[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.]
Volkswagen Group’s new Future Tracks program targeting digitalization era in auto industry; “James 2025”
March 10, 2014
At the Geneva Motor Show and now at the IT trade fair CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, Volkswagen Group executive management has begun to outline its “Future Tracks” program which will address, among other things, what Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn calls an approaching new era of digitalization.
In an address at the opening ceremony of CeBIT 2014 in Hanover in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Minister-President of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil and Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of BITKOM, the IT industry Association, Winterkorn declared that the increasingly intensive networking of cars with their surroundings and automatic driving would be the key topics for the intelligent mobility of the future.
nanoFLOWCELL unveils flow cell battery prototype vehicle
March 05, 2014
|Powertrain of the QUANT. The two 200L (400L, 106 gallons US total) electrolyte tanks are packaged in the rear and central tunnel of the vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Liechtenstein-based nanoFLOWCELL unveiled the QUANT e-Sportslimousine, a prototype vehicle equipped with a nanoFLOWCELL flow cell battery powertrain, at the Geneva Motor Show. This flow cell system supports an electric driving range of between 400 to 600 km (249 to 373 miles) in the QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype, the company claims.
Flow cells or flow batteries combine aspects of an electrochemical battery cell with those of a fuel cell. The electrolytic fluids in flow cells—usually metallic salts in aqueous solution—are pumped from tanks through the cell. This forms a kind of battery cell with a cross-flow of electrolyte liquid. One advantage of this system in general is that the larger the storage tanks for the electrolyte fluid are, the greater the energy capacity. Too, the concentration of an electrolytic solution contributes to the the quantity of energy that it transports.
Nissan introduces the e-NV2000 electric van
March 04, 2014
|e-NV200. Click to enlarge.|
The e-NV200’s electric drivetrain, based on that used in the LEAF, is combined with the cargo volume of the NV200 to create a practical and versatile vehicle capable of carrying people or goods. Although based on significant elements of the two existing vehicles, e-NV200 is a bespoke vehicle with a unique part count of more than 30%. When sales start in June, e-NV200 will be available as a van or as a five-seat people carrier in Combi or more luxurious Evalia guises.
Volkswagen to introduce Passat Plug-in hybrid “soon”; Group electrifying more than 40 more models over next few years
In remarks before the opening of the Geneva Motora Show, Volkswagen Group Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said that a plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat would join the Group’s range of low-CO2 vehicles “soon.”
In his remarks, Winterkorn noted that Group research and development expenditure rose by 15% last year to the record value of €10.2 billion (US $14 billion), with the “lion’s share going to green technologies.” Winterkorn said that the Group was reinforcing its objective to become the world’s leading automaker, also in ecological terms, by 2018.
Kia using SK Innovation NCM Li-ion cells in Soul EV
February 24, 2014
Kia is using lithium-ion polymer battery cells supplied by SK Inovation in the battery pack for the new Soul EV (earlier post). The pack, featuring an energy density of 200 Wh/kg (on the high end of specific energy ratings for current EVs), is the result of a three-year joint development program between Kia Motors Corporation and SK Innovation in Korea. The Soul EV offers a driving range of around 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge.
Engineers from Kia developed the pack with 192 SK lithium-ion polymer battery cells in eight modules, for a total capacity of 27 kWh. The pack incorporates advanced thermal control technology to maintain individual cells at optimum temperature and structural design to enhance crash worthiness.
Study finds 20-25% of EV range lost as psychological safety buffer; driver assistance systems could shrink that buffer
February 23, 2014
Between 20 to 25% of the potential range of an electric vehicle is lost as a psychological safety buffer, according to a study by a doctoral candidate at Technische Universität Chemnitz in Germany. The results of the study, which also suggested that assistance systems could reduce the size of that buffer, were based on more than 400,000 km (249,000 miles) of user experience gathered in the research project “MINI E Berlin powered by Vattenfall”. (Earlier post.)
The MINI E project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The Professorship of Cognitive and Engineering Psychology of TU Chemnitz was involved in the project from the start, alongside with BMW and Vattenfall and other university partners. During the field study a total of 79 users drove the MINI E for six months. The psychologists of TU Chemnitz conducted qualitative interviews at several points in time. In addition, questionnaires, diary methods and data loggers were used.
Update on Honda/GM fuel cell partnership; “It’s about cost reduction”
February 21, 2014
In July 2013, General Motors and Honda announced a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 time frame. (Earlier post.) At the SAE 2014 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium, Mark Mathias, Director, Fuel Cell R&D for GM, provided an update on the collaboration, as well as a brief dive into the technical drivers behind the ongoing automotive efforts on fuel cell propulsion related to the scaling properties of batteries and fuel cells.
The GM/Honda partnership is about cost reduction, Mathias said. “We have vehicles now that work and can be durable, it’s really now about making a business out of the technology. Obviously it involves both the vehicle and the infrastructure and the hydrogen supply, so there are a lot of elements to this.”
Zytek lightweight electric powertrain for Yamaha’s MOTIV.e city car concept
|Zytek’s lightweight 25kW powertrain drives the Yamaha MOTIV.e through a Vocis single ratio transmission. A further development of the electric machine will deliver more power and torque from the same compact package. Click to enlarge.|
Yamaha’s new MOTIV.e city car concept, shown at the Tokyo motorshow, is powered by an electric drive system from Zytek that employs a range of new design approaches to minimize the cost, weight and size of the powertrain while maximizing the performance and range. By supplying a number of core high-voltage components as an optimized system, Zytek is also minimizing the time required for vehicle development.
MOTIV.e comes from the partnership between Yamaha and Gordon Murray Design, using Murray’s iStream manufacturing technology; Murray has partnered in the past with Zytek on the T.27 City Car—the technology basis for the MOTIV.e. (Earlier post). Zytek Automotive, a specialist EV/HEV/fuel cell engineering consultancy, is a subsidiary of Continental, the global powertrain, chassis and interior products supplier.
BMW provides initial look at X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid prototype
February 20, 2014
|BMW X5 plug-in hybrid prototype at Efficient Dynamics Innovation Days 2014. Click to enlarge.|
At BMW’s Efficient Dynamics Innovation Days 2014 in Germany, the company provided the first opportunities for test-driving the BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid (PHEV) prototype (earlier post). BMW also presented the first four-cylinder member of its new EfficientDyanamics engine family—the 2.0-liter unit would serve as the engine component in a future production X5 eDrive PHEV—as well as ideas for future solutions in the field of lightweight design, aerodynamics and thermal management.
Powertrain technology is key to BMW’s EfficientDynamics strategy, with a dual focus on the continuous evolution of conventional internal combustion engines on the one hand and the development of alternative drive concepts on the other. As well as achieving significant emissions reductions based on continuous evolutionary advances of the TwinPower Turbo gasoline and diesel engines, future BMW core brand models will also benefit from the transfer of new electrified drive technology (BMW eDrive) developed by the BMW i sub-brand.
Tesla shipped 6,892 Model S units in Q4 2013, 22,477 full year; battery Gigafactory announcement next week
Tesla Motors announced record deliveries of 6,892 Model S vehicles worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2013, with 22,477 vehicles in the full year. For the quarter, non-GAAP revenue was $761 million, up 26% from Q3. GAAP revenue for Q4 was $615 million, up 43% from Q3. Q4 non-GAAP net income was $46 million, or $0.33 per share, while Q4 GAAP net loss was $16 million or $(0.13) per share.
The differences between GAAP and non-GAAP are primarily due to lease accounting for resale value guarantee (RVG) and employee stock-based compensation as a result of the increase in stock price last year. The results show Tesla moving closer to break-even or profitability even on a GAAP basis. (GAAP net loss per share for the quarter ending 30 Sep 2013 was $(0.32), and for Q4 of 2012, $(0.79). For the full 2013 calendar year, net loss per share $(0.62), while for all of 2012, it was $(3.69).
New 3-speed EV powertrain to offer 10-15% improvement in EV range
February 19, 2014
|Compared to a single-speed EV or HEV transmission, DSD’s MSYS 3-speed system provides a 40% weight saving and 10-15% lower energy consumption. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based Drive System Design is developing a new EV powertrain based on an alternate approach to powershifting (no torque interrupt) achieved by separating the existing functions of a synchronizer. The integrated design of an axial flux YASA motor (earlier post) with the multi-speed transmission contributes to simplification of the motor cooling system, electrical architecture and powertrain control system.
The MSYS system can mean a 10-15% improvement in the range of electric vehicles, the company says. (Earlier post.) The company was recently showcased at the Cleantech Innovate 2014 event by the UK’s LowCVP organization (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership), along with 7 other companies. DSD was the winner of a LowCVP commendation as the most impressive of the road transport-focused entries.
