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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.]

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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Volkswagen and Hamburg enter 3-year strategic mobility partnership; e-bus development with MAN

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Volkswagen Group will collaborate over the next three years to jointly develop innovative solutions for making urban mobility more environmentally-friendly, safer, more reliable and more efficient. The cooperation aims to develop Hamburg as a model city for forward-looking, sustainable and integrated urban mobility.

Urban mobility concepts and intermodality, traffic control and management, autonomous driving and parking, innovative vehicle concepts and alternative technologies as well as air pollution control are the cornerstones of the partnership.

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Opel introducing Ampera-e at Paris Show; European cousin of Chevy Bolt

August 24, 2016

Opel will introduce the Ampera-e at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in September. Ampera-e is the European cousin to the Chevy Bolt (earlier post), as the Ampera was to the Chevy Volt.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux”; expands Tesla to heavy-duty electric trucks and urban transport; integrated energy generation and storage

Elon Musk has, as promised, published his second “master plan,” composed with the help of all-nighters and the Gatsby soundtrack.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

Wrightspeed was chosen by a professional jury among hundreds of candidates as one of the 30 selected companies. Advanced Li-ion battery company 24M was also selected this year. (Earlier post.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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