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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.]

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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Tesla Q1 revenue more than doubles on record deliveries; losses up

Tesla reported record first quarter GAAP revenue of $2.7 billion on record vehicle deliveries of 25,051 units. Vehicle production in Q1 increased by 64% year-on-year. Automotive revenue was $2.3 billion, up 15% quarter-on-quarter and up 123% year-on-year. The 13% sequential increase in Q1 deliveries drove much of the increase in automotive revenue. In addition, average transaction prices (ATPs) improved from Q4 2016, driven primarily by a favorable product mix shift and higher option uptake.

Automotive gross margin increased because of improved ATPs and manufacturing efficiencies. Enhanced Autopilot revenue recognized in Q1 on cars delivered in Q4 contributed $35 million to gross profits. This was partially offset by $26 million in warranty reserve for the Takata airbag recall and equipment impairment charges.

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Proterra begins first autonomous bus program in the US

May 03, 2017

Electric bus manufacturer Proterra is initiating the industry’s first autonomous bus program with the University of Nevada, Reno and its Living Lab Coalition partners including the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC), the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the Nevada Governor’s Office for Economic Development, Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI, and the cities of Reno, Sparks and Carson City, Nev.

Unlike other programs to date, this autonomous vehicle pilot will deal with real road conditions from the perspective of public transit systems, and emphasize the most challenging aspects related to mass transportation, which include dense and dynamic environments, degraded conditions, and a need for swift emergency response.

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Big Oil Betting On Electric Vehicles

by Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com

Speaking this week at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York, Total SA’s chief energy economist, Joel Couse, forecasted that EVs will make up 15 to 30 percent of global new vehicle sales by 2030.

Oil demand for transportation fuel see its “demand will flatten out,” after 2030, Couse said. “Maybe even decline.

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DOE: 58% of BEV sales in US in 2016 were large cars and standard SUVs; PHEVS mainly compact and midsize

May 01, 2017

The largest share of all-electric vehicle (EV) sales in calendar year 2016 in the US were large cars (35%) and standard sport utility vehicles (SUV)(23%), according to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales were mainly compact and midsize cars, with 42% and 40% of the market share, respectively.

Of the nearly 347,000 hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) sold in 2016, close to three-quarters were midsize cars. There were 17.3 million light vehicles sold in the United States in 2016—more than half were SUVs, pickups, and vans.

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Roland Berger “Automotive Disruption Radar” focused on MADE: mobility, autonomy, digitalization, electrification

Germany-based international consultancy Rolad Berger had launched a new publication—the “Automotive Disruption Radar”—to monitor the radical transformation of the automotive industry being driven by four concurrent megatrends: mobility services, autonomous driving, digitalization and electrification (MADE).

The Radar analyzes the transformation via 25 selected indicators in five dimensions: Customer interest (e.g. via more than 10,000 end-user interviews); regulation; technology; infrastructure; and industry activity. The Roland Berger team analyzes all indicators 10 different countries and will update the Radar on a regular basis.

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FTA announces $55M for FY 2017 Low-No funding

April 28, 2017

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $55 million of Fiscal Year 2017 funds (FTA-2017-003-TPM-LowNo) for the purchase or lease of low- or no-emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities (Low-No). Only $31.5 million is available under the Continuing Resolution that expires on 28 April 28 2017.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the US transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.

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Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

April 27, 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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Sendyne introduces first isolation monitor for EVs and HEVs capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during dynamic operation

Sendyn, a provider of technologies for battery system management including current, voltage and temperature measurement ICs and modules (earlier post), has introduced the SIM100, a new type of automotive-rated isolation monitoring safety device that is capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during the dynamic operation of high-voltage unearthed systems—such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

The SIM100 module is the first device of its kind capable of unambiguously detecting the electrical isolation state of a high-voltage system while the system is active and operating, and experiencing large voltage variations. State-of-the-art technology today is limited to detecting only resistive leakages and only when the system voltage does not vary significantly. In another first, the SIM100 detects both resistive leakages and capacitively stored energy that could be harmful to human operators.

