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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.]

Alstom invests €14M in electric autonomous shuttle company EasyMile

January 24, 2017

Rail transport giant Alstom is investing €14 million (US$15 million), and thus taking a minority stake, in EasyMile, a start-up developing the EZ10 electric driverless shuttle. The investment forms part of the start-up’s ongoing capital increase. In parallel, Alstom and EasyMile have signed a commercial partnership agreement aiming at joining their forces to provide integrated solutions for urban transportation. Alstom will be present at EasyMile’s board.

The EZ10 provides shared driverless transportation for the last mile. EasyMile electrical shuttles operate from a transport hub to a final destination within a precinct or confined area. EasyMile shuttles transport up to 12 passengers. Since April 2015, the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 sites in 14 countries in Asia, North-America, Middle-East and Europe. Paris is one of the latest cities to begin an EasyMile trial.

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SAE International taskforce agrees on SAE J2954 Wireless Charging Test Station; major step forward in global standardization for wireless power transfer for EVs

January 23, 2017

At a standards meeting held in January at Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany, carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers, and technology providers from around the world reached agreement on key technical and procedural elements of the upcoming SAE Recommended Practice (RP) Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) and automated parking alignment and charging of electrified vehicles. (Earlier post.)

The Taskforce members have agreed on specifications for the SAE J2954 Test Stations, which automakers will use as a basis to develop their wireless charging systems, and to verify that they will interoperate with charging systems and vehicles sold by other makers.

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California utilities submit projects to CPUC to expand EV infrastructure, adoption and awareness

Three investor-owned California utilities—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)—have submitted applications to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) outlining programs and investments aimed at achieving multiple electric transportation and emission-reduction goals set by the governor and state agencies.

The applications filed demonstrate the utilities’ support of the objectives in Senate Bill 350 (De León) [Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015] which called upon utilities “to file applications for programs and investments to accelerate widespread transportation electrification to reduce dependence on petroleum, meet air quality standards, achieve the goals set forth in the Charge Ahead California Initiative, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”

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California ARB releases proposed new plan to cut 2030 GHG by 40% v. 1990; more stringent LCFS, more ZEVs

January 21, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the proposed scoping plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America. (Earlier post.) The plan builds on the state’s efforts to reduce emissions and outlines the most effective ways to reach the 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade Program.

Achieving the 2030 target under the proposed plan will continue to build on investments in clean energy and set the California economy on a trajectory to achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

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GKN Driveline providing eTransmission to StreetScooter electric vans

January 20, 2017

GKN Driveline is supplying its innovative electric drive technology to StreetScooter, the electric vehicle company owned by Deutsche Post DHL Group. GKN’s Family 2 eTransmission system transmits torque from the eMotor to the wheels of a new StreetScooter zero-emission pure electric van.

GKN’s system has an output torque of up to 2000 N·m in a compact package with superior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics and efficiency. The interface enables the electric drive to pair easily with different electric motor designs to simplify integration and application engineering. Other applications for the system include the Fiat 500e city EV and the Citroen Berlingo Electric light commercial vehicle.

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CARB releases Midterm Review of ZEV regulation, LEV III GHG and PM standards; calls for post-2025 standards

January 19, 2017

When the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012 (earlier post), the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive midterm review of three elements of the program: the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation; the 1 mg/mi particulate matter (PM) standard; and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years. ARB has now released the Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program—an extensive evaluation of the California passenger vehicle market and technology.

The Review finds that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards currently in place for model years 2022-2025 are readily feasible at or below the costs estimated back in 2012. The report also finds that ZEV technology has seen significant development that, in many cases, is beyond what was envisioned just four years ago. The report indicates that existing programs in California will add at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads and highways by 2025.

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Efficient Drivetrains awarded bus fleet order for the City of Sheyang, China

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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Hard parts supplier Rheinmetall Automotive expects electrification to account for more than half of sales in 2020

January 17, 2017

Global Tier 1 supplier Rheinmetall Automotive—formerly KSPG and Kolbenschmidt Pierburg—expects electrification to account for more than half of its sales in 2020. Rheinmetall Automotive AG is the management company of the Automotive sector of Germany’s Rheinmetall Group. Sales amounted to around €2.6 billion (US$2.8 billion) in 2015, including around 16% from the companies located in NAFTA.

Rheinmetall Automotive is more known as a supplier of hard parts (e.g., pistons, blocks, cylinder heads, etc.) and mechatronics. However, said Horst Binnig, Rheinmetall Automotive CEO, “products with a cable” already constitute roughly 40% of the company’s total sales.

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Audi & FAW sign strategic growth plan for China; focus on electrification and digitalization; 5 more e-tron models

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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Renault introduces two new electric light commercial vehicles

January 14, 2017

At the Brussels Motorshow in Belgium, Renault Pro+ introduced two new electric light commercial vehicles—New Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E.—to its line-up, bringing the total to four. The company is also expanding its range of connected services for commercial customers as well as its specialist network.

New Kangoo Z.E. features a new battery, new engine, new charger, new innovative connected services, and a heat pump in the air conditioning system. New Kangoo Z.E. is equipped with a new “Z.E.33” battery (33 kWh) and also gains a new motor developing 60 hp and based on the ZOE R75/90 motor. It is built in France at the Renault Cléon plant.

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New Flyer zero-emission bus deliveries increased by 48% to 213 EUs in 2016

January 12, 2017

Deliveries of New Flyer of America zero-emission buses (ZEBs) in 2016 reached their highest level in company history, delivering 213 equivalent units (EUs) in 2016. (One equivalent unit represents one 30-foot, 35-foot or 40-foot heavy-duty transit bus or one motor coach. One articulated transit bus represents two equivalent units.) This represented an increase of 48% from 144 ZEB EU’s delivered in 2015, and is represents 8.3% of New Flyer’s total heavy-duty transit bus production in 2016.

New Flyer manufactures all three current types of ZEBs, including: battery-electric, trolley-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. This design and manufacturing capability allows transit authorities the ability to optimize charging method, infrastructure and range capability for their specific needs.

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BYD the recommended company for Argentinian tender for 50 electric buses

BYD has been officially selected as the recommended company by the evaluation committee in Argentina for the purchase of 50 electric buses on behalf of the Ministry of Environment.

The tender was launched by the Ministry of Environment as a pilot project for the introduction of electric public transport in different cities throughout the country. The bid evaluation committee chose BYD amongst a pool of 5 bidders for its successful 12-meter electric bus, which is already used in cities such as London, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, etc.

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King County Metro Transit to purchase 120 battery-electric buses by 2020, 73 from Proterra

January 11, 2017

King County, Washington, Executive Dow Constantine announced that King County Metro Transit will acquire 120 battery-electric buses by 2020. As part of this commitment, Metro will purchase up to 73 battery buses from Burlingame, Calif.-based Proterra. The first 20 are scheduled to go into service this year and 2019. Metro serves Seattle and the rest of King County.

Eight of the buses are slated to go into service this year; 12 more in 2019. Up to eight of the new 40-foot battery buses will likely operate on Metro Routes 226 and 241 in Bellevue. As part of a pilot project last year, Metro began running three all-electric buses on these routes, which serve some of the county’s densest job centers, including the Microsoft campus and downtown Bellevue.

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Schaeffler Group sees e-mobility and digitalization as key opportunities

January 10, 2017

The Schaeffler Group, a global integrated automotive and industrial supplier, sees e-mobility, Industry 4.0 and digitalization as the key opportunities for the future, said CEO Klaus Rosenfeld at the company’s press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Schaeffler is placing a strong emphasis on hybrid and electric drive technologies, ranging from P0 belt starter on up to full electric drive. Some of these technologies include P2 arrangements that place the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission, and electric axle architectures.

