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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.]

Baidu announces Apollo 1.5 and $1.5B autonomous driving fund

September 22, 2017

Baidu, Inc. announced the release of Apollo 1.5, the latest iteration of the company’s Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform that has gathered 70 strong partners so far. (Earlier post.) The company also announced a 10 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) Apollo Fund to invest in 100 autonomous driving projects in the next three years.

Building on Apollo 1.0, Apollo 1.5 opens up five additional core capabilities which include obstacle perception; planning; cloud simulation; High-Definition (HD) maps; and End-to-End deep learning, providing more comprehensive solutions to developers and ecosystem partners to accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving.

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Initial order from Sinotruk for UQM Powerphase DT drive systems for pilot trials; beginning of commercial partnership

September 20, 2017

Hong-Kong-based Sinotruk has made an initial purchase of UQM PowerPhase DT (drivetrain) systems (earlier post) for implementation and evaluation in their commercial vehicles. This is the first step towards the long term strategy of utilizing UQM electric drive products across Sinotruk’s portfolio of commercial vehicles.

The UQM PowerPhase DT pairs any of UQM’s PowerPhase HD propulsion systems with a two-speed Eaton transmission and Pi Innovo’s transmission control unit—an application-specific variant of the OpenECU M220 controller, with model-based controls developed by Pi Innovo’s systems engineering team. The PowerPhase DT provides a greater speed and torque range than direct drive systems, allowing smaller electric motors to drive large vehicles. In addition, the 2-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle.

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China’s first V2X application layer standard released

September 19, 2017

The first standard designed for the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) application layer in China has been officially released. The standard (T/CSAE 53-2107) was developed by a working group led by General Motors, together with Tsinghua University and Chang’an Auto, with the support of the China Industry Innovation Alliance for the Intelligent and Connected Vehicles.

As one of the group standards under SAE-China, the new standard provides a framework that is independent of basic communication protocols, enabling different automakers to develop interoperable V2X applications for data interaction. It offers a mechanism for automakers to use a single communication technology for the development and commercialization of all V2X applications.

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GM to introduce at least 10 new New Energy Vehicles in China from 2016-2020; focus on autonomy, connectivity and sharing

September 16, 2017

At a press conference in Shanghai, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said that the company will introduce at least 10 new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China. These include the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, the Buick Velite 5 extended-range electric vehicle and the Baojun E100 electric vehicle—all of which have been introduced in China within the past 12 months.

By 2025, nearly all models from GM’s global brands in China—Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet—will offer electrification technology. To support GM’s growing NEV fleet planned for China, its SAIC-GM joint venture is opening a new battery assembly plant in Shanghai this year.

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Chery to launch new EXEED line; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric

September 13, 2017

Chery Automobile Co., Ltd, China’s leading vehicle exporter, will launch a new model line of passenger cars and SUVs globally—with plans to begin sales in Europe within the next few years—under a new nameplate: EXEED.

Chery revealed the EXEED TX—a compact SUV which will be the first model offered in Europe—in pre-production form at the 2017 IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. Chery will make the EXEED TX available in Europe with three electrified powertrains: a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV); plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV); or battery-electric vehicle (BEV). The first configuration to go on sale will be an ultra-low emission PHEV variant.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance and Dongfeng Motor Group form new JV to co-develop electric vehicles in China

August 29, 2017

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd. (Dongfeng) have formed a new joint venture to co-develop and sell electric vehicles (EV) in China. The new joint venture, eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd. (eGT), will focus on the core competencies of each partner and will harness the full potential of the Renault-Nissan Alliance electric vehicle leadership, as well as the resources of Dongfeng in the new energy industry, to meet the expectations of the Chinese market.

eGT will design a new EV with intelligent interconnectivity, that will be in line with the expectations of Chinese customers. It will be built on an A-segment SUV platform jointly developed by the Alliance. It will draw on the global leadership on EV technologies and cost-effective car design experience from the Alliance, and the competitive manufacturing costs from Dongfeng.

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CNHTC acquiring 34% of UQM stock; forming new JV for electric propulsion systems in China

August 28, 2017

UQM Technologies has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement with China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co., Ltd. through its wholly owned subsidiary, Sinotruk (BVI) Limited (collectively, CNHTC), the parent company of Sinotruk, a leading Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer. UQM and CNHTC plan to create a joint venture to manufacture and sell electric propulsion systems for commercial vehicles and other vehicles in China.

CNHTC’s investment and creation of the JV is planned to occur in two stages. First, CNHTC will acquire newly issued common shares of UQM, resulting in a 9.9% ownership interest of common shares issued and outstanding. This is expected to close within 30 days of signing of the Agreement. Second, CNHTC will acquire additional newly issued common shares resulting in CNHTC owning a total of 34% of UQM’s issued and outstanding common stock on a fully diluted basis.