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Continental Powertrain: dual focus on electrification and efficient ICE; boosting electric drive spending by €300M by 2021

April 26, 2017

Continental’s Powertrain division is strategically focused on two parallel efforts. The first is the full value creation from the growing demand for the most efficient combustion engine technologies that also deliver the lowest emissions. The second is to benefit from the prospective growth in environmentally friendly, electrified and fully electric drive systems.

Continental will spend an additional €300 million (US$327 million) on its business with electric drives alone by 2021. This step, as well as additional plans, are part of the new global “Powertrain Strategy 2020+”.

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Hyundai launches new subscription program for Ioniq Electric

April 21, 2017

Hyundai Motor America launched its new “Ioniq Unlimited+” electric vehicle subscription program for California residents. This innovative program offers a carefree way to drive Hyundai’s newest zero-emission, eco-focused vehicle; the 2017 Ioniq Electric. (Earlier post.)

Electric shoppers in California are now able to select one fixed payment for a 36-month term. No other manufacturer currently offers this kind of subscription option for their battery-electric vehicle offerings. Hyundai designed the entire process to be transparent, stress-free and enjoyable. The monthly payment includes:

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EEA: Fuel efficiency improvements of new cars in Europe slowed in 2016

April 20, 2017

The fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) continued to improve last year but at a slower rate, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency. The 1.4 g of CO2/km reduction (-1.2%) compared to 2015 constitutes the smallest annual improvement recorded over the last decade.

Official emissions have decreased by a total of more than 22 g CO2/km (-16%) since 2010, when an updated monitoring system started under the current EU legislation. The EU remains well below its target of 130 g CO2/km set for 2015; however, compared to 2016, annual improvements in vehicle efficiency need to increase significantly in each of the coming five years in order to achieve the second average emissions target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021.

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Dana showcasing electrified technologies at Auto Shanghai

At Auto Shanghai 2017, Dana Incorporated is showcasing select technologies from its Spicer Electrified portfolio of fully integrated motor, control, and e-drive technologies, as well as thermal-management products for electric and hybrid vehicles.

On display is Dana’s new Spicer electric motor-driven gearbox, which is specifically engineered to deliver better acceleration and higher torque in high-speed battery electric vehicles (BEV). Additionally, Dana’s new Spicer Electrified e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box and leverage the company’s experience in chassis drivetrain applications. These e-axles are planned for launch in 2018.

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GKN Driveline presents fully integrated compact eDrive system in Shanghai; less weight, lower cost, easier integration

April 19, 2017

GKN Driveline has presented an advanced technology concept for a fully integrated, compact eDrive system at the 2017 Auto Shanghai motor show. All of the components of GKN’s eDrive system are contained within a bespoke housing, resulting in optimized packaging and greatly simplifying the integration process for car manufacturers. The system generates a maximum 65kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m of torque to the rear wheels.

GKN’s complete eDrive system packages the water-cooled electric motor, power inverter and single-speed eAxle reduction gearbox within a single casing. The all-in-one eDrive system replaces external wiring with a bus bar to eliminate unnecessary mechanical interfaces. The close proximity of the components results in improvements in both mechanical and electrical efficiency compared to today’s technology.

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Volkswagen unveils MEB-based I.D. CROZZ electric crossover concept in Shanghai; production in 2020

April 18, 2017

At the Auto Shanghai 2017 show, Volkswagen is revealing the I.D. CROZZ, its first electrically powered crossover utility vehicle (CUV)—a four-door coupe and sport utility vehicle (SUV) in one. This is the third version of the new battery-electric I.D. family, following the introduction of the I.D. in Paris in 2016 (earlier post) and I.D. BUZZ in Detroit in 2017 (earlier post).

The all-wheel-drive I.D. CROZZ has 225 kW (302 hp) of output, a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h) and can cover up to 311 miles (500 km) (NEDC) on one battery charge. Using a 150 kW (DC) fast charger, the high-performance battery can be 80% recharged within 30 minutes.

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Audi unveils 2nd battery-electric Audi concept in Shanghai; production in 2019; 3-motor “e-quattro” drive

Audi is unveiling a new battery-electric e-tron concept in Shanghai: the Audi e-tron Sportback. The production version will come in 2019 as Audi’s second battery-electric offering, following the introduction of the production version of the Audi e-tron SUV (earlier post) in 2018.