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ARPA-E to award up to $20M in new CIRCUITS program for redesigned WBG power electronics

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $20 million to projects under the new Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semi Conductors (CIRCUITS) program (DE-FOA-0001727). CIRCUITS seeks to accelerate the development and deployment of a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters based on wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors through transformational system-level advances that enable effective operation at high switching frequency, high temperature, and low loss.

ARPA-E is also awarding up to $10M in a companion SBIR/STTR FOA for CIRCUITS (DE-FOA-0001736). The submission deadline for concept papers is 20 February 2017.

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Nissan unveils Vmotion 2.0 concept signaling future design, zero-emission and autonomous directions

At the 2017 North American International Auto Show, Nissan unveiled Vmotion 2.0, a new concept vehicle that signals the company’s future sedan design direction and Intelligent Mobility technology—Nissan’s roadmap to achieve zero emissions and zero fatalities. Nissan Vmotion 2.0 features Nissan Intelligent Driving, one of three core elements of Nissan Intelligent Mobility. Nissan Intelligent Driving helps provide a safe and comfortable driving experience through technology such as ProPILOT, which is envisioned to ultimately allow the vehicle to drive in autonomous mode—not just on the highway and in heavy traffic conditions – but also on urban roads with intersections.

Nissan Vmotion 2.0 is the evolution of the “V-motion” front design signature seen on many current Nissan products, such as the Murano mid-size crossover and Maxima 4-door sports car. Vmotion 2.0 takes the design a step further by forming an intelligent three-dimensional shape to create the volume and architecture of the vehicle. In this concept, the V-motion grille becomes the main fuselage, allowing for extremely sharp yet expressive surface language, accented by crisp character lines that resonate throughout the body.

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VW unveils fully autonomous, electric Microbus I.D. Buzz concept at Detroit; all-wheel drive, 270-mile range

January 09, 2017

Volkswagen is presenting a fully autonomous, electric Microbus concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Like the compact I.D. presented at the Paris Motor Show last year (earlier post), the I.D. Buzz is built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). With two-motor, all-wheel drive, a fully autonomous driving mode (“I.D. Pilot”) and a new generation of display elements and controls, the concept conceptually follows the new Volkswagen brand strategy.

The all-wheel drive system has a total output of 369 hp (275 kW) and an NEDC electric driving range of 600 kilometers (270 miles on a predicted US. driving cycle). One electric motor at the front axle and one at the rear each deliver a power output of 201 hp (150 kW), distributed between the two axles by an electric propshaft. The I.D. BUZZ shown in Detroit can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds, with a governed top speed of 99 mph.

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Reseachers attribute suddent surge in China PEV sales to massive subsidies and huge non-monetary incentives

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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Nissan CEO announces LEAF with ProPilot autonomy; other autonomous and connected technologies & partnerships

January 06, 2017

In his 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn made five key announcements of several technologies and partnerships as part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into wider society.

Among these is the plan to launch a new Nissan LEAF, with ProPILOT technology (earlier post), enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. Nissan introduced ProPilot on the new Serena in Japan last year. Employing advanced image-processing technology, ProPILOT understands road and traffic situations and executes precise steering enabling the vehicle to perform naturally.

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ChargePoint introduces modular Express Plus EV fast-charging platform; up to 400 kW

ChargePoint announced ChargePoint Express Plus, an ultra-fast DC charging solution that can deliver up to 400 kW. It supports charging voltages ranging from 200 volts (V) to 1000 V including today’s 400 V cars and 750 V buses, and tomorrow’s 800 V cars.

A modular platform designed for businesses and charging centers along major roadways or transit depots, Express Plus can charge today’s newest electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Bolt EV, at their maximum rate; is equipped to charge upcoming EVs such as the Tesla Model 3; and is ready to deliver maximum charging speed to EVs coming to market in the years to come. Express Plus will be available in July 2017. ChargePoint up to now has offered 24 kW and 50 kW fast charging via its Express 100 and 200 platforms. (Earlier post.)

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FCA unveils Chrysler Portal concept: next-gen family transportation for Millenials; electric, semi-autonomous, connected, flexible

January 03, 2017

FCA US unveiled the Chrysler Portal concept, an all-electric, semi-autonomous (SAE Level 3) interpretation of the “fifth generation” of family transportation focused toward the millennial generation. (Earlier post.)

Millennials—the demographic cohort following Generation X, and defined as people born between 1982 – 2001—are tech-savvy, environmentally aware and cost-conscious. To balance those needs and to be an integral part of millennials’ lives, the Chrysler designed the Portal concept to maximize interior space with an impressive degree of flexibility between seating and cargo configurations; to enable users to include and expand their social media communities with seamless wireless integration between the vehicle and mobile devices; to take advantage of advances in battery-electric powertrains and the growth of a rapid recharging network; and to deliver these capabilities in a powerful, high-tech form.

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Ford adding hybrid F-150 & Mustang, PHEV Transit, new BEV SUV by 2020; $700M for Flat Rock for EV production; cancels $1.6B Mexico plant

Ford detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the US, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles (483 km) for customers globally.

The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020.

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Lucid Motors chooses Mobileye as partner for autonomous vehicle technology

December 30, 2016

Luxury EV developer Lucid Motors and Mobileye N.V. announced a collaboration to enable autonomous driving capability on Lucid vehicles. Lucid will launch its first car, the Lucid Air (earlier post), with a complete sensor set for autonomous driving from day one, including camera, radar and lidar sensors.

Lucid chose Mobileye to provide the primary compute platform, full 8-camera surround view processing, sensor fusion software, Road Experience Management (REM) crowd-based localization capability, and reinforcement learning algorithms for Driving Policy. These technologies will enable a full Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) suite at launch, and then enable a logical and safe transition to autonomous driving functionality through over-the-air software updates.

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GM launches Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid in China

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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Rinspeed Oasis autonomous electric concept first to be built on ZF Intelligent Rolling Chassis

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas next week, Rinspeed will unveil its Oasis autonomous electric concept vehicle. The two-seat runabout—somewhat reminiscent of a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2—can turn on its wheels with almost a zero radius due to a special steering angle, two in-wheel electric motors and torque vectoring, all developed by ZF on Lake Constance.

The “Intelligent Rolling Chassis” (IRC) from ZF offers a highly flexible platform for urban electric vehicles and features ZF’s all-electric drive based on the electric twist beam (eTB) rear axle. The aluminum electric motors at the rear axle are integrated with a single speed transmission that enables the Oasis to accelerate to 100 km/h in roughly nine seconds and, if needed, up to a speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

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Tesla and Panasonic to manufacture solar cells and modules in Buffalo, NY; 1GW by 2019

December 27, 2016

Tesla and Panasonic finalized an agreement to begin the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at the Buffalo, NY factory. These high-efficiency PV cells and modules will be used to produce solar panels in the non-solar roof products. When production of the solar roof begins, Tesla will also incorporate Panasonic’s cells into the many kinds of solar glass tile roofs that Tesla will be manufacturing.

As part of the agreement, Panasonic will cover required capital costs in Buffalo and Tesla is making a long-term purchase commitment from Panasonic. The collaboration extends the established relationship between Tesla and Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at the Tesla Gigafactory.

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DOE awards $18M to 5 projects to accelerate development of plug-in electric vehicles & use of other alternative fuels

December 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $18 million to five projects for research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.

Odyne Systems, LLC will receive $2.9 million to develop and demonstrate plug-in hybrid work trucks (class 7) that reduce fuel consumption by more than 50% and eliminate fuel consumption during stationary operations.

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Electric Vehicle Arteries (EVA+) fast charging: Enel, Verbund, Renault, Nissan, BMW & Volkswagen partner in Italy & Austria

Enel, as coordinator, and Austria’s main utility Verbund are collaborating on a fast-recharging network project in Italy and Austria, alongside some of the world’s largest EV carmakers including Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen Group Italia (represented by Volkswagen and Audi).

