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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.]

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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HD REV powertrain company Wrightspeed gearing up for commercialization push

October 13, 2016

Wrightspeed Inc., a developer and manufacturer of advanced range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains for heavy-duty applications (earlier post), is gearing up for a commercialization push with the appointent of four advanced engineering and commercialization executives. Tim Dummer, Greg Anderson, Erin Sawyer and Vlad Kalika are joining the Business Operations, Production and Engineering teams respectively. Recently relocated to an 110,000 ft2 manufacturing space in the emerging Alameda Point technology center, Wrightspeed is expanding to meet growing demand for its award-winning The Route REV powertrain systems.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) powertrain designed for original or retrofit applications that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing the engine, the transmission and the differential systems. The Route electric powertrain drives more low-end torque to the wheels than conventional diesel engines, with less fuel, less emissions, and less noise. The on-board microturbine generator, the Fulcrum (earlier post), is fuel-agnostic and eliminates range anxiety.

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Navy and Marine Corps to lease 205 new EVs for use at California installations; largest integration of EVs in federal government

The California Energy Commission and the Department of the Navy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing a partnership that supports Navy and Marine Corps installation efforts to develop alternative energy resources and increase energy security and reliability.

Following the MOU signing, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Dennis V. McGinn announced that the Navy and Marine Corps will lease 205 new electric vehicles for use at California installations, the largest integration of electric vehicles in the federal government.

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BMW Motorrad unveils its VISION NEXT 100 concept; electric and connected, augmented reality visor

October 11, 2016

Following the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Vision Vehicles (earlier post, earlier post), the BMW Group has now revealed the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100.

The iconic elements in the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 make it immediately recognizable as a “genuine BMW” and include the black frame triangle, white lines and classic, boxer engine forms. The bike itself, however, is powered by a zero-emissions solution.

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2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e PHEV will offer wireless charging system built using Qualcomm Halo inventions

With the facelift of the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid in 2017, Daimler AG plans to launch a wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) system, manufactured by a Tier 1 power electronics supplier, which has licensed Qualcomm Halo inventions. The commercial application of WEVC will be a first among hybrid vehicles. Drivers of the S550e (badged S500 in Europe) equipped with the wireless charging option will simply park atop a special pad and charging will begin.

Qualcomm Halo uses high-power, resonant magnetic inductive wireless energy transfer and supports a relatively wide air gap between base charging unit (BCU) and vehicle charging unit (VCU). The charging pad’s multi-coil design (“Double “D” Quadrature”) delivers high energy-transfer efficiency and high power even if the pads are misaligned. The high degree of tolerance in both the vertical (z) and lateral (x,y) planes means drivers do not have to park accurately or need complex and expensive on-board alignment systems.

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Wolfspeed delivers industry’s first 1000V SiC MOSFET for efficient EV fast chargers

October 06, 2016

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company and a leader in silicon carbide (SiC) power products, has introduced a 1000V MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) that enables a reduction in overall system cost, while improving system efficiency and decreasing system size. The new MOSFET, specially optimized for fast charging and industrial power supplies, enables a 30% reduction in component count while achieving more than 3x increase in power density and a 33% increase in output power.

Designers can reduce component count by moving from silicon-based, three-level topologies to simpler two-level topologies made possible by the 1000 Vds rating of the SiC MOSFET. The increase in output power in a reduced footprint is realized by the ultra-low output capacitance—as low as 60pF—which significantly lowers switching losses.

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Volkswagen’s MEB for EVs: long electric range, open-platform, open-space, pricing for the volume market; “tablet on wheels”

October 05, 2016

Brands within the Volkswagen Group have been rolling out modular component matrices, or assembly toolkits, for their light-duty vehicles over the past few years. Until recently, the four main modular toolkits (modularen Baukästen) of the Group were: the MQB (transverse, driven by the Volkswagen brand); the MLB (longitudinal, driven by the Audi brand); the MSB (standard drive, driven by Porsche); and the NSF (New Small Family).

Development work on these continues; Audi, for example, is refining MLB evo—the second-generation of MLB and the foundation for the battery-electric e-tron quattro SUV due out in 2018. (Earlier post.) These four main kits are now joined by the all-new Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten (“Modular Electric Drive kit”, or MEB), being developed by the Volkswagen brand. The MEB will be the foundation for an entirely new generation of battery-electric vehicles designed not only to be electric and feature extended range, but to be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning.

