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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.]

BMW boosts battery capacity of MY2017 i3 to 33 kWh with higher energy density Li-ion cells; up to 114 miles combined cycle range

May 02, 2016

BMW will offer a new model range of its i3 compact electric car, and from the 2017 model year will be offering a new version with more than 50% increased battery capacity.

The 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) has a capacity of 33 kilowatt hours (kWh) due to the use of higher energy density lithium-ion cells; the dimensions of the pack remain unchanged while still offering a significant range increase. The new BMW i3, in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, has a range of up to 114 miles (183 km) combined (hwy/city) cycle, as shown by independent BMW testing; EPA figures are still pending. The EPA range rating for the MY 2016 i3 is 81 miles (130 km).

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Roland Berger study outlines integrated vehicle and fuels roadmap for further abating transport GHG emissions 2030+ at lowest societal cost

April 30, 2016

A new study by consultancy Roland Berger defines an integrated roadmap for European road transport decarbonization to 2030 and beyond; the current regulatory framework for vehicle emissions, carbon intensity of fuels and use of renewable fuels covers only up to 2020/2021.

The study was commissioned by a coalition of fuel suppliers and automotive companies with a view to identifying a roadmap to 2030+ to identify GHG abatement options at the lowest cost to society. The coalition comprises BMW, Daimler, Honda, NEOT/St1, Neste, OMV, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. Among the key findings of the study were:

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DOE and DOT collaborate to support smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies

The US Departments of Energy (DOE) and Transportation (DOT) announced a collaboration to accelerate research, development, demonstration, and deployment of innovative smart transportation systems and alternative fuel technologies.

The agencies formalized this collaborative relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was unveiled at a symposium this week called Achieving Zero-Emission Mobility: The Role of Innovative Electric Vehicle Companies, hosted by the University of California Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation in Berkeley, California.

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Volkswagen again reaffirms 20 new PEV models coming across the Group; MEB development

April 29, 2016

In his remarks at the Annual Media Conference, where the Group presented 2015 results, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said that 2016 will be a year of transition for Volkswagen, and will also see the accelerated transformation of the company.

The Group is currently working on the further development of its strategy, to be presented mid-year. This will focus on the major fields of future importance in the industry—such as digitalization, networking, e-mobility and new mobility services. Although Volkswagen is already addressing all of these fields, it will in the future do so “in a much more systematic and focused manner. Our Strategy 2025 will provide the framework for this," Müller said.

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PARC, ORNL and Ford collaborate on high-energy, high-power battery production for EVs using CoEx printing

April 28, 2016

PARC, a Xerox company, is collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Ford Motor Company in a DOE-funded project that will use PARC’s novel CoEx printing technology (earlier post) to fabricate thick, higher energy and higher power battery electrodes with the end goal of enabling longer range and low cost electric vehicles.

The goal of the project—“Co-Extrusion (CoEx) for Cost Reduction of Advanced High-Energy-and-Power Battery Electrode Manufacturing”—is to demonstrate pilot-scale, electric vehicle (EV) pouch cells with a 20% improvement in gravimetric energy density (Wh/kg), and a 30% reduction in $/kWh costs.

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LeEco showcases autonomous EV concept LeSEE at Auto China 2016

China-based internet company LeEco unveiled its LeSEE electric car concept this week at Auto China 2016—The 14th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition. (Earlier post.) The LeSEE electric concept features an advanced autopilot and driver assistance systems, intelligent inductive charging and car sharing capabilities.

To increase driver safety and awareness, the front-end of the car features technology that detects pedestrians and vehicles while displaying information about the location of the potential hazards in a projection panel in the dashboard.

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Germany pumping €1B into plug-in vehicle subsidies, infrastructure; base price cap of €60K

April 27, 2016

The German government will put approximately €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) into subsidies for plug-in vehicles and the supporting charging infrastructure, beginning next month.

Electric car buyers will receive a €4,000 (US$4,500) subsidy; buyers of plug-ins will receive €3,000 (US$3,400). Half of the amount will be provided by the government, the other half by automakers. The total funding is limited to €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion) (€600 million from the federal government, €600 million from the auto industry) and has a term expiring no later than 2019.

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Volkswagen, a partner in SLAM fast charging project, shows “Golden Test Device” at Hannover Messe

Volkswagen is working with partners from industry and science on the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s SLAM research project (Schnellladenetz für Achsen und Metropolen, Fast charging network for road axes and metropolitan areas).

The SLAM project has a total budget of €12.9 million (US$14.6 million) and will receive support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to the extent of €8.7 million (US$9.8 million) by August 2017. The German government designated SLAM as one of seven “flagship projects in electric mobility”. A central component of SLAM is the “Golden Test Device” prototype co-developed by Volkswagen which will be unveiled at the Hannover Messe industrial trade show.

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Utah Transits Authority adding 5 battery-electric New Flyer buses to fleet

April 23, 2016

UTA and the University of Utah received a $5.4-million Low-No grant from the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to purchase five New Flyer battery-electric buses. (Earlier post.) Three of these will be used on route 2 in Salt Lake City and two that will serve the University of Utah campus (also in Salt Lake City).

Each all-electric bus in service with UTA will save the equivalent of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. For the three electric buses UTA will be operating on route 2, that’s a savings of approximately 175 metric tons of gas emissions per year. New Flyer has focused its electrification development on its Xcelsior platform, which also offers diesel, CNG, electric trolley, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell variants. (Earlier post.)

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Cal Energy Commission hosting technology merit review workshop on EV charging infrastructure project

April 22, 2016

The California Energy Commission will host a workshop Monday, 25 April, in which executives from four companies including ChargePoint and Green Charge Networks, two non-profits, one municipal utility district and one state agency will discuss the successes and challenges of developing electric vehicle charging technology in California.

This workshop will influence future funding opportunities at the Commission through its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which provides up to $100 million a year for alternative fuels and vehicle technology development.

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PHEVLERs are the Zero CO2 Clean Green Machines of the Future

by Professor Andrew Alfonso Frank, CTO Efficient Drivetrains Inc. and UC-Davis Emeritus,
Bruce R. Thomas and Catherine J DeMauro

Abstract. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle with Long Electric Range (PHEVLER - pronounced “fevler”) is a new category emerging in the electric vehicle marketplace. PHEVLERs are defined as PHEVs with sufficient battery capacity for all electric driving of twice the average daily distance.[1] The average daily driving distance in the USA is 30 miles (48 km), so PHEVLERs are vehicles with at least 60 miles (97 km) of electric range. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt with an electric range of 53 miles[2] is the first commercial car that almost qualifies as a PHEVLER.

PHEVLERs[3] are a disruptive technology that will help revolutionize both the clean transportation and the clean stationary energy sectors of our economy. These vehicles are the green machines that will provide a critical part of the renewable and sustainable society that we need for the future.[4]

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Edmunds.com: EV and hybrid loyalty falls to all-time low

April 21, 2016

Only 27.5% of all hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins in the US in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of another hybrid or EV, according to a new analysis from car shopping destination Edmunds.com. The rate is a sharp drop from the 38.5% of hybrid and EV trade-ins in 2015, and the findings reinforce a trend first identified last year by Edmunds that owners of alt-fuel vehicles are returning to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles in greater numbers than ever before.

Edmunds’ analysis found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8%) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins—25.7% of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8% that went toward another EV.

