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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.]

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

August 16, 2017

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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Volkswagen’s Electrify America supplement discusses ZEV charging investments in disadvantaged California communities

Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America last week submitted supplemental information to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) detailing its proposed charging investment in and benefit to underserved, low-income, and disadvantaged communities in the state as part of its court-mandated investment plan. (Earlier post.)

The supplement also adds the Fresno metro area as a focus for community charging investments; outlines an education and outreach proposal targeted at the unique barriers to ZEV use in low-income and disadvantaged communities; and presents a new strategy to explore the use of more affordable pre-owned ZEVs. ARB is initiating its review of the Supplement; the Board will conduct a public hearing later this summer to consider the approval or disapproval, in whole or in part, of the full Investment Plan, which now includes the Supplement.

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ChargePoint takes over GE’s EV charging network; nearly 10,000 new residential and commercial charging spots

June 27, 2017

ChargePoint, Inc. has acquired assets and customer contracts related to GE’s charging network business, adding more than 1,800 commercial and about 8,000 residential charging spots to the ChargePoint network. The specifics of the agreement remain confidential. ChargePoint will maintain GE’s existing software and commercial charging spots, helping to make the transition to ChargePoint as easy and seamless as possible for existing clients and drivers.

ChargePoint is the only EV charging company that designs, develops and manufactures its own EV charging hardware and software solutions. In addition, ChargePoint’s OnRamp program was designed specifically to bring other manufacturers to connect their charging stations to ChargePoint’s industry-leading network. GE stations will be supported by the ChargePoint support team. Drivers who are currently on the GE network will also be invited to start using the ChargePoint mobile app to locate available stations, track usage and more.

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Leclanché signs preferred partnership agreement with Škoda Electric to supply battery packs for electric buses

June 26, 2017

Energy storage company Leclanché SA and Škoda Electric, a manufacturer of electric drives and traction motors for trolley and electric buses, have signed a Joint Development Agreement and Framework Purchase Contract through which Leclanché will provide Škoda Electric with battery solutions for its electric bus expansion strategy. The agreement is worldwide in scope and will operate for an initial term of five years.

Leclanché will provide Škoda Electric with high energy (larger G/NMC batteries for overnight charging) and ultra-fast power battery solutions (smaller LTO battery packs for more regular charging, such as at bus stations during the day) for its e-buses. Its solutions will be modular, thereby enabling Škoda Electric to build e-buses from 6 meters to 26 meters across all market segments.

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Schaeffler and Audi to cooperate to develop next 3 generations of Formula E powertrain

Schaeffler and Audi have agreed on an extensive cooperation in the development of the powertrain for the next three generations of the Formula E race car. Schaeffler Chief Technology Officer Prof. Peter Gutzmer and Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development AUDI AG, signed a three-year agreement—up to and including the 2019/2020 season—in Berlin-Tempelhof during the home round of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in Berlin.

Schaeffler has been involved in the innovative electric racing series from the beginning—designing, developing and building the powertrain for the only German Formula E race car in partnership with Team ABT since the 2015/2016 season. Audi AG entered the series with a factory-backed commitment as of the fourth season beginning in fall of 2017 (earlier post). Their partnership will include joint work on the electric motor, suspension and power electronics for the powertrain.

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Stock-flow modeling suggests energy transition within transportation will take several decades

Using a stock-flow model based on data from Norway, a researcher at the country’s Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) has calculated the energy transition time lag for motor vehicles under a number of scenarios.

In his paper in the journal Energy Policy, Lasse Fridstrøm finds that in the most optimistic scenario for the energy transition affecting Norwegian registered vehicles, zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) would constitute 90% of the flow of new passenger cars in 2024; however, 90% penetration of ZEVs into the stock of passenger cars would not occur until 2039.

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ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system for axle hybrids or fully electric vehicles

June 23, 2017

ZF is using its plug-in Vision Zero concept vehicle to showcase a number of new safety and zero local emissions technologies. The vehicle features a 150 kW electric axle drive system for dynamic acceleration. The entire propulsion system, including the integrated power electronics, is housed in an innovative, space-saving modular ZF rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension).

