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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.]

Mercedes-Benz to set up EV production in US, battery plant; $1B investment in Alabama

September 21, 2017

Mercedes-Benz will set up electric vehicle production in the United States. The company plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models at MBUSI (Mercedes-Benz US International), its Tuscaloosa, Alabama facility. At the time being launched, the EQ models will feature the latest status of automated driving—always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations.

In addition, a battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of advanced technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the US. In total, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative.

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

September 20, 2017

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

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

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Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi 6-year plan sees 12 pure EV models launched on common platforms, 40 models with autonomous drive

The Alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced their six-year plan—Alliance 2022—which sets a new target to double annual synergies to €10 billion by the end of the plan. To achieve this, said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Alliance, the three automakers will accelerate their collaboration on common platforms, powertrains and next-generation electric, autonomous and connected technologies.

The Alliance is forecasting total annual sales to exceed 14 million units with $240 billion in revenue by the end of the plan—up more than 30% on the $180 billion aggregate revenues achieved in 2016. Under Alliance 2022, the member companies will increase their use of common platforms, with nine million units based on four common platforms. The plan will also extend the use of common powertrains to 75% of total sales. Alliance 2022 plans a major expansion in shared electric vehicle technologies, alongside the development and deployment of advanced autonomous drive systems, vehicle connectivity and new mobility services.

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Nikola and Bosch partner on hydrogen-electric Class-8 long-haul truck; dual-motor commercial-vehicle eAxle

September 19, 2017

Nikola Motor Company is partnering with Bosch on the development of its hydrogen-fuel-cell range-extended electric Class 8 long-haul truck, unveiled as a prototype in December 2016. (Earlier post.)

By 2021, Nikola intends to bring to market the Nikola One and Two, a class 8 hydrogen-electric truck lineup that will deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 lb-ft (2,712 N·m) of torque—nearly double the horsepower of any semi-truck on the road—all with zero tailpipe emissions, as previously announced by Nikola.

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Proterra and LG Chem co-develop new battery cell for heavy-duty market; Proterra sets electric distance record

Leading electric bus manufacturer Proterra and LG Chem co-developed a battery cell that has been optimized to meet the unique performance and safety demands of the heavy-duty vehicle market. The cell chemistry has been optimized for exceptional energy throughput capability, high charge rate acceptance, and industry leading energy density.

Last year, Proterra introduced the Catalyst E2, the longest-range electric transit bus on the market. Capable of traveling up to 350 miles (563 km) on a single charge, the Catalyst E2 meets the full daily mileage needs of nearly every US mass transit route. For this program, LG Chem has developed an advanced battery cell to meet Proterra’s highest standard in terms of performance and safety. The E2 battery packs represent the heavy-duty industry’s highest pack-level energy density at 160 Wh/kg and 260 Wh/L.

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USDOT awarding $55M to support purchase of Low-No buses; electric buses and infrastructure

September 17, 2017

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced $55 million in grant selections through the Low or No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle program, which funds the development of transit buses and infrastructure that use advanced fuel technologies. Fifty-one projects in 39 states will receive a share of the funding. The vast majority of the funded projects are for battery-electric buses and infrastructure; two projects are receiving a total of $3.2 million for hydrogen fuel cell buses.

Eligible projects included those that replace, rehabilitate, lease, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, construct or lease bus-related facilities, such as buildings for bus storage and maintenance. Projects can also include workforce development components to train the next generation of transit employees.

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

September 16, 2017

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

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

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Volkswagen prices 2017 e-Golf starting at $30,495; longer range, better fuel economy, more power

September 15, 2017

Volkswagen of America Inc. is pricing the 2017 e-Golf starting at $30,495, plus $820 destination. For 2017, Volkswagen is using an updated lithium-ion battery with an increased energy capacity of 35.8 kWh, up from 24.2 kWh. The revised battery helps increase the vehicle’s range from an EPA-estimated total range of 83 miles to 125 miles on a single charge.

The 7.2 kW on-board charger is now standard on all trims, which enables the battery to be charged in less than six hours at a 240V charging station. When equipped with DC Fast Charging (optional on SE, standard on Limited Edition and SEL Premium), the battery can be charged up to 80% within an hour at a DC fast charging station.

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Daimler begins deliveries of electric FUSO eCanter; UPS first commercial customer; NGO fleets

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), part of Daimler Trucks, celebrated the global launch of the FUSO eCanter (earlier post) in New York City. The FUSO eCanter is the world’s first series-produced all-electric light-duty truck and will be delivered to customers starting this year in the US, Europe and Japan. MFTBC is planning to deliver 500 units of this generation to customers within the next two years. Larger scale production is intended to start in 2019.

FUSO also announced the company’s first US commercial partner for the eCanter: UPS will place three of the new electric trucks into its fleet. In coordination with the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, FUSO also will supply a fleet of local zero‑e mission FUSO eCanter trucks to well-known New York based not-for-profits, including: Wildlife Conservation Society, New York Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity New York City, and Big Reuse Brooklyn.

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Lightning Systems and New Eagle unveil battery-electric upfit system for Ford Transit passenger wagon, van, cutaway, chassis cab models

September 13, 2017

Lightning Systems, a developer of efficiency and emissions improvement solutions for fleets, in partnership with New Eagle, a mechatronic control system provider, will introduce a full battery-electric upfit system for Ford Transit passenger wagon, van, cutaway and chassis cab models.

The new LightningElectric zero-emissions package is available for Ford Transit as part of Ford’s eQVM program. The product will be available first on heavy-duty Transits with a 10,360-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and will go on sale in early 2018. Conversions and service are performed by Ford QVM-certified upfitters and dealers around the world.

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

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

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

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Honda unveils Urban EV Concept, production version in 2019; electrified technology for every new model launched in Europe

September 12, 2017

Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo unveiled Honda’s new electric vehicle, the Urban EV Concept, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Urban EV Concept is built on a completely new platform, and sets the direction for the technology and design that will appear on a future battery electric Honda production model. The production version of the car will go onsale in Europe in 2019, he added.

Hachigo also said that Honda was committed to introducing electrified technology for every new model launched in Europe. At a global level, Honda aims to have electrified technology in two-thirds of its new car sales by 2030. In Europe, the target year is 2025, as interest is particularly strong.

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Audi’s Aicon autonomous concept: Level 5 with 700-800 km electric range

Audi is showcasing its autonomous driving strategy at the IAA 2017 with the production Audi A8 (conditional automated driving at level 3 as standard) and two concept cars will also be demonstrating the Audi vision for level 4 and level 5. (Earlier post.)

The four-door Level 5 design vision Audi Aicon presents an autonomous Audi of the future with no steering wheel or pedals. The Aicon is designed for purely electric operation and should be able to cover distances between 700 and 800 kilometers (435.0 - 497.1 mi) on a single charge.

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Volkswagen presents new I.D. CROZZ II battery-electric SUV concept; on sale in 2020

At the traditional Volkswagen Group Night event on the evening before the International Motor Show (IAA) opens in Frankfurt, the Volkswagen brand staged the world premiere of the newest I.D. CROZZ electric concept vehicle. The I.D. CROZZ is part of the electric campaign in which Volkswagen will be expanding its electric car model range—initially with three models from 2020. In 2025 the Volkswagen Brand will be offering 23 all-electric models. (Earlier post.) This model, which launches in 2020, is not only an important pillar of Volkswagen’s electric mobility campaign, but is also part of Volkswagen’s current SUV campaign.