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Honda to add battery-electric, plug-in hybrid variants to Clarity platform; new 2017 Accord Hybrid

Honda announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post) will be joined by two additional electrified variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the US in 2017. In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

Clarity. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform. (Hyundai’s IONIQ platform comes with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars sets target of 1M electrified cars sold by 2025

Volvo Cars aims to sell a total of up to one million electrified cars by 2025. The Swedish company plans to achieve this aim by offering at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and releasing the first all-electric car in 2019.

Volvo Cars has been readying itself for the emergence of electrified vehicles for the last five years. It has developed two all new vehicle architectures for larger and smaller cars—Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) (earlier post) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post)—that can incorporate either hybrid or fully electric car technology.

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Wrightspeed in $30M deal to provide range-extended electric powertrains to NZ Bus

Wrightspeed Inc. announced a US$30M deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, New Zealand’s largest operator of urban bus services. Under the terms of the deal, Wrightspeed will provide its Route 500 heavy-duty range-extended electric powertrain technology to NZ Bus. The move marks Wrightspeed’s first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications into mass transit, signaling multinational and multimodal demand for the company’s powertrain technology.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) replacement powertrain that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing both the engine and the transmission. The Route electric powertrain drives more low-end torque to the wheels than conventional diesel engines, with less fuel, less emissions, and less noise. The on-board turbine generator, the Fulcrum, eliminates range anxiety.

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FTA selects 7 projects to receive $22.5M in grants for battery-electric and fuel cell buses, infrastructure

April 20, 2016

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the latest project selections for the Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program, known as Low-No. Seven transit providers in five states will receive a share of $22.5 million toward transit buses and related facilities that utilize battery-electric, fuel cell, and other innovative technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve operating efficiency.

FTA awarded the FY 2015 funds after a competitive review process that prioritized transit agencies and bus manufacturers with strong records in building, deploying, and operating clean buses and infrastructure. The projects selected in this round of Low-No funding are:

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Siemens and Valeo to form joint venture in high-voltage electric powertrains

April 18, 2016

Siemens and Valeo have signed an agreement to form a joint venture in high voltage powertrains for the entire range of electric vehicles including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. Building upon the complementary scope and portfolio of the partners, the joint venture will provide substantial synergies in manufacturing and sourcing and create a base for sustained growth and profitability.

Siemens said that the electric vehicle components market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% until 2020. According to the agreement, Siemens and Valeo will each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture, have joint control and account for their respective stake using the equity method.

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Study finds total PM10 emissions from EVs equal to those of modern ICEVs; role of weight and non-exhaust PM

A new study by a team from the University of Edinburgh and independent engineering company INNAS BV has found that, when factoring in the additional weight and non-exhaust PM factors, total PM10 emissions from electric vehicles (EVs) are equal to those of modern internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). Non-exhaust PM factors include tire wear, brake wear, road surface wear and resuspension of road dust.

For PM2.5 emissions, EVs deliver only a negligible reduction in emissions, the team found. Compared to an average gasoline ICEV, the EV emits 3% less PM2.5; compared to an average diesel ICEV, the EV emits 1% less PM2.5. Therefore, Victor Timmers and Peter A.J. Achten conclude, the increased popularity of electric vehicles will likely not have a great effect on PM levels. Their paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

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BAIC BJEV in strategic cooperation with Dresden University of Technology for lightweighting technology

April 14, 2016

Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BAIC BJEV), a subsidiary of BAIC, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Dresden University of Technology (TUD) to create the Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Joint R&D Center. The two also entered into a letter of intent on the establishment of Sino-German Automotive Light Weighting Technology Engineering Center Co., Ltd. TUD Distinguished Senior Professor Werner Hufenbach was named chief scientist in lightweight technology for BAIC BJEV.

The Sino-German Light Weighting R&D Center will become the company’s fifth overseas R&D center. BAIC BJEV has been building its global R&D network in its core areas, i.e. electric and smart technologies, by establishing oversea R&D centers in Silicon Valley, USA; Aachen, Germany; Detroit, USA; and Barcelona, Spain. (Earlier post.)

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Audi summarizes electric driving utilization from 4-year Electric Mobility Showcase; 1.4M km for A1 e-tron and A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi gained a wealth of experience from the 1.4 million kilometers (869,919.7 mi) driven as part of the four-year Electric Mobility Showcase in Germany. (Earlier post.) Ahead of the closing conference in Leipzig today, Audi revealed some of the electric driving results for its two models involved: the A1 e-tron prototype and the production A3 Sportback e-tron.

The Electric Mobility Showcase program is a joint initiative of the German government and the automotive industry. Four ministries lent their support to 90 individual measures in four regions of Germany. Audi was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to sign up to the program; when Audi entered in 2012, it was involved in six projects for which it provided a fleet of 80 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes.

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ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements

April 12, 2016

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $30-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001564) for the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)

NEXTCAR seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles—light-, medium- and heavy-duty—through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation. The new program is seeking transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. I.e., the NEXTCAR improvements are in addition to and beyond any currently expected future vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements that will be required or driven by Federal or State regulations.

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NREL releases study on public sentiments on PEVs

NREL has released a new report presenting the findings of a study on the public’s sentiments regarding plug-in vehicles (PEVs), with a focus on vehicle purchasing behaviors, awareness, and barriers to acceptance.

Conducted in February 2015, the study—“Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles-National Benchmark Report”—covered a 1,015-household sample designed to be representative of the US population. NREL plans to repeat the study annually to track changing consumer perceptions. High level findings from the study included:

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VW reopens Transparent Factory as showcase for electric mobility and digitalization; rebuilding plant for electric and premium models

Volkswagen has reopened its Dresden Transparent Factory (Gläserne Manufaktur) as a new Volkswagen brand showcase for electromobility and digitalization; the site had closed for 10 days to carry out the necessary modifications for around 50 interactive exhibits and vehicles allowing visitors to experience future mobility first-hand.

The new exhibition is just the first step in an extensive rebuild of the Transparent Factory, which opened in 2001 specifically to manufacture the Phaeton. (Volkswagen ceased production of the Phaeton in March.) One of the exhibition highlights is a half-hour test drive with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Volkswagen’s concept four-door Sport Coupé Concept GTE (earlier post) plug-in hybrid sports car is also showcased.

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CMU county-level study shows plug-ins have larger or smaller lifecycle GHG than gasoline ICE depending on regional factors

April 09, 2016

A US-wide county-level study comparing lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from several light-duty passenger gasoline and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has found that PEVs can have larger or smaller carbon footprints than gasoline vehicles depending on regional factors and the specific vehicle models being compared.

The team from Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek accounted for regional differences in emissions due to marginal grid mix; ambient temperature; patterns of vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and driving conditions (city versus highway). Their open-access paper is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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Tesla Model 3 reservations top 325,000; Tesla projects average price ~$43,000

April 07, 2016

Tesla Motors reported that Model 3 reservations have topped 325,000, corresponding to about $14 billion in implied future sales (average unit price ~$43,000). Base price is $35,000.

Model 3 reservations secure the approximate priority within the buyer’s region for taking delivery of the desired Model 3. The reservation ($1,000) is effective when it is placed, and when Tesla receives payment. (Now representing more than $325 million of no-interest cash that can be applied to whatever Tesla needs.)