This modular axle system makes it easier to electrify volume production vehicle platforms—even existing ones as demonstrated in the Vision Zero Vehicle. The system offers vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to respond to a diverse range of market requirements using just one car platform variant.

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Nissan teases new LEAF with ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous features

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn announced that the company would launch a new Nissan LEAF with ProPILOT technology (earlier post,) enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. (Earlier post.) Nissan has now released a teaser image and video of the application of ProPILOT Assist in the new LEAF.

ProPILOT Assist supports drivers by helping control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane driving on the highway. In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections.

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French electric autonomous vehicle maker NAVYA to build 1st US assembly plant in Michigan; partnership with U Michigan

NAVYA, a pioneer in developing and manufacturing autonomous vehicles, will establish its first assembly plant outside of Europe in Southeast Michigan. Beginning last year, the French company partnered with Mcity, a public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, to bring the NAVYA ARMA, a 100% driverless, completely electric, Level 5 autonomous shuttle vehicle to Mcity.

Based on the strong partnership with the university, NAVYA has decided to manufacture its vehicles in the Ann Arbor area.

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Renault introduces new Kangoo Z.E.; longer range and faster charging

June 22, 2017

Renault’s new Kangoo Z.E. electric van delivers more than 50% range—270 km (168 miles) NEDC, equivalent to 200 km (124 miles) real use in the summer, compared to 170 km previously. A new 33 kWh battery mated to a new motor and the new incorporation of a heat pump combine to produce the best driving range in the electric LCV (light commercial vehicle) market.

Further, a new 7 kW (32A, 230V) charger enables the vehicle’s battery to be fully charged in as little as six hours (easily possible overnight), while a one-hour lunch break allows enough time to add a 35-kilometer (15.5-mile) top-up.

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Roland Berger and fka Index: China to dominate EV market and industry in foreseeable future

In the latest E-Mobility Index report (2Q/2017), consultancy Roland Berger and partner Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) find that China has for the first time moved into the pole position. The consultancy says that China will dominate both the market and the industry in the foreseeable future. France, however, has moved past Germany to take the lead in technology, according to the index. The two countries had jointly held the lead in Q1.

The index assess the relative competitive position of the seven leading automotive nations (Germany, France, Italy, the US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three key indicators: technology; industry; and market.

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GAC Motor targeting 1M unit sales by 2020, 20% new energy vehicles; entering US market by 2019; transition to electric “may be quite long”

June 19, 2017

GAC Motor was one of the few automakers, and the only Chinese auto brand, to take the main stage at last week’s Michelin Movin’On 2017 global sustainable mobility summit in Montreal. During his talk, Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, said that his rapidly growing company is targeting sales of 1 million units annually by 2020, with 20% of those being new energy vehicles.

Yu said that GAC plans to introduce seven new energy vehicle models—including both electric and hybrid plug-in designs—to the market this year. GAC has already established its first North America R&D Center in Silicon Valley, and plans to to enter the US market no later than 2019.

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Cummins to begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019; alternative fuels and power, digitalization

June 15, 2017

During a teleconference yesterday, Cummins Inc. executives outlined plans to provide a range of power technologies spanning diesel and natural gas engines to fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including full battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems. Cummins said those are just the first steps as it signals its intention to be the leading provider of electrified powertrains in its commercial and industrial markets.

Longer term, Cummins’ Research and Technology Department continues to investigate the viability of alternatives such as biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologiesboth with increasing potential to offer superior power density over the traditional internal combustion engine.

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California legislature exploring linking autonomy and electrification

California legislators are exploring linking autonomy and electrification. At the end of May, Senate Bill 802, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), received bipartisan support and passed the Senate floor with a vote of 26-11. It now goes to the Assembly for consideration.

SB 802 would direct the Office of Planning and Research to convene an Emerging Vehicle Advisory Study Group on or before 1 April 2018, to review policies regarding new types of motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, autonomous vehicles and shared-use vehicles. The bill would require the study group to provide recommendations to the Legislature on or before 1 April 2019 “regarding policies and incentives to maximize the social benefits, minimize the social costs, and encourage the electrification and hybridization of new types of motor vehicles operating in California, including, but not limited to, autonomous vehicles and shared-use vehicles.”

