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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.]

New Mercedes-Benz S 560 e plug-in hybrid offers more power, more range; new NMC batteries

September 14, 2017

The new generation Mercedes-Benz S 560 e plug-in hybrid—the successor to the S 500 e PHEV—combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 spark-ignition engine with an electric output of 90 kW. The PHEV features combined fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (112 mpg US); combined CO2 emissions of 49 g/km; weighted power consumption of 15.5 kWh/100 km; and an all-electric range of around 50 kilometers (31-miles). In conjunction with the Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, the on-board 7.2‑kW charger allows fast charging of the battery.

The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G‑TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the hybrid drive unit. The compact design was achieved by integrating and connecting the separating clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lock-up clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.

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Chery to launch new EXEED line; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric

September 13, 2017

Chery Automobile Co., Ltd, China’s leading vehicle exporter, will launch a new model line of passenger cars and SUVs globally—with plans to begin sales in Europe within the next few years—under a new nameplate: EXEED.

Chery revealed the EXEED TX—a compact SUV which will be the first model offered in Europe—in pre-production form at the 2017 IAA Frankfurt International Motor Show. Chery will make the EXEED TX available in Europe with three electrified powertrains: a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV); plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV); or battery-electric vehicle (BEV). The first configuration to go on sale will be an ultra-low emission PHEV variant.

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Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL goes into preproduction; fuel-cell/battery plug-in hybrid powertrain

September 12, 2017

At this year’s IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz is presenting preproduction models of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL (earlier post). Under the technology designation EQ Power, the latest electric model (destined for subsequent series production) from the Mercedes-Benz family combines fuel-cell and battery technology in the form of a plug-in hybrid.

With 4.4 kg of hydrogen on board, the preproduction model produces enough energy for a total range of up to 437 km (271.5 miles) in the NEDC. F-CELL drivers will also benefit from a battery-powered range of up to 49 km (30.5 miles) from the 9.3 kWh (net) lithium-ion battery (13.8 kWh gross). An output of 147 kW guarantees both dynamic performance and locally zero emissions driving pleasure. In unveiling the preproduction vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL, Daimler said it is taking another important step as part of its systematic “CASE” strategy.

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Mercedes-AMG Project One PHEV with F1 technology debuts at IAA; 750 kW, 800V

The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE will make its world première at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main. This high-performance two-seater hybrid, equipped with technology from Formula 1, is said to produce more than 1,000 hp (750 kW) and reach top speeds beyond 350 km/h (217.5 mph). All-electric range is 25 km (15.5 miles)

The overall responsibility for the realization of Project ONE lies with Mercedes-AMG. The complex development work was carried out in close cooperation with the Formula 1 experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth and with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team in Brackley. Together with the four-door AMG GT Concept, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE provides another insight into the future performance-hybrid drive strategy of the sports car brand within Mercedes-Benz.

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Volkswagen Group new Roadmap E: 50 BEV, 30 PHEV new Group vehicles by 2025, €50B battery tender; €20B capex earmark

September 11, 2017

At the Volkswagen Group Media Night ahead of the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, the Volkswagen Group announced what it called the most comprehensive electrification initiative in the global automotive industry. Under the new “Roadmap E”, Volkswagen will have electrified its entire model portfolio by 2030 at the latest.

This means that, by then, there will be at least one electrified version of each of the 300 or so Group models across all brands and markets. This makes Volkswagen the first big mobility group to have put a date on the electrification of its entire fleet. The Group will need more than 150 GWh of battery capacity annually by 2025 for its own e-fleet alone. This is equivalent to at least four gigafactories for battery cells. To meet this demand, the Company has put one of the largest procurement volumes in the industry’s history out to tender: more than €50 billion (US60 billion).

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Capstone completes track testing of Kenworth microturbine-powered hybrid electric Class 7 truck

September 07, 2017

Capstone Turbine Corporation successfully completed track testing of a Kenworth Class 7 hybrid electric work truck using its 65kW microturbine as an on-board range extender. (Earlier post.) The successful track testing confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades.

The Kenworth Class 7 work truck features a Capstone C65 microturbine that is installed onboard and operates on compressed natural gas. The microturbine acts as a range extender to charge an onboard 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack, which in turn provides power to the electric traction motors that propel the truck.

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Ford Transit plug-in series hybrid van makes it debut in UK; 1.0L EcoBoost range extender

September 06, 2017

Ford’s new plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) Transit Custom van (earlier post) made its debut at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook, UK. The vehicle makes its first appearance as Ford prepares 20 PHEV Transits for the 12-month fleet customer trial in London that begins in late 2017.

Scheduled for volume production in 2019, the Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced series hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range exceeding 50 kilometers (31 miles), and features the multi-award winning Ford EcoBoost 1.0-liter gasoline engine as a range extender. The EcoBoost engine charges the on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging stops, providing operators with efficiency and flexibility.

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Mercedes-Benz to showcase pre-production version of coming GLC F-Cell fuel cell PHEV at IAA

September 05, 2017

At the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, Mercedes-Benz will display publicly for the first time the pre-production version of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL fuel cell plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.)

The GLC F-CELL features a ~9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack combined with a new fuel cell stack. Around 30% more compact than previous stacks, it can be fully housed in the engine compartment for the first time. Too, the cost of the technology has been slashed due largely to a 90% reduction in the amount of platinum used in the stack. 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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BMW releases more teaser shots and video of new i8 plug-in hybrid Roadster; preliminary fuel consumption figures

August 24, 2017

BMW released a new series of teaser shots and video of camouflaged versions of its new i8 plug-in hybrid Roadster (earlier post) on the road. The BMW i8 Roadster is projected to offer combined fuel consumption of 2.0l/100 km (117.5 mpg US); combined electricity consumption of 15.4 kWh/100 km (18.6 kWh/100 miles); combined CO2 emissions: 46 g/km (Fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tire format specified). All figures are preliminary.

By comparison, the in-production BMW i8 plug-in hybrid offers combined fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (111.9 mpg US); combined electricity consumption of 11.9 kWh/100 km (19.2 kWh/100 miles); combined CO2 emissions of 49 g/km (fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tire format specified.)

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Hyundai Mobis develops on-board bi-directional charger for V2G applications

August 16, 2017

Hyundai Mobis has developed an on-board, bi-directional charger for plug-in vehicles. The bi-directional onboard charger (OBC) allows the vehicle to supply electricity in its battery to the grid.

The power supplied by the vehicle can also be used as emergency power in homes. If more than enough power is supplied, it is possible to prevent a large power outage. In Korea, the amount of industrial damage caused by power outages is estimated to be 650 billion won (US$570 million) per year.

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German team develops novel technique to determine fuel quality in plug-in hybrids

August 07, 2017

Series-production plug-in hybrid electric vehicles equipped with diesel engines are already available in the market or planned for the future (e.g., Volvo V60, Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, Peugeot 508 RXH Hybrid4, Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid Diesel). However, fossil diesel fuel/biodiesel blends show a tendency to form precipitates—which can be considered as oligomers with aging. This tendency of fuel blends to form precipitates during long term storage could impact the operation of diesel plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV).

Making the problem more complex is the existence of different quotas of biodiesel blend ratios in different countries. Further, HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) and GTL (gas-to-liquid)—a mixture of mainly branched and unbranched alkanes—are becoming more popular as neat diesel substitutes or blend stocks. Now, researchers in Germany hav devised a novel sensor for the onboard determination of fuel quality in diesel PHEVs to address these issues. (A variation of the approach could be used for gasoline PHEVs.) A paper on their work appears in the journal Fuel.

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ICCT assesses factors driving EV market in US cities

July 25, 2017

A new white paper from a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) assesses the growing US electric vehicle market and the factors that are driving it, with a focus on the 50 most populous US metropolitan areas.

Peter Slowik and Nic Lutsey analyze the connections among various state and local policies; public and workplace charging infrastructure; consumer incentives; model availability; and the share of new vehicles that are plug-in electric (both fully electric and plug-in hybrid). The San Jose area had the highest share at 10%, followed by other California areas (4% to 6%) and markets in Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington (2% to 4%). Overall, the share of new vehicles that are plug-in electric in these 50 areas is 1.2%, about 3 times the proportion in the rest of the United States.