Electric Vehicle Arteries (EVA+) aims to create a fast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles on key roads and motorways in Italy and Austria. A grant agreement worth a maximum of €4.2 million (US$4.4 million) has already been signed with INEA, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency delegated by the European Commission (EC). EVA+ will be officially launched in Brussels in January 2017.

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Electric bus wins: BYD in Nottingham, Irizar in Bilbao

Thirteen new electric buses have been added to Nottingham’s existing fleet of 45 electric vehicles, turning another two park and ride services into fully zero emission services. The Chinese-built BYD eBuses will run on the CentreLink and EcoLink routes which have been designed to cut the amount of traffic entering the city centre.

The current fleet of 45 Yorkshire-built Optare electric buses have saved more than £300,000 (US$370K) in fuel savings and an estimated 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases since their introduction in 2012. The investment in these zero emission buses is a part of Nottingham’s bid to reduce both greenhouse gases and improve air quality. With an expected Clean Air Zone to be in place by 2020, they are an essential part of the local authority’s anti-pollution strategy.

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ABB delivers OppCharge fast charger for electric hybrid buses to Bertrange, Luxembourg

December 21, 2016

ABB has inaugurated the first OppCharge fast-charging station for electric buses in Benelux, in the commuter belt town of Bertrange, Luxembourg. The fast charger, with associated electrical systems, is based on OppCharge, an open interface for DC electric bus charging using pole-mounted pantographs, as opposed to putting the pantograph on the vehicle’s roof. (The vehicle-mounted OppCharge connector rails weight about 2kg, compared to the 70-200 kg with a roof-mounted pantograph.)

The project has been delivered with ABB fast charging infrastructure and substation to the local authority MDDI Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure; with the support of the national road administration of Luxembourg (Administration des Ponts et Chausseés). Bus operator Sales-Lentz will use the charger to recharge electric hybrid buses from Volvo.

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Schaeffler acquires motor manufacturer Compact Dynamics; power electronics agreement with SEMIKRON

December 20, 2016

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler finalized a purchase contract with SEMIKRON International GmbH for the acquisition of 51% of the shares of Compact Dynamics GmbH, a manufacturer of high-performance electric motors.

At the same time, Schaeffler and SEMIKRON have agreed a cooperation for the development of power electronics systems and the integration of power electronics components. With this acquisition and cooperation, Schaeffler is expanding its expertise in electric motors and power electronics for the development and production of electric drives.

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Lucid Motors enters strategic partnership with LG Chem for Li-ion battery cells

December 19, 2016

Lucid Motors has signed a strategic supply agreement with LG Chem for lithium-ion battery cells. The agreement establishes LG Chem as one of the key suppliers of cells for Lucid’s products. The cylindrical cells that LG Chem will be producing for Lucid will feature a proprietary chemistry that has been developed together in partnership.

Lucid enters the agreement after nearly a decade of experience with electric vehicle battery pack research, development and commercial operations. These battery systems have logged over 20 million miles to date, and the data Lucid has collected and analyzed from these operations have been a critical factor in selecting the best strategic suppliers.

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Audi developing modular assembly principle as successor to production line; Győr testing for 2018 e-tron electric motor production

Audi is developing a new modular assembly principle intended as the enabler of the post-production line assembly era. Modular assembly—intended to address the need for growing complexity and flexibility in production—breaks up the traditional fixed-rhythm production line into individual process steps.

In the latest issue of Audi Encounter, Fabian Rusitschka, managing partner of Ingolstadt-based startup arculus GmbH, Audi’s partner in developing this concept, noted that while the current A3/Q2 production line has around 160 process steps, modular assembly turns that into roughly 200 spatially distinct stations manned by one or two people. The processes each have different timing, and are flexible. Audi anticipates modular assembly will deliver productivity benefits of at least 20%. While development of the principle is ongoing, Audi has begun to use modular assembly in developing the production process for the electric motor for the 2018 e-tron SUV (C-BEV) (earlier post).

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California Public Utilities Commission approves PG&E EV charging program for 7,500 charging stations in NorCal

December 16, 2016

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously voted to approve Charge Smart and Save, a program initiated by Pacific Gas & Electric to deploy 7,500 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across Northern California. Under the approved program, PG&E will primarily deploy stations at multi-family dwellings and workplaces, with electricity price based on time-of-use to encourage drivers to fill up during off-peak hours or when renewable energy is abundant.

The approval for PG&E’s $130-million program builds on vehicle infrastructure programs approved for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric earlier this year, which combined will result in a total of 5,000 charging stations deployed in Southern California. (Earlier post.) Each program has a goal of using lessons learned to improve future, larger scale deployments in the state.

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Volkswagen Group invests in Hubject eRoaming platform for EV charging

December 15, 2016

The Volkswagen Group is joining the eRoaming platform Hubject GmbH as shareholder. Hubject, a joint venture formed by BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler AG, EnBW, innogy and Siemens (earlier post), launched its eRoaming EV charging platform “intercharge” in 2013.

With the strategic investment in the Berlin-based company, Europe’s largest car maker will push ahead with the digital interconnection of charging stations for electric vehicles starting in early 2017 as well as the expansion and internationalization of Hubject GmbH together with the founding shareholders.

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Wireless charging bench testing complete, proving interoperability and validating SAE TIR J2954

December 14, 2016

SAE International is working to ensure that electric vehicle wireless power transfer systems from different manufacturers can interoperate seamlessly with each other to prepare for commercialization in 2020. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and TDK R&D Corporation, along with the US Department of Energy (DOE), automotive companies and suppliers have completed bench testing to support the SAE Technical Information Report (TIR) J2954. (Earlier post.) SAE TIR J2954 is a guideline for the wireless charging of plug-in electric vehicles that was published by the SAE International (formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers) earlier this year.

The SAE TIR J2954 provides guidance to ensure performance and safety of Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) Systems provided from one vendor as well as interoperability when parts of the system are provided from different vendors. For the first time, interoperability between the so-called Double D (DD) and Circular Topologies has been demonstrated between 3.7 to 7.7 kW with efficiencies exceeding 85-90% under aligned conditions.

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London to phase out diesel buses; all new single deckers for central London to be zero emission

December 13, 2016

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently committed to phasing out purchasing new pure diesel buses from the capital. No more pure diesel double-deck buses will be added to the capital’s fleet from 2018 and all new single-decks for central London will be zero-emission. The Mayor made the announcement along with unveiling the first double-decker hydrogen bus, manufactured by the Wrights Group. (Earlier post.)

London has committed to procuring roughly 300 zero emission buses by 2020, with 51 battery electric buses recently going into service on the 507/521 route, taking the number of completely electric bus routes to three, with 79 zero emission buses in total in the fleet.

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Oerlikon Graziano unveils new EV transmission, modular FWD hybrid transmission concept

December 10, 2016

Oerlikon Drive Systems Segment’s transmission specialist brand, Oerlikon Graziano, introduced a new EV transmission and the concept of a new modular front-wheel drive hybrid transmission at the 2016 CTI Symposium and Transmission Expo in Berlin this past week.

The new entry in the electric vehicle range of products of Oerlikon Graziano is a single-speed transmission for a battery electric vehicle designed for a maximum input torque of 270 N·m (199 lb-ft) and max input speed of 14000 rpm. A new lubrication concept guarantees maximum flexibility in term of installation angle to allow the highest level of compatibility with different vehicle layouts. The transmission features a compact design (150 mm (5.91 inches) center distance input shaft) focused on weight optimization.

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New crosslinked gel electrolytes could create high energy density supercapacitors rivaling batteries

December 07, 2016

Researchers from Augmented Optics Ltd. and the University of Surrey, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, have developed new, crosslinked gel-matrix polymer electrolytes exhibiting measured capacitance values more than 100 times those of conventional electrolytes. The new gel electrolytes are compatible with all normal production electrodes.

