[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.]
SAE technical experts: fuel cell technology has advanced significantly, FC vehicle production has begun, further cost reductions & infrastructure development required
April 27, 2016
Wrapping up the track on the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure held at the 2016 SAE World Congress (earlier post), a panel of technical experts agreed that while significant progress has been made with the technology, and while the first generation of consumer-available fuel cell vehicles is now being sold in parts of the US, there are still challenges to overcome with respect to the cost of the technology and the build-out of a supporting hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
The panel, moderated by Jesse Schneider, BMW, included Takashi Moriya, Senior Chief Engineer at Honda R&D; Dr. Will James, Manager, Safety, Codes, and Standards at the US Department of Energy (DOE); and Dr. Ralph Clague, Head of Motive Systems and Architecture, Intelligent Energy.
Volkswagen, a partner in SLAM fast charging project, shows “Golden Test Device” at Hannover Messe
Volkswagen is working with partners from industry and science on the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s SLAM research project (Schnellladenetz für Achsen und Metropolen, Fast charging network for road axes and metropolitan areas).
The SLAM project has a total budget of €12.9 million (US$14.6 million) and will receive support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to the extent of €8.7 million (US$9.8 million) by August 2017. The German government designated SLAM as one of seven “flagship projects in electric mobility”. A central component of SLAM is the “Golden Test Device” prototype co-developed by Volkswagen which will be unveiled at the Hannover Messe industrial trade show.
Cal Energy Commission hosting technology merit review workshop on EV charging infrastructure project
April 22, 2016
The California Energy Commission will host a workshop Monday, 25 April, in which executives from four companies including ChargePoint and Green Charge Networks, two non-profits, one municipal utility district and one state agency will discuss the successes and challenges of developing electric vehicle charging technology in California.
This workshop will influence future funding opportunities at the Commission through its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which provides up to $100 million a year for alternative fuels and vehicle technology development.
Cal Energy Commission approves ~$9M for DC fast chargers; $12.6M for NGV incentives
April 14, 2016
The California Energy Commission approved nearly $9 million in grants for the installation of DC fast chargers along major state freeways and highways to allow electric vehicle drivers to travel from San Diego to the Oregon border without worrying about running out of energy.
The grants went to four companies—Chargepoint Inc.; EV Connect Inc.; NRG EV Services LLC; and Recargo, Inc.—which will install 61 DC fast chargers at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers allow most vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours.
California Energy Commission releases $17.3M funding opportunity for H2 stations
April 08, 2016
The California Energy Commission has released a $17.3-million solicitation (GFO-15-605) for publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations that serve California’s light duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
The Energy Commission will make available two categories of Capital Expense (Cap-X) funding. Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding is also available for stations whose capital expenses are funded under this solicitation. This solicitation places a preference on hydrogen refueling stations that fill hydrogen refueling station coverage gaps and hydrogen refueling capacity gaps in California.
Uno-X Hydrogen to build 1st hydrogen refueling station w/ hydrogen produced by surplus renewable energy from neighboring building
April 04, 2016
Uno-X Hydrogen AS, a NEL ASA (NEL) joint venture, will build a hydrogen refueling station (HRS) with on-site hydrogen production co-located with Powerhouse Kjørbo, an energy-positive office building in Sandvika, Norway.
Powerhouse Kjørbo, which is owned by Entra ASA, uses solar panels that can supply upward of 200,000 kWh each year, twice the amount of the building’s annual energy consumption. Excess electricity from solar will be used to produce the hydrogen on-site.
Ricardo licenses Qualcomm wireless EV charging technology for commercialization
April 01, 2016
Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm has granted to Ricardo a royalty-bearing technology license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems for automobile manufacturers. Qualcomm subsidiaries will provide technical expertise and engineering support.
ORNL achieves 90% efficiency with 20 kW wireless charging for vehicles; looking ahead to 50 kW
March 31, 2016
A 20-kilowatt wireless charging system demonstrated at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has achieved 90 percent efficiency and at three times the rate of the plug-in systems commonly used for electric vehicles today.
ORNL’s power electronics team achieved this world’s first 20 kW wireless charging system for passenger cars by developing a unique architecture that included an ORNL-built inverter, isolation transformer, vehicle-side electronics and coupling technologies—all in less than three years. For the demonstration, researchers integrated the single-converter system into an electric Toyota RAV4 equipped with an additional 10 kWh battery.
PennDOT selects Trillium CNG team for $84.5M CNG fueling station project
March 30, 2016
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has selected a team led by Trillium CNG team, for the department’s $84.5-million Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) transit fueling station Public-Private Partnership (P3) project. Trillium will design, build, finance, operate and maintain CNG fueling stations at 29 public transit agency sites through a 20-year P3 agreement.
Stations will be constructed over the next five years and the firm will also make CNG-related upgrades to existing transit maintenance facilities. When the project is completed, the fueling stations will supply gas to more than 1,600 CNG buses at transit agencies across the state.
CNG Fuels and National Grid unveil first high-pressure grid-connected CNG filling station; biomethane option
March 21, 2016
UK-based CNG Fuels, in partnership with National Grid, has unveiled a new state-of-the-art filling station in Leyland, Lancashire, allowing vehicles to fill up on compressed natural gas (CNG) directly from the high-pressure local transmission system.
The new facility is the first of its kind in the UK and features a high-pressure connection, delivered by National Grid. This key piece of transport infrastructure is capable of refueling more than five hundred HGVs per day. The first major customer, Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, filled up at the new facility at unveiling, as a fleet of branded heavy-duty trucks rolled onto the forecourt.
