[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.]
Baidu opening up its autonomous driving platform; leveraging AI capabilities
April 19, 2017
Baidu, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, announced a new project—named “Apollo”—intended provide an open, complete and reliable software platform for its partners in the automotive and autonomous driving industry to develop their own autonomous driving systems with reference vehicles and hardware platform.
By opening up its autonomous driving technology to the industry, Baidu aims to build a collaborative ecosystem, utilizing its strengths in artificial intelligence (AI) technology to work together with other companies to promote the development and popularization of autonomous driving technology.
Volkswagen to unveil I.D. electric crossover in Shanghai; all-wheel drive and autopilot
April 13, 2017
Volkswagen will unveil an electric crossover concept vehicle at Auto Shanghai 2017 (19 to 29 April). The concept car is the brand’s first electrically powered crossover utility vehicle (CUV)—a four-door coupé and sport utility vehicle (SUV) in one. After the premieres of the I.D. (Paris, 2016, earlier post) and I.D. BUZZ (Detroit, 2017, earlier post), this concept car follows as the third progressive member of the I.D. family—a new generation of zero emission vehicle with a long range and a charismatic electric mobility design.
The CUV of the I.D. family was conceptualized as a sporty, interactively designed zero-emission all-rounder with electric all-wheel drive that is as impressive in the urban environment as it is on the rough terrain covered in an adventurous and active lifestyle.
Ford announces China electrification push with new Mondeo PHEV and long-range electric SUV; 70% electrified line-up by 2025
April 07, 2017
In Shanghai, Ford Motor Company outlined an ambitious vehicle electrification strategy for the China market, confirming two new electrified vehicles for China and a broad range of electrified vehicles by 2025. The Mondeo Energi, to be launched in early 2018, will be the first plug-in hybrid to be manufactured by the Changan Ford JV.
Ford also confirmed plans to bring an all-new fully electric small SUV to China within five years; the electric SUV will feature a range of up to 450 km (279 miles) and will also be marketed in North America and Europe.
Tencent buys 5% stake in Tesla for $1.8 billion
March 28, 2017
China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. has acquired a 5% stake (8,167,544 shares) in Tesla for an aggregate price of $1,777,842,836 (including commission), according to a Schedule 13G form filed by Tesla with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Tencent acquired the shares through Tesla’s latest registered offering of common stock (17 March 2017, earlier post) and through open market purchases.
SAIC-GM Connectivity Strategy 2025 lays out roadmap to cloud-based connectivity, autonomy
SAIC-GM, GM’s Chinese joint venture with SAIC, announced its Connectivity Strategy 2025, which lays out a roadmap for its connectivity development from 2017 through 2025. The strategy will take advantage of its extensive customer base and global resources with a focus on vehicle information, infotainment and intelligent driving.
SAIC-GM will speed up the creation of a cloud-based platform and services, improve its vehicles’ connectivity to build a “people-vehicle-life” ecosystem, and aim to lead the development of a future intelligent vehicle society and lifestyle. In this effort, SAIC-GM is leveraging OnStar’s more than 20 years of experience. The high-level timeline is:
Buick to introduce extended-range electric vehicle in China this year; also new generation 1.0T/1.3T Ecotecs and 9-speed
March 23, 2017
Buick will adopt GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology, a new-generation of 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines and a nine-speed transmission in new or refreshed models launched in China this year. In the coming two years, Buick will also introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China—the brand’s largest market.
The EREV combines GM’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission, double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motors drive unit, a hybrid-exclusive direct injection engine, as well as an industry-leading liquid-cooled and high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.
Novelis enters supply agreement with NIO to provide aluminum solutions for next-gen EVs
March 16, 2017
Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, has expanded its automotive supply capabilities by signing an agreement with EV company NIO (earlier post), to provide innovative aluminum solutions for its fleet of smart, high-performance, premium electric vehicles. NIO will use Novelis Advanz aluminum alloys to create a wide range of structural components and parts for its aluminum-intensive NIO electric SUV models to be launched over the next five years.
