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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.]

DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key area

April 16, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that will have a catalytic effect on commercial deployment of future projects, are replicable, and are market ready.

When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing.

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Opbrid Bůsbaar demonstrates ultra-fast charging at 625 Amps; pathway to 2-3 minute bus charging

April 15, 2014

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The infrared photo shows a temperature increase of only 9.8 degrees at the junction between the pantograph and the overhead charging rail of the Opbrid Bůsbaar at 625 A. Click to enlarge.

During recent tests of Hybricon Bus Systems’ new Arctic Whisper (HAW) urban bus in Umeå, Sweden (earlier post), the Opbrid Bůsbaar achieved ultrafast charging at 625 amps for 6 minutes. This paves the way for charging at 500 – 1000 kW or more to achieve 2- to 3-minute charges at the end stations of longer bus routes. It also allows all-electric heating and 5 – 6 minute charging for the upcoming 18 m 4WD Arctic Whisper articulated bus.

The Opbrid Bůsbaar is an overhead, pantograph-based fast-charging station for buses. In the future, this technology may enable other applications such as medium-distance electric buses or even long distance buses and trucks, the company said.

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Survey of power management control technologies for HEVs and PHEVs suggests future need to consider vehicle as part of larger system

April 11, 2014

A comprehensive survey of major power management control algorithms for hybrid-electric (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) proposes that future work will need to consider the vehicle as part of a larger system which can be optimized at an even larger scale.

This type of large-scale optimization will require the acquisition and processing of additional information from the driver and conditions outside the vehicle itself, suggests Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos, Deputy Director of the Urban Dynamics Institute and an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow in the Energy and Transportation Science Division with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

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Partners launch $51M hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and infrastructure project in Europe

April 03, 2014

Automakers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office and energy consultancies launched the £31-million (US$51-million) European HyFive project at City Hall in London. Five different manufacturers will deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations (Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich, Stuttgart) and develop new clusters of hydrogen refueling stations.

Locations are being sought for three new hydrogen refueling stations in London, one in Aarhus and in Odense (Denmark) and one in Innsbruck (Austria). They are expected to be operational by 2015, by which time some of the manufacturers in the partnership will have started to put hydrogen fueled cars on sale in some European markets.

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SAE taskforce completes two technical standards on hydrogen refueling; harmonizing the global infrastructure

March 26, 2014

To support the impending roll-out of hydrogen fueling infrastructure and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), SAE International’s Fuel Cell Standards Taskforce has completed two technical standards: SAE J2601, “Fueling Protocols for Light Duty Gaseous Hydrogen Surface Vehicles”; and SAE J2799, “Hydrogen Surface Vehicle to Station Hardware and Software”. The standards have been created to harmonize hydrogen fueling worldwide for both 35 MPa and 70 MPa pressures.

J2601. SAE J2601 (also with J2799) fuels fuel cell vehicle hydrogen storage systems quickly to a high state of charge (SOC) without violating the storage system operating limits, explained Jesse Schneider, Sponsor of both Standards SAE J2601 & J2799, in a presentation at the SAE 2014 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium earlier this year. SAE J2601 defines parameters for a hydrogen fueling experience similar to conventional fueling and is considered one of the key standards required for the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen stations.

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Ford installing GE WattStation chargers, charging network at facilities

March 20, 2014

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The WattStation Connect network will enable Ford to gather information on charging station use. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with GE, will supply electric vehicle charging stations at Ford facilities nationwide, beginning with facilities in and around its headquarters. Ford will begin installing the GE WattStation Level 2 charging stations across its North American campuses, developing a workplace charging network at nearly every Ford facility in the United States and Canada.

Ford now offers three plug-in vehicles: the battery electric Focus Electric, and the C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids. Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi drivers typically make three of their four daily trips in all-electric mode, based on data from Ford’s MyFord Mobile app. Ford estimates that its customers now have logged 65 million all-electric miles, increasing at a rate of 290,000 electric miles per day.

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Researchers developing DC micro smart grid for charging EV fleets; Li-ion, redox flow batteries and renewables

March 07, 2014

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Up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge in Fraunhofer IAO’s parking garage. Click to enlarge.

A team from Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, together with Daimler AG and the Institute for Human Factors and Technology Management at the University of Stuttgart, is developing both the charging infrastructure and the energy management systems required to manage large fleets of EVs in a project called charge@work.

