« December 2015 | Main | February 2016 »

PSA Peugeot Citroën announced that the initial results obtained by the Peugeot 208 and Peugeot 508 in tests organized by the technical committee led by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy comply with regulations and are aligned with homologated data. The company said that the results confirm... Read more →

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra—Hyundai’s best-selling model in the US—launches this month with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both smartphone integrations will be available on the 2017 Elantra’s seven-inch Display Audio touchscreen system with rearview camera and Hyundai’s eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with voice texting, access to music stored on the... Read more →

Researchers at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) have used data from Spiritmonitor.de—a free web service that allows users to track their fuel consumption by entering odometer readings and the amount of fuel added during fill-ups—to calculate the divergence between official fuel consumption values in Europe and real-world performance.... Read more →

Mammoet switches Dutch operations to Shell GTL fuel

Mammoet, the world’s largest service provider specializing in engineered heavy lifting and transport will use cleaner-burning Shell gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel to power all its cranes and trucks in the Netherlands. The switch is expected to reduce emissions and help improve local air quality as well as lowering noise levels compared... Read more →

New high-activity, low-cost nickel-based catalyst for fuel cells exhibits performance similar to Pt; hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells

Researchers at the University of Delaware, with a colleague at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, have developed a composite catalyst—nickel nanoparticles supported on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes—that exhibits hydrogen oxidation activity in alkaline electrolyte similar to platinum-group metals. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal... Read more →

Obama Administration proposes $4B to accelerate development and adoption of autonomous vehicles; policy update

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a proposed 10-year, nearly $4-billion investment to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects. Secretary Foxx made the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The pilot programs, funded via the President’s FY17 budget proposal,... Read more →

Toyota hybrid sales in Europe up 17% in 2015, representing 24% of total TME sales

Despite the lowest gasoline prices in Europe in 5 years, Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) sales of hybrid vehicles continued their 5-year increase to reach 209,000 units for the full year 2015, up 17% year-on-year. Sales of Toyota and Lexus-branded hybrid vehicles now represent 24% of the group’s sales on the... Read more →

Over the next few years (exact timing is unannounced) Volkswagen’s e-Golf battery-electric vehicle will receive a boost in range due to planned and anticipated improvements to its batteries (earlier post) as well as some of the advanced HMI (human-machine interface), device and connectivity technologies showcased at CES 2016 in the... Read more →

BESC study finds unconventional bacteria could boost efficiency of cellulosic biofuel production

A new comparative study by researchers at the Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, finds the natural abilities of unconventional bacteria could help boost the efficiency of cellulosic biofuel production. A team of researchers from five institutions analyzed the ability of six microorganisms... Read more →

Automotive sales in Russia in 2015 down 35.7%

Sales of new passenger cars and LCVs in Russia decreased by 457% in December 2015, with a 35.7% drop for the entire year, according to figures released by The Automobile Manufacturers Committee of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) in Russia. The Association of European Businesses is an independent non-commercial... Read more →

Alphabet Energy is commercializing low-cost, efficient thermoelectric materials for power generation leveraging technology initially developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Earlier post.) The company has now announced characterization from the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM of heat flow and thermal resistance (in air) of the Alphabet Energy... Read more →

New one-pot high-yield “high-gravity” process for cellulosic ethanol; potential for drop-in fuels

Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a “high-gravity” one-pot process for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass that gives unprecedented yields while minimizing water use and waste disposal. “High gravity” means high biomass loading—the higher the biomass loading, the lower the costs for... Read more →

Engineering firm Ricardo has published a white paper—Key Enablers for the Fully Autonomous Vehicle—highlighting the technologies and development processes that are needed to develop commercially feasible self-driving cars that meet consumer expectations while also achieving compliance with likely future transport regulations. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the projected size... Read more →

Cal Energy awards nearly $700K to Andromeda Power for smart fast-charging system for EVs

The California Energy Commission has awarded a $681,693 grant (Agreement EPC- 15-015) to Andromeda Power, LLC to develop a smart, fast-charging system for electric vehicles. The system will enhance the integration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) into the electricity grid using real time monitors and controls efficiently to enable automated... Read more →

by Mike Millikin In a demonstration of its ongoing development of advanced alternative powertrains, Audi unveiled the new h-tron quattro fuel cell concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Like its production-bound sibling the e-tron quattro battery-electric vehicle, the h-tron concept is based on Audi’s second-generation modular... Read more →

PwC’s Autofacts group estimates sales of pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids will grow 433% to 2.2 million units by 2021, driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure. While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including hybrids and pure electric—are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in... Read more →

Northwestern U team develops new 3D printing method for metallic objects

Engineers at Northwestern University have created a new way to print three-dimensional metallic objects using powder-based liquid inks. While current methods rely on vast metal powder beds and expensive lasers or electron beams, Northwestern’s new technique uses liquid inks and common furnaces, resulting in a cheaper, faster, and more uniform... Read more →