The NIO partnership marks Novelis’ first major commitment in the premium electric vehicle space. Supply for NIO will come from Novelis’ Changzhou plant, China’s first facility dedicated to manufacturing heat-treated automotive sheet. The plant is an example of Novelis’ long-term commitment and capability to supply product in Asia for auto manufacturers based in that region and globally.
Detroit Electric signs joint venture with China’s Far East Smarter Energy Group; $1.8B investment
March 09, 2017
Detroit Electric has signed a joint venture deal with Far East Smarter Energy Group of China, which has helped secure a total investment of $1.8 billion dollars for the development and production of a range of electric vehicles over the next three years.
The joint venture will invest US$370 million into Detroit Electric’s European operations over the next four years. Initially, this will fund the completion of the final homologation phase of its all-electric SP:01 sports car—originally unveiled in April 2013 (earlier post)—and the start of volume production at the company’s Leamington Spa facilities in the UK. This will include the creation of 120 new engineering jobs and 100 new manufacturing jobs. Series production of the SP:01 is planned to start later this year.
EIA: China’s use of methanol in liquid fuels has grown rapidly since 2000; >500K bpd in 2016
February 23, 2017
China is the global leader in methanol use and has recently expanded its methanol production capacity. Now, a study commissioned by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) from Argus Media (a global provider of analysis on energy and commodities), finds that since the early 2000s, China’s consumption of methanol in fuel products has risen sharply. The report estimates consumption to have been more than 500,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2016.
EIA commissioned the study to better understand China’s consumption of methanol and its derivatives. The estimates developed in the study have now been incorporated into EIA’s historical data and forecasts of petroleum and other liquids consumption in China.
Ballard signs $25M deal with Broad-Ocean for manufacture & sales of 30 and 85 kW fuel cell systems in China
February 16, 2017
Ballard Power Systems has signed a definitive agreement relating to technology transfer, licensing and supply arrangements with strategic partner Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. (Broad-Ocean) for the assembly and sale of FCveloCity 30 kW and 85 kW fuel cell systems in China. Under the deal, Broad-Ocean will manufacture fuel cell modules in three strategic regions in China, including Shanghai. The deal has an estimated value of approximately $25 million in revenue to Ballard over the initial 5-year term, including $12 million in Technology Solutions revenue.
In August 2016, Broad-Ocean became Ballard’s largest shareholder following an investment of $28.3 million in Ballard common shares, representing approximately 9.9% of Ballard’s outstanding common shares following the transaction.
GKN, SDS begin production of all-wheel drive disconnect system in China; up to 4% improvement in fuel economy
GKN Driveline’s Chinese Joint Venture partner SDS has commenced production of its complete all-wheel drive (AWD) Disconnect system for small- to medium-sized vehicles in China. The system will initially feature on the Jeep Renegade built for the Chinese market by GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Co., Ltd. (GAC FCA) in Guangzhou City, southern Guangdong Province.
GKN’s Disconnect function enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of all-wheel drive with improved on-highway fuel efficiency. The system reacts to driver inputs and road conditions to seamlessly switch between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. During steady state cruising, the clutch system disengages the rear section of the driveline, eliminating rotating losses and improving highway fuel economy by up to 4%—compared to standard AWD. If the driver or conditions require more traction, the system reconnects within just 300 milliseconds.
Extensive rollout for GM 9-speed transmission in China
February 14, 2017
General Motors said it will rapidly and extensively deploy its new nine-speed automatic transmission in China, which is debuting in a high-volume SUV later this year. The state-of-the-art transmission, which optimizes efficiency, performance and refinement, will be adopted in 13 models in China from the Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac brands by 2020.
The new nine-speed automatic offers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 2% compared to a six-speed transmission. It supports stop/start technology, which further helps save fuel by allowing the engine to shut down in certain stop-and-go driving conditions. It was developed globally and tested in various road conditions worldwide, including China.