The aim of charge@work is to design a micro smart grid (MSG) capable of supplying the EV fleet with electricity produced exclusively from renewable sources. This year will see the installation of a photovoltaic unit and a small wind power system at the Fraunhofer Institute Center Stuttgart IZS, where up to 30 electric vehicles at a time can recharge at AC charge spots in the Fraunhofer Campus parking garage.

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Honda R&D installs hydrogen refueling station for field validation of new MC Fill dynamic fast-fill protocol

March 04, 2014

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MC Method control diagram, from a 2013 DOE-hosted webinar on hydrogen refueling. MC Fill allows dynamic control of refueling based on gas temperature. Click to enlarge.

Preparing for the 2015 introduction of the next Honda fuel cell-electric vehicle (FCEV), Honda R&D Americas has installed an advanced hydrogen refueling station on its Torrance, California campus to serve as a platform for demonstrating and validating its MC Fill hydrogen fueling protocol. Honda, which is also participating in the SAE J2601 work on a standardized light-duty vehicle hydrogen fueling protocol, will make the new research station available to other automakers to further validate the MC Fill protocol’s performance and functionality.

As with the J2601 protocol, which is due to be published soon (likely in April), the MC Fill fast-fill protocol is designed for fuel systems that store hydrogen at a pressure of up to 700 bar (70MPa or 10,000 psi). The primary differentiator between the current J2601 approach and Honda’s MC Fill is that Honda offers dynamic control of the refueling rate based on the measured gas temperature rather than a lookup table to control the pressure ramp rate, said Steve Mathison, Senior Engineer at Honda R&D Americas.

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Navigant Research forecasts global annual sales of wireless charging equipment for light-duty EVs will surpass 300,000 units by 2022

February 27, 2014

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Navigant projections of wireless EVSE sales. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, “Wireless Charging Systems for Electric Vehicles”, Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide sales of wireless EV charging equipment for light-duty vehicles will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 108% from 2013 to 2022, reaching annual sales of slightly less than 302,000 units in 2022.

Until recently, wireless charging systems were in the R&D and pilot stages only, but now products have begun to reach the market. In 2013, Bosch announced a sales and distribution agreement with Evatran, maker of the Plugless Power system, with products scheduled to reach the market in the first quarter of 2014. Toyota has begun verification testing of its newly developed wireless battery charging system based on WiTricity technology. (Earlier post.)

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President Obama, DOT Secretary Foxx announce $600M for 6th round of TIGER funding for transportation projects

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined President Barack Obama to announce that $600 million will be made available to fund transportation projects across the country under a sixth round of the US Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program.

The announcement was made at the Union Depot in St. Paul, Minnesota, which received $35 million in the first round of TIGER funding to renovate the facility and restore tracks. As in previous rounds, the FY 2014 TIGER Discretionary Grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure, and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the US, a metropolitan area, or a region.

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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.

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State Department releases Keystone XL Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

February 01, 2014

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Incremental well-to-wheels GHG emissions from WCSB Oil Sands Crudes Compared to Well-to-Wheels GHG Emissions from Displacing Reference Crudes Click to enlarge.

The State Department released the long-anticipated and voluminous Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final Supplemental EIS) for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline project. The document is posted on State’s Keystone project site, which it has run since the beginning of the Keystone XL Presidential permit process in 2008.

The analysis in the Final Supplemental EIS builds on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released on 1 March 2013 (earlier post) as well as the documents released in 2011 as part of the previous Keystone XL Pipeline application. Notable changes since the prior Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement include an expanded analysis of potential oil releases; an expanded climate change analysis; an updated oil market analysis incorporating new economic modeling; and an expanded analysis of rail transport.

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DOE issues Request for Information on financing strategies for light-duty H2 fueling infrastructure

December 13, 2013

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001055) for light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) fueling infrastructure financing strategies within the context of an early market introduction.

The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback from the financial/investment/business community and light-duty vehicle (LDV) hydrogen transportation stakeholders. This input will augment financing strategies that DOE analyzes for public deployment of infrastructure for supporting FCEV introduction in US markets. Such financing strategies should maximize financing, for example, with debt and equity, while minimizing public incentives.

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Ford unveils Fusion Hybrid research vehicle for autonomous driving

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Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle with four LiDAR sensors. Click to enlarge.