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New Audi A8 comes with 48V mHEV standard; plug-in e-tron model with wireless charging

July 11, 2017

In a brand event in Barcelona, Audi unveiled its fourth-generation A8 luxury sedan. The new A8 features a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 has also been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production.

All five engines options—3.0 TDI and TFSI; 4.0 TDI and TFSI; and 6.0L W12— operate in conjunction with a 48V mild hybrid (mHEV) belt alternator starter (BAS) system. (Earlier post.) This mHEV technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 gallons US) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions.

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innogy launches EV charging subsidiary in US; targeting California and ZEV states

July 06, 2017

Germany-based innogy, a subsidiary of energy giant RWE, has established its own new subsidiary to enter the e-mobility market in the US. The new company, trading under the name of innogy e-mobility US LLC, will be based in Los Angeles and serve the US market as a provider of technology and charging services.

Business activities will focus on California and other US states that have stipulated zero-emission requirements for new vehicles (Zero Emission Vehicles). Cameron Funk is the first CEO of e-mobility US LLC; his previous role was Director of Business Development for ABM Industries Inc., a global industry services company.

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BNEF forecasts EVs to hit 54% of new car sales by 2040; decreasing importance of PHEVs

Electric vehicles will make up the majority of new car sales worldwide by 2040, and account for 33% of all the light-duty vehicles on the road, according to a new forecast published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This represents an aggressive jump compared to BNEF’s previous forecast of 35% EV new car market share by 2040. Under the new forecast, EVs will displace 8 million barrels of transport fuel per day and add 5% to global electricity consumption (1,800 TWh by 2040 up from 6TWh in 2016).

The forecasters said that while plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales will play a role in EV adoption from now to 2025, puer battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) will subsequently take over and account for the vast majority of EV sales. The engineering complexity of PHEV vehicle platforms, their cost and dual powertrains make BEVs more attractive over the long-run, BNEF said. BNEF suggested that only in Japan will PHEVs continue to play an important role after 2030.

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Every Volvo car launched from 2019 to have an electrified powertrain; “the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car”

July 05, 2017

Volvo Cars announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 on will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars. The announcement represents one of the most wide-reaching moves by any car maker to embrace electrification. The company said that its decision highlights how—more than a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine—electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

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Roland Berger and fka Index: China to dominate EV market and industry in foreseeable future

June 22, 2017

In the latest E-Mobility Index report (2Q/2017), consultancy Roland Berger and partner Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) find that China has for the first time moved into the pole position. The consultancy says that China will dominate both the market and the industry in the foreseeable future. France, however, has moved past Germany to take the lead in technology, according to the index. The two countries had jointly held the lead in Q1.

The index assess the relative competitive position of the seven leading automotive nations (Germany, France, Italy, the US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three key indicators: technology; industry; and market.

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Cummins to begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019; alternative fuels and power, digitalization

June 15, 2017

During a teleconference yesterday, Cummins Inc. executives outlined plans to provide a range of power technologies spanning diesel and natural gas engines to fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including full battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems. Cummins said those are just the first steps as it signals its intention to be the leading provider of electrified powertrains in its commercial and industrial markets.

Longer term, Cummins’ Research and Technology Department continues to investigate the viability of alternatives such as biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologiesboth with increasing potential to offer superior power density over the traditional internal combustion engine.

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DS brand accelerating development of electric cars

June 14, 2017

Peugeot’s premium brand DS is accelerating the development of electrified cars. Starting with DS 7 CROSSBACK, it will be releasing a new model every year, all with an electrified version (hybrid or all-electric).

DS Automobiles is competing in Formula E—a valuable test-bed for gaining experience and accelerated development. The recent city-located ePrix races provide opportunities to show the advancing technologies that are being tested and evaluated for future production models, with three specific projects already in their advanced stages.

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Honda to focus on PHEVs, development of battery-electrics in addition to fuel cell vehicles; 2/3 of sales electrified by 2030

June 09, 2017

At a press meeting in Tokyo, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo discussed the future direction of Honda, including various products and technologies and the company’s new 2030 Vision.

Hachigo said that Honda aims to electrify two-thirds of global automobile unit sales in 2030. The company will put a central focus on hybrid-based models utilizing a high-efficiency plug-in hybrid system unique to Honda. As for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), Honda will strengthen the development of battery-electric vehicles in addition to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCV).

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California and China partner in push for ZEVs; new working group to expand cooperation

June 08, 2017

California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary D. Nichols met with officials of China’s leading automakers and battery manufacturers in an effort to expand cooperation and accelerate deployment of zero-emission cars, trucks and buses.

At the close of the meeting, Governor Brown and Chair Nichols agreed to establish a new working group through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab at UC Davis to expand cooperation with Chinese zero-emission vehicle and battery technology companies. The lab is a partnership established in 2014 between UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).

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IEA: Electric vehicles posted strong gains in 2016; 2M now in global parc

June 07, 2017

With more than 750,000 units sold over the year, the number of electric vehicles in the global parc—primarily Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)—surpassed 2 million units in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015, according to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2017. This is up 60% from 2015, indicating rapid market evolution.

In 2005, electric cars were still measured in hundreds. 2016 also saw more than 200 million electric two wheelers on the road and 345 thousand buses, primarily in China. China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world. China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling more than 90% of all EVs sold around the world. Six countries more than over 1% electric car market share in 2016: Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom and China.

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Government of Canada to develop a national Zero-Emissions Vehicle strategy by 2018

May 26, 2017

The Government of Canada is moving forward with provincial and territorial partners, industry and stakeholders, to develop a national strategy to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVS)—battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—on Canadian roads by 2018.

Transportation accounts for about 24% of Canada’s emissions, mostly from cars and trucks. In 2015, light-duty vehicle emissions accounted for approximately 50% of Canada’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, and 12% of the country’s total emissions. ZEVs offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly from the light-duty vehicle sector.

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Volkswagen apprentices unveil 48V hybrid Golf GTI, enhanced Golf GTE PHEV at at Wörthersee meeting

May 25, 2017

At Volkswagen’s Wörthersee meeting this week, 13 apprentices from Volkswagen Wolfsburg and Sitech are presenting the first GTI that also features electric propulsion: the Golf GTI First Decade. A different team of 14 apprentices from Volkswagen Sachsen are also unveiling a Wörthersee show car, the Golf GTE Variant impulsE—a show version of the production plug-in hybrid featuring enhanced all-electric range.

The Golf GTI First Decade combines a 410 PS (300 kW) gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 48-volt electric motor that drives the rear wheels with a maximum output of 12 kW. The two drive systems can be used separately but also work hand-in-hand when required.

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TM4 and Cummins jointly developing range-extended electric plug-in powertrain for Class 7/8 buses

May 11, 2017

TM4 and Cummins are jointly developing a plug-in hybrid powertrain for Class 7/8 transit buses that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional hybrid buses. The project aims to provide transit authorities with a flexible, more efficient drivetrain and a longer range zero-tailpipe-emission capability for inner-city routes.

The range-extended electric drive system comprises a gen-set (Cummins’ Euro 2019 B4.5 diesel engine coupled with TM4’s LSG130 electric generator); an external 450 kW ultrafast charging infrastructure; a power collector; a 111 kWh onboard Li-ion battery; a TM4 SUMO electric motor directly connected to the differential; a small fuel tank and power electronics.

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California Energy Commission awards more than $36M to clean transportation projects

The California Energy Commission awarded more than $24 million in grants today for clean energy freight transportation projects in Los Angeles and Long Beach and more than $12 million for other clean transportation projects.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Long Beach Harbor Department received $10 million each and the Los Angeles Harbor Department received $4.5 million to conduct field demonstrations of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles and cargo handling equipment that have zero or near-zero emissions (GFO-16-604).

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ChargePoint advances European expansion with new InstaVolt partnership; more than 200 rapid charge systems

May 09, 2017

ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging network, continues to advance its strategic European expansion (earlier post) with a new partnership with a major customer. InstaVolt, a brand committed to deploying the latest DC rapid charge technology and building a premium EV network across the UK, has signed a contract to purchase more than 200 ChargePoint rapid charge systems, making long distance EV travel easier for UK drivers.

The UK market itself is at an inflection point. There are more than 90,000 EVs on the road today but this could reach 1.2 million by 2020 according to the Department for Transport. However, one of the major driver concerns currently is the frequency of charging points and the ability to charge vehicles on long journeys. In response to this, ChargePoint’s Express Plus solutions will be installed by InstaVolt close to popular routes across the UK, enabling drivers to easily charge their vehicles during long journeys.

