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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

GM to launch 18 models in China in 2017 for growth; half to be SUVs or MPVs; more new energy vehicles

January 16, 2017

General Motors will launch 18 new and refreshed models this year to achieve continued growth in the company’s largest retail market. Half of the models to be introduced in 2017 under the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands will be SUVs or MPVs. The products are expected to build on GM’s 2016 sales record of 3.87 million vehicles.

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Nissan to begin on-road autonomous vehicle testing in London with modified LEAF

January 14, 2017

Nissan will bring real-world demonstrations of autonomous driving cars to the UK next month. Showcasing next-generation technology through the LEAF, the on-road demonstrations will take place in London, enabling the vehicles and their passengers to cover a diverse city environment.

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Tesla keynote to open 34th International Battery Seminar; material sourcing for the Gigafactory

Tesla’s Kurt Kelty will deliver one of the opening plenary keynotes at the 34th Annual International Battery Seminar & Exhibit 20-23 March 2017 in Florida. Kelty, Senior Director, Cell Supply Chain & Business Development, will examine the status of material sourcing and sustainable material sourcing for the Gigafactory.

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Renault under investigation in France for “deceit” on diesel testing

French judicial authorities have opened investigations of Groupe Renault on the ground of “deceit on essential qualities and inspections conducted”. This development suggests that the Public Prosecutor wishes to continue the investigations, Renault said.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans invests in Starship Technologies, leading manufacturer of delivery robots; furthering the mothership concept

January 13, 2017

In furtherance of its strategic future initiative adVANce (earlier post), Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested in Starship Technologies, a start-up company developing ground-based, autonomous delivery robots. As lead investor, Mercedes-Benz Vans participates in the €16.5-million (US$17.6-million) financing round (convertible note).

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BMW selects power electronics and electronics testing company Scienlab as strategic electromobility partner

BMW has selected Bochum, Germany-based Scienlab as a strategic partner and is investing in test laboratories for developing energy storages and inverters.

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Cummins: we don’t supply engines named in the EPA Notice of Violation to Fiat Chrysler

On Thursday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) charged Fiat Chrysler with using at least 8 undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices (AECDs) in light-duty model year 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0-liter diesel engines sold in the US (earlier post). Shortly afterward, Cummins stated it does not supply engines for the FCA vehicles that are discussed in the Notice of Violation issued today, nor was Cummins named.

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GMC 2018 Terrain offers 1.6L diesel with start/stop in US

January 12, 2017

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), GMC introduced the 2018 Terrain compact SUV. The new Terrain offers a choice of three all-new available turbocharged propulsion systems, including a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel.All engines incorporate start/stop technology to enhance efficiency in stop-and-go driving.

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Honda of Canada Mfg. to invest $492M in Ontario manufacturing plants; $83.6M in government grants

Honda of Canada Mfg. (HCM), a division of Honda Canada Inc., will invest $492 million over the next three years to allow the company to modernize its Ontario manufacturing facilities and to improve its manufacturing carbon footprint significantly—part of Honda’s global initiatives. The new investment brings Honda’s total Canadian facilities investment to over $4.7 billion. In 1986, Honda became the first Japanese auto maker to build a manufacturing facility in Canada.

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Calendar: 9th International Symposium: Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie

Researchers, developers and users from industry, science and research will be discussing the latest trends, studies and findings from battery research from 29-30 March 2017 in Aachen, Germany at the English-language Advanced Battery Power Conference.

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Avantium acquires Liquid Light; electrocatalysis to convert CO2 to chemicals

January 11, 2017

Renewable chemicals company Avantium has acquired the assets of Liquid Light. Liquid Light has developed proprietary process technology to make major chemicals from low-cost, globally-abundant carbon dioxide. The acquisition combines the technologies of both Liquid Light and Avantium to develop a world-leading electro-catalysis platform and to commercialize new process technologies using CO2 as feedstock to produce sustainable chemicals and materials.

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Corrected: FCA calculates full life-cycle GWP impact of 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid as 31% less than previous-generation minivan

Note: the earlier version incorrectly reported the analysis as “operational”—i.e., in-use. According to FCA, this was a full life-cycle analysis, including manufacturing.)

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has an full life cycle global warming impact 31% less than that of the previous-generation, gasoline-powered Chrysler minivan, according to an analysis by FCA US engineers using industry-standard software. The software determines Global Warming Potential (GWP), which considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of the vehicle’s own fuel consumption.