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EB software and Mapscape digital maps support WEpods autonomous electric shuttles

April 06, 2016

Elektrobit (EB), a leading developer of embedded technology solutions for the automotive industry, and Netherlands-based digital map provider Mapscape, are contributing to WEpods—completely autonomous electric shuttle buses that will use public roads.

EB and Mapscape together provide an enhanced electronic horizon solution for assisting in motion prediction and path planning of the autonomous shuttle bus. Mapscape provides an NDS (Navigation Data Standard) map database with comprehensive road geometry data that provides more detailed information for objects and pinpoint locations than standard map information.

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NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 platform to power world’s first robotic motor sports competition

At CES 2016 in January, NVIDIA introduced NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2—its new generation high-performance computing platform for in-vehicle artificial intelligence applied to the complexities inherent in autonomous driving. (Earlier post.) This week, at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference, the company announced that the DRIVE PX 2 platform will be used in the cars that will compete in the Roborace Championship, the first global autonomous motor sports competition.

DRIVE PX 2—which delivers processing power equivalent to 150 MacBook Pros—uses two next-generation Tegra processors plus two next-generation discrete GPUs, based on the Pascal architecture (earlier post), to deliver up to 24 trillion deep learning operations per second. Deep learning operations are specialized instructions that accelerate the math used in deep learning network inference. That’s more than 10 times the computational horsepower than NVIDIA’s previous-generation DRIVE PX.

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Borgward picks SAP, LG and Bosch as strategic partners in electric mobility; PHEVs and EVs

April 01, 2016

Borgward Group AG, the reincarnation of the German automaker that ceased operations in 1961, has formed a long-term strategic partnership with the SAP, LG Electronics and Robert Bosch GmbH to support its plan to launch sales in Europe with plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The agreements govern the development and delivery of various parts and components, particularly those related to electric mobility.

The strategic partnership with LG Electronics encompasses the joint development and delivery of high-performance batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Moreover, Borgward and LG will jointly develop electric vehicle components such as electric air-conditioning compressors.

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Ricardo licenses Qualcomm wireless EV charging technology for commercialization

Ricardo has licensed Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology to commercialize WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEVs) and Electric Vehicles (EVs). (Earlier post.)

Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm has granted to Ricardo a royalty-bearing technology license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems for automobile manufacturers. Qualcomm subsidiaries will provide technical expertise and engineering support.

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Tesla unveils Model 3; delivery by end of 2017; already 115,000 reservations placed

March 31, 2016

Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk unveiled the long-anticipated Model 3 as the culminating step—a mass-market, affordable electric vehicle—in Tesla’s “Master Plan” to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport.

Musk said that the Model 3 will start at $35,000; achieve 5-Star ratings in every safety category; accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds; and have at least a 215-mile (346 km) EPA range rating. Musk said that those were minimum numbers, and that Tesla hoped to exceed them. Deliveries will begin by the end of next year. Musk also noted that more than 115,000 reservations (with a refundable $1,000) have already been placed worldwide for the Model 3.

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ORNL achieves 90% efficiency with 20 kW wireless charging for vehicles; looking ahead to 50 kW

A 20-kilowatt wireless charging system demonstrated at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has achieved 90 percent efficiency and at three times the rate of the plug-in systems commonly used for electric vehicles today.

ORNL’s power electronics team achieved this world’s first 20 kW wireless charging system for passenger cars by developing a unique architecture that included an ORNL-built inverter, isolation transformer, vehicle-side electronics and coupling technologies—all in less than three years. For the demonstration, researchers integrated the single-converter system into an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an additional 10 kWh battery.

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Schaeffler shows micro-mobility bio-hybrid concept; 4-wheel pedelec with roof

Automotive supplier Schaeffler introduced a new micro-mobility concept during the “auto motor und sport” conference. This study shows how the company envisages a solution for urban individual forms of mobility.

The Schaeffler concept combines the advantages of stability and weather protection with the energy consumption and space utilization of a pedelec. A pedelec is a vehicle that supports the rider with electric power only while he or she is pedaling. With the electrically-assisted drive system (up to 25 km/h / 15.5 mph) with a minimum range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), the driver of what Schaeffler calls a “bio-hybrid” can travel in a sporty and comfortable manner. The new vehicle platform with two front and rear wheels provides increased safety and driving stability.

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King County Metro completes accelerated durability and reliability testing of Proterra electric bus

March 30, 2016

King County Metro Transit (KCM) in Washington state has completed an accelerated durability and reliability test of the Proterra Catalyst 40' FC (fast charge) battery-electric bus. Simulating one year of continuous operation with a constant 97 passenger equivalent load, this was the most rigorous test of its nature yet performed in the industry.

Operating 24 hours per day over the 106-day period, the Proterra Catalyst vehicle achieved 32,545 total miles—nearly twice the distance of standard industry tests at Altoona. The bus was hauling 14,500 lbs (6,577 kg) of water ballast during the entire test period, which represents 125% of a normal full load of 77 passengers with standees.

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California ARB posts discussion document on $500M FY 2016-17 spend for low carbon transportation and fuels; $230M to fund CVRP

March 28, 2016

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff has posted a discussion document prior to a 4 April 2016 public workshop on the development of the FY 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and AQIP.

The Governor’s proposed 2016-17 budget would appropriate to ARB $500 million in Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels investments—including $40 million for very low carbon fuel production incentives—and $28.6 million for Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) projects.

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ABI Research: 6 transformative paradigms driving toward smart, sustainable automotive transportation

March 25, 2016

ABI Research has defined six transformative paradigms for the automotive industry over the next 25 years: the software-defined car; sensors and big data; the connected car; cooperative mobility and the IoT; electrification; and car sharing/driverless cars. While the first three phases are already underway, the latter three will start to drive the market forward within the next 10 years, according to the market research firm.

Car manufacturers are currently revamping vehicles’ electronics and networking architecture to ensure every sub-system is connected and software-defined. Moving toward the next decade, the automotive industry will achieve cooperative mobility. Cars will communicate with not only each other but also infrastructures and environments. Electrification will then change the way consumers power their vehicles. And, lastly, car sharing and driverless cars will likely lead to market consolidation.

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Hyundai unveils Ioniq HEV, PHEV and EV for US market at New York show

March 24, 2016

Hyundai Motor America introduced the Ioniq Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Electric models for the US market at the New York International Auto Show; the full line of three electrified variants made their global debut earlier this year at the Geneva show. (Earlier post). Ioniq is the first to offer three distinct electrified powertrains on a single, dedicated vehicle platform.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid both feature a new Kappa 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a thermal efficiency of 40%, delivering an estimated 104 horsepower (78 kW) and an estimated 109 lb-ft (148 N·m) of torque. This engine has been specifically tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a smooth shifting six-speed double-clutch transmission—intended to differentiate Ioniq from its key competitors with a more dynamic and engaging driving experience.

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VW BUDD-e EV concept makes US auto show debut; 233-mile range based on EPA cycle; next-gen connectivity and HMI

March 23, 2016

Building on its unveiling at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (earlier post), the Volkswagen BUDD-e electric vehicle concept is making its US auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show.

The first vehicle based on the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) designed specifically for plug-in vehicles, the BUDD-e with its 101 kWh battery pack offers a range of up to 373 miles (600 km) based on the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), or up to 233 miles (375 km) based on EPA drive cycle) miles.

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GM 5-year growth strategy for China; 10 New Energy Vehicles in the coming mix

March 21, 2016

Between now and 2020, GM and its joint ventures plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in China, including 13 this year, with a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles.