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Deutsche Post and Ford to manufacture Transit-based electric delivery van

June 14, 2017

Deutsche Post subsidiary StreetScooter GmbH (earlier post) and Ford-Werke GmbH are entering a partnership for the manufacturing of battery-electric delivery vehicles.

StreetScooter, a start-up spun out of German technical university RWTH Aachen, has already developed a small electric van; the StreetScooter van is powered by a 20.4 kWh Li-ion battery pack and propelled by a 30 kW motor. Top speed is 80 km/h (50 mph). The partners will now tackle a larger vehicle, based on the chassis of the Ford Transit.

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DS brand accelerating development of electric cars

Peugeot’s premium brand DS is accelerating the development of electrified cars. Starting with DS 7 CROSSBACK, it will be releasing a new model every year, all with an electrified version (hybrid or all-electric).

DS Automobiles is competing in Formula E—a valuable test-bed for gaining experience and accelerated development. The recent city-located ePrix races provide opportunities to show the advancing technologies that are being tested and evaluated for future production models, with three specific projects already in their advanced stages.

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Honda to lease 2017 Clarity Electric for $269 a month, 36 months

June 12, 2017

Honda announced an introductory lease price of $269 a month for 36 months (plus tax) for the 2017 Honda Clarity Electric sedan (earlier post), which is coming to select dealerships in California and Oregon August 2017.

The lease terms include an attractive allowance of 20,000 miles per year and 24/7 roadside assistance. The lease, which has a federal tax credit built in, requires $1,730 down, plus the first month’s lease payment at signing (not including tax, registration or official fees). In addition, California customers qualify for the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate of $2,500.

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New LA electric car sharing program for disadvantaged communities; Bolloré BlueLA

June 11, 2017

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the BlueLA Electric Car Sharing Program alongside California State Senate Leader Kevin de León, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, the California Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and representatives from Blue Solutions—a division of the Bolloré Group—which has invested more than $10 million to bring its EV car share program to Los Angeles.

The program is funded in part by a $1.7-million grant through California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program designed to spend billions of cap-and-trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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Honda to focus on PHEVs, development of battery-electrics in addition to fuel cell vehicles; 2/3 of sales electrified by 2030

June 09, 2017

At a press meeting in Tokyo, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo discussed the future direction of Honda, including various products and technologies and the company’s new 2030 Vision.

Hachigo said that Honda aims to electrify two-thirds of global automobile unit sales in 2030. The company will put a central focus on hybrid-based models utilizing a high-efficiency plug-in hybrid system unique to Honda. As for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), Honda will strengthen the development of battery-electric vehicles in addition to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCV).

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California and China partner in push for ZEVs; new working group to expand cooperation

June 08, 2017

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols met with officials of China’s leading automakers and battery manufacturers in an effort to expand cooperation and accelerate deployment of zero-emission cars, trucks and buses.

At the close of the meeting, Governor Brown and Chair Nichols agreed to establish a new working group through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab at UC Davis to expand cooperation with Chinese zero-emission vehicle and battery technology companies. The lab is a partnership established in 2014 between UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).

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IEA: Electric vehicles posted strong gains in 2016; 2M now in global parc

June 07, 2017

With more than 750,000 units sold over the year, the number of electric vehicles in the global parc—primarily Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)—surpassed 2 million units in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2017. This is up 60% from 2015, indicating rapid market evolution.

In 2005, electric cars were still measured in hundreds. 2016 also saw more than 200 million electric two wheelers on the road and 345 thousand buses, primarily in China. China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world. China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling more than 90% of all EVs sold around the world. Six countries more than over 1% electric car market share in 2016: Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and China.