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AIMPLAS heating system for EVs reduces energy consumption by 30% relative to conventional systems

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, together with other partners of the EU project JOSPEL, funded by the Horizon 2020 Program under Grant Agreement Nº 653851, has developed an innovative heating system for electric vehicles consisting of thermoplastic heating panels which can be placed in different parts of the car, thus reducing the energy consumption in a 30% compared to conventional heating systems.

The system is based on the Joule effect in which electrical conductive materials produce heat when a voltage is applied. (Also called resistive or ohmic heating.)

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Sweden launches $3.1M study on electric road systems

October 04, 2016

Electric Road Systems (ERS) are already being demonstrated on public roads in Sweden. (Earlier post.) Now, a new project in Sweden, “Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads”, will explore how to make the step to large-scale operation along with the supporting business ecosystem as well as technical issues such as the standardization of interfaces.

Viktoria Swedish ICT is coordinating the project and us working together with the research partners Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI); with the industry partners Fortum, Profu, Scania, Vattenfall, and Volvo Group; as well as with the deployment proposals managed by Airport City Stockholm, Region Gävleborg, and Region Kalmar.

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LG Chem to supply Li-ion cells to Faraday Future; targeting highest energy density production cell for automotive battery

Faraday Future (FF) announced a partnership with LG Chem to supply lithium-ion cells for FF’s electric vehicles. The partnership also represents a joint commitment between both companies to collaborate on the development of EV battery technology, resulting in the world’s highest energy density for a production automotive battery.

These cells will be incorporated into Faraday Future’s VPA platform, the company’s universal and scalable modular battery structure that supports the development of a range of vehicles. The VPA platform is a critical component to Faraday Future’s future product portfolio.

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Cooperation between Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance deepening in 2016

October 03, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Carlos Ghosn and Dieter Zetsche said that the strategic partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG is maturing as it enters its seventh year in 2016.

One major milestone of the past year includes the EV versions of the new smart fortwo, smart cabrio and smart forfour (Electric energy consumption: 13.1 – 12.9 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions, combined: 0 g/km). (Earlier post.) These all-new smart and the Renault Twingo were the first vehicles built on a common platform by Daimler and the Alliance.

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Mercedes-Benz gets on the CASE with Generation EQ close-to-production electric concept

September 29, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its close-to-production concept Generation EQ electric vehicle—the forerunner of Mercedes-Benz’s new product brand for electric mobility, EQ. The name EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence” and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion and Intelligence”.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars, said that the mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE), adding that Mercedes-Benz has formed a CASE team. The Generation EQ is the logical fusion of all four pillars, he said.

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Renault boosts range of ZOE EV to 400 km with new 41 kWh pack option

At the Paris Motor Show, Renault introduced its enhanced-range ZOE electric vehicle. Equipped with the new 41 kWh Z.E. 40 battery, ZOE now has a range of up to 400 km (249 miles) NEDC—twice the distance of the original launch version of the ZOE. At the same, ZOE owners can benefit from a range of new connected services and equipment upgrades. Order books for the new ZOE line-up are open. The new ZOEs fitted with the new Z.E. 40 battery are made at Renault’s Flins plant in France and will be available for delivery before the end of the year.

Renault said that new Z.E. 40 battery delivers a real-world range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) in urban or suburban areas. (The ranges are for ZOEs equipped with either the 75- or 90-horsepower version of the standard R75/90 motor, previously known as the R240 (earlier post). The figure used for this motor’s name now refers to the power output instead of the NEDC range as was previously the case. The R90 motor is available for all versions of the ZOE, with the exception of the French market’s entry level version which features the R75 motor.)

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Volkswagen unveils I.D. EV concept; 1st MEB-based vehicle, to launch in 2020; up to 373 miles

September 28, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen staged the world premiere of the I.D., a concept vehicle presaging the first of a new fleet of Volkswagen electric cars and highlighting Volkswagen’s vision for the future in a number of areas, including autonomous driving and a new Open Space concept for the interior.