Chinese battery company takes 22% stake in Valmet Automotive; strategic partnership for EVs
January 31, 2017
China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), a leading global provider of battery and energy storage solutions, has taken a 22% stake in Finland-based Valmet Automotive as part of a new strategic partnership in electric automotive solutions. Simultaneously CATL has subscribed to new shares issued by Valmet Automotive for a 22 % ownership in the company. After the new share issue, the owners of Valmet Automotive are Pontos (39%), Tesi (39%) and CATL (22%).
CATL is a private Chinese company developing, manufacturing and providing after-sales services of lithium-ion battery solutions for electric vehicles and energy storage markets. It is among the three leading electric vehicle battery providers globally and the clear market leader in China with a large portfolio of customers. CATL is seeking to expand its business in the fast evolving European electric vehicle market. At the end of 2016, CATL employed more than 10,000 employees worldwide.
Efficient Drivetrains awarded bus fleet order for the City of Sheyang, China
January 19, 2017
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) Awarded Bus Fleet Order for the City of Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) has received a major order for its EDI PowerDrive 6000 systems from the city of Sheyang in China. The company is supplying its drivetrain technology to Yaxing Motor Coach for integration into a fleet of city buses to be delivered in March of this year.
The company’s EDI PowerDrive 6000 PHEV drivetrain system surpassed one million miles in a commercial fleet setting in late 2016. Utilized for a mass transportation application, EDI PowerDrive 6000, certified by the China government, delivered full OEM performance with more than 40% improvement in fuel economy and emissions reductions as the system was deployed in the field to perform standard bus routes in place of its conventional diesel fuel counterpart.
Audi & FAW sign strategic growth plan for China; focus on electrification and digitalization; 5 more e-tron models
January 17, 2017
Audi AG and FAW Group have crafted a strategic growth plan for China. Audi and its local partner FAW Group have defined 21 key strategy fields with respective goals in a 10-year plan. Audi will significantly expand its model portfolio locally produced at FAW VW and enter new segments, including electrified automobiles.
With a new dedicated company for mobility and digital services, the two partners want to advance their joint commitment in this expanding premium business segment. Furthermore, Audi and FAW will intensify their collaboration in financial services aiming to serve the rapidly growing demand from Audi customers in this field.
Reseachers attribute suddent surge in China PEV sales to massive subsidies and huge non-monetary incentives
January 09, 2017
Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in China—battery-electric and plug-in hybrid—suddenly soared 343% in 2015 to about 331,000 units—more than 3 times the number sold in the US that year. China-based BYD is now the world’s leading manaufacturer of PEVs, jumping ahead of Nissan and Tesla. Six other China OEMs are among the top 20 PEV manufacturers.
However, notes a team from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis and CATARC (China Automotive Technology and Research Center), just the year before PEV sales were stagnant, despite large subsidies and incentives. In a new paper in the journal Energy Policy, they explore the factors behind the surge and ways to maintain the strength of the market.
GM posts 2016 delivery record in China; 3.87M vehicles, more than 1/3 of global sales
January 06, 2017
General Motors and its joint ventures delivered a record 3,870,587 vehicles in China in 2016, which was an increase of 7.1% from the previous high in 2015. China remained GM’s largest market in terms of retail sales for the fifth consecutive year, accounting for more than one-third of the company’s global sales. For comparison, GM brands reported retail sales in the US of 2,446,582 vehicles for CY 2016.
Last year, GM launched 13 new and refreshed models in China, putting it on track to fulfill its plan to introduce 60 models through 2020. It is focused on the luxury, SUV and MPV segments. About 40% of GM’s product launches in China through 2020 will be SUVs and MPVs.
GM launches Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid in China
December 30, 2016
SAIC-GM has officially launched the newest member of the Cadillac CT6 American luxury sedan family—the CT6 Plug-In (earlier post)—in China. It is available in two variants priced at RMB 558,800 (US$80,400) and RMB 658,800 (US$94,700).
Built on GM’s all-new intelligent rear-wheel electric drive platform, the CT6 Plug-In offers steady, robust real-time power through two high-performance electric motors integrated with the car’s electric drive system and a direct-injection 2.0L SIDI turbocharged engine. Its offers 80 km (50 miles) of all-electric range and combined fuel consumption as low as 1.7 L/100 km (138 mpg US)—the best in its segment.