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Cadillac launches its first mild hybrid in China

August 25, 2017

At the Chengdu Motor Show, Cadillac launched a version of the XT5 SUV equipped with a mild hybrid system, the first of its kind for the brand. It also adds a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The XT5 is one of Cadillac’s most popular models in China. More than 63,000 units have been delivered since its local introduction in April 2016.

The two mild hybrid variants (XT5 28E Platinum 4WD and 28E Advanced 4WD) will replace the XT5 28T Platinum 4WD and 28T Advanced 4WD in Cadillac’s lineup. They are priced at RMB 539,900 (US$81,000) and RMB 479,900 (US$72,100) respectively—the same as their predecessors.

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Ford to explore new 50:50 electric vehicle JV in China with Zotye Auto

August 22, 2017

Ford has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co., Ltd., a major manufacturer of all-electric vehicles in China, to explore the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture for the development, production, marketing and servicing of a new line of all-electric passenger vehicles in China.

China is the fastest-growing market in the world for new energy vehicles (NEVs). Ford expects the market for NEVs in China to grow to six million units per year by 2025, of which approximately 4 million vehicles will be all-electric.

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Researchers estimate 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5 exposure

August 18, 2017

Using new PM2.5 exposure methods, researchers in China have estimated 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5. Their findings, presented in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are consistent with other estimates (1.37 million and 1.36 million) calculated using different PM2.5 exposure methods.

Causes of premature death included adult ischemic heart disease (IHD) (0.30 million); cerebrovascular disease (CEV) (0.73 million); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (0.14 million); and lung cancer (LC) (0.13 million) in 2013. The source-oriented modeling determined that industry and residential sources were the two leading sources of increased mortality, contributing to 0.40 (30.5%) and 0.28 (21.7%) million deaths, respectively. Transportation contributed to 5.7% of the premature deaths. Power generation contributed 10.3%.

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GAC Motor officially releases all-electric SUV GE3 into the Chinese market

July 24, 2017

China-based GAC Motor has introduced its all-electric GE3 SUV into the Chinese market; the GE3 made its international debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. The GE3 is based on a new EV platform and positioned as a medium- to high-end electric SUV.

The smart all-electric GE3 is available within the price range of 150,200 to 173,200 yuan (US$ 22,200 to 25,600). Features include:

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SAIC-GM-Wuling launches its first EV; Buick Regal hybrid available in China

July 21, 2017

In China, SAIC-GM-Wuling officially launched the Baojun E100, the brand’s first fully-electric vehicle. Available in two variants, it is priced as low as RMB 35,800 (US$5,290) after national and local subsidies. Separately, Buick brought to market the all-new Regal for China. Ten variants, including a hybrid electric, are available priced between RMB 175,800 and RMB 269,800 (US$26,000 and US$39,900).

Baojun E100. SAIC-GM-Wuling began limited pre-sales of the E100 in Liuzhou, Guangxi on 10 July. More than 5,000 people registered for the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 vehicles will be available starting tomorrow, with sales initially limited to Guangxi.

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Volvo Cars and Geely to establish JV to boost synergies, accelerate next-gen electrified vehicle technology

July 20, 2017

Volvo Cars plans to set up a new joint venture technology company with Geely Holding, the Chinese car group, to share existing and future technology, to deepen industrial synergies and to provide the economies of scale that will allow them to develop next generation electrified vehicle technology more rapidly.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Volvo Cars, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO will share vehicle architecture and engine technologies via cross licensing arrangements of technologies managed by the new joint venture. They will also cooperate more deeply by commonly sourcing components and cutting procurement costs.

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Daimler and BAIC investing $735M for BEVs and batteries at their JV BBAC; production by 2020

July 05, 2017

Daimler and BAIC are deepening their cooperation on battery-electric vehicles at their Sino-German production joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC). The two companies pledged jointly to invest a total of five billion RMB (about US$735 million) in the production of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) under the Mercedes-Benz brand at BBAC in Beijing.

As part of this new strategic framework agreement, Daimler and BAIC Motor are preparing to produce battery electric vehicles by 2020 at BBAC, and to provide the necessary infrastructure for battery localization using Chinese cells, as well as research and development capacities. This commitment includes a three-digit million investment (Euro) in battery production by the joint venture. The new BBAC battery factory will be part of the global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, in which Daimler is investing around €1 billion (US$1.13 billion).

