« June 2016 | Main | August 2016 »

The Financial Times reports that Uber will invest $500 million into a global mapping project in an effort to decrease its dependence on Google Maps and to prepare for autonomous driving. The FT cited “a person familiar with Uber’s plans” as the source. Uber has already hired Brian McClendon, formerly... Read more →

Researchers significantly improve H2 storage properties of sodium aluminium hydride by doping with 2D titanium carbide

A team at Zhejiang University in China has significantly enhanced the hydrogen storage properties of sodium aluminum hydride (NaAlH4) by doping it with a 2D titanium carbide (Ti3C2) MXene. (“MXenes” are exfoliated 2D carbide and carbonitride nanosheets that are structurally similar to graphene, where M represents transition metals, and X... Read more →

China-based GAC Motor recently held the completion ceremony of the company’s new phase II factory in Guangzhou in June, and launched the new GS8 SUV and GA3S PHEV plug-in hybrid sedan. Unveiled in November 2015, the GA3S PHEV is equipped with an efficient 1.5L Atkinson engine, advanced G-MC (GAC Mechatronic... Read more →

Edmunds.com: number of leased vehicles reaches all-time high in first half of 2016

More new vehicles in the US were leased in the first half of 2016 than during the first half of any other year in history, according to the latest Lease Market Report from Edmunds.com, the leading car shopping and information network. Lease volume has doubled in the last five years,... Read more →

California releases Sustainable Freight Action Plan to transform freight system; 25% more efficient by 2030

In response to an Executive Order issued last year by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., state agency leaders on Friday released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system into one that is environmentally... Read more →

Brookhaven Lab to focus on characterizing composite solid electrolytes and sulfur cathodes in Battery500 project

For its part in the 5-year, $50-million Battery500 project targeting next-generation batteries (earlier post), Brookhaven National Lab will focus on determining the characteristics of composite solid electrolytes and sulfur cathodes using intense beams of x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility,... Read more →

Researchers from Penn State and the University of Michigan have characterized the nanostructure and oxidative reactivity of soot generated by a light-duty turbodiesel engine operating under a dilute, low-temperature combustion process referred to as high-efficiency clean combustion (HECC). Their paper appears in the International Journal of Engine Research. Earlier work... Read more →

Steel production is energy-intensive; in 2015, the steel industry accounted for 1.5% of all industrial shipments in the US but 6.1% of industrial delivered energy consumption. The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case projects that energy use in the steel industry will further increase... Read more →

Robotic welding—heavily used in automotive manufacturing—generates volumes of smoke and fumes that must be controlled to meet air quality regulations. To address this issue, manufacturers traditionally used hoods and oversized fans to collect, filter and exhaust welding fumes to the outside. A different approach is to use an individual fume... Read more →

New research from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling calculated an overall recycling rate of 91% for automotive aluminum. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the Aluminum Association, examines how much aluminum used in the United States’ light-duty automotive sector is recovered and recycled from vehicles... Read more →

The Obama Administration has released the Federal Alternative Jet Fuels Research and Development (R&D) Strategy (FAJFS), which maps out a unified federal plan to advance R&D as well as science and technology solutions to support deployment of alternative jet fuels (AJFs) in both civil and military aviation. The strategy provides... Read more →

During its Innovation Days 2016 event in Munich, the BMW Group provided some insight into its Dingolfing competence center for the manufacture of electric drive systems (eDrive). Dingolfing supplies the high-voltage batteries and other chassis and powertrain components for BMW i models and the BMW Group’s plug-in hybrid models—current (earlier... Read more →

The Formula E car will feature a new look for the 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship, with the introduction of a new two-tier front wing. Formula E aims to be different, and this new front wing creates a look that’s different to every other car out there. I think this... Read more →

At its Innovation Days 2016 event in Munich, BMW unveiled new versions of its three and four- cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. Like their predecessors, the new power units are based on the modular system that enables the application of consistent design principles, a shared architecture and matching components. The... Read more →

Researchers improve aluminum-air battery performance by using flax straw extract as corrosion inhibitor

In a paper in ChemSusChem, a team from Israel and Russia reports substantial improvements in the performance of aluminum-air batteries by adding flax straw extract (3 vol %) to the alkaline solution to act as a mixed-type aluminum corrosion inhibitor. The Aluminum-air battery, a metal-air battery system which uses a... Read more →

DOE issues Request for Information on hydrogen infrastructure RD&D

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001626) to obtain feedback from stakeholders regarding deployment of hydrogen fueling stations, delivery infrastructure, and barriers and activities to pursue in both the near and longer term. Potential activities would complement existing... Read more →