The first version of the zero emission I.D. CROZZ was presented in Shanghai in April 2017. (Earlier post.) This concept vehicle has now been systematically further developed and refined in the direction of a production car as the I.D. CROZZ II. The basic concept of a crossover that combines an SUV with a four-door coupé has been further sharpened in this design. In addition, the I.D. CROZZ II has new features such as interactive voice control that can be used to open or close all doors and to activate or deactivate the fully automated I.D. Pilot mode.

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Volkswagen Group new Roadmap E: 50 BEV, 30 PHEV new Group vehicles by 2025, €50B battery tender; €20B capex earmark

September 11, 2017

At the Volkswagen Group Media Night ahead of the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, the Volkswagen Group announced what it called the most comprehensive electrification initiative in the global automotive industry. Under the new “Roadmap E”, Volkswagen will have electrified its entire model portfolio by 2030 at the latest.

This means that, by then, there will be at least one electrified version of each of the 300 or so Group models across all brands and markets. This makes Volkswagen the first big mobility group to have put a date on the electrification of its entire fleet. The Group will need more than 150 GWh of battery capacity annually by 2025 for its own e-fleet alone. This is equivalent to at least four gigafactories for battery cells. To meet this demand, the Company has put one of the largest procurement volumes in the industry’s history out to tender: more than €50 billion (US60 billion).

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Freudenberg Sealing showcasing range of e-mobility solutions at the 2017 Battery Show North America

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, a global developer of engineered sealing solutions, will showcase a portfolio of e-mobility products at this week’s 2017 North American Battery Show in Novi (US). The company will display components that assist with thermal management, power efficiency, friction reduction, weight reduction and compact installation spaces, among others.

Some of the company’s solutions for lithium-ion batteries, for example, include the Curve Gasket, Offset Seals, O-Rings and Large Format Gaskets. As in standard internal combustion systems, these Freudenberg components help reduce friction, emissions and weight in the lithium-ion batteries used electric vehicles. They also offer easy handling and assembly.

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GKN Driveline introducing new advanced electric driveline concept with torque vectoring at Frankfurt: eTwinsterX

GKN Driveline will reveal a new electric axle concept at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) this week. The new eAxle eTwinsterX offers three key advantages over conventional electric drivelines, GKN says: size, efficiency and torque vectoring.

The integrated coaxial format means that the electric drive (eDrive) unit is significantly smaller than other systems with equivalent power outputs. Its size also contributes to its adaptability to suit any vehicle type, from city cars to luxury plug-in hybrid SUVs, whether front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The technologies within the eTwinsterX system also mean that it is the first eAxle to offer full off-road capabilities.

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Audi to showcase Level 4, 5 autonomous concepts, production A8 with Level 3 autonomy at IAA

September 09, 2017

Audi is showcasing its autonomous driving strategy at the IAA 2017. The new Audi A8 incorporates conditional automated driving at level 3 as standard (earlier post). Two concept cars will also be demonstrating the Audi vision for level 4 and level 5. They also provide insights into the brand’s future Audi AI technologies.

The new A8 is designed for conditional automated driving at level 3 in accordance with international standards. On highways and multi-lane motorways with a physical barrier separating the two directions of traffic, the Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes over the driving task in slow-moving traffic up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph). The system handles starting from a stop, accelerating, steering and braking in its lane.

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Capstone completes track testing of Kenworth microturbine-powered hybrid electric Class 7 truck

September 07, 2017

Capstone Turbine Corporation successfully completed track testing of a Kenworth Class 7 hybrid electric work truck using its 65kW microturbine as an on-board range extender. (Earlier post.) The successful track testing confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades.

The Kenworth Class 7 work truck features a Capstone C65 microturbine that is installed onboard and operates on compressed natural gas. The microturbine acts as a range extender to charge an onboard 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack, which in turn provides power to the electric traction motors that propel the truck.

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BMW Group to offer 25 electrified vehicle models by 2025, 12 fully electric

By 2025, the BMW Group will offer 25 electrified vehicle models—12 of them fully electric, said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in a preview briefing before the opening of the Frankfurt Motor Show next week.

BMW Group will deliver 100,000 electrified vehicles to customers this year, Krüger said. By the end of 2017, there will be a total of more than 200,000 BMW Group electrified vehicles on the road. The Group’s market share for electric drives in Europe is already three times higher than its market share for combustion-powered cars, added Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for batteries and electrification to enable extreme fast charging

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends (DE-FOA-00001807) to issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001808) targeting the development plug-in electric vehicle systems that can recharge rapidly at high power levels.

Advanced battery projects will focus on early-stage research of battery cells that can enable extreme fast charging, while electrification projects will support the development and verification of electric drive systems and infrastructure for plug-in vehicle fast charging.

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Ford Transit plug-in series hybrid van makes it debut in UK; 1.0L EcoBoost range extender

September 06, 2017

Ford’s new plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Transit Custom van (earlier post) made its debut at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook, UK. The vehicle makes its first appearance as Ford prepares 20 PHEV Transits for the 12-month fleet customer trial in London that begins in late 2017.

Scheduled for volume production in 2019, the Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced series hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range exceeding 50 kilometers (31 miles), and features the multi-award winning Ford EcoBoost 1.0-liter gasoline engine as a range extender. The EcoBoost engine charges the on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging stops, providing operators with efficiency and flexibility.

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Xtrac introduces new integrated lightweight EV transmission system

Xtrac has developed a new member of its Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) transmission systems; the new P1166 is being incorporated by Williams Advanced Engineering into its innovative modular lightweight electric car platform concept known as FW-EVX (earlier post).

The P1166 transmission, fully integrated with YASA P400 motor-generator, meets the tight packaging and lightweight requirements for the front axle of Williams’ modular lightweight electric car chassis. The unit is complemented at the rear by Xtrac’s P1227 transmission with torque vectoring capability (earlier post), which made its debut in 2016, and which has already been selected by customers for high performance EV applications.

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Nissan unveils new LEAF; 150-mile range; high-power variant with larger battery in 2019

Nissan revealed the Nissan LEAF electric vehicles in a global launch event in Yokohama, followed by its North American debut at a media event in Las Vegas. The new LEAF features greater range, a dynamic new design and three main new intelligent driving technologies. The first is ProPILOT advanced driver assistance system; the second, ProPILOT Park; and the third, e-Pedal (earlier post).

The new e-powertrain gives the new Nissan LEAF 110 kW of power output (up 38% from the previous generation) and 320 N·m of torque (up 26%) from the EM57 motor. The LEAF now offers a range of 400 km (249 miles) on the Japan JC08 cycle. Nissan puts driving range in Europe at 378 km (235 miles) on the NEDC and in North America at 150 miles (241 km). Maximum speed is 144 km/h (89 mph). The new LEAF will also be followed in model year 2019 with a high-power version with increased motor power and battery capacity.

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Williams Advanced Engineering unveils lightweight electric car platform concept

Williams Advanced Engineering is displaying an innovative lightweight EV platform concept, named the FW-EVX, at this year’s Low Carbon Vehicle Show, Millbrook, UK, 6-7 September. With the intent of maximizing vehicle efficiency, Williams Advanced Engineering reimagined how electric cars are designed and constructed. This new approach is designed to make EVs lighter, safer and greener, with longer range and better performance.

The concept features several innovations in battery pack design, cooling systems and lightweight structures, which have each been integrated into a single, scalable platform.

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Mercedes-Benz to showcase pre-production version of coming GLC F-Cell fuel cell PHEV at IAA

September 05, 2017

At the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, Mercedes-Benz will display publicly for the first time the pre-production version of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL fuel cell plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.)