During the period, GM and its joint ventures will roll out more than 10 new energy vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands. They will include the Shanghai-built Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (earlier post), which will go on sale later this year.

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Pi Innovo and GaN Systems collaborate to offer electronics design services for auxiliary systems for multi-voltage, hybrid and electric vehicles

Controls engineering firm Pi Innovo and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems are collaborating to offer automakers a pathway to the efficient and effective electrification of auxiliary systems for multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric, and pure electric vehicles.

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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CCM: slowdown in China Li-ion unit output growth signals shift in market structure toward new energy vehicle applications

In 2015, China’s total output of Li-ion batteries increased by 3.13% year-on-year (YoY)—a significant slowdown in the output growth rate from the prior 5 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China.

CCM, a leading market intelligence provider for China’s agriculture, chemicals, food & ingredients and life science markets, suggests that the reduction in growth rate is a signal that the market structure of Li-ion batteries in China is changing, with Li-ion batteries for alternative energy vehicles moving to dominate China’s Li-ion battery market instead of consumer Li-ion batteries.

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BMW rolls out new strategy, focusing on further advances in e-mobility and automated driving; Project i 2.0

March 16, 2016

BMW has revealed initial details of its new strategy, “Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT”. The BMW Group sees digitalization as an opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby capturing new customer groups. In the coming years, the Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope of digital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility.

BMW’s technology focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group will bring new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and interior design. BMW said that it would usher in the next decade with a new BMW i model.

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MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges

A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.

According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.

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Group of European electric bus manufacturers agrees on an open interface for charging

March 15, 2016

European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have agreed to ensure the interoperability of electric buses with charging infrastructure provided by ABB, Heliox and Siemens. The objective is to ensure an open interface between electric buses and charging infrastructure and to facilitate the introduction of electric bus systems in European cities.

Common, preferred interfaces will be opened up for all market participants and will be used for electric buses for opportunity charging (fast charging at end stops) and for overnight charging. The group is committed to contribute to European standardization activities and to share experiences with CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC in order to establish a common European standard for electric bus systems.

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GKN Driveline introducing eAxle for mass-market C-segment vehicles

March 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed an eAxle module—derived from the technology used in cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8—that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%.

The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to just 20.9 kg (46 lbs) while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000 N·m torque and 65 kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode.

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Volvo Cars calls for global standardized electric car charging, joins CharIN CCS effort

March 09, 2016

Volvo Cars believes the global automotive industry should strive towards the introduction of a standardized charging infrastructure for electric cars, said Dr. Peter Mertens, the company’s Senior Vice President for Research & Development.

To support this drive towards a global standard for electric car charging, Volvo Cars is supporting the Charging Interface Initiative (earlier post), a consortium of stakeholders that was founded to establish the Combined Charging System (CCS) (earlier post) as the standard for charging battery-powered vehicles.

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Singapore considers Model S EV a high carbon emission vehicle based on fuel consumption and upstream power generation

Channel NewsAsia recently reported on the case of a Tesla Model S owner in Singapore who, rather than receiving the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) rebate he expected of S$15,000 (US$10,841) was hit with a CEVS surcharge of S$15,000 for having high carbon emissions.

Under Singapore’s revised Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS), all new cars and imported used cars registered from 1 July 2015 with low carbon emissions of less than or equal to 135g CO2/km qualify for rebates of between S$5,000 (US$3,614) and S$30,000 (US$21,681), which are offset against the vehicle’s Additional Registration Fee (ARF). Cars with high carbon emissions equal to or more than 186g CO2/km incur a registration surcharge of between S$5,000 and S$30,000.

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Juniper forecasts HEV & EV sales to total 17M by 2020; Tesla ranked leading EV manufacturer

March 08, 2016

A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that nearly 17 million hybrid and electric vehicles will be on the road by 2020, up from an estimated 12 million last year.

Juniper believes that stakeholders primarily need to establish the viability and desirability of electric vehicles with consumers, and adopt an aggressive market strategy including the rolling out of a wide-scale public charging infrastructure that is seen as both ongoing and committed; improving vehicle battery life and range per charge; and conducting effective consumer education campaigns, with attractive incentives to change.

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ViriCiti, Simacan tool predicts energy usage and savings per route by driving electric

March 04, 2016

ViriCiti B.V., a provider of telematics systems for electric city buses and trucks, and Simacan B.V., a provider of real-time traffic information, are partnering to develop a new online tool that predicts the energy usage and savings per route by driving electric.

The EV Fleet Analyzer provides insights into when the deployment of electric distribution vehicles is profitable. With this tool, ViriCiti and Simacan aim to increase the use of electric vehicles.

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Study suggests policymakers need to move beyond alt fuels hype to decarbonize transport successfully

March 02, 2016

Policymakers who want to decarbonize the transportation sector will need to move beyond the hype that has characterized alternative fuels over the past three decades and find better ways to assess and sustain promising technologies and fuels, according to a study from Simon Fraser University, Canadian consulting firm Navius Research, and the University of California, Davis.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, Noel Melton, Jonn Axsen and Daniel Sperling conduct a media analysis to show how society’s attention has skipped among alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technology between 1980 and 2013, including methanol, natural gas, plug-in electric, hybrid electric, hydrogen and biofuels. They then make recommendations that governments can follow to move past hype to support significant AFV adoption and displace fossil fuel use in the transportation sector.

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Škoda showcases MQB-based plug-in hybrid VisionS concept at Geneva; production PHEV in 2019, followed by BEV

Volkswagen Group company Škoda is showcasing its VisionS plug-in hybrid concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. The Škoda VisionS incorporates the brand’s new design language, carrying it over into the SUV segment. The plug-in hybrid drive system is a preview of a similar drive system being tested for production cars, said Škoda CEO Bernhard Maier.

Based on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), this is Škoda’s first vehicle to feature six seats across three rows.

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Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision builds on electrification, autonomous drive and vehicle intelligence

March 01, 2016

Nissan outlined its Intelligent Mobility vision at the Geneva International Motor Show. Created to guide the Nissan product evolution, Intelligent Mobility will anchor company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society, all while staying focused on creating more enjoyable driving experiences.

At the core of Nissan Intelligent Mobility are three areas of innovation: Nissan Intelligent Driving, spearheaded by Nissan’s autonomous drive technology, Piloted Drive; Nissan Intelligent Power, spearheaded by electric vehicles (EV); and Nissan Intelligent Integration—new links between vehicles and society.

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China R&D company introduces micro-turbine range extender technology at Geneva

Techrules, a new China-based automotive R&D company, made its global debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show with the unveiling of a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) series hybrid system applied in a 6-motor, all-wheel drive supercar concept.

TREV is a range extender system that uses a micro-turbine (fueled either by liquid or gaseous fuels) to generate electricity that charges a battery pack. The battery powers the motors that drive the wheels. In 2010, Jaguar introduced a similar concept, the C-X75 extended range electric vehicle that used twin gas micro-turbines from Bladon Jets to power two switched reluctance generators from SR Drives. (Earlier post.)

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Daimler invests €500M in new Li-ion battery factory in Germany

Daimler is investing €500 million (US$544 million) to build a second battery factory in Germany to produce lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes-Benz and smart hybrid and electric vehicles.

This will triple the production space of Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, located in Kamenz. As a first step, the full Daimler subsidiary has purchased about 20 hectares of land adjacent to the existing battery factory.