The e-tron Sportback uses a three-motor, all-wheel-drive system that will also be adopted in future production Audi models with all-electric drive: one electric motor on the front axle and two on the rear powering all four wheels, transforming the high-performance coupé into an e-quattro. The 320 kW of system power—370 kW in boost mode—propels the electric Sportback 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.5 seconds. With the battery’s energy content of 95 kilowatt-hours, range is in excess of 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) (NEDC).

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DLR team devises concept for next-gen rail cargo transport; automated, intelligent freight wagons

April 17, 2017

Transport researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an innovative, holistic concept for the next-generation transport of cargo by rail—NGT CARGO. The concept aims to make European rail freight more appealing and hence increase its market share. It is distinguished by a high level of automation, intelligent handling and high speeds. In this way, rail freight transportation can be made more flexible and the capacity of the system can be increased.

The automatically driven NGT CARGO trains will be made up of single wagons and powerful end cars, automatically coupled together as required. This will enable the transport of a range of goods flexibly, with low use of resources, minimal deployment of personnel and short transport times, said DLR researcher Joachim Winter, who is leading the Next Generation Train (NGT) project.

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Workhorse releases specs for coming W-15 extended range electric pickup

April 14, 2017

Workhorse has released initial specifications of its W-15 pickup truck, for which it has accumulated letters of intent for 2,150 units. (Earlier post.) A drivable prototype of the W-15 will be unveiled at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California, on May 2. Production models are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of commercial fleets, the W-15 is believed to be the first plug-in, range-extended pickup truck built from the ground up by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

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First $300M tranche of VW National ZEV investment targets charging infrastructure; 150kW+ fast charging on highway network

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the plan for the first tranche of Volkswagen’s National Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment spending, directed at 11 cities nationwide—New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Portland, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Miami, and Raleigh—and several highway corridors.

As a part of the first cycle of investment, Volkswagen’s “Electrify America” program is earmarked to spend $300 million, with the most focus on the installation of hundreds of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multi-family residences, workplaces, highway rest-stops, commercial and retail sites, and municipal lots and garages.

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Lucid Air debuts in New York; completes first high speed stability test at 217 mph

Lucid Motors made its global auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show, presenting the Lucid Air luxury electric sedan and also presenting its Alpha Speed Car test vehicle, which had just completed its first high-speed stability test at 217 mph (349.2 km/h).

The 1,000 hp, 400-mile range Lucid Air was first unveiled in December 2016. (Earlier post.) The Air will be manufactured in Casa Grande, Arizona. The factory, first announced in November 2016, will come online in 2019 and build 10,000 vehicles in the first 12 months. By 2022 the company expects the factory to employ 2,000 full-time employees and manufacture up to 130,000 vehicles annually.

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Volkswagen to unveil I.D. electric crossover in Shanghai; all-wheel drive and autopilot

April 13, 2017

Volkswagen will unveil an electric crossover concept vehicle at Auto Shanghai 2017 (19 to 29 April). The concept car is the brand’s first electrically powered crossover utility vehicle (CUV)—a four-door coupé and sport utility vehicle (SUV) in one. After the premieres of the I.D. (Paris, 2016, earlier post) and I.D. BUZZ (Detroit, 2017, earlier post), this concept car follows as the third progressive member of the I.D. family—a new generation of zero emission vehicle with a long range and a charismatic electric mobility design.

The CUV of the I.D. family was conceptualized as a sporty, interactively designed zero-emission all-rounder with electric all-wheel drive that is as impressive in the urban environment as it is on the rough terrain covered in an adventurous and active lifestyle.

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Honda introduces Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric at New York show; targeting 75K Clarity vehicles in 4 years

April 12, 2017

Honda revealed its all-new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric (earlier post) alongside the already available Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post), saying it will target US sales of 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. Honda expects the Clarity series will contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda’s US sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years as the company works toward its target that two-thirds of its global automobile sales will come from electrified vehicles by 2030.

The two all-new electrified Honda vehicles will join the Clarity Fuel Cell, launched in December 2016, to make Clarity the first vehicle series offering customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices with fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains in a five-passenger sedan.

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ChargePoint’s roadmap: EV charging 80% home/work, 20% public/fast, “virtual batteries” for utilities

ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, is rapidly expanding both its technical capability with the introduction of its modular Express Plus EV fast-charging platform (up to 400 kW) (earlier post) as well as its geographic reach with its expansion into Europe (earlier post).