Genovation’s GXE breaks street-legal all-electric land speed record: 205.6 mph

Genovation broke the land speed record for a street-legal all-electric vehicle with the Genovation Extreme Electric car (GXE). The GXE reached 205.6 mph (330.88 km/h) during supervised tests with Johnny Bohmer Racing at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Kennedy Space Center, FL. The record was certified by the International... Read more →

The BMW Group has introduced a fully-automated, optical measuring cell in its pilot plant in Munich. Freely moving robot arms use sensors to create a three-dimensional image of an entire vehicle and generate a 3D data model from the data captured, with an accuracy of less than 100 µm. This... Read more →

Sony to sell battery business to Murata

Sony Corporation, the company that in 1991 commercialized the world’s first lithium-ion battery, and Murata Manufacturing have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding that confirms their intent to negotiate the transfer of the Sony Group’s battery business to the Murata Group. Sony has operated its battery business since 1975.... Read more →

Forge Hydrocarbons awarded $500K from Alberta toward lipids-to-hydrocarbons pre-commercial plant

Edmonton, Canada-based Forge Hydrocarbons has been awarded $500,000 from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) (earlier post) to support a $1.26-million project optimizing a pre-commercial plant for its Lipid to Hydrocarbons (LTH) process. Forge Hydrocarbons, led by Tim Haig, one of Canada’s top bio-fuel entrepreneurs, is commercializing a patented conversion... Read more →

Alberta approves nearly $13M for 61 biomass-based projects

Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) has approved nearly $13 million ($12,708,525) in funding for 61 projects by researchers and companies. The grants are for the development of new industrial bioproducts or technologies using Alberta agriculture and forestry byproducts or other biomass. AI Bio is a board-governed agency funded by... Read more →

smart launching in-car-delivery beta tests in Germany

Daimler’s smart recently established the smart lab as the brand’s think tank to accelerate the development and implementation of creative urban mobility projects. “smart ready to drop” is the first innovation to emerge from the lab. In cooperation with DHL Paket, smart will enable parcels to be delivered to the... Read more →

A team from Samsung R&D and Shinshu University has developed a silicon/soft-carbon nanohybrid anode material for high performance lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The material, which is composed of micronized silicon coated with “soft-carbon” dispersed in soft-carbon matrix at nanometer level, is characterized with abundant nanosized voids (nanovoids) (diameter of ~70 nm)... Read more →

$50M Battery500 consortium targeting battery pack with specific energy of 500 Wh/kg

Announced last week as one of the Obama Administration’s new initiatives to advance electric vehicle adoption (earlier post), the Battery500 consortium, led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), aims to build a battery pack with a specific energy of 500 watt-hours per kilogram, compared to the 170-200 watt-hours per kilogram... Read more →

Qualcomm Incorporated and Lear Corporation, a leading global supplier of automotive seating and electrical systems, have entered into a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) license agreement. Lear will be including Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology (earlier post) in its product portfolio to commercialize WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) and Electric... Read more →

All-wheel drive systems fuel expansion for GKN Driveline in China

Growing global demand for GKN Driveline’s all-wheel drive (AWD) systems and expertise has led to the expansion of the company’s production capacity in China. GKN’s Chinese joint venture, Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS), has added five new AWD production lines across two of its facilities in Shanghai to support... Read more →

Researchers identify pentlandite as equally efficient alternative to platinum for hydrogen production

Researchers have identified artificially-produced pentlandite (a natural ore, Fe4.5Ni4.5S8) as a direct ‘rock’ electrode without the need of further surface modifications for hydrogen evolution under acidic conditions. The pentlandite provides high activity and stability at low overpotential for H2 generation. According to their study, artificial pentlandite is just as efficient... Read more →

Maxwell Technologies delivers ultracapacitor-based regenerative braking energy storage for Beijing subway system

Maxwell Technologies, a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, announced that its ultracapacitors are used for regenerative braking energy storage in the Beijing subway system. As part of the strategic partnership with China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC-SRI) Maxwell announced last year, the companies... Read more →

Juniper: connected car services to account for 98% of M2M data traffic by 2021

A new study from Juniper Research has found that new in-vehicle infotainment services such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will generate large amounts of new cellular M2M (machine-to-machine) data traffic. Over the next five years, this will account for up to 98% of all M2M data traffic. According to... Read more →

FTA LoNo grant recipients to purchase 35 Proterra electric transit buses

Proterra announced that eight new and existing customers have won Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission (LoNo) Vehicle Deployment Grants. The 2016 LoNo grant winners will use their funds, a total of $22.8 million, to purchase 35 Catalyst buses, bringing Proterra’s total number of firm orders to 287... Read more →

Daimler Trucks has unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. The entire conventional drivetrain has been replaced by an electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. Their maximum output is 2 x 125... Read more →