The GLC F-CELL features a ~9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack combined with a new fuel cell stack. Around 30% more compact than previous stacks, it can be fully housed in the engine compartment for the first time. Too, the cost of the technology has been slashed due largely to a 90% reduction in the amount of platinum used in the stack. The combination of fuel cell and battery system—along with a further developed intelligent operating strategy—will offer a combined range of around 500 km (311 miles) in the NEDC.

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TM4 introduces a bi-directional charger inverter

In a strategic move to broaden its product offering, TM4 has introduced a new bi-directional charger inverter, the BCI20. TM4 developed this product in collaboration with Convertronix, a Québec-based company specialized in the design and manufacturing of power conversion equipment.

The TM4 BCI20 functions as battery charger and inverter for use in a variety of electric and hybrid vehicle applications. It is designed to use the full current range from the AC mains as defined in SAE J1772 for a maximum charge power of 18kW on 240 VAC. When the vehicle is in use, the charger becomes a dual inverter that can provide two independent three phase outputs of 9kVA each to power various AC auxiliary loads.

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Mercedes-Benz Vans sets up on-demand van-ride-sharing JV with US start-up Via; Daimler invests $50M in Via

Mercedes-Benz Vans is entering the ride-sharing sector by setting up a joint venture with the US startup company Via. Daimler Mobility Services additionally joins in as a strategic investor in Via with a $50-million stake. For Daimler Mobility Services, Volker Mornhinweg will be joining Via’s board of directors.

Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Via has focused on developing, from the ground up, a scalable and on-demand shared ride solution. The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport, enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas.

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Simon Fraser study finds no free-ride for ZEV area neighbors; regions need their own policies

September 04, 2017

In study based on a dynamic technology adoption model, a pair of researchers at Simon Fraser University (British Columbia) have concluded that even if a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) manadate drives significant ZEV adoption in the area in which the mandate is implemented, there is no “free-riding” ZEV adoption in neighboring areas. Regions seeking low-carbon transportation likely will need to implement their own stringent policies, the researchers suggest. The study by Maxwell Sykes and Jonn Axsen is published in the journal Energy Policy.

Sykes and Axsen investigated the regional spillover effects and GHG impacts of the ZEV mandate in place in ten US states. They focused on their own small region (British Columbia, covering 0.7% of the market) as potentially free-riding off of ZEV States’ policy (covering 23% of the market).

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New Bosch e-axle integrates motor, power electronics, transmission; mass production in 2019

September 02, 2017

Leveraging its experience with electromobility components, Bosch has developed a new generation electric axle drive, or e-axle. The motor, power electronics, and transmission form one compact unit that directly drives the car’s axle. This makes the powertrain not only far more efficient, but more affordable as well.

Bosch has had electric axle drives in the market since 2012 (in the Peugeot 3008 and Fiat 500e, for example), but the power electronics was not fully integrated into them. With the new generation of the electric axle, Bosch is in the development phase, and is in contact with automakers from around the world. More precisely, samples of the electric axle are ready for use, and are currently being tested. Start of production is planned for 2019 at the latest.

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SK Innovation to begin production of NCM-811 batteries

September 01, 2017

Korea-based SK Innovation said it will start the first commercial production of mid-and large-size pouch-type NCM-811 batteries. NCM-811 refers to the nickel-rich layered cathode material, comprising 80% nickel, 10% cobalt and 10% manganese. SK Innovation has been producing NCM-622 cells (60% nickel, 20% cobalt, 20% manganese in the cathode). SK Innovation said that the new higher energy density cells could extend EV range by another 100 km compared to current cells.

In a 2016 review paper published in ACS Energy Letters (Myung et al.), a team of Korean researchers suggested that the vast majority of electric vehicles on the market over the next decade will use nickel-rich cathode materials—LiNi1−x−yCoxAlyO2 (NCA) and LiNi1−x−yCoxMnyO2 (NCM) in particular. Extending intrinsic capacity in these layered oxides requires, for example, increasing nickel content. Such an effort, however, also involves balancing other operational parameters (power, lifetime, safety, cost).

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nanoFlowcell planning entry into FIA Formula E with flow cell and 48V drive

August 31, 2017

Swiss R&D company nanoFlowcell Holdings (earlier post) is in discussions with Formula E Holdings on nanoFlowcell’s participation in the FIA Formula E Championship and intent to enter with a Formula E race car with nanoFlowcell 48VOLT flow-cell drive.

The nanoFlowcell is a compact flow battery operated with two ionic liquid electrolytes (bi-ION). At the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, nanoFlowcell introduced the QUANT 48V electric sports car with a new version of the company’s 48-volt low-voltage drive. nanoFlowcell said that a throttled and adapted drive system based on the type installed in the QUANT 48VOLT could be used to fulfill the Formula E criteria for the maximum battery and motor output.

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smart vision EQ fortwo autonomous electric concept for ride sharing; emodying all of CASE

smart has unveiled the smart vision EQ fortwo, embodying a new vision of urban mobility and individualized highly flexible, efficient local public transport: the autonomous concept vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location.

The smart vision EQ fortwo is also a car in which all of the individual fields of expertise that make up the CASE corporate strategy are combined, allowing users in the city intuitive access to individual mobility. CASE stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). (Earlier post.)

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Cummins unveils electric Class 7 tractor; plans for “revolutionary” heavy-duty diesel in 2022

August 30, 2017

During an event at the Cummins Technical Center, Cummins unveiled its latest power solutions and energy-diverse products, displaying its near-zero natural gas engine technology (earlier post); super-efficient diesel engines (the X12 and X15, earlier post); and shared plans to introduce a “revolutionary” new heavy-duty diesel engine in 2022 for Class 8 linehaul trucks. Cummins also revealed a fully electric class 7 demonstration Urban Hauler Tractor.

The electric Class 7 demonstrator is fitted with a 140 kWh battery pack; the weight of the electric powertrain is roughly equal to that of the removed engine, aftertreatment, transmission and fuel tank. The tractor day cab has a gross vehicle weight rating limit of 75,000 pounds. The concept truck has a range of about 100 miles (161 km) on a single charge for city driving. The range is extendable to 300 miles (483 km) with additional battery packs. Cummins said that the powertrain and truck will enable it to learn more about the potential electrification holds for larger vehicles.

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MINI to present MINI Electric Concept design study at the IAA; all-electric production model in 2019

MINI will present the new MINI Electric Concept design study at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt am Main. Designed for use in urban areas, this concept car offers a window into how pure-electric day-to-day mobility might look in the years ahead. MINI will present an all-electric series-production model in 2019.

It has been nearly ten years since MINI took a significant, pioneering step with the MINI E (earlier post) and laid the foundations at the BMW Group for the development of electric mobility solutions to production readiness. The MINI E unveiled in 2008 was the first all-electric car from the BMW Group to be driven by private users in everyday traffic conditions—as part of an extensive field trial.

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Groupe Renault, Connected Energy install EV charging with 2nd-life batteries at highway rest areas

August 29, 2017

UK-based Connected Energy and Groupe Renault have installed two quick-charge stations based on Connected Energy’s E-STOR energy storage technology on highways in Belgium and Germany. Motorists there will be the first in the world to benefit from this service.

The E-STOR technology developed by Connected Energy uses second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles. With the E-STOR system, the batteries are recharged at low power, and the stored energy is then released at high power. It thus becomes possible to offer electric vehicle charging services in locations where constructing a high power connection to the power grid would be very costly. Economical and simple to install, E-STOR will contribute to the development of a network of quick-charging stations in Europe.