The recent expansions of both its charging equipment and its network—which integrates third-party EVSE manufacturers—is laying the foundation for what ChargePoint sees as an ecosystem that not only provides charging services for millions of electric vehicles, but also works in collaboration with utilities to provide valuable grid balancing services with support for the intermittent generation of renewables.

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Dalia Research: Globally, 40% would consider an EV, but held back by logistics

Worldwide, 40% of those planning to buy a car within the next five years say they are likely to buy all-electric (even though not all of them would be able to afford one at foreseeable price points), according to findings from Dalia Research’s global mobility study. The percentage is higher among those who are looking to buy a replacement for their current car (44%), and lower among those who have never owned a car (36%). The Dalia study is based on a census-representative survey of 43,034 people across 52 countries completed in February 2017.

For the US and Canada, the consideration of electric vehicle adoption is 31%; for China, the figure is 58%. Japan is surprisingly low at 16%. (An interactive map showing Dalia findings is available here.)

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Qoros to unveil Model K-EV concept at Shanghai Auto 2017; Koenigsegg drive-line technology

April 11, 2017

Qoros Automotive will reveal Qoros Model K-EV, its newest high-performance electric concept car, at Shanghai Auto 2017. Qoros plans to put Model K-EV into mass production in 2019.

The Qoros Model K-EV will feature an individually powered, high-performance, all-wheel drive system, utilizing the same high performance electric drive-line technology also found in Koenigsegg’s Regera, the limited production plug-in hybrid supercar designed by the Swedish supercar manufacturer.

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MIT Energy Initiative launches 3-year study on future of transportation; technology, fuel, infrastructure, policy, and consumer preference

As part of MIT’s five-year Plan for Action on Climate Change, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) has launched a major study—“Mobility of the Future”—to explore how consumers and markets will respond to potentially disruptive technologies, business models, and government policies. The scope of this study is ground transportation with an emphasis on the movement of people.

There are many potentially disruptive forces at work in the mobility space, all of which could shape the landscape. MITEI has organized a multidisciplinary team from across MIT to examine the complex interactions among these elements and their implications for the future.

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Renesas introduces small, 100kW-class inverter solution for HEVs and EVs

April 10, 2017

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced its new 100kW-class inverter solution that achieves industry-leading small volume of 3.9 liter (L) for high-power 100kW-class motors in mid- to large-sized hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) including SUVs, and mid- to small-sized electric vehicles (EVs).

Renesas will provide a solution kit including software that maximizes the HEV/EV motor performance and hardware components such as microcontrollers (MCUs), Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and fast recovery diode (FRD), and other power semiconductor devices.

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Efficient Drivetrains delivers Class-6 PHEV with CNG range-extender armored truck

April 07, 2017

Efficient Drivetrains has delivered the first of six plug-in-hybrid electric armored vehicles to Sectran Security. The industry-first Class-6 International brand armored truck was the first delivery from the company’s newly expanded Dixon, California hybrid and electric vehicle center of excellence.

The vehicle program is a collaboration between Efficient Drivetrains and North American Repower, California’s leading natural gas engine management and conversion technology company. Supported by a $3-million California Energy Commission grant, the companies are working to convert a fleet of six, Class-6 International armored trucks into “Zero Emission with Range Extension” vehicles—PHEV trucks that operate with electricity and renewable natural gas (RNG). The result is a full OEM-performance electric vehicle that utilizes RNG for range extension and reduces emissions by up to 99% in certain duty cycles.

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Ford announces China electrification push with new Mondeo PHEV and long-range electric SUV; 70% electrified line-up by 2025

In Shanghai, Ford Motor Company outlined an ambitious vehicle electrification strategy for the China market, confirming two new electrified vehicles for China and a broad range of electrified vehicles by 2025. The Mondeo Energi, to be launched in early 2018, will be the first plug-in hybrid to be manufactured by the Changan Ford JV.

Ford also confirmed plans to bring an all-new fully electric small SUV to China within five years; the electric SUV will feature a range of up to 450 km (279 miles) and will also be marketed in North America and Europe.