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Study projects emission impacts of inexpensive, efficient EVs: 36% further reduction in LDV GHG by 2050, or 9% economy-wide

A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder projects the emission impacts of the widespread introduction of inexpensive and efficient electric vehicles into the US light duty vehicle (LDV) sector. The work is reported in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Under their optimistic scenario (OPT)—which is based on the assumption that EVs are market-competitive with gasoline vehicles, in particular after 2025—they find 15% and 47% adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2030 and 2050, respectively. Compared to the reference case, in which gasoline vehicles (ICEVs) remain dominant through 2050 (BAU), OPT results in 16% and 36% reductions in LDV greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for 2030 and 2050, respectively, corresponding to 5% and 9% reductions in economy-wide emissions.

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Renault and Powervault in EV battery “second-life” partnership trial

June 05, 2017

In the UK, Renault and Powervault are partnering to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. This partnership will reduce the cost of a Powervault smart battery unit by 30%, helping Powervault to bring home energy storage to the tipping point of mass-market roll-out in the UK.

Powervault is placing 50 trial units, powered by second-life batteries provided by Renault, in the homes of customers who already have solar panels installed. The trial will explore the technical performance of second-life batteries as well as customer reaction to home energy storage to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass-market. The trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.

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Volkswagen and JAC launch new JV for electric cars for mass market in China; 1st vehicle in 2018

June 02, 2017

In the presence of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Berlin, Volkswagen signed a joint venture agreement with the Chinese automaker Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC). Each of the partners is to hold a 50% stake in the new company.

The new joint venture, which has initially been concluded for a term of 25 years, will develop electric vehicles and launch them on the hotly contested Chinese mass market. The agreement provides for the construction of an additional factory as well as a research and development center.

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Daimler and BAIC sign framework agreement strengthening collaboration in new energy vehicles; Daimler investment

June 01, 2017

In the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Group signed a framework agreement on further strengthening their strategic collaboration through investments for New Energy Vehicles in China.

The framework agreement will center on two significant investments. As one part of this investment agreement, Daimler intends to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, with the purpose of strengthening strategic collaboration with BAIC in the NEV sector. As another part of the framework agreement, the current production facilities at their joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC) will be upgraded, paving the way for the introduction of New Energy Vehicle production.

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Continental in strategic agreements with NIO on EVs, Baidu on autonomous driving

Continental has signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with NIO, a global electric vehicle startup. The two companies will collaborate closely in the field of fully electric vehicles and other relevant fields, including intelligent transportation systems and automated driving, striving to build a stable partnership on a long-term basis.

Continental also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, one of the biggest Internet companies in China, with the goal of establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperation in the areas of automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services. Both agreements were signed on Wednesday in Berlin.

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UK Government awards more than US$141M to 38 driverless and low carbon vehicle projects

The UK Government recently awarded £109.7 million (US$141 million) of government funding, alongside significant funding from industry, to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles, as part of the Industrial Strategy and the government’s Plan for Britain.

The awards are divided between funding from the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) – 7 projects with support up to £62 million (US$80 million); the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) – 7 projects with support up to £16.7 million (US$21.5 million); and the second round of the connected autonomous vehicles competition (CAV2) – 24 projects with support up to £31 million (US$40 million).

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NEVS starts city mobility pilot with new 9-3 EV series in Tianjin; launching SUV model

May 31, 2017

Sweden-based NEVS is launching a city mobility pilot program with support from Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech Industrial Development Area (THT). The program offers car-sharing and ride hailing solutions in Tianjin city, with 15 million inhabitants.

The users will get access to all NEVS 9-3 EV series. With this green technology collaboration, the ambition is to pave the way for a new type of mobility solutions for modern and sustainable cities. NEVS will provide both electric vehicles and mobility services in this program with the new 9-3 electric vehicles.

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Continental unveils AllCharge charging system; using the EV powertrain as a universal charger; up to 800V and 350 kW and all types of stations

Continental has developed innovative charging technology called “AllCharge” that uses the electric powertrain of an EV as a universal charger supporting all types of cable-based charging stations. AllCharge can always use the maximum output rate—up to 800V and 350 kW—at all types of stations: single-phase and three-phase AC or high-speed DC.