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Morgan launches three-wheeled Morgan EV3 at Geneva

The Morgan Motor Company is launching the three-wheeled Morgan EV3, the company’s first production electric vehicle, at the Geneva Motor Show. Following a soft launch of the Phase 1 EV3 mule vehicle in 2015, Morgan is showcasing the final pre-production phase car with restyled body and interior.

Fitted with a 20 kWh Li-ion battery pack and a liquid-cooled 46 kW motor driving the rear wheel, and weighing less than 500 kg (1,100 lbs), the all-electric 3 Wheeler has a range of 150 miles (241 km). Early indications suggest a minimum 0-62 mph time of less than 9 seconds and a top speed in excess of 90 mph (145 km/h).

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DS Automobiles unveiling high-performance E-TENSE electric GT concept at Geneva

February 26, 2016

DS Automobiles, Citroën’s luxury brand spin-off, will introduce the high-performance electric GT concept DS E-TENSE at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show next week.

A Formula E World Championship competitor in partnership with Virgin (DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team), DS Automobiles has equipped the DS E-TENSE with a 300 kW (402 hp) motor that produces 516 N·m (380 lb-ft) torque. Mixed EU cycle range is 310 km (193 miles) or 360 km (224 miles) on the urban cycle. The car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

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BNEF forecasts EVs to be 35% of global new car sales by 2040; cost of ownership below conventional-fuel vehicles by 2025

February 25, 2016

A new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts that sales of electric vehicles will hit 41 million by 2040, representing 35% of new light duty vehicle sales worldwide. This would be almost 90 times the equivalent figure for 2015, when EV sales are estimated to have been 462,000, some 60% up on 2014.

Driving the sales increase is a forecast significant reduction in battery prices—the result being that during the 2020s EVs will become a more economic option than gasoline or diesel cars in most countries. BNEF will discuss its EV forecast in detail at its upcoming annual BNEF Summit in New York in April.

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Volvo sells 11 electric hybrid buses with 2 ABB automated fast-chargers to Namur, Belgium

Volvo has received an order for 11 electric hybrid buses and 2 ABB automated electric bus fast-chargers to the city of Namur in Belgium with public transport authority and operator TEC. This is the largest order to date for the company’s electric bus system.

TEC is buying the bus system as a turn-key solution. Volvo takes full responsibility for vehicle servicing, battery maintenance as well as maintenance of the standard-based charging stations for a fixed monthly cost. Start in-service is planned towards the end of 2016. Every year the TEC Group transports more than 250 million passengers.

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Hyundai unveiling full IONIQ line at Geneva: HEV, PHEV and BEV

February 24, 2016

Hyundai will unveil all the members—hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric—of its IONIQ range at the Geneva Motor Show next week. In January, Hyundai released initial details on the new IONIQ dedicated hybrid—the first version of the platform to come to market. (Earlier post.)

The IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in both feature the new Kappa 1.6 GDI, gasoline direct injection, four-cylinder engine featuring a thermal efficiency of 40% and 104 hp (77 kW) and 147 N·m (57 lb-ft) of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a six-speed double clutch transmission to enable a more dynamic driving experience than some other hybrids. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension enhances driving dynamics.

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Honda targeting 2/3 of unit sales from PHEVs, HEVs and ZEVs by ~2030; PHEVs the core of electrification

At a press event in Tokyo to lay out his future vision and direction for the company, Honda Motor President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that the company will strive to make two-thirds of its overall unit sales from plug-in hybrid/hybrid vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs by around 2030.

Hachigo said that Honda will will position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future and will introduce an all-new plug-in hybrid model in North America by 2018. After that, Honda will make a plug-in hybrid type available for the major models and increase the number of models sequentially.

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California Energy Commission proposes awarding $8.9M for completion of California DC fast charge North-South corridors (corrected)

February 21, 2016

The staff of the California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 8 awardees for a total of $8,875,457 in proposed funding to install Direct Current (DC) fast charging stations on Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 99 (SR 99), and along United States Highway 101 (US-101) from San Jose traveling South in California.

The awards stem from a solicitation released in July 2015 (GFO-15-601), with the overall objective of completing the West Coast Electric Highway which stretches from British Columbia to Baja California. CEC received a total of 35 proposals requesting a combined $39,159,298. The proposed awards will come up for an approval vote by the Commission sometime before July.

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Automakers testing new GKN electric torque vectoring technology; “eTwinster”

February 18, 2016

Automakers are test-driving a new torque-vectoring electric drive system by GKN Automotive. The “eTwinster” technology is part of a range of new hybrid electric technologies GKN is showcasing to customers at its Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Northern Sweden.

The eTwinster is a plug-in hybrid module that makes it simpler for vehicle platforms to offer electric all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. The driveline combines eAxle technologies proven in the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 plug-in hybrids and the twin-clutch torque vectoring technology that features in the Ford Focus RS and Range Rover Evoque.

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Nevs signs framework agreement for 50% stake in transport vehicle manufacturing company in China; electric minivan to portfolio

February 17, 2016

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) has signed a framework agreement on taking a 50% stake in Chinese transport vehicle manufacturing company New Long Ma (NLM). NLM is part of the Fujian Motors Group, owned by the Fujian provincial government. The company has during the last three years invested three billion RMB (US$459 million) in a new plant that today has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year.

NLM’s product portfolio includes an electric commercial distribution minivan which is a part of the agreement. Currently, the product is the third-most sold electric commercial minivan in China, with more than 12,000 units sold during its first production year 2015, according to Nevs.

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Aston Martin and LeEco partner to co-develop RapidE EV for market intro in 2018; potential to add Faraday Future

China-based technology company LeEco and Aston Martin have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) towards the creation of a partnership that will develop a production version of the Aston Martin RapidE electric vehicle concept—a fully electric version of the Rapide S four-door sports sedan. (Earlier post.)

The new partners anticipate working together in developing and manufacturing RapidE, with potential for adding a range of next-generation connected electric vehicles on behalf of Aston Martin, LeEco and Faraday Future. (Earlier post.)

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Daimler managers to drive PHEV company cars

February 16, 2016

As policy, Daimler managers will be driving electrified company cars—mainly its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. Furthermore, Daimler this year will invest a further €30 million (US$34 million) into extending the company’s own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.

The agreement applies to the company’s senior levels of management and focuses on plug-in hybrids. Daimler AG believes that the technology offered by these vehicles provides a key to zero-emission driving and is therefore expanding its product portfolio with plug-in hybrid drive systems. The models already presented and mostly already introduced to the market are the S 500 e in sedan, the C 350 e in sedan, wagon and extended-wheelbase versions, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC and the new E 350 e sedan.

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AmeriPride Services receives first of 10 new electric delivery trucks from Motiv Power Systems; 20% of fleet to go electric

AmeriPride Services, a leading textile rental services and supply company in North America, announced plans to replace 20% of the fleet at its Vernon branch with electric delivery trucks equipped with Motiv Power Systems All-Electric Powertrains. Motiv has delivered the first of ten zero-emission step vans.

The company’s new delivery vehicles feature up to 20% gradeability, 80 miles of range and a 50% battery charge time of 2.5 hours. Installed by Morgan Olson on a Ford F59 Chassis, the walk-in step vans are the first Motiv-powered vehicles installed on a previously-used body.