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Four China OEMs select Efficient Drivetrains for PHEV systems for buses

May 04, 2017

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain solutions, has been selected by four major OEMs in China to integrate its EDI PowerDrive 6000 systems into 8- and 12-meter buses across multiple territories. The company will be supplying its EDI PowerDrive Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV) drivetrains and EDI PowerSuite vehicle control software to Shaanxi Automotive; Ankai; Xiamen Jinlong; and Yaxing Motors as the companies work to rapidly offer electrified buses in response to government mandates.

As government regulations and subsidy programs in China continue to drive electrification of vehicle platforms, bus OEMs are looking for partners to enable them to rapidly comply with mandates requiring them to reduce emissions significantly over the next 10 years. The selection of EDI technology by four major OEMs follows the company’s successful delivery of its largest production order of 40 bus drivetrains-placed in Q1 of this year, built on the Yaxing Motors platform for the city of Jiangsu Sheyang. The city buses will be deployed in replacement of standard diesel buses, and will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by over 40% when compared to their traditional counterpart.

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Kenworth developing hydrogen fuel cell, Near Zero NOx CNG series hybrid Class 8 prototypes for SoCal ports; CNG hybrids

May 03, 2017

Kenworth continues its advancements on low/zero emission projects focused on Kenworth T680 day cabs for drayage tractor operation in Southern California ports, which are backed by $9 million in government grants awarded last August.

Kenworth is developing a prototype Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell tractor, using the Ballard Power Systems fuel cell to recharge the battery pack. The hydrogen fuel cell series hybrid T680 day cab tractor uses lithium-ion batteries to power a dual-rotor electric motor, driving the rear tandem axle through a 4-speed automated transmission. Kenworth’s hydrogen truck is expected to be ready for initial track and on-road testing in the fourth quarter of this year.

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DOE: 58% of BEV sales in US in 2016 were large cars and standard SUVs; PHEVS mainly compact and midsize

May 01, 2017

The largest share of all-electric vehicle (EV) sales in calendar year 2016 in the US were large cars (35%) and standard sport utility vehicles (SUV)(23%), according to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales were mainly compact and midsize cars, with 42% and 40% of the market share, respectively.

Of the nearly 347,000 hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) sold in 2016, close to three-quarters were midsize cars. There were 17.3 million light vehicles sold in the United States in 2016—more than half were SUVs, pickups, and vans.

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Continental Powertrain: dual focus on electrification and efficient ICE; boosting electric drive spending by €300M by 2021

April 26, 2017

Continental’s Powertrain division is strategically focused on two parallel efforts. The first is the full value creation from the growing demand for the most efficient combustion engine technologies that also deliver the lowest emissions. The second is to benefit from the prospective growth in environmentally friendly, electrified and fully electric drive systems.

Continental will spend an additional €300 million (US$327 million) on its business with electric drives alone by 2021. This step, as well as additional plans, are part of the new global “Powertrain Strategy 2020+”.

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Waymo adding 500 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivans to self-driving program; early rider program

April 25, 2017

Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project) will add an additional 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans (earlier post) to expand its self-driving program. FCA previously delivered 100 minivans, modified for self-driving, to Waymo during the second half of 2016. (Earlier post.) Production of the additional 500 minivans will ramp up beginning next month. Waymo will then outfit these vehicles with its self-driving technology.

Waymo also is inviting members of the public to use its fleet of self-driving vehicles for everyday travel. Waymo’s early rider program will give selected Phoenix residents the opportunity to experience the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans for the first time at no charge.

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Ford confirms five fleets in London for Transit Custom Plug-in Hybrid Van pilot program

April 24, 2017

Ford announced five fleets that will participate in the Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid van pilot program in London, starting this fall. (Earlier post.) The pilot program is designed to explore how lower-emission plug-in hybrid electric vans could support cleaner air targets, while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions.

The project, supported by Transport for London, features a 12-month pilot of 20 new Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of inner-city trips. Equipped with range extenders, the fleet is not limited by battery range, making them capable of the longer journeys that may be required by businesses and police and emergency vehicle services.

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DOE SBV Pilot selects 38 small business for labs partnerships; 2 fuel cell and 4 vehicle projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot has selected eight DOE national labs for collaborations with 38 small businesses in the third round of funding. Among these are two projects in the fuel cells area and four projects in the vehicle area. Other projects address advanced manufacturing, bioenergy, buildings, geothermal, solar, water and wind technologies.

In the first two rounds of the program, 12 DOE national labs received funding to partner with 76 small businesses. With the latest announcement, SBV will have awarded approximately $22 million to support partnerships between 114 US small businesses and the national labs.

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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class to offer upgraded PHEV, new 48V mild hybrid models; advances in autonomy

April 19, 2017

Mercedes-Benz chose Auto Shanghai 2017 as the venue for the world première of the new S-Class. Among the highlights is new efficient engine range and a series of new technologies for electrification of the powertrain. Several new engines are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six cylinder diesel and gasoline engines as well as a new V-8 biturbo gasoline engine.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometers (31 miles). Technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première in the lineup as well. The market launch of the new S-Class starts in the European markets in July.

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Workhorse releases specs for coming W-15 extended range electric pickup

April 14, 2017

Workhorse has released initial specifications of its W-15 pickup truck, for which it has accumulated letters of intent for 2,150 units. (Earlier post.) A drivable prototype of the W-15 will be unveiled at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, California, on May 2. Production models are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of commercial fleets, the W-15 is believed to be the first plug-in, range-extended pickup truck built from the ground up by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

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First $300M tranche of VW National ZEV investment targets charging infrastructure; 150kW+ fast charging on highway network

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the plan for the first tranche of Volkswagen’s National Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment spending, directed at 11 cities nationwide—New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Portland, Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, Miami, and Raleigh—and several highway corridors.

As a part of the first cycle of investment, Volkswagen’s “Electrify America” program is earmarked to spend $300 million, with the most focus on the installation of hundreds of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at multi-family residences, workplaces, highway rest-stops, commercial and retail sites, and municipal lots and garages.

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Honda introduces Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric at New York show; targeting 75K Clarity vehicles in 4 years

April 12, 2017

Honda revealed its all-new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric (earlier post) alongside the already available Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post), saying it will target US sales of 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. Honda expects the Clarity series will contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda’s US sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years as the company works toward its target that two-thirds of its global automobile sales will come from electrified vehicles by 2030.

The two all-new electrified Honda vehicles will join the Clarity Fuel Cell, launched in December 2016, to make Clarity the first vehicle series offering customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices with fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains in a five-passenger sedan.

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Efficient Drivetrains delivers Class-6 PHEV with CNG range-extender armored truck

April 07, 2017

Efficient Drivetrains has delivered the first of six plug-in-hybrid electric armored vehicles to Sectran Security. The industry-first Class-6 International brand armored truck was the first delivery from the company’s newly expanded Dixon, California hybrid and electric vehicle center of excellence.

The vehicle program is a collaboration between Efficient Drivetrains and North American Repower, California’s leading natural gas engine management and conversion technology company. Supported by a $3-million California Energy Commission grant, the companies are working to convert a fleet of six, Class-6 International armored trucks into “Zero Emission with Range Extension” vehicles—PHEV trucks that operate with electricity and renewable natural gas (RNG). The result is a full OEM-performance electric vehicle that utilizes RNG for range extension and reduces emissions by up to 99% in certain duty cycles.

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Ford announces China electrification push with new Mondeo PHEV and long-range electric SUV; 70% electrified line-up by 2025

In Shanghai, Ford Motor Company outlined an ambitious vehicle electrification strategy for the China market, confirming two new electrified vehicles for China and a broad range of electrified vehicles by 2025. The Mondeo Energi, to be launched in early 2018, will be the first plug-in hybrid to be manufactured by the Changan Ford JV.

Ford also confirmed plans to bring an all-new fully electric small SUV to China within five years; the electric SUV will feature a range of up to 450 km (279 miles) and will also be marketed in North America and Europe.

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AeroVironment and eMotorWerks partner to offer smart advanced electric vehicle charging solutions

March 28, 2017

AeroVironment and eMotorWerks, a provider of intelligent and cloud-connected smart-grid charging solutions, are partnering to deliver smart advanced EV charging solutions. By integrating eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet smart-grid EV charging platform into AeroVironment’s line of consumer and OEM EV charging solutions, both companies aim to provide increased charging capabilities to customers and electric demand load aggregation for utilities.

