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—Mike Millikin, editor

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, with colleagues at Stanford have developed a general approach for the production of inexpensive, efficient and durable catalysts for PEM fuel cells: 1D porous nitrogen-doped graphitic carbon fibers embedded with active oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyst components (M/MOx, i.e., metal or metal oxide... Read more →


Volkswagen Group of America joins LIFT for automotive light-weighting research; first automotive OEM member

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) has officially joined the LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow) institute as a Silver Member to advance the group’s research into lightweight metals, therefore reducing the weight of future vehicles. The group comprises Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti; VWGoA is the first automotive OEM... Read more →


European Parliament endorses proposal for 12% share of energy from renewable energy in transport by 2030; 10% advanced biofuels

The European Parliament last week endorsed a series of proposals setting targets for cleaner, more efficient energy use. Among those was a proposal for a binding EU-level target of a 12% share of energy from renewable sources in transport, by 2030. Members of Parliament also endorsed setting a 35% improvement... Read more →


GKN order book for electric driveline technologies totalled $2.8 billion by end of 2017

GKN Driveline announced that its order book for electric driveline (eDrive) technologies hit a record £2 billion (US$2.8 billion) by the end of 2017 following a series of significant program wins with major global automakers. Sales, which were previously forecast to rise from £33 million (US$45.7 million) in 2017 to... Read more →


Delphi Technologies invests in innovative capacitor start-up PolyCharge

Delphi Technologies PLC, a leader in vehicle propulsion technologies, has invested in PolyCharge America, Inc, a start-up established to commercialize a new capacitor technology. This technology helps to make high-power inverters smaller, lighter and more tolerant to high temperatures. The minority equity investment, for an undisclosed sum, builds on an... Read more →


MIT researchers have discovered a way to increase the efficiency of thermoelectric materials threefold by using “topological” materials, which have unique electronic properties. While past work has suggested that topological materials may serve as efficient thermoelectric systems, there has been little understanding as to how electrons in such topological materials... Read more →


Lithium metal—with its high theoretical capcity and low electrochemical potential—is an ideal anode for Li-ion batteries, and is the material of choice for advanced batteries such as Li-sulfur and Li-O2. However, dendritic growth on the anode leads to an unstable solid electrolyte interphase, volume fluctuation, and even shorting of the... Read more →


Volkswagen gearing up for next-gen Golf with supplier selection; investing $2.2B in family; 75 weeks and counting

The Volkswagen brand is gearing up for the production of the next generation of the Golf family—the Golf 8. Volkswagen plans to invest €1.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) in the model family. In 75 weeks, the eighth generation of this bestseller in the compact segment will roll off the production lines... Read more →


Technology developed by Nissan for the battery-electric Nissan LEAF will be used in an electric bus project led by a team from Kumamoto University, that starts testing next month in Japan, with the goal of making zero-emission public transit more widespread and affordable. The bus, named “Yoka ECO Bus,” will... Read more →


A team of researchers led by scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed an active polyelectrolyte binder (PEB) that actively regulates key ion transport processes within a lithium-sulfur battery, and have also shown how it functions on a molecular level. The new... Read more →


Navigant Research has issued a new iteration of its Leaderboard Report on Autonomous Driving (AD), reflecting the new partnerships, strategic investments and acquisitions made since the early version less than one year ago. The Navigant AD Leaderboard assesses which participants are best-equipped to be the Leaders in developing complete automated... Read more →


Ricardo aims to be the niche battery pack manufacturer of choice for premium high-performance hybrids and EVs

Ricardo said that its recent completion of a full EV sports car battery manufacturing concept program by its Performance Products division is a significant milestone in its aim to become the niche battery manufacturer of choice for high performance hybrids and EVs. Ricardo Performance Products has been in niche volume... Read more →


Volkswagen founds mobility services company in Rwanda; to begin local assembly of Polo and Passat

The Volkswagen brand has founded “Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda”, a company based in Rwanda. The objective is to provide modern integrated mobility services in Africa in future. As part of its worldwide regionalization strategy, Volkswagen is planning to expand its business presence significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Going forward, the brand... Read more →


At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Achates Power and new development parter Aramco Services (earlier post) showcased a Ford F-150 fitted with a 3-cylinder, 2.7-liter Opposed-Piston Gasoline Compression Ignition (OPGCI) engine. (Earlier post.) Fabien Redon, Vice President, Technology Development at Achates, said they estimate that the OPGCI pickup... Read more →


Shell, ITM Power to build world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant in Germany; €20M REFHYNE project