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CMU study concludes alt fuel vehicle incentives for OEMs result in increased fleet gasoline consumption and emissions

February 15, 2016

A study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University has concluded that regulatory incentives for OEMs for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) intended to encourage a technology transition in the transportation fleet result in increased fleet-wide gasoline consumption and emissions. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In the US, the main regulatory drivers for increased light-duty vehicle fuel efficiency are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) CAFE standards and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GHG standard. The two standards are harmonized for comparable stringency, but there are differences. (Earlier post.)

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CMU study finds that coal retirement is needed for EVs to reduce air pollution

February 12, 2016

Electric vehicles charged in coal-heavy regions can create more human health and environmental damages from life cycle air emissions than gasoline vehicles, according to a new consequential life cycle analysis by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. However, the anticipated—albeit now possibly delayed, per the recent Supreme Court decision—retirement of coal-fired power plants will make electric vehicles more competitive on an air emissions basis, the researchers found.

Among the findings of the study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, was that battery electric vehicles with large battery capacity can produce two to three times as much air emissions damage as gasoline hybrid electric vehicles, depending on charge timing.

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NREL analysis of Proterra electric bus demo finds average fuel economy nearly 4x that of CNG baseline buses

Proterra battery-electric buses in service in a 12- vehicle demonstration by Foothill Transit in California offered significant fuel savings compared to similar conventional vehicles, according to a recently published analysis of the results of the demonstration by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The NREL team found, inter alia, that the battery-electric buses (BEBs)had an overall average efficiency of 2.15 kWh per mile on the service route, which equated to 17.48 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). The baseline CNG buses had an average fuel economy of 4.04 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), which equates to 4.51 miles per DGE. These results indicated that the BEBs have an average fuel economy that is nearly 4 times higher than that of the CNG buses.

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Antelope Valley Transit orders up to 85 electric buses from BYD; first US all-electric public transit fleet

The board of directors of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) in California voted to award BYD a contract to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five-year period. Under the order from AVTA, BYD Motors will build and deliver a variety of all-electric bus models including a 40-foot low floor transit bus, a 60-foot low floor articulated bus, and a 45-foot commuter coach.

All 85 buses will have a range of more than 160 miles on a single battery charge. AVTA is also installing a wireless charging system to extend the fleet’s range to ensure the electric buses will be able to serve the agency’s longest rural routes.

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Cal Energy Commission awards $1.5M to Berkeley to advance open-source advanced smart charging technology; OpenVBOSS

February 11, 2016

The California Energy Commission is awarding the University of California, Berkeley $1.5 million to develop an advanced smart charging technology that maintains plug-in electric vehicle consumer needs while reducing charging loads, to achieve electricity grid benefits. The project will focus on controlling the charging of PEVs in residential and small commercial settings using a novel and flexible open-source, open-software architecture charge communication and control platform.

The proposed project addresses the problem of access and signals/controls for local data streams in order to control electricity systems loads for grid management. PEVs are proliferating in California under the Advanced Clean Cars Program, sometimes in geographic clusters; this is creating potential load management issues for electrical utility grids at the feeder and transformer level.

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Tesla projects GAAP profit in Q4 2016; 80k-90k new Model S and Model X in 2016

In its Q4 and Full Year 2015 update, Tesla projected being net cash flow positive and achieving non-GAAP profitability for the year, even factoring in a $1.5-billion investment to add more production capacity, start cell production at the Gigafactory, and establish additional customer support infrastructure. Tesla expects moderate GAAP profitability is expected in the fourth quarter. Model 3 is on schedule to be unveiled on 31 March, with production and delivery slated for late 2017.

Tesla delivered 17,478 vehicles in Q4, including 206 Model X vehicles. Tesla directly leased 881 cars to customers in Q4, about the same percentage as last quarter and worth $85 million of aggregate transaction value. As expected, Model S average transaction price declined by about 2% due to vehicle and option mix. Price increases outside the US offset the impact of unfavorable movements in foreign currencies during the quarter.

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UC Riverside reinforcement-learning-based real-time energy management system can improve PHEV efficiency by almost 12%

February 09, 2016

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have demonstrated that a new, data-driven, reinforcement-learning-based, real-time energy management system (EMS) can improve the efficiency of current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by almost 12% compared to the standard, binary mode control strategy. The UCR EMS optimizes the power-split control in real time while learning the optimal decisions from historical driving cycles.

Further, the ~12% improvement does not factor in charging opportunities. An 8% fuel saving—again, compared to the standard binary mode EMS—can be achieved when charging opportunities are considered, the researchers said in a paper describing the system in the journal Transportation Research Record.

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€3.4M OmniSteer project seeks to increase urban maneuverability with highly-integrated lateral and transverse guidance systems for EVs

February 05, 2016

Automobile maneuverability is limited by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to park their vehicles frequently—such as delivery services and mobile care providers—lose a lot of working time searching for and then getting into parking spaces. New chassis types with wheels that can be steered individually and electric drives make it possible to increase maneuverability and therefore efficiency, particularly in flowing urban traffic.

The OmniSteer project, which is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, is aimed at researching suitable concepts and prototypes by 2018 and has a budget of €3.4 million (US$3.8 million).

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Study finds nanoparticle NMC material used in Li-ion batteries harms key soil bacterium

February 04, 2016

Nanoparticle nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), an emerging material that is being rapidly incorporated into lithium-ion battery cathodes, has been shown to impair Shewanella oneidensis, a key soil bacterium, according to new research published in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials.

The study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the University of Minnesota is an early signal that the growing use of the new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries that power portable electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles may have unforeseen environmental consequences.

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Connected Energy and Renault to collaborate on energy storage and EV charging technology; second-life batteries in E-STOR

Renault and distributed energy storage company Connected Energy are partnering to develop sustainable and efficient ways of using electric vehicle batteries at the end of their useable in-vehicle life in order to supply innovative and more affordable vehicle charging solutions.

At the end of their useful in-vehicle life, Renault EV batteries still have considerable remaining capacity, enabling them to server in other applications before recycling. With increasing EV sales—97,687 EVs were sold in Europe in 2015, up 48% on 2014—so is the requirement in energy to charge them. Connected Energy is addressing both issues through use of second-life EV batteries in its E-STOR technology.

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Daimler & enercity storing new replacement EV batteries in working 15 MWh grid storage system; “living storage”

February 02, 2016

Daimler AG, with its wholly owned subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE, and enercity (Stadtwerke Hannover AG) will begin construction of a new stationary energy storage system (ESS) this year; the facility also functions as a spare parts storage facility for electromotive battery systems.

Around 3,000 new battery packs, destined for the current smart electric drive vehicle fleet, are being pooled to create the ESS at the enercity site in Herrenhausen. With a storage capacity totalling 15 MWh, the installation is one of the largest in Europe. After completion, the energy storage facility will be marketed on the German primary balancing energy market. The storage facility is already the third major project for Daimler AG in this business sector.

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New UMTRI paper reviews major advantages and disadvantages of battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles

February 01, 2016

A new report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) reviews the major advantages and disadvantages associated with battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs). The team of Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak also incudes information for current gasoline-powered internal combustion engines as a baseline comparison.

In addition to reviewing the technical literature, the UMTRI researchers interviewed experts in the automotive and energy sectors regarding their views concerning these issues. Among their findings:

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GM creates dedicated team to drive autonomous and advanced technology vehicle development

January 29, 2016

Effective 1 February, GM is creating a combined, dedicated Autonomous and Technology Vehicle Development Team. This team is tasked with accelerating the company’s technical capabilities and create the future direction of GM vehicle programs in the autonomous and “technologically advanced” vehicle space.