AeroVironment charging solutions with integrated eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet will enable EV drivers to gain benefits that include smartphone, web and Amazon Alexa voice control over charging, real time and historic energy usage for cars, notifications of charging status, load balancing two or more EVSEs on the same electrical circuit to share the load while avoiding tripping breakers, and setting charging schedules that correspond to lower utility rates, saving customers money on charging.

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California ARB votes to move forward with light-duty vehicle GHG and ZEV programs through 2025; cranking it up post-2025

March 25, 2017

After considering the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review (earlier post), the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Friday to continue with the vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and ZEV program for cars and light trucks sold in California through 2025. The action ensures that California and 12 other states that follow its vehicle regulations—one third of the US auto market—will move forward the greenhouse gas emission standards adopted in the 2012 process involving the federal government, California and the automakers.

The Board also voted to support the expansion of the ZEV marketplace before 2025, calling for redoubling current efforts underway to support market growth and paving the way for new regulations to increase rapidly the number of zero-emission vehicles required to be sold in California after 2025.

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New Buick, BMW PHEVs for China

March 24, 2017

Buick announced that it will shortly launch the Velite 5, its first extended range electric vehicle (EREV), in China. Leveraging GM’s proven EREV technology as shown in the Chevy Volt and the Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, the Velite 5 also offers advanced connectivity and safety technologies.

The Velite 5 is equipped with GM’s latest electric drive system that features the company’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission. The system has a double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motor drive unit. This supports its hybrid-exclusive 1.5L direct injection engine as well as its new-generation liquid-cooled, high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

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Buick to introduce extended-range electric vehicle in China this year; also new generation 1.0T/1.3T Ecotecs and 9-speed

March 23, 2017

Buick will adopt GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology, a new-generation of 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines and a nine-speed transmission in new or refreshed models launched in China this year. In the coming two years, Buick will also introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China—the brand’s largest market.

The EREV combines GM’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission, double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motors drive unit, a hybrid-exclusive direct injection engine, as well as an industry-leading liquid-cooled and high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

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ICCT: incremental technology can cut vehicle CO2 by half and increase fuel economy >60% through 2030 with ~5% increase in price

March 22, 2017

With the EPA re-opening its Mid-Term Review of GHG standards for 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles (earlier post), and with NHTSA yet to weigh in on its Mid-Term evaluation of fuel economy standards for the same period, a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a report analyzing emerging vehicle efficiency technologies; their ability to achieve lower emission levels; and their costs in the 2025–2030 timeframe.

Starting from a baseline 26 mpg (9.04 l/100 km) in 2016, the The ICCT team assessed increased consumer label fuel economy (as opposed to the regulatory test fuel economy) to 35 mpg (6.71 l/100 km) in 2025 and to 42–46 mpg (5.6-5.11 l/100 km) (under three scenarios) by 2030. These fuel economy levels are achieved based on a sustained 4%–6% annual reduction of fuel use per mile with incremental technology additions that do not compromise vehicle size or utility at an incremental cost of $800–$1,300 from 2025 to 2030. The resulting trajectory would reduce CO2 emissions by half and increase fuel economy by more than 60% from 2016 through 2030. Based on a detailed analysis of the efficiency technologies used to achieve these lower CO2 emission levels, the ICCT study concludes that vehicle prices would increase by about 5% by 2030.

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Hubject connects eleven energy suppliers to create the largest Austrian charging network for EVs

March 21, 2017

A partnership project between the eleven leading Austrian energy suppliers and Berlin-based Hubject GmbH (earlier post), which is supported by the Austrian climate and energy fund, will create a comprehensively accessible network of charging stations for drivers of electric vehicles across Austria, starting in April 2017.

The member companies of the Federal Association of Electromobility Austria (Bundesverband Elektromobilität Österreich, BEÖ) are combining their charging stations to create an integrated network with more than 1,300 charge points from Vienna to Bregenz. The charging stations will also be connected with Hubject’s international charging network “intercharge”.

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EDI completes integration of plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain into Freightliner platform

March 10, 2017

>Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) has completed the integration of its EDI PowerDrive technology into a new OEM platform, Freightliner. The newly available Freightliner M2 truck rounds out EDI’s portfolio of Class 3-6 zero-emissions utility vehicles with exportable power option. EDI is currently offering Class-3 through 6 utility solutions with optional exportable power available on Ford, GM, Peterbilt, and now Freightliner platforms.

The newest utility vehicle features the EDI PowerDrive 6000 plug-in electric drivetrain, delivering more than 25 miles of all-electric, zero-emissions driving, 300 more miles of range in hybrid modes, and reduces emissions by up to 80% when compared to conventional utility vehicles. The new Freightliner utility truck operates as a powerful, all electric zero emissions vehicle for both city and highway driving situations, extends driving ranges with two high efficiency hybrid modes, and eliminates jobsite engine idle for more than 8 hours.

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Kia introduces Niro Plug-in Hybrid crossover and Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid at Geneva

March 08, 2017

At the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Kia Motors unveiled four new models. The new Kia Stinger fastback sports sedan makes its European premiere, alongside the all-new Kia Picanto city car, which makes its global debut. Advanced powertrain technology features in two other new Kia models on show for the first time—Niro Plug-in Hybrid crossover and Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid.

The new Niro Plug-in Hybrid, revealed for the first time in Geneva, combines crossover versatility and design appeal with maximum fuel efficiency from its advanced new plug-in hybrid powertrain, which it shares with the Hyundai Ioniq. (Earlier post.) The Niro will be the first car on the market to capitalize on two significant trends: rising sales of plug-in hybrid models (forecast to expand in Europe to more than 600,000 units per year by the end of 2023) and continued growth in the compact crossover market.

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Volvo Cars reveals new XC60 premium SUV, led by PHEV model, at Geneva

March 07, 2017

Volvo Cars revealed the much-anticipated new XC60 premium SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. The new car replaces Volvo’s highly-successful original XC60, which in the nine years since its launch became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe with nearly a million units sold globally. The XC60 today represents around 30% of Volvo’s total global sales.

The new XC60 offers Volvo’s award-winning T8 Twin Engine gasoline plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system (earlier post) at the top of the powertrain range, delivering 407 hp and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds.

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First XL Hybrids XLP plug-in hybrid upfits to be installed on Ford F-150 pickups

March 01, 2017

XL Hybrids’s XLP plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) upfit solution (earlier post) will roll out on Ford F-150 pickup trucks beginning fourth quarter 2017. Ford, with its top-selling half-ton truck for any make and model, was chosen as the first OEM based on XL Hybrids’ order commitments from major fleet customers. The XLP Fleet-Ready technology is the industry’s first ship-thru upfit on pickup trucks from a leading OEM.

The XLP technology will be installed in MY17 Ford F-150 pickups with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine and Ford’s Auto Stop-Start technology. The XLP will also be available for the upcoming MY18 Ford F-150 pickup with the 2.7L EcoBoost engine and the new 3.3L base engine, both featuring Ford’s Auto Stop-Start technology. XLP will be compatible with a range of wheelbases, cab and bed configurations.

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DS introducing DS 7 CROSSBACK at Geneva show; PHEV model, autonomous driving features

February 28, 2017

DS Automobiles, the recent brand addition to the PSA Group, will introduce the DS 7 CROSSBACK SUV at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Powered by a 300 hp,four-wheel drive E-TENSE system, a plug-in hybrid version will be available from spring 2019.

Alongside the E-TENSE plug-in hybrid, DS 7 CROSSBACK will ultimately be available with a choice of five internal combustion engines compliant with the Euro 6.2 standard: three gasoline power units (THP 225 S&S EAT8, THP 180 S&S EAT8, PureTech (twice voted engine of the year in 2015 and 2016) 130 S&S 6-speed manual) and two diesel units (BlueHDi 130 S&S—with a choice of 6-speed manual or EAT8—and the BlueHDi 180 EAT8).

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EVgo and ABB install first 150 kW fast charger in US, with potential upgrade to 350 kW

EVgo, the US’ largest network of public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations, and ABB have deployed the US’ first ABB High-Power fast charging station in Fremont, California. The High-Power fast charging system features a maximum charging rate of 150kW—providing a charge which is three times faster than most fast chargers deliver today.

