[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.]
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chalmers team developing new high-power integrated motor and battery charger; “rotating transformer”
April 30, 2013
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.
Navigant Research forecasts EV charger global market to grow to $3.8B by 2020; 27.1% CAGR from 2013
April 11, 2013
|Total installed public EVSE stations by technology and region, world markets: 2012. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.|
Navigant Research forecasts that the global EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment, i.e., charger) market will grow from $713 million in 2013 to $3.8 billion by 2020, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.1%.
In a new report, “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Tracker 1Q13”, Navigant notes that definitions concerning technologies, industry standards, and market segments vary from region to region making tracking this market difficult. A typical charging station in China is more akin to a “center” in which hundreds of charging points can be accessed for both commercial and passenger vehicles; in almost all other regions, a charging location is one to two pieces of equipment than can service two to four vehicles.
Major spill from the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas
March 31, 2013
|Route of the Pegasus pipeline. Source: ExxonMobil. Click to enlarge.|
A breach in ExxonMobil’s Pegasus crude oil pipeline occurred late Friday afternoon near Mayflower, AR (about 20 miles north northwest of Little Rock and at the southwestern end of the Lake Conway reservoir). The pipeline has been shut in and crews are working to contain the spill. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes the incident as a “major spill”—i.e., greater than 250 barrels (10,500 gallons).
ExxonMobil said that it observed a few thousand barrels of oil in the area (approximately 84,000 gallons), but is staging a response for more than 10,000 barrels (420,000 gallons) to be conservative. The cause of the spill is under investigation.
California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation projects and $1.8M for 20 energy research projects
March 21, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects including biodiesel production, power control electronics for medium-and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and buydowns for propane vehicles. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
In addition, CEC awarded $1,815,274 to fund 20 energy research projects in the areas of transportation, electricity, and natural gas. Funds for these projects—which span areas as diverse as a new crossover valve for the split-cycle Tour Engine (earlier post) to a new solar thermal storage device capable of integration with utility scale solar thermal power plants—come from Commission’s Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
AeroVironment licenses PNNL EV smart charger controller technology
March 06, 2013
|The PNNL technology tells a vehicle’s battery charger when to start and stop charging based upon existing conditions on the electrical grid. Source: PNNL. Click to enlarge.|
AeroVironment, Inc. has licensed smart charging controller technology developed at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for incorporation into its charging station equipment. (Earlier post.) The commercial license agreement is between AeroVironment and Battelle, which operates PNNL.
The Grid Friendly EV Charger Controller technology notifies the car’s battery charger when to start and stop charging based upon existing conditions on the electrical grid. By charging plug-ins when electricity is most readily available, the technology could translate into lower bills for vehicle owners and a more stable grid. AeroVironment will use a portion of the licensed technology in a new prototype version of its Level II charging systems.
Shell to build LNG units in Gulf Coast and Great Lakes regions; two additional LNG for transport corridors in North America
March 05, 2013
Shell and its affiliates will build two additional small-scale natural gas liquefaction units to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel for marine and heavy-duty on-road customers in North America. Pending final regulatory permitting, these two new liquefaction units are expected to begin operations and production in about three years.
These two units will form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. This decision follows an investment decision in 2011 on a similar corridor in Alberta, Canada. (Earlier post.) Shell is also working to use natural gas as a fuel in its own operations.
Transit operator launching test of wireless charging of electric buses in Mannheim, Germany
March 02, 2013
|Powertrain components of the PRIMOVE bus. Click to enlarge.|
German regional transit operator Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is introducing a pair of electric buses with Bombardier PRIMOVE wireless charging technology (earlier post) in a research project serving the city of Mannheim, Germany.
During the “PRIMOVE Mannheim” research project, the electric buses will recharge wirelessly while passengers get on and off the vehicles at bus stops along the inner city route 63. Both e-buses, built by the Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie HESS AG, are also equipped with the new Bombardier MITRAC e-bus powertrain for city buses. In addition, an electric van equipped with wireless PRIMOVE technology will be tested as a RNV service vehicle.
Continental and BMW Group working together to develop freeway-grade highly automated driving
February 27, 2013
Continental and the BMW Group are pooling their development capacities to define the long-term prerequisites for series introduction of highly automated driving on European freeways. In January 2013, the two companies signed an agreement to jointly develop an electronic co-pilot for this purpose. The overarching aim of the research partnership is to pave the way to highly automated driving functions beyond the year 2020.
Continental is a leading suppliers of advanced driver assistance systems; the development of products and systems for automated driving is one of the central themes of its long-term technology strategy. (Earlier post.)