Study finds that EV-specific factors rather than socio-demographic variables better predictors of EV uptake
A study by researchers at the Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands) examining the impact of financial incentives and other socio-economic factors on electric vehicle (both plug-in hybrids and battery electrics) adoption in 30 countries found that financial incentives; the number of charging stations (corrected for population); and the presence of a local manufacturing facility were positive and significant in predicting EV adoption rates for the countries studied.
Of those, charging infrastructure was the best predictor of a country’s EV market share. However, the team cautions in their paper in Energy Policy, descriptive analyses indicated how country-specific factors such as government procurement plans or the target recipient of subsidies can significantly affect the adoption rate. In other words, neither financial incentives nor charging infrastructure ensure high electric vehicle adoption rates. However, on the whole, they conclude, the analysis tentatively endorses financial incentives and charging infrastructure as a way to encourage EV adoption.
MHI to supply 2 electric buses featuring MLIX Li-ion batteries for Kitakyushu City
February 17, 2014
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will supply two electric buses to serve in a transportation system being planned by the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. The buses—full-size, low-floor models for the city’s regular route network—will operate on MHI’s high-performance “MLIX” lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
In combination with a lighter body enabled by the partial adoption of carbon fiber construction, the new buses will be able to operate continuously over increased distances—up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) on a full charge, at a top speed of 85 km/h (53 mph). Load capacity is 72 passengers.
Volkswagen launches the battery-electric e-Golf in Germany; “Das e-Auto”
February 15, 2014
|The e-Golf shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has launched the battery-electric version of the Golf, the e-Golf, in Germany with immediate availability. (Earlier post.) In launching the new e-Golf, Volkswagen is bringing the most successful European car ever onto the market as a full production electric vehicle. The e-Golf, sporting signature LED headlights, is available from €34,900 (US$47,796), including an 8-year / 160,000-kilometer (99,419-mile) battery warranty.
The launch of the e-Golf marks Volkswagen’s second electric vehicle brought to market inside six months; the first was the e-up!. (Earlier post.) The e-Golf features low power consumption of 12.7 kWh/100 km (the frugal e-up! offers power consumption of 11.7 kWh/100 km). As a comparison, the Nissan LEAF consumes 15 kWh/100 km (in accordance with UN/ECE Regulation 101).
Toyota to begin wireless vehicle charging system verification testing
February 13, 2014
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will begin verification testing of its newly developed wireless battery charging system for plug-in electric vehicles—such as plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles—in late February in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The system can charge a vehicle parked in alignment over a coil on the surface of the ground, making the charging process simpler and more convenient.
The charging system uses magnetic-resonance technology, which transmits electricity by utilizing the magnetic resonance resulting from changes in magnetic field intensity between a coil on the ground that transmits and a coil on the vehicle that receives.
Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS
February 11, 2014
The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years.
Among the actions proposed or considered in the transportation sector include aggressive implementation of the light-duty Zero Emission Vehicle standard; LEV IV emissions regulations for the light-duty fleet post-2025 (GHG reductions of about 5% per year); Phase 2 GHG regulations for medium and heavy-duty (MD and HD) vehicles; a possible ZEV regulation for trucks; more stringent carbon reduction targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and others.
Sumitomo installs first large-scale power system using used EV batteries
February 08, 2014
Sumitomo Corporation has developed and installed the first large-scale power storage system which utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles. This commercial scale storage system, built on Yume-shima Island, Osaka, will begin operating in February 2014.
Sumitomo Corporation created the joint venture company, 4R Energy Corporation, in collaboration with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. in September 2010, to address the secondary use of EV lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) The used EV batteries that will be recycled into this large-scale storage system have been recovered and have gone through thorough inspection and maintenance at 4R, to confirm safety and performance. This prototype system (600kW/400kWh) consists of sixteen used EV batteries.
Renault unveils Next Two autonomous electric vehicle prototype for 2020
February 06, 2014
|The Next Two prototype. Click to enlarge.|
Renault has unveiled the Next Two concept—the company’s current vision of an autonomous drive (AD) capable electric vehicle for the year 2020.
The Next Two prototype—based on a Renault ZOE—focuses on two areas: the delegation of driving functions under certain conditions and connectivity. Using sensor technologies, Next Two enables the delegation of driving functions from the driver to the car in congested traffic up to km/h (18.6 mph) on main roads. It also offers an Automated Valet Parking function which permits the vehicle to park itself completely autonomously in car parks equipped to cater for automated vehicles. This includes both finding a parking place and the necessary maneuvering.
Kia unveils Soul EV at Chicago Auto Show
|Soul EV. Click to enlarge.|
Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced the 2015 Soul EV at the Chicago Auto Show. Scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of 2014, the Soul EV will be Kia’s first battery-electric car sold in the US. Kia also highlighted its Niro hybrid concept along with the 2014 Optima hybrid at the event.
The Soul EV is equipped with a 27kWh, air-cooled, 200 Wh/kg Li-ion polymer battery pack located beneath the floor. Kia expects the pack to support a range of approximately 80-100 miles (129-161 km) of real-world driving on a full charge. Internal testing and evaluation showed results exceeding 100 miles in some instances.
Alcoa and Phinergy enter joint development agreement for high energy-density aluminum-air batteries
February 05, 2014
Alcoa and Israel-based Phinergy have entered into a joint development agreement to develop further Phinergy’s aluminum-air batteries. Announced at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Atlanta, the partnership will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which could significantly extend electric vehicle range.
Aluminium–air cells are high-energy density primary (non-rechargeable) batteries originally developed in the 1960s. Aluminum-air batteries (a type of metal-air cell) use a catalytic air cathode in combination with an electrolyte and an aluminum anode; the systems offer a theoretical specific energy of 8.1 kWh/kg of Al—second only to the Li-air battery (13.0 kWh/kg). (Earlier post.)
Renault introduces ZE-ready concept with drone Flying Companion; targeting new markets
|The KWID CONCEPT comes with a Flying Companion drone stored on the roof. Click to enlarge.|
Renault unveiled the KWID CONCEPT at the Delhi Auto Show—the first Renault concept car unveiled outside Europe. The KWID CONCEPT features a “Flying Companion”—a small drone that can be operated in one of two modes. Automatic mode uses a pre-programmed flying sequence and GPS location; manual mode enables the companion to be controlled using a dashboard-integrated tablet.
The Flying Companion is the first of its kind in the automotive world. It takes off from the rotating rear portion of the KWID CONCEPT’s roof. Renault suggests that the Flying Companion could be used for a variety of purposes, including scouting traffic, taking landscape pictures and detecting obstacles on the road ahead.
IHS Automotive forecasts global production of plug-in vehicles to rise by 67% this year
February 04, 2014
|Global electric vehicle production forecast for 2014. Source: IHS Automotive. Click to enlarge.|
Driven by tighter emission standards in Europe, worldwide production of plug-in electric vehicles(PEVs)—including both battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models—will increase by 67% this year, according to IHS Automotive, driven by Polk. The jump in the PEV market this year contrasts with an expected 3.6% rise in global manufacturing of all motor vehicles expected in 2014.
Total production of PEVs is projected to rise to more than 403,000 this year, up from slightly more than 242,000 in 2013. Growth will accelerate sharply from the 44% increase in 2013, based on data from the new IHS Automotive Hybrid-EV Portal. In December 2013, IHS projected total global automotive sales in 2014 of 85 million, roughly resulting in an expected approximate 0.5% share for PEVs in the global market this year.
EVDrive demonstrates 4-wheel 4-motor torque vectoring technology for electric UTVs
January 27, 2014
|EVDrive torque vectoring. Click to enlarge.|
EVDrive has developed and demonstrated an electric 4-wheel, 4-motor torque vectoring technology (Terra-Torque-Drive) specifically targeted at 4-wheel off-road powersports vehicles such as side-by-side Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs).
The Terra-Torque-Drive-powered e-UTV demonstrator uses four sealed liquid-cooled EVDrive EVD35 35kW/47hp peak drive sub-systems, de-tuned to ~30kW/hp each or delivering a total of ~160hp/120kW peak. At each motor shaft, ~66 ft-lbs (89 N·m) peak torque is delivered. The 4 gearboxes allow ratio changes with off-the-shelf gearsets. With the currently installed single speed gearsets at the CV joint of each wheel, 726 ft-lbs (984 N·m) peak torque is delivered. This is the kind of torque necessary to perform Zero Radius Turns with a fully loaded vehicle and perhaps even some extreme rock climbing.