Shell and ITM Power will build the world’s largest hydrogen electrolysis plant at Rhineland refinery, Germany. (Earlier post.) With a peak capacity of 10 megawatts, the hydrogen will be used for the processing and upgrading of products at the refinery’s Wesseling site as well as testing the technology and exploring... Read more →


Dürr is building a fully automatic paint shop for a Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) plant in China. The plant is designed to handle 100,000 units per year, will commence operation in June 2018, and will produce battery-electric cars on behalf of a local electric car manufacturer. The vehicles will be... Read more →


PG&E launches new $130M program to accelerate EV adoption in Northern and Central California; 7,500 chargers

To help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has launched its new EV Charge Network program. Partnering with business customers and EV charging companies, PG&E will install 7,500 EV chargers at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California, including... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Alberta (Canada) have shown for the first time that road dust is photochemically active; i.e., sunlight causes chemical reactions in the dust. Road dust resuspension is a major source of particulate matter in many urban centers—especially those in which traction materials are applied to roadways... Read more →


DOE launching HPC and big data initiative to improve transportation energy efficiency; HPC4Mobility

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched two initiatives—High Performance Computing for Mobility (HPC4Mobility) and Big Data Solutions for Mobility—which will utilize the computing capabilities of the national labs to find solutions to real-world transportation energy challenges. The $2-million, multi-lab research initiative will develop new algorithms and big data... Read more →


A low-cost, nanostructured composite material developed by researchers at UC Santa Cruz has shown performance comparable to Pt/C as a catalyst for the electrochemical splitting of water to produce hydrogen. An efficient, low-cost catalyst is essential for realizing the promise of hydrogen as a clean, environmentally friendly fuel. Researchers led... Read more →


BMW makes SCR standard on all diesels in future; more models to receive GPF (including i8); new diesel engine for X3

BMW is making a number of adjustments to its powertrain lineup from spring 2018, including new diesel aftertreatment systems for its smaller diesel models; gasoline particulate filters on more gasoline models; and a new diesel engine for the X3. SCR. BMW ensures maximum effective reduction of diesel NOx emissions from... Read more →


INFINITI will offer mix of BEV and e-POWER vehicles from 2021; 50% of global sales by 2025

INFINITI Motor Company will introduce new vehicles with electrified powertrains from 2021, said Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. INFINITI will offer a mix of pure electric vehicles (EV) and e-POWER series hybrid vehicles (earlier post), demonstrating the full range of low-emission... Read more →


Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed what it believes to be the industry’s highest performing automotive camera technology. The technology detects various object types at distances of up to about 100 meters, enabling drivers to receive advanced warning for enhanced driving safety in coming mirrorless cars. The solution, which is based... Read more →


Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of the Toyota Group, has signed a Share Subscription Agreement with Australian lithium miner Orocobre to become a 15% shareholder on a fully diluted basis by private placements and participation in Orocobre’s public accelerated entitlement share offering, announced in conjunction with this investment. The total... Read more →


Five trends are transforming the automotive industry, according to PWC: electrification, autonomy, sharing, connecting and yearly updating, a combination the consultancy is now labeling “eascy”. In a report exploring the impact on the trends on the industry in 2030—“eascy – The five dimensions of automotive transformation”—PwC suggests that as a... Read more →


A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has analyzed the fuel efficiency of 20 airlines operating nonstop flights between the mainland United States and East Asia and Oceania in 2016. The ICCT team found that the difference in efficiency performance between two co-leaders and the least... Read more →


Magna introduces high-definition ICON RADAR for automotive applications; scans in 4 dimensions

Magna unveiled its high-resolution ICON RADAR at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). ICON RADAR incorporates advanced technology used by the US military to provide precise detection, extensive range and high resiliency. With a range of more than 300 meters, Magna’s ICON RADAR continuously scans the environment in four... Read more →


Toyota unveiled the new fifth-generation Avalon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Avalon received an all-encompassing makeover by Toyota’s US-based design, engineering, and manufacturing entities at Calty Design Research Inc. (Calty) in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Toyota Motor North America Research and Development (TMNA R&D) in Saline, Michigan;... Read more →


At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the third-generation 2019 Forte compact sedan. With a number of improvements, Forte now offers drivers a higher level of comfort, fuel efficiency and advanced driver assistance technologies. Housed underneath the Forte’s longer hood is a second-generation 2.0-liter... Read more →


Infiniti unveiled its Q Inspiration Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Previewing a new generation of Infiniti vehicles, the Q Inspiration Concept proposes how an innovative VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine powertrain (earlier post), next-level autonomous drive technologies, and a unique human-centric interior could enrich the... Read more →