Augmented Optics, which has formed a subsidiary, SuperCapacitor Materials, to commercialize the materials, believes that the combination of existing electrodes and the new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems.

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Lucid Motors and Samsung SDI in strategic partnership on next-gen lithium-ion cells

Samsung SDI and luxury EV startup Lucid Motors have entered a strategic partnership for battery cell supply. Samsung SDI will be a major supplier of lithium-ion cells for Lucid’s first vehicle, an electric executive sedan scheduled to begin production in late 2018.

Samsung SDI and Lucid have collaborated to develop next-generation cylindrical cells that are able to exceed current performance benchmarks in areas such as energy density, power, calendar life and safety. Significantly, this jointly developed cell also achieves breakthrough tolerance to repeated fast charging.

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Honda to show EV concept with AI emotion engine from joint project with Softbank

December 06, 2016

At CES 2017, Honda will showcase what it calls a future technology path toward a redefined mobility experience. The exhibit will include the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called the “emotion engine” that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for customers.

The emotion engine is the focus of a joint research project with Softbank Corporation that Honda announced in July 2016 to apply the AI technology in mobility products. (Earlier post.) The “emotion engine” is a set of AI technologies developed by cocoro SB Corp., which enable machines artificially to generate their own emotions.

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Nikola Motor unveils prototype Class 8 fuel cell range-extended electric truck, plans for H2 fueling network

At an event at its Salt Lake City headquarters last week, startup Nikola Motor Company (NMC) unveiled the first public prototype of its Nikola One Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell range-extended electric truck, as well as renderings of the Nikola Two Class 8 day cab version. The company also announced its plan for a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations across the US and Canada (Nikola is bundling fuel with the truck), and unveiled a 107 kWh battery pack for the Nikola Zero UTV along with a business plan to sell packs to OEMs.

The Nikola One utilizes a fully electric drivetrain featuring a 320 kWh Li-ion battery pack (32,000 cells) and a nearly 300 kW fuel cell stack powering a 6x4 four-wheel electric drive (four 800V AC motors) with torque vectoring. Delivering more than 1,000 hp (746 kW) and 2,000 lb-ft of torque, the Nikola One will have an expected range of 800-1,200 miles, the company said.

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WiTricity announces Tunable Matching Network technology; optimization of power transfer between ground and vehicle

December 05, 2016

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity announced Tunable Matching Network (TMN) technology, which allows the wireless charging system automatically to optimize energy transfer between the ground and vehicle in a wide range of real-world operating conditions including parking misalignment, differing vehicle ground clearance and varying battery voltage conditions. This flexibility enables wirelessly charged vehicles to interoperate more easily with standards-based charging sources made by different automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and infrastructure suppliers.

WiTricity’s TMN technology is delivered as a compact electronics module embodying proprietary hardware and software algorithms, to be incorporated into both the wireless charging source on the ground and the wireless power capture device on the vehicle.

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UT Austin team uses polypyrrole-MnO2 coaxial nanotubes as sulfur host to improve performance of Li−sulfur battery

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a novel electrode for lithium-sulfur batteries that improves cyclic stability and rate capability significantly. In a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, they report using polypyrrole-MnO2 coaxial nanotubes to encapsulate sulfur. MnO2 restrains the shuttle effect of polysulfides greatly through chemisorption and the polypyrrole serves as conductive frameworks.

They report a stable Coulombic efficiency of ∼98.6% and a decay rate of 0.07% per cycle with 500 cycles at 1C-rate with the S/PPy-MnO2 ternary electrodes with 70 wt % sulfur and 5 wt % of MnO2. The ternary electrodes have an initial high rate of 1420 milliampere-hours per gram (mAh/g) at 0.2 C and deliver 985 mAh/g after 200 cycles.

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US FTA to award up to $2.75M for zero-emissions public transportation tech

December 01, 2016

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $2.75 million of funding for its Zero Emission Research Opportunity (ZERO) (FTA-2017-001-TRI). The ZERO program is to facilitate the advancement, production, and deployment of zero-emission public transportation vehicle technology and related infrastructure.

FTA intends to select, and enter into cooperative agreements with, multiple (up to three) nonprofit consortia to build on past research innovation and development efforts to facilitate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and associated advanced technology. Eligibility for future ZERO funding opportunities in fiscal years 2017-2020 will be limited to those nonprofit consortia selected under this fiscal year 2017 notice.

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Nissan and Eaton broaden xStorage Home energy storage portfolio; 10-year xStorage Buildings deal with Amsterdam ArenA

November 30, 2016

Nissan and power management leader Eaton are broadening their portfolio of xStorage Home residential energy storage solutions—which can use second-life EV batteries—by introducing a range of six product configurations, giving consumers greater choice to meet their energy needs. This announcement comes as pre-orders of xStorage Home begin today in the United Kingdom, Norway and Germany with other European markets to follow in the coming months.

Nissan and Eaton also announced a 10-year deal with Amsterdam ArenA—home of Ajax Football Club and world-famous entertainment venue—to provide back-up power to the arena from second-life Nissan LEAF batteries. The 55,000-seat stadium has hosted numerous high profile concerts and sporting events over the years.

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Ballard signs fuel cell supply agreement with Solaris; initial order of 10 modules as range extenders for electric trolley buses

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Long-Term Sales Agreement (LTSA) with Solaris Bus & Coach, a bus OEM headquartered in Poland, for the sale and supply of fuel cell modules to support deployment of Solaris fuel cell buses in Europe. An initial order placed under the LTSA is for 10 FCveloCity-HD fuel cell modules, with deliveries planned to start in 2017.

Each 85 kilowatt FCveloCity-HD fuel cell module that has been ordered will be deployed as a range extender in a Solaris Trollino model low-floor trolley bus. Solaris has signed a contract with Rigas Satiksme, the transport operator in the city of Riga, Latvia for 10 of the Trollino trolley buses.

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BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, Audi & Porsche JV for up to 350 kW CCS ultra-fast charging network along major highways in Europe

November 29, 2016

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology. The planned charging infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC- and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kW. BEVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations will recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs. The network is intended to serve all CCS equipped vehicles to facilitate the BEV adoption in Europe.

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London transport operator Go-Ahead adds two Irizar electric i2e buses to fleet after successful operating results

Based on the success of two Irizar 100% i2e electric buses that have been operating in London since June 2015, London’s largest transport operator, Go-Ahead, is incorporating the buses into its fleet and has signed an agreement with Irizar that includes service and maintenance.

For over a year, these two buses have been operating on the busy routes 507, connecting Waterloo Station with Victoria Station, and 521, which connect Waterloo Station with London Bridge Station. The operating data has successfully fulfilled the objectives requested. With this change, both buses will begin to operate for longer periods on the 108 route which runs from Stratford International Station to Lewisham Station with different operating conditions. In addition, Irizar will offer comprehensive maintenance of the buses.

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BMW Digital Charging Service optimizes charging and integrates electric vehicles into the energy market

November 28, 2016

BMW i is expanding its engagement in electric mobility with the new BMW Digital Charging Service (DCS)—an intelligent service for predictive, convenient, cost-effective and green power-optimized charging. The Digital Charging Service optimizes charging technology for BMW i and BMW iPerformance vehicles and will be extended in a later phase to other brands. Pilot markets for the new service are Germany and the Netherlands in early 2017, subsequently more countries will follow.

After activation, the service carries out the charging process fully independently and autonomously. The BMW Digital Charging Service is based on two core functions: tariff- and solar-optimized vehicle charging.

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GKN expands electric all-wheel drive program with BMW; eAxle for PHEV X1 in China

GKN Driveline is expanding its global electric axle (eAxle) drive partnership with the BMW Group, supplying eAxle technology for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 for the Chinese market. The system is part of the same scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (earlier post).

