[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.]
Opel introducing Ampera-e at Paris Show; European cousin of Chevy Bolt
August 24, 2016
In the run-up to the world premiere, Opel is touting the performance of the battery-electric vehicle. With maximum torque of 360 N·m from the 150 kW electric motor, the compact car accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 3.2 seconds; acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) for overtaking in 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). The Ampera-e thus performs at the same level as OPC models, the sporty spearheads of Opel.
Daimler-BYD JV introduces new DENZA 400 EV for China; up to 400 km on full charge
August 23, 2016
Daimler has extended its portfolio of new energy vehicles (NEV) with the introduction of the DENZA 400, the company’s “Made in China, for China” electric vehicle from joint venture Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT).
The DENZA 400 features improved battery density achieved through an upgraded production process that increases the battery’s capacity from 47.5 kWh to 62 kWh while maintaining the original size. With an upgraded range of up to 400 km (249 miles), most Chinese consumers, who generally drive 50 to 80 km per day, will only need to recharge their DENZA 400 once per week.
BC government unveils climate plan
The government of British Columbia recently unveiled its Climate Leadership Plan, targeting the reduction of net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes below current forecasts by 2050 and the creation of up to 66,000 jobs over the next ten years. BC’s target is to reduce 2050 emissions 80% below 2007 levels.
The plan’s initial 21 action items include making electric vehicles more affordable and boosting the Low Carbon Fuel Standard from 10% to 15%. Government is also targeting making buildings more efficient, sequestration opportunities in forests and emission reductions in natural gas production and processing.
Mercedes unveils electric all-wheel drive Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 show car; CCS charging up to 350 kW
August 19, 2016
At Monterey Car Week, Mercedes unveiled the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6. Designed as an electric car, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, which measures almost six metres in length, features all-wheel drive provided by its four compact permanent magnet synchronous electric motors.
The output of the drive system is 550 kW (750 hp). The shallow underfloor battery has a usable capacity of approximately 80 kWh. This not only allows performance characteristics typical of a sports car—acceleration from 0‑100 km/h in under four seconds, top speed electronically governed at 250 km/h / 155 mph—but also a range of more than 500 kilometers according to the NEDC (more than 200 miles according to EPA).
Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop next-gen autonomous driving cars; $300M joint project
August 18, 2016
Volvo Cars and ride-sharing company Uber have signed an agreement to establish a joint project that will develop new base vehicles that will be able to incorporate the latest developments in AD technologies, up to and including fully autonomous driverless cars. The base vehicles will be manufactured by Volvo Cars and then purchased from Volvo by Uber. Volvo Cars and Uber are contributing a combined $300 million to the project.
Uber also announced that it is acquiring Otto, a start-up focusing on self-driving trucks. (Earlier post). The announcement of the Volvo-Uber partnership also comes shortly after Ford CEO Mark Fields announced that his company intends to have a high-volume, highly autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service. (Earlier post.)
Solar Impulse 2 used Kokam Ultra High Energy NMC batteries in round-the-world solar flight
August 17, 2016
The Solar Impulse 2—the solar airplane that recently completed a round-the-world flight—used batteries from Kokam, based on that company’s advanced Ultra High Energy Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Oxide (Ultra High Energy NMC) technology.
The Solar Impulse uses four 38.5 kWh Kokam Ultra High Energy NMC battery packs—one in each motor housing—with 150 Ah cells totaling 154 kWh of energy storage. Over the course of 17 flights totaling 26,744 miles (43,041 kilometers), the Solar Impulse 2’s 17,248 mono-crystalline silicon solar cells—mounted atop the wings, fuselage and horizontal stabilizer—produced 11,000 kWh of electricity, much of which was stored in its Kokam Ultra High Energy NMC batteries and then discharged to power the plane at night.
DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs
August 16, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.
One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.
Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic
Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.
The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.
MIT analysis finds current EVs could replace ~90% of personal vehicles now on the road based on driver’s energy consumption
August 15, 2016
A study by a team at MIT has concluded that roughly 90% of the personal vehicles on the road in the US could be replaced by an electric vehicle available on the market today, even if the cars can only charge overnight. MIT Associate Professor Jessika Trancik, corresponding author of the paper published in Nature Climate, noted that this would more than meet near-term US climate targets for personal vehicle travel.
The team spent four years on the project, which included developing a way of integrating two large datasets—one highly detailed set of second-by-second driving behavior based on GPS data, and another broader, more comprehensive set of national data based on travel surveys—to estimate the energy requirements of personal vehicle trips across the US. Together, the two datasets encompass millions of trips made by drivers all around the country.
BMW says electrified models exceeding sales expectations, especially in Europe
August 11, 2016
BMW said that its electrified models continue to exceed expectations, especially in Europe. While 4% of all BMW sales in Western Europe in July were electrified vehicles, that percentage increases significantly in markets where innovative electric mobility is supported through financial and infrastructure measures.
In the Netherlands, 43% of BMW 3 Series registrations are for the plug-in hybrid BMW 330e model and 26% of 2 Series Active Tourer registrations are for the BMW 225xe. In Scandinavia, those figures are even higher, with the plug-in hybrid versions accounting for 45% of all BMW 3 Series sales and 55% of all BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sales.
CALSTART brief highlights growth of and future opportunity for California’s clean transportation technology industry
August 08, 2016
A new CALSTART brief indicates that California’s climate and energy policies are not only helping to protect the environment and improve air quality, but are also helping to accelerate growth of the clean transportation technology industry (CTTI) in the state.
The paper, “California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear,” profiles the development of a burgeoning manufacturing sector that is producing zero- and near-zero emission light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as clean fuels, engines, vehicle components, and new mobility services.
Nissan unveils working prototypes of electric BladeGlider
August 04, 2016
In Rio de Janeiro, Nissan Motor unveiled working prototypes of its futuristic electric Nissan BladeGlider vehicle. The vehicles, developed from concept cars first shown at the Tokyo Auto Show in 2013 (earlier post), symbolize future technologies that will combine Intelligent Mobility, environmentally friendly impact and sports-car driving capabilities.
After two years of work on design, engineering and development, Nissan BladeGlider has evolved further into a real-life study into the potential of advanced EV performance. Nissan BladeGlider epitomizes Intelligent Mobility, a philosophy to make its cars more exciting by redefining how they are driven, powered and integrated into society.
Tesla posts $293M Q2 loss, up 59% from Q2 2015
Tesla reported a $293-million GAAP net loss for Q2, a 59% increase from the $184-million net loss for Q2 2015. This marks Tesla’s 13th consecutive quarterly loss. However, Tesla also completed a $1.7-billion equity raise to end the quarter with $3.25 billion in cash.
In Q2, Tesla delivered 14,402 new vehicles consisting of 9,764 Model S and 4,638 Model X. Tesla said that production and demand are on track to support deliveries of approximately 50,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016.
Nissan: more electric car charging stations than fuel stations in UK by 2020
August 03, 2016
There will be more public locations to charge electric cars in the UK than there are gasoline stations by the summer of 2020, according to new analysis by Nissan. At the end of 2015, there were just 8,472 fuel stations in the UK, down from 37,539 in 1970—a 77% drop. Assuming a steady rate of decline, Nissan predicts that by August 2020 this will fall to below 7,870.
The supply of fuel within the Capital is also becoming scarcer. Central London has nearly half as many gasoline stations per car as the Scottish Highlands; only four remain within the congestion-charge zone. A notable closure in 2008 was one of the country’s oldest forecourts, the Bloomsbury Service Station, which had been operational since 1926.
Bosch launches eScooter sharing service under new Coup brand
Bosch is launching its new Coup eScooter sharing service in Berlin. Coup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bosch, now provides Berlin residents with a new mobility option featuring a simple pricing model. Customers can now find, reserve, and use their nearest eScooter at any time. After reaching their destination, they simply drop off the scooter anywhere in the city center.