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China study finds associations between PM2.5 constituents and blood inflammation and coagulation

June 30, 2017

In a new study, a team from China has investigated the effects of various constituents of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) on blood inflammation and coagulation. The researchers found robust associations of the constituents—organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), nitrate (NO3), and ammonium (NH4+)—with at least 1 of 8 inflammatory markers.

On average, an interquartile range increase in the four PM constituents corresponded to increments of 50%, 37%, 25%, and 26% in inflammatory biomarkers, respectively. Only sulfate (SO42–) or NH4+ was robustly associated with coagulation markers (corresponding increments: 23% and 20%). A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Roland Berger and fka Index: China to dominate EV market and industry in foreseeable future

June 22, 2017

In the latest E-Mobility Index report (2Q/2017), consultancy Roland Berger and partner Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) find that China has for the first time moved into the pole position. The consultancy says that China will dominate both the market and the industry in the foreseeable future. France, however, has moved past Germany to take the lead in technology, according to the index. The two countries had jointly held the lead in Q1.

The index assess the relative competitive position of the seven leading automotive nations (Germany, France, Italy, the US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three key indicators: technology; industry; and market.

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Ford to import next-gen Ford Focus for N. America from China; production starting 2H 2019

June 20, 2017

Ford announced a series of global manufacturing actions centered on improving the company’s operational fitness, among them that it would source the next-generation Ford Focus for North America primarily from China, rather than Hermosillo, Mexico.

Production of the next-generation Focus begins in the second half of 2019, with models coming from the company’s existing Focus plants globally. Most new North American Focus models initially will come from China, with additional variants coming from Europe later, Ford said. Production of the current North American Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant continues through mid-2018. Following that, the plant will be converted to produce the Ranger midsize pickup truck in late 2018 and the Bronco midsize SUV in 2020.

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GAC Motor targeting 1M unit sales by 2020, 20% new energy vehicles; entering US market by 2019; transition to electric “may be quite long”

June 19, 2017

GAC Motor was one of the few automakers, and the only Chinese auto brand, to take the main stage at last week’s Michelin Movin’On 2017 global sustainable mobility summit in Montreal. During his talk, Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, said that his rapidly growing company is targeting sales of 1 million units annually by 2020, with 20% of those being new energy vehicles.

Yu said that GAC plans to introduce seven new energy vehicle models—including both electric and hybrid plug-in designs—to the market this year. GAC has already established its first North America R&D Center in Silicon Valley, and plans to to enter the US market no later than 2019.

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Hydrogenics to provide 1,000 fuel cell bus power modules to Blue-G in China; $50M deal

June 09, 2017

Hydrogenics Corporation, a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and hydrogen-based power modules, has signed a Purchase and License Agreement for technology and fuel cells with Blue-G New Energy Science and Technology Corporation (Blue-G) in China.

Under the agreement, Hydrogenics will deliver 1,000 fuel cell units to Blue-G to be integrated into zero-emission electric buses and an engineering support component for an aggregate sum payable to the Company of more than US$50 million. Delivery of the fuel cells and the associated payments are expected to occur over the next two to three years. Hydrogenics also expects to generate incremental license royalties over a 10-year period.

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California and China partner in push for ZEVs; new working group to expand cooperation

June 08, 2017

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols met with officials of China’s leading automakers and battery manufacturers in an effort to expand cooperation and accelerate deployment of zero-emission cars, trucks and buses.

At the close of the meeting, Governor Brown and Chair Nichols agreed to establish a new working group through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab at UC Davis to expand cooperation with Chinese zero-emission vehicle and battery technology companies. The lab is a partnership established in 2014 between UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).

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Ballard awarded $18M follow-on fuel cell deal with Broad-Ocean to support deployment of 400 buses and trucks in China

June 06, 2017

Fuel cell system manufacturer Ballard Power Systems has entered into an $18-million supply contract with Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. (Broad-Ocean) to support the deployment of 400 FCveloCity fuel cell systems integrated into clean energy buses and trucks in key Chinese cities.

The transaction is part of an ongoing program with Broad-Ocean (earlier post) to implement Ballard’s fuel cell technology in support of China’s ambitious plan to address environmental concerns and advance the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. The complementary addition of fuel cell systems effectively addresses the limitations of stand-alone battery solutions in certain use cases, resulting in growing demand for zero-emission and efficient propulsion systems that provide bus, truck and commercial vehicles with the traditional range and refueling times provided by legacy diesel solutions.

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Volkswagen and JAC launch new JV for electric cars for mass market in China; 1st vehicle in 2018

June 02, 2017

In the presence of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Berlin, Volkswagen signed a joint venture agreement with the Chinese automaker Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC). Each of the partners is to hold a 50% stake in the new company.

The new joint venture, which has initially been concluded for a term of 25 years, will develop electric vehicles and launch them on the hotly contested Chinese mass market. The agreement provides for the construction of an additional factory as well as a research and development center.

