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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.]

Daimler-BYD JV introduces new DENZA 400 EV for China; up to 400 km on full charge

August 23, 2016

Daimler has extended its portfolio of new energy vehicles (NEV) with the introduction of the DENZA 400, the company’s “Made in China, for China” electric vehicle from joint venture Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT).

The DENZA 400 features improved battery density achieved through an upgraded production process that increases the battery’s capacity from 47.5 kWh to 62 kWh while maintaining the original size. With an upgraded range of up to 400 km (249 miles), most Chinese consumers, who generally drive 50 to 80 km per day, will only need to recharge their DENZA 400 once per week.

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Zhejiang University team investigates emissions from methanol-gasoline blends

Globally, the use of methanol as an alternative fuel has attracted interest because of its low production cost, renewable capacity, and good combustion-related properties (higher thermal efficiency, higher engine power, and lower regulated emissions). In China in particular, there are abundant coal resources, and the technology of using coal to obtain methanol has been perfected with low cost; methanol fuel from coal has become one of the most popular alternative fuels for vehicles.

However, the in-cylinder combustion of methanol also produces a considerable amount of extra toxic emissions, such as alcohols and aldehydes. A team at Zhejiang University has now investigated the impact of methanol–gasoline blends on the pollutant emissions of port-fuel injected spark ignition (SI) engines. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

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Researchers urge Chinese government to encourage bikes, buses and rail over cars and commercial vehicles due to emissions and health concerns

August 01, 2016

Based on the results of their analysis of the potential air quality and health impacts of travel demand in China under business-as-usual and alternative transport scenarios, a team of researchers in China is urging policymakers to encourage the replacement of private cars for short trips with bicycles or public buses and the replacement of commercial vehicles with rail transport.

In their paper, published in the journal Energy Policy, Ling-Yun HE and Lu-Yi QIU, observe that regulatory policies imposed on vehicle usage as well as on car ownership can not solve the growing emissions problem.

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Broad-Ocean Motor in strategic collaboration with Ballard; $28.3M investment, 9.9% ownership; initial order for 10,000 fuel cell vehicles

July 27, 2016

Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. has entered into a strategic collaboration with Ballard Power Systems, including a $28.3-million equity investment in Ballard, representing 9.9% of the company following the transaction.

Founded in 1994, Broad-Ocean is a global manufacturer of motors that power small and specialized electric machinery for electric vehicles (EVs), including buses, commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles, and for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Broad-Ocean has 4 business units: EV; Rotating Electrical for Vehicles; HVAC; and EV Operations Platform.

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Argonne National Laboratory to lead US consortium for new CERC medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track; 50% boost in efficiency

July 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected Argonne National Laboratory to lead a consortium of university, private sector and national laboratory partners for a new, medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge (TRUCK) program.

The multidisciplinary consortium includes Cummins Inc.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation; Ohio State University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; and the University of Michigan. The program will address cost-effective measures to improve on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by greater than 50% compared to today’s vehicles.

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Ballard Power signs deal for production of fuel cell stacks in China; est. $168M over 5 years; buses and commercial vehicles

July 18, 2016

Ballard Power Systems signed definitive agreements with Guangdong Nation Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Synergy) for the establishment of an FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack production operation in the City of Yunfu, in Guangdong Province. The fuel cell stacks will be packaged into locally-assembled fuel cell systems and integrated into electric buses and commercial vehicles in China.

Subject to closing, the transaction has a contemplated minimum value to Ballard of $168 million over 5-years and includes these key elements:

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CCM: LiPF6 industry in China may face overcapacity in 2017

July 12, 2016

Soaring prices for and profits from LiPF6—lithium hexafluorophosphate, the dominant Li-salt used in electrolytes in commercial rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) based on a graphite anode and a 3–4 V cathode material—has encouraged enterprises in China to expand LiPF6 production while also attracting new players. However, according to market analyst firm CCM, based on the current planned capacity expansions, the LiPF6 industry may face overcapacity in 2017.

In a Li-ion battery electrolyte, LiPF6 is combined with an organic solvent and additives. The resulting electrolytes allow for both high energy densities and appreciable power densities, providing a medium to transfer charge between the electrodes via the Li+ cations and the counter-anions.

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BYD announces its first 16 electric buses sold in France; RATP trial; expanding capacity in China

June 19, 2016

At the Transport Publics event this last week in Paris, BYD announced orders for 16 of its all new battery-electric buses and coaches to French operators. BYD also announced a six-month trial with Paris operator RATP and unveiled its 12 meter single deck bus—displayed for the first time in France. BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of battery-electric buses, having produced 10,000 units so far.