Two hundred connected and all-electric scooters produced by Gogoro, a leading eScooter brand, will be available for the launch in Berlin.
VW BUDD-e electric microbus named “2016 Concept Truck of the Year”
August 02, 2016
The Volkswagen BUDD-e battery-electric microbus concept (earlier post) has been named “2016 Concept Truck of the Year” at the 15th Annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards. Judges recognized the all-electric microbus concept for raising the standards of automotive design, with features that address both the utility and mobility needs of the present and future.
The first Volkswagen vehicle built using the company’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB), the BUDD-e captures the brand’s heritage, while offering a glimpse into the company’s next-generation connectivity, infotainment and EV technologies. The BUDD-e concept’s highlights include:
TARC rolls out six new Proterra battery-electric buses; fleet total of 15
The Transit Authority of River City (TARC), serving the Greater Louisville area, has begun adding six new all-electric Proterra buses along the Fourth Street corridor between downtown and Iroquois Park, stopping at some of the city’s most popular destinations. With the new buses, TARC will have a total of 15 all-electric buses on the road, making it one of the largest electric bus operators in the country.
The buses, a $4.65 million investment, were funded primarily with a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicles Deployment Program. Other federal and local funding covered the remaining costs. With the six new buses, TARC’s all-electric fleet is the second largest of its kind in the country, and the largest east of the Mississippi.
Tesla acquiring SolarCity in $2.6B all-stock deal; expected close of transaction in Q4
August 01, 2016
Tesla and SolarCity reached agreement for the automaker’s purchase of the solar company in an all-stock deal valued at $2.6 billion—slightly less than the original $2.8-billion proposal made by Tesla just over a month ago. (Earlier post.) SolarCity will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tesla.
The all-stock transaction is valued based on the 5-day volume-weighted average price of Tesla shares as of 29 July 2016. Under the agreement, SolarCity stockholders will receive 0.110 Tesla common shares per SolarCity share, valuing SolarCity common stock at $25.37 per share based on the 5-day volume weighted average price of Tesla shares as of 29 July2016. The original proposal was an exchange ratio of 0.122x to 0.131x shares of Tesla common stock for each share of SolarCity common stock.
Daimler Trucks unveils electric heavy-duty Urban eTruck from Mercedes-Benz; fleet trial for the light-duty Fuso Canter E-Cell
July 27, 2016
Daimler Trucks has unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. The entire conventional drivetrain has been replaced by an electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. Their maximum output is 2 x 125 kW, while the peak torque is 2 x 500 N·m. In combination with the gearing, the torque at the wheel reaches 11,000 N·m.
The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three modules of lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 212 kWh. This results in a range of up to 200 km (124 miles)—normally enough for a typical day's delivery round. Depending on the desired range, the modular battery pack can be customized by adding or removing batteries. The Urban eTruck is connected to the charging station using the Europe-wide standardized Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 2 connector. With a charging power of 100 kW, the fully discharged batteries are charged to 100% in two to three hours. (The system will support up to 150 kW.)
Ford, MIT project uses LiDAR, cameras to measure pedestrian traffic & predict demand for new, on-demand electric shuttles
Ford Motor Company and MIT are collaborating on a new research project that measures how pedestrians move in urban areas to improve certain public transportation services, such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttles services.
The project will introduce a fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles that operate on both city roads and campus walkways on the university’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. The vehicles use LiDAR sensors and cameras to measure pedestrian flow, which ultimately helps predict demand for the shuttles. This, in turn, helps researchers and drivers route shuttles toward areas with the highest demand to better accommodate riders.
Porsche ramping up hiring for Mission E; leveraging the 919 Hybrid
July 26, 2016
Porsche said it will hire more than 1,400 new employees in the Stuttgart region to work on the development and production of the first all-electric sports car from Porsche, the Mission E. (Earlier post, earlier post.)
The company plans to recruit in the fields of digitalization, e-mobility, smart mobility and vehicle connectivity. Porsche will also focus on recruiting production planners familiar with Factory 4.0 and digital production and will hire more than 100 IT specialists as well.
Daimler chief Zetsche: Daimler working toward swarm organization; mobility services, digitalization and e-mobility
July 25, 2016
In an interview with Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche said that the company is implementing swarm organization management techniques to enable more rapid development in emerging critical areas such as digitalization, mobility services and e-mobility.
The swarm organization method, explained Zetsche, supplements the hierarchical-management pyramid with cross-functional and interdisciplinary groups and eventually replaces them.
European Strategy for low-emission mobility stresses digital tech, electrification and ZEVs
July 22, 2016
Earlier this week, the European Commission published a strategy for low-emission mobility, which sets out guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future. EU legislation currently refers to low-emission vehicles as vehicles having tailpipe emissions below 50 g/km. This would include some plug-in hybrids, full electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The latter two examples also represent zero-emission vehicles.
The low-emission mobility strategy will frame the initiatives that the Commission is planning in the coming years, and it maps the areas in which it is exploring options. It also shows how initiatives in related fields are linked and how synergies can be achieved. In parallel to this strategy, the Commission is launching public consultations on the approach towards reducing emissions from road transport: cars and vans as well as trucks, buses and coaches.
NRDC-sponsored Shulock report says California ZEV regulations need a tune-up to meet 2025 goals
A report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and prepared by Chuck Shulock finds that the California Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) regulations—also adopted by nine other states—requires a ‘tune-up’ to ensure the market expands well beyond current sale levels.
The findings of the report suggest that the number of vehicles required through 2025 will be smaller than originally projected in 2012 when ARB adopted the last major revisions to the ZEV program. While some of these vehicles will be higher performing in terms of electric range than the vehicles originally assumed in 2012, the net result is that the total number of ZEVs is likely to fall short of the original 2025 goals.
Obama Administration launches series of actions to accelerate EV adoption; inc. $4.5B in loan guarantees, pursuing 350 kW fast charge
July 21, 2016
The Obama Administration has announced a series of actions from the Federal government, private sector, and states, as well as a new framework for collaboration for vehicle manufacturers, electric utilities, electric vehicle charging companies, and states, all geared towards accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and putting more electric vehicles on the road.
The collaboration, forged by the White House in partnership with DOE and the Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Air Force and US Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency, is centered on a set of Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. 46 organizations have signed on to the principles so far.
PSA evaluating Aquarius Engines’ free-piston linear generator for range-extender
PSA Groupe is evaluating a free-piston engine linear-generator under development by Israel-based start-up Aquarius Engines for use as a range-extender in its electric vehicles. According to a report from Reuters, PSA Research and Development Director Gilles Le Borgne said that while the company is evaluating the technology, “Nothing has been decided yet.” According to Aquarius, several prototype vehicles using its free-piston generator will be road-tested by 2017.
A number of groups have recently or are currently investigating the use of free piston engine power generation applications with a focus on automotive, including academic work at West Virginia University (WVU), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), and Shanghai Jiaotong University. (Earlier post.)
Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux”; expands Tesla to heavy-duty electric trucks and urban transport; integrated energy generation and storage
Master Plan Part 1—public now for ten years—outlined (1) the creation of an expensive low-volume electric car (Roadster) to fund (2) a medium-volume electric car (Model S, X) at a lower price to create (3) an affordable high volume car (Model 3) and (4) provide solar power. Master Plan v2.0 takes Tesla into integrated energy generation and storage (i.e., Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City, earlier post) as well as into heavy-duty electric vehicles and urban transport.
Efficient Drivetrains selected as part of $8.2M San Diego port electrification project
July 19, 2016
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of high-efficiency hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions, was selected as a drivetrain provider and vehicle integrator for an electrification program driven by the San Diego Port Tenants Association (SDPTA). Also selected as part of the San Diego project were BYD and Transportation Power. Technology subcontractors are Peloton, GC Green, Greenlining Institute, and carbonBLU.