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Nexteer Automotive and Continental form JV focused on electronic steering and braking systems for automated driving

Nexteer Automotive and Continental have agreed to form a joint venture focused on the advancement of motion control systems and actuator components for automated driving. This joint venture will combine Nexteer’s advanced steering and driver assistance (ADAS) technologies with Continental’s portfolio of Automated Driving and advanced braking technologies to accelerate advancements in vehicle motion control systems.

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3M sells NMC cathode intellectual property to Umicore, will focus on Si anodes

January 10, 2017

3M has entered into an agreement transferring its Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt (NMC) cathode intellectual property and related intellectual property licenses to Umicore, a global materials technology and recycling group. The sale includes U.S Patents 6,660,432, 6,964,828, and 7,078,128, their corresponding global equivalents, and all related license agreements.

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DENSO opens R&D lab at U Michigan to advance machine learning and automated drive

Global auto supplier DENSO announced the opening of the DENSO R&D Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to accelerate development of new auto safety technologies and create new research opportunities for engineering students.

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Wolfspeed introduces new SiC MOSFET for EV drivetrains

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company and a leader in silicon carbide (SiC) power products, has introduced a 900V, 10mΩ MOSFET rated for 196 A of continuous drain current at a case temperature of 25 ˚C. This device enables the reduction of EV drivetrain inverter losses by 78% based on EPA combined city/highway mileage standards. This efficiency improvement offers designers new options in terms of range, battery usage and vehicle design.

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US light-duty vehicle sales hit record high of 17.5 million units in 2016

According to Ward’s Automotive, in calendar year 2016 light vehicle sales reached 17.5 million, breaking the record of 17.4 million set in 2015. In 2000, there were 17.2 million light vehicles sold, the highest point until 2015.

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Average fuel economy of new light-duty vehicle sold in US dropped in December 2016; down for full year

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new light-duty vehicles sold in the US in December was 24.9 mpg—down 0.1 mpg from the revised value for November—according to the latest report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). They suggested that the change likely reflects the continuing increase in the proportion of light trucks sold. 

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Samsung SDI shows high-energy density fast-charging cell for EVs; production targeted for 2021

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Samsung SDI introduced a next-generation high-energy density battery cell that could lead to EV driving ranges of up to 600 km (373 miles) and that can fast charge in 20 minutes. The mass production of this product is slated for 2021.

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BMW pricing new 530e plug-in hybrid starting at $51,400

January 09, 2017

During its press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW announced that the new BMW 530e plug-in hybrid iPerformance (earlier post) will be available starting at $51,400; the all-wheel drive BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance Sedan will start at $53,700, plus $995 Destination and Handling.

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VW unveils long-wheelbase Tiguan at Detroit

Volkswagen unveiled the new long-wheelbase 2018 Tiguan at the Detroit show. Engineered specifically to meet the desires of US customers, the all-new Tiguan adds a more sophisticated and spacious interior, flexible seating and high-tech infotainment and driver assistance features.

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FCA investing $1B in US plants; Ram heavy duty production moving from Mexico to Warren

FCA US announced a total $1 billion investment in plants in Michigan and Ohio, and the addition of 2,000 new American jobs. Consistent and combined with previously announced investments, FCA US is further demonstrating its commitment to strengthening its US manufacturing base, and aligning US capacity to extend the Jeep product lineup. In total, FCA US has committed investments of more than $9.6 billion in its US manufacturing facilities and created 25,000 new jobs to date since 2009.

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Jaguar Land Rover takes stake in CloudCar cloud services company; first roll-out in electric I-PACE

Jaguar Land Rover has announced a closer partnership with CloudCar, including the adoption of its next-generation cloud services platform and a US$15-million minority investment in the company. Jaguar Land Rover intends to be the first to roll out the next-generation CloudCar platform in its first fully electric model, Jaguar I-PACE. (Earlier post.)

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OmniVision launches 1.4MP image sensor bringing best-in-class performance to cost-effective automotive imaging applications

January 08, 2017

OmniVision Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, introduced the OV9716 1.4 Megapixel image sensor, which brings 1392 x 976 resolution at up to 60 frames per second in a 1/3.8" optical format with more than 120dB dynamic range to automotive imaging applications. Built on OmniVision’s 2.8-micron OmniBSI-2 Deep Well pixel technology, the OV9716 delivers low-light sensitivity and high dynamic range (HDR) performance even in challenging lighting conditions.

