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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.]

Survey of power management control technologies for HEVs and PHEVs suggests future need to consider vehicle as part of larger system

April 11, 2014

A comprehensive survey of major power management control algorithms for hybrid-electric (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) proposes that future work will need to consider the vehicle as part of a larger system which can be optimized at an even larger scale.

This type of large-scale optimization will require the acquisition and processing of additional information from the driver and conditions outside the vehicle itself, suggests Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos, Deputy Director of the Urban Dynamics Institute and an Alvin M. Weinberg Fellow in the Energy and Transportation Science Division with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

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Volkswagen Group’s new Future Tracks program targeting digitalization era in auto industry; “James 2025”

March 10, 2014

At the Geneva Motor Show and now at the IT trade fair CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, Volkswagen Group executive management has begun to outline its “Future Tracks” program which will address, among other things, what Chairman of the Board of Management Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn calls an approaching new era of digitalization.

In an address at the opening ceremony of CeBIT 2014 in Hanover in the presence of Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Minister-President of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil and Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of BITKOM, the IT industry Association, Winterkorn declared that the increasingly intensive networking of cars with their surroundings and automatic driving would be the key topics for the intelligent mobility of the future.

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CEN and ETSI deliver first set of standards for Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) in Europe

February 18, 2014

Standards organizations CEN and ETSI recently confirmed, at the 6th ETSI workshop on ITS in Berlin, that the basic set of standards for Cooperative Intelligence Transport Systems (C-ITS), as requested by the European Commission in 2009, have now been adopted and issued. The Release 1 specifications developed by CEN and ETSI will enable vehicles made by different manufacturers to communicate with each other and with the road infrastructure systems.

When they have been applied by vehicle manufacturers, the new specifications should contribute to preventing road accidents by providing warning messages, for example about driving the wrong way or possible collisions at intersections, as well as advance warnings of roadworks, traffic jams and other potential risks to road safety. This vision of safe and intelligent mobility can be achieved by utilizing wireless communication technologies to link vehicles and infrastructure and identify potential risks in real time.

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NHTSA awards Virginia Tech Transportation Institute $1M for V2V framework project

February 14, 2014

Following a US Department of Transportation decision to move ahead with require vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for all cars and light trucks on the nation’s highways (earlier post), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) a $1-million follow-on to a $3 million project managed by the transportation institute.

The goal of the project is to design, to test, and to disseminate the initial recommended framework that controls how motorists receive communications—traffic warnings, the too-close approach of another vehicle, weather warnings, or text messages—while driving. Focus will be placed on the communication’s format, visual or audible, and the order and timing of such messages.

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NHTSA to move ahead with regulations for vehicle-to-vehicle communications for light vehicles

February 03, 2014

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it will begin taking steps to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology for light vehicles as the next generation of auto safety. This technology would improve safety by allowing vehicles to communicate and ultimately avoid many crashes altogether by exchanging basic safety data, such as speed and position, ten times per second.

DOT research indicates that safety applications using V2V technology can address a large majority of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. With safety data such as speed and location flowing from nearby vehicles, vehicles can identify risks and provide drivers with warnings to avoid other vehicles in common crash types such as rear-end, lane change, and intersection crashes. These safety applications have been demonstrated with everyday drivers under both real-world and controlled test conditions.

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Ford kicks off new automated driving research projects with MIT and Stanford University

January 22, 2014

Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle with four LiDAR sensors. Click to enlarge.

Building on the capabilities of the automated Ford Fusion Hybrid research vehicle unveiled last month (earlier post), Ford is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University to research and to develop solutions to some of the technical challenges surrounding automated driving.

The MIT research focuses on scenario planning to predict actions of other vehicles and pedestrians, while Stanford is exploring how a vehicle might maneuver to allow its sensors to peek around obstructions. Put another way, the purpose of the MIT project is enhance the utilization of the line-of-sight data already acquired by the Fusion’s sensors to provide augmented predictive capability, especially for pedestrians. The purpose of the Stanford work is to enhance the acquisition of non-line-of-sight data.