As part of the program, EDI will create a series of EV port trucks, and electrifying forklift vehicle accessories. The electrified port trucks will be used to replace conventional fuel vehicles of the same specifications with 100% emissions reduction, while still maintaining the same power and performance. Electrification of the forklift will eradicate emissions by eliminating engine idling while performing standard vehicle operations in the port.
Protean Electric raises $70M to accelerate adoption of in-wheel drive systems for electrified vehicles in China
Protean Electric, developer and manufacturer of in-wheel electric drive systems, has raised $70 million in new funding from GO Scale Capital, Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd., and Tianjin THSG Corporation. Existing investors Oak Investment Partners and GSR Ventures co-invested in Protean’s equity financing round.
The investment follows Protean’s announcement in May that it is setting up a manufacturing site in Tianjin, China to commercialize its model PD18 in-wheel motor in order to meet customer demand. The new funding will be used to ramp up production in China of Protean’s PD18 product line, and for new product development and formation of a manufacturing joint venture with VIE.
Daimler showcases semi-automated Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot; driving 20 km BRT route
July 18, 2016
Daimler is highlighting its development of the semi-automated Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot. The technology of the CityPilot in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is based on that of the autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz Actros truck with Highway Pilot presented two years ago. (Earlier post.)
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot, which Daimler will showcase at the upcoming IAA 2016 in Hannover in September, is already making its first public journey on part of Europe’s longest BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) route in the Netherlands, linking Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem.
BMW introduces its trio of 7 Series plug-in hybrids
July 15, 2016
BMW has introduced its three 7 Series plug-in hybrid luxury sedans: the 740e iPerformance, 740Le iPerformance, and the 740Le xDrive iPerformance. (Earlier post.) The trio source their power from a latest-generation four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. Together, they deliver a system output of 240 kW/326 hp.
The new BMW 740e iPerformance with standard wheelbase and the new BMW 740Le iPerformance with long wheelbase offer combined cycle average gasoline consumption of 2.2–2.0 liters per 100 kilometers (106.8–117.5 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 50–45 grams per kilometer (BMW 740Le iPerformance: 51–45 g/km). The new BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance delivers 2.5–2.1 l/100 km (94-111.9 mpg US) with CO2 emissions combined of 56 –49 g/km). Intelligent all-wheel drive distributes the combined power of the combustion engine and electric motor permanently and as required between the front and rear wheels.
ABB wins 1st commercial order for 600 kW 15-second flash charging technology; electric buses in Geneva
ABB has been awarded orders totaling more than $16 million by Transports Publics Genevois (TPG), Geneva’s public transport operator, and Swiss bus manufacturer HESS, to provide flash charging and on-board electric vehicle technology for 12 TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation) fully electric buses (e-buses) which will run on Line 23, connecting Geneva’s airport with suburban Geneva.
ABB will deliver and deploy 13 flash-charging stations along an urban transit bus route, as well as three terminal and four depot feeding stations. This will be the world’s fastest flash-charging connection technology taking less than 1 second to connect the bus to the charging point. The onboard batteries can then be topped-up in 15 seconds with a 600-kilowatt flash charge at the bus stop. (Earlier post.)
Consumer Reports calls on Tesla to disable and update auto steering function, remove “Autopilot” name
July 14, 2016
Consumer Reports is calling on Tesla to disable the automatic steering function in the Autopilot driving-assist system available in its Model S vehicles until the company updates the function to confirm that the driver’s hands remain on the steering wheel at all times.
The consumer organization, which has owned and tested three Teslas (2013 Model S 85, 2014 Model S P85D, and 2016 Model X 90D), said that Tesla should also change the name of the Autopilot feature because it promotes a potentially dangerous assumption that the Model S is capable of driving on its own.
Xtrac introduces Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) transmission system; torque vectoring with dual motors
July 13, 2016
Xtrac has introduced its P1227 gearbox family, developed to address the growing market requirement for single-speed, lightweight and power-dense electric vehicle (EV) transmissions. It offers a range of installation possibilities for fast and powerful electric supercars with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configuration.
The new transmission system can be integrated with motors supplied by BorgWarner, GKN and YASA, all of which worked with Xtrac on the integration of their technology into this transmission. The dual electric motors of the transmission system also provide an inherent torque vectoring capabilities.
Daido Steel & Honda develop neodymium magnet free of heavy rare earth elements; Honda Freed hybrid first to adopt resulting new motor
July 12, 2016
Daido Steel Co., Ltd. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have developed a practical hot deformed neodymium magnet containing no heavy rare earth elements (REE) that still delivers the high heat resistance properties and high magnetic performance required for the use in the driving motor of a hybrid vehicle.
Honda will first apply this hot deformed neodymium magnet with absolutely no heavy rare earth elements to the Honda Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system, a system Honda will use in the all-new Freed scheduled to go on sale this fall. Honda will continue expanding application of this technology to new models in the future.
Opinion: Feet where our heads should be: Are we going about EVs the wrong way round?
July 08, 2016
by Roger Bedell, Founder, Opbrid
Are we looking at vehicle electrification upside down? Why are we focusing on electrifying smaller vehicles like cars and delivery trucks when electrifying really big trucks makes the most economic sense?
Electricity is about ½ the cost of diesel or gasoline. This means the more fuel you burn, the more money you save. Heavy long-haul trucks are the kings of fuel consumption, so therefore they are the best target for electrification from an economic standpoint. A 40-ton long-haul truck driving at 60 mph (about 100 km/h) uses between 8 to 13 gallons of diesel per hour according to a detailed Swedish survey. This is 20 to 30USD per hour, or in the UK, 40 to 60 USD per hour! This makes fuel costs much higher than a driver’s salary on a per hour basis, and is the largest percentage cost item for trucking companies. If fuel costs can be cut in half by switching to electricity, electrification can be very interesting indeed for a truck operator.
BMW Group and Sixt SE extend DriveNow car sharing program to Brussels; 20% of DriveNow fleet electric
July 06, 2016
Car-sharing service DriveNow is extending its service to Brussels—the tenth European city where the premium car sharing joint venture from BMW Group and Sixt SE will operate. Car sharing without a branch office has been allowed in Brussels since June and the service will offer a range of BMW and MINI models on the proven free-floating car sharing concept.
Following its launch in Munich in June 2011, DriveNow has constantly expanded its mobility services in Europe and now has more than 600,000 customers. In addition to its five German locations (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf and Cologne), DriveNow services are also available in London, Vienna, Copenhagen, Stockholm and—as of this month—in Brussels. In Germany, DriveNow records an average of over half a million journeys every month. An average journey is between 8 and 15 kilometers and lasts 20 to 40 minutes.
Renault-Nissan Alliance delivers €4.3B synergy target early; autonomous drive and connectivity expected to deliver major savings
Renault-Nissan Alliance generated €4.3 billion (US$4.8 billion) in synergies in 2015, one year ahead of schedule and an increase of 13% from 2014. Purchasing, engineering and manufacturing were the main contributors.
The Common Module Family and cross-production continue to reduce costs, while the development of technologies including autonomous drive and vehicle connectivity is expected to generate major savings moving forward. With the convergence, the Alliance expects to generate at least €5.5 billion (US$6.1 billion) in synergies in 2018
First public flight of Siemens 260kW electric motor; to be used in development of hybrid-electric aircraft
July 04, 2016
Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. (Earlier post.) This record-setting propulsion system successfully completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane.
The new drive system made its maiden flight on 24 June 2016. Siemens will be contributing this technology to the cooperative project that Siemens and Airbus agreed to in April 2016 for driving the development of electrically powered flight. (Earlier post.)
