Volkswagen gearing up for next-gen Golf with supplier selection; investing $2.2B in family; 75 weeks and counting

The Volkswagen brand is gearing up for the production of the next generation of the Golf family—the Golf 8. Volkswagen plans to invest €1.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) in the model family. In 75 weeks, the eighth generation of this bestseller in the compact segment will roll off the production lines... Read more →


Navigant Research has issued a new iteration of its Leaderboard Report on Autonomous Driving (AD), reflecting the new partnerships, strategic investments and acquisitions made since the early version less than one year ago. The Navigant AD Leaderboard assesses which participants are best-equipped to be the Leaders in developing complete automated... Read more →


With the intention of becoming a key volume supplier in North America, Volkswagen will invest more than $3.3 billion in the region over the next three years. Some $1.2 billion of this will go toward projects in the US. The aim is for the Volkswagen brand to achieve a break-even... Read more →


Geely Holding accelerates drive into commercial vehicles by becoming largest shareholder in truckmaker AB Volvo; $3.3B investment

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely Holding), China’s leading privately-owned automotive group, will acquire Cevian Capital’s entire 8.2% share capital holding and 15.6% voting rights in AB Volvo, the leading Swedish manufacturer of trucks, buses, construction equipment, diesel engines, and marine and industrial engines. Reuters calculated the value of the investment... Read more →


Volkswagen Saxony plants purchasing renewable power

The Volkswagen brand is stepping up the use of renewable energy in production with a view to further reducing its environmental footprint. Starting this year, the three production plants of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH have been supplied with Volkswagen Naturstrom electric power from 100% renewable sources by VW Kraftwerk GmbH. This... Read more →


Groupe Renault, Brilliance form JV for LCVs in China in three segments with three brands; accelerating electrified powertrains

Groupe Renault and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited have signed a contract for the formation of a joint venture to manufacture and sell light commercial vehicles (LCV) under the Jinbei, Renault and Huasong brands with the goal of achieving 150,000 sales annually by 2022 and an acceleration of electrifying powertrains.... Read more →


DOE to award up to $30-60M for advanced nuclear energy technology in FY 2018; $400M over 5 years

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001817) to support development of advanced nuclear energy technology. DOE expects to make up to approximately $30 million to $60 million—contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress—available in FY 2018 awards, subject to the availability of... Read more →


Groupe PSA and Nidec form JV for automotive traction motors

Groupe PSA and Nidec Corporation, through Nidec Leroy-Somer Holding, will form a joint venture in the field of electric traction motors. The JV will develop state of the art high-performance and competitive electric traction motor range for electrified vehicles—including mild-hybrid (MHEV), battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles—to meet the... Read more →


DOE Lab, partners find high concentrations of rare earth elements in American coal basins

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million... Read more →


Toronto study: bursty noise levels from public transport or biking could induce hearing loss

The noise levels to which commuters are exposed while using public transport or while biking could induce hearing loss if experienced repeatedly and over long periods of time, according to a study by researchers at the University of Toronto. Their open-access paper is published in the Journal of Otolaryngology -... Read more →


Sasol bails on $13-$15B US GTL project, divests from Canadian shale; no new greenfield GTL

At the company’s Capital Markets Day 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sasol management said that the company will no longer pursue its proposed ) project in the US (earlier post) and furthermore will not invest in additional greenfields gas-to-liquids (GTL) projects. In January 2015 Sasol announced it was delaying a... Read more →


Toyota Financial Services issues first Euro-denominated Green Bond allocated specifically to the sales of low-emission vehicles; €600M

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) issued its first euro-denominated unsecured Green Bond today, expanding its commitment to the sale of environmentally friendly vehicles. The €600-million (US$704-million) bond will be used to fund the acquisition of new retail finance contracts and beneficial interests in lease contracts for Toyota and Lexus vehicles that... Read more →


Toyota Motor revealed T-HR3, the company’s third-generation humanoid robot. Toyota’s latest robotics platform, designed and developed by Toyota’s Partner Robot Division, will explore new technologies for safely managing physical interactions between robots and their surroundings, as well as a new remote maneuvering system that mirrors user movements to the robot.... Read more →


API: US petroleum demand last month highest for October since 2007; 19.9 mbpd

Total petroleum deliveries in October moved up by 1.1% from October 2016 to average 19.9 million barrels per day, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). These were the highest October deliveries since 2007. Compared with September, total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of US petroleum demand, decreased... Read more →


Ipsos RDA study finds traditional US dealerships often not prepared for EVs

A new study by market research company Ipsos RDA has found that the EV sales process at traditional brand dealers who sell EVs alongside other vehicles, has, in many instances, has not been differentiated from the traditional process and is, in effect, passive. The availability of inventory, as well as... Read more →


Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Terrafugia, a US-based company developing practical flying cars.Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five MIT graduates; since then, the company has delivered a number of working prototypes. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to the market in... Read more →


Carnival Cruise Line signs agreement with Shell to fuel North America’s first LNG-powered cruise ships