The charger will assist with next generation electric vehicle charging research, and will allow testing of EV research platforms at 150kW initially. The installed system has the potential to reach charging speeds of up to 350kW with an upgrade. As automakers align on future hardware and service standards, the station will enable industry coordination and testing.

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SCPPA signs letter of intent for 500 Workhorse W-15 4WD range-extended electric pickup trucks

Workhorse Group Inc. (WKHS), an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of battery-electric vehicles, received a Letter of Intent from Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) for 500 W-15 Plug-In Electric Pickup trucks. (Earlier post.) The Workhorse W-15 light duty platform design is an extension of the E-Gen electric technology used in Workhorse medium-duty delivery trucks. (Earlier post.)

With expected all-electric 80-mile range using Panasonic 18650 Li-ion batteries, the battery pack is expected to cover the vast majority of miles driven in a day by fleet owners of locally driven trucks. If needed, the gasoline generator (from BMW) will then operate after battery power has been depleted, providing a full hybrid range of 310 miles per tank.

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Peugeot unveils autonomous plug-in hybrid INSTINCT Concept; Samsung ARTIK Cloud for IoT; Sentiance for data analysis

February 27, 2017

In Spain, in conjunction with the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Peugeot unveiled its INSTINCT plug-in hybrid concept, a Shooting Brake which offers the option of fully autonomous driving. However, the driver remains fully in control at all times and is able to determine whether he or she has a hands-on or autonomous drive.

The PHEV powertrain offers 300 PS, and the car features both ‘Drive’ and ‘Autonomous’ modes, affording the driver the choice between an engaging drive and the convenience of a fully autonomous vehicle. Peugeot INSTINCT is programmed with four distinct driving settings. In ‘Drive’ mode, drivers can opt for ‘Drive Boost’ or ‘Drive Relax’, and in ‘Autonomous’ mode they have the option of ‘Autonomous Soft’ or ‘Autonomous Sharp’.

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New Turbo S E-Hybrid PHEV to be the flagship model in the Panamera line

February 24, 2017

Porsche is launching the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid as the flagship of a model line for the first time. The four-liter V8 engine from the Panamera Turbo is combined with an electric motor, resulting in 500 kW/680 hp of system power and outstanding power delivery—even when just above idle speed, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid—the second hybrid variant in the Panamera lineup—offers an 850 N·m (627 lb-ft) of torque. The new PHEV accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 310 km/h (193 mph).

The boost strategy of the all-wheel drive Panamera comes from the 918 Spyder super sportscar. (Earlier post.) In the New European Driving Cycle, the average fuel consumption is 2.9 l/100 km (81 mpg US), and the new flagship Panamera can drive on fully electric power for up to 50 kilometers. Porsche says that the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid underlines the high importance of electromobility to the company.

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Driving Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq line-up; cost-effective efficiency and dynamics

February 21, 2017

Hyundai has begun the US roll-out of its Ioniq line-up of electrified vehicles: hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric. (Earlier post.) The Ioniq Hybrid offers up to the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg / 4.05 l/100 km) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge / 25 kWh/100 miles).

In addition to efficiency and value, a key design goal for the Hyundai team was driveability: specifically, a fun-to-drive, “segment-appropriate” driving experience. During the media launch last week in Santa Barbara, California, Hyundai provided production versions of the hybrid and battery-electric vehicle, and a pre-production version of the plug-in hybrid. Based on relatively short drives in all three variants, we conclude that Hyundai nailed its goals. In addition to the fuel efficiency of the powertrains (described in this earlier post), the Ioniqs are quiet, comfortable, and appropriately dynamic—although not high-performance, all models are a pleasure to drive.

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Update: SAE J2954 wireless charging validation to 11kW, Recommended Practice to enable autonomous vehicle parking and charging in 2017

February 17, 2017

At the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium last week, an overview of the plans for testing to validate power levels up to WPT 3, (11kW) for SAE J2954TM were shown along with a preview of the technology to be standardized in the upcoming Recommended Practice. (Earlier post.)

The SAE Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) and Alignment team has been working with the Idaho National Lab and US Department of Energy (DOE) regarding testing for the validation of WPT 1-2 (3.7-7.7kW) in 2016. In 2017, bench testing for both matched and interoperable assemblies to validate the WPT 3 (11 kW) power level under both ideal conditions and maximum offset is being planned.

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Hyundai begins rollout of Ioniq Hybrid, PHEV and EV; most efficient non-plug vehicle, most efficient EV in US; powertrain discussion

February 16, 2017

Hyundai has begun the US sales rollout of its Ioniq line of electrified vehicles, which come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. (Earlier post.) At a media preview in Santa Barbara this week, Hyundai executives said the the hybrid will be moving into showrooms shortly, the battery-electric version in April (in California initially), and the plus-in hybrid in Q4. The Ioniq Hybrid boasts the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge).

All three variants were available for media drives this week (drive impressions embargoed until next Monday); the hybrid and EV versions were production cars, the plug-in was still characterized as “prototype.” Nevertheless, technical executives and engineers from Korea and from the Hyundai-Kia America technical center in the US were on hand to provide market and technical background. Furthermore, two engineers from the US technical center gave presentations last week at the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego, discussing aspects of the hybrid and battery-electric powertrains, including some of the unique features and Hyundai “firsts” represented in the Ioniq.

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Hyundai begins rollout of Ioniq Hybrid, PHEV and EV; most efficient non-plug vehicle, most efficient EV in US; powertrain discussion

Hyundai has begun the US sales rollout of its Ioniq line of electrified vehicles, which come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. (Earlier post.) At a media preview in Santa Barbara this week, Hyundai executives said the the hybrid will be moving into showrooms shortly, the battery-electric version in April (in California initially), and the plus-in hybrid in Q4. The Ioniq Hybrid boasts the highest fuel economy in the US (up to 58 mpg) for a non-plug-in vehicle and the Ioniq Electric is the industry’s most efficient EV (136 mpge).

All three variants were available for media drives this week (drive impressions embargoed until next Monday); the hybrid and EV versions were production cars, the plug-in was still characterized as “prototype.” Nevertheless, technical executives and engineers from Korea and from the Hyundai-Kia America technical center in the US were on hand to provide market and technical background. Furthermore, two engineers from the US technical center gave presentations last week at the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego, discussing aspects of the hybrid and battery-electric powertrains, including some of the unique features and Hyundai “firsts” represented in the Ioniq.

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TÜV lifecycle analysis shows Mercedes-Benz E 350 e PHEV cuts GHG footprint 44% compared to E 350 CGI; equivalent NOx

February 15, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz E 350 e plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has successfully completed the TÜV validation audit and received the Environmental Certificate. This award is based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in which the independent experts at TÜV Süd (the German Technical Inspection Authority) comprehensively assess the environmental impact of the passenger car over its entire life cycle.

The Mercedes-Benz E 350 e is rated with an NEDC fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (112 mpg US), and electric energy consumption (NEDC) of 11.5 kWh/100 km. The LCA found total CO2 emissions around 44% lower than the previous E 350 CGI model, which has comparable performance data and a conventional engine, during its life cycle (material manufacture, production, driving for 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) calculated with certified consumption figures and recycling) when the hybrid model is charged externally with the European energy mix.

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Wireless charging J2954 testing to 11 kW in 2017 for LD, HD starting up to 250 kW; autonomous charging and infrastructure proposal for California

February 13, 2017

SAE International is working to ensure that electric vehicle wireless power transfer systems from diverse manufacturers will interoperate seamlessly with each other to prepare for commercialization in 2020. The SAE TIR (Technical Information Report) J2954 provides guidance to ensure performance and safety of Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) Systems provided from one vendor as well as interoperability when parts of the system are provided from different vendors.

SAE International is engaged with the Idaho National Lab and US Department of Energy (DOE) in bench-testing of WPT 3 (11 kW) levels in 2017, said Jesse Schneider, chair of the SAE J2954 task force, in his presentation at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium last week in San Diego. In addition, eight OEMs have light-duty vehicle testing planned to begin in third quarter for WPT 1-3 which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

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Ford pushing for common industry metrics to understand customer daily electric driving requirements

Based on the benefits of its own analysis of anonymized driving data from its plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle customers, Ford is encouraging the adoption of a standard way to analyze driving data for OEMs and regulatory agencies to understand the real world electric driving usage in comparison to regulatory test cycles.