The compact I.D. is driven by a 125 kW electric motor powered by a battery pack, and has a range of 400 - 600 km (249 - 373 miles) under European test conditions. I.D. will be the first Volkswagen built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). The production version of the I.D. is due to be launched in 2020 at a price on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models. The I.D. concept car at the show further demonstrates a concept of autonomous driving for the year 2025.

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EEA: large-scale roll-out of EVs will help EU shift to green transport, but may challenge power grid

September 27, 2016

A large scale roll-out of electric cars on European roads would result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of certain air pollutants, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment. However, widespread use of such vehicles would pose challenges for Europe’s power grid in meeting increased electricity demand.

The EEA briefing Electric vehicles and the energy sector — impacts on Europe’s future emissions looks at the impact of different scenarios that take into account the increased use of electric cars and their effect on the European Union’s (EU) energy system, and on emissions of greenhouse gases and selected air pollutants.

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Recargo progressing with WCEH fast-charger buildout; subcontract with Supercharger builder Black & Veach

September 26, 2016

Earlier this year, Recargo, parent company to PlugShare, a leading charging station locator app, was awarded more than $1.6 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to help complete key routes of the West Coast Electric Highway (WCEH), a network of fast charging and Level 2 electric vehicle stations expected to stretch from Canada to Mexico. Recargo is contributing more than $575,000 of its own money toward the project.

The award was part of nearly $9 million in grants that went to four companies—Chargepoint Inc.; EV Connect Inc.; NRG EV Services LLC; and Recargo, Inc.—which will install 61 DC fast chargers at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers allow most vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours. (Earlier post.)

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Vattenfall, BMW and Bosch test second-life EV battery electricity storage in Hamburg for grid stabilization

September 23, 2016

Vattenfall, BMW and Bosch are testing the use of second-life EV batteries in a 2 MW, 2,800 kWh energy storage system in Hamburg, Germany, to keep the electricity grid stable.

The electricity storage facility comprises 2,600 battery modules from more than 100 electric vehicles. It could supply electricity to an average two-person household for seven months. However, the stored energy is not intended for general supply, but instead is sold on the primary control reserve market by Vattenfall, along with power from other flexibly controllable facilities. The storage facility delivers primary control reserve power necessary to keep the 50 Hz grid frequency stable. Primary control reserve power must be available within a few seconds.

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smart offering entire range with battery-electric drive

The smart fortwo electric drive is now available on the new-generation smart platform in both the smart fortwo coupe and cabrio models and—for the first time—in the smart forfour (not available in the US). With this next generation, smart will be the only car manufacturer worldwide to offer its entire model range with both combustion engines and pure battery-electric drive.

The smart electric drive will celebrate its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show and market launch of the smart fortwo coupe electric drive will start in the US in spring 2017 and the smart fortwo cabrio electric drive in summer 2017.

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Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introduces e-Crafter electric van concept; to market in 2017

September 21, 2016

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introduced the e-Crafter electric van concept at this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover. With a permitted total weight of 4.2 tonnes, the concept vehicle is equipped with a 100 kW, 290 N·m motor powered by a 312-cell (26 x 12), 43 kWh Li-ion battery pack. Maximum permitted speed is 80 km/h (50 mph).

The concept vehicle’s battery pack is fitted under the cargo space floor; cargo space capacity thus remains unchanged from conventionally powered Crafters. Depending on vehicle configuration, the battery unit enables a range of more than 200 kilometres (124 miles). Subject to sufficient charging current capacity, the batteries can also be charged back up to 80% in 45 minutes at 40 kW.

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MAN Truck & Bus selects ABB fast chargers for its e-bus R&D facilities

ABB is supplying fast chargers for depot and opportunity charging of electric buses to MAN Truck & Bus, a member of the Volkswagen Group, for its new e-bus R&D facilities in Munich, Germany. In July, MAN Truck & Bus announced serial production of fully electric buses by 2019. Pilots of the e-buses are planned to go into operation in 2018. The buses are being developed at MAN’s R&D facilities in Munich, using a test bench equipped with different charging technologies from ABB.

For depot charging tests—used at the terminus where a bus has a longer stop—MAN will use an ABB fast charger with a CCS2 connector at its facility. Following the EU standardization for electric vehicle charging, it is the same connector that is used for electric cars.