BYD France’s first customer is B.E. Green of Yvelines near Paris which has ordered three BYD pure electric coaches and one 12m BYD ebus to add to its 100% electric fleet. The Nedroma Group of Athis Mons, also close to Paris, has ordered 12 BYD electric coaches—the largest order so far for this new model from a Western customer.

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CCM: China Li-ion industry booming; domestic outputs triples in 2015 to 15.7 GWh

May 23, 2016

In China, the development of alternative energy vehicles and the Li-ion battery sector are booming with the support of promotional policies from the Chinese government, according to new report from CCM, a leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets. In May 2016 alone, nearly RMB2.6 billion (US$400 million) flowed into the Li-ion battery market, with Tianqi Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium and GEM CO., Ltd. putting in the most capital.

Over the past five years, the growth of electrochemical energy storage market in China has outpaced that of the global market, with a CAGR (2010-2015) of 110%—six times as high as that of the global. Among it, the installed capacity of Li-ion battery captured 66% of the market share in the electrochemical energy storage market.

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PSA Group and Dongfeng Motors to design electric version of Common Modular Platform; global B- and C-segment EVs from 2019

May 11, 2016

PSA Group and Dongfeng Motors (DFM) have deepened their strategic partnership with the signing of a new agreement to design an electric version of the Common Modular Platform (CMP), which they have been developing jointly since April 2015.

This future electric platform (e-CMP) will deliver a worldwide offering of all-electric, high-performance B and C segment vehicles for the Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Dongfeng brands from 2019.

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Ghosn: Renault-Nissan needs both high- and low-spec EVs to be player in China market; ongoing importance of gov’t support

May 05, 2016

At a press roundtable held at the Auto China 2016, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn observed that both Nissan and Renault had what he called “high-spec” electric vehicle offers in China: the Venucia for Nissan, and the coming Freelance Electric by Renault. He defined high-spec as models with a high-price and very good performance.

Unfortunately, he noted, these models are not selling very well in China. The China market is currently oriented toward “lower-spec” models—i.e., more affordable. Accordingly, both Renault and Nissan are working to develop high spec models that are lower cost and with more range. The two are also working very hard, in conjunction with partner Dongfeng, to introduce a low-spec affordable EV, Ghosn said.

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LeEco showcases autonomous EV concept LeSEE at Auto China 2016

April 28, 2016

China-based internet company LeEco unveiled its LeSEE electric car concept this week at Auto China 2016—The 14th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition. (Earlier post.) The LeSEE electric concept features an advanced autopilot and driver assistance systems, intelligent inductive charging and car sharing capabilities.

To increase driver safety and awareness, the front-end of the car features technology that detects pedestrians and vehicles while displaying information about the location of the potential hazards in a projection panel in the dashboard.

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Audi introduces connected mobility concept in Beijing; electric longboard integrated with intelligent nav system

April 25, 2016

At Auto China 2016 in Beijing, Audi is presenting the Audi connected mobility concept, a concept car based on the Audi Q3, the brand’s urban compact SUV. The concept offers sporty and multi-functional mobility for megacities with dense traffic and road restrictions.

Tailored to markets with growing urbanization such as China, this lifestyle concept was developed at Audi Research& Development in Beijing and focuses on young, progressive drivers.

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Volkswagen unveils T-Prime Concept GTE AWD plug-in hybrid SUV at Auto China 2016

Volkswagen unveiled the T-Prime Concept GTE all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid in a world premiere at Auto China 2016 in Beijing. The concept fulls-size SUV previews the future Volkswagen SUV.

The T-Prime Concept GTE features Volkswagen’s new Curved Interaction Area—a new digital display and control concept. The innovative curved infotainment display merges with the interactive displays and controls, resulting in a new human-machine interface (HMI) that is intuitive, precise, and fun-to-use.

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Toyota to launch two new plug-in hybrid models in China; Corolla and Levin

April 24, 2016

On the eve of the 2016 Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, Toyota announced that it will launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin—two mass-market models, both of which have conventional hybrid variants—in China during 2018.

In 2005, based on long-term plans to encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly vehicles in the country, Toyota selected China as the first location for production of its hybrid flagship, the Prius, outside of Japan.