Carnival Cruise Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, signed an agreement with Shell NA LNG, LLC (Shell) to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power North America’s first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will supply Carnival Cruise Line with fuel... Read more →


Wuling Motors’ subsidiary and TELD to explore partnership in new energy electric vehicle business

Liuzhou Wuling Motors Industrial Company Ltd., a non-wholly-owned subsidiary of the Wuling Group, and Qingdao Teld New Energy Co., Ltd. (TELD) entered into a Framework Agreement under which Wuling Industrial and TELD will explore the opportunity—and will enter into the Formal Agreement(s) as and when appropriate—to proceed with strategic co-operation... Read more →


New “50 by 50” Commission seeks to halve US transportation energy use by 2050

The Alliance to Save Energy has chartered a national commission of business, government and civil society leaders that will work together to develop a pathway and recommendations to reduce energy use in the US transportation sector by 50% by 2050 while meeting future mobility needs. The “50 by 50” Commission,... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report documenting growth and opportunities in the fuel cell industry. Findings of this year’s Fuel Cell Technologies Market Report position stationary power, backup power, and material handling equipment as some of the largest current markets. However, transportation and energy storage are... Read more →


The “Amazon Effect” Is Coming To Oil Markets

by Irina Slav for Oilprice.com While OPEC mulls over further steps to once again support falling oil prices, tech startups are quietly ushering in a new era in oil and gas: the era of the digital oil field. Much talk has revolved around how software can completely transform the energy... Read more →


Siemens and Alstom to combine mobility businesses; combined revenue of €15.3B

Siemens and Alstom signed a Memorandum of Understanding to combine Siemens’ mobility business including its rail traction drives business, with Alstom. The two businesses are largely complementary in terms of activities and geographies. Siemens will receive newly issued shares in the combined company representing 50 percent of Alstom’s share capital... Read more →


thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel sign MoU to combine European steel activities in 50/50 joint venture

thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combine their European steel activities in a 50/50 joint venture. Their aim is to create a leading European flat steel player to be positioned as quality and technology leader. The new entity is set to have pro-forma sales of... Read more →


Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi 6-year plan sees 12 pure EV models launched on common platforms, 40 models with autonomous drive

The Alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced their six-year plan—Alliance 2022—which sets a new target to double annual synergies to €10 billion by the end of the plan. To achieve this, said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of the Alliance, the three automakers will accelerate their collaboration... Read more →


Mahindra and Ford to explore strategic cooperation to drive profitable growth in India and other emerging markets

Mahindra Group and Ford Motor Company have agreed to explore a strategic alliance designed to leverage the benefits of Ford’s global reach and expertise and Mahindra’s scale in India and successful operating model. The agreement between the two companies will allow each to leverage their mutual strengths during a period... Read more →


Baker Institute expert: crude-oil production increase a risky strategy for Saudi Arabia

A number of factors are pushing Saudi Arabia to raise its crude-oil production capacity, but the wide range of potential outcomes suggests that such an increase is a risky strategy for the kingdom and the global environment, according to a new article by an expert from Rice University’s Baker Institute... Read more →


New analysis based on big data analysis by Lux Research suggests that innovation interest in renewables is declining, after peaking about four years ago. Without continued innovation momentum, the market research firm noted, long-term success driven by further clean energy technology improvements is thrown into question. The Lux Tech Signal... Read more →


Researchers suggest using pharma as model to bring battery innovations to market

The path to bringing more efficient, effective, and economical batteries to market over the last 25 years is overwhelmingly littered with failure. Now, however, in a recent paper published in MRS Energy & Sustainability, Vinayak Dravid, the Abraham Harris chaired professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School... Read more →


CNHTC acquiring 34% of UQM stock; forming new JV for electric propulsion systems in China

UQM Technologies has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement with China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co., Ltd. through its wholly owned subsidiary, Sinotruk (BVI) Limited (collectively, CNHTC), the parent company of Sinotruk, a leading Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer. UQM and CNHTC plan to create a joint venture to... Read more →


The Next Oil Price Spike May Cripple The Industry

by Andreas de Vries and Dr. Salman Ghouri for Oilprice.com Two diametrically opposed views dominate the current debate about where the oil price is heading. On the one hand, there is the view that the price of oil will be “lower for longer”, or even “lower forever”, as the electrification... Read more →


As part of its biggest model offensive yet, Volkswagen is adding a compact-class crossover: the T-Roc. The new crossover slots below the Tiguan with pricing in the €20,000-class segment (Germany) and is based, like the Tiguan and the Atlas/Teramont, on the modular transverse matrix (MQB). Market launch begins in Europe... Read more →


Interest in gasoline engined and hybrid vehicles has jumped in Germany while interest in diesel is falling, according to the latest biennial study on automotive buying trends in that country by leading German fuel retailer Aral. According to the new Trends report, 52% of buyers want a conventional gasoline engine.... Read more →