Deutsche Telekom and IBM to integrate Machine-to-Machine communication and Smarter Cities data analysis technology for enhanced city services
February 23, 2013
Deutsche Telekom and IBM are collaborating to provide an integrated solutions portfolio that enables cities to make smarter use of their services through intelligent data capture and analysis. The Smarter Cities solutions will build on IBM’s Smarter Cities expertise (earlier post) and “big data” analysis capabilities combined with Deutsche Telekom’s global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities, which include M2M solutions integration and advanced network connectivity.
M2M communication technology facilitates the automated exchange of information between terminal equipment such as machines, vehicles and containers or with a central control center—i.e., an “Internet of Things.” By using sensors embedded in a wide array of systems serving the public—such as a traffic lights, public transport vehicles or parking spaces—M2M technology can report on the status of the system being monitored via the Internet in real-time.
California Energy Commission awards more than $17M to support alternative fuel and infrastructure projects
February 14, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $17,223,593 for eight projects including alternative fuel production, plug-in truck demonstrations, EV charging station deployment, and infrastructure planning. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. This program is slated to invest approximately $90 million during this fiscal year to develop new transportation technologies, as well as alternative and renewable fuels. It is paid for through surcharges on vehicle and boating registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.
These awards also assist in fulfilling Governor Brown’s executive order directing state government to support the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, with a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roads. The order also requires the installation of sufficient infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs in California by 2020. (Earlier post.)
California Governor’s Office releases 2013 ZEV action plan; 1.5M ZEVs on CA roadways by 2025
February 07, 2013
California Governor Jerry Brown’s Office and state agencies issued a 2013 Zero-emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan. The Action Plan follows on Governor Brown’s Executive Order (B-16-2012) released March 2012, which set required milestones for state government to enable 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roadways by 2025. (Earlier post.) The Action Plan details concrete actions that state agencies are taking to help accelerate the market for plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.
For the purposes of the executive order and action plan, ZEVs include hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). They also address light-duty passenger vehicles and heavier vehicles such as freight trucks and public buses.
UKH2Mobility interim report finds potential for 1.6M hydrogen-powered vehicles on UK roads by 2030, with annual sales of 300K units
February 05, 2013
|UK consumer demand for FCEVs increases as the cost premium diminishes and the network of hydrogen refueling stations (HRS) expands. Source: UKH2Mobility. Click to enlarge.|
More than 1.5 million hydrogen-powered vehicles could be on UK roads by 2030, according to interim Phase I findings of the UKH2Mobility project, a joint Government-industry to evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15. (Earlier post.)
The forecast was made in an interim report commissioned to evaluate the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and ensure the UK is well positioned for their commercial roll-out. The study provides a roadmap for the introduction of vehicles and hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the UK.
Nissan plans to add at least 500 quick-charging stations to US in next 18 months, tripling the quick-charging infrastructure
February 01, 2013
Nissan plans to triple the current electric vehicle quick-charging infrastructure in the United States with the addition of at least 500 quick-charging stations in the next 18 months, including the greater Washington DC area’s first fast-charge network. Nissan outlined the strategy at the Washington Auto Show.
Nissan has been working on accelerating a European quick-charging network since 2011. (Earlier post.) Nissan and its charging infrastructure partners estimate that about 160 fast chargers are currently available for public use across the United States, and no fast chargers are available for public use in Washington D.C. Most electric vehicle (EV) drivers now rely on home charging, and having additional charging options can significantly increase their rate of EV driving.
€4.6M eNterop project for PEV-charging point interoperability kicks off
January 28, 2013
The eNterop project, the goal of which is to to ensure the smooth interoperation of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) and charging points from different manufacturers, recently had its kick-off meeting in Berlin. Funding for the €4.6-million (US$6.2-million) project is split 50/50 between the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and industry parters: Continental, Fraunhofer, TU Dortmund, BMW, VW, Daimler, RWE, and Siemens.
The International standard ISO/IEC 15118 defining communication between vehicle and charging stations was recently established to guarantee this interoperability between vehicle and charging point. For manufacturers of control equipment and charging points, however, the implementation of the standard involves elaborate testing with a wide range of different product types and in all kinds of different use cases.
EU launches clean fuel strategy; EU-wide standards of equipment and binding targets for infrastructure
January 25, 2013
The European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient, the EC said.
Clean fuel adoption is being held back by three main barriers, the EC said: the high cost of vehicles; a low level of consumer acceptance; and the lack of recharging and refueling stations. Refueling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles; vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand; and consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there. The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.