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Eberspaecher starting production of Gen 3 PTC heater for hybrids and EVs; 30% higher performance density, lighter weight

April 06, 2017

Eberspaecher catem is starting production of the third generation of its high-voltage PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heaters. The new solution, designed specially for hybrid and electric vehicles, delivers significantly higher heat output despite a lighter weight. Improved heat transfer between the PTC elements and coolant, together with the in-house developed electronic control unit, provide more efficient energy and heat management.

The heating systems discharge the temperature-controlled air into the vehicle’s interior by way of an on-board heat exchanger. The third-generation system has been optimized in terms of both performance and weight. Significantly improved heat transfer between the PTC elements and coolant increases the performance density at zero degrees coolant temperature by more than 30%.

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GM and SAE International select 8 NA universities for new autonomous vehicle competition; Bolt EV the platform

At WCX 17: SAE World Congress Experience, SAE International and General Motors announced the eight North American universities which will compete in the upcoming AutoDrive Challenge. This new autonomous vehicle design competition is a three-year challenge to develop and demonstrate a fully autonomous passenger vehicle. The competition’s technical goal is navigating an urban driving course in an automated driving mode as described by SAE Standard (J3016) level 4 definition by Year 3.

GM will provide each team with a Chevrolet Bolt EV as the vehicle platform. Strategic partners and suppliers will aid the students in their technology development by providing vehicle parts and software. Throughout the AutoDrive Challenge competition cycle, students and faculty will be invited to attend technology-specific workshops to help them in their concept refinement and overall autonomous technical understanding.

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Porsche and Audi to work on shared vehicle architecture; electrification, autonomy, digitization

April 05, 2017

Within the Volkswagen Group, Porsche AG and AUDI AG now plan to cooperate more closely on future vehicle architectures, with a particular focus on electrification, digitization and autonomous driving.

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

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Siemens-powered electric plane sets two new speed records; first aerotow

April 04, 2017

The Extra 330LE aerobatic plane, powered by a propulsion system from Siemens (earlier post), set two new speed records. At the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the electric aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.50 km/h (209.7 mph) over a distance of three kilometers. The speed achieved by pilot Walter Extra was 13.48 km/h faster than the previous record, which had been set by US pilot William M. Yates in 2013.

The World Air Sports Federation (FAI) officially recognized the record flight in the category “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.” The Extra also set a new FAI world record in the category “above 1,000 kilograms”: in a slightly modified configuration with an overall weight exceeding one metric ton, test pilot Walter Kampsmann flew the electrically powered plane at a speed of 342.86 km/h (213.0 mph).

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Volkswagen Group’s Škoda to unveil 500 km Vision E electric concept at Shanghai show; leveraging MEB for electromobility

March 30, 2017

ŠKODA will stage the world premiere of the VISION E electric concept vehicle at the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show 2017 (19 – 28 April). The five-door SUV coupé can travel up to 500 km (311 miles) on purely electric power and meets the level 3 requirements for autonomous driving. ŠKODA, a member of the Volkswagen Group, is intensively pursuing the electrification of its model range, and will be offering five purely electric models in various segments by 2025.

With system output of 225 kW, the ŠKODA VISION E accelerates instantaneously and dynamically. The top speed of the two-motor, all-wheel drive concept is 180 km/h (112 mph). The front- and rear-wheel drive is suitably adjusted to ensure the highest degree of stability, dynamism and safety at all times.

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Hermes to deploy 1500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito electric vans by 2020; pilot project in 2018

March 28, 2017

Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans have agreed on a wide-ranging strategic partnership to electrify the courier service’s vehicle fleet. The companies are to start using battery-electric vehicles in the logistics provider’s normal operations in a pilot phase in Stuttgart and Hamburg in early 2018.

The focus will be on the economy, sustainability and practicality of tailpipe emission-free delivery vans when used for the last mile. By the end of 2020, Hermes Germany intends to deploy 1,500 Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter electric vans in urban areas across Germany.

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AeroVironment and eMotorWerks partner to offer smart advanced electric vehicle charging solutions

AeroVironment and eMotorWerks, a provider of intelligent and cloud-connected smart-grid charging solutions, are partnering to deliver smart advanced EV charging solutions. By integrating eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet smart-grid EV charging platform into AeroVironment’s line of consumer and OEM EV charging solutions, both companies aim to provide increased charging capabilities to customers and electric demand load aggregation for utilities.