Ford, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and State Farm, unveiled a Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle that will be used to make progress on future autonomous driving and other advanced technologies.

The result of an ongoing project that builds on more than a decade of Ford’s automated driving research, the Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle will test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies. Ford’s goal is to advance development of new technologies with its supplier partners so these features can be applied to the company’s next generation of vehicles.

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INL releases results of testing of Evatran Plugless 3.3 kW Level 2 wireless charging system

December 11, 2013

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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.

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Euro Parliament Transport Committee backs draft directive mandating expansion of alternative fuel stations; grandfathering CHAdeMO

November 26, 2013

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Minimum number of publicly-accessible recharging points for electric vehicles in each member state. Click to enlarge.

EU member states would have to ensure that specified numbers of publicly-available electric vehicle recharging points and hydrogen and natural gas stations are built by 2020, under a draft directive endorsed by the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday. The draft rules aim to reduce dependence on oil and boost take-up of alternative fuels, so as to help achieve a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2050.

Private sector players should play a leading role in developing this infrastructure, but member states should provide tax and public procurement incentives for them to do so, say the members of Parliament (MEPs). The directive specifies that:

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California Energy Commission to award up to $29.9M to hydrogen refueling infrastructure projects

November 24, 2013

The California Energy Commission (CEC) will award up to $29.9 million to projects to develop hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California (PON-13-607).

The solicitation has two goals: 1) to develop infrastructure necessary to dispense hydrogen transportation fuel; and 2) to provide needed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding to support hydrogen refueling operations prior to the large—scale roll—out of Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs). CEC will provide funding to construct, to upgrade, or to support hydrogen refueling stations that expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations to serve the current population of FCVs and accommodate the planned large—scale roll—out of FCVs beginning in 2015.

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Inaugural PlugInsights report highlights need to expand public fast charging

November 15, 2013

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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.

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SAE task force agrees on frequency of operation and power classes for wireless power transfer for light-duty plug-in vehicles

SAE International J2954 Task Force for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) of Light Duty, Electric and Plug-in Electric Vehicles, has agreed upon two key factors for the Technical Information Report (TIR) on interoperability for the first phase of pre-commercial development: a common frequency of operation (85 kHz) and the definition of three power classes for light duty vehicles: WPT 1, 2 and 3.

Made up of OEMs, WPT Suppliers, industry experts and government representatives, the Task Force plans to complete the TIR in early 2014. The SAE Technical Information Report will be followed by publication of SAE J2954 Standard, based on field data confirmation.

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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.)

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CMU study finds limited dedicated residential parking and charging a significant barrier to mainstream EV adoption

November 12, 2013

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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.

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Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi to provide financial assistance for EV charging infrastructure in Japan

Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have agreed on the details of specific financial assistance they will provide to installers of charging stations for electric vehicles (PHVs, PHEVs, and EVs). This announcement follows an agreement the four companies announced in July jointly to promote the construction of a user-friendly network of charging infrastructures. (Earlier post.)

In order for electric vehicles to become widely adopted, the partners point out, it is imperative that charging infrastructure be made widely available as quickly as possible. By assisting installers with the part of their costs not covered by government subsidies, the four companies intend to promote wider availability of chargers to make electric vehicle use more convenient.

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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.

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Consortium including Volvo Car Group completes successful study of EV wireless charging

October 24, 2013

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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.

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BRUSA picks up awards at eCarTec Munich 2013 for wireless charging and electric truck; synchronous motor shortlisted

October 17, 2013

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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.

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Car Charging Group acquires Blink-related charging assets of ECOtality; Access Control Group and Intertek buyers of other assets

October 11, 2013

Blink Acquisition, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Car Charging Group, Inc., a nationwide provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging services, won the bid to purchase the Blink-related assets of bankrupt ECOtality. (Earlier post.) The assets included in the transaction are all of Blink’s inventory: more than 12,450 installed electric vehicle Level II charging stations; the 110 DC Fast charging station;, and the Blink network, which is the turnkey operating system for EV drivers, commercial businesses, and utilities, that services the Blink stations.

