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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.]

Baker Institute experts: major parts of the US shale sector will ramp up with $60 oil prices

January 24, 2017

If West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices stabilize at or above $60 per barrel, major parts of the United States shale sector that are currently dormant will ramp up, according to an analysis by experts in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. This as the oil production targets agreed to at the Nov. 30 OPEC meeting have created the firmest prospect in the past two years of a meaningful oil price recovery.

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LG Innotek introduces improved thermoelectric module for automotive and home appliance applications

LG Innotek has begun series production of an improved thermoelectric module, initially for heating and cooling applications, but targeting automotive in the future. LG Innotek has increased the heating and cooling rate by 20% and decreased power consumption by 25%. The module’s temperature control range extends from - 50 ℃ (-58 ℉) to 80 ℃ (176 ℉) without refrigerant compressor or hot wire.

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IUPUI-based engineering startup receives $225,000 NSF grant for solid-state H2 storage

January 23, 2017

A startup based on work conducted at the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received a one-year STTR Phase I grant of $225,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support development of a novel solid-state hydrogen storage system based on catalytically-modified porous silicon.

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TxDOT, TTI sign MOU to test connected and automated vehicle technologies in Texas

January 22, 2017

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) recently co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin testing connected and automated vehicle (CV/AV) technologies on the state highway system. The MOU delineates the guidelines that would allow TTI to test lab-proven technologies in a real-world environment.

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NSF director to highlight critical role of basic research in transportation technology at Washington Auto Show

January 21, 2017

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director France Córdova will participate in MobilityTalks International, a public policy forum hosted by the Washington Auto Show on 24 January.

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Nissan partners with FLO for home charging in Canada

January 20, 2017

Nissan is with FLO, a provider of a charging ecosystem in Canada, to encourage and ease EV adoption throughout the country. The new FLO Home charging station will become the recommended residential charging station by Nissan Canada for owners of the Nissan LEAF.

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US DOT announces vehicle-to-infrastructure guidance

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced new Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) guidance that can improve safety and mobility by accelerating the deployment of V2I communication systems. The guidance complements DOT’s efforts to reduce crashes by advancing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology announced in a proposed rule in December.

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U Michigan signs ~$1M research agreement with China ride-sharing leader DiDi Chuxing

The University of Michigan (U-M) will collaborate with Chinese institutions to advance research, development and deployment of new transportation technologies and cutting-edge innovations. S. Jack Hu, U-M vice president for research, signed a research agreement with DiDi Chuxing, China’s largest rider-hailing company, to develop scholarships and innovations related to the share economy. U-M is the first university in the US to partner with DiDi.

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Tenova obtains FAC for new aluminum automotive heat treatment line at Novelis Nachterstedt Plant

At the end of 2016, Novelis Deutschland GmbH awarded Tenova the Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC) for a state-of-the-art aluminum automotive finishing line at the Novelis Nachterstedt Plant in Germany, serving European and global automotive customers.

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EPC board showcases ultra-fast transition capability of GaN FETs for LiDAR

January 19, 2017

Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) announced the availability of the EPC9126, a 100 V high current pulsed laser diode driver evaluation board. The ultra fast transition gallium-nitride-on-silicon (eGaN) FETs used on the EPC9126 can drive laser diodes with high current pulses and total pulse widths as low as 5 ns, thus enhancing the quality of information a LiDAR system will detect, including the accuracy, precision, and processing speed.

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car2go grew customer base 43% in FY2016 to 2.2M, rentals up 21% to 22M

In financial year 2016, car-sharing leader car2go grew its global customer base by 43% to 2.2 million. A car2go is rented every 1.4 seconds somewhere in the world. Berlin remains the largest car2go city, with 175,000 customers.

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Edeniq raises $7M to to support growth in Pathway cellulosic ethanol business

Cellulosic and biorefining technology company Edeniq has raised $7 million in equity capital. The proceeds will be used to support growth in Edeniq’s Pathway cellulosic ethanol business. The company is focusing on customer acquisition, adding resources to support existing customers, and developing technology enhancements that can potentially increase the amount of cellulosic ethanol eligible for D3 RINs and other regulatory incentives at each customer plant.

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ABI Research forecasts more than 69M automotive LiDAR sensors will ship in 2026

Critical autonomous driving functions, including obstacle detection and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), will drive the automotive industry’s adoption of LiDAR sensors. ABI Research forecasts more than 69 million automotive LiDAR sensors will ship in 2026, fueled by declining hardware costs and the need to equip vehicles with multiple sensors to ensure 360-degree coverage.

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UQM Technologies receives follow-on order from Proterra to support increased electric bus demand

UQM Technologies received a new follow-on order from Proterra for PowerPhase HD electric drive systems, to be manufactured and shipped throughout 2017. Proterra will continue to increase its production capacity in 2017 as an increasing number of transit agencies see zero-emission buses as a credible and proven alternative to diesel, CNG, and hybrid buses.