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SwRI develops first ERCOT-qualified vehicle-to-grid aggregation system

January 15, 2014

SwRI’s V2G aggregation system allows electric delivery truck fleet owners to make money by using normal vehicle charge times to assist in managing grid frequency. This laboratory test framework, using light bulbs in place of the vehicle chargers, allows SwRI engineers to continue to test and fine-tune the system post-deployment. Click to enlarge.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has deployed the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) aggregation system qualified by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to manage charging activities for a fleet of electric delivery trucks. The SwRI system suspends vehicle charging when the electric grid frequency drops too far below 60 Hertz, the normal operating frequency. This novel smart grid system demonstrates enabling technologies to support stable electric power delivery.

Electricity is difficult to store yet has to be available on demand. Because supply and demand across a grid vary continuously, organizations such as ERCOT coordinate power through various suppliers to maintain frequency levels and make rapid adjustments when the frequency falls outside the normal range. Alternative energy supplies, such as wind energy, can be especially variable, so the SwRI-developed technology is particularly useful for integrating these green technologies into the energy infrastructure.

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California ISO publishes roadmap for integrating EVs into grid

December 28, 2013

Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge.

The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”.

The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric vehicles could benefit electric reliability, and to determine policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable electric grid.

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Ford unveils Fusion Hybrid research vehicle for autonomous driving

December 13, 2013

Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle with four LiDAR sensors. Click to enlarge.

Ford, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and State Farm, unveiled a Ford Fusion Hybrid automated research vehicle that will be used to make progress on future autonomous driving and other advanced technologies.

The result of an ongoing project that builds on more than a decade of Ford’s automated driving research, the Fusion Hybrid automated vehicle will test current and future sensing systems and driver-assist technologies. Ford’s goal is to advance development of new technologies with its supplier partners so these features can be applied to the company’s next generation of vehicles.

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Scania to lead 3-year European research project on vehicle platooning

December 11, 2013

Scania will take the lead role in a three-year European research project to develop a system for implementing truck platooning on roads. Introducing platooning on European roads can significantly contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of trucks. The European Union has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020; heavy vehicles currently account for 17% of total CO2 emissions.

Through the €5.4-million (US$7.45-million) COMPANION research project, of which €3.4 million (US$4.69 million) is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme, the partners will identify means of implementing the platooning concept in practice in daily transport operations. The project also includes Volkswagen Group Research; Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH); Oldenburger Institut für Informatik (OFFIS) in Germany; IDIADA Automotive Technology in Spain; Science [&] Technology Corporation in the Netherlands; and the Spanish haulage company Transportes Cerezuela.

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Honda joins vehicle-to-grid technology demonstration project in partnership with University of Delaware and NRG Energy

December 05, 2013

Honda has joined a demonstration project for experimental vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology aimed at providing a potentially valuable energy storage resource to the electrical grid while providing for more cost-effective ownership of plug-in electric vehicles.

The Honda technology builds off of the research conducted by the University of Delaware and now supported by NRG Energy, Inc. through their eV2g joint venture (earlier post). eV2g came online early in 2013 with the first revenue-generating vehicle-to-grid project, demonstrating the controls, regulatory requirements, and market participation rules for selling energy storage from vehicles into the PJM Interconnection Regulation Market. (Earlier post.)

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Volvo Car Group in multi-year, large-scale pilot project with autonomous cars on public roads

December 02, 2013

Volvo Car Group will take a leading role in the first large-scale autonomous driving pilot project in which 100 self-driving Volvo cars will use public roads in everyday driving conditions around the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The project “Drive Me – Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility” is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The aim of the “Drive Me” project, which is endorsed by the Swedish Government, is to pinpoint the societal benefits of autonomous driving and position Sweden and Volvo Cars as leaders in the development of future mobility.

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Nissan testing LEAF as electrical power storage and supply for office buildings; LEAF-to-Building a development of LEAF-to-Home

November 29, 2013

Nissan reports a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work. “Vehicle-To-Building” allows up to six Nissan LEAF EVs to be connected to a building’s power distribution board.

Charging is phased during the day so at peak hours, when electricity is most expensive, the building draws power from the cars. When electricity is cheaper it flows the other way. The system ensures the Nissan LEAFs are fully charged by the end of the working day for their owners to drive home.

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TNO developing V2V Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system to help prevent accidents with cyclists

November 26, 2013

Dutch research organization TNO is developing a Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system (CAEB) for cars and trucks to help prevent accidents with cyclists, especially at and near junctions. The system relies on vehicle-to-vehicle communication between bikes, cars and trucks.