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Daimler and BAIC sign framework agreement strengthening collaboration in new energy vehicles; Daimler investment

June 01, 2017

In the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Group signed a framework agreement on further strengthening their strategic collaboration through investments for New Energy Vehicles in China.

The framework agreement will center on two significant investments. As one part of this investment agreement, Daimler intends to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, with the purpose of strengthening strategic collaboration with BAIC in the NEV sector. As another part of the framework agreement, the current production facilities at their joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC) will be upgraded, paving the way for the introduction of New Energy Vehicle production.

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Continental in strategic agreements with NIO on EVs, Baidu on autonomous driving

Continental has signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with NIO, a global electric vehicle startup. The two companies will collaborate closely in the field of fully electric vehicles and other relevant fields, including intelligent transportation systems and automated driving, striving to build a stable partnership on a long-term basis.

Continental also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, one of the biggest Internet companies in China, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperation in the areas of automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services. Both agreements were signed on Wednesday in Berlin.

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NEVS starts city mobility pilot with new 9-3 EV series in Tianjin; launching SUV model

May 31, 2017

Sweden-based NEVS is launching a city mobility pilot program with support from Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Area (THT). The program offers car-sharing and ride hailing solutions in Tianjin city, with 15 million inhabitants.

The users will get access to all NEVS 9-3 EV series. With this green technology collaboration, the ambition is to pave the way for a new type of mobility solutions for modern and sustainable cities. NEVS will provide both electric vehicles and mobility services in this program with the new 9-3 electric vehicles.

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Continental supplying transmission control unit, sensor cluster and software for Great Wall 7DCT

May 24, 2017

Continental is supplying the transmission control unit (TCU), sensor cluster unit (SUU), and application software for Great Wall Motor’s (GWM) seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT). The new 7DCT transmission is Great Wall’s first in-house developed automatic transmission; the new GWM luxury brand “WEY” now is equipped with this this newly-developed 7DCT.

Dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) have become popular in the Chinese automobile market, because drivers benefit from improved fuel efficiency, smooth gear shifting and increased overall vehicle performance. Most manufacturers of the popular sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are concentrating on improving driving dynamics by using automated transmissions. DCTs are particularly suited for this goal as they provide an uninterrupted power flow even during shifting.

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GAC Group begins construction of $6.5B industrial park for electric and intelligent vehicles

May 09, 2017

China-based automobile manufacturer Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), the parent company of GAC Motor, has begun construction of a large industrial park for electric and intelligent vehicles as part of its efforts to boost its electric vehicle business. Located in Guangzhou’s Panyu district in China’s southern Guangdong province, the industrial park has a planned area of 5 square kilometers. More than 45 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) of investment, from both GAC Group and other enterprises that will locate there, are expected to be poured into the project.

The new electric vehicle plant, part of the industrial park, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 with a total investment of 4.69 billion yuan (US$679 million). This will provide GAC Motor with a production capacity of 200,000 units per year.

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DOE: China alone accounted for 42% of global plug-in vehicle sales in 2016

May 08, 2017

About 756,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were sold in the world in 2016, with 95% of those sales in China, Europe, the United States, Japan, and Canada, according to figures compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE). China alone accounted for 42% of sales (316,800 units).

China’s 2016 PEV sales grew by 53% from 2015’s 207,000 units—most of which were all-electric vehicles (EV) (244,400 units, or 77%). PHEV sales reached 72,400 units in 2016 in China. By comparison, US PHEV sales in 2016 were 72,900 units, slightly outpacing China; however, US battery-electric vehicles sales were only 86,700.

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Four China OEMs select Efficient Drivetrains for PHEV systems for buses

May 04, 2017

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain solutions, has been selected by four major OEMs in China to integrate its EDI PowerDrive 6000 systems into 8- and 12-meter buses across multiple territories. The company will be supplying its EDI PowerDrive Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV) drivetrains and EDI PowerSuite vehicle control software to Shaanxi Automotive; Ankai; Xiamen Jinlong; and Yaxing Motors as the companies work to rapidly offer electrified buses in response to government mandates.

As government regulations and subsidy programs in China continue to drive electrification of vehicle platforms, bus OEMs are looking for partners to enable them to rapidly comply with mandates requiring them to reduce emissions significantly over the next 10 years. The selection of EDI technology by four major OEMs follows the company’s successful delivery of its largest production order of 40 bus drivetrains-placed in Q1 of this year, built on the Yaxing Motors platform for the city of Jiangsu Sheyang. The city buses will be deployed in replacement of standard diesel buses, and will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by over 40% when compared to their traditional counterpart.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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