Initial results from first phase of road trials for 40-ft BYD electric bus in Canada
January 25, 2014
|2013 STO-AVT electric bus test results chart: BYD Electric Bus energy consumption (Wh/km) over speed (km/h). Click to enlarge.|
The first phase of a ten-month trial for a 40-foot BYD battery-electric bus (which commenced the Summer of 2013) was completed in Gatineau, Québec and Ottawa, Ontario in December. (Although the bus drive is zero-emissions, in frigid weather bus-heating was supplemented with a small diesel heater integrated into the bus).
The evaluation, performed by the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) in conjunction with AVT (the Société de gestion et d’acquisition de véhicules de transport), found that the average speed of drivers on Gatineau and Ottawa routes was 23 km/h (14 mph), and the resulting distance the BYD bus could travel at this average speed was 250 km (155 miles)—the equivalent of 1.3 kWh/km without air-conditioning and 1.5 kWh/km with air-conditioning, and full passenger loads).
CMU researchers find controlled charging of PHEVs can cut cost of integration into electricity system by 54-73%; higher benefits with wind power
January 24, 2014
In a new study published in the journal Applied Energy, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers found that controlled charging of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) reduces the costs of integrating the vehicles into an electricity system by 54–73% depending on the scenario.
More specifically, controlled charging can cut the cost of integrating PHEVs approximately in half. The magnitude of these savings is ~5% to 15% higher in a system with 20% wind penetration compared to a system with no wind power, and the savings are 50–60% higher in a system that requires capacity expansion.
DOE to award $49.4M for advanced vehicle technologies research; meeting Tier 3 emissions
January 22, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $49.4 million to projects to to accelerate research and development of new vehicle technologies. The new program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000991) (earlier post), was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the Washington Auto Show.
The funding opportunity will contains a total of 13 areas of interest in the general areas of advanced light-weighting; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; advanced powertrains (including the ability to meet proposed EPA Tier 3 tailpipe emissions standards); and fuels and lubricants. These areas of interest apply to light, medium and heavy duty on-road vehicles.
Mayor of London: all new London taxis will need to be zero-emission capable from 2018
January 16, 2014
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced plans that would require all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital to be zero-emission capable from 1 January 2018, with the expectation that they will automatically operate in zero-emission mode while in areas where the capital’s air quality is at its worst—such as parts of central London.
The Mayor confirmed his plan at Transport for London’s (TfL’s) “New Taxis for London” event, at which he met five manufacturers developing zero emission capable taxis—Frazer-Nash, Nissan, Karsan, London Taxi Company and Mercedes-Benz. The new zero-emission capable taxis being developed include both plug-in full series hybrid vehicles and full electric models.
Comprehensive modeling study finds electric drive vehicle deployment has little observed effect on US system-wide emissions
January 15, 2014
The results of a new, comprehensive modeling study characterizing light-duty electric drive vehicle (EDV) deployment in the US over 108 discrete scenarios do not demonstrate a clear and consistent trend toward lower system-wide emissions of CO2, SO2, and NOx as EDV deployment increases.
As explained in their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the researchers from North Carolina State Univesity and the University of Minnesota found that, while the scenario parameters can influence EDV deployment—even to a most extreme scenario of adoption—this EDV deployment does not in turn produce a discernible effect on total system-wide emissions. There are three reasons for this lack of observed effect, they concluded: (1) at present the overall share of emissions from the LDV sector is only 20% of US CO2 emissions; (2) EDV charging can still produce comparable emissions to conventional vehicles depending on the grid mix; and (3) the effect of other sectors on emissions is significant.
SwRI develops first ERCOT-qualified vehicle-to-grid aggregation system
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has deployed the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) aggregation system qualified by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to manage charging activities for a fleet of electric delivery trucks. The SwRI system suspends vehicle charging when the electric grid frequency drops too far below 60 Hertz, the normal operating frequency. This novel smart grid system demonstrates enabling technologies to support stable electric power delivery.
Electricity is difficult to store yet has to be available on demand. Because supply and demand across a grid vary continuously, organizations such as ERCOT coordinate power through various suppliers to maintain frequency levels and make rapid adjustments when the frequency falls outside the normal range. Alternative energy supplies, such as wind energy, can be especially variable, so the SwRI-developed technology is particularly useful for integrating these green technologies into the energy infrastructure.
FTA to award up to $24.9M to low- or no-emissions transit bus projects
January 10, 2014
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $24.9 million of Fiscal Year 2013 funds (FTA-2014-001-TRI) for the deployment of low- or no-emission (LoNo) transit buses. Of that amount, $21.6 million is available for buses and $3.3 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment.
The LoNo Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.
Plug Power to develop H2 fuel cell range extenders for FedEx Express electric delivery trucks
January 09, 2014
Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen fuel cell technology to the materials handling market, will develop hydrogen fuel cell range extenders for 20 FedEx Express electric delivery trucks, allowing FedEx Express to nearly double the amount of territory the vehicles can cover with one charge. (Earlier post.)
This $3-million project is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes project partners FedEx Express, Plug Power and Smith Electric Vehicles. The resulting hybrid vehicles will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and a 10 kW Plug Power hydrogen fuel cell system. The fuel cell solution is based on Plug Power’s GenDrive Series 1000 product architecture.
Navigant Research forecasts new EV global sales of > 346,000 units in 2014; 10 predictions for the year
January 08, 2014
During 2014, the global plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) industry is poised to grow by 86% and will surpass more than 346,000 new vehicles sold, according to a new white paper—“Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2014”—published by Navigant Research. This would bring the global total of PEVs on the road to more than 700,000 by the end of the year, according to the firm’s calculations.
Broadly, Navigant expects expansion in both the higher end of the market (thereby putting competitive pressure on Tesla Motors), as Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes, Saab, and Volvo introduce their first plug-in cars. More mainstream models will come from Kia, Mahindra, Škoda, and Volkswagen. North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific will continue to drive PEV sales, as the technology will have only limited availability in the emerging markets of Latin America and Africa.
Researchers call for major change in US policies supporting plug-ins; failure of “mainstream consumer bias”
January 06, 2014
Although sales of plug-in vehicles (plug-in hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles, collectively PEVs) in the US climbed more than 80% in 2013 to more than 96,000 units (Tesla has not yet released its final figures) from 52,835 units in 2012 EDTA), the 2013 results still reflect a meagre new light-duty vehicle market share of ~0.6% for PEVs.
In a paper published in the journal Energy Policy, Erin Green of Green Energy Consulting; Steven Skerlos of the University of Michigan; and James Winebrake of the Rochester Institute of Technology argue that current US policies intended to promote the uptake of plug-in electric vehicles haven proven inefficient and ineffective. Suggesting that “mainstream consumer bias” is an explanation for the policy deficiencies that have resulted in slower than expected market penetration of PEVs, they propose an alternative policy agenda including the leveraging of strategic market niches, targeted R&D and incentives, and loans.
Tsinghua team develops zinc-air fuel cell stack with high power density
December 29, 2013
Researchers at Tsinghua University have developed a high-power-density zinc-air fuel cell (ZAFC) stack using an inexpensive manganese dioxide (MnO2) catalyst with potassium hydroxide (KOH) electrolyte. As reported in a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, they achieved peak power in a ZAFC stack as high as 435 mW cm-2.
They also reported that the time required for voltages to reach steady state and for current step-up or step-down are in milliseconds, indicating that the ZAFC could be applied to vehicles with rapid dynamic response demands.
California ISO publishes roadmap for integrating EVs into grid
December 28, 2013
|Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge.|
The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”.
The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric vehicles could benefit electric reliability, and to determine policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable electric grid.
Two case studies outline how Houston and Loveland are saving money with EVs in their fleets
December 17, 2013
The Electrification Coalition released two case studies outlining how two cities—Houston, Texas and Loveland, Colorado—are saving money by using electric vehicles (EVs) in their vehicle fleets. The Electrification Coalition, launched in November 2009, is committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security threats posed by US dependence on petroleum. (Earlier post.)
City officials in Houston estimate that the city’s 27 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 annually compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. A similar study examining Loveland, Colo. found that the city’s LEAFs will cost 41% less to own and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles.
EIA: light duty vehicle energy consumption to drop 25% by 2040; increased oil production, vehicle efficiency reduce US oil and liquid imports
December 16, 2013
Reflecting slow growth in travel and accelerated vehicle efficiency improvements, US light-duty vehicle (LDV, cars and light trucks) energy use will decline sharply between 2012 and 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case released today.
AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated Census projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in LDVs average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year over the same period in AEO2013. The rising fuel economy of LDVs more than offsets the modest growth in VMT, resulting in a 25% decline in LDV energy consumption decline between 2012 and 2040 in the AEO2014 Reference case.
EPA trends report sees record levels of average new vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions for MY 2012; role of new gasoline vehicle technologies
December 13, 2013
Average new vehicle CO2 emissions rate and fuel economy in the US achieved record levels in MY 2012, and have improved in 7 of the last 8 years, according to the newly released Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 - 2013 (the annual “Trends” report) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The majority of the emissions and fuel savings from current vehicles, EPA noted, is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies.
The final model year (MY) 2012 adjusted, real world CO2 emissions rate is 376 g/mi—a 22 g/mi decrease (-5.5%) relative to MY 2011. MY 2012 adjusted fuel economy is 23.6 mpg (9.97 l/100 km), which is 1.2 mpg higher (+5.4%) than MY 2011. Both values represent all-time records since the database began in MY 1975, and the authors of the report believe that these represent historical records as well. The 1.2 mpg fuel economy improvement from MY 2011 to MY 2012 is the second largest annual improvement in the last 30 years.
DOE awards $98M in tax credits to automakers and suppliers for clean technology manufacturing
December 12, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $150 million in clean energy tax credits to 12 businesses to build US capabilities in clean energy manufacturing; $98 million of that goes to five automakers and suppliers towards investments in domestic manufacturing equipment. The awards are made through the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program (48C Program).
The Departments of Energy and the Treasury worked in partnership to develop, launch, and award the funds for this program. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit authorized Treasury to provide developers with an investment tax credit of 30% for the manufacture of particular types of energy equipment. Funded at $2.3 billion, the tax credit was made available to 183 domestic clean energy manufacturing facilities during Phase I of the program.
Protean Electric and FAW-VW developing production-intent electric propulsion system with in-wheel motors
|Cutaway of the Protean Electric in-wheel motor. Click to enlarge.|
In-wheel electric drive developer Protean Electric is partnering with FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd. (FAW-VW) in China to develop a new electric propulsion system that will include Protean Electric’s Protean Drive with intent towards a demonstration vehicle program and production.
FAW-VW will create a new rear-wheel drivetrain for an electric vehicle (EV) based on the new Bora compact sedan, utilizing two Protean in-wheel motors. This cooperation began several months ago; all bench testing, engineering calibration and on-site application support is expected to be completed within a year. Protean Electric will also assist FAW-VW in the development of safety and vehicle controls that can be applied to additional vehicle programs.
La Poste testing hydrogen fuel cell range extenders in Renault Kangoo Z.E. mail delivery vehicles
December 11, 2013
|Symbio ALP-5 range extender. Click to enlarge.|
The Franche-Comté region and La Poste (the French postal service) are testing hydrogen fuel cell range extender kits from Symbio FCell in three Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric mail delivery vehicles under real working conditions. This system is expected to double the range of the electric cars used for postal delivery.
The three Kangoos Z.E.s with fuel cell range extenders (HyKangoos) will be deployed in the first quarter of 2014 on mail delivery platforms. These vehicles, with a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and batteries, offer an extended range that performs under demanding conditions: mail routes of 100 km (62 miles) or more through the cold, hilly and mountainous terrain. (The Franche-Comté region borders on Switzerland, with the Vosges mountains to the north and the Jura to the south.)
INL releases results of testing of Evatran Plugless 3.3 kW Level 2 wireless charging system
|System efficiency at 100mm gap for 3.3kW output plotted against primary coil position relative to secondary coil (mm). Source: INL. Click to enlarge.|
Idaho National Laboratory researchers recently released independent testing results of a wireless charging system designed for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The system tested, Evatran’s Plugless 3.3 kW Level 2 Charging System, uses inductive technology to wirelessly charge a PEV’s traction battery, which powers the vehicle. The Plugless system is the first wireless power transfer technology to be independently documented and published.
INL researchers performed 2,600 separate tests of Evatran’s Plugless Level 2 Charging System, which included testing at different distances and varying alignments, said Jim Francfort, INL’s principal investigator for advanced technology vehicles. INL continues to conduct independent testing of PEVs and charging systems.
Honda joins vehicle-to-grid technology demonstration project in partnership with University of Delaware and NRG Energy
December 05, 2013
Honda has joined a demonstration project for experimental vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology aimed at providing a potentially valuable energy storage resource to the electrical grid while providing for more cost-effective ownership of plug-in electric vehicles.
The Honda technology builds off of the research conducted by the University of Delaware and now supported by NRG Energy, Inc. through their eV2g joint venture (earlier post). eV2g came online early in 2013 with the first revenue-generating vehicle-to-grid project, demonstrating the controls, regulatory requirements, and market participation rules for selling energy storage from vehicles into the PJM Interconnection Regulation Market. (Earlier post.)
Mitsubishi slashes prices of 2014 i-MiEV by 21% ($6K), offers more standard features
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is reducing the price of the MY 2014 i-MiEV battery electric vehicle by 21% ($6,130) from the previous 2012 vehicle and delivering an expanded standard equipment package with it. The 2014 model year Mitsubishi i-MiEV ES model including CHAdeMO DC quick charge port, battery warming system and heated side view mirrors now starts at $22,995.
After factoring in the Federal tax credit of $7,500, the net MSRP of the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV drops down to only $15,495. Adding in the California state EV financial incentive of up to $2,500 (other generous financial incentives are available through numerous states and municipalities), residents in California can obtain the 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV for as low as $12,995.
Nissan testing LEAF as electrical power storage and supply for office buildings; LEAF-to-Building a development of LEAF-to-Home
November 29, 2013
Nissan reports a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work. “Vehicle-To-Building” allows up to six Nissan LEAF EVs to be connected to a building’s power distribution board.
Charging is phased during the day so at peak hours, when electricity is most expensive, the building draws power from the cars. When electricity is cheaper it flows the other way. The system ensures the Nissan LEAFs are fully charged by the end of the working day for their owners to drive home.
UK government awards £598K for hydrogen fuel cell range extender with micro-bead H2 storage for BEVs
November 28, 2013
The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) have awarded £598,000 (US$980,000) to micro-bead hydrogen storage company Cella Energy (earlier post) and its partners MIRA, Coventry University and Productiv to develop a hydrogen generation system to extend the range of battery electric vehicles. The award is part of the Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform Integrated Delivery Programme 8 (IDP8) competition.
In an existing TSB-funded project called “Breakthrough in Energy Storage Technology,” Cella, MIRA, Unipart Eberspacher Exhaust Systems and Productiv are developing a 1 kW hydrogen generator using Cella Energy’s lightweight hydrogen storage material. The aim of this new project is to take this technology and scale it to a 5 kW unit to power a small electric vehicle produced by Microcab Ltd, a spinout company from Coventry University.
Ford recalling Focus Electrics over electric powertrain propulsion failure
November 27, 2013
Ford Motor is recalling certain model year 2012-2014 Focus Electric vehicles manufactured from 15 September 15, 2011 through August 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a powertrain control module software fault may result in a sudden loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash.
According to the defect information report Ford filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 2,456 vehicles in the US and federalized territories are potentially affected. According to Ford’s monthly electrified vehicle sales and production report, the company has produced 2,911 units of the battery-electric vehicle in total through October 2013.
TUM CREATE introduces tropical megacity e-taxi prototype at Tokyo; super-fast charging with twin charge ports
November 26, 2013
|Drawing of the 50 kWh pack and the twin charge ports for super-fast charging. Click to enlarge.|
Singapore-based TUM CREATE unveiled an electric taxi prototype designed for tropical megacities, codenamed EVA, at the Tokyo Motor Show. EVA serves as a platform to showcase the results of the work at TUM CREATE, a joint research program by Technische Universität München (TUM) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
EVA was designed from the ground-up as an e-taxi and is a result of interdisciplinary research in the areas of energy storage, battery charging, thermal management, and lightweight materials and design.
Anderman report sees strongest growth for full-hybrid systems; Li-ion batteries for hybrids may be in short supply
November 22, 2013
Low-cost 14V micro hybrid systems and full (strong) hybrid (i.e., systems with limited electric drive) architectures at 140-300V are entering strong growth phases, while the future of intermediate systems—those falling between the high-voltage full hybrids and the low-voltage stop-start systems—is less clear, according to “Assessing the Future of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: The 2014 xEV Industry Insider Report” by Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanced Automotive Batteries (AAB), to be released next week.