AeroVironment charging solutions with integrated eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet will enable EV drivers to gain benefits that include smartphone, web and Amazon Alexa voice control over charging, real time and historic energy usage for cars, notifications of charging status, load balancing two or more EVSEs on the same electrical circuit to share the load while avoiding tripping breakers, and setting charging schedules that correspond to lower utility rates, saving customers money on charging.

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Tencent buys 5% stake in Tesla for $1.8 billion

China-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. has acquired a 5% stake (8,167,544 shares) in Tesla for an aggregate price of $1,777,842,836 (including commission), according to a Schedule 13G form filed by Tesla with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Tencent acquired the shares through Tesla’s latest registered offering of common stock (17 March 2017, earlier post) and through open market purchases.

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Vattenfall contracts with BMW for up to 1,000 new 33 kWh Li-ion batteries this year for storage projects in wind farms

Vattenfall and the BMW Group have signed a contract for the delivery of up to 1,000 lithium-ion batteries this year. The batteries—each with a capacity of 33 kWh—are equipped with a BMW-owned battery management system and are also used by the car manufacturer in the BMW i3.

Vattenfall will purchase the new batteries from the BMW plant in Dingolfing and use them in all storage projects. The first energy storage from the BMW-i3 batteries is being built at the 122 MW onshore wind farm “Princess Alexia” near Amsterdam. With a capacity of 3.2 megawatts (MW), it is Vattenfall’s first large storage project in the Netherlands.

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Japan Post and Honda to collaborate on using electric motorcycles for postal deliveries

March 27, 2017

Japan Post Co., Ltd. and Honda Motor Co. began discussions and signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the development and use of electric motorcycles for postal deliveries; these will serve as an alternative to the current gasoline-powered delivery motorcycles.

During the past approximately half century, Japan Post and Honda have built a cooperative relationship through the development and operation of delivery motorcycles. Japan Post and Honda will now jointly conduct demonstration testing on the use of electric vehicles for postal delivery operation and charging stations at post offices.

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California ARB votes to move forward with light-duty vehicle GHG and ZEV programs through 2025; cranking it up post-2025

March 25, 2017

After considering the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review (earlier post), the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Friday to continue with the vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and ZEV program for cars and light trucks sold in California through 2025. The action ensures that California and 12 other states that follow its vehicle regulations—one third of the US auto market—will move forward the greenhouse gas emission standards adopted in the 2012 process involving the federal government, California and the automakers.

The Board also voted to support the expansion of the ZEV marketplace before 2025, calling for redoubling current efforts underway to support market growth and paving the way for new regulations to increase rapidly the number of zero-emission vehicles required to be sold in California after 2025.

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New Buick, BMW PHEVs for China

March 24, 2017

Buick announced that it will shortly launch the Velite 5, its first extended range electric vehicle (EREV), in China. Leveraging GM’s proven EREV technology as shown in the Chevy Volt and the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, the Velite 5 also offers advanced connectivity and safety technologies.

The Velite 5 is equipped with GM’s latest electric drive system that features the company’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission. The system has a double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motor drive unit. This supports its hybrid-exclusive 1.5L direct injection engine as well as its new-generation liquid-cooled, high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

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California ARB moves forward with climate and air quality actions

On the first day of a two-day board meeting—the second day of which (Friday 24 March) will consider the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review—the California Air Resources Board (ARB) took a number of climate and air quality actions. CARB approved the State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan (State SIP Strategy), which describes CARB’s commitment for further reducing vehicle emissions needed to meet federal air quality standards over the next 15 years. The Board also approved the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s comprehensive air quality plan.

CARB also adopted a new plan to curb destructive “super pollutants” including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane. The plan, California’s Short-lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, maps out the route to more rapid greenhouse gas reductions by clamping down on these super pollutants.

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Buick to introduce extended-range electric vehicle in China this year; also new generation 1.0T/1.3T Ecotecs and 9-speed

March 23, 2017

Buick will adopt GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology, a new-generation of 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines and a nine-speed transmission in new or refreshed models launched in China this year. In the coming two years, Buick will also introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China—the brand’s largest market.