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BMW to premiere new i3 and i3s EVs at IAA

BMW will introduce the latest BMW i3—including the first BMW i3s sport model—at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September 2017; pricing will be announced closer to market launch. The BMW i3 is the bestselling compact battery-electric vehicle in the premium compact segment worldwide since it was launched in 2014.

The BMW i3 and the more powerful BMW i3s draw their energy from the lithium-ion high-voltage battery developed by the BMW Group with a cell capacity of 94-ampere hours (Ah). The handling characteristics of the BMW i3 have been optimized with the improved Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system.

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2017

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

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

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ULEMCo to offer a fuel cell range extender module for Nissan e-NV200 electric van

August 24, 2017

UK-based ULEMCo has developed a fuel-cell-based unit that will extend vehicle range by supplying additional power to the standard Nissan e-NV200 van. With the combination of the on-board hydrogen storage and fuel cell module, the van will have a range of more than 150 miles (241 km) when laden, satisfying the range requirements of most average daily delivery operations for this size of van.

ULEMCo specifically engineered the module to provide additional energy to the vehicle so that the operational practicality of the full electric vehicle can be widened to cope with seasonal range variation, working lifetime, and the impact on range when fully loaded—all things that currently limit the range of duties an operator can target for existing for zero-emission commercial vehicles.

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BMW releases more teaser shots and video of new i8 plug-in hybrid Roadster; preliminary fuel consumption figures

BMW released a new series of teaser shots and video of camouflaged versions of its new i8 plug-in hybrid Roadster (earlier post) on the road. The BMW i8 Roadster is projected to offer combined fuel consumption of 2.0l/100 km (117.5 mpg US); combined electricity consumption of 15.4 kWh/100 km (18.6 kWh/100 miles); combined CO2 emissions: 46 g/km (Fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tire format specified). All figures are preliminary.

By comparison, the in-production BMW i8 plug-in hybrid offers combined fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (111.9 mpg US); combined electricity consumption of 11.9 kWh/100 km (19.2 kWh/100 miles); combined CO2 emissions of 49 g/km (fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tire format specified.)

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ARPA-E awards $30M to 21 projects advance new class of high-performance power converters

August 23, 2017

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $30 million in funding for 21 innovative projects as part of the Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors (CIRCUITS) program. CIRCUITS project teams will accelerate the development and deployment of a new class of efficient, lightweight, and reliable power converters, based on wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors. (Earlier post.)

CIRCUITS projects will establish the building blocks of this class of power converter by advancing higher efficiency designs that exhibit enhanced reliability and superior total cost of ownership. In addition, a reduced form factor (size and weight) will drive adoption of higher performance and more efficient power converters relative to today’s state-of-the-art systems.

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Audi partners with Alta Devices on thin-film solar cells in panoramic glass roofs; first prototype this year

Audi and Alta Devices, a wholly-owned US subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist Hanergy, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation in thin film solar cell technology. Through this cooperation, the partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles. The first prototype is to be built by the end of 2017.

As the first step in the joint Audi/Hanergy thin film solar cell research and development project, the partners will integrate Alta Devices’ GaAs thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. The system will extend EV range by feeding solar energy into the internal vehicle electrical system—supporting air conditioning and other electrical appliances.

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

August 22, 2017

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

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

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Ninth annual Green Innovation Index finds California light-duty vehicle emissions spike; major challenge to 2030 climate goals

The ninth annual California Green Innovation Index—released by the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 and prepared by Beacon Economics—finds that the state’s ambitious climate policies have allowed for considerable economic growth, with California outpacing the growth of other states during the recovery period following the Great Recession. Between 2006 and 2015, California’s GDP per capita grew by almost $5,000 per person, nearly double the growth experienced by the US as a whole. At the same time, per capita emissions in the state decreased by 12%. Job growth between 2006 and 2015 in California outpaced rates experienced prior to 2006, and outpaced total US employment gains by 27%.

However, although the state has made considerable progress decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the rate of emissions decline appears to be slowing, due in part to a spike in transportation emissions attributed to an increase from light-duty vehicles. On an absolute basis, California’s total GHG emissions fell only slightly in 2015, down 0.34% from 2014. This compares to a 0.73% reduction in the previous year and sharper falls in years before.

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TUM, partners to present electric aCar prototype at IAA; transport for sub-Saharan Africa

August 21, 2017

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and partners will present their new prototype of an electric four-wheel drive utility vehicle designed for Africa—the aCar— at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt next month. The aCar is designed for passenger and cargo transportation and is also of interest for the European automotive market.

The vehicle is primarily intended for transporting passengers and cargo, with a total load capacity of one ton. The battery offers a variety of other possible applications, either as an energy source or as a drive for high-consumption applications, for example as a winch. A number of various modules have been designed for the cargo bed which can be used on a modular basis—e.g., to set up a mobile physician’s office or a water treatment station.

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Aral car buying trends study: German new car buyers looking to gasoline, hybrid vehicles

Interest in gasoline engined and hybrid vehicles has jumped in Germany while interest in diesel is falling, according to the latest biennial study on automotive buying trends in that country by leading German fuel retailer Aral.

According to the new Trends report, 52% of buyers want a conventional gasoline engine. Compared to the previous Aral study, this corresponds to an increase of 10 percentage points. Diesel came in a distant second with only 18%; two years ago, 31 percent of the respondents identified diesel as their choice. Hybrids now come in at 15%, up from 6%.

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GreenPower Motor secures commitments for 11 electric school buses in California; ARB approval for $95K HVIP incentive

Canada-based GreenPower Motor Company (earlier post) and its California factory direct dealer, School Bus Sales of California, have secured commitments for eleven batteery-electric Synapse 72 school buses from six different school districts in South Coast and North Coast California districts. The two have been giving demonstrations of the Synapse 72 electric school bus to school districts and charter schools selected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District for funding directly tied to the purchases of all-electric school buses.

Additionally, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved the battery-electric Synapse Shuttle bus for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) for $95,000 for each Synapse Shuttle sold in the State of California. In addition, HVIP provides increased incentives of $15,000 for fleets located in or serving disadvantaged communities and $10,000 for the first three buses acquired by an operator.

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Volkswagen to put MEB-based electric I.D. BUZZ microbus concept into production; Cargo variant too

August 19, 2017

Volkswagen announced it will put the battery-electric I.D. BUZZ microbus concept into production. Volkswagen presented the concept at the Detroit Auto Show in January. (Earlier post.) The Chairmen of the Boards of Management of the Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands, Dr Herbert Diess and Dr Eckhard Scholz, announced the decision today at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

Within the framework of further development, Volkswagen has also set a launch date for the I.D. BUZZ, which is built off the Modular Electric Drive kit (MEB). The vehicle will arrive at dealerships in 2022, after the compact four-door I.D. makes its debut. With the I.D. BUZZ, Volkswagen is mainly targeting markets in North America, Europe and China.

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San Joaquin Regional Transit District opens 1st all-electric bus rapid transit route in US; all routes to be electric by 2025

The San Joaquin (California) Regional Transit District (RTD) is converting its existing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Express Route 44 to 100% battery-electric buses this month. That BRT route will be the first in the US to feature all-electric bus service. The BRT buses were designed and built by California-based Proterra.

At the time of the conversion, Route 44 will be extended to serve passengers from the Downtown Transit Center (DTC) in Central Stockton to as far south as Qantas Lane near Arch-Airport Road. The change will enable people who work or study at locations such as PG&E, Dorfman Pacific, Venture Academy, San Joaquin County Office of Education, and the Economic Development Department Qantas Lane office, to commute rapidly and economically.

