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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Obama Administration launches series of actions to accelerate EV adoption; inc. $4.5B in loan guarantees, pursuing 350 kW fast charge

July 21, 2016

The Obama Administration has announced a series of actions from the Federal government, private sector, and states, as well as a new framework for collaboration for vehicle manufacturers, electric utilities, electric vehicle charging companies, and states, all geared towards accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and putting more electric vehicles on the road.

The collaboration, forged by the White House in partnership with DOE and the Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Air Force and US Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency, is centered on a set of Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. 46 organizations have signed on to the principles so far.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity to support Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative

July 16, 2016

The US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends (DE-FOA-0001623) to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines.” The FOA (DE-FOA-0001461) will be restricted to US institutions of higher education and non-profit research institutions.

This FOA will support the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative (earlier post), a collaborative initiative being pursued by BETO and VTO to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines.

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BMW introduces its trio of 7 Series plug-in hybrids

July 15, 2016

BMW has introduced its three 7 Series plug-in hybrid luxury sedans: the 740e iPerformance, 740Le iPerformance, and the 740Le xDrive iPerformance. (Earlier post.) The trio source their power from a latest-generation four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. Together, they deliver a system output of 240 kW/326 hp.

The new BMW 740e iPerformance with standard wheelbase and the new BMW 740Le iPerformance with long wheelbase offer combined cycle average gasoline consumption of 2.2–2.0 liters per 100 kilometers (106.8–117.5 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 50–45 grams per kilometer (BMW 740Le iPerformance: 51–45 g/km). The new BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance delivers 2.5–2.1 l/100 km (94-111.9 mpg US) with CO2 emissions combined of 56 –49 g/km). Intelligent all-wheel drive distributes the combined power of the combustion engine and electric motor permanently and as required between the front and rear wheels.

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Navigant: N. American PEV sales to hit almost 200K units this year; ~62% growth y-o-y

June 30, 2016

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales in the US and Canada in 2016 will near 200,000 unit sales, growing by around 62% year-over-year. Navigant further expects significant growth in the North American PEV market over the next few years.

In 2016, Navigant Research expects growth to come from expanding sales of the Tesla Model X and the second-generation Volt, as well as the introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt 200-mile range battery electric vehicle (BEV), the Prius Prime PHEV, the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV later in the year.

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Report: combination of new mobility technologies creates opportunities for cutting emissions, but requires strategic policy interventions

The combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles. However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximize them according to new report by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The study—Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon?— was presented at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference at the Olympic Park in London. According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.

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Kreisel Electric introduces Li-ion home energy storage systems; 9.6 kW output for faster EV charging

June 29, 2016

Austrian manufacturer of high-performance batteries Kreisel Electric (earlier post) has introduced the MAVERO home energy storage system. The Li-ion battery packs are available in four different sizes, with usable capacity ranging from 8 kWh to 22 kWh. The casing is available in two colors and communicates all charge and discharge activities by means of LEDs. First deliveries are planned for early 2017.

MAVERO is a wall-mounted home energy storage system that stores electricity from any renewable energy source. Featuring a sophisticated design and a compact size of 105cm x 140 cm (41" x 55"), the discharge power of the system ranges from 4.8 to 9.6 kW in the voltage range from 288 to 384 V. The system enables accelerated EV charging with 100% self-generated electricity.

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Lux: plug-in vehicle battery market to hit $10B in 2020; 6 carmakers = 90% of demand; VW to show most growth

June 28, 2016

Led by Tesla, China’s BYD, and Volkswagen, the battery market for plug-in vehicles will rise to $10 billion in 2020, with electric vehicles (EV) emerging as the drivetrain of choice, according to a new forecast by Lux Research. Volkswagen will show the most growth as it focuses on plug-ins following its emissions scandal, while Toyota will continue to lag in plug-in sales as it focuses more on hybrids and fuel cells.

Just six large carmakers will account for 90% of the battery demand: Tesla, BYD, Volkswagen, General Motors (GM), Renault-Nissan and BMW. Among battery-makers, Panasonic will keep its lead with 46% market share, followed by BYD, LG Chem, NEC, Samsung SDI and others.

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Wrightspeed named as World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer

Wrightspeed Inc., developer of heavy-duty range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, was named one of the current crop of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers—and was the only purely automotive technology company so selected. Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, Wrightspeed’s the Route (earlier post) is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significant fuel cost reductions for today’s refuse, delivery and mass-transit markets.

Wrightspeed was chosen by a professional jury among hundreds of candidates as one of the 30 selected companies. Advanced Li-ion battery company 24M was also selected this year. (Earlier post.)

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Tesla makes ~$2.8B all-stock offer to acquire SolarCity

June 21, 2016

Tesla Motora has made an all-stock offer worth approximately $2.8B to acquire all of the outstanding shares of solar energy provider SolarCity. Subject to completing due diligence, Tesla is proposing an exchange ratio of 0.122x to 0.131x shares of Tesla common stock for each share of SolarCity common stock. This proposal represents a value of $26.50 to $28.50 per share, or a premium of approximately 21% to 30% over the recent closing price of SolarCity’s shares.

Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk is also Chairman of SolarCity; Antonio Gracias, CEO of investor Valor Management Corp., is on both Tesla and SolarCity boards. Musk and Gracias recused themselves from voting on the proposed acquisition at the Tesla Board meeting, and will recuse themselves from the SolarCity Board meeting which will consider the offer.

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Mercedes-Benz expands plug-in hybrid rollout with 2 models this year; new battery tech in S 500 e in 2017

June 13, 2016

Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will add the seventh and eighth plug-in hybrids to its line up. (Earlier post.) The new GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e will join the S 500 e; C 350 e (Sedan, Wagon and long version for China); the GLE 500 e 4MATIC; and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC. The hybrid (plug-in and conventional) portfolio from Mercedes-Benz currently comprises 13 models.

The E 350 e will use the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors to deliver top rankings in fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism. The E 350 e is also the first hybrid from Mercedes-Benz with a high trailer towing capacity of up to 2,100 kg.