Early adopters of GKN’s electric axle drive used the technology to create plug-in hybrid sports cars with electric all-wheel drive that enhanced performance and efficiency. Automakers are now equipping a new generation of compact vehicles with GKN electric drive technology.

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Some Volkswagen strategists see battery-electric, diesel cost lines crossing by 2023-2025; TRANSFORM 2025+

November 22, 2016

The increasing stringency of global emissions standards, both current and projected, is driving up the cost for internal combustion engines to meet those standards, although numerous technology pathways exist. (Earlier post.)

In a conversation with Green Car Congress at AutoMobility LA last week, Dr. Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, said that, as a result of those pressures, some strategists in the Volkswagen Group project that the cost lines between battery-electric vehicles and diesel will cross within the coming decade.

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Chevrolet and GMC expand alternative fuel fleet offerings; expanded CNG/LPG lineup

Chevrolet and GMC are partnering with Power Solutions International, Inc. (PSI) to introduce heavy-duty pickups and full-size vans powered by 6.0-liter V-8 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-capable engines starting in the first quarter of 2017. Chevrolet also will offer CNG and LPG versions of its new Low Cab Forward commercial truck.

The announcement follows the selection of PSI, based in Wood Dale, Illinois, as General Motors Fleet’s preferred upfitter for CNG and LPG trucks. PSI is one of North America’s largest and most experienced providers of integrated turn-key, alternative-fuel powertrain solutions.

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ICCT: 2025 target average of 70 g/km CO2 for new cars in EU feasible and economical; more so with electric drive

A 2025 CO2 target of an average 70 g/km for new cars in the EU could be met with very little electrification and with an average payback period of less than 4 years, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, transitioning soon to electric drive could lower manufacturers’ compliance costs by as much as €500 (US$532) per vehicle in 2025.

Under current European Union regulations, average new car CO2 emissions must decrease from the present 120 grams per kilometer (g/km) to 95 g/km by 2021. Although no further reductions are presently mandated, new targets for 2025 and 2030 are under discussion in Brussels. In 2013 the European Parliament recommended an “indicative range” of 68–78 g/km for 2025, while holding out the possibility that even lower targets should be considered if justified.

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NextEV Launches NIO Brand; NIO EP9 fastest electric car on the Nürburgring Nordschliefe

November 21, 2016

At a launch event in London, electric car company NextEV unveiled its brand, NIO and its electric supercar, the NIO EP9, which has achieved a new lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe. On 12 October 2016, the EP9 lapped the 20.8 km (12.92-mile) ‘Green Hell’ in 7m 05.12s, beating the previous EV lap record held, marking it out as the fastest electric car in the world. Additionally, on 4 November, it broke the EV record at Circuit Paul Ricard in France, recording a time of 1m 52.78s, eclipsing the previous record of 2m 40s.

With four inboard motors and gearboxes (called inboard motor generating units, MGUs), the EP9 delivers 1 MW of power, equivalent to 1,360 PS, from its 777V powertrain. Peak torque is 1,480 N·m at motor, 6,334 N·m at wheels, 0-7500 rpm.

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IMI calls on UK Government to invest £30M in hybrid and electric vehicle training; affordability issue

In the UK, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is calling on the UK Government to make a £30-million (US$37-million) investment in specialist electric and hybrid vehicle training for thousands of maintenance and repair technicians in the independent retail sector. IMI asserts that the investment is crucial to support the public switch to ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV).

The IMI says the Government will need to spend a proportion of the £600 million (US$815 million) it has set aside to promote the uptake of low emission vehicles, on the technical skills infrastructure across the whole UK. It says the £40 million (US$49 million) already allocated to cities to meet air quality and emission targets, and the Chancellor’s goal of every new car and van being ULEV by 2040 will not work in isolation.

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Volkswagen investing €3.5B in German plants for e-mobility and digitalization; MEB production, pilot plant for batteries and modules

November 18, 2016

Volkswagen will invest €3.5-billion (US$3.7-billion) investment in the future-oriented areas of e-mobility and digitalization for its German plants. As part of an agreement with its General Works Council (i.e., labor), the Board of Management announced that the Volkswagen brand’s German plants will develop and produce electric vehicles and components based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). (Earlier post.)

The MEB is the foundation for an entirely new generation of long-range battery-electric vehicles that will be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning. The first production MEB vehicle, a version of the I.D. concept shown this year at the Paris show (earlier post), will—with a range of up to 373 miles and a market introduction in 2020—be priced approximately at the level of a diesel Golf, before any subsidies.

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smart introduces fourth-generation electric drive technology across its full range

Daimler’s smart has introduced the fourth generation of its electric drive technology, applied not only not only in the smart fortwo coupé and smart fortwo cabrio, but for the first time also in the four-seater smart forfour. smart will be the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its full model range with both combustion engines and pure battery-electric drive options. Market launch will start in early 2017. In Germany prices for the smart fortwo electric drive will start at €21,940 (recommended retail price including 19% VAT).

A 60 kW (81 hp) electric motor at the rear of the smart electric drive transmits its power via a constant ratio to the wheels. Torque of 160 Nm (118 lb-ft) is immediately available from a standstill. The electric drive has a range of approximately 160 km (99 miles) in accordance with the New European Driving Cycle, making it suited for urban use. The maximum speed is electronically limited to 130 km/h (81 mph) to maximize the range. Electric energy consumption on the NEDC is 13.1 – 12.9 kWh/100 km.

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VW debuts 2017 e-Golf; more range, more technology; Q2 2017; Transparent Factory

November 17, 2016

Volkswagen of America presented the latest generation of the e-Golf in a world premiere at AutoMobility LA. Compared to its predecessor, the 2017 e-Golf offers almost 50% more range, more power and new features. The 2017 e-Golf, which should be onsale in the US in Q2 2017, should be priced comparably to its predecessor, Volkswagen said.

For 2017, Volkswagen equipped the e-Golf with a new lithium-ion battery the energy capacity of which has been increased 48% from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 kWh. The new battery increases the range by about 50%, with the aim of a driving range of up to an EPA-estimated 124 miles (200 km) on a single charge. (In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), the 2017 e-Golf offers a range of up to 300 km / 186 miles.) The 7.2 kW on-board charger is now standard on both SE and SEL Premium trims, which enables the battery to be fully charged in less than six hours at a traditional charging station. When equipped with DC Fast Charging (optional on SE, standard on SEL Premium), the battery can be charged to 80% within an hour at a DC fast charging station (CCS, 40 kW).

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DOE to issue $47M FY17 Vehicle Technologies program-wide funding opportunity

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will soon issue its FY17 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001701). The FOA will have estimated funding of $47,150,000; DOE expects to post the full announcement (DE-FOA-0001629) in December.

DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office supports a broad technology portfolio of advanced highway transportation technologies. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies. The upcoming FOA may include the following areas of interest (AOI):

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Toyota to establish in-house venture company for EV development

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will establish an in-house venture company responsible for developing electric vehicles (EVs). The venture company, which initially will be a virtual organization comprising four people—one each from Toyota Industries Corporation, Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd., Denso Corporation and TMC—and which will be independent of other internal structural organizations, is set to launch in December 2016.

The venture company will draw on the technological know-how and resources of the Toyota Group. Toyota intends that the small organizational structure will enable the new company to implement unconventional work processes, leading to accelerated project progress and fast-to-market products.

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Hyundai announces two more ways to get into an IONIQ Electric: ad-based car sharing and subscription ownership

At AutoMobility LA, Hyundai announced two new ways for drivers to get into the new IONIQ Electric: the “Ioniq Unlimited” electric vehicle subscription, and a partnership with car-sharing service Waivecar.

Under the “Ioniq Unlimited” electric vehicle subscription-based ownership experience, IONIQ Electric shoppers will be able to select one fixed payment that includes unlimited mileage, electric charging costs, scheduled maintenance, wear items and all typical purchase fees such as registration. The Ioniq Unlimited ownership experience begins availability in California in early 2017.