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Tsinghua team evaluates impact of types and arrangements of electric traction motors in fuel cell hybrid buses

April 20, 2016

Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the performance of two different powertrains for fuel cell hybrid buses. Both buses use 50 kW PEM fuel cell stacks (from different manufacturers) as the primary power source, with LiMn2O4 battery packs as secondary power sources. A significant difference between the two powertrains lies in the types and arrangements of the electrical motor.

One powertrain employs a single induction motor (IM) to drive the vehicle via a reduction gearbox and differential (Powertrain A), while the other powertrain adopts two permanent magnetic synchronous motors (PMSMs) for near-wheel propulsion (Powertrain B). A further difference between the proposed powertrains is the supply path for the fuel cell accessories. A paper on their study is published in Journal of Power Sources.

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Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle makes global debut in Shanghai; uses Malibu Hybrid powertrain

April 18, 2016

The all-new Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) made its global debut at the 2016 Buick Day event in Shanghai, where the award-winning Buick Avista concept was also shown for the first time in China. Both models will be appearing on the Buick stand at Auto China 2016 in Beijing, which begins on 25 April.

A major component of SAIC-GM’s Drive to Green strategy, the LaCrosse HEV adopts the same design language and technological advances as the recently introduced all-new LaCrosse. The advanced hybrid powertrain is basically the same as that used in the 2016 Malibu Hybrid, with the exception of some minor calibration and final drive ratio changes to better suit local and segment preferences. (Earlier post.)

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BAIC BJEV in strategic cooperation with Dresden University of Technology for lightweighting technology

April 14, 2016

Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BAIC BJEV), a subsidiary of BAIC, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Dresden University of Technology (TUD) to create the Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Joint R&D Center. The two also entered into a letter of intent on the establishment of Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Engineering Center Co., Ltd. TUD Distinguished Senior Professor Werner Hufenbach was named chief scientist in lightweight technology for BAIC BJEV.

The Sino-German Light Weighting R&D Center will become the company’s fifth overseas R&D center. BAIC BJEV has been building its global R&D network in its core areas, i.e. electric and smart technologies, by establishing oversea R&D centers in Silicon Valley, USA; Aachen, Germany; Detroit, USA; and Barcelona, Spain. (Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars plans to launch large-scale autonomous driving experiment in China; 100 cars on public roads

April 07, 2016

Volvo Cars plans to launch a large-scale autonomous driving experiment in China in which local drivers will test autonomous driving (AD) cars on public roads in everyday driving conditions. Volvo expects the experiment to involve up to 100 cars; in coming months, the automaker will begin negotiations with interested cities in China to see which is able to provide the necessary permissions, regulations and infrastructure to allow the experiment to go ahead.

Volvo believes the introduction of AD technology promises to reduce car accidents as well as free up congested roads, reduce pollution and allow drivers to use their time in their cars more valuably.

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GM 5-year growth strategy for China; 10 New Energy Vehicles in the coming mix

March 21, 2016

Between now and 2020, GM and its joint ventures plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in China, including 13 this year, with a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles.

During the period, GM and its joint ventures will roll out more than 10 new energy vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands. They will include the Shanghai-built Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (earlier post), which will go on sale later this year.

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CCM: slowdown in China Li-ion unit output growth signals shift in market structure toward new energy vehicle applications

In 2015, China’s total output of Li-ion batteries increased by 3.13% year-on-year (YoY)—a significant slowdown in the output growth rate from the prior 5 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China.

CCM, a leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets, suggests that the reduction in growth rate is a signal that the market structure of Li-ion batteries in China is changing, with Li-ion batteries for alternative energy vehicles moving to dominate China’s Li-ion battery market instead of consumer Li-ion batteries.

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DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative

March 13, 2016

The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.

Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:

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Nevs signs framework agreement for 50% stake in transport vehicle manufacturing company in China; electric minivan to portfolio

February 17, 2016

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) has signed a framework agreement on taking a 50% stake in Chinese transport vehicle manufacturing company New Long Ma (NLM). NLM is part of the Fujian Motors Group, owned by the Fujian provincial government. The company has during the last three years invested three billion RMB (US$459 million) in a new plant that today has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year.

NLM’s product portfolio includes an electric commercial distribution minivan which is a part of the agreement. Currently, the product is the third-most sold electric commercial minivan in China, with more than 12,000 units sold during its first production year 2015, according to Nevs.

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New BMW Brilliance engine plant with light metal foundry in China; high-voltage battery production to come

January 22, 2016

BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) opened a new engine plant with a light metal foundry in Shenyang today. The new location will produce the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder gasoline engines and forms part of the BBA production network based in Shenyang in Northeastern China.