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Rightware collaborating with HERE to intergate real-time location data into user interfaces

Rightware, a provider of user interface software for the automotive industry, and high-definition mapping company HERE are collaborating to make it easier and faster for automotive developers to integrate real-time location data into user interfaces.

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CTA Foundation, IBM, Local Motors collaborate on accessible, self-driving vehicles

January 07, 2017

At CES 2017, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation announced an alliance with IBM and Local Motors to help create the world’s most accessible, self-driving vehicle. The CTA Foundation is a public foundation with the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives.

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Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA partner on AI car technology; product within 12 months

At CES 2017, Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA announced a partnership to bring an NVIDIA AI-powered car to market. The announcement came during the Mercedes-Benz Inspiration talk at CES 2017 featuring NVIDIA founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang and Mercedes-Benz Vice President of Digital Vehicle and Mobility, Sajjad Khan. The collaboration began three years ago.

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Hyundai Motor showcases autonomous IONIQ at CES 2017

January 06, 2017

At CES 2017, Hyundai Motor is operating advanced autonomous IONIQ on the surrounding roads. Autonomous IONIQ models will navigate a series of test routes in the boulevards around CES, using the latest LiDAR technology to identify the precise position of surrounding vehicles and objects to navigate the urban landscape safely.

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China-based GAC to debut new SUV, hybrid crossover and EV at Detroit show; planning NA market entry in 2018

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) next week, China-based GAC Motor will unveil three new vehicles: a new SUV, a hybrid crossover concept car, and an elecric vehicle developed internally.

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Volkswagen Group selects NVIDIA as key strategic partner to develop AI-Cockpit

The Volkswagen Group has selected NVIDIA as its strategic partner for the new Volkswagen Group Future Center California in Silicon Valley. Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of Volkswgen AG, made the announcement at CES 2017, where VW’s Audi brand is demonstrating a piloted Q7 concept. (Earlier post.) NVIDIA is a key strategic partner of the Volkswagen Group with its 12 brands.

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HERE, NVIDIA partner on AI technology for HD mapping from cloud to car

January 05, 2017

HERE and NVIDIA have extended their collaboration to develop HERE HD Live Map into the industry-leading real-time, high-definition mapping solution for autonomous vehicles. The broad collaboration for the solution, which would span the vehicle and the cloud, includes three planned initiatives:

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Daimler joins Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, announced that Daimler is joining The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux.

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NIO and Mobileye join forces to deliver L4 autonomy by 2019

Electric vehicle startup NIO (earlier post) and Mobileye N.V. signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic partnership jointly to develop differentiated Level 4 (L4) autonomy for NIO US vehicles by 2019.

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Toyota unveils Concept-i at CES; driver-focused AI

At CES 2017, Toyota revealed the Concept-i, a concept vehicle developed with a focus on building an immersive and energetic user experience. What’s more, Concept-i leverages the power of an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system to anticipate people’s needs, inspire their imaginations and improve their lives.

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Delphi acquires Movimento for secure OTA services

With software and services playing an increasingly critical role in all areas of the automotive industry, Delphi Automotive PLC has acquired Movimento, a leading provider of Over-the-Air (OTA) software lifecycle and data management for the automotive sector.

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ZF introduces NVIDIA-based self-driving system for cars, trucks, commercial vehicles

At CES 2017, ZF launched the ZF ProAI self-driving system, based on the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI car computer (earlier post), for cars, trucks and other commercial vehicles for factories, agriculture and mining. ZF is the first tier-1 auto supplier to bring an AI self-driving computer based on DRIVE PX 2 into production for commercial availability.

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Tesla and Panasonic begin production of Li-ion cells at Gigafactory

Tesla and Panasonic have begun mass production of high-performance cylindrical “2170” (21mm diameter, 70mm height) lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory in Nevada. The output will first be used in Tesla’s energy storage products and then in the Model 3.

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Faraday Future unveils its first production car, the electric FF91

January 04, 2017

Faraday Future revealed the FF91—its first production electric car—in Las Vegas ahead of the opening of CES. Equipped with a 130 kWh pack built from what Faraday says are the world’s highest energy density Li-ion cells, the 1,050 hp, all-wheel drive FF91 claims a range of more than 378 miles (608 km) on a single charge, with 0-60 time of 2.39 seconds.

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Tesla 2016 deliveries totalled ~76,230, slightly below target

Tesla delivered approximately 22,200 vehicles in Q4, of which 12,700 were Model S and 9,500 were Model X. When added to the rest of the year, total 2016 deliveries were approximately 76,230. Tesla only counts a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct.