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2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid on sale in US in spring 2017; ~30-mile electric range

November 16, 2016

Cadillac will put the 2017 CT6 Plug-In Hybrid (earlier post) sedan on sale in the US in the spring of 2017, with a total driving range of more than 400 miles. All-electric range for the CT6 Plug-In Hybrid is an estimated 30 miles.

In a detailed presentation at SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies earlier this year on the design of the RWD PHEV system for the CT6, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of Electrification, called it a “Volt on steroids.” (Earlier post.) The rear-wheel drive sedan will accelerate from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, and is expected to deliver a fuel economy rating of 65 MPGe.

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Mitsubishi unveils new electric compact SUV concept; 400 km range

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) introduced the Mitsubishi eX Concept, a compact SUV with a next-generation EV system, at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The concept car is a showcase of Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle (EV) technologies, a new iteration of the Dynamic Shield front design concept, autonomous driving capabilities, Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as a range of other technologies.

The system is configured with a new drive battery that greatly improves energy density of previous batteries and front and rear compact high-output motors. Together with the reduction in weight and higher efficiency of the new EV system, a non-compromising reduction in the weight of the body has given the Mitsubishi eX Concept a cruising range of 400 km (248.5 miles).

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BorgWarner launches its first integrated electric drive module for the EV market; first application in China

BorgWarner will launch an electric drive module (eDM) with integrated eGearDrive transmission in two pure electric vehicles from a major Chinese automaker. Production is expected to begin in summer 2017. This is the first electric drive module from BorgWarner following its acquisition of Remy in 2015. (Earlier post.)

BorgWarner’s eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for pure electric or P4-type hybrid vehicles. The integrated design of the electric motor and transmission enables weight, cost and space savings. Since both functions are combined into one housing, installation is also easier.

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8 countries commit to increase the share of EVs in their government fleets

At the Marrakech Climate Change Conference (COP22), eight nations—Canada, China, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the US—signed a Government Fleet Declaration, pledging to increase the share of electric vehicles in their government fleets and calling for other governments to join them. The Declaration was developed under the aegis of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative (CEM-EVI).

There is no common quantified target in the Declaration; some of the signatories have their own specific numeric goals, such as China. The Declaration emphasizes the renewal of government fleets and showcases specific and voluntary commitments of these countries to accelerate the introduction of low-emission vehicles in their vehicle fleets.

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Japan-US DRIVETHEARC EV fast charging corridor breaks ground in Northern California; 50 fast chargers by March 2017

DRIVETHEARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, broke ground in El Dorado Hills, Calif. DRIVETHEARC is a joint international project promoted by Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), under the agreement between NEDO and the State of California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, and in partnership with Nissan Motor Co., Nissan North America, Kanematsu and EVgo.

In addition to increasing the ease of long-distance EV travel along one of California’s most important travel arteries, DRIVETHEARC will also study EV use and driving patterns through a smartphone app that will provide a user-friendly charging experience.

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Jaguar reveals 500km-range battery-electric I-PACE Concept SUV: production version in 2018

November 15, 2016

Jaguar has unveiled the battery-electric I PACE Concept SUV. I PACE has a predicted range of 500 km (311 miles) on the NEDC, 354 km (220 miles) on the EPA cycle. The concept previews Jaguar’s first electric vehicle; the production version will be revealed in late 2017 and will go onsale in 2018.

Electric motors at the front and rear axles generate a combined output of 400PS and 700N·m of instant torque, delivering sports car acceleration (0-60 mph in about 4 seconds) and the all-weather, all-surface benefits of all-wheel drive. The low center of gravity combined with double wishbone front and Integral Link rear suspension delivers Jaguar ride and handling with outstanding refinement.

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NHTSA sets Quiet Car safety standard for new HEVs and EVs to protect pedestrians

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a sound requirement for all newly manufactured hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to help protect pedestrians. The new standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, responds to Congress’ mandate in the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA) that hybrid and electric vehicles meet minimum sound requirements to provide an audible alert for blind and visually-impaired pedestrians.

The new federal safety standard will help pedestrians who are blind, have low vision, and other pedestrians detect the presence, direction and location of these vehicles when they are traveling at low speeds, which will help prevent about 2,400 pedestrian injuries each year once all hybrids in the fleet are properly equipped.

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BMW begins Phase 2 of ChargeForward Program with PG&E to study advanced electric vehicle charging; results from Phase 1

November 14, 2016

In an effort to further understand and expand the possibilities of smart charging for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), BMW of North America announced a second phase of its BMW ChargeForward program. BMW i3, BMW i8 and iPerformance owners in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area who are Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) customers are invited to apply for participation in a 24-month program focused on managed EV and PHEV charging. Funding for this second phase was secured through a competitive bid for a California Energy Commission (CEC) grant.

Phase 1 of the program demonstrated the viability of creating grid value by optimizing smart charging of EVs. (Earlier post.) BMW developed innovative solutions that utilize the existing vehicle communication system both to create value for customers and to help optimize the electric grid through demand response, which improves grid reliability, lowers costs and helps the environment by incentivizing customers to reduce usage during periods of high peak demand.

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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

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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T&E report: electric cars sales in Europe doubled in 2015; now at 1% market share

Roughly 145,000 new electric vehicles (EV) were sold in Europe in 2015—double the 2014 tally, according to a recent T&E report. EV sales have now reached the milestone of a 1% market share; figures for 2016 to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold in Europe this year. That would take the total number of EVs on the road to more than half a million cars.

Currently, there are 34 EV models on the European market available, including battery-, plug-in-hybrid- and range-extended-electric vehicles. Established manufacturers have announced new plans to expand their portfolio of EVs within the next five years. Although EVs still constitute only a fraction of all car models available, Europe (including Switzerland and Norway) is the second biggest EV market in the world behind China.

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Navigant Research ranks EV charging network companies

In a new Leaderboard Report, Navigant Research assesses the business strategy and execution of 12 companies offering public charging networks and EV charging services.

Navigant Research estimates the global commercial charging market for plug-ins will be worth $2.7 billion annually by 2025, compared to $168.5 million in 2016—reflecting a 36.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). To date, the market has been driven by a combination of market pull from the growing number of PEVs on the roads in major automotive markets such as North America and Europe and market push from stakeholders such as governments, automakers, and utilities.

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Orange EV approved to give up to $150K discount for electric terminal trucks with NY EV vouchers

November 13, 2016

Orange EV, a manufacturer of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks, announced that fleets in the state of New York can now save up to $150,000 per T-Series pure electric terminal truck (the 160 kWh model; the 80 kWh model is approved for a $123,960 voucher). Discounts are enabled by the New York State Electric Vehicle – Voucher Incentive Fund (NYSEV-VIF). Vouchers may be requested through December 31, 2016.

NYSEV-VIF has $9 million available in voucher incentives for all-electric battery vehicles. The vehicle must be domiciled (registered and garaged) and operate 70% of the time in one of New York State’s 30 counties currently in non-attainment.

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ICCT paper assesses leading regional EV markets in US and policies behind them

November 11, 2016

A new white paper from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses which policy actions are behind the regional leading markets in the US for electric vehicles. The white paper identifies the areas with the highest shares of EVs and catalogues the actions that support EV uptake. The assessment includes promotion actions by state policy (e.g., regulation, purchasing incentives), local policy (e.g., parking and lane access incentives, building codes), utility actions (e.g., charging infrastructure incentives, preferential charging rates), and public charging availability.

The base regional unit for the study was the metropolitan statistical area (MSA). The authors defined regions as the Midwest, Mountain, Northeast, South, and West, based on the US Census (2016). Within the West region, they considered California separately because the state’s long-time focus on emissions regulations and electric vehicles makes it an outlier and benchmark for the rest of the country. In each region, the authors identified the four leading metropolitan areas with the highest electric vehicle share in each region. Only areas with populations of more than 50,000 were included in the study.