UPS to invest $100M more in compressed natural gas, CNG vehicles and related infrastructure
March 16, 2016
UPS plans to build an additional 12 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add 380 new CNG tractors to its growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The CNG fueling stations and vehicle purchases totaling $100 million are part of UPS’ ongoing commitment to diversify its fuel sources and reduce its environmental impact.
UPS is working to meet its goal of logging one billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017, using a Rolling Laboratory approach to determine the right alternative fuel solutions to meet the unique needs of route-specific driving environments.
Group of European electric bus manufacturers agrees on an open interface for charging
March 15, 2016
European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have agreed to ensure the interoperability of electric buses with charging infrastructure provided by ABB, Heliox and Siemens. The objective is to ensure an open interface between electric buses and charging infrastructure and to facilitate the introduction of electric bus systems in European cities.
Common, preferred interfaces will be opened up for all market participants and will be used for electric buses for opportunity charging (fast charging at end stops) and for overnight charging. The group is committed to contribute to European standardization activities and to share experiences with CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC in order to establish a common European standard for electric bus systems.
7 finalists announced for USDOT Smart City Challenge; Amazon Web Services new partner
March 14, 2016
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, joined by Barbara Bennett, President and COO of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. and Rick Clemmer CEO of NXP Semiconductors, announced the seven finalists for the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) The USDOT has pledged up to $40 million (funding subject to future appropriations) to one city to help it define what it means to be a “Smart City “and become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies—self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors—into their transportation network.
The finalists are: Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; and San Francisco, CA. Secretary Foxx was joined by representatives of the seven city finalists, including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales for the announcement at the C3 Connected Mobility Showcase being held during the South by Southwest conference (SXSW).
Volvo Cars calls for global standardized electric car charging, joins CharIN CCS effort
March 09, 2016
Volvo Cars believes the global automotive industry should strive towards the introduction of a standardized charging infrastructure for electric cars, said Dr. Peter Mertens, the company’s Senior Vice President for Research & Development.
To support this drive towards a global standard for electric car charging, Volvo Cars is supporting the Charging Interface Initiative (earlier post), a consortium of stakeholders that was founded to establish the Combined Charging System (CCS) (earlier post) as the standard for charging battery-powered vehicles.
Cal Energy and NREL holding public workshop on Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap
March 08, 2016
The California Energy Commission and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are holding a workshop to solicit public feedback on the 2015 draft Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap. The 2015 report updates the 2009 Natural Gas Vehicle Research Roadmap and provides the framework and foundation for future investments in research, development, demonstration, and deployment.
The report includes research recommendations on 1) range and storage; 2) engine performance and availability; 3) vehicle emission and environmental performance; and 4) analysis and information sharing. Low natural gas prices, increased supplies, and a changing regulatory landscape have impacted the natural gas vehicle market. These changes have also impacted traditionally fueled vehicles, changing the overall vehicle technology market.
DOE seeking input on R&D and business needs for automotive PEM fuel cells and fueling
March 05, 2016
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) is seeking feedback from the research community, relevant stakeholders, and industry on technical and economic barriers for fuel cell-related technologies. (RFI DE-FOA-0001510)
Specifically, FCTO seeks information regarding: R&D needs to improve performance and reduce cost of bipolar plates for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs); the high startup cost for hydrogen refueling stations, which may be caused by extensive installation and permitting efforts or low equipment utilization; and innovative research topics that may not currently be part of the FCTO portfolio but could potentially be appropriate for future efforts or funding opportunity announcements.
H2 Logic delivers 9th H2 fueling station for Denmark; 100% renewable hydrogen, 1st country-wide station network
March 04, 2016
H2 Logic has delivered the ninth hydrogen fueling station in Denmark. The latest site was inaugurated in Kolding. This narrows the driving distance to the nearest station in Hamburg, Germany to only 245 km (150 miles) making cross-border driving on hydrogen more feasible. The station in Kolding is the third to open in Denmark during the past six months, and in total the ninth public accessible hydrogen station in 24/7 operation throughout Denmark.
Additional H2Stations are planned during 2016 which will ensure that 50% of Danish population will have less than 15 kilometers to hydrogen fueling. Already today hydrogen available is in all of the major cities across the country, making it the first countrywide hydrogen station network in the world.
MIT/CalTrans study finds pavement-vehicle interaction accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways
March 01, 2016
A recent collaboration between the MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) showed that phenomena associated with deflection-induced pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways.
Deflection-induced PVI—which results from a vehicle overcoming a resisting force (i.e. dissipating energy due to deformation of the pavement structure)—results in wasted fuel because the dissipated energy does not contribute to the vehicle’s forward movement. Past studies on PVI and the three elements that impact PVI—texture, roughness, and deflection—have been empirical in approach, using actual trucks on actual pavements. This approach has ignored the pavement layer structure and material properties, and has led to high variability in the reported results.
Volvo sells 11 electric hybrid buses with 2 ABB automated fast-chargers to Namur, Belgium
February 25, 2016
Volvo has received an order for 11 electric hybrid buses and 2 ABB automated electric bus fast-chargers to the city of Namur in Belgium with public transport authority and operator TEC. This is the largest order to date for the company’s electric bus system.
TEC is buying the bus system as a turn-key solution. Volvo takes full responsibility for vehicle servicing, battery maintenance as well as maintenance of the standard-based charging stations for a fixed monthly cost. Start in-service is planned towards the end of 2016. Every year the TEC Group transports more than 250 million passengers.