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Mercedes-Benz’ GLC F-CELL fuel-cell plug-in hybrid SUV coming in 2017

Daimler will introduce a series-production fuel-cell plug-in hybrid—the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL—in 2017. (Earlier post.)

The GLC F-CELL features a ~9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack combined with a new fuel cell stack developed in Vancouver, Canada together with partner Ford in the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) joint venture. The combination of fuel cell and battery system—along with a further developed intelligent operating strategy—will offer a combined range of around 500 km (311 miles) in the NEDC.

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Mack Trucks to showcase Wrightspeed turbine-based extended range electric powertrain in Class 8 refuse truck

June 08, 2016

At this week’s WasteExpo2016, Mack Trucks, one of North America’s largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions, will showcase Wrightspeed’s The Route turbine-based extended range electric powertrain (earlier post) applied in a refuse truck.

Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, the award-winning Route is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significantly reduced fuel costs for today’s refuse, delivery and mass transit markets. Wrightspeed counts FedEx, Ratto Group and New Zealand Bus as early Route customers.

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DOE to award $22.3M to accelerate the development of MD, HD plug-in vehicles and use of other sustainable transportation technologies

June 06, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $22.3 million of funding to support research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.

The “Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity Announcement” (DE-FOA-0001535) seeks cost-shared projects across three areas of sustainable transportation technologies.

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2017 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV boosts total range to 610 miles

May 27, 2016

Ford’s 2017 Fusion Energi—incorporating enhancements announced earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show (earlier post)—can travel 610 miles (982 km) on a full tank of gas and battery charge according to EPA estimates to be posted to fueleconomy.gov—the highest combined range of any plug-in hybrid sold in the US. The 2016 model of the Fusion Energi has a combined range of 550 miles (885 km).

The 2017 Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is an estimated 21 miles (33.8 km). If there is gas in the tank, the car will then operate for about a mile using both battery and gas. After that, the gas engine kicks in for another 588 miles (946 km) of range, according to EPA estimates. The 2016 Fusion Energi has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 19 miles (30.6 km).

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PSA Group outlines electrification solutions for future hybrid and electric vehicles; 4 EVs, 7 PHEVs by 2021

May 25, 2016

At its Innovation Day event, PSA Group presented its new electrification strategy. PSA Group is consolidating the development of its models on two global modular platforms—CMP and EMP2—allowing it to offer a wide range of internal combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid gasoline models from 2019.

Both platforms are optimized and lighter (25kg for EMP2 and 40kg for CMP) than current platforms, and offer greater modularity in terms of length, width, height and wheel diameter. Both platforms will be compatible with the manufacturing resources put in place as part of the Plant of the Future program. (Earlier post.)

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PSA Group outlines powertrain production strategy: gasoline PHEVs, EVs and next-gen diesel and gasoline engines

As part of the energy transition process and in line with the technological offensive spelled out in its Push to Pass strategic plan (earlier post), PSA Group will focus on diversifying its offerings with plug-in hybrid gasoline systems and next-generation electric powertrains. The latter will be used in particular to equip e-CMP, its future electric platform developed in partnership with Dongfeng Motors. (Earlier post.) At the same time, the Group will continue to develop next-generation internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel.

For strategic reasons, PSA Group will manufacture the main electric powertrain components in France, signalling its determination to develop high-tech operations in profitable niche markets. The electric powertrain will be produced at the Trémery/Metz centre of excellence, while the gear systems will be manufactured at the Valenciennes plant.

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GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW

May 24, 2016

GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)

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Geely raises $400M via Green Bonds sale to develop and produce TX5 range-extended electric London taxis

May 22, 2016

China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has raised $400 million through the first Green Bond sale on the offshore market from a Chinese automobile company to support the design, development and production of range-extended electric vehicles by its UK subsidiary, the LondonTaxi Company (LTC), manufacturer of the iconic London Black Cab. The plug-in hybrid TX5 London Cab will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and in international markets in 2018.

ZGH is investing £300 million (US$435 million) in LTC’s new research and production facility in Ansty in the West Midlands region of the UK to develop the next-generation TX5. The new model was unveiled last October in London in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK. In addition to a new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite paneling, the TX5 benefits from a range-extended battery-electric vehicle system.

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Volvo Cars unveils CMA-based 40 series concepts; battery-electric and PHEV versions; first production in 2017

May 18, 2016

Volvo Cars unveiled two new 40 series concept cars, marking the official launch of its global small car strategy. The first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017.

The new concept cars will be the first built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post), which has been specially created for smaller cars. Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally. (Earlier post.)

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SAE International approves TIR J2954 for PH/EV wireless charging; targeting finalized standard by 2018

SAE International approved for publishing “SAE TIR J2954 Wireless Power Transfer for Light-Duty Plug-In/ Electric Vehicles and Alignment Methodology,” a milestone industry guideline to establish wireless power transfer between infrastructure, vehicle suppliers and OEMs for plug-in electric and electric vehicles (PH/EV). (Earlier post.) The document will be available from the SAE website on 31 May.

With wireless charging quickly becoming mainstream for consumer electronic devices in low power applications, standardization is needed for commercialization of high power wireless power transfer (WPT) of PH/EVs. (The current SAE Standard SAE J1772 establishes the wired charging standard.)

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California to award $23.6M for zero-emission drayage trucks at seaports; BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo

May 05, 2016

The State of California is awarding $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for a statewide zero-emission drayage truck development and demonstration project. This is the first large-scale demonstration of zero-emission Class 8 trucks that involves major manufacturers, including BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt (both Paccar companies) and Volvo. The companies receiving funds have the engineering resources, manufacturing capabilities and distribution networks to support commercialization of advanced technologies related to moving freight to and from the ports.

The South Coast air district is teaming up with air districts in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego and San Joaquin Valley to make the project a statewide demonstration of 43 zero-emission battery electric and plug-in hybrid drayage trucks built by the four manufacturers serving major California ports. Demonstration trucks and charging infrastructure will be used in all five air districts, providing emission reduction benefits in key areas of California with drayage truck activity.