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Wolfspeed wins 2016 R&D 100 Award for wide bandgap underhood inverter for HEVs/EVs

Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, a leading global supplier of silicon carbide (SiC) power products, won a 2016 R&D 100 Award for its high-temperature, wide-bandgap (WBG) underhood inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Wolfspeed’s high-temperature, WBG underhood inverter was developed in response to the need for smaller, lighter, and more efficient systems with higher power density in the electric vehicle market, and in collaboration with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA); the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); the University of Arkansas National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission; and the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO).

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Dana introducing Spicer Electrified family of e-axles for hybrid, electric vehicles

November 09, 2016

Dana Incorporated introduced the Spicer Electrified family of fully integrated motor, control, and e-drive technologies that advance electric propulsion systems for light-duty, commercial, and off-highway vehicles.

Currently in production, the Spicer EV Drive for electric vans manages speed and torque from the e-motor to the wheels. Planned for launch in 2018, Dana’s new e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box and leverage the company’s experience in chassis drivetrain applications.

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Berkeley study finds clean vehicle rebates have predominantly benefited wealthy, white Californians

November 08, 2016

The distribution of California’s clean vehicle rebates across different socioeconomic groups has been uneven, with higher income groups more likely to receive rebates, according to a new study by a team from the University of California, Berkeley. The analysis, published in the journal Transportation Research Record further suggests that census tracts where the majority of the population is Hispanic or African-American are less likely to receive rebates, even when income is accounted for.

Researchers Dana Rubin and Evelyne St-Louis, two recent graduates of the University of California, Berkeley’s master’s program in city and regional planning, analyzed 98,901 rebates issued to Californians buying or leasing low-emission vehicles from the inception of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project in 2010 through March 2015.

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Qualcomm and Preh sign commercial wireless electric vehicle charging license agreement

Qualcomm Incorporated and Preh, GmbH, part of the Joyson Electronics Group, have entered into a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) license agreement. Preh will include Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology in its product portfolio and will focus on commercializing WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturers.

Based on the agreement, Preh intends to develop, make and supply WEVC systems based on Qualcomm Halo technology. A specialist in automotive power electronics and connected vehicles, Preh is currently developing automotive WEVC systems based on Double D magnetics, which deliver high power, superior performance in an industry-leading small vehicle package size, supported by Qualcomm’s comprehensive technical support.

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SAE REX: PHEVs and REEVs could open door for advanced combustion regime engines

November 07, 2016

Increased market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) across vehicle segments could present an opportunity for emerging advanced combustion regime engines, such as those using various low-temperature combustion modes, according to a number of presentations at the SAE 2016 Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Symposium held last week in Knoxville.

The REEV or PHEV also may present opportunities for more novel power sources such as turbines (Wrightspeed), fuel cell stacks (Nissan) or aluminum-air batteries (Phinergy and Arconic), speakers suggested. The REX symposium was sponsored by Mahle; the organizers were from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Mahle.

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Nikkei: Toyota to begin mass-producing 300+ km BEV by 2020

Without citing sources, the Nikkei reported that Toyota Motor intends to start mass-producing battery-electric vehicles capable of a range of more than 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge by 2020. According to the report, the platform underlying the Prius or Corolla is being considered for an electric SUV.

Up to now, Toyota has envisioned using all battery-electric powertrains mainly in short-distance, urban applications; longer-range electric operation was to be handled by fuel cell vehicles. With GM readying the release of the 383 km (238-mile) Chevy Bolt for this year, Tesla plowing ahead for a release of the Model 3 next year, and other rivals such as Volkswagen accelerating their long-range EV efforts, however, Toyota apparently is broadening its strategy.

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BMW has sold more than 100,000 EVs and PHEVs worldwide over three years

November 03, 2016

The BMW Group has now delivered more than 100,000 purely electric-powered cars and plug-in hybrids to customers worldwide since the launch of BMW i in November 2013. The BMW i3 alone has reached a figure of more than 60,000 units, making it the most successful electric vehicle in the premium compact segment. More than 80% of BMW i3 customers worldwide are new to BMW.

The BMW i8 ranks first among electrified sports cars, with more than 10,000 delivered since the middle of 2014. (For comparison, Tesla sold approximately 2,400 units of the Roadster.) Additionally, there are the approximately 30,000 plug-in hybrids (BMW iPerformance) sold to date.

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Wrightspeed and the Ratto Group introduce range-extended electric refuse truck; 15 trucks over next 12 months

November 02, 2016

Wrightspeed, the leading manufacturer of range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains for heavy-duty applications, and The Ratto Group, a Santa Rosa, California-based refuse, yard waste and recycling collection and processing company, unveiled the first commercial application of a range-extended electric refuse truck. Ratto and Wrightspeed will roll out 15 Route-equipped trucks—retrofits of trucks in Ratto’s fleet—over the next 12 months to meet community needs.

With the support of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, communities in Sonoma and surrounding counties will be serviced by a fleet of clean, quiet trucks from The Ratto Group, powered by Wrightspeed’s range-extended powertrain, The Route. (Earlier post.) Designed to deliver economic, environmental and performance benefits in both OEM-installed new vehicles and existing fleet retrofits, The Route is a scalable solution that has been recognized by The State of California for its ability to help meet progressive climate and air quality mandates. Wrightspeed was awarded $7 million in grants by the California Energy Commission to further develop the technology for broad-based adoption.

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Nissan introduces series-hybrid powertrain with Note e-POWER in Japan; small pack, small engine, LEAF motor, low price

In Japan, Nissan Motor introduced its new series-hybrid drive system called e-POWER along with its application in the Note. This marks the first availability of e-POWER technology for consumers, marking a milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology in the Nissan LEAF. Unlike the all-battery-electric powertrain of the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output. Nissan says that although e-POWER uses a much smaller battery than the LEAF (1.5 kWh vs 30 kWh), it delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

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Dalia EuroPulse survey finds 58% of Europeans would consider buying an EV; 34% approve of more gov’t support

November 01, 2016

In August, Berlin-based Dalia Research conducted an EU-wide survey to find out the demand for electric vehicles (EV) among Europeans. The results show that 58% of Europeans would consider purchasing an electric vehicle. Approximately 1% of respondents say they already own one, matching the current estimate of electric vehicle sales in Europe.

Although the Germans are leading the charge on a political level, it is the Italians who have the highest share of potentially interested customers: 54% of Germans would consider buying one, compared to 79% of Italians (lowest is the UK with 52%).

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Québec moves forward with a zero-emission vehicle standard

October 29, 2016

Earlier this week, the Québec National Assembly unanimously adopted Bill 104, a zero-emission vehicle standard. Automakers that sell or lease a yearly average of more than 4,500 new vehicles (all light models combined) will be subject to the ZEV standard.

In its 2015-2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan, Québec set a target of 100,000 registered plug-in vehicles by 2020. The bill gives the Government of Québec the powers it needs to require car manufacturers to sell a minimum of zero-emission vehicles through a tradable credit system.

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ARPA-E launches PNDIODES program to boost power electronics work

October 28, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has launched a new program—Power Nitride Doping Innovation Offers Devices Enabling SWITCHES (PNDIODES) (DE-FOA-0001691)—to fund transformational advances and mechanistic understanding in the process of selective area doping in the III-Nitride wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material system.

PNDIODES, with $6.5 million in funding, seeks demonstrations of arbitrarily placed, reliable, contactable, and generally useable p-n junction regions that enable high-performance and reliable vertical power electronic semiconductor devices. The microscopic mechanistic understanding and transformational technologies resulting from successful projects in the program would address the major obstacle in the fabrication of vertical GaN power electronic devices experienced by most of the teams in the ARPA-E SWITCHES (Strategies for Wide Bandgap, Inexpensive Transistors for Controlling High-Efficiency Systems) program.