California Energy Commission proposes awarding $8.9M for completion of California DC fast charge North-South corridors (corrected)
February 21, 2016
The staff of the California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected 8 awardees for a total of $8,875,457 in proposed funding to install Direct Current (DC) fast charging stations on Interstate 5 (I-5), State Route 99 (SR 99), and along United States Highway 101 (US-101) from San Jose traveling South in California.
The awards stem from a solicitation released in July 2015 (GFO-15-601), with the overall objective of completing the West Coast Electric Highway which stretches from British Columbia to Baja California. CEC received a total of 35 proposals requesting a combined $39,159,298. The proposed awards will come up for an approval vote by the Commission sometime before July.
Cal Energy Commission awards $1.5M to Berkeley to advance open-source advanced smart charging technology; OpenVBOSS
February 11, 2016
The California Energy Commission is awarding the University of California, Berkeley $1.5 million to develop an advanced smart charging technology that maintains plug-in electric vehicle consumer needs while reducing charging loads, to achieve electricity grid benefits. The project will focus on controlling the charging of PEVs in residential and small commercial settings using a novel and flexible open-source, open-software architecture charge communication and control platform.
The proposed project addresses the problem of access and signals/controls for local data streams in order to control electricity systems loads for grid management. PEVs are proliferating in California under the Advanced Clean Cars Program, sometimes in geographic clusters; this is creating potential load management issues for electrical utility grids at the feeder and transformer level.
CPUC approves SDG&E pilot EV grid integration project; 3,500 charging stations at 350 sites, dynamic pricing
January 29, 2016
Almost two years after SDG&E proposed its Electric Vehicle Grid-Integration (VGI) pilot project (April 2014), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a modified version of the program, enabling the utility to own and to install 3,500 charging stations at 350 sites—businesses and multi-family communities, including in underserved neighborhoods, throughout San Diego and south Orange Counties.
The program features dynamic pricing—a time-variant rate—that creates incentives for charging when renewable energy is most available. The CPUC decision comes two weeks after a separate CPUC decision to approve a proposal from Southern California Edison to deploy 1,500 charging stations across its territory. (Earlier post.)
SAE’s highest technical safety award goes to hydrogen fueling paper
January 21, 2016
At the Awards Ceremony at the SAE 2016 Government/Industry Meeting, SAE International honored the recipients of the Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive Safety Engineering Award, including the lead author, Jesse Schneider, (BMW); along with co-authors Jihyun Shim (Hyundai); Graham Meadows (IMPCO); Steven R. Mathison (Honda); Michael J. Veenstra (Ford); Rainer Immel (Opel); Morten Wistoft-Ibsen (H2 Logic); Manfred Greisel (Wenger Engineering); Spencer Quong (SQI); Timothy McGuire (MB RDNA); and Peter Potzel (Daimler).
The Ralph Isbrandt Award annually recognizes the author(s) delivering the most outstanding paper at an SAE Society or section meeting on the subject of automotive safety engineering. The 2016 Ralph Isbrandt award recognizes the advancement to SAE literature of the recipients’ SAE World Congress Technical Paper on Hydrogen Fueling, “Validation and Sensitivity Studies for SAE J2601, the Light Duty Vehicle Hydrogen Fueling Standard” (SAE 2014-01-1990). (Earlier post.)
DOE’s HyStEP device will accelerate hydrogen refueling station commissioning
December 17, 2015
The Hydrogen Station Equipment Performance device (HyStEP) (earlier post), developed by US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), could reduce the time to commission new hydrogen refueling stations from months to just one week.
The primary purpose of the HyStEP Device is to be used by a certification agency to measure the performance of hydrogen dispensers with respect to the required fueling protocol standard. Specifically, the device has been designed to carry out the test methods of CSA HGV 4.3 to measure that stations follow the fueling protocols standard SAE J2601-2014 including IrDA communications per SAE J2799.
6 new EVgo fast charging locations in Salt Lake City; 100th station in California
December 15, 2015
EVgo and multiple site host partners have installed Electric Vehicle (EV) Fast-Charging EVgo Stations at 6 Salt Lake City, Utah area locations. The chargers will give EV drivers the ability to recharge their vehicles in 30 minutes or less.
The 100th EVgo Freedom Station in California also recently opened to the public and is the nation’s largest publicly-available multi-standard (CHAdeMO and DC Fast Combo) fast charging site. Located in the hottest EV area of the country, the Lucky Fremont location at 5000 Mowry Ave. features four 50kW DC Fast Chargers in addition to Level 2 charging. It can support 9 plug-in concurrently.
Open Charge Alliance selects OASIS as the standard development organization for Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)
November 25, 2015
The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) consortium has decided to standardize the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) at OASIS, an international open standards development organization (SDO). OCA said that the move to OASIS will provide an expeditious standardization process and potential pathway to integrate OCPP with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) framework.
OCA was formed to create a universal open communication standard—OCPP—to address the challenges associated with proprietary charging networks and to enable seamless communication between charging stations and vendor central systems. With more than 20,000 installations in 17 different countries, OCPP has become the de facto open standard for open charger to network communications, OCA said.
ABB joins CharIN; taking Combined Charging System to the next level; 150 kW demos, targeting 350 kW
November 22, 2015
The Charging Interface Initiative association (CharIN) announced earlier this month that ABB has been granted core membership in the association. CharIN was founded by Audi, BMW, Daimler, Mennekes, Opel, Phoenix Contact, Porsche, TÜV SÜD and Volkswagen to focus on developing and establishing the Combined Charging System (CCS) as the standard for charging battery-powered electric vehicles of all kinds. ABB—based in the Netherlands—is the first non-German member.