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ELIX Wireless & Zongshen partner on wireless chargers for China and NA; Magneto-Dynamic Coupling (MDC)

ELIX Wireless, a Canada-based startup developing novel wireless power transfer technology, signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Chongqing Zongshen Power Machinery Co Ltd, a listed entity of the Zongshen Group. Zongshen Power also acted as the lead investor in ELIX’s US$5-million Series A funding round.

ELIX began as a spin-out from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2013 to commercialize its patented, Magneto-Dynamic Coupling (MDC) technology. ELIX MDC technology uses the interaction between magnetic fields to create a “remote magnetic gear” system with full 360-degree freedom of orientation. MDC operates at a frequency of 80-400 Hz, 1000 times lower than a resonant inductive system.

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WiTricity and Prodrive Technologies to develop 11 kW EV wireless charging system for European carmaker’s 2019 planned introduction

September 20, 2016

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity is collaborating with Prodrive Technologies, a Tier-1 supplier of power electronics and sensors, to design a high-performance 11 kW wireless charging system. The two companies were selected to design the system by a leading European carmaker that plans to release its first wirelessly-charged vehicles in 2019.

WiTricity will provide its foundational magnetic resonance intellectual property, complete reference designs and consulting services to the project. Based on the WiTricity designs, Prodrive will develop and industrialize an automotive mass market system and implement the automaker’s specific requirements.

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Silicon Mobility introduces OLEA T222 for hybrid and electric powertrain control

September 19, 2016

France-based semiconductor fabless company Silicon Mobility has introduced OLEA T222, its new solution dedicated for hybrid and electric powertrain control. OLEA T222 is a new member of the OLEA family, the first automotive microcontrollers with embedded, robust and secured programmable logic.

Silicon Mobility says that OLEA T222’s flexibility, hard-real time parallel processing and safe architecture makes it suited to control all flavors of hybridization—micro-, mild- or full-, including Integrated Belt Starter Generator (i-BSG); Crankshaft Motor driven Generator (CMG); Gearbox Motor driven Generator (GMG); in-wheel Motor or in-axle Motor; DC/DC converter; as well as full electric powertrains.

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Delta Motorsport introduces Micro Turbine Range Extender

At the LCV 2016 event in the UK last week, Delta Motorsport unveiled a new low-cost micro-turbine applied as a range-extended in an electric car. The company developed the E-4 Coupe extended-range electric electric vehicle in a £3.1-million (US$4-million) collaborative R&D project. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK co-funded the project.

The new system, dubbed MiTRE (Micro Turbine Range Extender), is specifically designed for use as a range extender for electric vehicles. Delta has produced two complete MiTRE prototype systems with 17 kW power output; one is fitted into the E-4 Coupe for further development.

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NC State team develops new SiC inverter; 12.1 kW/L & greater efficiency in a smaller, lighter package

September 15, 2016

Researchers at the Future Renewable Electric Energy Distribution and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at North Carolina State University have developed an inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles using off-the-shelf components made of the wide-bandgap semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC).

The new SiC-based inverter has a power density of 12.1 kW/L—close to the US Department of Energy’s target of 13.4 kW/L by 2020. By way of comparison, a 2010 electric vehicle could achieve only 4.1 kW/L. Further, says Iqbal Husain, ABB Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State and director of the FREEDM Center, the silicon carbide prototype inverter can transfer 99% of energy to the motor—about two percent higher than the best silicon-based inverters under normal conditions.

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BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint complete EV express charging corridors on the East and West Coasts

September 13, 2016

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers can now travel the most heavily-trafficked corridors on the East and West Coasts of the United States with the installation of 95 new DC Fast charging stations as part of the Express Charging Corridors Initiative—a collaboration of BMW of North America, Volkswagen of America, Inc. and ChargePoint, the world’s largest EV charging network.

Each charging location along the Express Charging Corridors offers either 50 kW or 24 kW DC Fast charging with the SAE Combo connectors used in the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf electric vehicles (and in many other EVs with DC Fast charging capability). Many locations also offer CHAdeMO connectors, for vehicles equipped with these ports. All stations are publicly available and can be easily accessed with the ChargePoint mobile app or a ChargePoint card, or for BMW drivers, a ChargeNow card.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance EV sales hit 350,000 mark

Renault-Nissan Alliance has sold its 350,000 electric vehicle since December 2010 when the Nissan LEAF went on sale. The Alliance achieved the milestone in August, while also setting an industry record of 100,000 EVs sold in a single year.