Stanford researchers have developed a fast and reversible thermoresponsive polymer switching (TRPS) material that can be incorporated inside batteries to prevent thermal runaway. Batteries with the material can shut down under abnormal conditions such as overheating and shorting, and then can resume their normal function without performance compromise. This material... Read more →

Cypress Semiconductor expands automotive portfolio; new Traveo automotive MCU series

Cypress Semiconductor Corp.is expanding its automotive portfolio to help enable manufacturers to bring high tech automotive systems historically available only in luxury models to mainstream vehicles. The portfolio leverages a wide range of differentiated products that includes microcontrollers (MCUs), power management ICs (PMICs), memories and touch-sensing solutions. As a key... Read more →

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz introduced the 10th generation of its E-Class. The new sedans feature the world premiere of a number of technical innovations including additional driver assistance, infotainment and control systems. The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market... Read more →

California ARB rejects VW 2-liter diesel recall plan and issues Notice of Violation

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is rejecting VW’s submitted recall plan for 2-liter diesel passenger vehicles sold in California between 2009 and 2015 which were sold with the software defeat devices. It also notified VW of violations of California air quality regulations associated with the company’s use of a... Read more →

SM3 Z.E. (known in other markets as Fluence Z.E.), Renault Samsung Motors’ (RSM) battery-electric sedan, is Korea’s most popular EV. Total sales of the SM3 Z.E., which launched in Korea in November 2013, have reached 1,767 units; of those, 1,043 units were sold in 2015. Today, one out of three... Read more →

IBM study finds consumers very interested in alternative ownership models for cars, self-enabling vehicles

Consumers expect to use cars differently—showing particular interest in self-enabling vehicles—though they don’t necessarily want to own one in the traditional sense, according to the results of IBM’s automotive consumer study, presented at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This presents opportunities for automakers to apply analytics... Read more →

Lexus brought the all-wheel drive hydrogen fuel cell LF-FC flagship concept, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2015 (earlier post), to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit for its North American premiere. In his speech about the newly revealed Lexus LC 500 production model, Toyota... Read more →

At the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Toyota is displaying a research vehicle based on the Mirai fuel cell vehicle which is equipped with satellite communications technology from Kymeta, a US-based company that is the world's leader in flat-panel antenna technology. Toyota is working to enhance its connected... Read more →

Electrovaya announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Litarion GmbH, has received a purchase order for about US$16 million to supply 40 Ah Lithium Ion cells (Litacell-LC40) to a US-based company. The purchase order is for a period of 14 months, the deliveries have started and the first payment received. The... Read more →

Ford and IBM working on pilot platform for real-time streaming analytics to improve mobility

Ford and IBM are working together on a pilot platform that allows research scientists to look at tiny bits of data—10 or 15 seconds worth at a time—to spot patterns, correlations and trends, and to write code to make more efficient transportation decisions. The platform, called the Ford Smart Mobility... Read more →

Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) is one of the more promising chemistries for better lithium batteries, especially for electric vehicle applications, but scientists have been struggling to get higher capacity out of them. Now, a team of scientists from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, Lawrence... Read more →

Wind River and Ricardo partnering on autonomous driving systems

Wind River, a software provider for the Internet of Things (IoT), is teaming with Ricardo to deliver solutions for autonomous driving. Wind River will provide advanced automotive software systems, as well as architectural and engineering support. Ricardo will deliver expert integration with the physical vehicle systems. The rise of autonomous... Read more →

Ford, U Michigan collaborating on enablers for autonomous driving in the snow; high-resolution 3D mapping

Typical autonomous vehicle sensors are useless on snow-covered roads, but researchers at the University of Michigan and Ford are collaborating on a solution. In Michigan and on U-M’s 32-acre Mcity simulated urban environment, they have conducted what they believe are the industry’s first tests of autonomous vehicles in wintry conditions.... Read more →

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Ford announced FordPass—an ambitious new customer service product that incorporates software services and apps, human agents and storefronts—intended to support the company’s strategic transformation into an auto and a mobility company. With FordPass, Ford says it aims to do for car owners... Read more →

Hard on the heels of the reveal of the production Volt EV at CES 2016 in Las Vegas earlier post), Chevrolet used the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit to release additional details on the battery and drivetrain of the new BEV. Engineers developed the Bolt EV’s propulsion... Read more →

Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica minivan in both conventional and plug-in hybrid versions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The PHEV is the minivan segment’s first. The Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. In... Read more →

Global Bioenergies and Lanzatech strengthen cooperation to broaden feedstock flexibility of renewable isobutene process

Global Bioenergies and LanzaTech have signed a new collaboration agreement to broaden the feedstock flexibility of Global Bioenergies’ renewable isobutene process and the product-portfolio of LanzaTech’s carbon capture technology. (Earlier post.) Global Bioenergies has developed a process in which a microorganism can produce isobutene from renewable feedstock via the fermentation... Read more →

British Columbia—based Powertech Labs’ hydrogen fueling station, located onsite at the company’s headquarters, has increased the number of vehicles that it services. The station, the only 70 MPa fast-fill hydrogen fueling station in Canada, currently meets the fueling needs for Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai fuel cell electric vehicles, with a total... Read more →