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UPS updates 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric step vans with smaller genset engine for better fuel economy

May 03, 2016

UPS announced an update to 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric delivery trucks that improve fuel economy as part of the company’s broader Rolling Laboratory approach.

A compact, quiet-running 650cc 2-cylinder engine replaces the previous 2.4L 4-cylinder engine; charging capability remains the same, as does the electric range. The smaller engine will improve fuel economy, however. The updated trucks, which were originally purchased in September 2015, deliver up to four times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle, UPS said. The trucks will be deployed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Texas later this year.

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Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA to integrate self-driving technology into 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

The Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA announced will collaborate to integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans (earlier post) to expand Google’s existing self-driving test program. This marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company’s respective expertise. FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.

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Efficient Drivetrains now offering OEM developer kit for plug-in hybrid solutions

May 02, 2016

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of advanced hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions, has expanded its product portfolio to include the EDI PowerDrive electrification kit and developer support program for vehicle manufacturers moving to create a PHEV offering.

The EDI PowerDrive kit offers OEMs a comprehensive framework for rapid PHEV vehicle solution development. Electrification kits include a high-efficiency drivetrain (EDI PowerDrive); vehicle control and telematics software (EDI PowerSuite); and the training and support infrastructure to enable OEMs to drive quicker time to market in offering PHEV and EV vehicles.

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Volkswagen again reaffirms 20 new PEV models coming across the Group; MEB development

April 29, 2016

In his remarks at the Annual Media Conference, where the Group presented 2015 results, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said that 2016 will be a year of transition for Volkswagen, and will also see the accelerated transformation of the company.

The Group is currently working on the further development of its strategy, to be presented mid-year. This will focus on the major fields of future importance in the industry—such as digitalization, networking, e-mobility and new mobility services. Although Volkswagen is already addressing all of these fields, it will in the future do so “in a much more systematic and focused manner. Our Strategy 2025 will provide the framework for this," Müller said.

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Germany pumping €1B into plug-in vehicle subsidies, infrastructure; base price cap of €60K

April 27, 2016

The German government will put approximately €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) into subsidies for plug-in vehicles and the supporting charging infrastructure, beginning next month.

Electric car buyers will receive a €4,000 (US$4,500) subsidy; buyers of plug-ins will receive €3,000 (US$3,400). Half of the amount will be provided by the government, the other half by automakers. The total funding is limited to €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion) (€600 million from the federal government, €600 million from the auto industry) and has a term expiring no later than 2019.

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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.

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Volkswagen unveils T-Prime Concept GTE AWD plug-in hybrid SUV at Auto China 2016

April 25, 2016

Volkswagen unveiled the T-Prime Concept GTE all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid in a world premiere at Auto China 2016 in Beijing. The concept fulls-size SUV previews the future Volkswagen SUV.

The T-Prime Concept GTE features Volkswagen’s new Curved Interaction Area—a new digital display and control concept. The innovative curved infotainment display merges with the interactive displays and controls, resulting in a new human-machine interface (HMI) that is intuitive, precise, and fun-to-use.

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Toyota to launch two new plug-in hybrid models in China; Corolla and Levin

April 24, 2016

On the eve of the 2016 Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, Toyota announced that it will launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin—two mass-market models, both of which have conventional hybrid variants—in China during 2018.

In 2005, based on long-term plans to encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly vehicles in the country, Toyota selected China as the first location for production of its hybrid flagship, the Prius, outside of Japan.

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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.

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PHEVLERs are the Zero CO2 Clean Green Machines of the Future

by Professor Andrew Alfonso Frank, CTO Efficient Drivetrains Inc. and UC-Davis Emeritus,
Bruce R. Thomas and Catherine J DeMauro

Abstract. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle with Long Electric Range (PHEVLER - pronounced “fevler”) is a new category emerging in the electric vehicle marketplace. PHEVLERs are defined as PHEVs with sufficient battery capacity for all electric driving of twice the average daily distance.[1] The average daily driving distance in the USA is 30 miles (48 km), so PHEVLERs are vehicles with at least 60 miles (97 km) of electric range. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt with an electric range of 53 miles[2] is the first commercial car that almost qualifies as a PHEVLER.

PHEVLERs[3] are a disruptive technology that will help revolutionize both the clean transportation and the clean stationary energy sectors of our economy. These vehicles are the green machines that will provide a critical part of the renewable and sustainable society that we need for the future.[4]

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Edmunds.com: EV and hybrid loyalty falls to all-time low

April 21, 2016

Only 27.5% of all hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins in the US in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of another hybrid or EV, according to a new analysis from car shopping destination Edmunds.com. The rate is a sharp drop from the 38.5% of hybrid and EV trade-ins in 2015, and the findings reinforce a trend first identified last year by Edmunds that owners of alt-fuel vehicles are returning to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles in greater numbers than ever before.

Edmunds’ analysis found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8%) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins—25.7% of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8% that went toward another EV.

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Honda to add battery-electric, plug-in hybrid variants to Clarity platform; new 2017 Accord Hybrid

Honda announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post) will be joined by two additional electrified variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the US in 2017. In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

Clarity. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform. (Hyundai’s IONIQ platform comes with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars sets target of 1M electrified cars sold by 2025

Volvo Cars aims to sell a total of up to one million electrified cars by 2025. The Swedish company plans to achieve this aim by offering at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and releasing the first all-electric car in 2019.

Volvo Cars has been readying itself for the emergence of electrified vehicles for the last five years. It has developed two all new vehicle architectures for larger and smaller cars—Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) (earlier post) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post)—that can incorporate either hybrid or fully electric car technology.

