equivalents.

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Nikola Motor unveils prototype Class 8 fuel cell range-extended electric truck, plans for H2 fueling network

6 December 2016

At an event at its Salt Lake City headquarters last week, startup Nikola Motor Company (NMC) unveiled the first public prototype of its Nikola One Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell range-extended electric truck, as well as renderings of the Nikola Two Class 8 day cab version. The company also announced its plan for a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations across the US and Canada (Nikola is bundling fuel with the truck), and unveiled a 107 kWh battery pack for the Nikola Zero UTV along with a business plan to sell packs to OEMs.

The Nikola One utilizes a fully electric drivetrain featuring a 320 kWh Li-ion battery pack (32,000 cells) and a nearly 300 kW fuel cell stack powering a 6x4 four-wheel electric drive (four 800V AC motors) with torque vectoring. Delivering more than 1,000 hp (746 kW) and 2,000 lb-ft of torque, the Nikola One will have an expected range of 800-1,200 miles, the company said.

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