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Hyundai previews near-production-ready next-gen fuel cell SUV; new eco-vehicle development roadmap

August 17, 2017

At a special preview event held in Seoul, Hyundai Motor provided an early glimpse of its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which is due to launch early next year. The new fuel cell SUV will spearhead Hyundai Motor’s plans to accelerate development of low emission vehicles, in line with Hyundai Motor Group’s renewed goal of introducing 31 eco-friendly models (Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors combined) to global markets by 2020.

The yet-to-be-named model shown previews Hyundai Motor’s second commercially produced hydrogen model and uses the company’s fourth-generation of hydrogen fuel cell technology. The vehicle, its capabilities and fuel cell technologies are an evolution of Hyundai Motor’s global research, development and real-world evaluation programs. The company launched its first commercial fuel cell vehicle in 2013.

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Hyundai Mobis develops on-board bi-directional charger for V2G applications

August 16, 2017

Hyundai Mobis has developed an on-board, bi-directional charger for plug-in vehicles. The bi-directional onboard charger (OBC) allows the vehicle to supply electricity in its battery to the grid.

The power supplied by the vehicle can also be used as emergency power in homes. If more than enough power is supplied, it is possible to prevent a large power outage. In Korea, the amount of industrial damage caused by power outages is estimated to be 650 billion won (US$570 million) per year.

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Deutsche Post DHL Group, Ford unveil early build StreetScooter WORK XL electric delivery van; 150 pre-production vehicles

Deutsche Post DHL Group and Ford presented the first of their jointly produced electric delivery vans in Cologne, Germany. The vehicle, called the StreetScooter WORK XL, is based on a Ford Transit chassis fitted with a battery-electric drivetrain and a body designed and built to Deutsche Post DHL specifications. (Earlier post.)

In 2017, around 150 early build e-vans will be manufactured in the StreetScooter plant in Aachen, Germany. Deutsche Post DHL will use the e-vans to support its urban parcel delivery service in Germany. Deutsche Post DHL, StreetScooter and Ford plan to build 2,500 e-vans by the end of 2018. Like StreetScooter’s existing electric models—the WORK and WORK L—the WORK XL could be also sold to third-party customers.

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Infiniti reveals Prototype 9 open-wheeled electric retro roadster; new 30 kWh pack, prototype motor

August 14, 2017

Nissan Motor Corporation and its Infiniti brand revealed a sleek, open-wheeled electric retro roadster prototype at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car, called Prototype 9, is a re-imagining of a 1940s race car with time-honored production techniques employed to realize its retro design. The Prototype 9 is the first Infiniti to be powered by a new EV powertrain from Nissan Motor’s Advanced Powertrain Department—a 30 kWh high-voltage battery paired with a prototype electric motor, one not yet seen on a production vehicle.

Prototype 9 is the result of an after-hours endeavor by a passionate and enterprising team of employees from across the Nissan Motor Corporation. This nod to the future contrasts with the traditional materials and techniques applied for the Prototype 9’s manufacture, including panels hand-beaten by a team of Takumi—Nissan Motor’s master artisans.

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ChargEVC: New Jersey plug-in electric vehicle registration up 79% for MY 2016 vehicles over 2015

Registration of model year 2016 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in New Jersey was up 79% over 2015, according to a recent analysis by ChargEVC, a diverse coalition of organizations and companies that support growth of the electric vehicle market. New Jersey now has more than 10,000 PEVs on the road, 60% of which have been sold in the last two years.

The uptick in New Jersey sales is over twice as robust as already strong national sales: For the first half of 2017, US consumers bought 38% more plug-in electric vehicles than in the same period in 2016, even though automobile sales are down overall.

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Siemens building first stretch of eHighway on public roads in Germany

August 11, 2017

Siemens has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a ten-kilometer stretch of autobahn. The line will supply electricity for the electric drive of a hybrid truck. Siemens originally presented its innovative “eHighway” concept in 2012. (Earlier post.) The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at the Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange.

With this field trial, the eHighway will be tested on a public highway in Germany for the first time.

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Continental introduces novel aluminum wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles

Continental has developed a new wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles. The “New Wheel Concept” wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts: an inner Al carrier star with an Al brake disk and an outer Al rim well with the tire. In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.

To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.

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New electric truck company Chanje emerges from stealth; first model out this year

August 10, 2017

Chanje, a California-based commercial electric vehicle and energy solutions company, has emerged from stealth mode. Chanje’s first model, the V8070 panel van, already has volume orders and will be delivered later this year. The van has a payload capacity of up to 6,000 lbs (2,870 kg) and 580 ft3 of cargo volume. A 70 kWh liquid-cooled battery can charge at up to 7.2 kW. The dual motor system delivers a peak 148 kW and 564 lb-ft (764 N·m) of torque. The Chanje vehicles have demonstrated greater than 50 MPGe fuel economy in city and highway driving when tested by independent third-parties.

Utilizing a single platform and global vehicle strategy, Chanje will subsequently introduce a full range of electric models including larger trucks and shuttle buses in a variety of lengths and capacities, all aimed at the urban vehicle segment.

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Wood Mackenzie: EVs could account for 21% of global car fleet by 2035 under carbon-constrained scenario

New analysis by energy, metals and mining consultancy Wood Mackenzie, in collaboration with GTM Research, a Wood Mackenzie company focused on researching decarbonization and the decentralization of energy, suggests that electric vehicles could account for 21% of the global car stock by 2035 under a carbon-constrained scenario.

Wood Mackenzie’s carbon-constrained scenario focuses on consistent, marginal change that will disrupt established markets long before a wholesale switch away from hydrocarbons occurs. Among the elements of the scenario is long-term, double-digit growth for renewable energy—specifically wind and solar power—increasing to 30% of total power supply in 2035, up from 8% today. under the carbon-constrained scenario, petrochemical demand growth remains positive, although to a lesser degree than in the base case. However, the transport sector’s projected adoption of EVs would seriously disrupt oil demand.

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Volkswagen to offer incentive in Germany of up to €10,000 to scrap Euro 1-4 diesels

August 08, 2017

Volkswagen is offering an incentive of up to €10,000 (US$11,815)—depending upon the model purchased—for the purchase of Euro 6 vehicles in Germany if an older diesel vehicle (Euro 1 to Euro 4 standards) is scrapped at the same time. The incentive is one of a number of elements of a new environmental program launched by the automaker in its home country.

In addition, Volkswagen is offering a future incentive of between €1,000 and €2,380 (US$1,181 to $2,812) to customers purchasing a vehicle with an electric, hybrid or natural gas powertrain.

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MAHLE to present highly efficient 48V electric vehicle concept at IAA: MEET

August 07, 2017

MAHLE has developed a highly efficient 48-volt electric vehicle concept for urban mobility. “MEET” (MAHLE Efficient Electric Transport) will make its world debut at IAA Cars 2017 in Frankfurt/Germany in September. The modular design could be transferred to a wide range of platforms, MAHLE said.

The technical focus of MEET is on maximum energy efficiency. The meshing of different energy-saving technologies in the areas of the powertrain and thermal management increases efficiency and significantly enhances the cruising range of the vehicle—even and especially at low external temperatures.

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Toyota and Mazda enter business and capital alliance; $1.6B plant in US, joint development for electric, connected vehicle tech

August 04, 2017

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) signed an agreement to enter a business and capital alliance, with the aim of further strengthening their partnership. The companies agreed to: 1) establish a joint venture that produces vehicles in the United States; 2) jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles; 3) jointly develop connected-car technology; 4) collaborate on advanced safety technologies; and 5) expand complementary products.

