[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.]
Study shows bamboo ethanol in China technically and economically feasible, cost-competitive with gasoline
December 01, 2013
Bamboo, the composition of which is highly similar to energy grasses used for biofuel production such as switchgrass, is an interesting potential feedstock for advanced bioethanol production in China due to its natural abundance, rapid growth, perennial nature and low management requirements.
Now, researchers at Imperial College London have shown that bioethanol production from bamboo in China is both technically and economically feasible, as well as cost-competitive with gasoline. An open access paper on their study is published in Biotechnology for Biofuels.
BMW Brilliance unveils Zinoro 1E BEV at Guangzhou show
November 21, 2013
BMW Brilliance, the China joint venture company formed by the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., unveiled the Zinoro 1E battery-electric vehicle (BEV) at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The EV is the first product of the company’s new brand, the first e-drive SAV built in China, and the first new energy vehicle (NEV) from a Chinese premium manufacturer.
BBA said that it is not aiming at volume sales of Zinoro 1E, but is using it to build the Zinoro (Zhi Nuo, 之诺, in Chinese) brand image, increase customer understanding and acceptance of electric vehicles, and drive the commercialization of electric vehicles in China.
Daimler takes 12% stake in Chinese parter BAIC Motor; first non-Chinese automotive company to acquire an interest in a Chinese OEM
November 19, 2013
Daimler AG is taking a major step forward in its China strategy with the closing of the company’s 12% investment in long-standing partner BAIC Motor, the passenger car unit of Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC Group), one of the top automotive companies in China. This marks the first investment by a non-Chinese automotive company in a Chinese OEM.
The official closing of the transaction followed a short time after the signing of the investment agreement between the two companies in Stuttgart earlier this year and a smooth approval by the relevant Chinese authorities. Daimler’s investment will take place through the issuance of new shares corresponding to a 12% stake in BAIC Motor. With this investment, Daimler is proving its strong support for BAIC Motor’s intention to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in the future.
SAE New Energy Vehicle Forum: China’s focus on NEVs may have profound impact on future of transportation
November 13, 2013
China has a number of critical economic and environmental imperatives driving its pursuit of vehicle electrification, said the roster of plenary speakers at the SAE 2013 New Energy Vehicle Forum held in Shanghai this week. These include the increasingly problematic pollution and haze in cities; China’s projected increased reliance on imported oil; the need for rationalized multimodal transportation systems in ever more congested and space-limited cities; the growing dominance of the China auto market; and the desire to have China become the leader in the next generation of automotive technology, vehicles and mobility systems.
The shift from fossil fuels to electricity—while held in common with other countries—will be based on the “specific situation” in China, making the best use of China’s own advantages and innovations, but also with international cooperation, said Dr. Zhixin Wu, Vice President of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC). The details of that specific situation may result in an electric vehicle parc somewhat different than in Western countries, other speakers noted, and may indeed—given the obvious scale of the China market—herald a major transformation in transportation, including the type and role of personal vehicles, others suggested.
IEA World Energy Outlook 2013 sees CO2 emissions rising by 20% to 2035; oil use on upward trend
|Energy demand growth moves to Asia. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
The newly released 2013 edition of the IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) depicts a world in which some long-held tenets of the energy sector are being rewritten; importers are becoming exporters, while exporters are among the major sources of growing demand. However, the report advises, long-term solutions to global challenges remain scarce; as one example, the report sees global CO2 emissions rising by 20% to 37.2 Gt by 2035.
WEO-2013 presents a central scenario (“New Policies”) in which global energy demand rises by one-third in the period to 2035, although energy demand in OECD countries barely rises and by 2035 is less than half that of non-OECD countries. China is about to become the largest oil-importing country and India becomes the largest importer of coal by the early 2020s. The US moves steadily towards meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources by 2035. Together, these changes represent a re-orientation of energy trade from the Atlantic basin to the Asia-Pacific region, according to the report’s scenario.
Ballard announces definitive agreements with Azure Hydrogen for China fuel cell bus program; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 module
September 26, 2013
Further to the MOU announced on May 28 (earlier post), Ballard Power Systems has signed multi-year definitive agreements to support Azure Hydrogen’s fuel cell bus program for the China market. Beijing-based Azure plans to partner with Chinese bus manufacturers in a phased development program for deployment of zero emission fuel cell buses in China, utilizing Ballard’s fuel cell technology.
For the first phase of the program, Ballard has agreed to provide a license, associated equipment and Engineering Services to enable assembly of Ballard’s next-generation FCvelocity-HD7 bus power modules by Azure in China. As per the agreements, once this assembly capability is established, Azure will assemble modules with fuel cell stacks to be supplied exclusively by Ballard.