Faraday Future and Dragon Racing Formula E Team announce technology partnership
July 01, 2016
EV developer Faraday Future announced a long-term alliance with Dragon Racing, becoming the core technical partner and title sponsor of the team. The new team name will be Faraday Future Dragon Racing, and the partnership will officially initiate at the beginning of Season 3 (2016/2017) at the Formula E Hong Kong ePrix on 9 October 2016.
Faraday Future and Dragon Racing will work together in Season 3 (2016/17) to develop key technology software solutions to maximize performance capabilities within the vehicles’ powertrains. Faraday Future’s R&D team will look for opportunities within the Dragon Racing platform to improve overall drivetrain performance. Additionally, they will refine data acquisition and analytics to improve vehicle simulation models, which will aid in more accurate predictions of vehicle performance and efficiency.
Navigant: N. American PEV sales to hit almost 200K units this year; ~62% growth y-o-y
June 30, 2016
In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales in the US and Canada in 2016 will near 200,000 unit sales, growing by around 62% year-over-year. Navigant further expects significant growth in the North American PEV market over the next few years.
In 2016, Navigant Research expects growth to come from expanding sales of the Tesla Model X and the second-generation Volt, as well as the introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt 200-mile range battery electric vehicle (BEV), the Prius Prime PHEV, the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV later in the year.
Report: combination of new mobility technologies creates opportunities for cutting emissions, but requires strategic policy interventions
The combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles. However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximize them according to new report by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The study—Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon?— was presented at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference at the Olympic Park in London. According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.
WEC report: EVs need 16% market share by 2020 for fuel economy standards to be met
Electric vehicles (EVs) will need to increase their combined market share to 16% by 2020 for markets to achieve the aggressive fuel economy standards set by regulators, according to new research by the World Energy Council, the UN-accredited global energy body representing the entire energy spectrum.
While EVs currently represent less than 1% combined market share across the world’s largest markets for new passenger cars, they should be considered central to any policy and technology portfolio designed to lower transport emissions, WEC said.
Kreisel Electric introduces Li-ion home energy storage systems; 9.6 kW output for faster EV charging
June 29, 2016
Austrian manufacturer of high-performance batteries Kreisel Electric (earlier post) has introduced the MAVERO home energy storage system. The Li-ion battery packs are available in four different sizes, with usable capacity ranging from 8 kWh to 22 kWh. The casing is available in two colors and communicates all charge and discharge activities by means of LEDs. First deliveries are planned for early 2017.
MAVERO is a wall-mounted home energy storage system that stores electricity from any renewable energy source. Featuring a sophisticated design and a compact size of 105cm x 140 cm (41" x 55"), the discharge power of the system ranges from 4.8 to 9.6 kW in the voltage range from 288 to 384 V. The system enables accelerated EV charging with 100% self-generated electricity.
Ford, LG Chem team reports 1st cradle-to-gate LCA for mass-produced battery pack in commercial BEV; cell manufacturing key GHG contributor
A team from Ford’s Research and Innovation Center and LG Chem’s Corporate R&D group has reported the first cradle-to-gate (i.e., the factory gate—before delivery to the consumer) emissions assessment for a mass-produced battery in a commercial battery electric vehicle (BEV)—the lithium-ion battery pack used in the Ford Focus BEV. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The researchers based their assessment on the bill of materials and energy and materials input data from the battery cell and pack supplier (LG). They calculated that the cradle-to-gate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the 24 kWh Ford Focus lithium-ion battery are 3.4 metric tonnes of CO2-eq (140 kg CO2-eq per kWh or 11 kg CO2-eq per kg of battery). Cell manufacturing is the key contributor accounting for 45% of the GHG emissions.
Proterra offers single-blade overhead fast-charging technology to transit industry on royalty-free basis
In a move intended to accelerate wider adoption of EV technology and development of the supporting infrastructure, electric bus manufacturer Proterra will open its overhead on-route fast-charging technology to the transit industry on a royalty-free basis.
With the recent issuance of foundational patents (Nºs 8324858, 8829853 and 9352658) covering this technology, Proterra will offer a complete technology package to the market. Proterra will grant anyone royalty-free access to its patents covering its single-blade overhead charging design. This includes the bus-mounted, single-blade charging design and the overhead charging coupler.
Lux: plug-in vehicle battery market to hit $10B in 2020; 6 carmakers = 90% of demand; VW to show most growth
June 28, 2016
Led by Tesla, China’s BYD, and Volkswagen, the battery market for plug-in vehicles will rise to $10 billion in 2020, with electric vehicles (EV) emerging as the drivetrain of choice, according to a new forecast by Lux Research. Volkswagen will show the most growth as it focuses on plug-ins following its emissions scandal, while Toyota will continue to lag in plug-in sales as it focuses more on hybrids and fuel cells.
Just six large carmakers will account for 90% of the battery demand: Tesla, BYD, Volkswagen, General Motors (GM), Renault-Nissan and BMW. Among battery-makers, Panasonic will keep its lead with 46% market share, followed by BYD, LG Chem, NEC, Samsung SDI and others.
Ceres Power to demonstrate SOFC stack technology for EV range extender with Nissan; light commercial vehicle
UK-based Ceres Power Holdings, a spin-out from Imperial College, is leading a consortium that includes Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd and M-Solv to develop a compact, on-board solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack as a range extender for an electric light commercial vehicle (van). (Earlier post.)
£772,000 (US$1 million) in funding for the work comes from Innovate UK and The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV); of that, £573,000 (US$755,000) is allocated to Ceres. The SOFC stack is based on Ceres Power’s unique SteelCell technology, which is able to work with a variety of high efficiency fuel types (including biofuels) applicable to the automotive sector.
Korea team investigates characteristics of SI dual-piston free-piston engine linear generator
Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) have developed and are investigating the characteristics of a prototype of a dual-piston spark-ignition (SI) free-piston engine coupled with a linear alternator for electric power generation. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
Free piston engines, first introduced in the 1920s, have been attracting renewed attention for their potential for high efficiency and low emissions. Toyota R&D, for example, has been investigating Free Piston Engine Linear Generators (FPEGs) for B/C segment electric vehicles for several years. (Earlier post.)
Wrightspeed named as World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer
Wrightspeed Inc., developer of heavy-duty range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, was named one of the current crop of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers—and was the only purely automotive technology company so selected. Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, Wrightspeed’s the Route (earlier post) is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significant fuel cost reductions for today’s refuse, delivery and mass-transit markets.
Route Monkey and Sygic parter on route optimization for EVs
June 27, 2016
Scotland-based route optimization specialist Route Monkey (earlier post) has signed a partnership agreement with global GPS navigation expert Sygic. The partners aim to develop jointly a fully integrated optimization and navigation platform for electric vehicles (EVs).
The new platform will see Route Monkey schedule a fleet’s EVs—as well as its conventional vehicles—in a way that optimizes the fleet as a whole. It then sends the best route for the entire itinerary to each driver, directly into the Sygic Navigation app. Working together, Sygic and Route Monkey can also schedule stops at charge points en route to top-up the batteries, and provide real-time navigation to recharging stations.
Columbus, Ohio wins $40M DOT Smart City Challenge; $10M more from Vulcan, $90M from private partners
June 24, 2016
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that Columbus, OH has been selected as the winner of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) As winner of the Challenge, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from US DOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan.
Using these resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout their city.
Sweden inaugurates its first electric road
June 22, 2016
Sweden inaugurated a test stretch of electric road on the E16 in Sandviken, thus becoming one of the first countries to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads.
The test stretch on the E16 is two kilometers long. The technology is similar to light rail, with contact lines 5.4 meters over the roadway. The truck has a pantograph on the roof that feeds 750 VDC to the truck’s hybrid electric system. The current conductor can connect automatically at speeds up to 90 km/h (56 mph). The test stretch is equipped with posts 60 meters apart that hold up the electric lines over one of the lanes.