Doug Parks, currently vice president, Global Product Programs, is now Vice President, Autonomous Technology and Vehicle Execution. He will lead the team responsible for creating and executing autonomously driven vehicles in addition to advanced technology vehicle programs.

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CPUC approves SDG&E pilot EV grid integration project; 3,500 charging stations at 350 sites, dynamic pricing

Almost two years after SDG&E proposed its Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration (VGI) pilot project (April 2014), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a modified version of the program, enabling the utility to own and to install 3,500 charging stations at 350 sites—businesses and multi-family communities, including in underserved neighborhoods, throughout San Diego and south Orange Counties.

The program features dynamic pricing—a time-variant rate—that creates incentives for charging when renewable energy is most available. The CPUC decision comes two weeks after a separate CPUC decision to approve a proposal from Southern California Edison to deploy 1,500 charging stations across its territory. (Earlier post.)

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DeltaWing partners with DHX Electric Machines; ultra high-torque motors for automotive applications

January 26, 2016

DeltaWing Technology Group—creators of the DeltaWing vehicle design (earlier post)—and DHX Electric Machines—a Georgia Tech spinout and developer and manufacturer of ultra-high torque density electric machines using proprietary and patented direct cooling technology—announced an agreement granting DeltaWing worldwide rights to make, use and sell DHX electric motors and components specifically designed for automotive applications.

DHX traction motor technology is based on proprietary direct-winding heat exchange cooling technology that is able to remove motor heat at the source—the stator windings. The technology is based on the advanced micro-feature heat exchange research and development efforts of Dr. J. Rhett Mayor (DHX CEO) and Dr. S. Andrew Semidey (DHX VP of Engineering) at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

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Volkswagen Group confirms 20 more EV or PHEV models by 2020; Müller says Europe needs to lead with electric mobility

At the Volkswagen Group’s New Year reception in Brussels, Group CEO Matthias Müller said that the Group would concentrate on sustainability more than ever before—encompassing products, strategy and management. Müller will present the new Strategy 2025 for the Group this summer.

Among other things, the company’s brands will introduce about 20 additional models with electrical or plug-in hybrid drive trains by 2020, the CEO confirmed. (That number had been put forth by former CEO Martin Winterkorn at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. Earlier post.) The Volkswagen Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries.

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ExxonMobil projects 25% energy demand increase between 2014-2040, 50% decline in carbon intensity; hybrids to be 40% of new car sales

January 25, 2016

Global energy demand will increase 25% between 2014 and 2040, driven by population growth and economic expansion, ExxonMobil forecasts in the 2016 edition of its annual The Outlook for Energy. At the same time, energy efficiency gains and increased use of renewable energy sources and lower carbon fuels, such as natural gas, are expected to help reduce by half the carbon intensity of the global economy.

During the period, the world’s population will increase by about 2 billion people and emerging economies will continue to expand significantly, according to the forecast. Most growth in energy demand will occur in developing nations that are not part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Per capita income in those countries is likely to increase by 135%.

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TM4, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Exagon Motors and the Gouvernement du Québec partner on new electric drivetrain

January 21, 2016

TM4, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Exagon Motors, Hydro-Québec and the Gouvernement du Québec are collaborating to develop a new electric drivetrain for light-duty vehicles. TM4 will act as the developer of the electric powertrain in the pre-development phase of the project.

The government’s contribution will be made up of a CAD 10-million equity interest and a CAD 6-million loan. Hydro­Québec will also be contributing CAD 4 million to the project, in addition to the services offered by its subsidiary TM4 to help with the development of an electric motor.

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DOE announces $58M in funding for advanced vehicle technologies

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz used the Washington DC Auto show as the venue to announce $58 million in funding for vehicle technology advancements. (Earlier post.) (DE-FOA-0001384: Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement) DOE also released a report highlighting the successes of itsAdvanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

Pre-announced in December, a $55-million funding opportunity will solicit projects across vehicle technologies such as energy storage, electric drive systems, materials, fuels and lubricants and advanced combustion. Secretary Moniz also announced that two innovative projects at CALSTART and the National Association of Regional Councils will receive $3 million to develop systems that help companies combine their purchasing of advanced vehicles, components, and infrastructure to reduce incremental cost and achieve economies of scale.

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Volkswagen brand restructures development organization; distinct BEV group

January 20, 2016

The Volkswagen brand has restructured its vehicle development organization. The new organization bundles competencies into four series groups containing several model series: small; compact; mid- and full-size; and BEV.

The brand’s management intends for cross-functional collaboration to be strengthened as a result—from the concept to the end of the life-cycle for any given model, the responsibility for technology, quality, cost and deadline compliance, and the responsibility for cost-effectiveness, now clearly lie in one hand for the first time. Until now, these responsibilities were distributed across different divisions and differentiated into individual models groups as well.

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Audi Brussels to produce exclusively e-tron quattro SUV, battery packs; A1 production moving to Spain

As of 2018, Audi Brussels will produce exclusively the commercial version of Audi’s e-tron quattro battery-electric SUV (earlier post). The plant will also produce its own battery packs. The site in Belgium will thus become a key plant for electric mobility at the Volkswagen Group.

Audi will transfer production of the Audi A1 from Brussels to Martorell in Spain; in 2014, Audi Brussels produced 115,378 Audi A1 models. The Audi Q3, currently produced in Spain, will be built in Győr (Hungary) in the future. The model rotation will benefit all the sites of its global production network, Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler said.

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VW e-Golf to be enhanced with improved infotainment, connectivity and range

January 14, 2016

Over the next few years (exact timing is unannounced) Volkswagen’s e-Golf battery-electric vehicle will receive a boost in range due to planned and anticipated improvements to its batteries (earlier post) as well as some of the advanced HMI (human-machine interface), device and connectivity technologies showcased at CES 2016 in the e-Golf Touch concept. (The exact technology slate for the US is also unannounced.)

The e-Golf Touch introduced a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of the new intuitive control technology, some of which will appear in the production e-Golf over the next few years. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2-inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels).

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PwC: electrified vehicle sales on the rise in Europe, continued growth expected

January 13, 2016

PwC’s Autofacts group estimates sales of pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids will grow 433% to 2.2 million units by 2021, driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure. While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including hybrids and pure electric—are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in the face of decreased fuel prices, these reduced emission offerings are still a comparatively low%age of overall vehicle sales in this critical market.

Pure electric and plug-in hybrids vehicle sales grew 82.2% from September 2014 to September 2015, as opposed to mild and full hybrids which increased 22% during the same period. The significant EV growth can be attributed to several factors, according to PwC, including consumer desire for more emission-friendly vehicles, the maturation of pure electric technologies and their positive perception among consumers, and continued government incentives.

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Chevrolet releases more details on Bolt drive unit and battery; one-pedal driving

January 11, 2016

Hard on the heels of the reveal of the production Volt EV at CES 2016 in Las Vegas earlier post), Chevrolet used the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit to release additional details on the battery and drivetrain of the new BEV. Engineers developed the Bolt EV’s propulsion system to offer more than an estimated 200 miles (based on GM estimates) and a sporty driving experience.