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Uber vital stats infographic

January 03, 2017

Select Car Leasing in the UK has put together an infographic highlighting some of the stats about Uber, as well as its funding timeline and its top-10 destinations. The infographic also squeezes in Lyft and compares the two against the standard taxi, as well as some data about Uber drivers.

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Hyundai collaborates with Google Assistant in further connecting homes to cars

At CES 2017, Hyundai is demonstrating compatibility with the company’s Blue Link Agent for the Google Assistant. The integration allows control of various functions of a Hyundai vehicle with simple voice commands. These commands include “Ok Google, Tell Blue Link to start my Santa Fe and set the temperature to 72 degrees”, “Ok Google, Tell Blue Link to send the address of the Mandarin Oriental, in Las Vegas to my Sonata”, and “Ok Google, ask Blue Link to lock my car”.

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Electric bus maker Proterra raises $140M in Series 5 round

Electric bus manufacturer Proterra has raised $140 million in a Series 5 round. Proterra partnered with J.P. Morgan to close the equity funding, which was led by $40 million from an undisclosed investor, an additional $60 million from several new investors, and joined by existing board level investors Tao Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins, GM Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures, 88 Green Ventures, Edison Energy, Inc. and others.

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ESI to showcase virtual human-in-the-loop technology at CES; innovation for ADAS & autonomous cars

ESI Group, a leading innovator in Virtual Prototyping software and services for manufacturing industries, will mark its first attendance at CES 2017 in Las Vegas by showcasing ESI Pro-SiVIC—a solution enabling the virtual testing of the sensors serving the various perception systems onboard vehicles or aircraft—and an innovative project for a Virtual Human-In-The-Loop that addresses the cognitive aspects of product performance.

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Renesas to demo full autonomous vehicles with R-Car H3 SoCs at CES 2017

Renesas will showcase its own fully autonomous vehicle prototypes—featuring the R-Car H3 SoC (earlier post)—at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.

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Fiat Chrysler unveiling Portal semi-autonomous electric concept at CES

At CES 2017, Fiat Chrysler will unveil the Chrysler Portal concept—a battery-electric, semi-autonomous vehicle with a customizable interior seating up to 6 people. Powered by a 100 kWh Li-ion battery pack, the front-wheel drive (single electric motor) Portal offers more than 250 miles (402 km) of range. A 350kW fast charger supplies about 150 miles of range in less than 20 minutes. This marks the first time FCA has unveiled a vehicle at CES.

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Stuttgart authorizes Mercedes-Benz to test autonomous vehicles on public roads

January 02, 2017

The Stuttgart government bureau recently authorized Mercedes-Benz to test next-generation autonomous vehicles on public roads. The aim of the autonomous test vehicle fleet—based on the Mercedes-Benz V class—is to test the latest sensor generations and the DAVOS (Daimler Autonomous Vehicle Operating System) system intensively in real traffic.

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Symbio’s 150 hydrogen-electric commercial vehicles have traveled 220,000 miles

December 30, 2016

Symbio, the French producer of hydrogen fuel cell systems for transportation, reports that it has delivered 150 commercial hydrogen-electric vehicles which have now travelled a combined 220,000 miles (350,000 km). The company will be showcasing its solutions at CES 2017 next week.

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Researchers determine specific rates of biodegradation for 125 petroleum compounds in Deepwater Horizon spill

December 29, 2016

The oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) rig in 2010 contaminated more than 1,000 square miles of seafloor. The complexity of the event has made it difficult for scientists to determine the long-term fate of oil in this ocean environment. Researchers from UC Santa Barbara, with colleagues from three other institutions, now have analyzed data from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to determine the specific rates of biodegradation for 125 major petroleum hydrocarbons—compounds from the oil that settled to the deep ocean floor when DWH’s Macondo well discharged 160 million gallons.

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Petrobras sells sugar, ethanol and petrochemical assets for US$587 million

Brazil’s Petrobras closed two asset sales for the total sum of US$587 million. Petrobras subsidiary Petrobras Biocombustível (PBio) sold to Tereos Participations—a company in the French Tereos group—its entire stake in Guarani, representing 45.97% of the company’s equity capital, for US$202 million. The Petrobras Board of Directors also approved the sale of Companhia Petroquímica de Pernambuco (PetroquímicaSuape) and Companhia Integrada Têxtil de Pernambuco (Citepe) to two subsidiaries of the Mexican company Alpek, for US$385 million.