In addition, together with the aim of advancing and strengthening their long-term collaboration, Toyota and Mazda agreed to a capital alliance arrangement that preserves independence and equality for both companies. In the capital tie-up, the two companies have agreed that Toyota will subscribe for and acquire shares to be newly issued by Mazda through a third-party allotment, and at the same time Mazda will subscribe for and acquire third-party allocation shares of treasury stock disposed of by Toyota in the equivalent amount in value to the Mazda shares. The value of the shares mutually acquired by both companies will be equivalent.

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BMW defends diesel while pushing electrification

August 03, 2017

BMW has established solid electrification credentials. With BMW i, the BMW Group was the first German manufacturer to make a clear commitment to electromobility, notes BMW AG Management Board Chairman Harald Krüger. In 2017, the BMW Group expects sales of its electrified vehicles to exceed 100,000 for the first time in a single year, with the all-electric BMW i3, BMW i8, BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrids and the plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman all contributing to the figures. The company’s electrified range currently comprises nine electrified vehicles and will be further complemented in 2018 by the all-new BMW i8 Roadster.

Shortly after that, BMW Group will roll out battery-only solutions across its core brands, with Plant Oxford starting production of the battery-powered MINI in 2019, and the battery-only BMW X3 following in 2020. The following year, 2021, will see the launch of the BMW Group’s new technology spearhead: the all-electric BMW iNEXT. Nonetheless, says Krüger, “Future mobility will definitely depend on state-of-the-art diesels as well, because environmental protection has several dimensions: one of them is the fight against climate change.

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Tesla quarterly revenue up 93% YOY in Q2; quarterly loss rises; >1800 reservation/day for Model 3

In a quarterly financial update that emphasized the bullish prospects for the Model 3, Model S and Model X, Tesla reported that its automotive revenue grew 93% to $2.287 billion as compared to Q2 2016 largely due to 53% growth in total vehicle deliveries, and to a smaller percentage of vehicles sold with residual value risk that were subject to lease accounting. Compared to the prior quarter (Q1 2017), automotive revenue was down very slightly ($2.287 billion vs. $2.290 billion) despite a decline in vehicle deliveries due to lower mix of deliveries subject to lease accounting and the sale of $100 million of ZEV credits in Q2.

The company’s net loss grew to $336.4 million in the second quarter, increasing from $293.2 million in Q2 2016. a year earlier. Tesla also reported having more than $3 billion cash on hand at the end of Q2. The quarterly update, which followed shortly after the intial delivery of the first production Model 3s and provided some additional insight into timing along with financial guidance for the EV.

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Team from autonomous EV startup NIO wins car hacking contest at DEF CON 25

August 01, 2017

The NIO US team took First Place at the DEF CON 25 2017 Car Hacking Village, beating out 10 other teams in the third annual “Capture The Flag” (CTF) security event. Based in Silicon Valley, NIO US is a start-up developing autonomous electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) DEF CON is one of the oldest continuously running hacker conventions, and also one of the largest.

At the conference held, last week in Las Vegas, researchers and hackers devised a series of challenges to understand the vulnerabilities of our connected world. The Villages at DEF CON are places where attendees can go to expand their knowledge about specific areas of interest and interact with the minds running the villages, participate in discussions, hands-on demonstrations, hacking and contests. One topic that has gained exposure over the last year has been security vulnerabilities in modern automobiles; Car Hacking Village (CHV) was one of 16 villages featured at DEF CON 25 this year.

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Irizar lands contracts for 15 12m electric buses in Madrid, 4 18m artic electric buses in Barcelona

July 29, 2017

Irizar has been awarded the contract for Madrid’s first 15 electric buses and Barcelona’s first four electric articulated buses. With the capture of these 22 new units for the mainland market, Irizar e-mobility has become the market leader for electric buses in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao and San Sebastián.

Barcelona Metropolitan Transport (Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona - TMB) is acquiring four 18.73-meter electric articulated buses. With this purchase, the Barcelona-based company is tackling the first phase of transforming the H16 line to a 100% electric, zero emissions route.

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Daimler starts production of FUSO eCanter in Europe; first series all-electric light-duty truck

July 28, 2017

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has started production of the all‑electric light-duty truck Fuso eCanter in Tramagal, Portugal. (Earlier post.) Fuso is a brand of Daimler Trucks Asia. The Fuso eCanter is produced in line with the conventional Canter light-duty truck at the Tramagal plant.

Only the electric-powertrain specific components will be installed in specific boxes along the production line. The vehicles coming from Tramagal, Portugal will be handed over to customers within Europe and the US within the next month. In May, MFTBC already announced its first commercial customer in the Japanese market: Seven-Eleven Co., Ltd. will be operating 25 units of the new eCanter in their fleet within this year. Production of the eCanter in Japan started on 7 July.

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Porsche leaving FIA WEC LMP1, entering Formula E

From 2019, a Porsche factory team will compete in Formula E. After four highly successful years, three victories in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Championship titles in both the team and driver classification in 2015 and 2016, Porsche will end its involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of the 2017 season.

Porsche will maintain its focus on international GT racing, and will also concentrate its motorsport strategy on using the 911 RSR in the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the highlight of which is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and other long-distance classics. Porsche is now the fourth German OEM to realign its motorsport strategy this year to enter Formula E, following Audi (earlier post), BMW (earlier post) and Mercedes-Benz (earlier post).

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California ARB approves $200M VW zero-emission vehicle investment in California; first phase of $800M investment

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today approved the first of four plans by VW to invest $800 million over 10 years in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, public outreach, and access to these ultra-clean vehicles for residents of disadvantaged communities. (Earlier post.) The investment is part of a multi-pronged settlement agreement resulting from the automaker’s use of defeat device software in its 2009-2016 diesel passenger cars.

VW has paid out more than $15 billion in claims and penalties for using those defeat device; the ZEV investment is one of multiple pieces intended to mitigate the resulting projected environmental harm.

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Royal Mail to buy 100 Peugeot electric vans for delivery vehicles

July 27, 2017

Royal Mail has signed an agreement with Peugeot to purchase 100 Partner L2 Electric vans, to be used as delivery vehicles. The vans will go into service from December 2017 at delivery offices around the UK, supported by a comprehensive rollout of charging infrastructure. Royal Mail—since 2003 a quoted company with shares traded on the LSE—is the UK’s designated Universal Postal Service Provider.

The Partner L2 Electric was launched in February; this is the first major fleet order for the van. The lithium-ion battery pack is fitted under the load floor, ensuring there is no loss of load space compared with gasoline and diesel-powered Partner L2 models. The Partner L2 Electric will carry a gross payload of 552 kg (1,217 lbs).

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UK unveils new plan to cut NO2; sale of new conventional gasoline and diesel cars to end by 2040; focus on local action

July 26, 2017

The UK Government unveiled its new plan to reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the shortest amount of time. Among the many policy and funding details in the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, produced by Defra and the Department for Transport is the cessation of the sale of all new conventional gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Another element in the plan includes possible civil and criminal charges against manufacturers implementing emissions defeat devices, with fines of up to £50,000 (US$65,000) per instance.

The NO2 plan is one element in the Government’s efforts to deliver clean air. In 2018, the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution. Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and NO2 levels down by half in the last 15 years. Despite this, an analysis of more than 1,800 major roads show that a small number of these—81 or 4%—are due to breach legal pollution limits for NO2, with 33 of these outside of London.

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ICCT assesses factors driving EV market in US cities

July 25, 2017

A new white paper from a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses the growing US electric vehicle market and the factors that are driving it, with a focus on the 50 most populous US metropolitan areas.