Continental is presenting and demonstrating the technology at the Continental Tech Show in June 2017 and at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

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Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant to produce compact electric EQ vehicles; 3rd center of competence for EQ models in Germany

May 29, 2017

Mercedes-Benz announced that its Rastatt plant—the company’s lead plant in global production of compact cars—will produce compact-class electric EQ models in the future. The decision is based on a declaration of intent, which the company has set up with the works council. All three German Mercedes-Benz car plants—Rastatt, Bremen and Sindelfingen—will now produce EQ-brand EVs.

Future EQ models can be integrated in the series production of existing Mercedes-Benz plants on four continents. With highly flexible structures, the plants already can produce vehicles with different drive types on the same line. The company will decide on the basis of market demand which foreign locations will produce further EQ models within the production network.

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Government of Canada to develop a national Zero-Emissions Vehicle strategy by 2018

May 26, 2017

The Government of Canada is moving forward with provincial and territorial partners, industry and stakeholders, to develop a national strategy to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVS)—battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—on Canadian roads by 2018.

Transportation accounts for about 24% of Canada’s emissions, mostly from cars and trucks. In 2015, light-duty vehicle emissions accounted for approximately 50% of Canada’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 12% of the country’s total emissions. ZEVs offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly from the light-duty vehicle sector.

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Ford continues executive shuffling in wake of replacement of CEO; Marakby back from Uber to lead electrification

May 25, 2017

On Monday, Ford Motor Company announced the immediate replacement of Mark Fields as CEO by Jim Hackett, who had led Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016. Ford also announced changes in roles for three top executives: Jim Farley (Global Markets), Joe Hinrichs (Global Operations) and Marcy Klevorn (Mobility). (Earlier post.)

Today, Ford announced another set of senior leadership changes around the world, completing the newly reorganized team led by President and CEO Hackett. Among those changes is the return of Sherif Marakby from Uber to become Ford vice president, autonomous vehicles and electrification.

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2017 smart fortwo electric drive offers more for less; starting MSRP $23,800 in US

May 23, 2017

Arriving in US dealers this summer, Mercedes-Benz’ 2017 smart fortwo electric drive coupe will start at just $23,800; the electric drive cabrio will start at $28,000, excluding federal and state incentives. (Prices exclude $750 destination and delivery charge.) At launch, the smart electric drive cabrio will also be the only electric drive convertible on the market.

The all-new smart electric drive coupe will be $1,200 less expensive than the outgoing model, with improved range, more power, more space and additional standard features. Battery capacity remains the same at 17.6 kWh, but the new pack features 96 rather than 93 cells. Pricing on the cabrio remains the same.

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Daimler lays foundation for its second battery factory; €500M investment for premium eBattery plant

May 22, 2017

Daimler has laid the foundation for its second battery factory. At its wholly-owned subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE in Kamenz, the second factory for lithium-ion batteries is being built with an investment of around €500 million (US$562 million).

Daimler is investing an overall amount of around €1 billion () in a global production for batteries. “With the second battery plant in Kamenz, we are giving the initial start for the development of the first premium eBattery factory. The local production of batteries is an important success factor in our electric offensive and a crucial element in order to flexibly and efficiently serve the global demand for electric vehicles. This makes our production network very well positioned for future mobility,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

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Audi to launch 3 new electric models by 2020; subsequent electrification in renewed core; targeting 1/3 electrified unit sales by 2025

May 19, 2017

At Audi’s Annual General Meeting yesterday in Neckarsulm, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG said that Audi plans to launch three new electric models by 2020, after which the brand will gradually electrify models in each of its core series. First up will be the production version of the e-tron quattro SUV, due next year. (Earlier post.)

Stadler, whose was just reappointed as Chairman of the Board of Management for another five years, said that Audi will renew five existing core model series by mid-2018. “In addition, we will expand our successful Q family by 2019 with two new concepts—the Audi Q8 and the Audi Q4—and we will launch our battery-electric e-tron models.

