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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.]

Cumulative plug-in vehicle sales topped 500K units in US in September

October 17, 2016

Cumulative sales of plug-in vehicles in the US topped 500,000 units in September, according to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The introduction of the first mass market plug-in vehicles occurred in December of 2010 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. By the end of 2012 there were 11 different plug-in models available, and by September of 2016 there were 27 different models.

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MINI management previews coming plug-in hybrid model, the brand’s first

Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf previewed the brand’s coming first plug-in hybrid model; series development process for this car has almost been completed.

AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits all-electric speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph), while in MAX eDRIVE mode, speeds of up to 125 km/h (78 mph). are possible. Said head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen, this is a question of character: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.

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SAE J2954 Wireless Charging on track to make decision for WPT 2 (7.7kW) in January; planned commercialization in 2020

October 13, 2016

In a program track on Charging Infrastructure at the World of Energy Solutions Conference in Stuttgart, Germany this week, Jesse Schneider (BMW), SAE Taskforce Chair, Wireless Power Transfer and Alignment Methodology, presented the recently published SAE TIR, Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) for Light-Duty Plug-In/ Electric Vehicles and Alignment Methodology (earlier post) along with plans for standardization by 2018 to support commercialization. The SAE TIR J2954 contains a normative specification for both the vehicle and infrastructure side coils for the power level WPT 1 up to 3.7kW and informative specifications for WPT 2 to 7.7kW.

The current timing plan projects a commercial rollout of Wireless Power Transfer infrastructure by 2020. The SAE J2954 Standardization plan includes coordinated bench and vehicle testing, industry consensus work (standards documents) and three milestones from 2016-2018 in support of commercialization of wireless power transfer.

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HD REV powertrain company Wrightspeed gearing up for commercialization push

Wrightspeed Inc., a developer and manufacturer of advanced range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains for heavy-duty applications (earlier post), is gearing up for a commercialization push with the appointent of four advanced engineering and commercialization executives. Tim Dummer, Greg Anderson, Erin Sawyer and Vlad Kalika are joining the Business Operations, Production and Engineering teams respectively. Recently relocated to an 110,000 ft2 manufacturing space in the emerging Alameda Point technology center, Wrightspeed is expanding to meet growing demand for its award-winning The Route REV powertrain systems.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) powertrain designed for original or retrofit applications that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing the engine, the transmission and the differential systems. 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 microturbine generator, the Fulcrum (earlier post), is fuel-agnostic and eliminates range anxiety.

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BMW plans hydrogen fuel cell offering “early in next decade”

Speaking on the future of powertrains at the Aachen Colloquium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Development, said that BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs.

Fröhlich noted that at least until 2025 costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. However, he added, “by the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers.

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BMW unveils Gen7 5 Series; more efficient gasoline and diesel units; plug-in hybrid 530e in 2017

BMW has unveiled the seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan, which will go on-sale in markets around the world in February 2017. The 5 Series has been a major hit for BMW, selling 7.6 million units since its first introduction in 1972. Further enhanced dynamics, assistance systems, connectivity and a new and innovative operating system are important new features in the latest generation, in addition to the new, more efficient powertrains.

The new 5 Series features TwinPower Turbo gasoline and diesel engines from the modular BMW EfficientDynamics family of power units. Two diesel engines and two gasoline variants will be available from launch, working in tandem with either rear-wheel drive or BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. In March 2017, a BMW 5 Series Sedan with plug-in hybrid drive system—the BMW 530e iPerformance—will join the line-up, offering extremely low CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km (2.0 l/100 km), based on the EU test cycle. System output is 185 kW/252 hp.

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2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e PHEV will offer wireless charging system built using Qualcomm Halo inventions

October 11, 2016

With the facelift of the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid in 2017, Daimler AG plans to launch a wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) system, manufactured by a Tier 1 power electronics supplier, which has licensed Qualcomm Halo inventions. The commercial application of WEVC will be a first among hybrid vehicles. Drivers of the S550e (badged S500 in Europe) equipped with the wireless charging option will simply park atop a special pad and charging will begin.

Qualcomm Halo uses high-power, resonant magnetic inductive wireless energy transfer and supports a relatively wide air gap between base charging unit (BCU) and vehicle charging unit (VCU). The charging pad’s multi-coil design (“Double “D” Quadrature”) delivers high energy-transfer efficiency and high power even if the pads are misaligned. The high degree of tolerance in both the vertical (z) and lateral (x,y) planes means drivers do not have to park accurately or need complex and expensive on-board alignment systems.

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Prius Prime PHEV pricing to start at $27,100; on sale later this year

October 07, 2016

The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show in March (earlier post), features a larger 8.8 kWh battery pack for twice the electric range of its predecessor, as well as some enhancements to its powertrain, including a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system. This uses both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance.

The 2017 Prius Prime offers an EPA-estimated 133 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent)—a substantial 26% enhancement over its predecessor model, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, as a result of greater battery capacity and the improved hybrid system. The EPA-estimated all-electric range is up to 25 miles at up to 84 mph. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime exceeds all competitors’ fuel economy ratings with EPA-estimated 55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG. Pricing starts at $27,100.