The system is based on TNO’s intelligent Vehicle Safety Platform (iVSP)—the same platform that enables automatic driving. The iVSP draws on various information sources (radar, communication, map data), seamlessly combining these data with the information gained from vehicle sensors and other information sources (surrounding infrastructure, bikes, pedestrians). With CAEB, the bicycle transmits its own position and speed with the aid of wireless communication, GPS and internal sensors.

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Navigant Research forecasts rapid growth in V2G for ancillary services to 2022; $190.7M in frequency regulation revenue by then

October 18, 2013

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) servicing the ancillary services market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 64.3% from 2013 to 2022.

In North America—which Navigant sees as the strongest initial market opportunity—Navigant sees frequency regulation revenue for PEVs growing from just more than $500,000 in 2013 to just less than $50 million in 2022. Globally, Navigant Research forecasts that frequency regulation revenue will reach $190.7 million by 2022. Navigant Research has not developed revenue forecasts for PEVs participating in demand response (DR) programs, as it is currently unclear how PEV owners will be compensated.

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NXP delivers first RoadLINK Car-to-X communications chip; in sampling with major automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers

October 11, 2013


NXP Semiconductors N.V. announced that the SAF5100, the first product from the RoadLINK range, is now available for automotive customer design-in. The SAF5100 is a flexible software-defined radio processor for car-to-car (C2C) and car-to-infrastructure (C2I) communication, helping to realize NXP’s vision for a complete C2X (C2C+C2I) solution.

Scheduled for mass production in the second half of 2014, the SAF5100 is also the first product to become generally available from the MK4 reference design for connected vehicles, following its unveiling in July by NXP and Cohda Wireless, a leading specialist in wireless communication for automotive safety applications. (Earlier post.)

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DENSO and Nagoya University jointly develop in-vehicle battery-based energy management system for house and car; field testing begins

September 30, 2013

Global automotive supplier DENSO and Nagoya University have developed an in-vehicle battery-based energy management system (EMS) which uses forecasting models of household electricity demand and vehicle use to reduce electricity costs.

The two organizations will start to evaluate the performance of the system in October this year under the Toyota City Low-carbon Society Verification Project, one of the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Projects in Japan led by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

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Ko-Fas project finds cooperative transponders and cooperative perception technology could bring significant road safety benefits

September 25, 2013

The 17 partners—including vehicle manufacturers BMW and Daimler; suppliers Continental and Delphi; and universities, institutes of applied science and research establishments—in Germany’s €25-million (US$34-million), 4-year Cooperative Vehicle Safety (Ko-FAS) research initiative presented the final results from the project last week in Aschaffenburg, Germany. The results showed that use of cooperative transponder technologies in combination with cooperative perception technologies could bring important benefits for road safety.

The aim of this project was to improve road safety significantly, with an attendant reduction in the number of road traffic accidents and fatalities. The approach centered on accurate detection of traffic environments using cooperative sensing and perception, comprehensive situation assessment to precisely evaluate collision risks, and subsequent activation of appropriate advance protection measures.

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class INTELLIGENT DRIVE drives autonomously over 100km interurban and urban route with near-production technology

September 11, 2013

Networked sensor systems of the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz has demonstrated the feasibility of autonomous driving on both interurban and urban routes with its S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle. The company set the vehicle to cover a 100 km (62-mile) route from Mannheim to Pforzheim—retracing that taken by motoring pioneer Bertha Benz exactly 125 years ago when she set off on the first long-distance drive.

The self-driving S-Class had to deal autonomously with a number of highly complex situations such as traffic lights, roundabouts, pedestrians, cyclists and trams. The successful drive was achieved with the aid of near-production-standard technology, very similar to that already found in the new E and S-Class. The project thus marks a milestone along the way that leads from the self-propelled (automobile) to the self-driving (autonomous) vehicle, the company said.

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Opel Monza Concept at Frankfurt features CNG extended range electric vehicle powertrain with new 1.0L 3-cylinder engine

September 10, 2013

Monza Concept. Click to enlarge.

Opel intends that its Monza Concept (earlier post), unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, serve as a role-model for next-generation Opel cars, with particular emphasis on design, maximum connectivity, and optimum efficiency, including advanced powertrain flexibility.