The Combined Charging System is currently the only internationally standardized charging system covering conventional (AC) and different fast charging scenarios with one integrated system approach. It combines single-phase with rapid three-phase charging using alternating current at a maximum of 43 kilowatts (kW), as well as direct-current charging at a maximum of 200 kW. (Earlier post.) The majority of available CCS charging stations and vehicles currently in the market provide direct-current charging at the level of 50 kW.
ROEV Association forms to promote public EV charging interoperability
November 19, 2015
Automakers, electric vehicle charging networks and other stakeholders have joined together to create the ROEV Association (ROEV), a neutral collaboration of industry stakeholders designed to support EV adoption by facilitating public charging network interoperability. Initial automaker members include BMW of North America, Nissan, Honda and Audi; the three largest charging networks in the US—CarCharging/Blink, ChargePoint, and NRG EVgo—are also participating.
One of ROEV’s primary goals is to provide easier access to all networked, public EV chargers by adopting and promoting interoperability standards, so that drivers can confidently charge anywhere public stations are found in the US, using a participating EV charging network account.
Audi of America targeting 25% of sales to be plug-ins by 2025; national network of 150 kW fast chargers
Flanked by the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (earlier post) on one side and the Audi concept e-tron quattro (earlier post) on the other, Audi of America president Scott Keogh used his press conference speech at the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday to declare that the brand is targeting at least 25% of its US sales to be e-tron—i.e., plug-in hybrid or full electric—models by 2025.
Further, Keogh said, Audi will support the broad adoption of EV technology in the US by developing a nationwide 150 kW fast charging network that would charge the 95 kWh battery pack of the e-tron quattro to 80% in only 30 minutes—enough for 200 miles worth of driving in the battery-electric SUV. The network will be in place for the launch of the fully electric SUV in 2018.
ISO 19880 – New technical ISO document for hydrogen fueling station standardization
November 18, 2015
At the Fuel Cell Seminar in Los Angeles, California today, Jesse Schneider (BMW), the ANSI Convener of ISO Working Group 24 (from the Technical Committee on Fueling Stations) gave an overview presentation on the new ISO 19880 technical report for hydrogen fueling stations.
The ISO WG (Working Group) 24 committee members represent hydrogen suppliers, hydrogen organizations, local and national governments as well as automakers (OEMs) from North America, Europe and Asia. Last month, the participating members (P-Members) of ISO/TC (Technical Committee) 197 (Hydrogen Technologies), voted to approve ISO Technical Report 19880-1, Gaseous hydrogen — Fueling stations — Part 1: General requirements—essentially a worldwide safety and performance guideline for hydrogen stations and the interface to fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs). The station safety expectation, according to ISO 19880-1, will give the same level of safety to that of fueling with conventional fuels.
BMW i and EVgo expanding ChargeNow DC Fast program; 500 more fast chargers in US; no-cost DC and Level 2 for BMW i3 drivers
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW of North America announced, in cooperation with NRG EVgo, the expansion of the ChargeNow DC Fast program. (Earlier post.) As part of its ongoing commitment to the growth of a robust public DC Fast charging infrastructure, BMW is supporting EVgo’s installation of an incremental 500 DC Fast Combo chargers, to benefit BMW i3 customers and all EV drivers in the US with DC Fast Combo charging capability. ChargeNow DC Fast also includes two years of no-cost charging for qualifying BMW i3 drivers in those areas.
Eligible BMW i3 customers in ChargeNow DC Fast markets, who purchase or lease the BMW i3 on or after 1 November 2015, from a BMW i Center can enroll in the program. Program participants can enjoy unlimited no-cost 30-minute DC Fast Combo charging and no-cost 1 hour Level 2 charging for their BMW i3, at EVgo Stations, for 24 months from date of enrollment at chargenow.com/us. Customers use the complimentary ChargeNow cards (included with the BMW i3 vehicle) to access the no-cost charging sessions.
Ford offering 3 years’ complimentary public charging to C-MAX Energi customers in California and Maryland with EV 1-2-3 Charge
November 17, 2015
Ford Motor Company will offer three years of complimentary charging to California and Maryland customers who purchase or lease a 2016 C-MAX Energi with its pilot EV 1-2-3 Charge program. EV 1-2-3 Charge will provide unlimited, complimentary charging sessions of four hours each at more than 500 NRG EVgo and SemaConnect public stations across the nation. C-MAX Energi is capable of being fully charged in approximately 2.5 hours with the 240-volt charging stations that are included in the program.
Beginning in December, Ford will make it easy for customers to find these charge stations with MyFord Mobile, which will identify participating stations with a pink-colored icon. The MyFord Mobile app and website are integrated with the vehicle’s in-car communications and entertainment system – SYNC 3.
US rejects Keystone XL pipeline, citing combatting climate change as critical factor; Kerry: arguments pro and con “overstated”
November 06, 2015
On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry issued his determination that “the national interest of the United States would be best served by denying TransCanada a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agrees with this determination and the eight federal agencies consulted under Executive Order 13337 have accepted it.”
The determination by the State Department brings to an end the much delayed, deferred and debated permit process that would have allowed TransCanada to built the fourth phase of its Keystone pipeline system to bring more oil sands crude from Canada to refineries in the US. In response, TransCanada announced it would review all of its options, including filing a new application to receive a Presidential Permit for a cross-border crude oil pipeline from Canada to the United States.