Proton OnSite to supply 13 MW-scale electrolyzers to provide hydrogen for fuel cell bus fueling in China
December 20, 2016
Proton OnSite signed a contract with Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co., Ltd. to provide megawatt-scale Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzers for the deployment of fuel cell-powered buses in the cities of Foshan and Yunfu, China.
Three of the megawatt systems will ship this summer, and an additional ten systems are planned to ship over the next 18 months, with the opportunity for significant recurring systems to follow. The agreement names Proton as the exclusive supplier of electrolyzers to Synergy and opens discussions for a joint venture to manufacture a portion of Proton’s M Series electrolyzers in Foshan exclusively for the fueling market in China.
Leclanché and Narada Power sign strategic global alliance for Li-ion technology
November 21, 2016
Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché SA (earlier post) and China-based Zhejiang Narada Power Source Co Ltd, a global battery manufacturer, announced a strategic partnership for the manufacturing and development of lithium-ion battery technology for the Chinese and global markets.
Leclanché will support Narada with technology transfer to achieve low-cost, scale manufacturing of Leclanché’s proprietary high-cycling and fast-charging lithium titanate (LTO) and high energy density graphite nickel manganese cobalt (G-NMC) battery storage technologies.
U-Michigan, China enter two new automated and connected vehicle partnerships
November 17, 2016
The University of Michigan is entering two separate agreements with Chinese institutions targeting automated and connected vehicles. Together with a third new agreement focused on clean water, the three agreements add up to more than $54 million to advance research in these key areas.
First, a $27-million research agreement with Shenzhen-based investment firm Frontt Capital Management will advance autonomous, connected vehicles and robotic technologies. This agreement puts in place measures that U-M and Frontt agreed to in a memorandum of understanding signed last month in China. It establishes a Joint Research Center for Intelligent Vehicles at U-M. It contributes toward construction of the recently approved Robotics Laboratory and a vehicle garage on U-M’s North Campus near Mcity, the simulated urban-suburban environment for testing connected and automated vehicles.
Audi FAW China JV to intro 5 locally produced e-tron models within 5 years; Audi also in discussion with SAIC
November 14, 2016
Audi has outlined a growth plan for its joint business with FAW Group in China for the next 10 years, establishing a base course for sustainable growth in the brand’s largest global market.
Within the next five years, the joint venture, FAW-Volkswagen, will add five locally-produced Audi e-tron models to its China portfolio, including pure battery vehicles with a range of more than 500 kilometers. By 2025, Audi, with FAW-Volkswagen, will offer at least one locally-produced electrically powered SUV and sedan model in all volume segments and, with this, there will be an e-tron model in each of the six biggest segments.
Global Carbon Project: Low growth in global carbon emissions continues for third successive year
Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project. Decreased use of coal in China is the main reason behind the 3-year slowdown.
The projected rise of only 0.2% for 2016 marks a clear break from the rapid emissions growth of 2.3% per year in the decade to 2013, with just 0.7% growth seen in 2014. The new data shows emissions growth remained below 1% despite GDP growth exceeding 3%. Detailed data were made available in the open-access data journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD). This is the fifth update of the global carbon budget published by ESSD in the living data format.
GM demos 8 connected vehicle safety applications in Shanghai
November 03, 2016
General Motors demonstrated eight safety applications for its latest intelligent and connected vehicle (ICV) technology for the first time in China at the National Intelligent and Connected Vehicle Pilot Zone in Shanghai, which opened in June.
GM has been supporting the development of connected vehicle technologies for more than a decade in the US. The company highlighted six vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) safety applications, including Intersection Movement Assist, and Electronic Emergency Brake Light and Control Loss Warning enabled by V2V technology. It also introduced two newly developed vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) safety applications: Red Light Violation Warning and Reduced Speed Zone Warning.