The Alliance today accounts for half of the EVs sold worldwide. The Nissan LEAF remains the industry’s best-selling EV, with more than 230,000 units sold globally. Renault is the best-performing EV brand in Europe. (Earlier post.)

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Proterra launches new Catalyst E2 series electric bus with nominal range of up to 350 miles

September 12, 2016

At the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Annual Meeting, Proterra unveiled the newest addition to its fleet of electric buses: the Catalyst E2 series, named for its Efficient Energy (E2) storage capacity of 440 - 660 kWh. Last month, an E2 series vehicle achieved a new milestone at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds where it logged more than 600 miles (966 km) on a single charge under test conditions.

Its nominal range of 194 - 350 miles means the Catalyst E2 series is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every US. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles. The high-mileage Catalyst E2 series joins the existing Catalyst FC and XR series vehicles, designed for circulator and intermediate-mileage routes, respectively.

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BMW launching longer range i3 at Paris Show; 94 Ah cells for up to 124 miles real-world range; retrofit program

BMW will launch its longer range BMW i3 at the Paris Motor Show. (Earlier post.) With higher-energy-density 94 Ah lithium-ion cells, the battery pack of the new BMW i3 (94 Ah) is 33 kWh, increasing the car’s range on a single charge from 190 to 300 kilometers / 118 - 186 miles (NEDC cycle), with a real-world range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles)—even in adverse weather conditions requiring use of the heater or air-conditioning.

The 125 kW/170 hp hybrid synchronous electric motor accelerates the BMW i3 (94 Ah) from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds, making this BMW i3 the sportiest and, with electricity consumption of 12.6 kWh/100 km (NEDC), most efficient electric vehicle in its segment. Revised electric motor management and further optimized, low-rolling-resistance tires are among the many detailed modifications that have helped to reduce electricity usage.

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BMW Motorrad introducing new C evolution electric scooter; longer range with 94 Ah cells

At the Paris Motor Show, BMW Motorrad will introduce the new version of the C evolution electric scooter. (Earlier post.) Featuring a new generation of batteries with a cell capacity of 94 Ah, as used in the current BMW i3, the C evolution has significantly extended its range for one of its variants.

The electric scooter will be available in two variants: the Long Range version (160 km / 99 miles) and the European version that meets the requirements for the A1 driving licence (100 km / 62 miles).

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ICCT analysis of California top EV cities finds link between EV uptake and many underlying factors

A detailed, city-level multivariate regression analysis of EV penetration in California has found a link between electric vehicle uptake and many underlying factors. A team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that electric vehicle model availability; public electric vehicle charging network; local promotion activities for electric vehicles (e.g., outreach events, informational websites; electric car sharing services; and government and fleet programs) and median income in each city to be correlated significantly with new electric vehicle sales share. They cautioned that causality could not be determined within the analysis.

The team drilled into the activities of the 30 California cities with the highest rates of electric vehicle penetration, examining how local organizations—regional and city governments, utilities, businesses, and nonprofits are promoting electric vehicles through a wide array of activities. In these 30 cities, electric vehicles account for 6% to 18% share of new vehicle sales—this is 8 to 25 times that of the US average in 2015. These vehicle markets range greatly in size, from hundreds of electric vehicle sales up to approximately 4,000 (San Jose).

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Volkswagen Group & Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) jointly to develop EVs in China; new JV focused on NEVs

September 07, 2016

Volkswagen AG and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., Ltd. (JAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Wolfsburg to define the next phase of negotiations between the two companies in order to achieve long-term cooperation in the joint development of all-electric vehicles in China.

According to the MoU the parties intend to enter into discussions to evaluate the perspectives and feasibility of a new joint venture company focusing on new energy vehicles (NEV), to carry out full scope cooperation in areas including research and development, manufacture, sales and mobility services in the field of NEV and parts in order to improve fuel efficiency. The top priority will be to develop zero-emission mobility solutions.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans strategic initiative adVANce: holistic system solutions for transport; electric Vision Van

Mercedes-Benz Vans has launched an initiative it calls adVANce, focused on the company’s transformation from solely a vehicle manufacturer to becoming a provider of holistic system solutions for goods and passenger transport.