New software, electric motors for 2017 Ford Fusion hybrid and plug-in hybrid

Ford has upgraded the software in its new 2017 Fusion Hybrid and Energi (plug-in hybrid) models to deliver a “more refined and engaging drive for customers,” the company announced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). More efficient electric motors are also expected to contribute to better fuel economy... Read more →

Volkswagen is unveiling the Tiguan GTE Active Concept plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The five-seat concept is based on the completely redeveloped second-generation Tiguan—the first SUV to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB)—which will arrive in the US market in 2017 with a... Read more →

At CES 2016 last week, IAV and Microsoft demonstrated a connected highly automated driving (CHAD) vehicle capable of connecting with the Microsoft Azure cloud and Windows 10 to enable communication that helps prevent vehicle and pedestrian accidents and increases driving comfort and convenience. This vehicle-2-x communication (V2X) connectivity approach uses... Read more →

Chevrolet introduced the 2017 Cruze Hatchback on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Developed with all the technologies and dynamic driving attributes of the all-new 2016 Cruze sedan, the hatch is equipped with a standard 1.4L turbo engine with direct injection and Stop/Start technologies, electric... Read more →

HARMAN introduces range of connected vehicle technologies and Microsoft partnership at CES

HARMAN International Industries made a number of connected vehicle technology announcements during CES 2016 last week, including a connected car computing platform, demonstrated in the Rinspeed Σtos concept car; an advanced navigation system with live data fusion; an open cloud-based software delivery system; and a new partnership with Microsoft. The... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Toyama in Japan have developed a new Co/ZrO2–SiO2 catalyst with high-selectivity for jet fuel direct synthesis from syngas in Fischer–Tropsch synthesis (FTS) with varied 1-olefins as additives. A paper on their work is published in the journal Fuel. Conventional F-T reactions are non-selective, resulting in... Read more →

Silicon/reduced graphene oxide films as high performance anodes for Li-ion batteries

Researchers from the East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai have synthesized a flexible freestanding silicon/reduced graphene oxide (Si/rGO) hybrid film anode for Li-ion batteries. The Si/rGO films, when applied as a free-standing LIBs anode, exhibit a high reversible specific capacity of 904 mAh g−1 at 200 mA g−1... Read more →

GM exploring Mobileye advanced mapping with OnStar Data; production deployment later this year

General Motors is exploring a new mapping technology from Mobileye that could use crowd-sourced real-time data (swarm intelligence) collected by OnStar for precise localization and high-definition lane data that supports fully autonomous driving. GM is Mobileye’s largest customer and is engaged with Mobileye Road Experience Management (REM) to create a... Read more →

A new report, “Automated Vehicle Crash Rate Comparison Using Naturalistic Data,” performed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and commissioned by Google, shows that the crash rates for self-driving cars are lower than the national crash rate of conventional cars. Results show that when data is adjusted for unreported crashes... Read more →

Researchers at Georgia Tech, with colleagues at Hunan University and the Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have devised a novel, efficient electrolysis approach for hydrogen evolution directly from native biomasses—cellulose, lignin and even wood and grass powders—to hydrogen at low temperature. A paper on their work is... Read more →

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America introduced its EMIRAI 3 xDAS concept car at CES 2016 this week. Building on the EMIRAI 2 xDAS, which was introduced at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi Electric developed the EMIRAI 3 xDAS with evolved technologies for human machine interface (HMI), driver sensing, telematics, and... Read more →

Study finds 6.3% spread in fuel economy obtained with maximum and minimum rolling resistance tires

A new report by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researcher Dr. Michael Sivak has found a 6.3% spread between the fuel economy obtained with maximum and minimum rolling resistance tires. At the average 2015 price of regular gasoline, the obtained fuel-consumption extremes result in a $78 difference in... Read more →

HDBaseT Alliance expands into automotive; GM new Board member; Daimler, Delphi members

The HDBaseT Alliance, the cross-industry group tasked with promoting and advancing HDBaseT technology, is expanding its activities into the field of automotive infrastructure. HDBaseT is a standard for the distribution of ultra-high-definition multimedia content, and is a solution for in-vehicle connectivity. GM has joined the Alliance's Board of Directors, as... Read more →

Volvo Cars cracks 500,000 unit marker in annual global sales for first time

Volvo Cars sold 503,127 cars worldwide in 2015, the first time it has sold more than half a million cars in its 89-year history. Volvo reported strong sales from all three core global regions. Sales in Europe rose 10.6% for the year to 269,249 units, representing 53.5% of total global... Read more →

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University have synthesized highly crumpled nitrogen-doped graphene (NG) sheets with ultrahigh pore volume (5.4 cm3) and large surface area (1158 m2/g), which enable strong polysulfide adsorption and high sulfur content for use as a cathode material in Li-sulfur batteries. The wrinkled graphene sheets are interwoven... Read more →