Japan’s NEDO selects Nissan and Kanematsu to analyze EV use in California; focus on fast charging and encouraging longer distances
October 21, 2015
The New Energy Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, has selected Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and the Japan-based trading company Kanematsu Corporation to analyze electric vehicle use patterns in Northern California.
The NEDO project will seek to encourage the use of electric vehicles for longer distances and inter-city driving by installing and maintaining multiple quick chargers along specific inter-city routes. Nissan and Kanematsu will collect and analyze data on EV driving patterns in California, and create a suitable model to help promote more extensive use of electric vehicles in the state and beyond.
AKASOL supplying Li-ion battery systems for eight fast-charging electric buses in Cologne
October 15, 2015
AKASOL, a Germany-based provider of high-performance Li-ion battery systems (earlier post), is supplying the Li-ion battery systems for 8 all-electric articulated 18-meter buses, manufactured by VDL Bus & Coach, to be operated by the Cologne public transport company Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe. Both AKASOL and VDL are displaying their battery systems and Citea SLFA Electric articulated bus, respectively, at Busworld.
The VDL buses use AKASOL’s modular AKASYSTEM lithium-ion battery system in a 4 x 15M configuration in every bus. Each AKASYSTEM 15M is rated at 460 kW, 35 kWh, and 666 V and weighs 314 kg. The high-performance liquid-cooled battery system offers a charging capacity of more than 300 kilowatts and has an overall useable energy content of more than 100 kWh.
ABB launches automated fast charging system for electric buses; inverted pantograph
ABB is introducing an automated fast charging system which allows electric city buses to drive 24/7. With its automated rooftop connection and a typical charge time of 4–6 minutes, the system can easily be integrated in existing bus lines by installing fast chargers at end points, terminals, depots and/or intermediate stops. The modular design offering 150 kW, 300 kW or 450 kW of charging power provides any city bus with enough energy in only a few minutes to run its inner-city route continuously throughout the day.
The robust automated connection is based on a pantograph: a proven system used commonly on trains, trams and metro’s, but mounted in inverted position on a stylish infrastructure pole. When a bus arrives at the charging stop, wireless communication will be established between bus and charger and the pantograph will come down automatically. After all safety checks are performed the system will provide the bus with a powerful fast recharge. (A Combo 2 connector can also serve to link bus with charger.)
Honda adding 120 EV chargers to Torrance Campus; 50kW DC fast charger adjacent to campus
In an effort to increase the use of alternative fuel vehicles by its associates for daily commuting, and to prepare for a new generation of plug-in vehicles set to arrive by 2018, Honda is adding 120 new electric vehicle (EV) chargers on the Torrance, CA headquarter campus of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. The new chargers (Level 2 SAE J1772 6.6 kW units from Chargepoint) will be installed in two phases, the first of which has already begun.
To support the local community in conjunction with the project, Honda is installing a publicly-accessible DC fast charger on Harpers Way, adjacent to its campus, which will enable Torrance residents to rapidly refuel EVs equipped with DC charging capabilities. The fee-based 50 kW DC Fast charger will open in early 2016 and will support both the CHAdeMO and SAE Combo standards.
New JV pushes hydrogen infrastructure expansion in Germany; ~400 stations by 2023; $455M investment
October 13, 2015
Six industrial companies in Germany—Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total—have formed a cross-sector joint venture, H2 Mobility Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, to support a staged expansion of hydrogen filling stations across Germany to bring the total to around 400 stations by 2023.
The Berlin-based company has started operations and is working in preparation for Stage One of the joint action plan. This envisages the accelerated set-up of 100 filling stations over the next few years. Senior representatives of the H2 Mobility venture partners met today at launch talks held with Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt and discussed the next steps. The industry and government partners have reinforced their commitment by signing a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen filling stations for Germany.
Hydrexia and HyGear partner on low-cost hydrogen distribution in Europe; solid state storage and delivery
Australia-based hydrogen solid state storage and distribution company Hydrexia has entered an agreement with Netherlands-based HyGear, supplier of industrial gases and on-site generation systems, to supply hydrogen in Europe. The hydrogen will be produced by HyGear’s small-scale Hy.GEN steam methane reforming (SMR) facilities located across Europe.
The agreement between the two companies allows for development and supply of a complete hydrogen generation, storage and distribution system with a lower cost product for customers. Hydrexia is entering the European market in partnership with HyGear with the intention of becoming a distributor of the lowest cost hydrogen in Europe.
DOE awards more than $20M to advance fuel cell technologies; new report highlights strong market growth
October 09, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $20 million to 10 projects to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, and to enable early adoption of fuel cell applications such as light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) (DE-FOA-0001224, earlier post).
The announcement of the latest investment come along with release of a new DOE report—“Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report 2014”—showing the fuel cell industry is continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate, totaling more than $2.2 billion in sales in 2014. The report describes data compiled in 2015 on trends in the fuel cell industry for 2014 with some comparison to previous years.
Siemens and Cohda Wireless to collaborate on vehicle-to-infrastructure devices; Cohda and u-blox
October 08, 2015
Siemens AG and Cohda Wireless will collaborate in the area of Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I). V2I devices are part of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), which share information between vehicles and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. This increases the quality and reliability of information available to drivers about their immediate environment, other vehicles and road users.
Siemens expects to deploy transport infrastructure such as overhead sign gantries and traffic lights in its V2I roadside units (RSUs) globally. RSUs are 802.11p WLAN-based radio modules that reliably and securely transmit information such as speed limits, warnings of icy roads or other dangerous situations, traffic jams and construction warnings within a fraction of a second to passing vehicles and traffic control centers.