Mercedes-Benz Vans also presented the "Vision Van" van study as part of the adVANce initiative. This all-electric vehicle combines various innovative solutions for last-mile delivery in urban and suburban environments. It is the first van worldwide to fully digitally connect all people and processes involved, from the distribution center to the consignee. Furthermore, it is the first van ever to feature a fully automated cargo space and integrated delivery drones.

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Chevrolet Bolt one-pedal driving can boost range up to 5%

September 06, 2016

In January at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Chevrolet said that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV would offer drivers a customizable one-pedal driving experience that allows for maximum total vehicle range. (Earlier post.)

As the on-sale date approaches, Chevrolet has provided some more insight into its implementation of the one-pedal experience in the EV. One-pedal driving combines the highest available level of regenerative braking, which captures otherwise lost energy from deceleration and sends it back to the Bolt EV battery pack for the greatest total vehicle range. Along with additional software controls, regen braking allows the driver to stop the vehicle without using the brake pedal in certain driving conditions.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans launches new Vito in China; unveiling electric van of future this week

Mercedes-Benz Vans launched its new mid-size van—the Vito—at the Chengdu Motor Show in China on Friday. The first batch of the new Vito rolled off the production line at Daimler’s local joint venture Fujian Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (FBAC) in Fuzhou in August. The new Vito will be ready for delivery to dealers at the end of September.

In an event to be held this Wednesday at its “Van Innovation Campus” in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Vans will unveil its vision of the van of the future: connected and electrically powered. (In July, Daimler Trucks unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. Earlier post.)

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Audi to increase participation in Formula E; full factory-backed motorsport program for 2017/2018

September 02, 2016

Audi will intensify its future commitment in Formula E—the world’s first racing series for fully electric race cars. Starting in the 2016/2017 season that opens in Hong Kong on 9 October, Audi will increase its involvement in Formula E Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. In addition, it plans to incorporate Formula E into a factory-backed motorsport program as of the 2017/2018 season.

Audi Sport has been giving its name to the current Formula E team since the inaugural 2014/2015 Formula E season, and has made one of its factory drivers, Lucas di Grassi, available in the course of this cooperation. In addition, the team has been able to use Audi Sport’s infrastructure in Neuburg.

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First electric bus customers for new UQM PowerPhase DT heavy-duty drivetrain pilot program

September 01, 2016

UQM Technologies (UQM) has secured global commercial customers as early adopters of its new full drivetrain solution, the PowerPhase DT. These early adopters include Hybrid Kinetic Group, Wuzhoulong Motors and ITL for a Yangtse full-size bus in China and ADOMANI in the US.

These customers will work in close collaboration with UQM, and suppliers Pi Innovo and Eaton, to develop heavy-duty commercial and transit all-electric vehicles, enabling them to rapidly deploy vehicles to market. The PowerPhase DT will be delivered to early adopters this fall for pilot program deployment.

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DARPA invests $2.7M in QinetiQ electric wheel-hub drive technology; moving to build-and-test phase

August 31, 2016

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced a $2.7m investment in UK-based QinetiQ’s electric hub-drive technology.

As part of an electric propulsion system, QinetiQ’s hub-drive replaces multiple gearboxes, differentials, and drive shafts with compact and extremely high-powered electric motors contained completely within the wheels. This approach significantly reduces overall platform weight and opens up new design possibilities that improve safety and increase performance for military and civilian vehicles.

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Audi ups A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV technology offerings for US MY2017; virtual cockpit

August 30, 2016

For MY 2017, Audi has updated its A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the US with improved technology offerings such as the available Audi virtual cockpit and standard driver assistance systems including Audi pre sense front.

The A3 Sportback e-tron continues to feature a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and a permanent magnet-driven electric motor to produce 204 hp (152 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 N·m) of torque. The e-tron accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds. 2017 EPA estimates not a available yet; the base 2016 model is EPA-rated at 83 MPGe, with up to 16 miles of all-electric range.

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