In a presentation at the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego last week, Brett Hinds, Chief Engineer, Electrified Powertrain Engineering, Ford Motor Company, said that using the embedded modem in Ford PHEVs and BEVs, the company has collected (as part of the MyFord Mobile service), from 2013 through now, data from 35,185 unique vehicles over more than 80.6 million trips.

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WiTricity collaborating with Nissan on wireless charging for EVs

February 12, 2017

WiTricity is collaborating with Nissan to further the adoption of wireless EV charging systems. Both companies are participating in the SAE International J2954 standardization effort for wireless power transfer. (Earlier post.)

The two companies collaborated to submit a joint design system (built using WiTricity’s DRIVE system) to the task force; that circular topology was selected by the SAE International J2954 Taskforce in January as the official test station against which EV wireless charging systems will be tested for interoperability and standards compliance. (Earlier post.) Products developed by carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers and charging infrastructure suppliers will be measured against 3.7 kW and 7.7 kW test stations (WPT 1 and WPT2; the J2954 team also envisions light duty charging rates of 11 kW (WPT3) and 22 kW (WPT4).

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7-state Midwest EVOLVE project to promote electric vehicles; Ford, GM, Nissan initial automotive partners

February 10, 2017

The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest announced the launch of Midwest EVOLVE, a three-year project to promote electric vehicles in seven Midwestern states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

In partnership with eight Clean Cities coalitions, Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) will demonstrate the performance and environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles through showcases, ride and drives, and events in communities throughout the seven-state region.

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Volvo Buses receives order for 90 electric hybrid buses and fast charging stations from Belgium

Volvo Buses has secured its largest order yet for complete solutions for electric bus traffic. The Belgian cities of Charleroi and Namur have together ordered 90 Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses as well as 12 charging stations. The buyer is public transport company TEC Group. The charging stations will be delivered by ABB.

The order from TEC Group covers 55 buses for Charleroi and another 35 buses for Namur. ABB will supply 4 charging stations to Charleroi and 8 charging stations for Namur. Delivery and installation will get under way this autumn. After the delivery, the TEC Group will have ordered in total 101 Volvo electric hybrids and 15 ABB charging stations.

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Volvo Cars to introduce 3-cylinder FWD PHEV in 2018, BEVs & 48V mild hybrid in 2019; Modular Electrification Platform

February 09, 2017

Volvo Cars will introduce a front-wheel drive (FWD), 3-cylinder engine variant of its Twin Engine plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system in 2018, followed by its first production battery-electric vehicles and a new 48V mild hybrid system in 2019, according to Mats Anderson, Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems. Anderson was speaking at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego.

Currently in its line-up, Volvo offers the T8 Twin Engine all-wheel drive (AWD) system, currently on the XC 90 T8 Drive-E Twin Engine (earlier post). The 4-cylinder engine T8 AWD is intended to match the performance of 6- and 8-cylinder engined competitors, said Anderson. The new Twin Engine FWD platform will use a 3-cylinder engine, with the system matching the performance of 4- and 6-cylinder engined competitors.

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Mitsubishi Motors to supply 635 Outlander PHEVs to National Police of Ukraine

January 27, 2017

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that through its local importer and distributor MMC Ukraine, MMC will supply the National Police of Ukraine with 635 units of the Outlander PHEV. These vehicles are to be delivered around July 2017.

The supply stems from an emissions trading agreement signed by a number of Japanese companies with the Government of Ukraine. As part of its policy to reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions using the Green Investment Scheme under the Kyoto Protocol, the Ukrainian government will use the Outlander PHEVs as police vehicles.

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SAE International taskforce agrees on SAE J2954 Wireless Charging Test Station; major step forward in global standardization for wireless power transfer for EVs

January 23, 2017

At a standards meeting held in January at Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany, carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers, and technology providers from around the world reached agreement on key technical and procedural elements of the upcoming SAE Recommended Practice (RP) Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) and automated parking alignment and charging of electrified vehicles. (Earlier post.)

The Taskforce members have agreed on specifications for the SAE J2954 Test Stations, which automakers will use as a basis to develop their wireless charging systems, and to verify that they will interoperate with charging systems and vehicles sold by other makers.

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California utilities submit projects to CPUC to expand EV infrastructure, adoption and awareness

Three investor-owned California utilities—Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)—have submitted applications to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) outlining programs and investments aimed at achieving multiple electric transportation and emission-reduction goals set by the governor and state agencies.

The applications filed demonstrate the utilities’ support of the objectives in Senate Bill 350 (De León) [Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015] which called upon utilities “to file applications for programs and investments to accelerate widespread transportation electrification to reduce dependence on petroleum, meet air quality standards, achieve the goals set forth in the Charge Ahead California Initiative, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”

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Ford running 12-month trial of 20 plug-in hybrid Transit Custom vans in London

January 20, 2017

Ford is launching a multi-million pound project designed to help improve air quality in London. The project, supported by Transport for London, features a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of city trips such as deliveries or maintenance work.

Ford plans to introduce a Transit Custom PHEV van on the market in 2019; the Transit Custom PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced prototype design that allows them to be charged with mains electricity for zero-emission journeys, while featuring an efficient on-board combustion engine for extended range when longer trips are required. Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market.

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CARB releases Midterm Review of ZEV regulation, LEV III GHG and PM standards; calls for post-2025 standards

January 19, 2017

When the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012 (earlier post), the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive midterm review of three elements of the program: the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation; the 1 mg/mi particulate matter (PM) standard; and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years. ARB has now released the Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program—an extensive evaluation of the California passenger vehicle market and technology.

The Review finds that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards currently in place for model years 2022-2025 are readily feasible at or below the costs estimated back in 2012. The report also finds that ZEV technology has seen significant development that, in many cases, is beyond what was envisioned just four years ago. The report indicates that existing programs in California will add at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads and highways by 2025.

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Efficient Drivetrains awarded bus fleet order for the City of Sheyang, China

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) Awarded Bus Fleet Order for the City of Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) has received a major order for its EDI PowerDrive 6000 systems from the city of Sheyang in China. The company is supplying its drivetrain technology to Yaxing Motor Coach for integration into a fleet of city buses to be delivered in March of this year.

The company’s EDI PowerDrive 6000 PHEV drivetrain system surpassed one million miles in a commercial fleet setting in late 2016. Utilized for a mass transportation application, EDI PowerDrive 6000, certified by the China government, delivered full OEM performance with more than 40% improvement in fuel economy and emissions reductions as the system was deployed in the field to perform standard bus routes in place of its conventional diesel fuel counterpart.

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Upcoming workshop for SAE J2954 wireless power transfer status and testing in California

January 17, 2017

On 6 February, the Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego in California will be hosting a workshop for SAE J2954 (Wireless Power Transfer and Automated Charging and Alignment) with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and California Energy Commission (CARB-CEC) related to wireless power transfer technology status and testing plans in California. The workshop is the day before the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium, also in San Diego.

The workshop will review the SAE J2954 light duty document, the anticipated timeline for standardization to commercialization, and the status of technology projects.

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UCR team’s new evolutionary-algorithm-based EMS for PHEVs can deliver >30% fuel savings than conventional controls

January 11, 2017

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have developed a new online energy management system (EMS) based on an evolutionary algorithm for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that they say can improve PHEV fuel efficiency by more than 30%. A paper describing the research was recently accepted for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

PHEVs, which combine an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor and a large rechargeable battery, offer advantages over conventional hybrids because they can be charged using grid electricity, which reduces their need for fuel. However, improving the efficiency of current PHEVs is limited by shortfalls in their energy management systems (EMS), which control the power split between engine and battery when they switch from all-electric mode to hybrid mode.

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Audi unveils Q8 plug-in hybrid concept full-size SUV; production version in 2018

January 09, 2017

Audi presented the Audi Q8 concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2017. Combining the spaciousness of an SUV with the lines of a coupe, the Q8 concept features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The concept full-size SUV is the basis for a production model that Audi will launch on the market in 2018; whether or not the first production version will be a plug-in hybrid has yet to be determined.