Tesla makes ~$2.8B all-stock offer to acquire SolarCity
June 21, 2016
Tesla Motora has made an all-stock offer worth approximately $2.8B to acquire all of the outstanding shares of solar energy provider SolarCity. Subject to completing due diligence, Tesla is proposing an exchange ratio of 0.122x to 0.131x shares of Tesla common stock for each share of SolarCity common stock. This proposal represents a value of $26.50 to $28.50 per share, or a premium of approximately 21% to 30% over the recent closing price of SolarCity’s shares.
Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk is also Chairman of SolarCity; Antonio Gracias, CEO of investor Valor Management Corp., is on both Tesla and SolarCity boards. Musk and Gracias recused themselves from voting on the proposed acquisition at the Tesla Board meeting, and will recuse themselves from the SolarCity Board meeting which will consider the offer.
BMW i home energy storage system integrates 2nd-life i3 vehicle batteries
BMW i announced a home stationary energy storage system solution integrating its BMW i3 vehicle battery at EVS 29 in Montréal.
The system utilizes BMW i3 high-voltage batteries and can be expanded to incorporate second-life batteries as they become available in the market. This strategy will extend the useful life of the battery for the owner, even beyond in-vehicle use, BMW said.
Acura running 4-motor NSX-inspired EV concept up Pikes Peak; 4-wheel independent torque vectoring
June 20, 2016
Acura will run an all-electric, NSX-inspired EV Concept in the Electric Modified Class at the 2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The Acura EV Concept features a further evolution of the experimental, all-electric, 4-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain that won last year’s Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class. Acura will field two production NSX supercars in the event as well.
The Acura EV Concept will be driven by Tetsuya Yamano, who campaigned last year’s CR-Z-based electric prototype. The all-wheel-drive electric SH-AWD powertrain enables four-wheel independent torque allocation. The Acura EV Concept’s Electric SH-AWD powertrain produces three times the total system output of last year’s electric prototype and is mated to the NSX body.
BYD announces its first 16 electric buses sold in France; RATP trial; expanding capacity in China
June 19, 2016
At the Transport Publics event this last week in Paris, BYD announced orders for 16 of its all new battery-electric buses and coaches to French operators. BYD also announced a six-month trial with Paris operator RATP and unveiled its 12 meter single deck bus—displayed for the first time in France. BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of battery-electric buses, having produced 10,000 units so far.
BYD France’s first customer is B.E. Green of Yvelines near Paris which has ordered three BYD pure electric coaches and one 12m BYD ebus to add to its 100% electric fleet. The Nedroma Group of Athis Mons, also close to Paris, has ordered 12 BYD electric coaches—the largest order so far for this new model from a Western customer.
NASA electric research plane designated the X-57, nickname: “Maxwell”; SCEPTOR
June 18, 2016
NASA will test new propulsion technology using an experimental airplane now designated the X-57 and nicknamed “Maxwell.” The X-57 features 14 electric motors turning propellers, all of them integrated into a uniquely-designed wing. NASA researchers ultimately envision a nine-passenger aircraft with a 500 kW power system in 2019.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden highlighted the agency’s first X-plane designation in a decade during his keynote speech Friday in Washington at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) annual Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition, commonly called Aviation 2016.
VW Group strategy calls for >30 new BEVs by 2025 with annual EV sales of 2-3M units; mobility services
June 16, 2016
Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller presented the company’s new new strategic plan—TOGETHER - Strategy 2025—in Wolfsburg. With regard to vehicles and drivetrains, the new strategy places special emphasis on e-mobility.
The Group is planning a broad-based initiative in this area: it intends to launch more than 30 purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) over the next ten years. The Company estimates that such vehicles could then account for around a quarter of the global passenger car market. The Volkswagen Group forecasts that its own BEV sales will be between two and three million units in 2025, equivalent to some 20 to 25 percent of the total unit sales expected at that time.
UQM partners with Eaton, Pi Innovo on full MD, HD electric drivetrain system; 2-speed transmission
UQM Technologies has begun a development and production program with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo. The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an EV application; Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT.”
The system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency. UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017.
BMW Group introduces MINI and Rolls Royce centenary concepts; individual mobility based on megatrends and projections
To mark its centenary year in 2016, the BMW Group is looking further ahead than usual with a series of Vision Vehicles designed to anticipate and respond to future mobility needs. At its Munich Centenary Event on 7 March, the automaker introduced the BMW VISION NEXT 100. (Earlier post.)
BMW now has introduced two more Vision concepts: the MINI VISION NEXT 100 and the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A fourth Vision Vehicle, by BMW Motorrad, will make its premiere on 16 October in Los Angeles, completing the BMW Group’s brand quartet of far-forward looking concepts.
INEES report shows intelligent integration of EVs reduces power fluctuations, but not currently economically viable
Partners Volkswagen AG, Lichtblick SE, SMA Solar Technology AG and the Fraunhofer Institute Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) have submitted the final report from the INEES research project (Intelligent integration of electric vehicles into the power grid for the provision of system services).
The findings of the report show that it is technically possible to absorb grid power fluctuations by connecting electric vehicles to the power supply. The research results will in future help to link electric mobility with the energy industry.
Daimler developing new dedicated architecture for battery-electric vehicles; debut at Paris Motor Show in September; 500 km
June 13, 2016
Daimler is developing a dedicated, multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles. (Earlier post.) The global debut will take place at the Paris Motor Show this fall, and the first model is to be launched onto the market before the end of the decade.
Mercedes-Benz said it will benefit not only from its internal development and production expertise but also from the group’s multi-model series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electromobility.
Daimler investing >€7B in next 2 years in green tech; fuel cell plug-in, BEV architecture; 48V
At its TecDay event in Stuttgart, Daimler said it will invest more than €7 billion (US$7.9 billion) in green technologies in the next two years alone. Shortly, smart will be the only automaker worldwide to offer its entire model range both powered by internal combustion engines or operating on battery power. Mercedes-Benz will put the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle with plug-in technology into series production: the GLC F-CELL. In addition, the company is developing a dedicated vehicle architecture for battery-electric motor cars.
Following the company’s recent introduction of the new OM 654 diesel family (earlier post), Daimler will introduce a new family of gasoline engines in 2017, which will again set efficiency standards and will be the first ever to be equipped with a particulate filter (earlier post). The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time and starter-generators will become part of the standard specification. The 48V system will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology.
California to award $9M for 27 BYD zero-emission trucks at two rail yards, one freight transfer yard in Southern California
June 10, 2016
The State of California is awarding $9 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for 27 zero-emission trucks to replace diesel-powered heavy-duty tractors used in rail yards and large-scale freight distribution centers. The funds come from the California Climate Investments (CCI) program and are designed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), while also reducing petroleum usage and improving air quality in residential communities.
The two types of trucks funded by this grant are the most common at every major freight location in the US, providing a model for truck electrification that could be scaled to any facility. The project will demonstrate 23 battery-electric 80,000-pound (GVWR) Class 8 yard trucks, also known as “yard goats,” which are used to move heavy freight containers short distances within freight yards, warehouses, distribution centers and port terminals.
US DRIVE releases comprehensive cradle-to-grave analysis of light-duty vehicle GHGs, cost of driving and cost of avoided GHGs
June 09, 2016
The US DRIVE Cradle-to-Grave Working Group has published the “Cradle-to-Grave Lifecycle Analysis of US Light-Duty Vehicle-Fuel Pathways: A Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Assessment of Current (2015) and Future (2025–2030) Technologies” Argonne National Lab Report.