Blink Acquisition is paying $3,335,000 in cash, plus payment or satisfaction of cure costs and the assumption of Assumed Liabilities (i.e., agreements with the US government). The Blink deal does not include Minit-Charger, which manufactures and distributes fast-charging systems for material handling and airport ground support vehicles; this business was acquired for $250,000 by Access Control Group. Nor does it include ETEC LABS, ECOtality’s research and testing resource for governments, automotive OEMs and utilities; this was acquired by Intertek Testing for $750,000.

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Navigant Research projects global market for plug-in charging equipment to grow to 4.3M units and $5.8B in revenue in 2022

October 02, 2013

The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has expanded in recent years in parallel with the deployment of publicly accessible charging stations, mainly funded by government programs. According to a new report from Navigant Research, there are now almost 64,000 public charging stations installed globally. Overall, Navigant Research expects global sales of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to grow from around 442,000 units in 2013 to 4.3 million in 2022, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.8%. The company expects revenue from the sales of EVSE to grow from $567 million in 2013 to $5.8 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 29.4%.

Residential EVSE sales are directly driven by the increase in PEV sales, as many drivers purchase a charger for exclusive use at home. Commercial charging, which includes workplace, public and private chargers, is more indirectly tied to PEV growth and is still driven to a great degree by government support, the market research firm observed. However, this dynamic is changing, as government programs in some regions are coming to a close.

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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:

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H2 Mobility initiative agrees on $474M plan for hydrogen refueling network in Germany; 400 stations by 2023

September 30, 2013

The six partners in the “H2 Mobility” initiative (earlier post)—Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total—have signed an agreement in principle upon a specific action plan for the construction of a Germany-wide hydrogen refueling network for fuel cell powered electric vehicles.

Under the plan, the current network of 15 filling stations in Germany’s public hydrogen infrastructure will be expanded by 2023 to about 400 H2 filling stations. As a first step, the partners intend to deploy 100 hydrogen stations in Germany over the next 4 years. This would ensure a need-related supply for fuel cell powered electric vehicles to be introduced into the market in the next years, the partners said.

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Kawasaki Heavy to build first ocean-going liquid hydrogen tanker with demo in 2017; H2 for transport, industry, power in Japan

September 28, 2013

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KHI’s view of a “CO2-free hydrogen chain”. Source: KHI. Click to enlarge.

The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) will build the first ocean-going ships to carry liquefied hydrogen (LH2), with plans for a demonstration test by 2017 in which liquefied hydrogen will be shipped from the state of Victoria in Australia to Japan. The project will cost ¥60 billion (US$610 million), according to the report.

As part of Japan’s WE-NET (World Energy Network) research program of the New Sunshine Project begun in 1993, Kawasaki and its other industrial colleagues in Japan have been considering the large-scale marine transportation of liquid hydrogen for some time (e.g., Abe et al., 1998). KHI has previously discussed the concept of such a hydrogen-carrying vessel as part of its Business Vision 2020.

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Ford launches electric vehicle charging network for employees; hoping to increase number of all-electric trips

September 16, 2013

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.

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Burns & McDonnell develops bi-directional fast chargers for SPIDERS program

September 01, 2013

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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).

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KAIST rolling out dynamic wireless charging in buses in South Korea

August 08, 2013

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The OLEV bus in Gumi. Click to enlarge.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is trialing a bus application for its Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) technology, a dynamic wireless charging technology that recharges a vehicle’s battery while the vehicle is in motion. (Earlier post.) An OLEV bus thus requires no pantographs to feed power from electric wires strung above the tram route.

Following the development and operation of commercialized OLEV trams (at an amusement park in Seoul) and shuttle buses (at KAIST campus), respectively, the city of Gumi in South Korea, beginning on 6 August, is providing its citizens with OLEV public transportation services. After the successful operation of the two OLEV buses by the end of this year, Gumi City plans to provide ten more such buses by 2015.

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SoCal Edison white paper shares data about PEV usage and charging

August 06, 2013

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About 50% of the more than 12,000 PEV owners in SCE territory charge at Level 1. Click to enlarge.

Southern California Edison (SCE) released a white paper summarizing learnings from its Electric Vehicle (EV) readiness program. The paper, “Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Our Customers and Grid Reliability,” shares information based on customer data and utility operations gathered since SCE began to prepare the distribution system and its customers for widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption in its service territory.

Currently, SCE customers lease or own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), both battery electric (BEVs, for about 35%) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs, for about 65%)—about 10% of national EV sales. (SCE estimates that by 2020, there will be about 350,000 PEVs in its service territory.) Because California leads the nation in EV adoption, other utilities and stakeholders in the auto industry may find the information from the white paper useful, SCE suggested.