Peter Slowik and Nic Lutsey analyze the connections among various state and local policies; public and workplace charging infrastructure; consumer incentives; model availability; and the share of new vehicles that are plug-in electric (both fully electric and plug-in hybrid). The San Jose area had the highest share at 10%, followed by other California areas (4% to 6%) and markets in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington (2% to 4%). Overall, the share of new vehicles that are plug-in electric in these 50 areas is 1.2%, about 3 times the proportion in the rest of the United States.

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New battery-electric MINI to be variant of core 3-door model

The BMW Group announced that the new battery-electric MINI will be a variant of the brand’s core 3-door model. This fully electric car will go into production in 2019, increasing the choice of MINI powertrains to include gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines, a plug-in hybrid (earlier post) and a battery electric vehicle.

The electric MINI’s electric drivetrain will be built at the BMW Group’s e-mobility center at Plants Dingolfing and Landshut in Bavaria before being integrated into the car at Plant Oxford, which is the main production location for the MINI 3-door model.

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Mercedes-Benz commits to Formula E, departs DTM

Mercedes‑Benz announced a strategic repositioning of its motorsport activities: the company will conclude its participation in DTM at the end of 2018 and enter Formula E in the 2019/20 season.

Mercedes-Benz will thus compete in Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport combining high technology and the most demanding competitive challenge; and in Formula E, which embodies the transformation that is underway in the automotive industry.

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

July 24, 2017

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

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

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

July 21, 2017

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

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

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Hybrid and electric cars account for 7.5% of Kia 1H 2017 Europe sales, up from 1% in 2016

Kia Motors posted its best six-month sales period in Europe, with half-year sales surpassing 250,000 for the first time in the company’s history. Hybrid and electric vehicles accounted for 7.5% of European sales so far this year, up from just one per cent in the first six months of 2016, according to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe.

The latest data released by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) shows that Kia sold 251,472 units across Europe during the first six months of the year, a 9.5% rise, year-on-year. In addition, Kia’s cumulative market share climbed to 3.0%, up from 2.8% (229,585 units) during the first half of 2016. Vehicles with all-electric or electrified powertrains represent the greatest area of growth for Kia sales in Europe.

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San Pedro Bay Ports release draft of 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update; $7-$14 billion price tag

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the draft of their proposed 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update. The document outlines a new set of aggressive near-term and long-term strategies for the nation’s busiest harbor complex to further reduce harmful air pollution from all port-related sources, assist the state in meeting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals, and ultimately achieve zero emissions for trucks and terminal equipment.

A preliminary analysis estimates the cost of implementing the 2017 CAAP at $7 billion to $14 billion. Given the magnitude of the investment, the draft plan calls for the ports to intensify their funding advocacy and increase collaboration with their partners to finance the new strategies.

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

July 20, 2017

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

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

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Leclanché, eCAMION and SGEM to build and operate network of 34 fast-charging stations along Trans-Canada Highway

Leclanché North America, part of Switzerland's Leclanché SA; eCAMION, based in Toronto; and SGEM, based in Geneva; will partner to develop and to install a network of 34 fast-charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH).

The project, designed to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in Canada, entails an investment of C$17.3 million (US$13.6 million) and is being partially funded by a C$8.0-million (US\$6.2 million) repayable contribution from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) under the Canadian Energy Innovation Program. This public private initiative will also be supported by an investment from eCAMION, Leclanché and SGEM.

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New Nissan LEAF to feature e-Pedal one-pedal operation

July 19, 2017

The new Nissan LEAF EV will feature e-Pedal, a driver-selectable option enabling full one-pedal driving. Actuated with the flip of a switch, e-Pedal allows drivers to accelerate, decelerate and stop using just the e-Pedal.

Nissan says that e-Pedal technology is the first one-pedal operation that allows drivers to bring the car to a complete stop even on hills, stay in position, and resume driving instantly. The company cautions that the conventional brake pedal should be used for aggressive braking situations.

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BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in GaN Systems; next-gen power electronics

July 18, 2017

BMW i Ventures has made a strategic investment in GaN Systems, a fabless power transistor company at the forefront of semiconductor technology. Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material that allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance.

GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high dielectric strength; high current density; high switching speeds; low on-resistance; and the ability to withstand higher operating temperature. Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.

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New Porsche Berlin-Adlershof center with 25m solar pylon and 800V 350 kW fast charging

July 17, 2017

Porsche opened its new technology center in Berlin-Adlershof. The new site features a 25-meter-high solar pylon that generates up to 30,000 kWh of electricity annually and covers the entire annual demand of the new Porsche Center. The pylon weighs 37 tonnes and comprises 7,776 solar cells, representing a total surface area of approximately 270 m2. Liquid-cooled, 800V 350 kW fast-charging is also installed on the premises.

Parallel to the Berlin-Adlershof site, the existing Porsche Center in Berlin has been modernized and the Porsche Center Berlin-Potsdam has been extended extensively. Investments at the three locations total €15 million (US$17.2 million).

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Tec team develops modular EV with Android-based control ecosystem

A team at the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Tec) in Mexico has developed an electric vehicle featuring modular design, multimotor, power source, digital control, autonomy, and connectivity—the EvTec project.

In an open-access paper in the journal Advances in Mechanical Engineering, the EvTec team discusses the use of the Android-based Control Ecosystem, which integrates the Operating System Android, as part of the open-source control of the vehicle. The The objective is to design a platform that enables connectivity with the cloud for monitoring and remote controlling purposes.

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Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant to produce batteries and electric powertrain components

July 13, 2017

Mercedes-Benz will build the fourth battery production factory in its global network—after the two plants in Kamenz and one in Beijing—at its Untertürkheim plant in Germany. As part of a transformation plan introduced in 2015, Untertürkheim—the lead plant in the global powertrain production and the home of Daimler headquarters—is successively transitioning from the production of conventional engines, transmissions and axles to production of the future powertrain components for electric vehicles. This now includes new battery production at the site and the assembly of electric modules for front and rear axles.

The Untertürkheim plant—founded in 1904—will become a competence center for the production of the entire electric powertrain.

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Ricardo develops new model-based EV battery control technology; evaluating new cell chemistries

July 12, 2017

Ricardo has developed a new Battery Management System (BMS) for EVs that is scalable to a wide range of applications. The new BMS enhances the use of advanced model-based control methods to optimize the performance of both existing and next-generation cell chemistries.

One of the most significant impediments to an increased market share for plug-in vehicles is the high cost of rechargeable energy storage. This can represent a very significant cost element of a typical battery electric vehicle (BEV); manufacturers need to strike a balance between product affordability and available range between recharges. For BEVs to break out of this paradigm it is likely to require the development and refinement of battery technologies based on entirely new, more affordable, and lighter weight cell chemistries than those used in today’s lithium-ion based battery packs.

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Blue Bird unveils two new electric school buses at the 2017 STN Expo; partners Adomani and EDI

Blue Bird unveiled two new electric-powered school buses at the STN Tradeshow in Las Vegas: a Type A Micro Bird G5 electric-powered school bus and an all-new electric Type D chassis which will power its Type D All-American rear engine (RE) school bus.

The Blue Bird All American RE electric bus chassis was developed in conjunction with California-based Adomani, Inc. and operates on an energy-efficient electric drivetrain supplied by Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI). The bus offers battery capacities of 100-150 kWh with an expected 80-100 miles range from a single charge, depending on driving habits.