Pike Research forecasts smart city technology market to grow to $20.2B annually in 2020; smart transportation component to be worth $5.5B by 2020
January 22, 2013
In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that the smart city technology market will grow from $6.1 billion annually in 2012 to $20.2 billion in 2020—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2%. Globally, Pike anticipates cumulative investment of more than $117 billion in smart city technologies between 2012 and 2020.
Pike Research analyzes the market in terms of the five “industries” that are core to the development of smart cities: smart energy; smart water; smart transportation; smart buildings; and smart government. The fastest-growing of these industries will be smart transportation, with a CAGR of 19.5% between 2012 and 2020. By 2020, the smart transportation market related to smart cities will be worth $5.5 billion annually.
MacArthur Foundation grant supports Urban Center for Computation and Data
January 20, 2013
A new Chicago-based research center using advanced computational methods to understand the rapid growth of cities will receive a $500,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The funds help launch the Urban Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD), an initiative of the Computation Institute (CI) dedicated to data-driven urban research, planning and design.
Announced in December 2012, UrbanCCD was initially funded by a $600,000-grant from the National Science Foundation and unites researchers from several Chicago institutions, city officials and private enterprise with the Computation Institute (CI), a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
Pike Research ranks ChargePoint, DBT as top EV charging equipment supply companies
December 31, 2012
|The new Pike Pulse Grid for EVSE manufacturers. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research forecasts that global sales of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37% between 2012 and 2020 as the global market for plug-in vehicles (PEVs) grows, rising from less than 200,000 units sold in 2012 to almost 2.4 million units in 2020.
The market is also entering a new phase, Pike notes, in which companies will be less dependent on government-funded deployments and thus required to present an attractive return on investment for potential EVSE operators. In a new Pike Pulse report, Pike evaluates 14 electric vehicle charging equipment manufacturers, and ranks ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies) and DBT as Leaders as a result of their range of feature-rich EVSE offerings, current market share, geographic reach, and vision for competing successfully in the next phase of the EVSE market. (ChargePoint and DBT USA will showcase a joint EV charging station innovation at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas).
Pike Research makes 10 electric vehicle predictions for 2013
December 18, 2012
Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in 2013 will continue to outpace the first years of hybrid vehicle sales as more than 210,000 PEVs will be sold globally and more than three dozen PEV models will debut, according to a year-end free whitepaper published by Pike Research, that makes 10 specific predictions about electric vehicles in 2013.
More broadly, Pike envisions PEV sales in California—the leading market for such in the US—expanding into smaller urban and suburban regions with more dealers beginning to offer the vehicles. Pike also anticipates forward momentum with PEVs in China. The research company also projects that several startup electric vehicle (EV) companies are likely to be absorbed or discontinue operations during the year. Within that context of accelerating sales growth, the 10 specific predictions are:
Pike forecasts growth for wireless charging for plug-in vehicles, but tied to overall growth of plug-in market
In a new research brief, Pike Research forecasts that wireless charging equipment for light duty plug-in vehicle sales will grow by a CAGR of 91% from 2013 to 2020, as wireless systems move from a retrofit technology to an integrated part of new EVs, reaching annual sales of 283,000 units in 2020.
Although wireless charging for plug-in initially appeared to be mainly a promising technology with no viable market, nearly all of the major EV manufacturers have now announced partnerships to develop wireless charging systems. There are signs that such systems, installed at the factory or added at the dealership, could become a market differentiator for EV models, Pike suggests.
€3.59M PHAEDRUS project for all-electrochemical high-pressure hydrogen refueling for passenger cars
November 28, 2012
UK-based ITM Power has received confirmation of a €3.59-million (US$4.66-million) grant award from a program of the European Union’s Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI). The award is to a consortium for the development of an advanced hydrogen refueling system using ITM Power’s high pressure hydrogen electrolysis technology. ITM Power’s share of this award is €0.87 million (US$1.12 million).
The program, known as the PHAEDRUS project and funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (SP1-JTI-FCH.2001.2.7), aims to develop an all-electrochemical high pressure (70 MPa, 10,000 psi) hydrogen refueling station (HRS) for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in the passenger car segment.
GM CTO says company accelerating electric vehicle development in China; R&D focus on batteries and lightweight materials
November 27, 2012
General Motors is accelerating the development of electrified vehicles in China, Jon Lauckner, GM Chief Technology Officer, vice president of Global Research & Development, and president of GM Ventures, said in a presentation at the FISITA 2012 World Automotive Congress in Beijing.