Nissan project in Beijing demonstrates Dynamic Route Guidance reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
September 13, 2013
Results from Nissan’s New Traffic Information System Model Project in Beijing (earlier post) have demonstrated that Dynamic Route Guidance System (DRGS) can help alleviate traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption. A simulation based on the project results suggested that when 10% of all traffic in Beijing used DRGS, due to reduced traffic congestion, travel speed throughout the city would increase by approximately 10% and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions would decrease by approximately 10%.
DRDS distributes real-time traffic information from the traffic information center to onboard devices via telematics; the onboard devices show drivers the fastest route on the display. This large-scale project, involving 12,000 vehicles, is the first to demonstrate and measure traffic dispersion effects in a real setting.
Exploring the adoption of EVs in the US, Europe and China; charging scenarios and infrastructure
August 06, 2013
|Aspirational targets among seven countries participating in the Electric Vehicle Initiative would see growth from just under 2 million EV and PHEVs to just under 20 million by 2020. Source: “Electric Vehicle Grid Integration”. Click to enlarge.|
A recently published paper by M.J. Bradley & Associates, commissioned by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), examines key drivers of EV adoption in the US, Europe and China, with an emphasis on vehicle charging scenarios and infrastructure.
This report examines hurdles to EV adoption in these regions, and identifies critical success factors that should guide policymakers in the transportation and electric sectors. Accelerating the pace of EV market growth requires a coordinated evolution in both sectors, the report argues, from the power plant to the charging station to the vehicle. Supportive policies should work to ensure that EV owners are able to capture the full economic value of their decision to fuel switch from electricity to gasoline, including any benefits to the grid operator, and any emission reduction benefits, in addition to realizing the savings from replacing gasoline or diesel fuel with electricity.
“Big data” analysis of Beijing taxi fleet suggests maximum electrification subsidy benefit from targeting medium-range plug-in hybrids
August 02, 2013
A pair of researchers at the University of Michigan have used “big data” mining techniques to evaluate the impact of adopting plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the Beijing taxi fleet on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions based on the characterized individual travel patterns.
Although the results are based on a specific public fleet, the study demonstrates the benefit of using large-scale individual-based trajectory data (big data) to better understand environmental implications of fleet electrification and inform better decision making, Hua Cai and Ming Xu suggested in a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. This research represents the first of a series of studies exploring the role of big data in environmental systems analysis for the emerging PHEV/BEV systems.
Honda outlines short-term directions for China; local production of hybrids pushed back to 2016
June 17, 2013
Jointly with Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd., Honda’s automobile production and sales joint venture companies in China, Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd. (HMCI), a wholly-owned Honda subsidiary, outlined Honda’s technology directions, plans for new model introductions, and increasing localization of research and development operation in China. Honda is planning to introduce 12 new models in China before the end of 2015.
Among the outlined directions was a statement that Honda “is striving to begin local production of hybrid models within the next three years”—i.e., by 2016. The company earlier had suggested that it would begin local production of hybrids, which it sells into the China market, in 2014. (Suggestions of local production of Honda hybrids in China go back further than that to at least 2004. Earlier post.)
Freescale S12 MagniV Mixed-Signal MCUs supporting mid-class vehicle growth in China
May 31, 2013
|Freescale’s S12 MagniV block diagram. Click to enlarge.|
China’s automotive market is now the largest in the world by volume, with some 22 million units produced last year, and expectations of 22-23 million units this year. Automobile sales alone in China posted a 13% year-over-year gain for April 2013, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
At the same time, the amount of electronic content per vehicle continues to increase as automakers add features to differentiate themselves in this highly competitive market. To help address the need for cost-effective vehicle electronic systems, the Freescale Semiconductor S12 MagniV mixed-signal microcontroller (MCU) portfolio (earlier post) offers Chinese automakers highly integrated, single-chip solutions that are reliable, easy to develop with, and energy and weight efficient, helping to reduce the bill of materials and hence, overall manufacturing costs.
China team engineers cyanobacterium for significant increase in alka(e)ne production
May 06, 2013
Strains of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 engineered by researchers from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (China) increased their production of alka(e)nes by some 8 times compared with wildtype strains. Alkanes are the major constituents of gasoline, diesel and jet fuels. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels.
Some of the same researchers had earlier reported the application of a consolidated bioprocessing strategy to integrate photosynthetic biomass production and microbial conversion producing ethanol together into Synechocystis sp. PCC6803, with the resulting engineered organism directly converting carbon dioxide to ethanol in one single biological system. (Earlier post.)
Geely and Detroit Electric enter strategic partnership to co-develop EVs for China
April 25, 2013
|The Emgrand EC7-EV at Auto Shanghai. Click to enlarge.|
Geely Automobile Group and Detroit Electric Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership to co-develop battery-electric vehicles and related electric drive systems for the China market. Under the terms of the partnership, the first EV model—the Emgrand EC7-EV, based on Geely’s Emgrand EC7—will go on sale in 2014.