The Monza Concept is based on a modular design to allow highest-possible flexibility when selecting a propulsion system. A variety of sustainable powertrains based on increasing electrification of the automobile are conceivable, Opel noted. For the Monza Concept displayed at the Frankfurt show, engineers conceived an electric drive with a CNG (compressed natural gas) range extender—a further development of the Ampera’s technology.

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Burns & McDonnell develops bi-directional fast chargers for SPIDERS program

September 01, 2013

Bi-directional fast charger at Ft. Carson. Click to enlarge.

A team of Burns & McDonnell engineers, along with subcontractor Coritech Services, has developed a system of bidirectional, fast-charging stations for a fleet of plug-in electric vehicles at Fort Carson, Colo. This first-of-its-kind system will push power back to the base microgrid when needed to meet installation demand or improve overall power quality.

On 29 August, the team successfully commissioned five bidirectional chargers and the aggregating control system as part of the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) microgrid project at Fort Carson. (Earlier post.) Commissioning was performed using both Boulder Electric Vehicle and Smith Electric trucks, which are being provided for use on SPIDERS under separate agreements with the US Army’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).

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Ford studying space-based robot telematics with St. Petersburg Polytechnic to improve connected vehicle communication

August 30, 2013

Ford has begun a three-year three-year research partnership with the telematics department of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in Russia in its association with that country’s space industry. The goal of Ford’s relationship with the university is to analyze space-based robotic communications systems, with potential for developing vehicle mesh networks to aid in connected vehicle communications applications.

Telematics—the long-distance transmission of digital information—developed for use on space stations provide excellent potential for improving the reliability of future vehicle-to-cloud (V2C), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and other forms of communication (V2X), Ford suggests.

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Navigant Research projects autonomous vehicles to represent 75% of all LDV sales by 2035

August 20, 2013

Autonomous Vehicle Sales by Region, World Markets: 2015-2035. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that vehicles with autonomous driving modes will gradually gain traction in the market over the coming two decades, from about 4% of the global light-duty vehicle market in 2025, rising to roughly 41% in 2030 and 75% by 2035—about 95.4 million units annually by then.

Navigant projects that the first fully autonomous functions will go into production in 2020, though the projected numbers will extremely low. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the three largest markets (North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific) from 2020 to 2035 is expected to average approximately 85%.

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SoCal Edison white paper shares data about PEV usage and charging

August 06, 2013

PEV Infographic 1 V4
About 50% of the more than 12,000 PEV owners in SCE territory charge at Level 1. Click to enlarge.

Southern California Edison (SCE) released a white paper summarizing learnings from its Electric Vehicle (EV) readiness program. The paper, “Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Our Customers and Grid Reliability,” shares information based on customer data and utility operations gathered since SCE began to prepare the distribution system and its customers for widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption in its service territory.

Currently, SCE customers lease or own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), both battery electric (BEVs, for about 35%) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs, for about 65%)—about 10% of national EV sales. (SCE estimates that by 2020, there will be about 350,000 PEVs in its service territory.) Because California leads the nation in EV adoption, other utilities and stakeholders in the auto industry may find the information from the white paper useful, SCE suggested.

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Chrysler Group partnering with NextEnergy to evaluate vehicle-to-grid technology

July 18, 2013

Chrysler Group is working with NextEnergy to evaluate vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology using four all-electric minivans. Detroit-based NextEnergy is a non-profit energy-technology and business accelerator.

The battery-powered minivans are connected to a charging module that, using NextEnergy technology, can simulate any electrical grid in the world. Among the scenarios under study is reduced reliance on “spinning reserves”—the expensive practice of having huge generators at the ready to balance spikes in energy demand.

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New roadside scattering model to improve vehicle-to-vehicle communication for intelligent transportation systems

July 17, 2013

Researchers from Trinity College (Connecticut), North Carlina State University (NCSU) and General Motors (GM) have developed a model to improve the clarity of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) transmissions needed to realize an intelligent transportation system.

V2V communication relies on transmitting data via radio frequencies in a specific band. However, the transmission is complicated by the fact that both the transmitter and the receiver are in motion—and by the reflected radio waves, or radio echoes, that bounce off of passing objects (scattering objects). These variables can distort the signal, causing errors in the data.