The EREV combines GM’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission, double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motors drive unit, a hybrid-exclusive direct injection engine, as well as an industry-leading liquid-cooled and high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

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London Taxi opens £300M plant for range-extended EV taxis; announces second model, an LCV

The London Taxi Company (LTC) officially opened the UK’s first car plant dedicated solely to the production of range-extended electric vehicles. The new vehicle plant in Ansty, Coventry, will build the world’s first purpose-built, mass-market electric taxi. LTC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geely, has invested more than £300-million (US$374-million) in the new site and the next-generation London taxi, which will be produced at the plant and exported around the world.

LTC also announced that the second vehicle model to come off the new line will be a dedicated, range-extended electric light commercial van (LCV), based on the same extended-range EV platform as the taxi.

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ICCT: incremental technology can cut vehicle CO2 by half and increase fuel economy >60% through 2030 with ~5% increase in price

March 22, 2017

With the EPA re-opening its Mid-Term Review of GHG standards for 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles (earlier post), and with NHTSA yet to weigh in on its Mid-Term evaluation of fuel economy standards for the same period, a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a report analyzing emerging vehicle efficiency technologies; their ability to achieve lower emission levels; and their costs in the 2025–2030 timeframe.

Starting from a baseline 26 mpg (9.04 l/100 km) in 2016, the The ICCT team assessed increased consumer label fuel economy (as opposed to the regulatory test fuel economy) to 35 mpg (6.71 l/100 km) in 2025 and to 42–46 mpg (5.6-5.11 l/100 km) (under three scenarios) by 2030. These fuel economy levels are achieved based on a sustained 4%–6% annual reduction of fuel use per mile with incremental technology additions that do not compromise vehicle size or utility at an incremental cost of $800–$1,300 from 2025 to 2030. The resulting trajectory would reduce CO2 emissions by half and increase fuel economy by more than 60% from 2016 through 2030. Based on a detailed analysis of the efficiency technologies used to achieve these lower CO2 emission levels, the ICCT study concludes that vehicle prices would increase by about 5% by 2030.

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The interdependency of autonomous electric vehicles and wireless charging

Conference presentations at the 4th International Electric Vehicle Expo this week in Jeju, South Korea, explored issues related to automated driving systems, electric vehicles and infrastructure. Specifically, two presentations from KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and SAE International addressed the interdependence of standardization, autonomous electric vehicles and wireless charging.

The issue with conductive charging is though there are plenty of standards, unfortunately many of these standards are simply not compatible. This incompatibility hurts not only the infrastructure, but also the commercialization of the electric vehicle as the customer does not accept not being able to go to a specific charging [spot],” said Dr. Uooyeol Yoon of KAIST.

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Citroën introduces E-Berlingo Multispace

March 21, 2017

The Citroën Berlingo leisure activity vehicle is now available with an electric drivetrain. Supplementing the range of 3-cylinder PureTech gasoline engines and BlueHDi diesel engines, the new E-Berlingo Multispace model targets motorists looking to combine all the versatility of the Berlingo for their day-to-day use, leisure pursuits and professional activities with the advantages of an electric drivetrain. The new E-Berlingo extends Citroën’s electric vehicle range consisting of the C-ZERO, E-MEHARI and Berlingo LCV, each one responding to specific needs in its respective segment.

The new E-Berlingo Multispace is equipped with the electric drivetrain technology presented in 2013 on the electric Berlingo light commercial vehicle (LCV). The E-Berlingo Multispace is powered by a permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor developing 49 kW (67 bhp) and 200 N·m torque. Two Lithium-ion battery packs with a capacity of 22.5 kWh are located in the subframe, lowering the car’s center of gravity and bringing more dynamic stability to this type of body style. The E-Berlingo has an NEDC range of 170 km (106 miles).

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Hubject connects eleven energy suppliers to create the largest Austrian charging network for EVs

A partnership project between the eleven leading Austrian energy suppliers and Berlin-based Hubject GmbH (earlier post), which is supported by the Austrian climate and energy fund, will create a comprehensively accessible network of charging stations for drivers of electric vehicles across Austria, starting in April 2017.