In September 2011, GM China opened the Advanced Materials Lab in Shanghai. The facility, which is part of the GM China Advanced Technical Center, is engaged in research on battery technology and lightweight materials.
Westport introduces advanced LNG tank system for natural gas trucks; unsaturated LNG for large SI engines
November 26, 2012
Westport Innovations Inc. is introducing a new on-board liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage solution that supports the use of cold (unsaturated) LNG fuel for large SI-engine vehicles that would have earlier required warm (saturated) LNG. By carrying fuel as cold LNG, the Westport LNG Tank System can increase fuel storage times and improve vehicle range by up to 10%.
There are two standards for dispensing LNG: saturated (“green” or “warm”) LNG (8 bar and ‐130 °C) or unsaturated (“blue” or “cold”) LNG (3 bar and ‐150 °C). Each type of LNG fuel is optimized for a different engine technology; saturated LNG, with its warmer temperature, creates a vapor pressure in the tank that helps deliver fuel to the engine.
California Energy Commission to award up to $28.59M for hydrogen refueling stations in 25 areas
November 20, 2012
|One of the Station Location Area maps showing the use of “polygons” (see below) to rank desirability of location via scoring. Click to enlarge.|
The California Energy Commission has issued a competitive grant solicitation (PON-12-606) to award up to a combined $28.59 million for new hydrogen refueling stations in 25 selected areas. The goal is to expand the network of publicly accessible hydrogen fueling stations to serve the current population of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) and to accommodate the planned large-scale roll-out of FCVs commencing in 2015. Individual projects are eligible for up to 65% of the total project cost or $1.50 million, whichever is less.
The Energy Commission does not anticipate that all 25 Station Location Areas will be funded under this solicitation. Only one hydrogen fueling station will be funded per Station Location Area polygon, which were generated by a process designed and applied at the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California at Irvine (UCI).
DOE to award $11M to 20 new Clean Cities projects for alt fuel cars and trucks
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=807 about $11 million to 20 new projects to help states and local governments to develop the infrastructure, training, and regional planning needed to help meet the demand for alternative fuel cars and trucks, including vehicles that run on natural gas, electricity, and propane.
Through the Department’s Clean Cities initiative, these projects address a range of community infrastructure and training needs, such as providing safety and technical training for fleet operators, mechanics, first responders, and code officials; streamlining permitting and procurement processes; and helping public and private fleets integrate petroleum reduction strategies into their operations. Projects include:
Two new PEV-specific apps from OnStar targeted at range anxiety and public charging cost
November 17, 2012
|The new EV Waypoint application will plot a waypoint route with recommended charging stations is the route is beyond the range of a single charge. Source: OnStar. Click to enlarge.|
At the GM Electrification Experience—at which GM previewed the Spark EV (earlier post)—OnStar previewed two new apps for drivers of plug-in vehicles (PEVs): one slated for release to address the possible range anxiety of electric vehicles (Spark EV Waypoint), the other, a concept to address the cost of public charging (Park-Tap-Charge) that leverages Near Field Communication (NFC).
Since the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle launched in late 2010, drivers have been able to manage vehicle charging, including the option to charge during off-peak hours through the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App. As GM expands its electric vehicle line-up next year with the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, more drivers will be able to manage and control electric-only functions from their phone.
GM and ABB demonstrate community energy storage system built from 5 used Volt batteries; Duke Energy testing
November 15, 2012
|GM and ABB partnered to produce a prototype back-up power storage unit that repackages five used Volt batteries into a modular unit that becomes an uninterruptible power supply and grid power balancing system. Click to enlarge.|
During a symposium for the media on GM’s electrification efforts, including a preview of the Spark EV to be unveiled at the LA Auto Show in two weeks, General Motors and ABB showed and demonstrated a new grid distributed micro-storage (at grid scale) system—i.e., a community energy storage system—built from five used Chevrolet Volt batteries.
The modular air-cooled unit, which can provide about 25 kW of power for about 2 hours (50 kWh of energy capacity), is envisioned to be paired with a neighborhood transformer, said Dan Sowder from Duke Energy, which is putting one of the units into test. Duke supports about 4.2 customers per transformer, so this system would benefit those four customers with respect to the value stream, he suggested.
Ford poll finds Europeans want freedom of car ownership, but worry about traffic, cost of driving, environment
November 14, 2012
A new Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll of 6,000 people across Europe found that most Europeans remain committed to car ownership, but have growing concerns about traffic congestion, the cost of driving and the environment. Ford commissioned the survey, conducted by the consultancy The Futures Company, to better understand the opinions and attitudes of Europeans across a range of mobility issues—from car sharing to green driving to the future of the internal combustion engine.