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Sendyne turnkey module can precisely measure currents from mA to kA while simultaneously measuring 3 high voltages; for EVs and ESS

Sendyne, a developer of sensing, modeling/simulation and control products (earlier post), is introducing the SFP200MOD, the first turnkey module capable of precisely measuring currents from mA to kA, while simultaneously measuring three high-voltage potentials (800 V nominal, 1000 V / channel max) accurately. Designed specifically for the needs of electric vehicles (EVs) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS), this cost-effective, automotive grade member of Sendyne’s SFP family communicates via an isolated CAN 2.0B interface (500 kbit/s).

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New Volkswagen Golf GTE PHEV and Golf GTD diesel now available to order in Europe

January 18, 2017

In November 2016, Volkswagen presented a major update of the Golf, featuring new engines (including a Millerized 1.5L EA211), new assistance systems and a new generation of infotainment systems (earlier post). Now, three more sporty, fuel-efficient models of the updated Golf can now be ordered in Europe: the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE and the dynamic Golf GTD and Golf GTD Variant diesel models.

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XL Hybrids upfit system now available to state & municipal fleets in all 50 states via Massachusetts public fleet contract

XL Hybrids announced that the company has been selected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Operational Services Division (OSD), to be a vendor on the newly released Advanced Vehicle Technology statewide contract VEH102. This multi-year contract allows public fleets nationwide to purchase the XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System as both an upfit and retrofit product through an established public contracting mechanism with competitive volume pricing.

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TomTom acquires Berlin-based autonomous driving start-up Autonomos

Navigation company TomTom has acquired Autonomos, a Berlin-based autonomous driving start-up. The acquisition strengthens TomTom’s position in autonomous driving.

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Velocys in strategic alliance with Morimatsu for modular, lower cost GTL and BTL plants

Velocys plc, the developer of smaller scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Morimatsu (Jiangsu) Heavy Industry Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Morimatsu Industry Co., Ltd. establishing a strategic alliance. Morimatsu will be Velocys’ preferred supplier of module engineering and fabrication services for the plants. This will drive down costs for GTL and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) plants based on Velocys technology by optimizing the design and fabrication of plant modules.

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PG&E launches $500 rebate for residential customers who are EV drivers

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) launched the Clean Fuel Rebate for residential, electric customers who are electric vehicle (EV) drivers. PG&E serves some 16 million people in Northern and Central California. The new Clean Fuel Rebate is part of California’s statewide Low Carbon Fuel Standard initiative, which aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the adoption of clean fuels like electricity.

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Neste rebranding its renewable diesel fuel: “Neste MY Renewable Diesel”

Neste announced the rebranding of its renewable diesel fuel during a customer seminar and appreciation event in San Diego, California. Neste is replacing its “Neste Renewable Diesel” and earlier brand name “NEXBTL” with “Neste MY Renewable Diesel” brand name. Simultaneously, Neste is also updating other names in the renewable product family to “Neste MY” brand names. Neste continues the use of NEXBTL name to identify its proprietary technology and process for production of Neste’s renewable products. The name change will go into effect immediately and will be implemented throughout this spring.

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ExxonMobil doubles Permian Basin resources to 6B barrels via acquisitions

Exxon Mobil Corporation will more than double its Permian Basin resource to 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent through the acquisition of companies owned by the Bass family of Fort Worth, Texas, with an estimated resource of 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent in New Mexico’s Delaware Basin, a highly prolific, oil-prone section of the Permian Basin.

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Neste and Bioenergy La Tuque to start R&D cooperation on utilizing forest residues in biofuel production

January 17, 2017

Neste and Bioenergy La Tuque have started R&D cooperation with the objective of studying the potential of using forest residues as a raw material in renewable hydrocarbons production in La Tuque, Canada.

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GM investing additional $1B in US manufacturing

General Motors will invest an additional $1 billion in US manufacturing operations. These investments follow $2.9 billion announced in 2016 and more than $21 billion GM has invested in its US operations since 2009. The new investments cover multiple new vehicle, advanced technology and component projects.

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Velodyne LiDAR opens “Megafactory” for 3D LiDAR sensors; 1M sensors in 2018

Velodyne LiDAR is opening a “Megafactory” to ramp up production of the latest 3D LiDAR sensors to meet high global demand. Located in San Jose, CA, the facility not only has enough space for high-volume manufacturing and for the precise distance and ranging alignment process for LiDAR sensors as they come off the assembly line.

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True Zero H2 network fuels more than 3.7M miles in California in 2016

Fuel from True Zero’s hydrogen-fueling stations during 2016 powered more than 3.7 million zero emission fuel-cell-car miles in California, eliminating more than 2.3 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company.

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Butagaz partners with Global Bioenergies; first gas distributor in France to market butane and propane containing bio-isobutene

Butagaz, a leading French brand distributing gas in bottles and tanks, is partnering with Global Bioenergies to incorporate batches of bio-isobutene produced at Global Bioenergies’ demo plant as early as 2017 and later by the first commercial bio-isobutene plant once built in France.

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Daimler Financial Services acquires PayCash Europe SA; launching “Mercedes pay” e-payment system

January 16, 2017

Daimler Financial Services AG is acquiring the electronic payment services provider PayCash Europe SA. By gaining a foothold in the ePayment business, Daimler AG will be launching its own electronic payment services provider under the “Mercedes pay” brand name. The parties agreed not to disclose the details of the acquisition.

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

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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