The study provides a comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA), or cradle-to-grave (C2G) analysis, of the cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a variety of vehicle-fuel pathways, as well as the levelized cost of driving (LCD) and cost of avoided GHG emissions. The study also estimates the technology readiness levels (TRLs) of key fuel and vehicle technologies along the pathways. The study only addresses possible vehicle-fuel combination pathways—i.e., no scenario analysis.
Tesla reintroduces 60 kWh version of Model S
Tesla Motors is reintroducing a 60 kWh version of its Model S, in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models. The starting price is $66,000 for the Model S 60 (RWD) and $71,000 for the Model S 60D (AWD).
The Model S 60 has an estimated range of 210 miles; the Model S 60D of 218 miles. For $8,500 (which works out to $566.67/kWh), all Model S 60 customers can upgrade (via a software update) to a 75 kWh pack, extending the range to 249 miles and 259 miles, respectively. I.e, the Model 60s are factory-equipped with a 75 kWh pack software-limited to 60 kWh. (Upgrading to the full 75 kWh costs $9,000 after delivery.)
BMW to supply 100 i3 EVs to LAPD
BMW of North America won its bid to supply the Los Angeles Police Department with 100 battery-electric BMW i3 vehicles for use in the department’s transportation fleet. (Earlier post.) Los Angeles currently has a 50% EV procurement guideline for all new light duty fleet vehicles, which will go to 80% by 2025 as called for in the Los Angeles Sustainable City pLAn.
The announcement comes after a field trial during which a BMW i3 was evaluated alongside other EVs on the streets of Los Angeles as part of the LAPD’s every day fleet. Ultimately, the BMW i3 was selected due to a combination of EPA rated best-in-class efficiency, reliability and state-of-the-art ConnectedDrive services, which can be used to support fleet management applications. BMW’s knowledge of charging infrastructure and the availability of a large network of BMW i centers for servicing the fleet in a convenient and cost effective way also played into the decision, the company said.
New TM4 SUMO medium-duty electric motors boost torque and speed 45% with SMCs in place of permanent magnets
June 08, 2016
TM4 will introduce three new SUMO medium-duty (MD) powertrain options at the 29th Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS29), offering an increase of up to 45% in torque and speed, thanks to a new technological advancement.
Until now, the main rotor technology found in TM4’s electric motors was based on surface-mounted permanent magnets. The desire to limit the use of rare-earth magnets has resulted in a technology choice that leverages the reluctance torque of TM4’s external rotor design (earlier post) and decreases by 25% the use of these elements. By substituting some of the magnets with soft magnetic composites (SMCs), variable reluctance adds up to 45% extra torque and operating speed compared with previous technology in same package dimensions.
Mack Trucks to showcase Wrightspeed turbine-based extended range electric powertrain in Class 8 refuse truck
At this week’s WasteExpo2016, Mack Trucks, one of North America’s largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions, will showcase Wrightspeed’s The Route turbine-based extended range electric powertrain (earlier post) applied in a refuse truck.
Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, the award-winning Route is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significantly reduced fuel costs for today’s refuse, delivery and mass transit markets. Wrightspeed counts FedEx, Ratto Group and New Zealand Bus as early Route customers.
DOE to award $22.3M to accelerate the development of MD, HD plug-in vehicles and use of other sustainable transportation technologies
June 06, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $22.3 million of funding to support 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.
The “Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity Announcement” (DE-FOA-0001535) seeks cost-shared projects across three areas of sustainable transportation technologies.
Daimler establishes Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH for stationary energy storage
June 02, 2016
Daimler AG has established Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH to take over the development and global sale of Mercedes-Benz brand stationary energy storage (earlier post) with immediate effect. The production of the systems remains the core expertise of Daimler’s other wholly owned subsidiary, Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE GmbH & Co. KG.
Daimler AG, with ACCUMOTIVE, began delivery of domestic storage solutions for the German market in April. Work also started on setting up the first large-scale industrial projects in the field of primary regulation energy. With the establishment of Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH based in Kamenz/Saxony, the company is now taking another step toward expanding its stationary storage business. International expansion and collaboration with further partners are particularly high on the agenda, Daimler said.
Toshiba to start field testing medium-sized EV bus with wireless recharging, SCiB Li-ion battery
May 31, 2016
Toshiba Corporation has developed a fast, cable-free contactless charger for electric vehicles (EVs), and will field test it on a medium-sized EV bus designed to handle the power demands of regular high-speed journeys on expressways. Field tests will start from 1 June and continue until December.
The 45-seat bus is powered by a long-life, high-output 52.9 kWh SCiB (earlier post) pack, Toshiba’s advanced lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and will make regular trips between All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. facilities in Tonomachi, Kawasaki and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. The 11-kilometer (6.8-mile) journey will test the bus and its performance under various traffic conditions, and will allow Toshiba to verify the convenience and practicality of contactless charging, along with its contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.
Furrer + Frey proposes tractor swapping as solution for electrification of long-haul trucking
May 30, 2016
Furrer + Frey, a provider of rail electrification and rapid charging systems for transport, is proposing tractor swapping as a solution for the electrification of long-haul trucking. Furrer + Frey is a long-time partner of Opbrid, the provider of the overhead pantograph-based ultra-fast charging Opbrid Bůsbaar for buses (earlier post).
At IAA 2014, Opbrid introduced the Trůkbaar for heavy-duty trucks; the Trůkbaar is one element for the Furrer + Frey tractor swapping solution. Furrer + Frey has also acquired Opbrid, and folded it into its operations. (Earlier post.)
Toyota and partners share first information from innovative car-sharing project in Grenoble
May 27, 2016
Based on the idea that multimodality was one of the keys to solving city traffic gridlock and pollution, the project makes available 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, on a sharing platform called Ha:mo (harmonious mobility). These eco vehicles can be hired up to one hour before use and are located in one of 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF. The stations can handle the service’s proprietary badge or any existing public transport subscriber badge. People can use them either in a round-trip or one-way pattern, and they can be booked on a smart phone. Users can also plan their multimodal city trips by connecting to the Grenoble metropolis’ route planning service, Métromobilité.
Johnson Controls funds two research projects with U Wisconsin to enhance fuel efficiency of start-stop vehicles and next-gen EVs
May 26, 2016
Johnson Controls will fund two multi-year research projects at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) aimed at enhancing the fuel efficiency of start-stop and next-generation battery-electric vehicles. The projects will be funded by Johnson Controls, which includes a Fellows gift of $500,000. UW–Madison graduate students Jacob Dubie and Kevin Frankforter, the first recipients of Johnson Controls Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, will carry out the projects.
The first project will focus on identifying the aging mechanisms of absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries and supporting systems in start-stop applications and vehicle optimization strategies.
Pasha, Port of LA and California ARB partner on $26.6M Green Omni Terminal demo project; emerging zero and near-zero emission tech
Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals L.P. and the Port of Los Angeles are launching the Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project, a full-scale, real-time demonstration of zero and near-zero emission technologies at a working marine terminal.
At full build out, Pasha will be the world’s first marine terminal able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources. The $26.6-million project is funded in part by a $14.5-million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants. As part of the project, Pasha will integrate a fleet of new and retrofitted zero-emission electric vehicles and cargo-handling equipment into its terminal operations and demonstrate the latest generation of advanced technology for capturing ship emissions from vessels unable to plug into shore power at berth.
PSA Group outlines electrification solutions for future hybrid and electric vehicles; 4 EVs, 7 PHEVs by 2021
May 25, 2016
At its Innovation Day event, PSA Group presented its new electrification strategy. PSA Group is consolidating the development of its models on two global modular platforms—CMP and EMP2—allowing it to offer a wide range of internal combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid gasoline models from 2019.
Both platforms are optimized and lighter (25kg for EMP2 and 40kg for CMP) than current platforms, and offer greater modularity in terms of length, width, height and wheel diameter. Both platforms will be compatible with the manufacturing resources put in place as part of the Plant of the Future program. (Earlier post.)