The Bolt EV’s drive system uses a single high capacity electric motor to propel the car. The engineering team designed the Bolt EV’s electric motor with an offset gear and shaft configuration tailored to meet efficiency and performance targets—most notably more than an estimated 200 miles of range. The motor is capable of producing up to 266 lb-ft (360 N·m) of torque and 200 hp (150 kW) of motoring power. Combined with a 7.05:1 final drive ratio, it helps propel the Bolt EV from 0-60 mph in less than seven seconds.

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Chevrolet unveils the Bolt EV

January 06, 2016

As promised, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra unveiled the production 2017 Bolt battery-electric vehicle at CES 2016. The Bolt EV, which will go into production by the end of 2016, will offer more than 200 miles of range on a full charge. It also features advanced connectivity technologies designed to enhance and personalize the driving experience.

GM said that the Bolt EV benefits directly from the suggestions and ideas of Volt owners and features technologies that make owning a long-range electric vehicle easy. The Bolt EV’s connectivity innovations will provide smart, personalized solutions for managing the driving experience. For example, in the future an accurate driving range projection will be based on the time of day, topography, weather and the owner’s driving habits.

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Volkswagen unveils BUDD-e electric van concept at CES; first VW based on new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB)

At CES 2016, Volkswagen unveiled the battery-electric BUDD-e van. Equipped with a 101 kWh battery pack supporting a range of up to 373 miles (600 km) on the NEDC, the BUDD-e concept is the first vehicle based on Volkswagen’s new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) designed specifically for plug-in vehicles. BUDD-e exemplifies what Volkswagen considers as potentially representative of electric mobility offerings in the 2019 timeframe.

With the BUDD-e, Volkswagen has also developed a vehicle that is more thoroughly connected with its surroundings than any car before it. An integral automotive component in the Internet of Things (IoT), BUDD-e is capable of seamlessly communicating with the smart home or office.

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Audi introducing Q2, new Q5 in 2016, confirms electric SUV for 2018; investing more than €3B in 2016

December 28, 2015

Audi management said that the company will continue with its high levels of investment in 2016, with planned capital expenditure to amount to more than €3 billion (US$3.3 billion). Half of the planned investment will take place at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites in Germany.

Audi plans to enter a new market segment with the Audi Q2 model next year, and will also present the the successor of the Audi Q5. In 2018, Audi will launch its first large‑series battery‑electric vehicle, based on the Audi e-tron Quattro concept. (Earlier post.) By 2020, Audi will expand its model range to include 60 different automobiles. “A significant proportion of our investment is naturally in the field of alternative drive systems,” said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.

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DINA consortium researches integrated diagnostic system for electromobility; draws up standards for diagnosis and repair

A consortium led by the Bosch Group has developed a standardized integrated diagnostic system that in the future will be able to clearly identify and locate defects in the electrical powertrain. The consortium’s project on diagnosis and repairs for electric vehicles—“DINA”—was funded with €2.8 million (US$3.1 million) by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the leading-edge “Electric Mobility South-West” cluster.

Besides the Bosch Group, the consortium included DEKRA Automobil GmbH, the Fraunhofer Ernst-Mach-Institut, and the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS). The results of this research have important implications for suppliers, automakers, workshops, and testing organizations.

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Bain: Germany’s goal of 1M electric cars by 2020 is unattainable; fewer than 50,000 units on road by end of this year

December 23, 2015

The German Federal Government plan to have one million electric cars on its roads by 2020 has failed, according to the analysis of international management consulting firm Bain & Company. By the end of 2015, there will be a total of about 50,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids on the roads in Germany (about 75% below plan); nevertheless, structural transformation towards electromobility is continuing, according to the firm.

Stricter emission laws and the technological advances in electric drives will accelerate the trend towards e-mobility in the medium term, Bain said.

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Navigant forecasts global light duty electrified vehicle sales to exceed 6.0M in 2024; PEVs to account for roughly half

December 21, 2015

In a new report, Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts, Navigant research projects that under its base scenario, global sales of light duty electrified vehicles (i.e., vehicles that use electricity for traction, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electrics) will grow from 2.6 million vehicle sales in 2015 to more than 6.0 million in 2024.

Under a conservative scenario, Navigant forecasts more than 5.8 million electrified vehicles by 2024, while the aggressive scenario sees more than 6.4 million. Navigant estimates that sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) accounted for roughly 19% of electrified vehicle sales in 2015; in 2024, Navigant expects light duty PEVs to capture between 47% and 51% of the electrified vehicle market.

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DOE to issue $56M funding opportunity for vehicle technologies in January

December 20, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a FY 2016 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement, with an estimated $56 million of total program funding, in the January 2016 timeframe.

VTO supports a broad technology portfolio aimed at developing and deploying advanced highway transportation technologies that reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while meeting or exceeding vehicle performance and cost expectations. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies. The January 2016 FOA thus may include the following Areas of Interest, covering that spectrum of interests:

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$12B EV deal: NEVS to provide Panda with 150K 9-3 EVs through 2020, 100K other EV products and services

December 17, 2015

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) and the Chinese company Panda New Energy Co., Ltd. have signed a strategic collaboration agreement under which NEVS will provide Panda with 150,000 9-3 sedan electric vehicles through the end of 2020. In addition, the agreement also includes 100,000 other EV products and services from companies associated to NEVS and its owners. The total value of the agreement is 78 billion RMB (US$12 billion).

Panda New Energy is a new energy vehicle leasing company with focus on low emission mobility solutions. Cooperating with many chauffeured car service platforms in China, Panda aims to become one of the biggest EV leasing companies in the world.

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6 new EVgo fast charging locations in Salt Lake City; 100th station in California

December 15, 2015

EVgo and multiple site host partners have installed Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast-Charging EVgo Stations at 6 Salt Lake City, Utah area locations. The chargers will give EV drivers the ability to recharge their vehicles in 30 minutes or less.

The 100th EVgo Freedom Station in California also recently opened to the public and is the nation’s largest publicly-available multi-standard (CHAdeMO and DC Fast Combo) fast charging site. Located in the hottest EV area of the country, the Lucky Fremont location at 5000 Mowry Ave. features four 50kW DC Fast Chargers in addition to Level 2 charging. It can support 9 plug-in concurrently.

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Jaguar returns to motorsport with team entry in Formula E; Williams Advanced Engineering technical partner

Jaguar is returning to global motorsport with a team entry in the FIA Formula E Championship in the autumn of 2016. The company said that FIA Formula E—the first global single-seater championship for electric-powered cars—offers a unique opportunity for Jaguar Land Rover to further the development of future EV powertrain including motor and battery technology.

Williams Advanced Engineering will be Technical Partner to the Jaguar Formula E Team and provide extensive motorsport knowledge, combined with high performance EV Systems experience and success. Jaguar Land Rover has a long term relationship with Williams, who partnered with Jaguar on the development of the Jaguar C-X75 plug-in hybrid concept car. (Earlier post.)

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Ford investing additional $4.5B to add 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020; new fast-charging Focus Electric next year

December 10, 2015

Ford is investing an additional $4.5 billion to add 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by 2020, when more than 40% of the company’s global nameplates will come in electrified versions. Although Ford is currently the second-largest vendor of electrified vehicles in the US, having sold more than 450,000 units since the introduction of its first hybrid (the Escape Hybrid) in 2004 (earlier post), it has not brought a new electrified vehicle model to its US showrooms since the Focus Energi plug-in hybrid in February 2013.

The new $4.5B infusion is Ford’s largest-ever electrified vehicle investment in a five-year period.

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