The member companies of the Federal Association of Electromobility Austria (Bundesverband Elektromobilität Österreich, BEÖ) are combining their charging stations to create an integrated network with more than 1,300 charge points from Vienna to Bregenz. The charging stations will also be connected with Hubject’s international charging network “intercharge”.

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Argonne team develops new fluorinated sulfone electrolytes for high-voltage, high-energy Li-ion batteries

March 20, 2017

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have synthesized a new class of fluorinated sulfone electrolytes to enable high-voltage, high-energy Li-ion batteries. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

The Argonne researchers evaluated the physical and electrochemical properties of the new sulfone-based electrolytes in a high voltage LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/ graphite cell cycled at 4.6 V. The fluorinated sulfones—with an α-trifluoromethyl group—exhibit enhanced oxidation stability, reduced viscosity and superior separator wettability as compared to their non-fluorinated counterparts.

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IRENA, IEA study concludes meeting 2˚C scenario possible with net positive economics

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased-out by 2060 with a net positive economic outlook, according to new findings released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition—a joint study by IRENA and the IEA—launched on the occasion of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, presents the case that increased deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in G20 countries and globally can achieve the emissions reductions needed to keep global temperature rise to no more than two-degrees Celsius, avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change.

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Hybrid Kinetic H600 microturbine range-extended electric vehicle concept runs 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds

At the Geneva Auto Show, the China-based Hybrid Kinetic group unveiled the H600 microturbine range-extended electric vehicle sedan concept, produced together with its vehicle design and engineering partner, Pininfarina. The 60 kW microturbine range extender delivers 40% efficiency, low emissions, and a 10000-hour maintenance interval.

The 30 kWh battery pack has a long life span (50,000 charging/discharging cycles) as well as high energy density (300 Wh/kg); it can sustain a very high charging rate (50C). The fast charging capability allows the H600 to recover up to 30% of kinetic energy. The H600 features all-wheel torque vectoring, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds; the electric motors deliver combined maximum power of more than 600 kW. Range is more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

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Year-long field testing finds electric buses with Toshiba wireless charger cut CO2 up to 60% compared to diesel

March 17, 2017

Toshiba Corporation announced the results of year-long field tests of electric buses charged with its wireless rapid rechargeable battery system. (Earlier post.) The tests, carried out with the cooperation of Waseda University, showed that using the buses to replace standard diesel buses could cut CO2 emissions from daily operation by up to 60% for a medium-sized bus and by up to 42% for a small bus. The project was supported by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment’s Low Carbon Technology Research and Development Program.

For the field test, Toshiba developed a 44kW wireless rapid rechargeable battery system that feeds power to the battery when the bus is parked over charger pads. The buses were customized to run on Toshiba’s SCiB rechargeable batteries (52.9 kWh pack for the medium-sized bus), and provided regular service between All Nippon Airways facilities in Kawasaki and vicinity of Haneda Airport in Tokyo for the year from February 2016 to January 2017.

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Novelis enters supply agreement with NIO to provide aluminum solutions for next-gen EVs

March 16, 2017

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, has expanded its automotive supply capabilities by signing an agreement with EV company NIO (earlier post), to provide innovative aluminum solutions for its fleet of smart, high-performance, premium electric vehicles. NIO will use Novelis Advanz aluminum alloys to create a wide range of structural components and parts for its aluminum-intensive NIO electric SUV models to be launched over the next five years.

The NIO partnership marks Novelis’ first major commitment in the premium electric vehicle space. Supply for NIO will come from Novelis’ Changzhou plant, China’s first facility dedicated to manufacturing heat-treated automotive sheet. The plant is an example of Novelis’ long-term commitment and capability to supply product in Asia for auto manufacturers based in that region and globally.

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Lucid Motors pricing base Lucid Air luxury EV at $52,500 after Fed tax credits; fully loaded above $100K

Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley-based electric vehicle company, announced that the base version of its first vehicle, the Lucid Air luxury sedan (earlier post), will have a starting price of $52,500 after federal tax credits. Customers can place a $2,500 deposit to reserve a car at lucidmotors.com/car/reserve.

Above the base Lucid Air, a number of upgrades will be available. These options will give the Air higher performance, greater comfort, and better efficiency than the current high-end market benchmarks. While not finalized, pricing for a fully-optioned Lucid Air will be above $100,000.

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