PSA Group outlines powertrain production strategy: gasoline PHEVs, EVs and next-gen diesel and gasoline engines
As part of the energy transition process and in line with the technological offensive spelled out in its Push to Pass strategic plan (earlier post), PSA Group will focus on diversifying its offerings with plug-in hybrid gasoline systems and next-generation electric powertrains. The latter will be used in particular to equip e-CMP, its future electric platform developed in partnership with Dongfeng Motors. (Earlier post.) At the same time, the Group will continue to develop next-generation internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel.
For strategic reasons, PSA Group will manufacture the main electric powertrain components in France, signalling its determination to develop high-tech operations in profitable niche markets. The electric powertrain will be produced at the Trémery/Metz centre of excellence, while the gear systems will be manufactured at the Valenciennes plant.
Airbus APWorks unveils 3D-printed electric motorcycle; 35kg total, 6kg bionic structure frame
May 22, 2016
APWorks, a 100% subsidiary of Airbus Group, has unveiled the first 3D-printed motorcycle. Dubbed the Light Rider, the motorcycle is made using APWorks’ Scalmalloy material, and weighs only 35 kg (77 lbs). With a 6 kW electric motor powering it from zero to 80 km per hour in just seconds and a frame weighing a mere 6 kg (13 lbs), the world’s first 3D-printed electric motorcycle is 30% lighter than conventionally manufactured e-motorcycles.
Scalmalloy is one of the latest new materials developed by Airbus Group. It is a second-generation aluminum-magnesium-scandium alloy (AlMgSc), and was developed for high and very high-strength extrusions, offering exceptionally high fatigue properties. Specifically developed for additive layer manufacturing (ALM)-based production, the material combines high strength with an extraordinary level of ductility, making it an especially interesting material to use for highly solicited parts in lightweight robotics, automotive and aerospace applications.
Geely raises $400M via Green Bonds sale to develop and produce TX5 range-extended electric London taxis
China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has raised $400 million through the first Green Bond sale on the offshore market from a Chinese automobile company to support the design, development and production of range-extended electric vehicles by its UK subsidiary, the LondonTaxi Company (LTC), manufacturer of the iconic London Black Cab. The plug-in hybrid TX5 London Cab will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and in international markets in 2018.
ZGH is investing £300 million (US$435 million) in LTC’s new research and production facility in Ansty in the West Midlands region of the UK to develop the next-generation TX5. The new model was unveiled last October in London in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK. In addition to a new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite paneling, the TX5 benefits from a range-extended battery-electric vehicle system.
Hanyang/BMW team develops high-energy density Li-ion battery with carbon-nanotube-Si composite anode and NCM concentration gradient cathode
May 20, 2016
Researchers from Hanyang University in Korea and the BMW Group have developed a new fully operational, practical Li-ion rechargeable battery combining high energy density with excellent cycle life. A report on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
A carbon nanotube (CNT)-Si composite anode with extremely stable long-term cycling provides a discharge capacity of 2364 mAh g-1 at a tap density of 1.1 g cm-3; a two-sloped full concentration gradient (TSFCG) Li[Ni0.85Co0.05Mn0.10]O2 cathode, with a Ni-enriched core and Mn-enriched layer, yields a discharge capacity of 221 mAh g-1. The full cell generates an energy density of 350 Wh kg-1 with excellent capacity retention for 500 cycles at 1 C rate—satisfying the energy density limit imposed by the drive range requirement for EVs.
Nissan lands world’s largest electric taxi fleet deal; 110 new LEAF 30 kWh units to Madrid
May 19, 2016
Nissan and La Ciudad del Taxi have announced the world’s largest 100% electric taxi fleet deal that will see 110 Nissan LEAF 30 kWh vehicles providing taxi services in Madrid.
Announced at the Madrid Motor Show, the agreement signed between Nissan and La Cuidad del Taxi will introduce electric taxis into the Spanish capital, putting Madrid up there with other like-minded capital cities such as Amsterdam (earlier post), which has taken delivery of 100 Nissan LEAFs and e-NV200s, and Budapest with 65 LEAFs.
Volvo Cars unveils CMA-based 40 series concepts; battery-electric and PHEV versions; first production in 2017
May 18, 2016
Volvo Cars unveiled two new 40 series concept cars, marking the official launch of its global small car strategy. The first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017.
The new concept cars will be the first built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post), which has been specially created for smaller cars. Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally. (Earlier post.)
SAE International approves TIR J2954 for PH/EV wireless charging; targeting finalized standard by 2018
SAE International approved for publishing “SAE TIR J2954 Wireless Power Transfer for Light-Duty Plug-In/ Electric Vehicles and Alignment Methodology,” a milestone industry guideline to establish wireless power transfer between infrastructure, vehicle suppliers and OEMs for plug-in electric and electric vehicles (PH/EV). (Earlier post.) The document will be available from the SAE website on 31 May.
With wireless charging quickly becoming mainstream for consumer electronic devices in low power applications, standardization is needed for commercialization of high power wireless power transfer (WPT) of PH/EVs. (The current SAE Standard SAE J1772 establishes the wired charging standard.)
Proterra boosts capacity of Catalyst XR battery pack 28% to 330 kWh with new design, same volume as predecessor
May 16, 2016
Battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra announced a new battery pack design for the Proterra Catalyst XR transit vehicle at the American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference (APTA). Within the same volumetric footprint as that in the original Catalyst XR, the new energy storage system now holds 28% more energy at 330 kWh.
All current Catalyst XR customers that are still waiting on their buses to be delivered will receive a complimentary upgrade to the higher energy level.
Report: Ontario targeting 5% EV share of all new vehicles sold by 2020, 12% by 2025 as part of C$7B climate plan
Canada’s Globe and Mail reports that as part of a more C$7-billion (US$5.4-billion), 4-year climate change plan, the Ontario government will invest C$285 million (US$221 million) in electric vehicle incentives; implement lower carbon fuel standards; and invest C$280 million (US$217 million) to help school boards buy electric buses and trucking companies switch to lower-carbon trucks, including by building more liquid natural gas fueling stations.
The Globe and Mail obtained a copy of the currently confidential 57-page Climate Change Action Plan, which lays out a strategy from 2017 to 2021. The document outlines contains about 80 different policies, grouped into 32 different actions. The Globe had previously uncovered details of the plan, but this is the first time the full blueprint has been revealed. The strategy is scheduled to be further reviewed by cabinet ministers and fine-tuned, sources told the Globe and Mail, with public release slated for June.
PSA Group and Dongfeng Motors to design electric version of Common Modular Platform; global B- and C-segment EVs from 2019
May 11, 2016
PSA Group and Dongfeng Motors (DFM) have deepened their strategic partnership with the signing of a new agreement to design an electric version of the Common Modular Platform (CMP), which they have been developing jointly since April 2015.
This future electric platform (e-CMP) will deliver a worldwide offering of all-electric, high-performance B and C segment vehicles for the Peugeot, Citroën, DS and Dongfeng brands from 2019.
Infineon presents latest power modules for hybrid and electric vehicles; compact and higher power density
Infineon Technologies AG is presenting its latest power module family for hybrid and electric vehicles—HybridPACK Double Sided Cooling (DSC)—at the PCIM 2016 tradeshow. The new power modules have extremely small dimensions of only 42 mm x 42.4 mm x 4.77 mm. They target HEV applications such as main inverters and generators with a typical power range of 40 to 50 kW. In order to support higher power, they can be used in parallel configurations.
With only 15 nH, the stray inductance is very low while blocking voltage was increased to 700 V. Both factors support the development of inverter systems with reduced switching losses of about 25% and very high efficiency.