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Wrightspeed in $30M deal to provide range-extended electric powertrains to NZ Bus

Wrightspeed Inc. announced a US$30M deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, New Zealand’s largest operator of urban bus services. Under the terms of the deal, Wrightspeed will provide its Route 500 heavy-duty range-extended electric powertrain technology to NZ Bus. The move marks Wrightspeed’s first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications into mass transit, signaling multinational and multimodal demand for the company’s powertrain technology.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) replacement powertrain that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing both the engine and the transmission. The Route electric powertrain drives more low-end torque to the wheels than conventional diesel engines, with less fuel, less emissions, and less noise. The on-board turbine generator, the Fulcrum, eliminates range anxiety.

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GKN supplying eAxle to plug-in hybrid Volvo S90

April 18, 2016

GKN Driveline, which works as a development partner on all-wheel drive and plug-in hybrid systems for Volvo Cars, is producing an eAxle system for the new Volvo S90 plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.) The eAxle system fits in the same space as a standard rear drive module, enabling Volvo Cars to offer customers a plug-in hybrid as a simple, high-performance upgrade.

GKN’s eAxle takes power from a 65 kW, 240 N·m electric machine with a nominal maximum input speed of 13,000 rpm and, via a two-stage single speed gearbox with a ratio of 10:1, delivers a nominal output torque of 2400 N·m.

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Audi summarizes electric driving utilization from 4-year Electric Mobility Showcase; 1.4M km for A1 e-tron and A3 Sportback e-tron

April 14, 2016

Audi gained a wealth of experience from the 1.4 million kilometers (869,919.7 mi) driven as part of the four-year Electric Mobility Showcase in Germany. (Earlier post.) Ahead of the closing conference in Leipzig today, Audi revealed some of the electric driving results for its two models involved: the A1 e-tron prototype and the production A3 Sportback e-tron.

The Electric Mobility Showcase program is a joint initiative of the German government and the automotive industry. Four ministries lent their support to 90 individual measures in four regions of Germany. Audi was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to sign up to the program; when Audi entered in 2012, it was involved in six projects for which it provided a fleet of 80 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes.

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Cal Energy Commission approves ~$9M for DC fast chargers; $12.6M for NGV incentives

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.

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NREL releases study on public sentiments on PEVs

April 12, 2016

NREL has released a new report presenting the findings of a study on the public’s sentiments regarding plug-in vehicles (PEVs), with a focus on vehicle purchasing behaviors, awareness, and barriers to acceptance.

Conducted in February 2015, the study—“Consumer Views on Plug-in Electric Vehicles-National Benchmark Report”—covered a 1,015-household sample designed to be representative of the US population. NREL plans to repeat the study annually to track changing consumer perceptions. High level findings from the study included:

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VW reopens Transparent Factory as showcase for electric mobility and digitalization; rebuilding plant for electric and premium models

Volkswagen has reopened its Dresden Transparent Factory (Gläserne Manufaktur) as a new Volkswagen brand showcase for electromobility and digitalization; the site had closed for 10 days to carry out the necessary modifications for around 50 interactive exhibits and vehicles allowing visitors to experience future mobility first-hand.

The new exhibition is just the first step in an extensive rebuild of the Transparent Factory, which opened in 2001 specifically to manufacture the Phaeton. (Volkswagen ceased production of the Phaeton in March.) One of the exhibition highlights is a half-hour test drive with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Volkswagen’s concept four-door Sport Coupé Concept GTE (earlier post) plug-in hybrid sports car is also showcased.

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CMU county-level study shows plug-ins have larger or smaller lifecycle GHG than gasoline ICE depending on regional factors

April 09, 2016

A US-wide county-level study comparing lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from several light-duty passenger gasoline and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has found that PEVs can have larger or smaller carbon footprints than gasoline vehicles depending on regional factors and the specific vehicle models being compared.

The team from Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek accounted for regional differences in emissions due to marginal grid mix; ambient temperature; patterns of vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and driving conditions (city versus highway). Their open-access paper is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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Cummins-led team awarded $4.5M to develop Class 6 PHEV that reduces fuel use by 50%

April 07, 2016

Cummins Inc. has been awarded a $4.5-million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% over conventional Class 6 vehicles. (Earlier post.) When fully loaded, Class 6 vehicles weigh between approximately 19,000 and 26,000 pounds; typical examples include school buses or single-axle work trucks.

With their expertise in internal combustion engines and related products, Cummins researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.

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Borgward picks SAP, LG and Bosch as strategic partners in electric mobility; PHEVs and EVs

April 01, 2016

Borgward Group AG, the reincarnation of the German automaker that ceased operations in 1961, has formed a long-term strategic partnership with the SAP, LG Electronics and Robert Bosch GmbH to support its plan to launch sales in Europe with plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The agreements govern the development and delivery of various parts and components, particularly those related to electric mobility.

The strategic partnership with LG Electronics encompasses the joint development and delivery of high-performance batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Moreover, Borgward and LG will jointly develop electric vehicle components such as electric air-conditioning compressors.

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Ricardo licenses Qualcomm wireless EV charging technology for commercialization

Ricardo has licensed Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology to commercialize WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEVs) and Electric Vehicles (EVs). (Earlier post.)

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.

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Hyundai unveils Ioniq HEV, PHEV and EV for US market at New York show

March 24, 2016

Hyundai Motor America introduced the Ioniq Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Electric models for the US market at the New York International Auto Show; the full line of three electrified variants made their global debut earlier this year at the Geneva show. (Earlier post). Ioniq is the first to offer three distinct electrified powertrains on a single, dedicated vehicle platform.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid both feature a new Kappa 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a thermal efficiency of 40%, delivering an estimated 104 horsepower (78 kW) and an estimated 109 lb-ft (148 N·m) of torque. This engine has been specifically tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a smooth shifting six-speed double-clutch transmission—intended to differentiate Ioniq from its key competitors with a more dynamic and engaging driving experience.

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VW BUDD-e EV concept makes US auto show debut; 233-mile range based on EPA cycle; next-gen connectivity and HMI

March 23, 2016

Building on its unveiling at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (earlier post), the Volkswagen BUDD-e electric vehicle concept is making its US auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show.

The first vehicle based on the all-new Modular Electric Platform (MEB) designed specifically for plug-in vehicles, the BUDD-e with its 101 kWh battery pack offers a range of up to 373 miles (600 km) based on the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), or up to 233 miles (375 km) based on EPA drive cycle) miles.