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Volkswagen Financial Services AG acquires parking mobile payments company PayByPhone

December 28, 2016

Volkswagen Financial Services AG, the financial services division of Volkswagen Group, has acquired PayByPhone, a leading parking payment provider. The deal positions Volkswagen Financial Services AG solidly in the mobile payments and parking sectors, while providing the foundation for future PayByPhone growth globally. Volkswagen Financial Services AG has already acquired a 92% shareholding in Sunhill Technologies GmbH, the German market leader in mobile-parking solutions across 90 German cities.

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Volkswagen Group hiring >1,000 IT experts over next 3 years

Over the next three years, the Volkswagen Group will recruit more than 1,000 IT specialists; half of these people will be employed in Wolfsburg. They will work in the core IT organization at the company’s headquarters as well as in IT labs in Wolfsburg, Berlin and Munich. These labs are creating new solutions in the fields of big data, Industry 4.0, the Internet of things, connectivity, mobility services and virtual reality.

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NRL completes first flight of UAV with custom hydrogen fuel cell with metal bipolar plates; leveraging automotive technology

Researchers from the US Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) chemistry and tactical electronic warfare divisions recently completed the first flight of the Ion Tiger unmanned air vehicle with a new hydrogen-powered fuel cell built in-house.

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Neste to acquire pre-treatment and storage capacity in the Netherlands for renewable raw materials for NEXBTL renewable diesel

December 27, 2016

Neste has signed an agreement with Electrawinds ReFuel B.V. on the acquisition of a former biodiesel plant in Sluiskil in the Netherlands. Neste intends to use the Sluiskil plant for the storage and pre-treatment of renewable raw materials for the company’s NEXBTL renewable diesel refineries.

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Siemens employees in Germany to get free EV charging in 2017

Beginning in 2017, Siemens employees at as many as 100 of the company's locations in Germany will be able to recharge their electric vehicles free of charge. This will apply not only to all-electric vehicles but also to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. For this service, Siemens will use its existing network of charging stations, which it is expanding with normal and high-speed charging stations.

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Materials science as key enabler for clean energy transition

Materials science as key enabler for clean energy transition

Former US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Yi Cui and Nian Liu, all currently at Stanford University, write in a Perspective piece in Nature Materials that research in materials science is contributing to progress towards a sustainable future based on clean energy generation, transmission and distribution, the storage of electrical and chemical energy, energy efficiency, and better energy management systems.

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EU Parliament, Council negotiators agree on basis for 5G internet by 2020; 700 MHz band

December 24, 2016

EU member states will make the 700 MHz band available for wireless broadband by 2020, enabling a shift to 5G mobile internet, European Parliament and Council negotiators agreed informally last week.

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Berkeley Lab awarded $4.6M for transformational agriculture technologies

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded $4.6 million to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for two transformational agriculture technology projects. One project aims to use electrical current to image the root system, which will accelerate the breeding of crops with roots that are tailored to specific conditions (such as drought). The other project will develop a new imaging technique based on neutron scattering to measure the distribution of carbon and other elements in the soil.

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Iowa State to manage biorefinery projects for new Manufacturing USA Institute

December 23, 2016

Iowa State University will bring its expertise in biorenewable technologies and pilot plant operations to the country’s 10th Manufacturing USA Institute. (Earlier post.) The recently announced advanced manufacturing institute is dedicated to improving the productivity and efficiency of chemical manufacturing. Those improvements could include combining processes such as mixing, reacting and separating into single steps.

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DOE to award $15M to accelerate deployment of efficient transportation technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $15 million (DE-FOA-0001639), subject to appropriations, to support community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of advanced and alternative fuel vehicles and demonstrate energy efficient mobility systems including connected and autonomous vehicles as well as new transportation system models.

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Neste producing renewable “Christmas diesel”; diesel from baked ham fat

Neste is producing the first “Christmas diesel” in a holiday recycling campaign inviting Finns to collect the fat from baked Christmas hams in an effort to produce enough 100% renewable fuel to drive around the world three times. The festive charity stunt aims to demonstrate the power of recycling and circular economy.

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Honda hits 100M worldwide automobile production milestone

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that the company has reached the 100 million-unit milestone in cumulative global automobile production. Honda began automobile production in 1963 with the production of the T360 mini-truck, Honda’s first mass-production model, at Saitama Factory. In the same year, Honda began production of the S500 small-sized sports car at Hamamatsu Factory in Shizuoka Prefecture.

