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April 2015

April 30, 2015

ITF report finds self-driving shared vehicles could take up to 90% of cars off city streets; total kilometers travelled increases

A fleet of self-driving shared cars combined with high-capacity public transport could make 90% of conventional cars in mid-sized cities superfluous under certain circumstances, according to a study published by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the OECD. Even during peak hours, only about one-third (35%) of the current number of cars would be needed to provide the same number of trips as today.

However, while the number of cars is drastically lower, total vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT) increase—more than doubling in one scenario at peak periods due to detours for pick-ups/drop-offs, repositioning and a shift from bus trips to shared cars. The additional travel could increase environmental impacts, if the fleets used conventional engines. If a fleet of electric vehicles were used instead, a fleet of shared self-driving vehicles would need only 2% more vehicles, however, to accommodate battery re-charging times and reduced travel range.

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April 30, 2015 in Autonomous driving, Emissions, Forecasts, Mobility, Mobility services, Policy, Urban mobility | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

GM investing $5.4B in US plant improvements over next 3 years

General Motors will invest $5.4 billion in US plant improvements over the next three years; an initial $783.5 million is headed for three Michigan facilities.

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Volvo Cars announces improved fuel consumption/GHG numbers for XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV

Volvo Cars reports that its XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid is now rated with fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (112 mpg US) and 49 g CO2/km, with 43 km (27 miles) all-electric range on the NEDC cycle for hybrids. In December 2014, the figures were 2.5 l/100 km and 59 g/km. (Earlier post.)

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

HRL Labs video demonstrates principle of thermal battery based on advanced metal hydrides for EV heating and cooling

In 2011, the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $2.7 million to a team comprising researchers from the University of Utah, HRL Laboratories and GM Global R&D for a project to develop a new generation of high-density thermal battery based on advanced metal hydrides. (Earlier post.) The goal of the project, part of ARPA-E’s HEATS (High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage) portfolio, was to develop a compact thermal battery for climate control in electric vehicles. Such a thermal battery would provide heating and cooling without draining the electric battery, in effect, extending the driving range of EVs per electric charge.

As described in a paper in press in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds, the developed system uses a pair of thermodynamically matched metal hydrides as energy storage media: (1) catalyzed MgH2 as the high temperature hydride material, due to its high energy density and enhanced kinetics; and (2) TiV0.62Mn1.5 alloy as the matching low temperature hydride. HRL has now released a video demonstrating the principle behind the work on thermal battery technology.

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April 30, 2015 in ARPA-E, Batteries, Electric (Battery), Hydrogen Storage, Plug-ins, Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BRUSA Elektronik AG licenses WiTricity patent portfolio for wireless charging

BRUSA Elektronik AG, a leading global supplier of advanced power electronics for electrified vehicles, will license WiTricity’s patented intellectual property to commercialize efficient, high-performance wireless charging systems for carmakers.

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vitamin C boosts performance of Li-sulfur cathode

Researchers from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) in S. Korea have devised a dual-layered cathode for Lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) comprising a sulfur-nanoparticle–graphene composite as the sulfur active layer and a polysulfide absorption layer to minimize the effects of the performance-decaying polysulfide shuttle. Both layers are based on vitamin-C-treated graphene oxide at various degrees of reduction. In a paper in the journal ChemSusChem they report high energy and power densities of more than 600 mAh g−1 for 100 cycles at 1C (1675 mA gsulfur−1).

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cargill acquires OPX Biotechnologies’ fermentation-based processes and systems

Cargill has acquired OPX Biotechnologies' proprietary fermentation-based processes and systems. These technologies are used to produce bio-based chemicals from sugars for use in non-food applications such as lubricants, detergents, plastics, agrichemicals and personal care products.

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

California Governor orders more stringent GHG reduction target for the state: 40% below 1990 levels by 2030

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an executive order (B-30-15) to establish a California greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most aggressive GHG reduction target enacted by any government in North America to reduce GHG emissions over the next decade and a half.

Under the order, all state agencies with jurisdiction over sources of greenhouse gas emissions will need to implement measures, pursuant to statutory authority, to achieve reductions of greenhouse gas emissions to meet the 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will also update the Climate Change Scoping Plan to express the 2030 target in terms of million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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April 30, 2015 in Climate Change, Emissions, Policy, Regulations | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

VIA Motors launches Chicago voucher program for fleet and businesses for extended range EVs

VIA Motors announced a voucher program for Chicago-area fleet and business owners that will reduce the initial costs of owning a VIA Motors extended range pickup truck, extended range electric passenger van, or extended range electric cargo van.

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April 30, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Li-ion maker Electrovaya acquires Evonik Litarion and licenses SEPARION IP

Canada-based Li-ion developer and manufacturer Electrovaya Inc. has completed the acquisition of Evonik Litarion GmbH and the licensing of the ceramic composite separator SEPARION intellectual property from Evonik. The transaction includes an advanced and automated production plant for lithium-ion electrodes and ceramic composite separators, with a rated capacity of 0.5 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electrodes and 10 million m2 of ceramic separators along with all associated intellectual property.

This transformational acquisition brings Electrovaya best-in-class manufacturing, experienced management and a strong technical team, with the manufacturing capacity to enable Electrovaya to bid on larger energy storage system opportunities worldwide.

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April 30, 2015 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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