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Porsche launches new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid with new gen hybrid module; more e-range, better performance

October 01, 2016

Porsche unveiled the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid (earlier post)—the fourth model in the Panamera line—at the Paris Motor Show. The vehicle generates some 340 kW (462 hp) of system power and delivers fuel consumption figures of 2.5 l/100 km (94 mpg US) in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for plug-in hybrid models, with up to 50 km (31 miles) all-electric range. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 56 g/km. Energy consumption is 15.9 kWh/100 km.

Porsche views “hybrid” as being as synonymous with performance as with sustainability, pointing to the victory of the 919 Hybrid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2015 and 2016. The same philosophy defines the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid; the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a hybrid strategy based on the 918 Spyder (earlier post).

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Recargo progressing with WCEH fast-charger buildout; subcontract with Supercharger builder Black & Veach

September 26, 2016

Earlier this year, Recargo, parent company to PlugShare, a leading charging station locator app, was awarded more than $1.6 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to help complete key routes of the West Coast Electric Highway (WCEH), a network of fast charging and Level 2 electric vehicle stations expected to stretch from Canada to Mexico. Recargo is contributing more than $575,000 of its own money toward the project.

The award was part of nearly $9 million in grants that 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. (Earlier post.)

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MAN Truck & Bus selects ABB fast chargers for its e-bus R&D facilities

September 21, 2016

ABB is supplying fast chargers for depot and opportunity charging of electric buses to MAN Truck & Bus, a member of the Volkswagen Group, for its new e-bus R&D facilities in Munich, Germany. In July, MAN Truck & Bus announced serial production of fully electric buses by 2019. Pilots of the e-buses are planned to go into operation in 2018. The buses are being developed at MAN’s R&D facilities in Munich, using a test bench equipped with different charging technologies from ABB.

For depot charging tests—used at the terminus where a bus has a longer stop—MAN will use an ABB fast charger with a CCS2 connector at its facility. Following the EU standardization for electric vehicle charging, it is the same connector that is used for electric cars.

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ELIX Wireless & Zongshen partner on wireless chargers for China and NA; Magneto-Dynamic Coupling (MDC)

ELIX Wireless, a Canada-based startup developing novel wireless power transfer technology, signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Chongqing Zongshen Power Machinery Co Ltd, a listed entity of the Zongshen Group. Zongshen Power also acted as the lead investor in ELIX’s US$5-million Series A funding round.

ELIX began as a spin-out from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2013 to commercialize its patented, Magneto-Dynamic Coupling (MDC) technology. ELIX MDC technology uses the interaction between magnetic fields to create a “remote magnetic gear” system with full 360-degree freedom of orientation. MDC operates at a frequency of 80-400 Hz, 1000 times lower than a resonant inductive system.

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WiTricity and Prodrive Technologies to develop 11 kW EV wireless charging system for European carmaker’s 2019 planned introduction

September 20, 2016

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity is collaborating with Prodrive Technologies, a Tier-1 supplier of power electronics and sensors, to design a high-performance 11 kW wireless charging system. The two companies were selected to design the system by a leading European carmaker that plans to release its first wirelessly-charged vehicles in 2019.

WiTricity will provide its foundational magnetic resonance intellectual property, complete reference designs and consulting services to the project. Based on the WiTricity designs, Prodrive will develop and industrialize an automotive mass market system and implement the automaker’s specific requirements.

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GKN Driveline develops new e-drive system for PHEVs; starts production on global platform in 2019

September 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed a new, complete electric drive system for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The system will start production in 2019 on a global platform from a European vehicle manufacturer.

Tighter integration of electric drivelines improves system efficiency and gives automakers more packaging and assembly options. The new module integrates a water-cooled electric motor and inverter with a single speed eAxle reduction gearbox. The system generates a maximum 65 kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m (1,475 lb-ft) of torque to the rear wheels.

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BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint complete EV express charging corridors on the East and West Coasts

September 13, 2016

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers can now travel the most heavily-trafficked corridors on the East and West Coasts of the United States with the installation of 95 new DC Fast charging stations as part of the Express Charging Corridors Initiative—a collaboration of BMW of North America, Volkswagen of America, Inc. and ChargePoint, the world’s largest EV charging network.

Each charging location along the Express Charging Corridors offers either 50 kW or 24 kW DC Fast charging with the SAE Combo connectors used in the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf electric vehicles (and in many other EVs with DC Fast charging capability). Many locations also offer CHAdeMO connectors, for vehicles equipped with these ports. All stations are publicly available and can be easily accessed with the ChargePoint mobile app or a ChargePoint card, or for BMW drivers, a ChargeNow card.

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ICCT analysis of California top EV cities finds link between EV uptake and many underlying factors

September 12, 2016

A detailed, city-level multivariate regression analysis of EV penetration in California has found a link between electric vehicle uptake and many underlying factors. A team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that electric vehicle model availability; public electric vehicle charging network; local promotion activities for electric vehicles (e.g., outreach events, informational websites; electric car sharing services; and government and fleet programs) and median income in each city to be correlated significantly with new electric vehicle sales share. They cautioned that causality could not be determined within the analysis.