In addition to combustion engines, the new engine plant will also produce high-voltage batteries for future Plug-in Hybrid models. As with engine assembly, this project will entail close cooperation between BBA and the BMW Group to ensure knowledge transfer from high-voltage battery production in Germany.

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Ballard signs $12M agreement for 15 kW fuel cell stacks for commercial bus range-extenders in China

Ballard Power Systems signed an Equipment Supply Agreement (ESA), valued at $12 million, with Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co., Ltd. (Synergy) to provide FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stacks for use in commercial buses in China. Ballard expects to deliver the stacks in 2016 and 2017.

Each FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack will deliver approximately 15 kilowatts (kW) of power, appropriate for range-extension applications. The ESA for fuel cell stacks signed today is in addition to agreements that Ballard previously announced for heavy-duty power applications in China. (Earlier post, earlier post, earlier post.)

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$12B EV deal: NEVS to provide Panda with 150K 9-3 EVs through 2020, 100K other EV products and services

December 17, 2015

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) and the Chinese company Panda New Energy Co., Ltd. have signed a strategic collaboration agreement under which NEVS will provide Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles through the end of 2020. In addition, the agreement also includes 100,000 other EV products and services from companies associated to NEVS and its owners. The total value of the agreement is 78 billion RMB (US$12 billion).

Panda New Energy is a new energy vehicle leasing company with focus on low emission mobility solutions. Cooperating with many chauffeured car service platforms in China, Panda aims to become one of the biggest EV leasing companies in the world.

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GM applies Gen 3 advanced high-strength steel in new vehicle for China; 1,200 MPa Q&P steel

December 03, 2015

General Motors is applying third-generation advanced high-strength steel to the new Chevrolet LOVA RV from SAIC-GM, thereby reducing the weight of selected body components by approximately 20%. The recreational vehicle (RV) was launched on 19 November 2015.

The new steel offers a superior balance of strength and ductility as compared to the first generation of high-strength steels. The fuel economy of a vehicle is generally considered to increase by 6 to 8% for every 10% reduction in body weight.

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Samsung SDI to supply cylindrical Li-ion batteries to JAC Motors for new EV; 50 million 18650 cells next year

November 23, 2015

In a departure from its usual approach of supplying high-capacity prismatic Li-ion cells for automotive applications, Samsung SDI will supply cylindrical 18650 format Li-ion batteries for JAC Motors’ new electric SUV iEV6S, unveiled at the 2015 Guangzhou International Auto Parts & Accessories Exhibition. JAC Motors says that its iEV6S will be the first electric SUV in China to offer more than 250 km (155 miles) of range.

The battery pack for the iEV6S will comprise approximately 3,000 of Samsung SDI’s high-performance 18650 battery cells. Additionally, JAC Motors signed an MOU with Samsung SDI for the supply of 50 million battery cells next year alone.

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Study finds EV deployment in China to increase Environmental Justice challenge there

November 16, 2015

A new study by a team from the University of Tennessee, Tsinghua University and the University of Minnesota has found that the wide-scale deployment of electric vehicles in China can increase the Environmental Justice (EJ) challenge in that country.

According to their findings, published in a paper in the ACS journalEnvironmental Science & Technology, most (∼77%, range: 41–96%) emission inhalation attributable to urban EVs use—i.e., from the shifting of transportation’s air pollution from urban tailpipes to rural power plants—is distributed to predominately rural communities the incomes of which are on average lower than the cities in which the EVs are used.

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UQM Technologies in 10-year electric propulsion systems agreement with ITL in China; 3K units ordered; potential for >$400M in revenue

October 27, 2015

UQM Technologies Inc. has signed a 10-year supply agreement with ITL Efficiency Corporation in China, a subsidiary of Eastlake New Energy, to provide electric propulsion systems for three market segments: 6-8 meter shuttle buses; light- to medium-duty delivery trucks; and 10-12 meter transit buses. Over the term of the Agreement, revenues could exceed $400 million based on projected volume shipments.

Production is expected to begin in early 2017 following development, test and certification programs during 2016; timing will be dependent on the successful completion of the test and certification processes, followed by orders under the Agreement. UQM has received the first purchase order under the Agreement for the initial 3,000 units which are expected to ship in 2017.