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Exploring the adoption of EVs in the US, Europe and China; charging scenarios and infrastructure

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Aspirational targets among seven countries participating in the Electric Vehicle Initiative would see growth from just under 2 million EV and PHEVs to just under 20 million by 2020. Source: “Electric Vehicle Grid Integration”. Click to enlarge.

A recently published paper by M.J. Bradley & Associates, commissioned by the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), examines key drivers of EV adoption in the US, Europe and China, with an emphasis on vehicle charging scenarios and infrastructure.

This report examines hurdles to EV adoption in these regions, and identifies critical success factors that should guide policymakers in the transportation and electric sectors. Accelerating the pace of EV market growth requires a coordinated evolution in both sectors, the report argues, from the power plant to the charging station to the vehicle. Supportive policies should work to ensure that EV owners are able to capture the full economic value of their decision to fuel switch from electricity to gasoline, including any benefits to the grid operator, and any emission reduction benefits, in addition to realizing the savings from replacing gasoline or diesel fuel with electricity.

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AKASOL providing Li-ion systems for Bombardier PRIMOVE; wireless charging

August 05, 2013

German Li-ion battery systems specialist AKASOL is supplying Li-ion battery systems for Bombardier’s PRIMOVE system. (Earlier post.) PRIMOVE is a Business Unit of Bombardier that specializes in creating market-ready solutions in the field of electromobility; its portfolio comprises integrated charging, battery, and power solutions for all types of electric rail and road vehicles. The wireless PRIMOVE charging technology permits automatic inductive rapid charging with up to 200 kW of power.

AKASOL’s water-cooled PRIMOVE Li-ion battery systems feature an extremely compact size and low weight. Depending on use, the energy capacity of the system packs varies between 50 and 90 kWh. Under the Bombardier partnership, AKASOL will supply 5-10 MWh of its Li-ion battery systems to Bombardier by the end of 2014 for use in various applications and at sites of operation around the world. Starting in 2015, volume should rise to a middle to high double-digit MWh range.

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Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi agree to joint development of charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles in Japan

July 29, 2013

Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation jointly announced their agreement to work together to promote the installation of chargers for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)—(plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery-electric vehicles (EVs)—and to build a charging network service that offers more convenience to drivers in Japan. (Earlier post.)

The partners said the move is in recognition of the need for the swift development of a charging infrastructure facilities to promote the use of electric-powered vehicles. Assisted by subsidies provided by the Japanese government, the four automakers will bear part of the cost to install the charging facilities. They will also work together to build a convenient and accessible charging network in collaboration with companies that are already providing charging services in which each of the four automakers already have a financial stake.

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International consortium launches government-supported study on hydrogen vehicle refueling infrastructure in France

July 06, 2013

Twenty founding partner members of the “Mobility Hydrogen France” (Mobilité Hydrogène France, MHF) consortium are combining their forces and expertise to produce an economically competitive and supported deployment plan for a private and public hydrogen refueling infrastructure in France between 2015 and 2030, including an analysis of cost-effectiveness.

Regional, national and international, private and public stakeholders were brought together by the French Association for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (L’Association Française pour l’Hydrogène et les Piles à Combustible, AFHyPaC) and supported by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (Ministère de l’Ecologie, du Développement Durable et de l’Energie), to share their knowledge and expertise in order to develop coordinated deployment scenarios for vehicles and hydrogen stations, and to emphasize the clear benefits and costs of this transition. The results will be published in late 2013.

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US Maritime Administration to fund projects on reducing emissions from marine vessels, study on LNG bunkering

June 15, 2013

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) Office of the Environment has issued two funding opportunities; the first (DTMA-91-R-2013-0020) will award up to an estimated $900,000 for up to 2 projects that demonstrate criteria pollutant emissions of carbon emissions reductions from marine vessels through repowering, re-engining, or using alternative fuel/energy.

The second (DTMA-91-R-2013-0009) will award up to $500,000 for a comprehensive study on the issues associated with the bunkering (supplying a ship with fuel) of LNG for marine vessels. One of the largest obstacles to widespread take-up of LNG as ship fuel—and hence its viability as an option to meet ECA (Emission Control Areas) requirements—is the lack of a bunkering infrastructure, according to Lloyd’s Register. (Earlier post.)