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Qualcomm demonstrates dynamic electric vehicle charging; supports up to 20 kW at highway speeds

May 18, 2017

Qualcomm Incorporate, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., demonstrated dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC), which allows vehicles to charge while driving. Based on the Qualcomm Halo wireless electric vehicle charging technology (WEVC), Qualcomm Technologies designed and built a wireless DEVC system capable of charging an electric vehicle (EV) dynamically at up to 20 kW at highway speeds (100 km/h).

Qualcomm Technologies also demonstrated simultaneous charging, in which two vehicles on the same track can charge dynamically at the same time. The vehicles can pick up charge in both directions along the track, and in reverse, further showcasing how the Qualcomm Halo DEVC system has been designed to support real-world implementation of dynamic charging.

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AK Steel receives $1.8M from DOE to develop next-generation electrical steels for hybrid and electric vehicle motors

AK Steel has accepted an award of up to $1.8 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Next Generation Electric Machines (NGEM) program to develop the next generation of advanced, non-oriented electrical steels (NOES) for motors used in a wide variety of industrial and automotive applications, including hybrid and electric vehicles.

The three-year project will be conducted in collaboration with the DOE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Power Electronics and Electric Machinery Research Center, and Regal Beloit Corporation, a leading manufacturer of electric motors and motion control products.

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Mercedes-Benz: electric Citaro entering production next year; e-mobility consultancy service for transport operators

May 17, 2017

At the Global Public Transport Summit (GPTS) in Montreal/Canada, the congress of the International Association of Public Transport, UITP, Mercedes-Benz again confirmed that battery-electric versions of its Citro bus (earlier post) would enter series production next year. prototypes are already undergoing testing on the roads.

The company said that the electrically powered Citaro will open up a new chapter in electric mobility, because Mercedes-Benz is not looking at the city bus in isolation, but as an integral part of a highly efficient transport system.

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BMW’s ReachNow installing Light & Charge locations in Seattle; 100 chargers at 20 new public sites

May 16, 2017

ReachNow, the mobility services division of the BMW Group, Woodland Park Zoo, and the City of Seattle celebrated the successful installation of the first of 20 Light & Charge electric vehicle (EV) charging locations that will more than double the number of Fast Chargers publicly available in Seattle. ReachNow announced that the Light & Charge system (earlier post) at the zoo is part of a $1.2-million investment by the BMW Group.

The Light & Charge system, developed by BMW together with its partner, eluminocity US Inc., transforms existing street and parking lot light poles into connected nodes on a smart city network. The system combines high-efficiency LED lighting, EV charging and a sophisticated sensor bus that senses various parameters and connects the site to the cloud. The sensor bus also provides edge-computing power for other connected devices nearby. BMW had presented a prototype system in 2014. (Earlier post.)

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Groupe PSA and partners launch GridMotion; reducing electric vehicle usage cost with smart charging

May 12, 2017

Groupe PSA, Direct Energie, Enel, Nuvve, Proxiserve and the Technical University of Denmark have launched the GridMotion project with the aim of evaluating possible savings achieved by real-life electric vehicle (EV) users through the implementation of smart charging and discharging strategies for EVs.

An electric vehicle driver’s electricity bill could be reduced, with no impact on transportation use, by shifting charging times from periods when electricity prices are higher to periods when electricity prices are lower. Even further savings could be achieved by providing grid balancing services through a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) system. The 2-year GridMotion demo project will evaluate the savings EV users could achieve under real-life conditions with the implementation of smart charging and discharging.

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TM4 and Cummins jointly developing range-extended electric plug-in powertrain for Class 7/8 buses

May 11, 2017

TM4 and Cummins are jointly developing a plug-in hybrid powertrain for Class 7/8 transit buses that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional hybrid buses. The project aims to provide transit authorities with a flexible, more efficient drivetrain and a longer range zero-tailpipe-emission capability for inner-city routes.

The range-extended electric drive system comprises a gen-set (Cummins’ Euro 2019 B4.5 diesel engine coupled with TM4’s LSG130 electric generator); an external 450 kW ultrafast charging infrastructure; a power collector; a 111 kWh onboard Li-ion battery; a TM4 SUMO electric motor directly connected to the differential; a small fuel tank and power electronics.