The Audi Q8 concept uses production technologies for the drive system and suspension. The combustion engine in the Q8 e-tron concept is a 3.0 TFSI producing 245 kW (333 hp) and a maximum of 500 N·m (368.8 lb-ft) of torque. The electric motor—100 kW of power and 330 N·m (243.4 lb-ft)—is integrated into the eight-speed tiptronic along with a decoupler. The complete system produces 330 kW and 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft) of torque.

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Reseachers attribute suddent surge in China PEV sales to massive subsidies and huge non-monetary incentives

Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in China—battery-electric and plug-in hybrid—suddenly soared 343% in 2015 to about 331,000 units—more than 3 times the number sold in the US that year. China-based BYD is now the world’s leading manaufacturer of PEVs, jumping ahead of Nissan and Tesla. Six other China OEMs are among the top 20 PEV manufacturers.

However, notes a team from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis and CATARC (China Automotive Technology and Research Center), just the year before PEV sales were stagnant, despite large subsidies and incentives. In a new paper in the journal Energy Policy, they explore the factors behind the surge and ways to maintain the strength of the market.

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ChargePoint introduces modular Express Plus EV fast-charging platform; up to 400 kW

January 06, 2017

ChargePoint announced ChargePoint Express Plus, an ultra-fast DC charging solution that can deliver up to 400 kW. It supports charging voltages ranging from 200 volts (V) to 1000 V including today’s 400 V cars and 750 V buses, and tomorrow’s 800 V cars.

A modular platform designed for businesses and charging centers along major roadways or transit depots, Express Plus can charge today’s newest electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Bolt EV, at their maximum rate; is equipped to charge upcoming EVs such as the Tesla Model 3; and is ready to deliver maximum charging speed to EVs coming to market in the years to come. Express Plus will be available in July 2017. ChargePoint up to now has offered 24 kW and 50 kW fast charging via its Express 100 and 200 platforms. (Earlier post.)

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Ford adding hybrid F-150 & Mustang, PHEV Transit, new BEV SUV by 2020; $700M for Flat Rock for EV production; cancels $1.6B Mexico plant

January 03, 2017

Ford detailed seven of the 13 new global electrified vehicles it plans to introduce in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic F-150 pickup and Mustang in the US, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom van in Europe and a fully electric SUV with an expected range of at least 300 miles (483 km) for customers globally.

The automaker also announced plans to invest $700 million to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan into a factory that will build high-tech autonomous and electric vehicles along with the Mustang and Lincoln Continental. The moves are part of a $4.5 billion investment in electrified vehicles by 2020.

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GM launches Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid in China

December 30, 2016

SAIC-GM has officially launched the newest member of the Cadillac CT6 American luxury sedan family—the CT6 Plug-In (earlier post)—in China. It is available in two variants priced at RMB 558,800 (US$80,400) and RMB 658,800 (US$94,700).

Built on GM’s all-new intelligent rear-wheel electric drive platform, the CT6 Plug-In offers steady, robust real-time power through two high-performance electric motors integrated with the car’s electric drive system and a direct-injection 2.0L SIDI turbocharged engine. Its offers 80 km (50 miles) of all-electric range and combined fuel consumption as low as 1.7 L/100 km (138 mpg US)—the best in its segment.

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DOE awards $18M to 5 projects to accelerate development of plug-in electric vehicles & use of other alternative fuels

December 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $18 million to five projects for 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.

Odyne Systems, LLC will receive $2.9 million to develop and demonstrate plug-in hybrid work trucks (class 7) that reduce fuel consumption by more than 50% and eliminate fuel consumption during stationary operations.

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Electric Vehicle Arteries (EVA+) fast charging: Enel, Verbund, Renault, Nissan, BMW & Volkswagen partner in Italy & Austria

Enel, as coordinator, and Austria’s main utility Verbund are collaborating on a fast-recharging network project in Italy and Austria, alongside some of the world’s largest EV carmakers including Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen Group Italia (represented by Volkswagen and Audi).

Electric Vehicle Arteries (EVA+) aims to create a fast charging infrastructure for electric vehicles on key roads and motorways in Italy and Austria. A grant agreement worth a maximum of €4.2 million (US$4.4 million) has already been signed with INEA, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency delegated by the European Commission (EC). EVA+ will be officially launched in Brussels in January 2017.

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ABB delivers OppCharge fast charger for electric hybrid buses to Bertrange, Luxembourg

December 21, 2016

ABB has inaugurated the first OppCharge fast-charging station for electric buses in Benelux, in the commuter belt town of Bertrange, Luxembourg. The fast charger, with associated electrical systems, is based on OppCharge, an open interface for DC electric bus charging using pole-mounted pantographs, as opposed to putting the pantograph on the vehicle’s roof. (The vehicle-mounted OppCharge connector rails weight about 2kg, compared to the 70-200 kg with a roof-mounted pantograph.)

The project has been delivered with ABB fast charging infrastructure and substation to the local authority MDDI Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure; with the support of the national road administration of Luxembourg (Administration des Ponts et Chausseés). Bus operator Sales-Lentz will use the charger to recharge electric hybrid buses from Volvo.

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FCA delivers 100 uniquely built Chrysler Pacifica PHEVs to Waymo for autonomous driving test fleet

December 19, 2016

Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project, earlier post) and FCA announced that production of 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans (earlier post) uniquely built to enable fully self-driving operations has been completed.

The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles are currently being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics and other systems, and will join Waymo’s self-driving test fleet in early 2017. Waymo and FCA also revealed today the first images of the fully self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid vehicle.

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BMW to introduce BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid at Detroit show

December 18, 2016

BMW will stage the world premiere of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan and the US premiere of the BMW Concept X2 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January in Detroit. Also part of the line-up at the BMW stand will be the new BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, the BMW M550i xDrive, and the BMW 6 Series model range. BMW ConnectedDrive will be showcasing a selection of new services.

The BMW 530e iPerformance offers the full breadth of BMW 5 Series Advanced Driver Assistance systems and the latest technology introduced with the new 5 Series, combined with eDrive plug-in hybrid powertrain technology. In the US, the BMW 530e iPerformance is the fourth member of a growing portfolio of iPerformance (PHEV) models already available at US dealers. (Globally, there are six, with two additional models in China). The 2018 BMW 5 Series iPerformance will be available at US dealers in spring 2017. Pricing will be announced closer to market launch.

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XL Hybrids expanding product line-up with new plug-in hybrid system for pick-ups; product launch in Q4 2017

December 15, 2016

XL Hybrids is introducing a new product line, the XLP plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) upfit solution. The XLP will be an industry-first fleet-ready solution offered as a ship-thru upfit on half-ton pickup trucks from leading OEMs, and is targeted to provide a 50% improvement in miles driven per gallon for major fleets across the United States, as well as significant reductions in CO2 emissions. XLP ship-thru deliveries to fleet customers will begin in the fourth quarter of 2017, said Clay Siegert, XL Hybrids’ co-founder and chief operating officer.

Utility and municipal fleets including San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Liberty Utilities, Hawaiian Electric Company and Montgomery County Maryland, which is headed by a recent public sector fleet manager of the year William Griffiths, are among the North American customers that intend to purchase the XLP PHEV system for use in their pickup fleets. SDG&E, as one example, signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase up to 110 of the plug-in electric hybrid truck systems between 2017 and 2020 to upgrade SDG&E’s fleet vehicles.

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Volkswagen Group invests in Hubject eRoaming platform for EV charging

The Volkswagen Group is joining the eRoaming platform Hubject GmbH as shareholder. Hubject, a joint venture formed by BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler AG, EnBW, innogy and Siemens (earlier post), launched its eRoaming EV charging platform “intercharge” in 2013.

With the strategic investment in the Berlin-based company, Europe’s largest car maker will push ahead with the digital interconnection of charging stations for electric vehicles starting in early 2017 as well as the expansion and internationalization of Hubject GmbH together with the founding shareholders.

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WiTricity announces Tunable Matching Network technology; optimization of power transfer between ground and vehicle

December 05, 2016

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity announced Tunable Matching Network (TMN) technology, which allows the wireless charging system automatically to optimize energy transfer between the ground and vehicle in a wide range of real-world operating conditions including parking misalignment, differing vehicle ground clearance and varying battery voltage conditions. This flexibility enables wirelessly charged vehicles to interoperate more easily with standards-based charging sources made by different automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and infrastructure suppliers.

WiTricity’s TMN technology is delivered as a compact electronics module embodying proprietary hardware and software algorithms, to be incorporated into both the wireless charging source on the ground and the wireless power capture device on the vehicle.