Nissan and Enel to launch major V2G trial in the UK; LEAF and e-NV200
May 10, 2016
Nissan and multinational power company Enel will launch the first major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial carried out in the UK. The partners will install and connect 100 V2G units at locations agreed upon by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. By giving Nissan electric vehicle owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, owners will have the flexibility and power to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid.
The announcement follows the signing of a partnership agreement between Nissan and Enel in Paris in December 2015 during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) to trial V2G technology in Europe. (Earlier post.) A trial comprising 40 V2G units began in Denmark in January 2016.
Argonne rolls out updated version of AFLEET alternative fuels and advanced vehicles analysis tool
The US Department of Energy (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory is releasing an updated version of its AFLEET tool to reflect the latest advances in alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and updated emissions data. Sponsored by the DOE Clean Cities program, AFLEET (Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool) is a free, publicly-available tool that provides users with a roadmap for assessing which types of vehicles and fuels are right for them. The 2016 AFLEET Tool and user guide are available online. Although anyone can download and use the tool, AFLEET was designed for managers that purchase and maintain a fleet of vehicles.
The latest version includes, for the first time: gaseous hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; state-based (rather than national-based) fuel pricing, private station fuel pricing and fueling infrastructure costs. Updates to existing inputs include new light-duty vehicle costs; vehicle air pollutant emission factors derived from the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions modeling system, MOVES 2014a; and petroleum use and greenhouse gas and relative air pollutant emissions from the 2015 GREET model, Argonne’s leading fuel life-cycle analysis model that is now in its twentieth year.
Argonne: longer-range BEVs may be almost as powertrain energy dense as gasoline vehicles by 2045
May 09, 2016
An analysis by a team at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has found that by 2045, some configurations of battery electric vehicles (BEV) could become almost as energy dense as a conventional vehicle. The team presented their paper at the recent 2016 SAE World Congress.
Hydrocarbon fuels (either fossil- or bio-derived) have high energy densities that are at least 100 times greater than that of a present day lithium-ion battery. Despite projected improvements in battery technology, this form of energy storage is still expected to be significantly less energy dense than gasoline even by 2045. However, the Argonne team argues, the energy density of storage medium (fuel or battery) should not be used as the sole criterion to compare conventional vehicles and BEVs. Rather, powertrain-level energy and power density will be better criteria to compare the propulsion technology used for BEVs and conventional vehicles, they suggest.
Toyota R&D continues work on free piston linear generators for EVs; novel resonant pendulum control method
May 06, 2016
In 2014, a team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. published two SAE papers on their work in developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) for B/C segment electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The FPEG consists of a two-stroke combustion system, a linear generator, and a gas spring chamber; the unit offers potential for compact build, high efficiency and high fuel flexibility.
Now, the Toyota researchers report on a new FPEG control method to realize stable and flexible piston motion control for efficient electric power generation. They presented their work in a paper at the recent 2016 SAE World Congress.
Ghosn: Renault-Nissan needs both high- and low-spec EVs to be player in China market; ongoing importance of gov’t support
May 05, 2016
At a press roundtable held at the Auto China 2016, Renault-Nissan Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn observed that both Nissan and Renault had what he called “high-spec” electric vehicle offers in China: the Venucia for Nissan, and the coming Freelance Electric by Renault. He defined high-spec as models with a high-price and very good performance.
Unfortunately, he noted, these models are not selling very well in China. The China market is currently oriented toward “lower-spec” models—i.e., more affordable. Accordingly, both Renault and Nissan are working to develop high spec models that are lower cost and with more range. The two are also working very hard, in conjunction with partner Dongfeng, to introduce a low-spec affordable EV, Ghosn said.
California to award $23.6M for zero-emission drayage trucks at seaports; BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo
The State of California is awarding $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for a statewide zero-emission drayage truck development and demonstration project. This is the first large-scale demonstration of zero-emission Class 8 trucks that involves major manufacturers, including BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt (both Paccar companies) and Volvo. The companies receiving funds have the engineering resources, manufacturing capabilities and distribution networks to support commercialization of advanced technologies related to moving freight to and from the ports.
The South Coast air district is teaming up with air districts in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego and San Joaquin Valley to make the project a statewide demonstration of 43 zero-emission battery electric and plug-in hybrid drayage trucks built by the four manufacturers serving major California ports. Demonstration trucks and charging infrastructure will be used in all five air districts, providing emission reduction benefits in key areas of California with drayage truck activity.
Tesla affirming 80-90K deliveries this year; advancing 500K unit build plan by 2 years to 2018; capex to be up 50% this year
In its Q1 2016 letter to shareholders, Tesla affirmed its plan to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles in 2016. Given the tsunami of reservations for the Model 3 (more than 325,000 according to the letter), Tesla also said it is advancing its 500,000 total unit build plan (combined for Model S, Model X, and Model 3) to 2018—two years earlier than previously planned.
The company noted that increasing production 5x over the next two years would be “challenging and will likely require some additional capital.” Given the plans to advance the total unit build plan, Tesla said it expects capital expenditures will be about 50% higher than the previous guidance of $1.5 billion for 2016. “Naturally, this will impact our ability to be net cash flow positive for the year.”
The importance of considering non-exhaust traffic emissions; the role of EVs
May 02, 2016
Regulatory regimes seeking to reduce emissions from transport have largely focused on tailpipe emissions—i.e., the criteria pollutants and CO2 that emerge with the exhaust from the tailpipe. However, there is more than 15 years of research showing that the contribution of non-exhaust primary particles to the total traffic generated primary particles is significant in urban areas. Non-exhaust PM factors include tire wear, brake wear, road surface wear and resuspension of road dust. Further, a 2013 review by Denier van der Gon et al., 2013 found that the ratio of non-exhaust to exhaust particles is strongly increasing in the last two decades, due to exhaust emission reductions.
While battery electric vehicles have the obvious advantage of zero tail-pipe emissions, they are not equally advantaged when it comes to non-exhaust emissions. Accordingly, there have been a number of recent studies working to assess the impact of non-exhaust emissions from EVs and suggesting a regulatory or policy response (e.g., earlier post).
BMW boosts battery capacity of MY2017 i3 to 33 kWh with higher energy density Li-ion cells; up to 114 miles combined cycle range
BMW will offer a new model range of its i3 compact electric car, and from the 2017 model year will be offering a new version with more than 50% increased battery capacity.
The 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) has a capacity of 33 kilowatt hours (kWh) due to the use of higher energy density lithium-ion cells; the dimensions of the pack remain unchanged while still offering a significant range increase. The new BMW i3, in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, has a range of up to 114 miles (183 km) combined (hwy/city) cycle, as shown by independent BMW testing; EPA figures are still pending. The EPA range rating for the MY 2016 i3 is 81 miles (130 km).
Roland Berger study outlines integrated vehicle and fuels roadmap for further abating transport GHG emissions 2030+ at lowest societal cost
April 30, 2016
A new study by consultancy Roland Berger defines an integrated roadmap for European road transport decarbonization to 2030 and beyond; the current regulatory framework for vehicle emissions, carbon intensity of fuels and use of renewable fuels covers only up to 2020/2021.
The study was commissioned by a coalition of fuel suppliers and automotive companies with a view to identifying a roadmap to 2030+ to identify GHG abatement options at the lowest cost to society. The coalition comprises BMW, Daimler, Honda, NEOT/St1, Neste, OMV, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. Among the key findings of the study were:
DOE and DOT collaborate to support smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies
The US Departments of Energy (DOE) and Transportation (DOT) announced a collaboration to accelerate research, development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies.
The agencies formalized this collaborative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was unveiled at a symposium this week called Achieving Zero-Emission Mobility: The Role of Innovative Electric Vehicle Companies, hosted by the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation in Berkeley, California.