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Toyota doubles the electric range in the new version of Prius PHEV with 8.8 kWh pack

Toyota unveiled the new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Toyota expects the Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) to be the highest MPGe rating of any current plug-in hybrid. It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, the Prius PHV, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback.

Toyota also expects the Prius Prime, equipped with an 8.8 kWh battery pack, to offer an estimated 22 miles (35.4 km) of all-electric range—twice the electric range of the previous model with its 4.4 kWh pack—and to drive at speeds up to 84 mph (135 km/h).

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BMW prices 330e iPerformance PHEV in US starting at $44,695; 14 miles AER

March 22, 2016

BMW is bringing its new 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid (earlier post) to US dealers this summer starting at $44,695 including Destination and Handling.

The BMW 330e iPerformance offers a system output of 248 hp and peak torque of 310 lb-ft (420 N·m), allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h). All-electric driving is possible at speeds of up to 75 mph (121 km/h) and with a range (AER) of around 14 miles (22.5 km).

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GM 5-year growth strategy for China; 10 New Energy Vehicles in the coming mix

March 21, 2016

Between now and 2020, GM and its joint ventures plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in China, including 13 this year, with a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles.

During the period, GM and its joint ventures will roll out more than 10 new energy vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands. They will include the Shanghai-built Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (earlier post), which will go on sale later this year.

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MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges

March 16, 2016

A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.

According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.

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GKN Driveline introducing eAxle for mass-market C-segment vehicles

March 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed an eAxle module—derived from the technology used in cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8—that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%.

The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to just 20.9 kg (46 lbs) while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000 N·m torque and 65 kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode.

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Mercedes-Benz launches new E-Class; new engines, PHEV, driver assistance systems; DRIVE PILOT

March 09, 2016

Mercedes-Benz has launched the new tenth-generation E-Class, introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this January. (Earlier post.) The new generation features technology innovations in a number of areas, including driver assistance and powertrains, with new efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid version.

Initially, the E 200 d models of the new E-Class will be available with an all-new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine (earlier post), while the E 200 will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 350 d by a six-cylinder diesel.

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Volvo Cars calls for global standardized electric car charging, joins CharIN CCS effort

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.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined; stop/start and PHEV still to come

March 08, 2016

The gasoline-powered version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan has earned a highway-cycle fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg US (8.4 l/100km) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—a benchmark unsurpassed by any minivan on the US market and 12% better than the vehicle Pacifica replaces.

The Chrysler brand’s all-new minivan also has a calculated lifecycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) 9% less than the outgoing vehicle. GWP considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of its consumption. FCA US LLC engineers used industry-standard software to calculate and compare the all-new Pacifica’s GWP with that of the outgoing vehicle over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) of operation.

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Juniper forecasts HEV & EV sales to total 17M by 2020; Tesla ranked leading EV manufacturer

A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that nearly 17 million hybrid and electric vehicles will be on the road by 2020, up from an estimated 12 million last year.

Juniper believes that stakeholders primarily need to establish the viability and desirability of electric vehicles with consumers, and adopt an aggressive market strategy including the rolling out of a wide-scale public charging infrastructure that is seen as both ongoing and committed; improving vehicle battery life and range per charge; and conducting effective consumer education campaigns, with attractive incentives to change.

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Fuji Heavy outlines next-gen “Subaru Global Platform”; improved performance, adaptable to electrification

March 07, 2016

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, outlined the Subaru Global Platform which is currently under development as the architecture to be used for all the company’s next-generation vehicles.

The next-generation platform looks ahead to 2025. The main features include Subaru’s biggest-ever enhancement in overall vehicle performance, with an emotionally engaging “dynamic feel” that goes beyond high performance; the highest levels of safety; and a single design concept for development of all models, adaptable to electrification in the future.

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Study suggests policymakers need to move beyond alt fuels hype to decarbonize transport successfully

March 02, 2016

Policymakers who want to decarbonize the transportation sector will need to move beyond the hype that has characterized alternative fuels over the past three decades and find better ways to assess and sustain promising technologies and fuels, according to a study from Simon Fraser University, Canadian consulting firm Navius Research, and the University of California, Davis.

In the study, published in the journal Nature Energy, Noel Melton, Jonn Axsen and Daniel Sperling conduct a media analysis to show how society’s attention has skipped among alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) technology between 1980 and 2013, including methanol, natural gas, plug-in electric, hybrid electric, hydrogen and biofuels. They then make recommendations that governments can follow to move past hype to support significant AFV adoption and displace fossil fuel use in the transportation sector.

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Škoda showcases MQB-based plug-in hybrid VisionS concept at Geneva; production PHEV in 2019, followed by BEV

Volkswagen Group company Škoda is showcasing its VisionS plug-in hybrid concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. The Škoda VisionS incorporates the brand’s new design language, carrying it over into the SUV segment. The plug-in hybrid drive system is a preview of a similar drive system being tested for production cars, said Škoda CEO Bernhard Maier.

Based on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), this is Škoda’s first vehicle to feature six seats across three rows.

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Volkswagen launches new luxury flagship Phideon at Geneva; plug-in hybrid drive planned; first VW brand car based on MLB

March 01, 2016

Volkswagen unveiled the new Volkswagen Phideon luxury sedan ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show 2016. The future of Volkswagen’s premium segment will go into production in China initially for the China market in the third quarter of 2016.

The new Phideon was developed in Germany with the assistance of VW’s Chinese partner SAIC Volkswagen. The sedan will be offered with high-efficiency turbocharged gasoline TSI engines, and a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned.

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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.

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Hyundai unveiling full IONIQ line at Geneva: HEV, PHEV and BEV

February 24, 2016

Hyundai will unveil all the members—hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric—of its IONIQ range at the Geneva Motor Show next week. In January, Hyundai released initial details on the new IONIQ dedicated hybrid—the first version of the platform to come to market. (Earlier post.)

The IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in both feature the new Kappa 1.6 GDI, gasoline direct injection, four-cylinder engine featuring a thermal efficiency of 40% and 104 hp (77 kW) and 147 N·m (57 lb-ft) of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a six-speed double clutch transmission to enable a more dynamic driving experience than some other hybrids. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension enhances driving dynamics.

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Honda targeting 2/3 of unit sales from PHEVs, HEVs and ZEVs by ~2030; PHEVs the core of electrification

At a press event in Tokyo to lay out his future vision and direction for the company, Honda Motor President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that the company will strive to make two-thirds of its overall unit sales from plug-in hybrid/hybrid vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs by around 2030.

Hachigo said that Honda will will position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future and will introduce an all-new plug-in hybrid model in North America by 2018. After that, Honda will make a plug-in hybrid type available for the major models and increase the number of models sequentially.

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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.

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GM’s new RWD PHEV system for Cadillac CT6 designed for fun-to-drive high performance as well as efficiency; Volt on steroids

February 19, 2016

In a preview of three detailed papers to be presented at the SAE World Congress in April, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of electrification, and Pete Savagian, GM General Director of electric drives and systems engineering, provided a technical overview of the new rear-wheel drive PHEV propulsion system for the Cadillac CT6 (earlier post) at the recent SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in Anaheim.

The efficient and very fun-to-drive system, with 335 kW (449 hp) combined system power, propels the CT6 from 0-100 km in 5.6 seconds; delivers an all-electric range of more than 60 km (37 miles) and an all-electric top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph); and features combined fuel consumption of less than 2.0 L/100 km (117.7 mpg US).

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Volvo Cars reveals new V90 wagon; PHEV model with ~31-mile electric range

February 18, 2016

Volvo unveiled its new Volvo V90 wagon in Stockholm, Sweden. The V90 is the latest in the premium car maker’s top-of-the-line 90 series sitting alongside the award winning XC90 SUV (earlier post) and the recently-launched S90 premium sedan.

The 90 series vehicles are built on the company’s specially-designed and fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). (Earlier post.) The V90, like the XC90 and the S90, offers the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, delivering up to around 410 hp.

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Daimler managers to drive PHEV company cars

February 16, 2016

As policy, Daimler managers will be driving electrified company cars—mainly its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. Furthermore, Daimler this year will invest a further €30 million (US$34 million) into extending the company’s own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.

The agreement applies to the company’s senior levels of management and focuses on plug-in hybrids. Daimler AG believes that the technology offered by these vehicles provides a key to zero-emission driving and is therefore expanding its product portfolio with plug-in hybrid drive systems. The models already presented and mostly already introduced to the market are the S 500 e in sedan, the C 350 e in sedan, wagon and extended-wheelbase versions, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC and the new E 350 e sedan.

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BMW introduces iPerformance designation, starting with three 7-Series plug-ins

February 12, 2016

At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, BMW will officially introduce the new iPerformance model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in July 2016, as a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.

In order to make BMW’s electrification strategy visible from the outside, all iPerformance models will display a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar. BMW iPerformance will celebrate its premiere in the new BMW 7 Series luxury sedan through the plug-in hybrid members of the line-up: the new BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance.

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Kia introduces 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in Hybrid at Chicago

Kia unveiled three major hybrid offerings at the Chicago Auto Show: the 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle; the new Optima Hybrid; and the new Optima Plug-in Hybrid. While the Niro Hybrid was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global green car line-up by 2020.

The Niro features an all-new, advanced Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency.

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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.

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UC Riverside reinforcement-learning-based real-time energy management system can improve PHEV efficiency by almost 12%

February 09, 2016

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have demonstrated that a new, data-driven, reinforcement-learning-based, real-time energy management system (EMS) can improve the efficiency of current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by almost 12% compared to the standard, binary mode control strategy. The UCR EMS optimizes the power-split control in real time while learning the optimal decisions from historical driving cycles.

Further, the ~12% improvement does not factor in charging opportunities. An 8% fuel saving—again, compared to the standard binary mode EMS—can be achieved when charging opportunities are considered, the researchers said in a paper describing the system in the journal Transportation Research Record.

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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.)

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Volkswagen Group confirms 20 more EV or PHEV models by 2020; Müller says Europe needs to lead with electric mobility

January 26, 2016

At the Volkswagen Group’s New Year reception in Brussels, Group CEO Matthias Müller said that the Group would concentrate on sustainability more than ever before—encompassing products, strategy and management. Müller will present the new Strategy 2025 for the Group this summer.

Among other things, the company’s brands will introduce about 20 additional models with electrical or plug-in hybrid drive trains by 2020, the CEO confirmed. (That number had been put forth by former CEO Martin Winterkorn at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. Earlier post.) The Volkswagen Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries.

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ExxonMobil projects 25% energy demand increase between 2014-2040, 50% decline in carbon intensity; hybrids to be 40% of new car sales

January 25, 2016

Global energy demand will increase 25% between 2014 and 2040, driven by population growth and economic expansion, ExxonMobil forecasts in the 2016 edition of its annual The Outlook for Energy. At the same time, energy efficiency gains and increased use of renewable energy sources and lower carbon fuels, such as natural gas, are expected to help reduce by half the carbon intensity of the global economy.

During the period, the world’s population will increase by about 2 billion people and emerging economies will continue to expand significantly, according to the forecast. Most growth in energy demand will occur in developing nations that are not part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Per capita income in those countries is likely to increase by 135%.

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New BMW Brilliance engine plant with light metal foundry in China; high-voltage battery production to come

January 22, 2016

BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) opened a new engine plant with a light metal foundry in Shenyang today. The new location will produce the latest generation of the BMW TwinPower Turbo three and four-cylinder gasoline engines and forms part of the BBA production network based in Shenyang in Northeastern China.

In addition to combustion engines, the new engine plant will also produce high-voltage batteries for future Plug-in Hybrid models. As with engine assembly, this project will entail close cooperation between BBA and the BMW Group to ensure knowledge transfer from high-voltage battery production in Germany.