The Ford survey showed the majority of people say life would be “impossible” without a car; however 76% of Europeans say they are affected by stress from traffic congestion and fuel prices. The survey shows 74% use public transport, 37%share cars when making the same journey and 3% use formal car sharing schemes.
NYU-BMW i report explores future urban mobility; sustainability and resilience
November 13, 2012
A new study released by BMW i and New York University (NYU) finds that, in the coming years and decades, fundamental changes in the demographic makeup of cities will profoundly alter the way people travel.
This report, prepared by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with the assistance of Appleseed, a New York City-based consulting firm, examines several aspects of the challenge of urban mobility in the twenty-first century: the growth of the world’s urban population, and changes in the characteristics of that population; emerging patterns of urban mobility; and changes in technology design and connectivity.
GE and Clean Energy Fuels Partner to expand LNG refueling infrastructure in US for trucks; new MicroLNG plants
|GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network. Click to enlarge.|
GE and Clean Energy Fuels are collaborating to expand the infrastructure for natural gas transportation in the United States. The agreement supports Clean Energy’s efforts in developing “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” (earlier post)—a fueling network spanning the contiguous US that will enable trucks to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) coast to coast and border to border.
As part of the collaboration, Clean Energy Fuels will initially purchase two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas. (Earlier post.) The plug-and-play modular units, which are designed to rapidly liquefy natural gas while minimizing a site’s physical footprint, will support fueling stations along major transportation corridors that run across the US. Further underscoring GE’s commitment to expanding natural gas transportation infrastructure, GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants.
NREL launches new alternative transportation web tools; planning, maps, data
November 10, 2012
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has launched a new tool and redesigned DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center Web site to help fleet managers, municipalities and consumers choose from a variety of alternative fuels and energy efficiency strategies for reducing petroleum use, vehicle emissions, and operating costs.
The AFDC’s new Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool is an interactive Web application that allows fleet managers to evaluate the benefits associated with five alternative fuels—biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, natural gas and propane—along with a variety of efficiency measures, such as idle reduction and fuel economy improvements.
Dresser-Rand licenses Expansion Energy VX Cycle technology for small-scale production of LNG
October 26, 2012
|VX Cycle block diagram. Source: Expansion Energy. Click to enlarge.|
Dresser-Rand—among the largest suppliers of rotating equipment solutions to the worldwide oil, gas, petrochemical, and process industries—has entered into a definitive agreement with Expansion Energy LLC under which Dresser-Rand is granted a worldwide exclusive (for capacities up to 100,000 gallons per day) license to Expansion Energy’s proprietary VX Cycle technology for the small-scale production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
Dresser-Rand believes that the patented VX Cycle is the first technology to provide a cost-effective small-scale LNG production process with capacities as low as 1,500 gallons per day—smaller than any other LNG production system commercially available today. The VX Cycle yields approximately 85% LNG from every unit of natural gas that enters the plant, with 15% of the gas used as fuel for the prime mover that converts the NG to LNG, according to Expansion Energy. (A 90/10 ratio of product to fuel is possible with certain optimizations.)
New international interest group to promote harmonized electromobility data standards
October 22, 2012
Hubject GmbH, a joint venture formed by BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, RWE and Siemens earlier this year, and eighteen other companies have formed the “eMobility ICT Interoperability Interest Group”—an international interest group to promote harmonized electromobility data standards. These would support, for example, integrated charging infrastructures and the easier provision of supplementary services.
Electric cars will become more integrated into the intelligent traffic infrastructure and energy networks of the future than conventional combustion engines, with modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) forming the backbone for the integration of electric vehicles into these networks, the partners note. The cooperation between as many service providers as possible provides the foundation needed to ensure a standardized data exchange between all players and to reduce barriers for the users.
New joint report outlines EU and US cooperation on connected vehicle standards
The United States and the European Union (EU) have been working together under a 2009 implementation agreement to develop coordinated research programs to foster international connected vehicle technology and international harmonization of the technology and standards necessary for broad deployment of connected vehicle systems.
To highlight the progress of this bilateral effort, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the European Commission Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (CONNECT) have now published the report “International Deployment of Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems: Bilateral Efforts of the European Commission and United States Department of Transportation.” The report describes joint accomplishments and future plans in the areas of connected vehicle safety, standards harmonization, sustainability applications, assessment tools, and driver distraction and human-machine interaction (HMI).