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Borgward to build manufacturing facility in Bremen; all-electric-drive Borgward BX7 first model; Industry 4.0

October 27, 2016

Borgward Group AG, the reincarnation of the German automaker that ceased operations in 1961 (earlier post), will be returning to Bremen and building a production facility there. Bremen was the former home of Borgward, and the German automotive company produced around 1.2 million Borgward, Lloyd, and Goliath brand vehicles here from the 1920s until it ceased operations.

In accordance with Borgward’s announcement that it will begin sales in Europe with electric SUVs, the first model to be produced in Bremen will be a Borgward BX7 with an all-electric drive system. (Earlier post.) The company also plans to manufacture electric and plug-in-hybrid versions of the BX5 series and other models. Construction of the new manufacturing facility is scheduled to begin in early 2017. Production will be launched at the plant a year later, in 2018.

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Lung Association report highlights health and climate costs of petroleum-based transportation and the benefits of shifting to ZEVs

A new report produced by the American Lung Association concludes that over-reliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation costs the 10 ZEV states in the US (California and nine other states that have adopted the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program) an estimated $37 billion in health expenses and climate costs every year—with California costs alone hitting $15 billion.

Of that $37 billion, health costs added up to $24 billion in 2015; the $24 billion represents the monetized sum of harmful emissions responsible for an estimated 220,000 work-loss days, more than 109,000 asthma exacerbations, hundreds of thousands of other respiratory impacts, and 2,580 premature deaths.

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Audi realigns motorsport strategy: electric instead of endurance; out of FIA WEC at end of 2016 season

October 26, 2016

Audi is realigning its motorsport strategy. The brand will terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season. Instead, Audi is taking up a factory-backed commitment (earlier post) in the all-electric Formula E racing series.

Speaking to 300 employees of the motorsport department on Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler put this strategic decision in the context of the current burdens on the brand, asserting that it was important to focus on things that would keep Audi competitive in the years ahead. That is why the Board of Management had decided to terminate Audi’s commitment in endurance racing.

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Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE begins construction of second Li-ion factory; batteries for 1st EQ model, 48V systems

October 24, 2016

Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE has begun construction of a second Li-ion battery factory at its site in Kamenz. With an investment of about €500 million (US$545 million), the site in Kamenz will be one of the biggest and most modern battery factories in Europe.

The new production facility is planned to start operations in the middle of 2018. The area of about 20 hectares is located in immediate proximity of the existing battery factory in Kamenz, about 50 kilometers from Dresden. With the construction of the second facility, the production and logistics area will be quadrupled to about 80,000 square meters. The workforce will double by the end of this decade.

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UC Irvine study concludes intelligent PEV charging can minimize scale of stationary energy storage needed to meet renewable targets

A new study by a team at the University of California Irvine highlights the importance of intelligent plug-in vehicle (PEV) charging for minimizing the scale of infrastructure required to meet renewable utilization targets.

In the study, published in the Journal of Power Sources, the UC Irvine team examined how the intelligence of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) integration impacted the required capacity of energy storage systems to meet renewable utilization targets for a large-scale energy system, using California as an example for meeting a 50% and 80% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2030 and 2050.

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Infineon launches next gen AURIX hexa-core microcontroller for automotive applications; 3x more performance than current

Infineon Technologies AG launched the next generation of its AURIX microcontroller family. The TC3xx microcontrollers offer the highest level of integration on the market and real-time performance that is three times higher than that available today.

With a high-performing hexa-core architecture and advanced features for connectivity, security and embedded safety, the AURIX family TC3xx is suited for a wide field of automotive applications. In addition to engine management and transmission control, powertrain applications include new systems in electrical and hybrid drives. Specifically hybrid domain control, inverter control, battery management, and DC-DC converters will benefit from the new architecture.

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In-flight wireless power transfer for drones

October 21, 2016

Scientists at Imperial College London have demonstrated a highly efficient inductive method for wirelessly transferring power to a drone while it is flying. Theoretically, this wireless power transfer (WPT) technology could allow flying drones to stay airborne indefinitely by simply hovering over a ground support vehicle to recharge. The team estimates it is one year away from a commercially available product.

The technology uses inductive coupling, similar to the technology being developed for WPT for electric vehicles. To demonstrate their approach, the Imperial College London researchers bought an off-the-shelf quadcopter drone—around 12 cm (4.7 inches) in diameter—and altered its electronics and removed its battery. They made a copper foil ring receiving antennae that encircles the drone’s casing. On the ground, a transmitter device made out of a circuit board was connected to electronics and a power source, creating a magnetic field.

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Geely launches Lynk & Co; a new electrified and connected global car brand

China-based automaker Geely has launched Lynk & Co—a new global car brand designed and engineered in Sweden; every model will feature an electrified powertrain.

First in the range will be the Lynk & Co 01—an SUV featuring full premium specifications and characteristics as standard. Full mobile connectivity will also be standard, working in partnership with Ericsson. (Each vehicle will be a Wi-Fi hub, with the cellular data plan included in the price.) Geely claims that the SUV will be the most connected car to date, built around an open API and inviting developers’ creative ideas to enrich the automotive experience. (This open approach sounds similar to Volkswagen’s open-platform approach it is taking with MEB for its electric vehicles. Earlier post.)

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CARB approves $363M plan that includes putting more clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities; low-carbon transportation, ZEVs, scrap-and-replace pilot

The California Air Resources Board has adopted a revised funding plan for proceeds from the cap-and-trade program that includes putting more clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities. The investments range from supporting increased numbers of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses to rebates for low- and zero-emission passenger vehicles.

The revised plan for fiscal year 2016-17 keeps much of the original funding plan (approved in June 2016) intact while addressing the smaller budget appropriation of $363 million under AB 1613 and additional direction from the Legislature. Key highlights of the revised plan include:

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Tesla putting hardware for full autonomy in all models; temporary loss of some Gen1 Autopilot functions

October 20, 2016

Tesla announced that effective immediately, new Tesla vehicles—including Model 3—will have the hardware needed to support full autonomous driving.

The required software for full autonomous driving is still under development and will need validation and regulatory approval. In fact, Teslas with the new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.

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NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT) began testing in September; advancing electric propulsion for aircraft

October 18, 2016

Engineers at the NASA Electric Aircraft Testbed (NEAT) at NASA Glenn Research Center ran the new facility’s first test in September. Dr. Rodger Dyson, NASA Glenn Hybrid Gas Electric Propulsion technical lead, and his team used 600 volts of electricity and successfully tested an electrical power system that could realistically power a small, one or two person aircraft.

NEAT’s mission is to help engineers design, develop and test systems for electric aircraft. Once complete, NEAT will be a world-class, reconfigurable testbed that will be used to assemble and test the power systems for large passenger airplanes with over 20 Megawatts of power.

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Cumulative plug-in vehicle sales topped 500K units in US in September

October 17, 2016

Cumulative sales of plug-in vehicles in the US topped 500,000 units in September, according to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The introduction of the first mass market plug-in vehicles occurred in December of 2010 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. By the end of 2012 there were 11 different plug-in models available, and by September of 2016 there were 27 different models.

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Tritium launches a Veefil range of fast chargers for EVs

Tritium, the Australian developer and manufacturer of the Veefil 50kW DC fast charger for electric vehicles (earlier post), will showcase three new chargers on its stand at eCarTec in Munich this week. The new charging products now create a Veefil range of four chargers—with all the chargers sharing Tritium’ technology (including liquid cooling). They also maintain the Veefil’s high design standards and are low cost to install and maintain.

The Veefil UT 50kW DC fast charger is designed specifically for energy and utility companies worldwide, and is the first fast charger designed to connect directly to the grid. A solution for metering, switch gear and protection systems in a single unit significantly reduces installation and maintenance costs.

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