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DOE announces $58M in funding for advanced vehicle technologies

January 21, 2016

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz used the Washington DC Auto show as the venue to announce $58 million in funding for vehicle technology advancements. (Earlier post.) (DE-FOA-0001384: Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement) DOE also released a report highlighting the successes of itsAdvanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.

Pre-announced in December, a $55-million funding opportunity will solicit projects across vehicle technologies such as energy storage, electric drive systems, materials, fuels and lubricants and advanced combustion. Secretary Moniz also announced that two innovative projects at CALSTART and the National Association of Regional Councils will receive $3 million to develop systems that help companies combine their purchasing of advanced vehicles, components, and infrastructure to reduce incremental cost and achieve economies of scale.

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Mercedes-Benz introduces new E-Class with PHEV version coming

January 13, 2016

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz introduced the 10th generation of its E-Class. The new sedans feature the world premiere of a number of technical innovations including additional driver assistance, infotainment and control systems.

The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine. Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch, including the E 350 e plug-in hybrid. The E 350 e will deliver some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of all-electric range.

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Chrysler introduces Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan; 80 mpge city, 30-mile AER

January 11, 2016

Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica minivan in both conventional and plug-in hybrid versions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The PHEV is the minivan segment’s first.

The Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe based on US Environmental Protection Agency standards.

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Volkswagen unveils Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid concept SUV at Detroit show; MQB-based SUV

Volkswagen is unveiling the Tiguan GTE Active Concept plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The five-seat concept is based on the completely redeveloped second-generation Tiguan—the first SUV to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB)—which will arrive in the US market in 2017 with a longer wheelbase and available seven-seat functionality. For Volkswagen, the new Tiguan marks the kickoff of an SUV product offensive that will significantly expand the range of vehicles offered, especially in North America.

The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is equipped with a turbocharged and direct-injection TSI gasoline engine that produces 148 hp (110 kW) and 184 lb-ft (201 N·m) of torque, mated to two electric motors: 40 kW on the front axle and 85 kW on the rear. The total system power of 221 hp (165 kW) can supply all four wheels with propulsive force under off-road conditions and the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system also boosts traction and contributes to active safety on normal pavement.

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Bain: Germany’s goal of 1M electric cars by 2020 is unattainable; fewer than 50,000 units on road by end of this year

December 23, 2015

The German Federal Government plan to have one million electric cars on its roads by 2020 has failed, according to the analysis of international management consulting firm Bain & Company. By the end of 2015, there will be a total of about 50,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids on the roads in Germany (about 75% below plan); nevertheless, structural transformation towards electromobility is continuing, according to the firm.

Stricter emission laws and the technological advances in electric drives will accelerate the trend towards e-mobility in the medium term, Bain said.

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Mercedes-Benz publishes lifecycle analysis of its first PHEV SUV: GLE 500 e

December 22, 2015

Mercedes-Benz has released the lifecycle analysis for its first plug-in hybrid SUV, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC (GLE 550e in the US). (Earlier post.)

The GLE 500 e 4MATIC burns 3.7–3.3 liters of fuel for every 100 km (63.5 to 71.2 mpge), equating to CO2 emissions of 84–78 g/km; electric power consumption is 16.7 kWh per 100 km. All-electric range is up to 30 km (18.6 miles), and all-electric top speed is 130 km/h (81 mph)—corresponding to the recommended speed on German autobahns.

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Navigant forecasts global light duty electrified vehicle sales to exceed 6.0M in 2024; PEVs to account for roughly half

December 21, 2015

In a new report, Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts, Navigant research projects that under its base scenario, global sales of light duty electrified vehicles (i.e., vehicles that use electricity for traction, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electrics) will grow from 2.6 million vehicle sales in 2015 to more than 6.0 million in 2024.

Under a conservative scenario, Navigant forecasts more than 5.8 million electrified vehicles by 2024, while the aggressive scenario sees more than 6.4 million. Navigant estimates that sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) accounted for roughly 19% of electrified vehicle sales in 2015; in 2024, Navigant expects light duty PEVs to capture between 47% and 51% of the electrified vehicle market.

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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.

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FEV-developed plug-in hybrid battery pack moves into series production

December 11, 2015

A plug-in hybrid vehicle has gone into series production with technology provided by FEV. In addition to using an innovative transmission concept based on a FEV patent, the PHEV also uses an FEV-developed battery pack. The pack offers a capacity of 10 kWh and yields an all-electric range of about 50 kilometers (30 miles).

FEV was responsible as a turn-key partner for the development of the battery hardware and software, throughout the development of the overall concept, as well as for testing and validation. Future production will be undertaken by suppliers in the Asian market.

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Ford investing additional $4.5B to add 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020; new fast-charging Focus Electric next year

December 10, 2015

Ford is investing an additional $4.5 billion to add 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by 2020, when more than 40% of the company’s global nameplates will come in electrified versions. Although Ford is currently the second-largest vendor of electrified vehicles in the US, having sold more than 450,000 units since the introduction of its first hybrid (the Escape Hybrid) in 2004 (earlier post), it has not brought a new electrified vehicle model to its US showrooms since the Focus Energi plug-in hybrid in February 2013.

The new $4.5B infusion is Ford’s largest-ever electrified vehicle investment in a five-year period.

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Hyundai introduces IONIQ: compact car with BEV, PHEV or HEV powertrains

December 07, 2015

Hyundai Motor announced the name of its advanced, alternative-fuel compact vehicle due for launch in 2016: the Hyundai IONIQ. The car will be available with battery-electric electric (BEV), plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid (PHEV), or gasoline/electric hybrid (HEV) powertrains—the first car from any manufacturer to offer customers these three powertrain options in a single body type.

Based on an exclusive new platform, made specifically for the car’s multi-powertrain options, the IONIQ chassis is optimized to deliver responsive handling while remaining efficient in each of its three powertrain configurations.