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VW to unveil new electric ID concept model in Detroit

December 22, 2016

Volkswagen will present a new I.D. family model—a multi-functional electric vehicle—at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Like the I.D. concept shown this year (earlier post), this new concept is also based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), and so it shows the potential and bandwidth of the MEB.

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Suzuki joins Automotive Grade Linux

Suzuki is joining The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux. Suzuki is the ninth automaker to join AGL and joins Toyota and Mazda as a Platinum member.

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DOE awards up to $40M for open-water, grid-connected wave energy testing facility

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced the award of up to $40 million, subject to appropriations, to design, permit, and construct an open-water, grid-connected national wave energy testing facility. The facility will be constructed in Newport, Oregon, by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University and will support innovations in wave energy technologies capable of harnessing the significant wave energy resources along United States coastlines.

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Lux: VCs invest $5.8B in bio-based chemicals, as focus shifts to disruptive synthetic biology

Venture capitalists have pumped in $5.8 billion into bio-based materials and chemicals (BBMC) startups since 2010, reflecting the drive for sustainability, performance, and alternatives to petroleum feedstocks. While from 2010 to 2015, the investment focus was on drop-in replacements for established chemicals, in 2016 VCs’ focus has shifted to disruptive synthetic biology (synbio) and conversion technologies, according to Lux Research.

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E.ON puts strategic focus on providing customer solutions for electric vehicles; switching own fleet to electric

December 21, 2016

Energy provider E.ON is setting a strategic focus on e-mobility. The Group has established a new unit with the aim of taking a leading role in developing and expanding Europe’s charging infrastructure. In essence, this involves providing owners of electric vehicles with a comprehensive range of services.

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DOE offers $2B conditional commitment for first advanced fossil energy loan guarantee

The US Department of Energy (DOE) offered a conditional commitment to guarantee loans of up to $2 billion to Lake Charles Methanol, LLC to construct the world’s first methanol production facility to employ carbon capture technology in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The captured carbon would be utilized for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in Texas. This project would represent the first loan guarantee made under the Advanced Fossil Energy Project solicitation issued by the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO).

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New Federal-Mogul Powertrain spark plug allows advanced combustion strategies and higher efficiencies in stationary gaseous-fueled engines

Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has developed a new spark plug for gaseous-fueled, high BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure) stationary engines. A combination of optimum materials, unique ground electrode geometry and maximum electrode surface area gives the new cold plug enhanced thermal characteristics. This results in improved electrode durability and increased service life compared with other technologies available in the market.

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GKN Driveline to invest $179M to expand NC manufacturing; all-wheel-drive, eDrive

GKN Driveline will invest nearly $179 million to expand manufacturing facilities in Alamance, Catawba, Lee and Person counties in North Carolina. The investment will occur over the next five years and will create 302 jobs. The investment and new jobs have been added to support growing All-Wheel-Drive and eDrive business for several North American automotive manufacturers.

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Obama and Trudeau put majority of US and Canadian Arctic water off-limits to offshore oil and gas leasing

December 20, 2016

US President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau jointly announced sweeping restrictions to offshore oil and gas leasing in the US and Canadian Arctic waters. Obama designated the vast majority of US waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas as indefinitely off limits to offshore oil and gas leasing. Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment.

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WiTricity working with GM to test wireless EV charging system at up to 11 kW rate

WiTricity announced it is working with General Motors (GM) to test an advanced wireless charging system prototype for electric vehicles. The companies are working together to test WiTricity’s Drive 11 park and charge system, designed for maximum efficiency and interoperability across vehicle platforms.

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With HVIP vouchers, California fleets can buy new electric trucks for less than new Tier 4 diesels; funding queue for next year filling fast

Heavy-duty electric truck builder Orange EV announced that fleets in California can purchase a new T-Series pure electric terminal truck for less than the cost of a new Tier 4 diesel truck. With three new approvals, all of Orange EV’s on-road truck configurations are now eligible for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), a streamlined incentive program enabling large point-of-sale discounts.

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Irizar e-mobility lands contract for 18 articulated i2e electric BRT buses in France

Irizar e-mobility, the electromobility business of the Irizar Group, has just gained a large contract with the Agglomeration of the Basque-Adour Coast in France. The contract includes the provision of 18 Irizar i2e 18.73m electric articulated buses (BRT), the charging stations at the end of each line with fast charging infrastructure, and slower charging at the depots.