The 170-page report also finds that while the combined global EV and plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) market share is expected to grow to about 1.5% of total vehicle sales by 2020, the more significant story is the rapid expansion of strong-hybrid vehicles led by Toyota, Ford, and Honda, followed by Hyundai, Nissan and others. The current market share in Japan already exceeds 20%, and the world market share is estimated to exceed 5% by 2020.
BMW Brilliance unveils Zinoro 1E BEV at Guangzhou show
November 21, 2013
BMW Brilliance, the China joint venture company formed by the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., unveiled the Zinoro 1E battery-electric vehicle (BEV) at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The EV is the first product of the company’s new brand, the first e-drive SAV built in China, and the first new energy vehicle (NEV) from a Chinese premium manufacturer.
BBA said that it is not aiming at volume sales of Zinoro 1E, but is using it to build the Zinoro (Zhi Nuo, 之诺, in Chinese) brand image, increase customer understanding and acceptance of electric vehicles, and drive the commercialization of electric vehicles in China.
BMW announces partners and services for 360° Electric portfolio for BMW i drivers
November 18, 2013
BMW of North America has announced the partnerships and programs comprising its 360° Electric portfolio. Available in early 2014, 360° Electric is a portfolio of consumer-oriented offerings designed to overcome commonly perceived barriers to purchasing an electric vehicle.
360° Electric encompasses products for home and public charging, assistance services, and flexible mobility. BMW is currently the only automotive manufacturer offering this comprehensive a plan for consumers to cover their individual electric mobility needs beyond their vehicles. BMW says it is situated to branch into complementary electric vehicle markets because of its experience with the MINI E and ActiveE field trials.
Inaugural PlugInsights report highlights need to expand public fast charging
November 15, 2013
|The study shows that home charging is dominant. Data: PlugInsights. Click to enlarge.|
Electric vehicle software and information services company Recargo Inc., has launched a plug-in vehicle (PEV) research firm—PlugInsights—which released an inaugural report addressing the experiences, behaviors and opinions around charging a plug-in vehicle in America.
The sample for the study was drawn from PlugInsights’ PEV panel, comprising more than 3,700 plug-in drivers of 17 different vehicle makes and models of plug-in hybrid, mid-range battery-electric vehicles and long-range battery electric vehicles (the Teslas), mathematically modeled to reflect the “real world”. The growing panel will be the data source for upcoming PEV studies, and will be used for custom survey and focus group research with PlugInsights clients.
NCSU team proposes new system for dynamic wireless EV charging
Researchers from North Carolina State University are proposing a new topology appropriate for dynamic wireless charging—i.e., wireless charging on the go. Currently, at peak efficiency, the new system can transmit energy at a rate of 0.5 kilowatts (kW). The team’s goal is to move from 0.5 kW into the 50 kW range.
The system, outlined in a paper published in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics, features a transmitter made from segmented multiple coils, each of which broadcasts a low-level electromagnetic field and is powered by a single inverter. A receiver coil that is the same size as each of the transmitter coils is placed in a car or other mobile platform. (The size of the coils is important, because coils of the same size transfer energy more efficiently.)
VW provides details on e-Golf prior to launch at LA Auto Show
November 14, 2013
|e-Golf. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced details of the e-Golf, its first fully electric vehicle to go on sale in the US, prior to its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Volkswagen earlier this year introduced the production version of the e-Golf and e-up! at the Frankfurt show. (Earlier post.)
The e-Golf is available in five-door form only and is immediately recognizable by its unique aluminum-alloy wheels and by its LED headlights, the first time they have been used as standard on a Volkswagen vehicle. The e-Golf is due to go on sale in select states in the fourth quarter of 2014.
SAE New Energy Vehicle Forum: China’s focus on NEVs may have profound impact on future of transportation
November 13, 2013
China has a number of critical economic and environmental imperatives driving its pursuit of vehicle electrification, said the roster of plenary speakers at the SAE 2013 New Energy Vehicle Forum held in Shanghai this week. These include the increasingly problematic pollution and haze in cities; China’s projected increased reliance on imported oil; the need for rationalized multimodal transportation systems in ever more congested and space-limited cities; the growing dominance of the China auto market; and the desire to have China become the leader in the next generation of automotive technology, vehicles and mobility systems.
The shift from fossil fuels to electricity—while held in common with other countries—will be based on the “specific situation” in China, making the best use of China’s own advantages and innovations, but also with international cooperation, said Dr. Zhixin Wu, Vice President of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC). The details of that specific situation may result in an electric vehicle parc somewhat different than in Western countries, other speakers noted, and may indeed—given the obvious scale of the China market—herald a major transformation in transportation, including the type and role of personal vehicles, others suggested.
TÜV SÜD Technical Inspectorate confirms BMW i3 can emit 30-50% less total life cycle greenhouse gases than comparable conventional vehicles
The BMW i3 battery electric vehicle can emit 30-50% less total life cycle greenhouse gases than comparable conventional vehicles depending upon the source of its electricity, according to its ISO 14040/14044 certificate from the TÜV SÜD Technical Inspectorate. (Earlier post.) Market launch for the i3 is on 16 November.
The 30% reduction is achieved by using energy from the EU 25 electricity mix, which takes account of all electricity generation in the European Union. The 50% reduction compared with conventional automobiles results as soon as the BMW i3 is powered exclusively by energy generated from renewables such as wind or solar power. ISO 14040/14004 are international standards for lifecycle assessment.
CMU study finds limited dedicated residential parking and charging a significant barrier to mainstream EV adoption
November 12, 2013
|Selected forecasts of US PEV sales with barriers to fleet penetration from limited residential charging infrastructure. Traut et al. Click to enlarge.|
An analysis by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University of parking and charging availability for electric vehicles in the US has concluded that limited availability of dedicated residential parking—and hence charging opportunities—is a significant barrier to mainstream electric vehicle adoption. The study, which was funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation, CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, General Motors, Ford and Toyota, is to appear in the journal Transportation Research (Part D).
The team, led by Professor Jeremy Michalek, assessed existing and potential charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles in US households using data from the American Housing Survey and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. The team found that while approximately 79% households have off-street parking for at least some of their vehicles, only an estimated 56% of vehicles have a dedicated off-street parking space—and only 47% at an owned residence. Only approximately 22% vehicles currently have access to a dedicated home parking space within reach of an outlet sufficient to recharge a small plug-in vehicle battery pack overnight.
Kia confirms development of battery-electric Soul for US; on sale in 2014
November 11, 2013
p> Kia Motors has confirmed the development of a battery-electric version of the Kia Soul for the US market, scheduled to go on sale in 2014. The Kia Soul EV will be Kia’s first all-electric, zero-emissions vehicle marketed outside of Korea.
The Soul EV takes its design cues from the recently-launched second-generation Kia Soul. Equipped with a high-capacity 27 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, the Soul EV is expected to offer a driving range of more than 120 miles (193 km) on a single charge. Recharging times are up to five hours for a fully depleted battery using a standard 240v outlet, or 25 minutes on fast charge with 100 kW output.
DOE Inspector General criticizes agency’s handling of disclosures over Ecotality awards
November 08, 2013
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a report concluding that DOE “had not fully disclosed known concerns regarding Ecotality’s ability to meet its EV project obligations” to the Office of Inspector General prior to completion of an earlier audit, and thus prior to Ecotality’s bankruptcy filing in September. (Earlier post.)
The OIG concluded that DOE had not provided information that raised questions about Ecotality’s ability to meet its project goals, including completing planned EV charger installations and the collection of EV usage data—even though the data had a “readily apparent” connection to the OIG audit then underway.
Nissan to show BladeGlider EV concept at Tokyo Motor Show
|Nissan BladeGlider concept. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan will reveal several new concept cars at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. Among them is the BladeGlider—a highly efficient EV with radical swept-wing styling.
Aerodynamically-focused, BladeGlider’s narrow front track and wide, stable rear track reduces drag while generating downforce to enhance maneuverability and road-hugging performance, with high G cornering and acceleration-yet the vehicle is thrifty in its power use.
Tesla delivered ~5,500 Model S worldwide in Q3, more than 1,000 to European customers; non-GAAP profit narrows and GAAP loss widens from Q2
November 06, 2013
In its third quarter results, Tesla Motors reported delivering about 5,500 Model S units worldwide, with more than 1,000 of those going to European customers. On a total unit basis, that exceeded the second quarter’s 5,150 models which went to the North America market. (Earlier post.)
CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla is continuing to expand production and plans to deliver slightly less than 6,000 Model S vehicles in Q4, which would increase total expected deliveries to 21,500 vehicles worldwide for 2013. The company is now producing 550 cars per week.
Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mitsubishi Motors to explore expanded cooperation; new EVs
November 05, 2013
The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation intend to explore several new projects covering shared products, technologies and manufacturing capacity among the automakers. As a consequence, they agreed that the strategic cooperation between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors could be expanded across the broader Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, it is expected that the existing NMKV joint-venture company (earlier post) will be extended to co-develop a new small car including a specific electric version that can be sold on a global basis. (NMKV was established in June 2011 for the purpose of co-developing a range of Kei cars for both brands; the first of these products—the Nissan Dayz and Mitsubishi eK wagon—went on sale in Japan this year.)
JRC study finds 8 metals for low-carbon energy technologies at risk of shortages; EVs, wind and solar, and lighting the applications of most concern
November 04, 2013
A new European Joint Research Centre (JRC) study looking into the supply of raw materials for the manufacture of low-carbon energy technologies found that eight metals were at high risk of shortages. The applications, i.e. technologies, of particular concern as a result are electric vehicles, wind and solar energy, and lighting. The risk arises from EU dependency on imports, growing demand worldwide and geopolitical reasons.
The study builds on a 2011 effort which looked into the six key applications of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: wind, solar, nuclear fission, bioenergy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the electricity grid. In the new study, these were re-assessed and considered along with 11 other technologies—including fuel cells, electricity storage, electric vehicles and lighting—treated in the new report, this time evaluated on the expected supplies of the metals and not on the current situation as in the first report.
Altran and Quimera expand vehicles partnership; first up is the electric AEGT Evo2 racer
November 02, 2013
|Rendering of the AEGT Evo2. Click to enlarge.|
Altran and Quimera have signed a new agreement to invest in their continued development and construction of vehicles to achieve better performance while significantly reducing environmental impact.
One of the key commitments outlined by Altran and Quimera to deliver tangible results for this new endeavor will be for Altran to enhance its Excellence Centre for New Automotive—the hub of the Altran Group’s projects focused on innovation and electric vehicle development. The center, with an R&D budget of €4 million (US$5.4 million) will now benefit from Quimera aligning its existing vehicles, project pipeline, motor sports program and global strategic partner programs with the center.
Panasonic and Tesla expand supply agreement for Li-ion cells; nearly 2 billion through 2017
October 30, 2013
Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors have expanded their 2011 supply agreement so that Panasonic will now supply nearly 2 billion automotive-grade lithium-ion battery cells to Tesla through 31 December 2017 at long-term preferential prices. Panasonic also has a position in Tesla, having purchased $30 million of Tesla’s common stock in a private placement transaction that closed in November 2010.
The lithium-ion battery cells purchased from Panasonic will be used to power the Model S as well as Model X, a performance utility vehicle that is scheduled to go into production by the end of 2014.
NSF awards Univ. of Maryland and Genovation $438K to develop novel hybrid energy storage system for EVs
October 29, 2013
The National Science Foundation has selected a project by researchers at the University of Maryland and their partners from Genovation Cars (earlier post) for a $438,418 GOALI (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry) award to develop a novel hybrid energy storage system for electric vehicles.
The specific objectives of the project—“Advanced Silicon Carbide based Novel Hybrid Energy Storage System for Plug-In Electric Vehicles”—are to: (a) reduce the weight of the energy storage system (composed of high energy-density battery pack, ultracapacitor pack and a DC/DC converter) to less than the weight of a high power-density battery pack alone, while increasing the battery lifetime; and (b) implement, develop, and validate this technology on the powertrain of a new electric car.
Chevrolet previews Spark EV Tech Performance concept, other performance concepts including Cruze Diesel for SEMA
October 28, 2013
|Chevrolet Spark EV Tech Performance concept. Click to enlarge.|
Chevrolet previewed the Spark EV Tech Performance concept, as well as other performance-oriented concepts of the Sonic, Malibu, new Impala, and Cruze Diesel. The cars will debut at the SEMA Show, 5-8 Nov. in Las Vegas. SEMA is the world’s largest convention of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories.
The basic Spark EV is a battery-electric urban mini-car delivering 400 lb-ft (542 N·m) of instant torque—more than the classic 1969 Camaro SS muscle car with a 350 V-8. (Earlier post.) The EV It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. The Spark EV Tech Performance concept builds on Spark EV’s performance with a unique power-delivery algorithm that enhances acceleration.
Canada awards $30M to 10 automotive R&D projects; from electrified powertrains to hot stamping
The Government of Canada has awarded C$30 million (US$29 million) through the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) initiative to 10 university-industry partnerships to advance innovative automotive technologies. With a total project value of more than C$52 million (US$50 million), the funding includes some $22 million from industry and other partners.
The largest award from APC is $8,928,200 to the McMaster University-Chrysler partnership (earlier post) for the development of next generation electrified powertrains. (Earlier post.) However, the selected projects include a range of technologies from hot stamping of parts to hydrogen fuel cell stacks.
Chrysler Group in 5-year, $18.2M partnership with McMaster University to develop advanced electric and hybrid powertrains; funding from Canadian Government
October 25, 2013
Chrysler Group LLC has entered a 5-year, $18.2-million partnership with McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, with funding support from the Canadian government, to develop next-generation, energy-efficient, high-performance electrified powertrains and powertrain components. For McMaster, the project partnership is one of three new partnerships with Chrysler, the federal government and other auto industry leaders worth a combined $24 million.
Chrysler Group will invest $9.25 million in cash and in-kind contributions, with an additional $8.93 million coming from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the lead agency within Automotive Partnership Canada (APC), an initiative that supports industry research at Canadian universities and government laboratories.
Consortium including Volvo Car Group completes successful study of EV wireless charging
October 24, 2013
|Inductive battery charging components. Click to enlarge.|
A consortium of companies, including Volvo Car Group, Bombardier Transportation and the coachbuilder Van Hool, has successfully completed a 3-year research project studying the possibilities of inductive charging for electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The results show that this technology for transferring energy via an electromagnetic field has “great potential,” according to Volvo.
The inductive charging project was initiated by Flanders’ Drive, a research and test center for the automotive industry in the Flanders region in Belgium and was partly funded by the Flemish government. Volvo Cars supplied the car for the inductive charging project: a Volvo C30 Electric with a power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and a 24 kWh battery pack.
Governors of 8 states sign MoU to put 3.3M zero-emission vehicles on roads by 2025; 15% of new vehicle sales
The governors of 8 states—California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont—have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to take specific actions to put 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on the roads in their states by 2025, along with the refueling infrastructure required to support those vehicles. Zero-emission vehicles include battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric vehicles; the technologies can be applied in passenger cars, trucks and transit buses.
The 3.3 million ZEVs would represent a new vehicle market penetration for the group of states of about 15%, said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), during a conference call announcing the agreement. This multi-state effort is intended to expand consumer awareness and demand for zero-emission vehicles. Collectively, the eight signatory states represent more than 23% of the US car market.
Musk says Tesla making significant investments in Germany: Superchargers, service centers and free tuning for better Autobahn performance
October 23, 2013
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors announced that his company will make “a significant investment” in Germany, focused on expanding the Supercharger network, expanding the number of service centers, and high-speed tuning for the Model S for improved performance on the Autobahn.
Deliveries of Model S in Europe started this summer. Citing data from Germany’s Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), a report in the International Business Times noted that Tesla had sold 98 Model S units in August and September. lagging sales of other EVs in the country. This performance is in contrast to Norway, where the Model S was the best selling vehicle of any model last month, and in the Netherlands, the car’s second-strongest Northern European market.
Tesla leads with transfer of ZEV credits for year ending 30 Sep 2013
October 17, 2013
|Tesla by far dominated the transfer of ZEV credits in California in 2012. Data: ARB. Click to enlarge.|
Between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors transferred out 1,311.520 ZEV (zero emission vehicle) credits, according to the latest report by the California Air Resources Board (ARB)—by far, the largest of any automaker in the state. The next closest was Toyota, with 507.5 credits; Nissan only transferred 25 credits, and those generated from its PZEVs—not from the LEAF EV.
As of 30 September, Tesla still had a balance of 276.080 credits, according to the data; behind the six major automakers, who are mostly banking their credits.
BRUSA picks up awards at eCarTec Munich 2013 for wireless charging and electric truck; synchronous motor shortlisted
|The two components of BRUSA’s Inductive Charging System. Click to enlarge.|
BRUSA won two of the eCarTec Awards presented at eCarTec Munich 2013 trade fair. BRUSA’s new ICS inductive charging system and the E-FORCE electric truck won in their particular categories, while BRUSA’s synchronous motor was shortlisted in the category of “Drive Technology, System Electrics, Testing Systems”.