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Volvo Car Group introducing autonomous steering, other new safety and driver assistance technologies on XC90 next year

July 05, 2013

Volvo Car Group will introduce a number of safety and driver assistance technologies in the all-new Volvo XC90 at the end of 2014, including the use of autonomous steering functions to avoid accidents and make driving more comfortable, according to Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor Volvo Car Group.

Pedestrian detection at night. According to STRADA (Swedish TRaffic Accident Data Acquisition), 44% of all the pedestrian fatalities occurred in darkness, at dusk or dawn. In the US, the traffic fatality rate is 3–4 times higher in darkness (VTI). Volvo’s new Pedestrian Detection in darkness feature will enable Volvo’s detection and auto braking technology to work effectively at night. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

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Navigant forecasts US military spending on non-tactical alt drive vehicles to more than double to $926M by 2020 from 2013; 11.4% CAGR

Non-tactical vehicle spending by alternative drive type, US Department of Defense: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that US military spending on alternative drive vehicles (ADVs—including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), and ethanol-powered vehicles—for the non-tactical fleet will increase from more than $435 million in 2013 to $926 million by 2020, a CAGR of 11.4%. A majority of the growth will be made through spending on HEVs and PEVs, Navigant projects.

Navigant forecasts that annual fuel consumption in the non-tactical fleet will decrease by a 2.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) almost from more than 81 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) in 2013 to just fewer than 70 million GGEs in 2020 due in part to increased use of alternative fuel vehicles.

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Mercedes-Benz to introduce smartphone-based Car-to-X technology in production vehicles by year-end

June 17, 2013

Mercedes-Benz will introduce Car-to-X (C2X) communication technology into series production vehicles by the end of the year. Through the use of C2X communication, information on potential road traffic dangers can be passed on to drivers at an early stage so that they can take appropriate action and even help to avoid critical situations arising in the first place, the automaker noted. (Earlier post.)

As part of the initial deployment of the technology, Mercedes will use the Drive Kit Plus, which, in combination with a smartphone and the Digital DriveStyle app developed by Mercedes-Benz, turns the vehicle into a simultaneous transmitter and receiver of information.

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SEAT unveils plug-in hybrid prototype based on the new Leon hatchback; smart charging and V2G

June 12, 2013

SEAT Leon Verde PHEV prototype. Click to enlarge.

SEAT, a Spanish motor company and member of the Volkswagen Group, has unveiled a plug-in hybrid R&D prototype based on the new Leon hatchback. The Leon Verde (“Green”) prototype is the culmination of the four-year Cenit Verde research project in Spain, and was presented at the official closing event of the project.

The plug-in hybrid combines a 120 hp (90 kw) 1.4 TSI gasoline engine with a 75 kW electric motor. Combined maximum output is 125 kW. Combined cycle fuel consumption is estimated at 1.6 l/100 km (147 mpg US), with 36 g/km CO2; all-electric range is 31 miles (50 km). With a fully charged battery and a full 40-liter (10.6 gallons US) gasoline tank, its total range is 507 miles (816 km).

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U-M launches Michigan Mobility Transformation Center; model deployment for testing connected and automated vehicles and systems

May 14, 2013

The University of Michigan announced the establishment of the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) as a partnership with government and industry to improve the safety, sustainability and accessibility of the ways that people and goods move from place to place.

A key focus of the MTC will be a model deployment that will allow researchers to test emerging concepts in connected and automated vehicles and vehicle systems in both off-road and on-road settings. The model deployment will build in part on a $25-million study for the US Department of Transportation now underway at UMTRI. (Earlier post.)

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DOT to award up to $45M for vehicle-to-infrastructure application projects

May 03, 2013

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is soliciting (FOA DTFH61-13-RA-00004) applications for cooperative pre-competitive projects designed to enable the successful deployment of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) crash avoidance and driver information applications in passenger vehicles. Projects will last 60 months; estimated total program funding is up to $45 million.

V2I applications are those applications which vehicle-based sensors and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications are not considered adequate for development of information, alerts, or warnings for drivers. These V2I applications require additional information from the infrastructure to be enabled. These applications, however, are vehicle-based, in that they are programs resident in the on-board equipment of the vehicle.

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