Study finds households manage charging of PHEVs without help from online tools
October 17, 2012
Households with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) and smart meters actively managed how, when and where they charged their cars based on electricity rates but rarely took advantage of online feedback, according to a two-year study by a team at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).
The study, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales USA with the integral partnership of Xcel Energy, is one of the only of its kind, combining both household and vehicle data in a smart-grid context.
Alaska Pipeline Project partners progressing on massive LNG export project; total cost between $45 to 65+ billion
October 05, 2012
|Concept of the Alaska Southcentral LNG Project. Click to enlarge.|
The partners in the Alaska Pipeline Project (APP)—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, and TransCanada—submitted a letter to Alaska Governor Sean Parnell describing their companies’ progress in advancing an Alaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project. (Earlier post.)
Given the massive size of the Alaska North Slope conventional gas resource (35 trillion cubic feet of reserves and more than 200 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources) and the scope of the project as described by the companies, an Alaska LNG project will be one of the largest in the world. Describing it as “a megaproject of unprecedented scale and challenge”, the partners envision the LNG project entailing up to 1.7 million tons of steel, a peak construction workforce of up to 15,000, a permanent workforce of more than 1,000 in Alaska, and an estimated total cost in today’s dollars of $45 to $65+ billion.
Pike Research forecasts 37% CAGR for EV charging equipment, with 2.4 million units sold in 2020; wireless charging to show strong growth
October 02, 2012
In a new report, Pike Research forecasts that global sales of electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment (EVSE) will grow at a steady pace from 2012 to 2020 as the global market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) grows. The EVSE market will rise from below 200,000 units sold in 2012 to almost 2.4 million in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37%, according to Pike’s projections.
Pike anticipates more than 135,000 PEVs will be sold globally in 2012; the past year accordingly has also seen a major uptick in EVSE deployments, in the number of companies competing in this space, and in the number and types of EVSE on the market. Pike expects more than 80 different models of PEVs will be found on roadways across the globe next year, and at least as many models of charging equipment for residential and commercial customers will be available.
BRUSA starts production of 22 kW NLG6 on-board fast charger for three-phase current
September 07, 2012
|The NLG6 22 kW on-board charger. Click to enlarge.|
Starting this month, BRUSA Elektronik AG will be the first company to produce an on-board battery charger for electric vehicles that is capable of operating on a three-phase current with a power of up to 22 kW. As a result, the fast charger will be able to fully charge the pack in a current typical battery-electric car in less than one hour without a special DC infrastructure.
Cars from a major European car manufacturer equipped with this charger will be available to customers for the first time by end of this year.
Survey of California plug-in vehicle owners highlights charging behavior
August 22, 2012
|California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebates by vehicle type through July 2012. Source: CCSE. Click to enlarge.|
Californians own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), roughly 35% of all plug-in vehicles in the United States. As of July 2012, approximately 1,000 new plug-in vehicles are being sold in the state every month. The more than 12,000 PEVs provide both consumer and environmental benefits, according to a new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). CCSE conducted the survey in support of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).
The study surveyed more than 1,400 PEV owners in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in early 2012. Owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. The study found that owners drive their cars an average of 26 miles per day and charge their vehicles primarily at night.
EPC and WiTricity develop wireless power transfer demo system with high frequency gallium nitride (eGaN) FETs
August 13, 2012
Efficient Power Conversion Corporation (EPC) and WiTricity have jointly developed a high-efficiency wireless power demonstration system utilizing the high-frequency switching capability of gallium nitride transistors. EPC eGaN FETs (field effect transistors) are suited for these systems because of their ability to operate efficiently at high frequency, voltage, and power, the company said.
WiTricity is an MIT spin-off commercializing an approach to “mid-range” wireless charging (distances from a centimeter to several meters) based on sharply resonant strong coupling. (Earlier post.) Capable of transferring power over distance, WiTricity technology enables a wide range of consumer, medical, industrial and automotive applications; the company is already partnering with Delphi and Toyota on automotive applications. (Earlier post.)
CaFCP report concludes California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations by end of 2015 to support first commercial wave of fuel cell vehicles
August 08, 2012
|Map of 68 hydrogen fueling stations: existing, in development and needed. Source: CaFCP. Click to enlarge.|
To support the planned commercial launch of fuel cell electric vehicles by automakers in 2015 (FCEVs), California needs 68 hydrogen fueling stations in five clusters in which most early adopters are expected, according to a new report issued by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). These 68 stations should be in place by the end of 2015 in order to serve adequately the first approximately 20,000 FCEVs, the report finds.