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eMotorWerks and Share&Charge deliver peer-to-peer EV charging network with blockchain payments in California

July 11, 2017

Starting this summer, California residential and commercial owners of electric vehicle charging stations enabled with eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet smart-grid charging technology will have the opportunity to rent out charging time on their stations to EV drivers participating in a new peer-to-peer (P2P) network powered by MotionWerk’s Share&Charge open platform. Share&Charge was founded by the innogy Innovation Hub.

The Share&Charge mobile app connects EV drivers with available residential and commercial EV charging stations and facilitates blockchain-based payments from visiting EV drivers to station owners. The new sharing platform aims to increase the availability of public charging stations and decrease range anxiety current and prospective EV drivers experience. This partnership marks the first peer-to-peer charging network to use blockchain technology in North America.

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BMW joining Formula E in Season 5

BMW will join the FIA Formula E Championship as an official manufacturer in Season 5 (2018/19). The cars, equipped with a completely newly-developed BMW drivetrain, will be run by the Andretti Formula E team as BMW’s works entry in the series.

The main driving force behind the new BMW i Motorsport is the development of innovative technology in the field of electromobility, in which the company has established a leading role over the past ten years. The consistent implementation of the new motor racing strategy also includes the expansion of classic activities at BMW M Motorsport. BMW had initially expressed in 2016 its goal to enter Formula E.

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NREL/Oak Ridge thermal measurements of packed copper wire enables better electric motor designs

A recently completed study by researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) of the anisotropic—i.e., directionally dependent—thermal conductivity of packed copper wire for electric-drive vehicle (EDV) motor applications is providing a baseline for the assessment of new materials and winding structures. The findings of the study are published in the ASME Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications.

Improved thermal management of windings in electric motors makes it possible to maximize operational efficiency and longevity and reduce component footprint, allowing manufacturers to meet consumer demands for high-performance, reliable, and long-lasting EDVs.

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Study concludes US CAFE regulation can accelerate EV market penetration

July 09, 2017

In a new study, a team from the University of Central Florida and MIT has found that the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards is an effective policy solution that does increase the adoption of EVs, whether it is implemented alone or in conjunction with another policy such as government incentives.

In a study published in the journal Energy Policy, the researchers developed an agent-based model to estimate the potential future market shares of EVs considering the existing inherent uncertainties under different policy scenarios, including the current footprint-based CAFE regulation.

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NREL report on electric bus demo at Foothill Transit finds Proterra fuel economy >8x higher than CNG on same line

July 08, 2017

A team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released the second report summarizing the results of the battery-electric bus (BEB) demonstration underway at Foothill Transit in California. This latest report provides data and analysis on 12 Proterra BEBs and eight CNG baseline buses from August 2015 through December 2016.

Among the findings are that the BEBs had an overall average efficiency of 2.17 kWh per mile—17.35 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (mpdge). The CNG buses had an average fuel economy of 3.89 mpgge, equating to 4.34 mpdge. However, because Foothill Transit operates its BEB and CNG bus fleets differently, the efficiency results presented are not an apples-to-apples comparison. Using data from two days of CNG bus operation on the route serviced by the BEBs line, the NREL team found that the BEB fuel economy was more than 8 times higher than that of a CNG bus operating exclusively on that route.

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Volkswagen Group Research and KUKA partner to develop robot-supported services for autonomous and electric vehicles

July 07, 2017

Volkswagen Group Research and leading robotics company KUKA will intensify their strategic partnership with the joint development of area ofrobot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.

One of the aims of the research collaboration is to develop robot-based innovations for all-electric and autonomous automobiles. The new cooperation links up with an existing joint research project looking into collaboration between human and robot. The e-smart Connect project—highlighted during a recent Media Day event—includes a practical and user-friendly solution for charging high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group.

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Audi fielding Formula E factory team in December in Hong Kong; first German manufacturer in Formula E

As announced in September of last year (earlier post), Audi is taking over ABT Sportsline’s place in the Formula E race with a full-fledged factory commitment which will run under the team name of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, starting with the fourth Formula E season in Hong Kong at the beginning of December. Audi will be the first German automobile manufacturer to race in the electric series.

Together with official powertrain technology partner Schaeffler, Audi is currently in the process of developing the new powertrain to be fielded next season. At the moment, the freedom in Formula E granted to all manufacturers is limited to the motor, transmission, the respective suspension components and to software.

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France launches new climate plan; Euro 7 lead; targeting ending the sale of vehicles emitting GHGs by 2040

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister responsible for environment and energy, presented the country’s new climate plan at a press conference at the Ministry. Prepared at the request of the President and the Prime Minister, the climate action plan is divided into six main themes: render the Paris Agreement irreversible; improve the daily life of the French; end the use of fossil energy and engage in carbon neutrality; make France the Nº 1 green economy; encourage the potential of ecosystems and agriculture; and intensify international mobilization on climate diplomacy.

Among the many actions outlined in the plan is the targeting of ending the sale of cars emitting greenhouse gases (“gaz à effet de serre”) by 2040. (The plan at this current level of detail does not specify whether or not that is tailpipe emissions or full lifecycle emissions, factoring in upstream for electric vehicles.) France also intends to initiate an ambitious (“ambitieuse”) Euro 7 standard at the European level.

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innogy launches EV charging subsidiary in US; targeting California and ZEV states

July 06, 2017

Germany-based innogy, a subsidiary of energy giant RWE, has established its own new subsidiary to enter the e-mobility market in the US. The new company, trading under the name of innogy e-mobility US LLC, will be based in Los Angeles and serve the US market as a provider of technology and charging services.

Business activities will focus on California and other US states that have stipulated zero-emission requirements for new vehicles (Zero Emission Vehicles). Cameron Funk is the first CEO of e-mobility US LLC; his previous role was Director of Business Development for ABM Industries Inc., a global industry services company.

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BNEF forecasts EVs to hit 54% of new car sales by 2040; decreasing importance of PHEVs

Electric vehicles will make up the majority of new car sales worldwide by 2040, and account for 33% of all the light-duty vehicles on the road, according to a new forecast published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This represents an aggressive jump compared to BNEF’s previous forecast of 35% EV new car market share by 2040. Under the new forecast, EVs will displace 8 million barrels of transport fuel per day and add 5% to global electricity consumption (1,800 TWh by 2040 up from 6TWh in 2016).

The forecasters said that while plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales will play a role in EV adoption from now to 2025, puer battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) will subsequently take over and account for the vast majority of EV sales. The engineering complexity of PHEV vehicle platforms, their cost and dual powertrains make BEVs more attractive over the long-run, BNEF said. BNEF suggested that only in Japan will PHEVs continue to play an important role after 2030.

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

July 05, 2017

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

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

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Every Volvo car launched from 2019 to have an electrified powertrain; “the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car”

Volvo Cars announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 on will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars. The announcement represents one of the most wide-reaching moves by any car maker to embrace electrification. The company said that its decision highlights how—more than a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine—electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

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Tesla blames production shortfall of 100 kWh battery packs for lagging Q2 deliveries; says problem fixed; first Model 3s to be delivered 28 July

July 03, 2017

Tesla reported delivering just over 22,000 vehicles in Q2, of which just over 12,000 were Model S and just over 10,000 were Model X. While the Q2 2017 deliveries represent a 53% increase over Q2 2016, the figure is at the low-end of Tesla’s earlier guidance, and down about 12% from Q1 2017 deliveries. Total vehicle deliveries in the first half of 2017 were approximately 47,100.

Tesla said that the major factor affecting Q2 deliveries was a severe production shortfall of 100 kWh battery packs, which are made using new technologies on new production lines. Until early June, production averaged about 40% below demand. Once this was resolved, June orders and deliveries were strong, ranking as one of the best in its history, Tesla said.

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