Maxwell Technologies delivers first commercial application of Li-ion capacitor technology with CRRC-SRI in China
November 01, 2016
Maxwell Technologies, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, announced the first commercial application of lithium-ion capacitors, developed in conjunction with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC-SRI), China’s largest rail manufacturer. (Earlier post.)
The technology will be used for rapid energy regeneration in the trolley system in the capital city of Hunan province in China. Following last year’s announcement of Maxwell’s strategic partnership with CRRC-SRI to collaborate on developing next-generation capacitive energy storage solutions, this project is the first to leverage Maxwell’s new lithium-ion technology and validates its unique value proposition for rail applications.
Shanghai OnStar launches four new key service packages
October 28, 2016
Shanghai OnStar has upgraded its key service portfolio by rolling out four innovative new service packages covering mobile apps, security and safety, smart fleet management and telematics data reports. It has also introduced a first-of-its-kind B2B service platform in China that allows corporate users to enjoy onboard telematics services.
OnStar Mobile App 7.0. Shanghai OnStar, China’s leading smart onboard telematics service provider, has ramped up its investment in mobile app development since introducing its first smartphone app in 2011. The new OnStar Mobile App 7.0 provides more comprehensive functions than any other onboard telematics remote app due to its vehicle control functions. It will serve as Shanghai OnStar’s major service platform.
GM and partners demonstrate cross-brand V2X application layer interoperability in China
At the 2016 SAE-China Congress & Exhibition from October 26-28 in Shanghai, General Motors teamed up with the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Tsinghua University, Chang’an Auto, Yanfeng Visteon and Shanghai International Auto City to demonstrate the interoperability of the emerging China connected vehicle (V2X) application layer standard for the first time.
A complete set of communication standards is necessary for underpinning an intelligent transportation system (ITS) using connected vehicles as a key component. GM, Tsinghua University and Chang’an Auto are leading a working group for the development of the V2X application layer and application data-exchange service standard with the support of SAE-China and C-ITS (China ITS Industry Alliance).
New interfacial architecture enables high-energy solid-state Li battery with long cycle life
October 27, 2016
Researchers led by a team from Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering in China has developed ultrastable all-solid-state lithium batteries (421 mAh g−1 at 1.27 mA cm−2 after 1000 cycles) with high energy and power densities of 360 Wh kg−1 and 3823 W kg−1 at current densities of 0.13 and 12.73 mA cm−2, respectively. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
To achieve their results, the researchers developed a new interfacial architecture. The researchers say that their design approach can be used as a generic route for synthesizing other sulfur-based or transitional metal sulfides−sulfide electrolyte composites for all-solid-state lithium batteries.
Ballard closes JV deal for fuel cell stack production in China
October 26, 2016
Ballard Power Systems has closed its joint venture transaction 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 China’s Guangdong Province. (Earlier post.) As of closing, Ballard received initial payments totaling $10.9 million.
The fuel cell stacks manufactured by the JV are expected to be used primarily in locally-assembled fuel cell systems to provide propulsion power for zero-emission buses and commercial vehicles in China.
Savari and SAIC Motors partner on V2X technology for China
October 25, 2016
V2X company Savari Inc. signed an agreement with SAIC USA, a fully owned subsidiary of Chinese automaker SAIC Motors, to manufacture and distribute the Savari V2X communications solutions in the Greater China and selected ASEAN countries. The companies are already working to fulfil a substantial order from two customers (Shanghai International Automobile City and Tongji University).
Additionally, Shanghai International Automobile City and Tongji University plan to implement a live open-road smartcity testbed featuring both LTE-V and DSRC-based V2X solutions in the National Intelligent CV Pilot in Shanghai’s International Auto City. The smartcity will feature more than 10,000 vehicles equipped with Savari’s V2X solutions.
Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical to form 50-50 Li-ion battery electrolyte JV in China
October 18, 2016
Ube Industries, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation have agreed to a tie-up for their electrolyte businesses in China under a 50-50 joint venture to supply highly competitive electrolyte to the market. The JV will enable the two companies to combine their production technologies and mutually to use their technology resources including intellectual property, in order to enhance their technologies and cost competitiveness.