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Calif. Energy Commission to award more than $44M for hydrogen refueling and alternative fuel vehicle projects

June 13, 2013

In two packages of awards, the California Energy Commission approved more than $44 million to expand the hydrogen fueling infrastructure and increase the number of alter alternative fuel vehicles on the road in the state.

These awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. For the current fiscal year, the program is slated to invest approximately $90 million to encourage the development and use of new technologies, and alternative and renewable fuels, to help the state meet its climate-change goals. It is paid for through surcharges on vehicle and boat registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.

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DOE to award up to $9M for demonstration and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; medium-duty eTrucks

June 12, 2013

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $9 million in new funding (DE-FOA-0000828) to accelerate the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in four topic areas: fuel-cell hybrid medium-duty trucks; advanced hydrogen refueling components; backup power systems; and hydrogen meters. (Earlier post.)

DOE is accepting new applications for projects proposing to demonstrate and deploy hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the first three topics, and for research and development in Topic 4. For the first three topics, the primary objective of each proposed project must be to demonstrate and deploy hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in real-world environments. R&D will not be funded through this announcement. DOE select up to eight projects from industry, academia, and national labs.

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Cohda, BMW and Honda in V2V motorcycle study as part of DOT Safety Pilot Model Deployment

June 10, 2013

As part of the US Safety Pilot Model Deployment of connected vehicle technologies (earlier post), the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) will launch a motorcycle study to determine how cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles interact using V2V (Vehicle-to-Vehicle) communications technology.

Two tasks will be conducted in the Safety Pilot Model Deployment Geographic Area as a proof of concept for incorporating motorcycles into the connected vehicle environment: motorcycle communications feasibility testing and motorcycle-to-vehicle performance testing. UMTRI has partnered with two motorcycle manufacturers: Honda and BMW. Australia-based Cohda Wireless is providing the V2V connected vehicle equipment.

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BC government won’t support Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline as presented over spill response concerns

June 01, 2013

In its final written submission to the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel (JRP), the government of British Columbia states that it cannot support the project as presented to the panel primarily because Northern Gateway (NG) has been unable to adequately detail its response to a spill.

The Northern Gateway Pipeline is a proposed 1,170-kilometer (727-mile) twin pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Kitimat on the British Columbia coast. Northern Gateway’s West line, 36 inches in diameter, would transport an average of 525,000 barrels of oil sands crude per day to Kitimat. The East Line, 20 inches in diameter, will carry 193,000 barrels of condensate per day back to Edmonton. Condensate is used to thin petroleum products for pipeline transport (diluent).

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ABB develops and demonstrates “flash charging” system for electric buses

May 31, 2013

Electric+charging+mechanism+on+the+Geneva+TOSA+bus
Close-up of the charging mechanism on the demo TOSA bus. Source: ABB. Click to enlarge.

ABB has developed and is demonstrating a high-capacity “flash charging” system for electric buses. The system enables onboard batteries to be charged in 15 seconds with a 400 kW boost at selected stops using a roof-mounted system (“Flash station”). The flash stations are connected to the 50kVA electricity network and also have a 3kWh storage unit (supercap) for smoothing peaks in consumption.

At the end of the bus line (“Terminus station”) a 3 to 4 minute boost at 200 kW tops up the batteries. At the depot station, the bus plugs into a multi-bus supply station connected to the 50 kVA network.

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Tesla expanding Supercharger network; boosting charging to 120 kW

May 30, 2013

Tesla
Tesla’s vision of the Supercharger network in 2015. Click to enlarge.

Tesla Motors announced an accelerated rollout of its Tesla Supercharger network, which delivers quick charging for Tesla Model S drivers over long distances (i.e., city-to-city travel), for free.

The company also said that it is currently in beta test with new technology for the Supercharger that will allow Model S to be charged at 120 kW, replenishing enough energy for three hours of driving in just over 20 minutes. This essentially cuts the current charging time in half relative to early trials of the system. The new technology will be fully rolled out to customers this summer.

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Australian Smart Grid demand management project shows EV drivers could halve charging costs

May 28, 2013

In Australia, as part of the Victorian Government’s Electric Vehicle Trial (earlier post), DiUS Computing delivered a demand management demonstration project using Victoria’s Smart Grid. The project, which ran from June to December 2012, was the first end-to-end use of Victoria’s Smart Meter infrastructure for electricity demand management.