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BioAmber and CJ CheilJedang plan JV for bio-succinic acid production in Asia

BioAmber Inc. has signed a non-binding letter of intent with South Korean-based CJ CheilJedang Corporation (CJCJ). Under the terms of the agreement, BioAmber and CJCJ plan to establish a joint venture in China to produce up to 36,000 metric tons of bio-succinic acid annually and commercialize the output in Asia.

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EPA approves Flint Hills Resources for cellulosic ethanol from Edeniq’s Pathway technology

Edeniq, Inc. announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Flint Hills Resources’ registration of its 120-million gallon per year Shell Rock, Iowa ethanol plant for cellulosic ethanol production using Edeniq’s Pathway Technology. (Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars raises US$533M via issuance of preference shares to Swedish investors

Volvo Cars has raised SEK5 billion (US$533 million) from the sale of newly-issued preference shares to a group of Swedish institutional investors. The group of investors comprises two Swedish pension funds, AMF and the First Swedish National Pension Fund (AP1), as well as Folksam, a Swedish insurance company.

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BT and Huawei collaborate on 5G research

BT and Huawei are partnering on the global development of 5G mobile technologies. The new partnership will see the companies conduct pioneering joint research into 5G, considering how faster mobile communication technologies might be applied, as well as the technical and commercial feasibility of deploying them.

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Southern California customers take delivery of new 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell sedan

Customer deliveries of Honda’s third-generation fuel cell vehicle, the 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post), began on Monday at select Honda dealerships across Southern California. Retail leasing of the Clarity Fuel Cell is now available through Honda’s expanded network of 12 approved dealerships located in select California markets, including six dealerships in Southern California, five in the Bay Area, and one in Sacramento.

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PHEV, EV company EDI expanding in California; up to 5K drivetrains annually

December 19, 2016

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc., a provider of hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain solutions, is increasing the size and capacity of its Dixon, California vehicle engineering and support facility. The company will be moving its current Dixon operations into a new 10,000 square foot space in February of 2017.

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Anellotech announces breakthrough in extending bio-BTX catalyst lifetimes; biomass to aromatic chemicals & fuels

Anellotech announced today that it has developed proprietary technology to extend catalyst lifetime in its Bio-TCat process for low cost conversion of biomass into valuable aromatic chemicals and renewable fuels. (Earlier post.) The new MinFree technology reduces mineral (ash) content of biomass feedstocks, thereby enabling economic catalyst lifetimes.

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Bolloré launching BlueLA electric car sharing service in Los Angeles

A little more than a year after the launch of BlueIndy, the all-electric car sharing service in Indianapolis (earlier post), the Bolloré is opening BlueLA electric car-sharing in Los Angeles, California.

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Continental enters strategic partnership with DigiLens for augmented reality head-up displays

Continental has entered into a strategic partnership with DigiLens Inc., a leader in holographic projection technology for application in automotive and consumer electronics. The partnership has been formed to develop ultra-thin Augmented Reality Head-up Displays that will further enhance a wider market penetration in cars of different segments.

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Toshiba supplying H2-based energy supply system to Tohoku Electric Power; evaluating H2 for overcoming fluctuations from renewables

Toshiba Corporation will support a two-year study of power management to be done by Tohoku Electric Power Co., through its H2One, hydrogen based autonomous energy supply system.

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BMW to show HoloActive Touch HMI system at CES 2017

December 17, 2016

At the upcoming CES 2017 show in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will unveil the BMW HoloActive Touch system. This innovative interface between the driver and vehicle acts like a virtual touchscreen; its free-floating display is operated using finger gestures and confirms the commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback. BMW HoloActive Touch is part of the BMW i Inside Future study, which gives visitors to the CES an impression of the mobility experience set to be offered by seamlessly connected and autonomously-driving cars in the future.

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Henkel wins Surcar Global environmental footprint impact award for automotive paint pre-treatment process

Henkel is the first winner of the Surcar International Award for Environmental Footprint with its Bonderite Thin Film 1800 Series zirconium oxide pre-treatment process for car bodies. The award went to Henkel’s Surface Technologies team in Asia Pacific and partner, Qoros Auto Co., in recognition of a joint project implemented at the paint shop of Qoros’ manufacturing site in Changshu near Shanghai.

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Toyota Research Institute brings Prius Challenge to Sonoma Raceway; Onramp 2017

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced that Toyota is bringing the Prius Challenge to the Sonoma Raceway for the third iteration of its ongoing Onramp series, an innovation event designed to engage the startup and tech community. This year’s event, to be held on 3 March 2017, will be hosted by Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and will feature a team competition where participants optimize their driving based on data and simulation from a connected Toyota Prius.