Ube Industries and Mitsubishi Chemical will apply for approval from government authorities in China and other relevant countries. Upon securing the necessary approvals, the two companies will shift their electrolyte businesses in China to a joint operation in April 2017.
Volkswagen Group outselling GM in China
The Volkswagen Group is having a very strong sales year so far in China. For September, deliveries were up 20.1% to 382,300 units compared to September 2015. For the nine-month period from January to September, VW Group deliveries were up 10.7% to 2,853,900 from the year before.
As a result, the Group is outselling GM, which itself has been posting record results. General Motors and its joint ventures in China delivered a September record 343,773 vehicles, up 16% year over year. For the first nine months of 2016, retail sales by GM and its joint ventures in China increased 9% on an annual basis to a record 2,718,315 units.
Chinese firm invests $27M with U of Michigan to advance autonomous vehicle research and development
October 16, 2016
Frontt Capital Management Ltd, a Shenzhen-based investment firm focused on developing the intelligent vehicle industry in China, is making a $27-million investment to advance autonomous, connected vehicles and robotic technologies with the University of Michigan, along with industry and government partners.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed between Frontt and U-M, the funding will establish a Joint Research Center for Intelligent Vehicles at U-M to support faculty projects on autonomous vehicle technologies. The funding will also cContribute toward construction of the recently approved Robotics Laboratory and a vehicle garage on U-M's North Campus that would be located near Mcity, the simulated urban-suburban environment for testing connected and automated vehicles.
GM makes strategic investment in car-sharing technology company Yi Wei Xing in China
October 11, 2016
GM has made a strategic investment in Yi Wei Xing (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. (Yi Wei Xing), a leading car-sharing technology solution provider in China, as another move in exploring personal mobility in China.
Yi Wei Xing’s product, Feezu, is based on mobile technology. It merges hardware and software to provide a convenient car-rental and car-sharing experience. It also offers car-rental companies a customized cloud-based car-sharing platform.
CCM: demand for ternary Li-ion batteries in China to more than double to 10 GWh in 2016 from 4.4GWh in 2015 due to subsidy fraud and response
October 05, 2016
In the wake of the news that five alternative energy vehicle (AEV) makers defrauded the Chinese government of about US$150 million in subsidies, the Chinese government adjusted its subsidy policies for alternative energy vehicles. Market analyst CCM believes that the adjustment will change the market structure and that ternary Li-ion power batteries—i.e., Li-ion batteries with ternary cathode materials such as LMO, NCM/NCA, LFP, etc.—will be the biggest gainers.
The firm forecasts an immediate boom in demand for ternary Li-ion batteries—mainly used to power alternative energy vehicles—from 4.4GWh in 2015 to 10 GWh in 2016.
Commissioning of initial 12 Ballard-powered buses in China’s largest fuel cell bus deployment
September 30, 2016
Ballard Power Systems announced the commissioning and deployment of an initial 12 fuel cell-powered buses in the District of Sanshui, in the City of Foshan, in the Province of Guangdong, China. The buses will be operated by Foshan Sanshui Guohong Public Transit Co. Ltd., on demonstration route #682 from Gaofeng Park Station to Shuidu Industrial Park Station.
The buses are 11 meters in length and feature advanced safety systems, 80-person capacity, anticipated driving range in excess of 300 kilometers (186 miles), expected hydrogen gas consumption of less than 6.5 kilograms per 100 kilometers, zero tailpipe emissions and remote monitoring. Unlike many battery electric bus routes, the transit route in Foshan will not require any catenary wires or on-route recharging.
ICCT study finds that transitioning to low-GWP MAC refrigerants in China could avoid up to US$150B in costs
September 25, 2016
A new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses the feasibility, benefits, and costs of phasing out HFC-134a as the refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems in the Chinese LDV fleet, focusing on three alternatives with lower global warming potential (GWP) most likely to be adopted by automakers with a global supply chain: HFO-1234yf, HFC-152a, and CO2.