The EC7-EV will be co-branded with a “Detroit Electric – Technology” badge. The vehicle will initially be sold primarily to business users and public-sector organisations, and the two companies are forecasting sales of around 3,000 units in the first 12 months, growing to 30,000 in three years’ time.
Maxwell supplying ultracapacitors for light rail braking energy recuperation system; 2.8% energy savings
April 23, 2013
|Clockwise from upper left: ESS enclosure, power control unit and ultracapacitor modules. Source: TIGGER, Tri-Met. Click to enlarge.|
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is supplying ultracapacitors for an energy-saving braking energy recuperation system that American Maglev Technology (AMT), is installing on light rail vehicles operated by the Portland, Oregon area’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District (TriMet).
The ultracapacitor-based Energy Storage System (ESS) is an embedded system that captures, stores and discharges 0.7 kWh of energy for use in commercial transit applications. The ESS consists of the ultracapacitors and the required conditioning choppers and auxiliary devices to recapture and store a transit vehicle’s kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during braking to be re-used for future departures or for the vehicle’s auxiliary power.
GM outlines plans for China with 17 launches this year; developing advanced propulsion and electrification tech in China
April 21, 2013
General Motors discussed its future plans in China during a press conference in conjunction with the start of Auto Shanghai 2013. GM and its joint ventures are launching 17 new and upgraded models in China this year, including the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback; the new Wuling Sunshine; two new Jiefang light-duty trucks, the S230 and F330; and the Insignia Sports Tourer, Zafira Tourer and Astra GTC from Opel.
GM is also in the process of bringing Cadillac’s entire global portfolio to China, adding one locally produced model per year through 2016. Earlier this year, it introduced the locally produced XTS luxury sedan as well as the refreshed SRX luxury SUV, which is Cadillac’s best-selling model in China.
Johnson Controls to supply AGM batteries to Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China; introducing 48V micro hybrid system
April 19, 2013
Johnson Controls will provide its Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) advanced lead-acid battery technology to power the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Start-Stop and other vehicles made in China to serve the China market. Start-Stop systems help reduce fuel consumption as the engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a stop in traffic or at a red light. The battery restarts the engine when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal or engages the clutch.
Separately, the company will debut to the China market its 48-volt Micro Hybrid battery demonstration module (earlier post) at the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai 2013). Leveraging a dual voltage architecture, the Micro Hybrid battery system involves a low voltage lead-acid battery and a 48 volt Lithium-ion battery that enable optimization of energy generation and consumption, thus saving fuel.
Toyota to conduct verification tests of traffic alleviation system in Beijing
April 16, 2013
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. (TMEC), Beihang University and CenNavi Technologies Co., Ltd. have agreed to begin a joint verification testing project in which data from the Toyota-developed NETSTREAM (NETwork Simulator for TRaffic Efficiency And Mobility) traffic-flow simulator will be used in practical car-based applications to help alleviate traffic congestion in Beijing, China.
Toyota Central R&D Labs (CRDL) began developing NETSTREAM some 15 years ago, with the intention of predicting the introductory effects of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for reducing traffic congestion, pollution reduction, and preliminary evaluation of traffic measures. In the early NETSTREAM I, CRDL used a block density method to calculate a wide-area traffic flow at high speed.
Zhongding Power to invest more than $200M to build EcoMotors opoc plant in China
April 09, 2013
p> Zhongding Power and EcoMotors have entered an agreement for the production of the opoc (opposed-piston, opposed cylinder) engine (earlier post). One of the largest automotive component conglomerates in China, Zhongding will finance and construct the first opoc plant in the Anhui Province.
The plant represents an investment by Zhongding of more than US $200 million and will have a capacity of about 150,000 engines per year—or more than US $1 billion in revenue potential. High-volume production is expected to begin in 2014.
Ford unveils 1.5L EcoBoost engine in new Mondeo in China (corrected)
April 04, 2013
Ford unveiled the new, fifth-generation global Mondeo in China, the first Ford to be equipped with the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. The new
3 4-cylinder, 1.5L EcoBoost is the fifth and latest member to join Ford’s global family of EcoBoost engines, which includes a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 1.6- and 2.0-liter four-cylinders, and two 3.5-liter V6 variants.
Ford’s EcoBoost technology combines direct fuel injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing to enable a downsized engine to gain fuel economy by up to 20% over larger engines with no loss of performance. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine is projected to produce 132 kW (177 hp) of power at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 240 N·m (177 lb-ft) from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm.