BRUSA Inductive Charging System. BRUSA’s ICS was the winner in the category “Energy, Infrastructure, Connection Technology”. The new system only comprises a floor and vehicle plate—the required power electronics are integrated.
Navigant Research tags Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Company as leader in e-scooter market
October 15, 2013
|Navigant ranks Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Company as the top e-scooter company. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
Although still a nascent market in most regions of the world, electric scooters sell in significant numbers in Asia Pacific today, according to Navigant Research. Sales of e-scooters in China alone are expected to reach 9.4 million in 2013, compared to 2.6 million in all other countries combined. Sales in regions outside of Asia Pacific are estimated at 31,338 vehicles in 2013, Navigant said.
BMW i3 on sale in US 2Q 2014, base MSRP $41,350 for BEV; $45,300 with range extender
October 10, 2013
|BMW i3. Click to enlarge.|
The BMW i3 (earlier post, earlier post) will go on sale in the US market in the second quarter of 2014. The battery electric model will have a base MSRP of $41,350, before any federal or state incentives, and before destination and handling fee (currently $925). The range-extender model will have a starting MSRP of $45,300. Again, this is before any federal or state incentives, and before Destination & Handling fee.
Studies carried out as part of BMW’s Project i, involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 12.5 million miles, found that the average daily distance covered was around 30 miles. The BMW i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge of its 22 kWh Li-ion battery pack. This can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode.
Ford doubles electric drive market share in US from 2012 to 2013; surging with plug-in hybrids
October 04, 2013
|Ford’s changing share of the hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, battery-electric vehicle segments and total ED market in the US in 2012 and YTD 2013. Data: EDTA, Ford Motor. Click to enlarge.|
Ford Motor Company’s C-platform electric drive strategy has driven an increase in Ford’s overall electric drive market share (hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric) from 7.3% in calendar year 2012 to 14.7% for the first nine months of 2013.
Specifically, out of 487,480 electric drive units sold in 2012 (according to data from the Electric Drive Transportation Association), Ford accounted for 35,719 units (7.3%). From January through September 2013, total electric drive sales were 457,704 units (EDTA); Ford’s electric drive sales climbed to 67,232 units during that period (14.7%).
Opel bringing Ampera with special nav system and Meriva EVs to iZEUS project on intelligent electric driving and recharging
October 02, 2013
|iZEUS Ampera. Click to enlarge.|
Opel has presented a specially-equipped Ampera extended range electric vehicle to the Technical Institute Karlsruhe (KIT), marking the beginning of a field trial in the research project iZEUS (intelligent Zero Emission Urban System) in Stuttgart.
The research project iZEUS is developing concepts and practical examples for the integration of electromobility in private and urban commercial transport. The goal of the research is to develop one uniform transport concept that will be tested and demonstrated with the help of fleet tests made up of a significant number of test vehicles. These will ultimately include up to 30 vans (Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL) and some 90 electric cars (smart ed, Opel Ampera and Toyota Prius) for private transport.
CARB draft of updated AB 32 Scoping Plan for climate change actions post-2020; pushing for greater transportation reductions
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released the public discussion draft of the required update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan. (Earlier post.) The Scoping Plan describes the comprehensive range of efforts California must take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and meet the state’s long-term goals to combat climate change.
AB 32 requires the Scoping Plan to be updated every five years. The original Plan, first released in 2008, was developed on the principle that a balanced mix of strategies is the best way to cut emissions and grow California’s economy in a clean and sustainable direction. This draft update continues with that approach and focuses on three questions:
DOE proposing $100M in FY2014 for 2nd round of funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers
October 01, 2013
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a proposed $100 million in FY2014 funding for Energy Frontier Research Centers; research supported by this initiative will enable fundamental advances in energy production and use.
The Department of Energy (DOE) currently funds 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), which were selected for five-year funding in 2009. (Earlier post.) With support for those centers set to expire in July 2014, DOE has announced a “re-competition” for a second round of funding (DE-FOA-0001010).
DENSO and Nagoya University jointly develop in-vehicle battery-based energy management system for house and car; field testing begins
September 30, 2013
Global automotive supplier DENSO and Nagoya University have developed an in-vehicle battery-based energy management system (EMS) which uses forecasting models of household electricity demand and vehicle use to reduce electricity costs.
The two organizations will start to evaluate the performance of the system in October this year under the Toyota City Low-carbon Society Verification Project, one of the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Projects in Japan led by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
California Governor signs 6 bills to support burgeoning EV market, including $2B AB 8
September 28, 2013
Marking National Plug-in Day (NPID), California Governor Jerry Brown signed 6 bills to support California’s burgeoning electric vehicle market, including the $2-billion AB 8 (earlier post), which will continue clean vehicle and fuel incentives through 2023.
The legislation builds on the state’s efforts to help California’s electric vehicle market grow, including an Executive Order issued by Governor Brown that established a target of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California by 2025 and a number of other long-term goals. The newly signed bills are:
Georgia Tech study finds MD electric urban delivery trucks have cost advantages over diesel in some conditions; relative benefits depend on numerous factors
September 26, 2013
Researchers at Georgia Tech have compared medium-duty (MD) electric and diesel urban delivery trucks in terms of life-cycle energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and total cost of ownership (TCO). One surprise among their findings was that the electric truck had cost advantages over the diesel vehicle under some conditions. The team had expected that electric truck costs would always be higher, especially since the purchase price of the electric truck studied was higher than that of the diesel truck.
In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they report that the relative benefits of electric trucks depend heavily on vehicle efficiency associated with drive cycle; diesel fuel price; travel demand; electric drive battery replacement and price; electricity generation and transmission efficiency; electric truck recharging infrastructure; and purchase price.
Chrysler Group files S-1 for IPO; snapshot of R&D priorities; exploring a light-duty hydraulic hybrid
September 24, 2013
Chrysler Group LLC has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering of common shares. Details of the offering—i.e., number of shares and price range—are yet to be determined.
However, the document not only provides a detailed look at the finances of the company, it also provides a quick recap of recent technology developments and some insight into the company’s immediate research priorities. Chrysler writes that its has “made the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles a priority to meet retail consumer preferences, comply with future regulations and as part of our commitment to sustainability.”
Balqon working with Polar Power to develop series plug-in hybrid drive system for heavy-duty trucks and buses
September 16, 2013
|XRE-20 battery-electric yard tractor. Click to enlarge.|
Balqon Corporation, a developer of electric drive system technology for commercial vehicles (earlier post), has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Polar Power Inc. to develop a series plug-in hybrid system for Balqon’s line of heavy-duty electric trucks and buses. Under this agreement both companies will work towards development of a 40 kW on-board DC generator to charge batteries during the daily drive cycle to increase the range of Balqon vehicles.
Balqon’s heavy-duty trucks and drive systems are designed to transport up to 30 ton cargo containers. Products include the Li-in battery-powered Model XRE20 yard tractor designed for port drayage applications.
Ford launches electric vehicle charging network for employees; hoping to increase number of all-electric trips
Ford Motor Company is installing a new workplace plug-in vehicle charging network at nearly every Ford facility in the US and Canada. Ford will install charging stations at more than 50 company offices, product development campuses and manufacturing facilities. Installation will begin later this year and roll out throughout 2014.
Ford employees will be able to charge the all-electric Focus Electric, as well as Ford’s two plug-in hybrids—the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi—at the charge stations. The service will initially be free to employees for the first four hours. Ford estimates it will cost the company about $0.50 fully to charge a vehicle.
Volkswagen’s first two production battery-electric vehicles debut at Frankfurt
September 11, 2013
|Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neußer, of the Volkswagen Brand and Stephan Grühsem of Volkswagen AG present the new Volkswagen eGolf and the new e-up! in Frankfurt. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen marked its serious entry into the battery-electric vehicle market with the introduction in Frankfurt of its first two series production EVs: the e-up! and the e-Golf. (Earlier post.) The e-up! is going on sale in mid-October, followed by the e-Golf launch in the spring of 2014 (in Germany).
In a talk on the eve of the opening of the show, Volkswagen Group CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn said that the group has set its sights on global market leadership in electric mobility. “We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018,” he said. (Earlier post.)
Navigant forecasts 18.6% CAGR for plug-ins in North America to 2022; 2.4% new vehicle share in US
September 10, 2013
|Annual light duty PEV Sales, top 5 states, 2013-2022. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
In an update to its 2012 geographic breakdown of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales in North America, Navigant Research now forecasts that overall sales of will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6% between 2013 and 2022. Navigant Research forecasts that PEVs will reach 416,153 annual sales in the United States and 230,479 in Canada by 2022.