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Opinion: China To Continue Expanding Its Influence In The Oil And Gas Sector

October 14, 2015

by John Manfreda for Oilprice.com

Since 2009, China has been taking a much more active role in its pursuit of international oil contracts. In 2009, for the first time, Saudi Arabia exported more of its oil to China than it did to the U.S. China also made large investments in Saudi Arabia’s oil refining industry as well. But China’s oil investments didn’t stop there; they also pursued oil producing Canadian assets in 2011-12.

When it comes to Chinese energy industry, there are three major state owned companies. One is called China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), which is an oil and gas producer, another is called PetroChina, which is another oil producing company, and its third company is Sinopec, which is primarily a refining company.

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Ford to invest $1.8B in R&D in China

October 13, 2015

Ford Motor plans to invest RMB 11.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) in research and development in China in recognition that Chinese consumers are increasingly driving global innovation. The investment will allow Ford significantly to build up its research and development capabilities in the country—especially at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center (REC)—and will help Ford create more world-class vehicles in China, for China.

First established in 2007 as part of Ford’s global product development network, Ford’s REC includes advanced product development laboratories which help the company develop new powertrains, test electronic systems, analyze the durability and safety of interior materials and improve vehicle manufacturing quality using the latest in 3-D scanning technologies.

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Ballard lands $17M deal for deployment of ~300 fuel cell buses in China; new 30 kW and 60 kW modules

September 26, 2015

Under a newly signed long-term license and supply agreement, Ballard Power Systems will supply Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co., Ltd., an existing partner in China, fuel cell power products and technology in support of the planned deployment of approximately 300 fuel cell-powered buses in the cities of Foshan and Yunfu, China.

The deal has an estimated initial value of $17 million through 2016, with the opportunity for significant recurring royalties starting in 2017. The agreement includes supply and sale of fully-assembled fuel cell power modules; ready-to-assemble module kits; a technology license for localization of assembly; supply of proprietary fuel cell stacks; and long-term recurring royalties leveraged to unit volumes of locally assembled modules.

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Algenol signs MOU with ZYNE to produce renewable fuels in China using industrial CO2 emissions

September 23, 2015

US-based algal fuels company based Algenol will partner with South China’s Fujian Zhongyuan New Energy Company, Ltd. (ZYNE) to develop projects throughout Southern China, utilizing carbon emissions to create renewable fuels. The goal is to provide solutions for China’s three biggest challenges: access to clean air, clean water and sustainable fuels.

Algenol’s CEO and Founder Paul Woods along with Wang Suwei, ZYNE’s Chairman of the Board, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing the partnership for this joint exploration project. Representatives from both companies attended the ceremony, along with government leaders from both the US and China.

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BAIC BJEV opens Silicon Valley EV research center, planning another for Europe

September 14, 2015

China-based automaker BAIC has opened its first overseas research and development center, the BAIC EV R&D Center in Silicon Valley, California. Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BAIC BJEV), a subsidiary of BAIC, is a developer of new energy vehicles in China.

This new center, established in affiliation with the Beijing New Engineering Research Institute, has more than twenty employees in its current launch phase, and will be dedicated to the research and development of four to six models per year. BAIC said that the Silicon Valley R&D center will also become an important part of BJEV’s eventual globalization plans.

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IHS cuts 2015 light vehicle sales forecast in China to 23.4 million; deeper cut for 2016

September 11, 2015

IHS revised downward its forecast for light vehicle sales in China, projecting a decline of 3 to 4 percent from previous estimates for 2015. IHS Automotive has reduced its full year 2015 light vehicle sales forecast for China to 23.4 million units, reflecting a growth rate over 2014 of just 1.4 percent, compared with its previous forecast of 4.4 percent year-over-year growth.

Recent sales data—when combined with the slump in the Purchasing Manager’s Index and currency devaluation in early August, as well as the summer stock market rout—suggests a significant rebound in light vehicle sales is unlikely in the coming months. However, sales activity may not be as negative as current media reports suggest, according to IHS.

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EDI and Shaanxi Automotive introducing PHEV port trucks at Port of Shanghai

August 24, 2015

Hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions company Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) and Shaanxi Automotive, one of the world’s largest truck and bus manufacturers, are introducing a fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) trucks to the Port of Shanghai.

The PHEV port truck is capable of operating at 99,000 pounds (44,907 kg) gross vehicle weight (GVW) with electrified vehicle accessories—including air conditioning and heating—allowing the use of accessories for driver comfort without idling the engine. The PHEV port truck provides all-electric zero emissions driving capability as well as parallel and series hybrid operation.

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