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Toyota teams with 5 Japanese power companies on PHV Connected Power Service to encourage more electric driving in Prius PHV

Toyota Motor Corporation will partner with five Japanese power companies—Tohoku Electric Power Co., Ltd.; TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc.; Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.; Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.; and Shikoku Electric Power Company, Inc. to offer the new PHV Connected Power Service. This service will provide customers of the new Prius PHV with various benefits depending on the distance driven in EV-mode as well as the amount of home charging.

The service seeks to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles by encouraging customers who drive the new Prius PHV plug-in hybrid to use the car’s all-electric mode for longer driving distances. This is part of Toyota’s coordination with other industries using the mobility service platform—a core element of its connected strategy.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid PHEV minivan EPA-rated at 84 MPGe in electric-only mode; role of eFlite dual-motor/one-way clutch strategy

December 01, 2016

Exceeding its initial program targets, the plug-in 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (earlier post) has earned an electric-mode fuel economy rating of 84 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (MPGe) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). No other minivan has ever come close to this rating. (As examples of SUV/MPV-style electric vehicle fuel efficiency, the 2016 Tesla Model X AWD - 75D is EPA-rated at 93 MPGe combined city/highway; the Model X AWD - P90D is EPA-rated at 89 MPGe; and the 2016 BYD e6 compact MPV is EPA-rated at 72 MPGe. All figures from fueleconomy.gov.)

The new benchmark reflects the Pacifica Hybrid’s combined city- and highway-cycle performance in electric-only mode, as tested by the EPA. FCA US had estimated the vehicle would achieve 80 MPGe, which represents the distance a vehicle can travel using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.

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BMW Group, Daimler, Ford, Audi & Porsche JV for up to 350 kW CCS ultra-fast charging network along major highways in Europe

November 29, 2016

BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology. The planned charging infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC- and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kW. BEVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations will recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs. The network is intended to serve all CCS equipped vehicles to facilitate the BEV adoption in Europe.

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BMW Digital Charging Service optimizes charging and integrates electric vehicles into the energy market

November 28, 2016

BMW i is expanding its engagement in electric mobility with the new BMW Digital Charging Service (DCS)—an intelligent service for predictive, convenient, cost-effective and green power-optimized charging. The Digital Charging Service optimizes charging technology for BMW i and BMW iPerformance vehicles and will be extended in a later phase to other brands. Pilot markets for the new service are Germany and the Netherlands in early 2017, subsequently more countries will follow.

After activation, the service carries out the charging process fully independently and autonomously. The BMW Digital Charging Service is based on two core functions: tariff- and solar-optimized vehicle charging.

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GKN expands electric all-wheel drive program with BMW; eAxle for PHEV X1 in China

GKN Driveline is expanding its global electric axle (eAxle) drive partnership with the BMW Group, supplying eAxle technology for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 for the Chinese market. The system is part of the same scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (earlier post).

Early adopters of GKN’s electric axle drive used the technology to create plug-in hybrid sports cars with electric all-wheel drive that enhanced performance and efficiency. Automakers are now equipping a new generation of compact vehicles with GKN electric drive technology.

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CMU team details impact of regional and drive-cycle variations on degradation of a PHEV battery pack

November 20, 2016

A team at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek has investigated the implications of regional and drive cycle variations on the degradation of a plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) battery. Modeling a PHEV with an air-cooled battery pack comprising cylindrical LiFePO4/graphite cells, they simulated the effect of thermal management, driving conditions, regional climate, and vehicle system design on battery life.

In their paper, published in the Journal of Power Sources, they reported that in the absence of thermal management, aggressive driving can cut battery life by two-thirds; a blended gas/electric-operation control strategy can quadruple battery life relative to an all-electric control strategy; larger battery packs can extend life by an order of magnitude relative to small packs used for all-electric operation; and batteries last 73–94% longer in mild-weather San Francisco than in hot Phoenix.

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2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-In Hybrid on sale in US in spring 2017; ~30-mile electric range

November 16, 2016

Cadillac will put the 2017 CT6 Plug-In Hybrid (earlier post) sedan on sale in the US in the spring of 2017, with a total driving range of more than 400 miles. All-electric range for the CT6 Plug-In Hybrid is an estimated 30 miles.

In a detailed presentation at SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies earlier this year on the design of the RWD PHEV system for the CT6, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of Electrification, called it a “Volt on steroids.” (Earlier post.) The rear-wheel drive sedan will accelerate from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, and is expected to deliver a fuel economy rating of 65 MPGe.

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Japan-US DRIVETHEARC EV fast charging corridor breaks ground in Northern California; 50 fast chargers by March 2017

DRIVETHEARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, broke ground in El Dorado Hills, Calif. DRIVETHEARC is a joint international project promoted by Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), under the agreement between NEDO and the State of California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, and in partnership with Nissan Motor Co., Nissan North America, Kanematsu and EVgo.

In addition to increasing the ease of long-distance EV travel along one of California’s most important travel arteries, DRIVETHEARC will also study EV use and driving patterns through a smartphone app that will provide a user-friendly charging experience.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid starts at US$41,995

November 15, 2016

The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan (earlier post) lineup features two highly equipped models, starting at $41,995 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), not including destination. With the available $7,500 US federal tax credit, customers can get the Pacifica Hybrid is for as low as $34,495, not including any state or local incentives.

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the only hybrid minivan in the US. It delivers an estimated 30 miles of all-electric range, 530 miles of total range and 80 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving. It also offers many of the same features offered by the gasoline-powered Pacifica, including tri-pane panoramic sunroof, 10-inch seatback touchscreens, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, 360-degree Surround View camera, ventilated seats, rotary e-shifter, capless fuel filler, handsfree sliding doors and liftgate and KeySense programmable key fob.

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Audi FAW China JV to intro 5 locally produced e-tron models within 5 years; Audi also in discussion with SAIC

November 14, 2016

Audi has outlined a growth plan for its joint business with FAW Group in China for the next 10 years, establishing a base course for sustainable growth in the brand’s largest global market.

Within the next five years, the joint venture, FAW-Volkswagen, will add five locally-produced Audi e-tron models to its China portfolio, including pure battery vehicles with a range of more than 500 kilometers. By 2025, Audi, with FAW-Volkswagen, will offer at least one locally-produced electrically powered SUV and sedan model in all volume segments and, with this, there will be an e-tron model in each of the six biggest segments.

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T&E report: electric cars sales in Europe doubled in 2015; now at 1% market share

Roughly 145,000 new electric vehicles (EV) were sold in Europe in 2015—double the 2014 tally, according to a recent T&E report. EV sales have now reached the milestone of a 1% market share; figures for 2016 to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold in Europe this year. That would take the total number of EVs on the road to more than half a million cars.

Currently, there are 34 EV models on the European market available, including battery-, plug-in-hybrid- and range-extended-electric vehicles. Established manufacturers have announced new plans to expand their portfolio of EVs within the next five years. Although EVs still constitute only a fraction of all car models available, Europe (including Switzerland and Norway) is the second biggest EV market in the world behind China.

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Navigant Research ranks EV charging network companies

In a new Leaderboard Report, Navigant Research assesses the business strategy and execution of 12 companies offering public charging networks and EV charging services.

Navigant Research estimates the global commercial charging market for plug-ins will be worth $2.7 billion annually by 2025, compared to $168.5 million in 2016—reflecting a 36.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). To date, the market has been driven by a combination of market pull from the growing number of PEVs on the roads in major automotive markets such as North America and Europe and market push from stakeholders such as governments, automakers, and utilities.

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Porsche introducing long wheelbase version of Panamera plug-in hybrid; new entry-level V6 turbo

November 12, 2016

At the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, Porsche will present a long wheelbase version of its new Panamera version, called the Panamera Executive. Designed as a chauffeur sedan, this Porsche is available in the all-wheel drive versions Panamera 4 Executive (243 kW / 330 hp); plug-in hybrid Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive (340 kW / 462 hp); Panamera 4S Executive (324 kW / 440 hp); and Panamera Turbo Executive (404 kW / 550 hp).

Porsche introduced the fully redeveloped second-generation of the Panamera in the summer of 2016. The four all-wheel drive models—Panamera 4S, Panamera 4S Diesel (310 kW / 422 hp), Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (earlier post) and Panamera Turbo—are already available on the market.

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