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Fraunhofer IAF develops first monolithically integrated GaN half bridge for voltage converters for e-mobility

Half-bridge circuits are the centerpiece of many voltage converters. Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF has now produced and demonstrated the world’s first monolithically integrated GaN half bridge for the important 600 volt class. In power electronics components, this is the standard volt class for grid-connected electrical devices, ranging from tablets and washing machines to e-bikes and electric cars.

Monolithic integration combines several components on a single GaN chip, enabling extremely small, powerful systems to be created. Besides being very compact, monolithically integrated half-bridge circuits have significantly better electronic properties. For example, the switching frequency can be improved by a factor of around 10 in comparison with conventional voltage converters.

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Motiv Power Systems to power 13 electric school buses in California pilot

Motiv Power Systems, in partnership with Type-A school bus manufacturer Trans Tech, is bringing electric school buses to the Sacramento, California region. A $7.5-million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) will support the building of 13 battery-electric school buses as part of the Sacramento Regional Zero-Emission School Bus Deployment Project. The 13 buses will go to Elk Grove Unified School District and Twin Rivers Unified School District.

This is the board’s largest school bus grant to date and was the only application approved of all the school bus applications submitted to the state grant program.

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California Energy Commission awards more than $36M to clean transportation projects

The California Energy Commission awarded more than $24 million in grants today for clean energy freight transportation projects in Los Angeles and Long Beach and more than $12 million for other clean transportation projects.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Long Beach Harbor Department received $10 million each and the Los Angeles Harbor Department received $4.5 million to conduct field demonstrations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and cargo handling equipment that have zero or near-zero emissions (GFO-16-604).

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Proterra launches new diagnostic tool and cold weather package for improved operational efficiency of battery-electric buses

Electric bus manufacturer Proterra has introduced the Proterra Diagnostic Tool and the Proterra Cold Weather Package to its growing suite of products and services. The Diagnostic Tool is the only diagnostic platform that allows technicians to access all vehicle systems in one place, with one intuitive interface. 

A simple dashboard displays the vehicle’s functional layout, enabling users to monitor operation levels, see faults and resolve many issues directly through the interface without physically removing bus panels.  A virtual mechanic, the Diagnostic Tool provides access to most of the vehicle’s operational features, including monitoring of the overhead charging system.

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Wrightspeed partners with AxleTech on heavy-duty electric drive

May 10, 2017

Wrightspeed Inc., a developer and manufacturer of heavy-duty range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains (earlier post), has partnered with AxleTech International, a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty specialty drivetrain systems. The partnership integrates decades of axle engineering experience into Wrightspeed’s electrification technology to meet growing demand from the company’s customers and partners, including Mack Trucks and New Zealand Bus (NZB).

Wrightspeed’s Route REV powertrain system, featuring regenerative braking and a range-extending turbine generator, the Fulcrum, enable heavy-duty electric vehicles to operate as efficiently as possible. Recently recognized as a 2016 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, Wrightspeed will now leverage AxleTech’s expertise in engineering and manufacturing to accelerate commercial deployment of its multimodal REV Route powertrain.

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Volkswagen Group to invest approximately €10B in powertrain technologies over the next five years; targeting Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2022

The Volkswagen Group has invested some €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in alternative drive technologies over the past five years and will triple this amount in the course of the next five years, said Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, at the Group’s Annual General Meeting in Hanover.

The future is electric. We intend to be the Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2025,” said Müller at the meeting. At the same time, the Volkswagen Group is continuing to develop diesel and gasoline engines, targeting making them a further 10 to 15 percent more efficient and cleaner by 2020. “Diesel,” said Müller, “will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.” In total, the Volkswagen Group will be investing around €10 billion (US$10.9 billion) in these technologies by 2022.

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Yara and Kongsberg partner to build world’s first autonomous electric container feeder ship; moving goods from roads to ships

Global fertilizer company Yara and technology group Kongsberg are parterning to build the first autonomous, electric container feeder ship. Container feeder ships collect shipping containers from different ports and transport them to central container terminals, at which they are loaded onto larger container ships or onto rail.