INL analysis of 5 large-scale PEV and charging projects finds public charging infrastructure not needed everywhere to enable PEV adoption
October 01, 2015
Idaho National Laboratory has released the voluminous findings from its analysis of five large-scale PEV and charging infrastructure projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Collectively, these projects represent the largest-ever deployment, data collection and analysis, and reporting of PEV and charging infrastructure petroleum reduction benefits. The results will be used to support and refine activities of the US Department of Energy’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge.
The key finding of INL’s assessment of the results was that public charging infrastructure is not needed everywhere to enable PEV adoption. Instead, the results suggest that charging infrastructure should be focused at homes, workplaces and public “hot spots” that serve multiple venues.
$70M H2ME project launches in Europe to deploy 325 fuel cell vehicles and 29 refueling stations
September 24, 2015
A large coalition of European partners has launched the €63-million (US$70-million) project Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME). H2ME is co-funded with €32 million (US$36 million) from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). The project will support the deployment of 325 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), including 125 fuel-cell range-extended electric vans, and 29 Hydrogen Refueling Stations (HRS) across Europe.
Together with the project HyFive, which started last year, H2ME complements the pre-existing plans for more than 50 stations, and will create a European network of at least 85 stations (the largest in the world).
TTI/INRIX study shows US traffic congestion back at pre-recession levels; average travel delay/commuter 2x that in 1982
August 27, 2015
A new report produced by INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) shows that traffic congestion in the US has returned to pre-recession levels. Washington, D.C. tops the list of gridlock-plagued cities, with 82 hours of delay per commuter, followed by Los Angeles (80 hours), San Francisco (78 hours), New York (74 hours), and San Jose (67 hours).
According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours—42 hours per rush-hour commuter. The total nationwide price tag: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter. Other top-level findings include:
Clean Energy to build new CNG stations for multiple transit agencies and large school district; agreements with trucking, refuse and others
August 26, 2015
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will construct new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for Arlington Transit (ART) in Arlington County, Virginia; Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) in Long Island, NY; and North Kansas City (MO) School District, which is set to become the largest school district in the US to transition its school bus fleet to CNG. The company also announced additional agreements across transportation market segments of transit, refuse, trucking and the bulk fuel market.
Transit. NICE has awarded Clean Energy the contract to design, build and operate and maintain a new CNG station that will, upon completion, replace its existing Mitchel Field station, and operate and maintain the existing CNG stations. The five-year contract valued at just over $13 million will extend the partnership between NICE and Clean Energy and will support a fleet of over 200 CNG buses. Clean Energy currently supports another 100 CNG buses at an additional station and provides a total of 4.6 million GGEs of CNG annually for the NICE bus fleet. Completion of the new station is expected for summer 2017.
BMW launches BMW i ChargeForward pilot in SF Bay Area
August 04, 2015
The BMW Group Technology Office, together with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), have launched an 18-month pilot of the BMW i ChargeForward Program in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program is now issuing calls to participating BMW i3 drivers in the Bay Area to request the interruption of the charging of their EVs for one hour.
Working with a group of nearly 100 BMW i3 drivers, selected from approximately 400 applicants, BMW i ChargeForward will demonstrate how intelligent management of electric vehicle charging can contribute to optimizing electric power grid efficiency while reducing total cost of electric vehicle ownership. The study has two parts: (1) a managed charge pilot program involving BMW i3 owners; and (2) a battery second-life energy storage system.
Qualcomm and BRUSA sign commercial wireless electric vehicle charging license agreement
July 29, 2015
BRUSA Elektronik AG, an automotive Tier 1 power electronics supplier, has licensed Qualcomm Incorporated’s Halo (earlier post) patented inventions to commercialize Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) systems for Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EVs). Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm granted to BRUSA a royalty-bearing patent license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems for certain automobile manufacturers.
BRUSA, which has been working on its own Inductive Charging System (ICS) for wireless power transfer (WPT), developed its own coil geometry: FRAME technology. The coil is rectangular and enables inductive charging of electric vehicles with the integration of power electronics both in the vehicle and in the base plate, enabling a one-box system.
Sandia Labs partnering with Red and White Fleet to develop high-speed H2 fuel cell passenger ferry and world’s largest H2 refueling station
July 28, 2015
Sandia National Laboratories and San Francisco’s Red and White Fleet are partnering in a project—SF-BREEZE (San Francisco Bay Renewable Energy Electric vessel with Zero Emissions)—to develop a high-speed, hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered passenger ferry and refueling station. The hydrogen refueling station is planned to be the largest in the world and serve fuel cell electric cars, buses and fleet vehicles in addition to the ferry and other maritime vehicles.
The US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is funding a feasibility study to examine the technical, regulatory and economic aspects of the project. The outcome of the feasibility study will be a “Go/No-Go” recommendation to proceed with the actual design and build of the ferry and hydrogen station.
BMW brings Enlighten real-time signals app into car
July 27, 2015
The BMW Group is the first manufacturer to bring the EnLighten App, by Connected Signals, into the car. Drivers of BMW Vehicles with iOS Devices will be able to see traffic signal data on the vehicle’s display in real time. The EnLighten app makes driving in cities easier by helping the driver anticipate traffic signal changes, which can increase safety and help save fuel by avoiding unnecessary acceleration.
The EnLighten app shows the current status of the traffic light in front of the car in real time as well as a countdown to when the signal will change. Based on the current vehicle position, as well as its speed, the EnLighten app offers a recommendation about whether or not to stop for the traffic light or proceed through. An audio alert notifies the driver about a pending change in the signal they are approaching.