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Volvo to introduce new S90 sedan with plug-in hybrid version at Detroit show in January

December 02, 2015

Volvo Cars will publicly unveil its new S90 premium sedan at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January. The new Volvo S90 comes equipped with an advanced semi-autonomous drive feature, Pilot Assist. The system gives gentle steering inputs to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to motorway speeds of around 130 km/h and no longer needs to follow another car. Pilot Assist is another step towards full autonomous drive—a key innovation area for Volvo.

The S90 will also offer a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain. (Earlier post.)

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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.

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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.

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Volkswagen Group to cut overall spending by ~€1B next year, but to boost investments in electric drive tech by €100M

November 20, 2015

The Volkswagen Group is cutting its planned investments in its Automotive Division for next year as it girds itself for the financial impacts of responding to the diesel emission issue. The Group will cap planned investments in property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets, excluding capitalized development costs (capex) at approximately €12 billion next year—a cut of about €1 billion from earlier plans.

At the same time, however, the Group intends to increase spending on alternative drive technologies by approximately €100 million next year, with the core focus to be on rapidly developing electric drive systems for the for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi and Porsche brands, according to Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.

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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.

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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.

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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

November 18, 2015

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.

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JATO Dynamics: 2016 will be record year for plug-ins with global sales in excess of 700K units; China to begin dominating the market

A new white paper from JATO Dynamics, the UK-based supplier of automotive business intelligence, projects, based on its partner LMC Automotive’s forecasts, that the global market for plug-in vehicles (plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles) will reach record sales in excess of 700,000 units next year thanks to strong growth in China, Europe and the US. This will be followed by strong annual growth, according to the report.

Global electric passenger car sales totalled 280,000 units in 2014, representing growth of 43% compared with 2013; total global passenger car sales that year were 72 million units. The report projects annual EV sales in Europe of 500,000 units by 2019. By 2022, the Chinese market is expected to account for half of global sales—almost 1.5 million units a year. The forecast for 2025 sees more than 5.5 million electric vehicles being sold worldwide.

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More details on the coming new Kia Optima hybrid and plug-in hybrid

November 17, 2015

Kia Motors has provided a few more details on the new hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains planned for the all-new Optima, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to broaden its global range of low-emission vehicles. (Earlier post.)

A new addition to the Kia model line-up, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) will be Kia’s first plug-in hybrid for global markets when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016, offering increased battery capacity and pure electric range. Meanwhile, the new Optima Hybrid (HEV) will offer buyers substantial improvements over the existing Optima Hybrid, with a larger battery pack, more powerful electric motor and revised transmission. These changes are expected to contribute to a 10% improvement in fuel economy over earlier versions of the Optima Hybrid.

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Ford offering 3 years’ complimentary public charging to C-MAX Energi customers in California and Maryland with EV 1-2-3 Charge

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.

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Kia outlines 5-year plan for more green vehicles; Optima PHEV, Niro hybrid, FCV; $10.2B investment

November 16, 2015

Kia Motors outlined its mid- to long-term plans for the development of a greatly increased range of environmentally friendly vehicles, with the goal of becoming a leader in the low-emissions car market by 2020. Kia said it intends to expand its green car line-up from four current models to 11 by 2020, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.

The five-year development plan will see Kia further increase its investment in research and development (R&D) into fuel-efficient technologies and new products, with a range of all-new models and highly advanced powertrains for global markets.

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid coming to market with EPA-estimated 27-mile electric range; starts at $34,600

November 13, 2015

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is arriving in select dealerships in 10 states this week with an EPA-estimated 27-mile (43.5-kilometer) All-Electric Range (AER). At the Sonata PHEV’s launch in January, Hyundai had estimated a 22-mile AER (earlier post), which it later bumped up to around 24 miles (earlier post).

The 2016 Sonata Plug-in is EPA-rated at 99 MPGe combined, with 34 kWh/100 miles, and 40 mpg combined for charge sustaining (conventional hybrid) operation. Pricing (without factoring in incentives) starts at $34,600 for the base model and $38,600 for the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited model.

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First drive: US spec Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid; 83-86 MPGe with 16-17 mile EV range

November 02, 2015

More than two and one-half years after the car was first announced (earlier post) and more than one year after sales began in Germany and Central Europe (earlier post), the US-spec version of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid will begin arriving in US showrooms in the next few weeks.

Although the EPA has not as of this writing released the final fuel economy numbers for the US A3 e-tron, Filip Brabec, Director, Product Management, Audi of America, said that the figures will be around 83 to 86 MPGe combined (depending on the equipment level), with 35 to 39 mpg gasoline only and 16-17 miles of EV range. The A3 e-tron can cruise at up to 80 mph in all-electric mode; a spec we confirmed—with enjoyment—last week during a media drive in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Audi using Alstom H3 plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive at Ingolstadt

October 30, 2015

Audi has begun using a new 1,000 horsepower plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive manufactured by Alstom in daily operations at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. The new locomotive runs without any emissions inside the plant buildings and can operate for up to two hours at a time in purely electric mode. Its battery is plugged in during breaks for recharging with CO2‑free electricity, or is supported while in motion by a diesel engine.

The three-axle Alstom H3 hybrid locomotive is significantly quieter than its conventional counterparts, and can deliver up to a 50% reduction in diesel fuel use, with a concomitant reduction in CO2emissions. This means that the plug‑in‑hybrid locomotive emits up to 60 tons less CO2 each year. For the Ingolstadt plant, this is another stage on the way to the CO2‑neutral factory.

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JRC report finds electric vehicles in Europe on the way to full-scale commercialization

October 23, 2015

The European Union appears to be undergoing a transition from the testing of and experimentation with electric vehicles to full-scale EV commercialization, according to a new report from the EU’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This report covers battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), range extended electric vehicles (REV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).

The number of sold electric vehicles of all types rose from 760 in 2010 to more than 70,000 in 2014, with the trend continuing in the first half of 2015, according to the report. The choice of models went from 3 to nearly 30 in the same period. The share of electric vehicles produced in the EU has also expanded, increasing from 30% (of EV registered in the EU) in 2011 to 65% in 2014.

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