Among the findings of the report, “HFC-134a phase-out in the Chinese light-duty motor vehicle sector”, was that, considering the social cost of CO2e, up to 1 trillion RMB in costs (US$150 billion) required to address climate change could be avoided through 2050 by transitioning to low-GWP alternative MACs.
Audi deepening partnerships with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent on connected cars in China
September 11, 2016
In China, Audi has signed tripartite memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent respectively. The partners will deepen their cooperation in the areas of data analysis, internet-vehicle platform building and urban intelligent transport.
The partnerships will be supported through the brand’s strong development capabilities in China. In Beijing, Audi operates its largest research and development facility outside of Germany. The R&D center is part of Audi China, a 100% Audi AG daughter-company, and puts a strong focus on key future technologies such as connected car, piloted driving, new energy vehicles and digital services.
Ballard providing ten 30 kW fuel cell modules to UpPowerTech; expanding into China’s Guangxi Province
September 08, 2016
Ballard Power Systems has signed a purchase order from Shenzhen UpPower Technology Co., Ltd. (UpPowerTech), a leading fuel cell bus systems integrator in China, for the supply of 10 FCveloCity-MD 30 kW fuel cell power modules to be integrated by UpPowerTech into clean energy buses manufactured by Gaungxi Yuanzheng New Energy Co. Ltd. (Yuanzheng), a Chinese bus manufacturer, for deployment in the City of Nanning in the Province of Guangxi.
UpPowerTech previously demonstrated a hydrogen fuel cell bus, using Ballard’s new FCveloCity-MD 30-kilowatt fuel cell power module as a battery range extender, during the “4th Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum.” The bus was a 12-meter (40-foot) city bus with a powertrain built by UpPowerTech. The coach was manufactured by Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. The Forum, held in Longgang District of Guangdong Province, featured low carbon urban development and innovation technologies designed to tackle global environmental challenges.
Volkswagen Group & Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) jointly to develop EVs in China; new JV focused on NEVs
September 07, 2016
Volkswagen AG and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd. (JAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Wolfsburg to define the next phase of negotiations between the two companies in order to achieve long-term cooperation in the joint development of all-electric vehicles in China.
According to the MoU the parties intend to enter into discussions to evaluate the perspectives and feasibility of a new joint venture company focusing on new energy vehicles (NEV), to carry out full scope cooperation in areas including research and development, manufacture, sales and mobility services in the field of NEV and parts in order to improve fuel efficiency. The top priority will be to develop zero-emission mobility solutions.
BMW introduces X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid; China market only
September 06, 2016
BMW unveiled the new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid at the Chengdu Motor Show 2016 as the latest addition to BMW’s family of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and the first plug-in hybrid in the compact luxury SUV segment. Manufactured by BMW Brilliance, the new PHEV model is only available for the Chinese market.
The new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance was developed simultaneously with the new BMW X1 Series launched some time ago and borrows the innovative eDrive technology from the BMW i line-up. The gasoline engine and electric motor power the front and rear wheels, respectively, with the intelligent energy management system taking care of on-demand power response and maximizing energy efficiency.
Mercedes-Benz Vans launches new Vito in China; unveiling electric van of future this week
Mercedes-Benz Vans launched its new mid-size van—the Vito—at the Chengdu Motor Show in China on Friday. The first batch of the new Vito rolled off the production line at Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC) in Fuzhou in August. The new Vito will be ready for delivery to dealers at the end of September.
In an event to be held this Wednesday at its “Van Innovation Campus” in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Vans will unveil its vision of the van of the future: connected and electrically powered. (In July, Daimler Trucks unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. Earlier post.)
Ballard MOU with strategic partner Broad-Ocean targets fuel cell modules for buses and commercial vehicles
September 01, 2016
Ballard Power Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with strategic partner Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Company Limited with the goal of producing fuel cell modules for use in buses and commercial vehicles in select cities and regions in China.
In July, Broad-Ocean announced a $28.3-million strategic equity investment in Ballard, through which Broad-Ocean acquired a 9.9% ownership position in Ballard, making it the company’s largest shareholder. (Earlier post.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.