Researchers show use of MFRE can at least double wireless power transfer efficiency; more efficient than metamaterials
July 23, 2015
Researchers at North Carolina State University and Carnegie Mellon University have shown that passing wireless power transfer through a magnetic resonance field enhancer (MR-FE)—which could be as simple as a copper loop—can at least double transfer efficiency as compared to transferring through air alone. MR-FE use could potentially boost transfer efficiency by as much as 5,000% in some systems, the researchers said.
Wireless power transfer works via magnetic coupling or inductive coupling, and can achieve very high efficiency when the distances between the transmitter and receiver are small—less than a few centimeters. In such a case, the transmitter and receiver are strongly coupled, with a high coupling coefficient (usually greater that 0.9). As distance increases, the strength of the coupling decreases. Enhancing wireless power transfer efficiency over greater distances—to support, for example, the wireless charging of electric vehicles—has thus been a major goal of many research groups.
NIST calculates H2 pipeline can cost up to 68% more than nat gas pipeline; proposes code change to reduce cost
July 20, 2015
Pipelines to carry hydrogen cost more than other gas pipelines because of the measures required to combat the damage hydrogen does to steel’s mechanical properties (e.g., hydrogen embrittlement, HE) over time. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have now calculated that hydrogen-specific steel pipelines can cost as much as 68% more than natural gas pipelines, depending on pipe diameter and operating pressure. By contrast, a widely used cost model suggests a cost penalty of only about 10%.
However, according to the new NIST study, hydrogen transport costs could be reduced for most pipeline sizes and pressures by modifying industry codes to allow the use of a higher-strength grade of steel alloy without requiring thicker pipe walls.
Total hydrogen station in Munich first to feature standard compressed H2 and BMW cryo-compressed H2 technology
July 16, 2015
Total has opened a hydrogen filling station on Munich’s Detmoldstraße. The station, which completes the European HyFIVE project’s South Cluster—comprising Stuttgart, Munich, Innsbruck and Bolsano—is the first public filling station at which the two pumps dispense hydrogen using two different types of refueling technology: industry-standard 700 bar CGH2 hydrogen storage technology (SAE J2601); and cryo-compressed hydrogen storage technology (CCH2).
Cryo-compressed hydrogen storage, being developed by the BMW Group based on its long experience with cryogenic storage, involves storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature on board the vehicle at a pressure of up to 350 bar. It is currently at the advanced development stage and will only come on stream for general use over the longer time frame. CCH2 tanks offer up to 50% more hydrogen storage capacity than 700 bar tanks and can support a driving range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).
ELIX Wireless introduces MDC-based 10kW wireless charging solution
July 15, 2015
ELIX Wireless introduced the E10K Wireless Charging System, a wireless charging solution that delivers a full 10kW of wireless power transfer. The E10K Wireless Charging System is based on ELIX Wireless’ patented Magneto-Dynamic Coupling (MDC) technology. MDC, developed at the University of British Columbia, is based on two rotating permanent magnets in transmitter and receiver, rather than resonant inductive technology. (Earlier post.) ELIX Wireless rolled out its initial product offering, the E1K Wireless Charging System, to customers in early 2015. The E10K Wireless Charging System is now commercially available to customers and partners.
Typical wireless charging solutions available in the market today are based on inductive technologies and deliver up to 7.7kW. To meet the demand for a faster, higher power wireless charging solution that can operate under extreme environmental conditions, ELIX Wireless developed the E10K Wireless Charging System. E10K “building blocks” can be combined together to create even higher power systems.
Hyundai-Kia America and Mojo Mobility partnering on wireless fast-charging project
July 08, 2015
Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc., (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility, Inc., a wireless power technology company, have been awarded funding from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Vehicle Technologies (VT) program to research and develop a system for wireless fast-charging an electric vehicle at up to a 19.2 kW power transfer rate. The two have already been partnering on a DOE-funded project on high-efficiency, low-EMI and positioning-tolerant wireless charging of EVs.
Mojo Mobility’s Near Field Power technology is able to meet charging power levels ranging from 1 W to 90 W and higher for mobile devices and up to 20 kW for electric vehicles. The wireless charging systems are capable of transferring their high power without need for precise alignment between the charger and the vehicle.
China’s ZTE pushing ahead with high-power wireless charging vehicle test deployment
July 06, 2015
ZTE Corporation, China’s largest listed telecommunications equipment company, is developing high-power wireless charging systems and services for electric vehicles, with a focus on public charging infrastructure. At a China-US workshop on electric vehicle standardization held in June (earlier post), Academus Tian, VP of ZTE New Energy Vehicle Co., presented an overview of ZTE’s efforts in wireless power transfer (WPT).
Tian said that ZTE’s inductive charging WPT module has a potential capacity of up to 30 kW, with a gap of 20 cm and efficiency of up to 90%. The footprint of the device is less than 1 m2; frequency is 85 kHz. ZTE, which has aggressively partnered with a number of passenger and commercial vehicles makers over the past few years, has recently launched a series of commercial vehicle (bus) WPT trials.
Toyota, Nissan and Honda agree on details of H2 station support in Japan
July 01, 2015
Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have agreed on key details of their joint support project for the development of hydrogen station infrastructure in Japan. (Earlier post.) The joint project (conducted alongside the Japanese government’s support for hydrogen stations) will cover one-third of the hydrogen station operating expenses incurred by infrastructure companies, and was first announced on 12 February.