The team drilled into the activities of the 30 California cities with the highest rates of electric vehicle penetration, examining how local organizations—regional and city governments, utilities, businesses, and nonprofits are promoting electric vehicles through a wide array of activities. In these 30 cities, electric vehicles account for 6% to 18% share of new vehicle sales—this is 8 to 25 times that of the US average in 2015. These vehicle markets range greatly in size, from hundreds of electric vehicle sales up to approximately 4,000 (San Jose).

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Porsche introducing new Panamera 4 E-hybrid PHEV at Paris Show

September 09, 2016

Porsche will unveil the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with controlled all-wheel drive and an electric range of 50 kilometers (31 miles) at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. The plug-in hybrid will be the fourth model in the Panamera line.

The vehicle generates some 340 kW (462 hp) of system power and delivers fuel consumption figures of 2.5 l/100 km (94 mpg) in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for plug-in hybrid models. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 56 g/km. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is available to order now, with prices starting at €107,553 (US$122,000) including VAT in Germany.

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BMW introduces X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid; China market only

September 06, 2016

BMW unveiled the new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid at the Chengdu Motor Show 2016 as the latest addition to BMW’s family of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and the first plug-in hybrid in the compact luxury SUV segment. Manufactured by BMW Brilliance, the new PHEV model is only available for the Chinese market.

The new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance was developed simultaneously with the new BMW X1 Series launched some time ago and borrows the innovative eDrive technology from the BMW i line-up. The gasoline engine and electric motor power the front and rear wheels, respectively, with the intelligent energy management system taking care of on-demand power response and maximizing energy efficiency.

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Audi ups A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV technology offerings for US MY2017; virtual cockpit

August 30, 2016

For MY 2017, Audi has updated its A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the US with improved technology offerings such as the available Audi virtual cockpit and standard driver assistance systems including Audi pre sense front.

The A3 Sportback e-tron continues to feature a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and a permanent magnet-driven electric motor to produce 204 hp (152 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 N·m) of torque. The e-tron accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds. 2017 EPA estimates not a available yet; the base 2016 model is EPA-rated at 83 MPGe, with up to 16 miles of all-electric range.

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DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs

August 16, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.

One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.

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Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic

Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.

The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.

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2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance PHEV going on sale in US starting at $89,100

August 11, 2016

The 2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance plug-in hybrid (earlier post) is in production and will arrive at US dealerships in August starting at $89,100 plus $995 Destination and Handling. With its eDrive technology, the BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance can be driven in all-electric mode up to 75 mph (120.7 km/h). Combined fuel economy of 64 MPGe and an all-electric range of 14 miles is possible (EPA official figures).

The BMW eDrive technology in the BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance ensures its greenhouse potential (CO2e) is approximately 30% lower than that of the gasoline powered 740i over the full lifecycle of the car. The BMW Group defined the sustainability targets for the new BMW 7 Series to include the vehicle’s entire life cycle since the beginning of development. The “greenhouse potential” is measured on the basis of the CO2e emissions produced by everything from the extraction of raw materials through the entire manufacturing, the actual usufruct of the vehicle and finishes with the recycling at the end of the vehicle’s life.

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BMW says electrified models exceeding sales expectations, especially in Europe

BMW said that its electrified models continue to exceed expectations, especially in Europe. While 4% of all BMW sales in Western Europe in July were electrified vehicles, that percentage increases significantly in markets where innovative electric mobility is supported through financial and infrastructure measures.

In the Netherlands, 43% of BMW 3 Series registrations are for the plug-in hybrid BMW 330e model and 26% of 2 Series Active Tourer registrations are for the BMW 225xe. In Scandinavia, those figures are even higher, with the plug-in hybrid versions accounting for 45% of all BMW 3 Series sales and 55% of all BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sales.

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CALSTART brief highlights growth of and future opportunity for California’s clean transportation technology industry

August 08, 2016

A new CALSTART brief indicates that California’s climate and energy policies are not only helping to protect the environment and improve air quality, but are also helping to accelerate growth of the clean transportation technology industry (CTTI) in the state.

The paper, “California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear,” profiles the development of a burgeoning manufacturing sector that is producing zero- and near-zero emission light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as clean fuels, engines, vehicle components, and new mobility services.

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Sales of Ford Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi jump in LA in June; up 35% and 40% y-o-y respectively

July 26, 2016

Ford Fusion electrified vehicle retail sales spiked in the Los Angeles market during the month of June, the first month of availability for the new 2017 model. Based on Ford June sales figures, Fusion Energi (the plug-in hybrid variant) sales jumped nearly 40% in LA compared to June 2015. During the same time period, Fusion Hybrid sales jumped 35%. Both of these numbers are retail sales and do not include fleet sales.

By comparison, the total midsize sedan segment is down nearly 5% in LA through May, according to IHS Automotive data. Consumer demand for trucks and SUVs continues to rise in Los Angeles and across the country, but sales of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford Fusion Energi plug-in are moving ahead.

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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—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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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 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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