The total cost to expand to 68 stations, and provide operations and maintenance support until the stations become profitable is estimated at $65 million. The initial cluster areas—requiring 45 stations—are Berkeley, San Francisco South Bay, Santa Monica/West Los Angeles, coastal Southern Orange County, and Torrance. An additional 23 stations in areas such as Pasadena and Sacramento will connect these clusters into a regional network and include major destinations such as Napa, Santa Barbara and San Diego.
GM and OnStar sign on as official Pecan Street partners; studying EV services and smart grid interaction
July 24, 2012
OnStar and General Motors are partnering in the Pecan Street Inc.’s smart grid research project in Austin’s Mueller community, the Pecan Street Demonstration. Headquartered at The University of Texas at Austin, Pecan Street Inc. is a research and development organization focused on developing and testing advanced technology, business model and customer behavior surrounding advanced energy management systems.
Chevrolet made 100 Chevrolet Volts available for purchase on a priority basis last September to residents participating the Pecan Street Inc.’s demonstration project, which now has the nation’s highest residential concentration of electric-drive vehicles in place. OnStar and GM are now signing on as an official partner of Pecan Street Inc., to help shape future electric vehicle services.
Qualcomm and Renault announce memorandum of understanding on wireless electric vehicle charging technology
Qualcomm Incorporated and Renault s.a.s. announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning their intended cooperation on the London trial of Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology (earlier post), and their intent with respect to conducting preliminary studies of the integration of this technology into Renault vehicles. Renault will also join the London trial steering committee.
Qualcomm acquired substantially all of the technology and other assets of HaloIPT, a provider of wireless charging technology for electric road vehicles, in November 2011. (Earlier post.) All members of the HaloIPT team joined Qualcomm’s European Innovation Development group based in the UK.
Eaton to develop affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles; liquid piston technology
July 20, 2012
Eaton Corporation will develop an affordable home refueling station for natural gas vehicles, utilizing existing natural gas sources in the home and innovative compressor technology. The effort is funded in part by a $3.4-million grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) MOVE project. (Earlier post.)
The refueling system will use liquid to act as a piston to compress natural gas. (E.g., earlier post.) Innovative heat exchanger technology will improve efficiency and cut cost dramatically. Eaton will collaborate with the University of Minnesota on thermodynamic analysis and modeling to enable the efficient transfer of heat in the compression process.
GE researchers developing at-home chilled natural gas refueling station for NG vehicles
July 18, 2012
|Sketch of the targeted at-home unit. Click to enlarge.|
GE researchers, in partnership with Chart Industries—a global manufacturer of standard and custom-engineered products and systems for cryogenic and heat transfer applications—and scientists at the University of Missouri, have been awarded $1.8 million by the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) (earlier post) to develop an affordable at-home refueling station that would meet ARPA-E’s target of $500 per station and reduce re-fueling times from 5-8 hours to less than 1 hour. The award is part of ARPA-E’s new MOVE (Methane Opportunities For Vehicular Energy) program.
The refueling station design being worked on is fundamentally different from how current re-fueling stations operate. These systems rely on traditional compressor technologies to compress and deliver fuel to a vehicle. The research team from GE, Chart Industries and the University of Missouri will design a system that chills, densifies and transfers compressed natural gas more efficiently. It will be a much simpler design with fewer moving parts, and that will operate quietly and be virtually maintenance-free.
Ford developing a strategy to address urban personal mobility globally; a mobility company, not just an auto company
July 15, 2012
|Rough map of Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility. Click to enlarge.|
Ford Motor Company is mapping out a strategy to address the requirements for personal mobility in the context of the megatrend of increasing global urbanization, both in mature economies as well as in emerging markets. If Ford thinks of itself as a mobility company, rather than just an auto company, said Ford Chairman Bill Ford at the recent, second annual “Go Further with Ford” trend conference, “that really opens up possibilities.”
The Ford chairman had already begun talking about the future of urban personal mobility in the context of ever-increasing congestion at the TED2011 conference in Long Beach. During his keynote address at the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, he outlined a plan for connected cars to help avoid a potential future of what he called “global gridlock—a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources.” (Earlier post.) At the Go Further with Ford conference, he expanded on a broader vision for personal urban mobility supported by an integrated network of different modes of transportation optimized for cities of the future.