Annual financial support per station is limited to ¥11 million (US$89,000). (The annual limit is ¥13 million (US$106,000) where two or more mobile stations are operated.) The partners envision funding support until around 2020. 100 hydrogen stations will be constructed initially, with a gradual increase expected thereafter. The total value of the support is estimated at around ¥5-6 billion (US$41-$49 million).
Automakers develop consensus list of priority locations for next 19 H2 fueling stations in California
June 16, 2015
The automaker OEM Advisory Group (OEM AG) of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has developed a consensus list of recommended station priority locations for the next 19 hydrogen stations to be built in California. The OEM AG members are American Honda, General Motors, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.
The priority locations represent general geographic areas that the OEM AG suggests be considered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), station developers and the California Energy Commission (CEC) in planning the next phase of hydrogen station network development in California. (Earlier post.) The automakers consider their recommendations as preliminary and expect to refine them further through subsequent analysis and further consultation with stakeholders prior to future solicitations.
CA Energy Commission awards CSE $1.5M for development of standards-based smart EV charging platform; first employment of ISO/IEC 15118
June 12, 2015
The California Energy Commission has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to lead development of an advanced management platform for integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging with utility-scale energy systems. CSE will work closely with KnGrid, a leader in vehicle-grid communications, to create a standardized platform that optimizes charging benefits for both grid operators and vehicle owners. The result will be the first data platform to employ the international ISO/IEC 15118 standard for flexibly managing vehicle charging with data from the power grid.
The project team will develop and implement the first standards-based smart charging platform, termed a “demand clearing house” (DCH) in the international ISO/IEC 15118 protocol (entitled “Road vehicles - Vehicle to grid communication interface”), that will consolidate real-time grid profiles from local utilities and energy market pricing from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) with simultaneous charging of grid-connected EVs.
1st major utility proposal for EV charging infrastructure presented to CPUC
June 05, 2015
A diverse set of public interest groups, automakers, labor unions, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) submitted a proposed settlement to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to accelerate the deployment of smart electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that would support the utility grid in San Diego.
The application is California’s first utility pilot proposal to help develop charging infrastructure, and, through pricing that allows for customer-managed charging, to manage transportation electrification load to support the evolving needs of an electrical grid increasingly dominated by variable renewable energy.
Overhead fast charging system for electric buses from Fraunhofer and partners
June 01, 2015
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI and its several partners in the EDDA Bus project, have developed a pantograph fast-charging solution for electric buses that supports route-based opportunity charging. Operational system testing of a converted bus and its charging station began in Dresden in November last year.
The solution is based on four core technologies: the Dresden-based company M&P GmbH designed a charging station with very high charging capacities; HOPPECKE Advanced Battery Technology GmbH supplied special batteries designed for such high power capacities; Vossloh Kiepe GmbH was responsible for adapting the power electronics; and the contact system located on the roof of the bus was realized by Fraunhofer IVI together with Schunk Bahn- und Industrietechnik GmbH.
USDA to invest up to $100M to boost infrastructure for renewable fuel use; seeks to double number of higher blend ethanol fuel pumps
May 29, 2015
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest up to $100 million in a Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership to support the infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. USDA will post a Notice of Solicitation of Applications in June.
Specifically, USDA will administer competitive grants to match funding for state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to market higher blends of renewable fuel, such as E15 and E85. States that are able to provide greater than a one-to-one ratio in funding will receive higher consideration.
Daimler enters stationary energy storage market with ACCUmotive battery systems; 500 kWh unit already on line for grid stabilization
Daimler is entering the commercial and residential stationary energy storage system (ESS) market with its wholly-owned subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotive. The announcement comes four weeks after Tesla Motors announced its own entry into the ESS market with the home PowerWall Li-ion battery system (earlier post), although Daimler has been considering the move for several years.
Daimler’s first industrial-scale lithium-ion unit is already on the grid and is being operated by the partner companies The Mobility House AG and GETEC Energie AG. The 96-module ESS currently has a total capacity of more than 500 kWh; it will be increased step-by-step to 3000 kWh by the partners in the coming weeks. Daimler AG is planning to collaborate with EnBW AG for distribution to customers in Germany. Daimler is also aiming to enter into cooperation with other sales and distribution partners both in Germany and at international level.
Daimler and Qualcomm announce strategic collaboration on connected car technologies, wireless EV charging
May 24, 2015
Daimler AG and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced a strategic collaboration focused on connected car technologies. In the first phase of the collaboration, the companies will focus on transforming future vehicles with mobile technologies that enhance in-car experiences and vehicle performance such as 3G/4G connectivity; wireless charging technology for in-vehicle use; and implementation of the Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology.
In addition, the companies are jointly assessing the application of Qualcomm Technology’s newly developed Automotive Solutions.
SAE World Congress panel highlights progress on H2 infrastructure and fuel cell vehicle commercialization
May 12, 2015
Although the SAE World Congress has been running panel sessions on fuel cell vehicle commercialization since 2005, this year was the first in which three participating automakers—Toyota, Hyundai and Honda—had fuel cell vehicles that customers can buy now or within a year. (Earlier post.) Many other OEMs are also working on development of fuel cell vehicles as well.
The PFL 799 technical executive expert panel at this year’s world Congress, chaired by Jesse Schneider (from BMW), invited those automakers as well as infrastructure leaders to discuss their progress in fuel cell technology and hydrogen infrastructure and challenges remaining. Participants included Hyundai, GM, Honda, Toyota, Linde and Air Liquide.