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Volkswagen to present new long-wheelbase Tiguan at Detroit show

Volkswagen will unveil the new long-wheelbase variant of its Tiguan SUV in a world premiere at the beginning of January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Beginning in the early part of summer, the longer Tiguan—with up to seven seats—will be launched successively in North America, China and Europe.

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Total joins SEA\LNG coalition to support ambitious growth plans for LNG as marine fuel

December 16, 2016

Total, the world’s fourth-ranked international oil and gas company, has joined SEA\LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition created to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel.

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EVgo breaks ground on first public 350 kW charger in US

EVgo, operator of the largest US network of public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations, broke ground on the first 350 kW public charging station, located in Baker, California. The new chargers being installed are seven times faster than any fast chargers currently available and represent a new level of convenience for EV charging. EVgo expects the project to be completed by June 2017.

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Waterford, MI School District adds 10 propane-fueled buses

The Waterford, MI School District introduced 10 new school buses fueled by propane autogas into its fleet this week, joining almost 30 other school districts in the state to operate Blue Bird Vision Propane buses. Propane is an economical alternative fuel that will allow the school district to save money in maintenance and fuel costs, and to reduce its carbon footprint.

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Volkswagen Dynamic Road Sign Display delivers current speed limit information in real time

Volkswagen’s on-board Dynamic Road Sign Display system records the relevant road signs within the limits of the system with a camera, displaying them either in the multifunction display, the display of the radio and navigation system and/or the head-up display, depending on the vehicle equipment.

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GM to start autonomous vehicle manufacturing and testing in Michigan

On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan (earlier post), General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017.

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Daimler participating in Cyber Valley AI research partnership with endowed professorship

December 15, 2016

Daimler AG is reinforcing its involvement in research into artificial intelligence by participating in the Cyber Valley research initiative in Germany as a partner. The research alliance comprises the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems with its two facilities in Tübingen and Stuttgart, the University of Tübingen, the University of Stuttgart and six partners from industry.

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HERE to power RIO digital platform for the transportation industry from Volkswagen Truck and Bus

Digital mapping company HERE will serve as the primary location intelligence provider for RIO, the upcoming cloud-based digital platform for the transportation industry from Volkswagen Truck and Bus. (Earlier post.)

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VanDyne SuperTurbo using NuVinci technology in next-gen variable speed SuperTurbo; diesel OEM, Class 8 demonstrator

VanDyne SuperTurbo and Fallbrook Technologies announced that Fallbrook’s NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) transmission has been selected for use in the SuperTurbo for commercial vehicle applications. VanDyne will install a drive in two programs: a development program with a major diesel engine OEM and the company’s vehicle demonstrator, a Class 8 truck tractor, which as announced previously, is being co-developed with Allison Transmission Inc.

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Toyota and Daihatsu to establish emerging-market compact car company on 1 January

Toyota Motor Corporation and its fully owned subsidiary Daihatsu Motor intend to officially establish their internal company responsible for compact vehicles for emerging markets (announced on 4 October 2016) on 1 January 2017. The new internal company is to be called the “Emerging-market Compact Car Company”.

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car2go Europe CEO presents six assumptions on the future of car sharing

Around eight years after the pilot project in Ulm, around 14,000 cars of the car sharing pioneer car2go are in use in major cities around the world. Thomas Beermann, CEO of car2go Europe GmbH, has presented six assumptions on the future of car sharing:

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Lucid Motors unveils 1,000 hp, 400-mile range electric luxury car: Air

Lucid Motors (earlier post) took the wraps off a new luxury sedan, named Air. The battery-electric sedan features a 1,000 hp powertrain and 400 miles of range. Lucid Motors and Samsung SDI recently entered a strategic partnership for battery cell supply; Samsung SDI will be a major supplier of lithium-ion cells for Lucid’s first vehicle, scheduled to begin production in late 2018. (Earlier post.)

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Volkswagen Chattanooga starts series production of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Chattanooga has begun series production of the new MQB-based Volkswagen Atlas. (Earlier post.) This marks the beginning of the process of building inventory for market introduction of the Atlas in 2017.

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Chevron makes equity investment in Novvi and its high-performance renewable base oil technology

December 14, 2016

Chevron Products Company, a division of Chevron USA, and Novvi LLC announced that Chevron has made an equity investment in Novvi LLC (a joint venture of Amyris, Inc.; Cosan S.A.; and American Refining Group (ARG) earlier post). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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