Using new PM2.5 exposure methods, researchers in China have estimated 1.30 million premature deaths in China in 2013 due to PM2.5. Their findings, presented in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are consistent with other estimates (1.37 million and 1.36 million) calculated using different PM2.5 exposure... Read more →


IHS Markit Survey finds varied autonomy and safety technology preferences for new vehicles

A new IHS Markit survey of five key automotive markets—the US, Canada, China, Germany and the United Kingdom—found that full autonomy technology is not yet popular among a broad audience. On the other hand, the same audience ranked it among the very features they would be willing to pay the... Read more →


Toyota and Mazda enter business and capital alliance; $1.6B plant in US, joint development for electric, connected vehicle tech

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) signed an agreement to enter a business and capital alliance, with the aim of further strengthening their partnership. The companies agreed to: 1) establish a joint venture that produces vehicles in the United States; 2) jointly develop technologies for electric vehicles;... Read more →


The average price of a new light vehicle (including both cars and light trucks) was up to a record $31,790 in 2016, up from the most recent low of $28,243 in 2008. However, the price increase is driven by light trucks, with the $35,289 average truck price for 2016 beaten... Read more →


“Dirty, Difficult, And Dangerous”: Why Millennials Won’t Work In Oil

by Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com Like many industries today, the oil industry is trying to sell its many job opportunities to the fastest growing portion of the global workforce: Millennials. But unlike any other industry, oil and gas is facing more challenges in persuading the environmentally-conscious Millennials that oil is... Read more →


Volvo Cars and Geely to establish JV to boost synergies, accelerate next-gen electrified vehicle technology

Volvo Cars plans to set up a new joint venture technology company with Geely Holding, the Chinese car group, to share existing and future technology, to deepen industrial synergies and to provide the economies of scale that will allow them to develop next generation electrified vehicle technology more rapidly. According... Read more →


BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in GaN Systems; next-gen power electronics

BMW i Ventures has made a strategic investment in GaN Systems, a fabless power transistor company at the forefront of semiconductor technology. Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material that allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance. GaN devices offer a number... Read more →


The Technical Failure That Could Clear The Oil Glut In A Matter Of Weeks

by Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com OPEC exports have come under pressure this week from technical threats to oil fields, with Saudi Arabia’s Manifa problems grabbing the headlines. Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser, while addressing the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul, stated that the outlook for oil supplies is “increasingly worrying”,... Read more →


Every Mazda 2017 US model tested earned IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

All US 2017 Mazda models tested by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the all-new Mazda CX-5, have been awarded the nonprofit organization's highest safety rating, Top Safety Pick+, when equipped with optional front crash prevention and adaptive LED headlights. IIHS evaluates crashworthiness with five tests: moderate... Read more →


Toyota Research Institute launches Toyota AI Ventures with $100M investment

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is investing an initial $100 million to launch Toyota AI Ventures, a new corporate venture capital subsidiary designed to provide early-stage financing to startup technology companies. TRI launches the venture by contributing initial investments it has made in three technology companies: Nauto, SLAMcore and Intuition Robotics.... Read more →


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), one of the organizations at the root of uncovering the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal (earlier post), has published a new analysis of developments and trends in advanced diesel engine technology. The ICCT team—John German and Aaron Isenstadt—concluded that diesels have and will retain... Read more →


Hydro fully acquires Sapa to create a global aluminum company fully integrated across value chain and markets

Norsk Hydro will acquire Orkla’s 50% interest in Sapa—a 50/50 joint venture between Orkla and Hydro formed in 2013, and the world’s largest aluminum extrusion company. The transaction gives Sapa a total enterprise value of NOK 27 billion (US$3.24 billion). Sapa will become a new business area in Hydro named... Read more →


Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America last week submitted supplemental information to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) detailing its proposed charging investment in and benefit to underserved, low-income, and disadvantaged communities in the state as part of its court-mandated investment plan. (Earlier post.) The supplement also adds the Fresno metro area... Read more →


LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), a developer of advanced multi-fuel-capable rotary combustion engine technology, has been awarded a $3-million Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) award from the US Army to develop an innovative ultra-portable 2kW diesel Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS). The RIF process is extremely selective, with only five percent of whitepapers... Read more →


Volkswagen IT expands deep learning competence via partnership with NVIDIA

Volkswagen IT is cooperating with US technology company NVIDIA with a view to expanding its competence in the field of deep learning. At the Volkswagen Data Lab—named the Group’s center of excellence for AI and data analysis—IT experts are developing advanced AI systems with deep learning. The Volkswagen Group is... Read more →


Using a stock-flow model based on data from Norway, a researcher at the country’s Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) has calculated the energy transition time lag for motor vehicles under a number of scenarios. In his paper in the journal Energy Policy, Lasse Fridstrøm finds that in the most optimistic... Read more →


A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates Consumer benefits of increased efficiency in 2025-2030 light-duty vehicles in the US. According to the analysis, under current standards, buyers of model year 2025 vehicles would fully recoup the extra cost for technology in the vehicle in the... Read more →