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Japan researchers successfully synthesize new lightweight thermoelectric material

25 October 2016

Researchers at the Materials Function Control Laboratory at the Toyohashi University of Technology and the Nagoya Institute of Technology have successfully synthesized a new thermoelectric material, CaMgSi, an intermetallic compound. The key to this development was the synthesis procedure; bulk CaMgSi intermetallic compound was synthesized by combining mechanical ball-milling (MM) and pulse current sintering (PCS) processes.

The new thermoelectric material is lightweight, with a low density of 2.2 g/cm3. One of the possible applications of the material is in automobiles to utilize waste heat emitted from engines, the research team suggested. A paper on the work is published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

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2017 Audi A3 replaces 1.8L with Millerized 2.0L TFSI; better fuel economy, power and torque

25 October 2016

The 2017 Audi A3 Sedan and Cabriolet models in the US are now available with Audi’s more efficient Millerized 2.0-liter TFSI engine (earlier post) and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. The A3 sedan with 2.0-liter engine replaces the 1.8-liter engine previously offered on A3 front-wheel drive models.

This new 2.0-liter engine offers an increase of 16 hp and 21 lb-ft of torque compared to the previous generation A3 1.8T, along with EPA-estimated combined cycle fuel economy of 29 mpg (8.1 l/100km), compared to an EPA-rated 27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) from the 2016 A3 with the 1.8-liter engine (a 7.4% improvement).

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Mercedes-Benz Vans shows pickup truck concepts; market launch in late 2017; diesel V6

25 October 2016

Mercedes-Benz Vans unveiled two design variants of the Concept X-CLASS, previewing the coming X-Class pickup, in Stockholm. The introduction of the one-ton pickup with seating for up to 5 people will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups.

With the pickup, Mercedes-Benz Vans will also expand its product range with a fourth model series. Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch. The pickup will be launched in late 2017 in Europe under the name Mercedes-Benz X-Class. The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.

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Savari and SAIC Motors partner on V2X technology for China

25 October 2016

V2X company Savari Inc. signed an agreement with SAIC USA, a fully owned subsidiary of Chinese automaker SAIC Motors, to manufacture and distribute the Savari V2X communications solutions in the Greater China and selected ASEAN countries. The companies are already working to fulfil a substantial order from two customers (Shanghai International Automobile City and Tongji University).

Additionally, Shanghai International Automobile City and Tongji University plan to implement a live open-road smartcity testbed featuring both LTE-V and DSRC-based V2X solutions in the National Intelligent CV Pilot in Shanghai’s International Auto City. The smartcity will feature more than 10,000 vehicles equipped with Savari’s V2X solutions.

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NHTSA issues Federal guidance to the automotive industry for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity

25 October 2016

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

The proposed cybersecurity guidance focuses on layered solutions to ensure vehicle systems are designed to take appropriate and safe actions, even when an attack is successful. The guidance recommends risk-based prioritized identification and protection of critical vehicle controls and consumers’ personal data. Further, it recommends that companies should consider the full life-cycle of their vehicles and facilitate rapid response and recovery from cybersecurity incidents.

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Divergent 3D partners with Altran to deploy 3D printing for car manufacturing

25 October 2016

Divergent 3D, a manufacturing technology company focused on the automotive sector, has entered into a global development partnership with engineering research and development (ER&D) firm Altran. The partnership comes shortly following Divergent 3D’s signing a strategic partnership letter of intent with top-ten global automaker PSA Group. Divergent 3D is commercializing a software-hardware platform for manufacturing that leverages 3D metal printing.

Under the agreement, Altran has invested in Divergent 3D and will provide support to accelerate implementation and licensing of its manufacturing technology platform across the continent as part of Altran’s new vehicle architecture initiatives. Together, the companies intend to help automakers leverage 3D printing to unleash design innovation while cutting costs, time-to-market and environmental impact.