The model for North American PEV sales by US state, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), Canadian province, Canadian city, and selected US utility service area has been updated to better align with actual sales data from the first full year of wide availability of PEVs.
ARB hosting public hearing on ZEV modifications; battery swapping out for fast refueling of ZEVs
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a public hearing on 24 October in Sacramento to consider minor proposed amendments to the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulation being put forward by ARB staff. (Earlier post.)
In January 2012, the ARB approved the Advanced Clean Cars program, which included increased ZEV requirements through 2025 model year, and the next generation of light duty greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emission standards (LEV III). (Earlier post.) This program combined the control of smog-causing pollutants and GHG emissions into a single coordinated package of requirements for model years 2017 through 2025.
DSD 3-speed EV transmission with Oxford YASA axial flux motor to be integrated in Range Rover Evoque_e research vehicle
September 09, 2013
|Compared to a single-speed EV or HEV transmission, DSD’s MSYS 3-speed system provides a 40% weight saving and 10-15% lower energy consumption. Click to enlarge.|
Specialist engineering consultancy Drive System Design (DSD) has been named as a member of the £16-million, 27-month Evoque_e program (earlier post) to develop new modular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology.
DSD will be responsible for integrating high speed E-machines, clutches and clutch strategies associated with torque management and delivery to the wheels. The pure electric research vehicle will feature the company’s novel MSYS multi-speed traction system developed by DSD and Oxford YASA Motors (earlier post), which incorporates a three-speed powershifting gearbox and axial flux motor.
Georgia Tech study suggests unlinking EVs from CAFE and coordinating with power sector for low-cost benefits
September 08, 2013
A team from Georgia Tech suggests, based on their modeling of electric vehicle (EV) adoption scenarios in each of six regions of the Eastern Interconnection (containing 70% of the US population), that coordinating EV adoption with the adoption of controlled EV charging, unlinking EVs from consideration in the CAFE fuel economy regulations; and implementing renewable electricity standards would deliver low-cost reductions in emissions and gasoline usage. (For the study, they define EVs as including both battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles.
Only in the case of high EV market share and a high renewable electricity standard (RES) do EVs make a material contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, they found. However, managed EV adoption can reduce the cost of achieving GHG reductions through a RES, they concluded in their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
August sales of plug-in hybrids in US up 83% from July, up 65% y-o-y
September 06, 2013
|Monthly sales of plug-in hybrids in US. Data: EDTA, automakers. Click to enlarge.|
Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the US in August reached 6,407 units—up 83% from the prior month and up 65% from results in August 2012. jumped 83% from the prior month to 6,407 units. The results marked the strongest monthly results to date for plug-in hybrids (i.e., not conventional hybrids, and not battery-electric vehicles.)
Sales were led by the Chevy Volt, with 3,351 units, up 18.4% from its August 2012 results of 2,831 units. Jan-August 2013 sales for the Volt were 14,994 units, up 11.1% from the same period in 2012. The Prius PHV put in a very strong second-place showing of 1,791 units in August 2013, up 65% from 1,047 units in August 2012. Its sales for the first 8 months of 2013 were 6,822 units, up 11.6% from the same period in 2012.
UK launches new ultra low emission vehicles strategy; focus on nurturing the industry
September 05, 2013
UK Transport Minister Norman Baker launched the government’s latest strategy—Driving the Future Today: A strategy for ultra low emission vehicles in the UK—to advance the ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry with a focus on economic development in the UK. The government’s vision, said Minister Baker, “is that by 2050 almost every car and van will be an ultra low emission vehicle with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture. This strategy moves us up a gear in pursuing that vision.”
The principles behind the strategy include focusing on inward investment and the supply chain; technological neutrality, i.e., specifying the bulk of policies in output rather than technology terms; and addressing market failure. Accordingly, a great deal of effort and funding will flow to programs to incent adoption and to establish plug-in charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructures.
Jaguar Land Rover to lead $25M Evoque_e collaborative research project to develop new modular HEV, PHEV and BEV technology
September 04, 2013
Jaguar Land Rover will lead a £16.3-million (US$25 million) “Evoque_e” collaborative research project to develop new modular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology. Evoque_e is a two-year UK government Technology Strategy Board project.
Jaguar Land Rover will contribute £4 million (US$6.3 million) to the project and will lead a consortium of 12 selected partners—eight from industry and three universities. The partners include Zytek Automotive, GKN Driveline, Motor Design Limited, AVL, Drive System Design, Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, Bristol University, Cranfield University and Newcastle University.
KIT presenting modular battery concept for electric bus
September 03, 2013
|Design of the modular batteries. Source: KIT. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present a modular battery concept for the efficient operation of an electric bus; an electric city bus demonstrator will illustrate the concept. The development of the e-city bus demonstrator was carried out within the scope of the project Competence E and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
The key modules of the demonstrator are a drive train with a high-torque electric motor, a high-voltage network, a battery management system, and a novel modular battery system with lithium-ion cells made in Germany. At the IAA, the demonstrator developed for drive tests will present options for the design of the electric drive train of buses.
Burns & McDonnell develops bi-directional fast chargers for SPIDERS program
September 01, 2013
|Bi-directional fast charger at Ft. Carson. Click to enlarge.|
A team of Burns & McDonnell engineers, along with subcontractor Coritech Services, has developed a system of bidirectional, fast-charging stations for a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles at Fort Carson, Colo. This first-of-its-kind system will push power back to the base microgrid when needed to meet installation demand or improve overall power quality.
On 29 August, the team successfully commissioned five bidirectional chargers and the aggregating control system as part of the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) microgrid project at Fort Carson. (Earlier post.) Commissioning was performed using both Boulder Electric Vehicle and Smith Electric trucks, which are being provided for use on SPIDERS under separate agreements with the US Army’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).
Continental develops its first air suspension system for EVs
August 28, 2013
|The air suspension system. Click to enlarge.|
Continental has developed its first air suspension system for an all-electric vehicle. Following a shortened development phase, the first series delivery of the air suspension system started in spring 2012 to a manufacturer of electric vehicles. Continental’s experience of air suspension systems goes back more than 30 years; its chassis technology has been installed in luxury and other high-end vehicles as well as in minivans, pick-ups and vans.
The vehicle is the first purely electric vehicle to be equipped with a Continental air suspension.
Volkswagen presenting e-up! and e-Golf EVs at Frankfurt
August 27, 2013
|e-up! and e-Golf.|
In a dual world premiere, Volkswagen will present two EVs at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt: the e-up! (earlier post) and e-Golf (earlier post). The e-up! is highly efficient, with energy consumption of 11.7 kWh of electricity per 100 km (117 Wh/km) on the European cycle. (As a comparison, although not exact because of drive cycle differences, the Fiat 500e has an EPA-rated energy consumption of 18 kWh/100 km, or 180 Wh/km; the smart fortwo electric drive consumes 20 kWh/100 km, or 200 Wh/km.)
The e-Golf, positioned two classes higher than the e-up!, has an energy consumption rating of 12.7 kWh/100 km (127 Wh/km). Given an electricity price of €0.258 per kWh ($0.35/kWh) in Germany (as of 31 July 2013), driving 100 km there with the e-up! costs €3.02 ($4.04), and with the e-Golf it is around €3.30 ($4.42).
Top 15 Nissan LEAF markets in US in 2013
August 26, 2013
|Top 15 LEAF market year-to-date in 2013. Source: Nissan Click to enlarge.|
Nissan provided a list of the top 15 markets in the US for the Nissan LEAF battery-electric vehicle. Nissan LEAF sales in the United States are up by 335% year-over-year since the launch of the enhanced 2013 model in March. (Earlier post.) Nissan has sold 11,703 LEAFs in the US during the first 7 months of 2013—an increase of 230% from the 3,543 units for the same period in 2012.
Four of the top 15 markets are in California: San Francisco (1), Los Angeles (2), San Diego (7) and Sacramento (8). Another three are on the West Coast and in Hawaii: Seattle (4), Portland (5), and Honolulu (6).
ARPA-E awarding $36M to 22 projects in RANGE program for transformative EV storage
August 22, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award approximately $36 million to 22 projects to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs. ARPA-E’s new program, Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems (RANGE) (earlier post), aims to accelerate widespread EV adoption by dramatically improving driving range and reliability, and by providing low-cost, low-carbon alternatives to today’s vehicles.
When the agency originally issued the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in February, it was anticipating about $20 million in awards to 8-12 projects. ARPA-E’s RANGE program seeks to improve EV driving range and reduce vehicle costs by re-envisioning the total EV battery system, rather than working to increase the energy density of individual battery cells.