The results of the project, released this week in a project report available via the DiUS website, showed that drivers could save around $250 each year—about 50% of their charging costs—just by using grid-friendly smart charging technology.

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Roland Berger E-Mobility Index finds government subsidies for and projected sales of xEVs declining worldwide

May 22, 2013

Bergerindex
The Q1 2013 index (top) shows that the 7 top automotive nations have seen their competitive positions shift since 2012 (bottom). Source: Roland Berger. Click to enlarge.

Despite maturing technology and better cost structures, worldwide production forecasts for electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are in decline, posing a threat to national targets to raise the share of xEVs in vehicle fleets, according to the latest E-mobility Index by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for Q1 2013.

The index compares the development of e-mobility in seven leading car-manufacturing nations (Germany, France, Italy, US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three parameters: technology, manufacturing, and market.

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California ARB 2013 research project to characterize ZEV market; assessing future market potential

May 18, 2013

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.

The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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U-M launches Michigan Mobility Transformation Center; model deployment for testing connected and automated vehicles and systems

May 14, 2013

The University of Michigan announced the establishment of the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) as a partnership with government and industry to improve the safety, sustainability and accessibility of the ways that people and goods move from place to place.

A key focus of the MTC will be a model deployment that will allow researchers to test emerging concepts in connected and automated vehicles and vehicle systems in both off-road and on-road settings. The model deployment will build in part on a $25-million study for the US Department of Transportation now underway at UMTRI. (Earlier post.)

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DOE issues RFI for hydrogen delivery R&D, targeting cost of $2-4 gge

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (DE-FOA-0000920) seeking feedback from stakeholders for hydrogen delivery research and development activities aimed at lowering the cost of hydrogen delivery technologies in order to reach the threshold cost goal of $2-4 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (gge) produced, delivered and dispensed of hydrogen.

The RFI is not a funding opportunity announcement, although DOE said it may issue such an FOA in the future. The RFI covers two main areas of interest: Compression, Storage and Dispensing; and Liquefaction.

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DOE launches H2USA public-private partnership to deploy hydrogen infrastructure for transportation

May 13, 2013

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched H2USA—a new public-private partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for US consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). (Earlier post.)

The new partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the United States.

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California Energy Commission adopts $100M investment plan for 2013-2014 for green vehicles and fuels

May 09, 2013

The California Energy Commission unanimously adopted the 2013-2014 Investment Plan Update to support the development and use of green vehicles and alternative fuels. The update sets funding priorities for the approximately $100 million in annual state funds under the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) Program, created by Assembly Bill 118.

Funding priorities through the ARFVT Program support fuel and vehicle development to help attain the state’s climate change policies. In addition, the program funds projects that assist in fulfilling Governor Brown’s Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Action Plan, with a target of installing enough infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020, and a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roads.

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DOT to award up to $45M for vehicle-to-infrastructure application projects

May 03, 2013

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is soliciting (FOA DTFH61-13-RA-00004) applications for cooperative pre-competitive projects designed to enable the successful deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) crash avoidance and driver information applications in passenger vehicles. Projects will last 60 months; estimated total program funding is up to $45 million.

V2I applications are those applications which vehicle-based sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications are not considered adequate for development of information, alerts, or warnings for drivers. These V2I applications require additional information from the infrastructure to be enabled. These applications, however, are vehicle-based, in that they are programs resident in the on-board equipment of the vehicle.

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Chalmers team developing new high-power integrated motor and battery charger; “rotating transformer”

April 30, 2013

ICE
Model of the integrated motor drive and battery charger. The image shows a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which also has a fuel tank and a combustion engine, but the technology system works equally well with a purely electric vehicle. Source: Chalmers. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new type of high-power integrated motor drive and battery charger for electric vehicles. Compared to today’s electric vehicle chargers, the new system could shorten the charging time from eight to two hours, and to reduce the cost by around $2,000, according to the developers.

Dr. Saeid Haghbin at Chalmers proposed the system which uses the components in the traction circuit—such as the electric motor and the inverter—in the charger circuit to reduce the size, weight and price of the on-board charger. In essence, the proposed system uses the motor as a grid-connected generator with extra terminals.

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