Named YARA Birkeland after Yara’s founder Kristian Birkeland, the vesselwill will reduce diesel-powered truck haulage by some 40,000 journeys a year, the partners estimate. Operation is planned to start in the latter half of 2018, shipping products from YARA’s Porsgrunn production plant to Brevik and Larvik in Norway. YARA Birkeland will initially operate as a manned vessel, moving to remote operation in 2019 and expected to be capable of performing fully autonomous operations from 2020.

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GAC Group begins construction of $6.5B industrial park for electric and intelligent vehicles

May 09, 2017

China-based automobile manufacturer Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Group), the parent company of GAC Motor, has begun construction of a large industrial park for electric and intelligent vehicles as part of its efforts to boost its electric vehicle business. Located in Guangzhou’s Panyu district in China’s southern Guangdong province, the industrial park has a planned area of 5 square kilometers. More than 45 billion yuan (US$6.5 billion) of investment, from both GAC Group and other enterprises that will locate there, are expected to be poured into the project.

The new electric vehicle plant, part of the industrial park, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 with a total investment of 4.69 billion yuan (US$679 million). This will provide GAC Motor with a production capacity of 200,000 units per year.

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DOE: China alone accounted for 42% of global plug-in vehicle sales in 2016

May 08, 2017

About 756,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were sold in the world in 2016, with 95% of those sales in China, Europe, the United States, Japan, and Canada, according to figures compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE). China alone accounted for 42% of sales (316,800 units).

China’s 2016 PEV sales grew by 53% from 2015’s 207,000 units—most of which were all-electric vehicles (EV) (244,400 units, or 77%). PHEV sales reached 72,400 units in 2016 in China. By comparison, US PHEV sales in 2016 were 72,900 units, slightly outpacing China; however, US battery-electric vehicles sales were only 86,700.

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UC Davis, ITDP report finds shared mobility essential for realizing full benefits of electrification and automation

May 05, 2017

A new report from a team at the University of California, Davis, and the New York-based nonprofit Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) has concluded that shared mobility is a critical enabler for realizing the benefits of electrification and autonomous driving.

The report examines three urban travel scenarios surrounding three transportation “revolutions:” vehicle electrification, automation, and widespread shared mobility. The scenarios include: (a) Business as usual (BAU): a future without widespread electrification or automation; (b) “2 Revolutions (2R):” electrification and automation are embraced but shared mobility is not; and (c) “3 Revolutions (3R):” electrification, automation and shared mobility are all widespread.

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IAV says new version of modular electric drive can boost range 5-10% vs system with fixed transmission ratio

May 04, 2017

IAV presented a new version of its modular electric drive concept at the Vienna Motor Symposium. Combining a 50 kW (continuous) / 80 kW (maximum) e-motor and transmission, the modular drive unit can support electrification solutions in vehicle classes A to D. The unit represents a further development of a solution IAV presented in 2010. IAV’s aim is to deliver a high level of ride comfort, efficiency and compact packaging at a competitive cost.

Many of today’s electric drives use a combination of an e-motor and transmission with fixed gear ratio. Although solutions of this type are relatively simple in terms of structure, they can be challenged to meet the full range of use cases, IAV says. For example, high hill-climbing performance and maximum efficiency demand very different transmission ratios. To address this, IAV chose a modular concept based on an e-motor and a transmission with one to three speeds.

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California has invested $559M in cap-and-trade funds in ZEVs; state represents more than 40% of US ZEV sales

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced that California Climate Investments in zero-emission vehicles have reached $599 million since 2013, putting hundreds of thousands of ultra-clean cars, and entire fleets of zero-emission trucks and buses on California roads and highways. ARB made the announcement at the annual Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach.

The funding is from California Climate Investments, a statewide program that invests billions of cap-and-trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy and improve public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. Since the transportation sector overall is by far the largest contributor to the state’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, a major focus of the climate investment program has been supporting the development and deployment of next-generation zero-emission trucks, cars and buses.

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