PHEV powertrain company ALTe in new commercial vehicle JV in China with Henan Benma; target 10K units/year
March 21, 2013
ALTe Powertrain Technologies (ALTe), developer of a range-extended plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) powertrain for light commercial fleet vehicle applications (earlier post), will establish a new commercial vehicle manufacturing Joint Venture with the Henan Benma Company (Benma) in the Henan province of China.
Henan Benma was originally part of a $200-million “mega JV”—MESA Industrial Technology Corporation—announced in August 2012, which would have seen the opening of four factories in 4 provinces in China. (Earlier post.) However, that structure with became unwieldy, explained John Thomas, ALTe Chairman, President and CEO. Two investors split off from the original 4 entity investor group. MESA is still moving forward as a powertrain entity with just one lead investor based in Beijing, Thomas said, while Henan Benma, which was part of the original MESA deal, moved out to do a specific and higher level vehicle OEM deal with ALTe in their province.
Qoros premieres first production vehicle, hybrid concept at Geneva
February 15, 2013
|Qoros 3 sedan. Click to enlarge.|
Qoros Automotive, an equal joint venture partnership founded in 2007 between China-based Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation, is presenting the world premiere of its first series production vehicle, the C-segment Qoros 3 Sedan, at the Geneva International Motor Show. In addition, the automaker is presenting two concepts based on the Qoros 3: the Cross Hybrid Concept and the Estate Concept.
The Qoros 3 Sedan, which is entering a pre-production development phase after two summers and two winters of testing at locations around the world, is due to be launched in China in the second half of 2013, with first European sales following later in the year. The launch of further Qoros models is then planned at intervals of approximately six months. Rapid expansion of the model range is possible due to a modular vehicle architecture developed in-house, the company said.
Daimler to take 12% stake in BAIC Motor
February 01, 2013
According to a new binding agreement, Daimler AG will invest in BAIC Motor, the passenger car unit of BAIC Group. Daimler’s investment will take place through the issuance of new shares corresponding to a 12% stake in BAIC Motor. This move comes ahead of an intention by BAIC Motor to launch an initial public offering (IPO) in the future.
Daimler’s shareholding in BAIC Motor is subject to the approval by the relevant authorities. A closing of the transaction is expected by the end of this year or early next year. The move, making Daimler the first non-Chinese automotive company to take a stake in a Chinese OEM, deepens an existing strategic partnership.
Volvo Group to acquires 45% of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles for $900M; Volvo to become world’s largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks
January 26, 2013
|China is the world’s largest truck market. Click to enlarge.|
AB Volvo has signed an agreement with the Chinese vehicle manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (DFG) to acquire 45% of a new subsidiary of DFG, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV), which will include the major part of DFG’s medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles business.
Completion of the transaction will make the Volvo Group the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks with a combined annual volume (2011) of 326,000 HD trucks and 98,000 MD trucks.
Chinese automakers bring hybrids and plug-ins to Detroit, Geneva auto shows
January 19, 2013
|The E-JET concept range extended electric vehicle from GAC. Click to enlarge.|
At least two Chinese automakers are bringing some of their new energy vehicles—hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric—to two of the major international auto shows in the first quarter of this year.
Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) brought three to the 2013 North American International Auto Show (2013 NAIAS) in Detroit this month: a 4x4 Hybrid Version of the Trumpchi Sedan; a battery-electric version of the Trumpchi GS5 SUV; and the Compact NEV E-JET range-extended electric vehicle. Qoros Auto Co. Ltd.—a partnership between Chery Automobile, China’s largest independent car manufacturer, and Israel Corporation—is bringing its Cross Hybrid Concept to the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Tsinghua University provincial-level lifecycle study finds fuel-cycle criteria pollutants of EVs in China could be up to 5x those of natural gas vehicles due to China’s coal-dominant power mix
January 12, 2013
|Consumption-based power mixes and NG transmission distances by Chinese province in 2010. Credit: ACS, Huo et al. Click to enlarge.|
A province-by-province life cycle analysis of natural gas and electric vehicles by a team from Tsinghua University concludes that while, from the perspective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions, natural gas vehicles (CNGVs) are “an option with no obvious merits or demerits”, electric vehicles (EVs) are “an option with significant merits and demerits in this regard” due to China’s heavily coal-based electricity generation (national average of about 77%).
In regions where the share of coal-based electricity is relatively low, EVs can achieve substantial GHG reduction, the team reports in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. However, the fuel-cycle PM10, PM2.5, SO2, and NOx emissions of EVs could be up to five times higher than those of ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles) and CNGVs. While the increases in PM10 and PM2.5 emissions are less important because of the low contribution of light duty vehicles to national PM10 and PM2.5 emissions, the NOx and SO2 increases are significant enough to notably change total national emissions, they conclude.