CALSTART study concludes zero-emission I-710 freight corridor achievable; hybrid truck with catenary or in-road power most feasible option
July 12, 2012
|I-710 Corridor Study Area. Click to enlarge.|
A study by CALSTART, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commercialize clean transportation technology, has concluded that the development of a heavy-duty vehicle or vehicle system (truck and infrastructure power source) that can move freight through California’s busy I-710 Corridor with zero emissions (ZE) with a 2035 horizon year has no major technological barriers. In fact, the report suggests, there are several technical approaches that can achieve the desired outcome.
Of the possibilities, CALSTART determined that a “dual mode” or “range extender” hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with some EV-only capability was seen as the most feasible solution for achieving the ZE corridor, particularly if combined with an infrastructure power source such as catenary or in-road, which would allow for smaller battery packs aboard the vehicles. The most significant barriers would be a sustainable overall economic and business case and corridor market mechanisms.
International Transport Forum brief suggests Smart Grid and EV technologies could be mutually beneficial; V2X potential
July 06, 2012
A new policy brief published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Transport Forum (ITF) notes that existing electricity systems will need to be reconfigured to support the widespread adoption of electric mobility and suggests that Smart Grid technologies and EVs and EVs could be mutually beneficial. EVs could both benefit from and help to drive forward investment in Smart Grids.
EVs could grow to account for a substantial share of total electricity consumption and peak load, increasing peak demand by over 20% in some long term scenarios, according to the brief. The greater the increase in consumption, the larger the potential benefits from Smart Grid technologies that improve the ability of the electric utility to follow load, and schedule EV charging outside of peak hours.
Pike Research: Europe to have 4.1M EV charging stations by 2020, but needs to address country-specific variations
July 04, 2012
Europe will have more than 2.9 million plug-in vehicles PEVs on its roads by 2020 with more than 4.1 million EV charging stations (electric vehicle supply equipment, EVSE) to support them, according to a new report from Pike Research, “Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment in Europe”.
However, notes the report, the absence of a single alternating current (AC) EV charging connector standard has hampered the deployment of an EV charging infrastructure. The EU has declined to set a standard. The German industry has supported the Type 2 plug (the Mennekes connector) for more than two years, while French and Italian electric equipment manufacturers, united under the umbrella of the EV Plug Alliance—but without the support of a single car company—have supported the Type 3 plug. Renault sells the Fluence EV with a Type 3 connector in France and a Type 2 connector in Germany. If the European EV charging equipment market is to reach its potential, the reports asserts, “these multiple standards cannot last.”
Göteborg Energi orders two Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast bus charging stations for HyperBus project
July 03, 2012
|The Opbrid Bůsbaar stations will be located at the ends of the #60 route. Click to enlarge.|
Göteborg Energi, the electricity provider for the City of Gothenburg, awarded a contract to Opbrid SL (Granada, Spain) to provide two Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast bus charging stations (earlier post) for the HyperBus (Hybrid and Plug-in Extended Range) demonstration project in Gothenburg City. This project will consist of three new Volvo plug-in hybrid buses running in traffic and charging for 5-8 minutes at each end of the #60 bus line.
The plug-in hybrid bus is based on the existing Volvo 7900 hybrid bus design, but with the addition of a larger, energy-optimized battery and the ability to connect to the Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast charging station. Use of the Bůsbaar extends the all-electric range of the hybrid bus to a predicted 75% or more of the route.
Veolia Transdev and IBM collaborate to improve urban transport in cities
June 27, 2012
Veolia Transdev and IBM are collaborating to develop a smarter mobility solution designed to help cities alleviate road congestion, optimize transportation infrastructures and improve the urban traveler experience. The smarter mobility solution brings together Veolia Transdev’s expertise in the public transit industry and IBM’s expertise in managing big data and advanced analytics. Cities will now have the ability to coordinate and connect services across all of its transportation networks, including subways, trams, buses, vehicular and bicycle traffic, and more.
The first application of the smarter mobility solution is being piloted in the City of Lyon, France—the second largest metropolitan area in France outside of Paris—as part of the city’s project.
ACEA, CLEPA AND EURELECTRIC promote single standard for charging plug-in vehicles; EURELECTRIC not keen on fast charging
May 25, 2012
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and the Union of the Electricity Industry (EURELECTRIC)—the association representing the common interests of the electricity industry at the pan-European level—have jointly agreed on the need for a single harmonized plug system (connector types/modes and communication) for the recharging of electric vehicles on both the vehicle and the infrastructure sides.
ACEA has updated its position paper to cover recent developments (earlier post, earlier post), and CLEPA is now co-signatory of the paper. EURELECTRIC has recently issued its own paper reflecting the same position.