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Rice University scientists find O-doped boron nitride-graphene hybrid excellent candidate for on-board hydrogen storage

25 October 2016

Layers of graphene separated by nanotube pillars of boron nitride (PGBN) may be a excellent material for on-board hydrogen storage in vehicles, according to a computational study by a pair of Rice University scientists. The study by Rouzbeh Shahsavari and Farzaneh Shayeganfar appears in the ACS journal Langmuir.

Shahsavari and Shayeganfar studied hydrogen storage capacities of newly designed three-dimensional pillared boron nitride (PBN) and pillared graphene boron nitride (PGBN) doped with either oxygen or lithium. Density functional theory and molecular dynamic simulations showed that these lithium- and oxygen-doped pillared structures had improved gravimetric and volumetric hydrogen capacities at room temperature, with values on the order of 9.1-11.6 wt% and 40-60 g/L.

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Large-scale study finds long-term exposure to air pollution linked to high blood pressure

25 October 2016

Long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to a greater incidence of high blood pressure, according to the largest study to investigate the effects of both air pollution and traffic noise by following more than 41,000 people in five different countries for five to nine years.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that among adults up to one extra person per 100 people of the same age group living in the most polluted areas of cities would develop high blood pressure (hypertension) compared to those living in the less polluted areas. This risk is similar to the effect of being overweight with a body mass index (BMI) between 25-30 compared to people with normal weight (BMI 18.5-25). High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for premature illness and death.

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Honda Clarity Fuel Cell EPA-rated with 366-mile range; longest of any ZEV

24 October 2016

The Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan (earlier post), launching later this year, received an EPA driving range rating of 366 miles (589 km) and fuel economy rating of 68 mpg of gasoline-equivalent combined, giving it the best range rating of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine, including fuel cell and all-electric vehicles, in the United States.

Honda will introduce the new 5-passenger, hydrogen-powered Clarity Fuel Cell sedan by the end of 2016, beginning with retail leasing to customers through its expanded network of 12 approved fuel cell vehicle dealerships located in select California markets.

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DOE’s $10M Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium accelerating development of green hydrogen production

24 October 2016

The Energy Department (DOE) recently announced $10 million, subject to appropriations, to support the launch of the HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials Consortium (HydroGEN). (Earlier post.) This consortium will utilize the expertise and capabilities of the national laboratories to accelerate the development of commercially viable pathways for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources.

HydroGEN is being launched as part of the Energy Materials Network (EMN) that began in February of this year, crafted to give American entrepreneurs and manufacturers a competitive edge in the global development of clean energy in support of the President’s Materials Genome Initiative and advanced manufacturing priorities.

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Columbia team develops new prelithiation method to increase Li-ion battery energy density by 10-30%

24 October 2016

A team at Columbia University, with colleagues from Institute Recherche d’Hydro-Québec (IREQ), has developed a new pre-lithiation method to increase the energy density of lithium (Li-ion) batteries by utilizing a trilayer structure that is stable even in ambient air. This makes the battery both longer lasting and cheaper to manufacture. The work, which may improve the energy density of lithium batteries by 10-30%, is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

Li-ion batteries are produced in a discharged state; however, a considerable amount of active Li+ ions are lost during the initial charge due to the formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) on the anode surface. This results in a low initial coulombic efficiency and lowers the energy density of full cells. This step is even more critical in nanostructured anodes with high specific capacity, such as Si and Sn, due to their high surface area and large volume change.

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Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE begins construction of second Li-ion factory; batteries for 1st EQ model, 48V systems

24 October 2016

Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE has begun construction of a second Li-ion battery factory at its site in Kamenz. With an investment of about €500 million (US$545 million), the site in Kamenz will be one of the biggest and most modern battery factories in Europe.

The new production facility is planned to start operations in the middle of 2018. The area of about 20 hectares is located in immediate proximity of the existing battery factory in Kamenz, about 50 kilometers from Dresden. With the construction of the second facility, the production and logistics area will be quadrupled to about 80,000 square meters. The workforce will double by the end of this decade.

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