Ford, MIT project uses LiDAR, cameras to measure pedestrian traffic & predict demand for new, on-demand electric shuttles

Ford Motor Company and MIT are collaborating on a new research project that measures how pedestrians move in urban areas to improve certain public transportation services, such as ride-hailing and point-to-point shuttles services. The project will introduce a fleet of on-demand electric vehicle shuttles that operate on both city roads... Read more →

Engineers from the University of Utah and the University of Minnesota have discovered that interfacing two particular oxide-based materials—strontium titanate (STO) and neodymium titanate (NTO)—makes them highly conductive, a boon for future power electronics that could result in more power-efficient laptops, electric cars and home appliances that also don’t need... Read more →

Broad-Ocean Motor in strategic collaboration with Ballard; $28.3M investment, 9.9% ownership; initial order for 10,000 fuel cell vehicles

Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd. has entered into a strategic collaboration with Ballard Power Systems, including a $28.3-million equity investment in Ballard, representing 9.9% of the company following the transaction. Founded in 1994, Broad-Ocean is a global manufacturer of motors that power small and specialized electric machinery for electric vehicles... Read more →

The US National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report for the investigation of the fatal 7 May 2016, highway crash in Florida involving the Tesla Model S and Autopilot. The preliminary report does not contain any analysis of data and does not state probable cause for the crash. The... Read more →

Participation sought for survey on perception of Volkswagen brand in US and Germany

Jost Requardt, a graduate student at the Institute of Marketing at the Leibniz University of Hanover, is conducting a survey on the perception of the Volkswagen brand in the US and Germany. GCC readers willing to contribute can do so here. All data will be treated as confidential and will... Read more →

Preliminary approval of VW 2.0L TDI settlement program in US

Judge Charles R. Breyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreement reached on 28 June with private plaintiffs represented by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to resolve civil claims regarding eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0L TDI vehicles... Read more →

Porsche said it will hire more than 1,400 new employees in the Stuttgart region to work on the development and production of the first all-electric sports car from Porsche, the Mission E. (Earlier post, earlier post.) The company plans to recruit in the fields of digitalization, e-mobility, smart mobility and... Read more →

ExxonMobil to expand ultra-low sulfur gasoline fuels production at Beaumont Refinery; SCANfining

ExxonMobil will increase production of ultra-low sulfur fuels at its Beaumont, Texas refinery by approximately 40,000 barrels per day, further strengthening its integrated downstream portfolio while meeting environmental standards. Construction is scheduled during the second half of 2016 to install a selective cat naphtha hydrofining (SCANfining) unit, a catalytic hydro-desulfurization... Read more →

Golar and Schlumberger form OneLNG JV; targeting development of low cost gas reserves to LNG

Golar LNG Limited and Schlumberger have formed OneLNG, a joint venture to develop rapidly low cost gas reserves to LNG. The combination of Schlumberger’s reservoir knowledge, wellbore technologies and production management capabilities, with Golar’s low cost FLNG (Floating LNG) solution, will offer gas resource owners a faster and lower cost... Read more →

Handelsblatt: Prosecutors expand VW emissions investigation to engineers and managers

Germany’s Handelsblatt reports that prosecutors in Braunschweig have expanded their investigation over Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal to engineers and managers. Fresh raids were conducted into engineers and managers. The number of managers under investigation has also expanded from 17 to 21 people. … “I can confirm that prosecutors are... Read more →

UQM Technologies extends long-term electric drive supply agreement with Proterra

UQM Technologies Inc. signed an extension to its long-term supply agreement with Proterra to support Proterra’s growth demands. UQM is the primary supplier of electric propulsion systems to Proterra. The extension reflects the increased demand in the US marketplace for the Proterra buses and the expected increased production volume of... Read more →

Green Commuter unveils vanpool and car share service in LA with Tesla Model X

LA-based Green Commuter is introducing a vanpool and car share service with a fleet of Tesla Model X vehicles. Green Commuter is based at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), where it was selected to become a portfolio company in 2015. Simultaneous with its 2 August service launch, Green Commuter... Read more →

Northwestern study finds Li3PO4 promising coating to limit dissolution of transition metals from Li-ion cathodes

The dissolution of transition metals (TMs) from Li-ion battery cathodes is a major contributor to cell degradation during cycling and aging. First, such dissolution decreases the amount of cathode material, directly contributing to loss of capacity. Secondly, dissolved TMs can migrate through the electrolyte to the anode, causing chaneges to... Read more →

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

Ford Fusion electrified vehicle retail sales spiked in the Los Angeles market during the month of June, the first month of availability for the new 2017 model. Based on Ford June sales figures, Fusion Energi (the plug-in hybrid variant) sales jumped nearly 40% in LA compared to June 2015. During... Read more →

Orbital ATK and ECAPS partner on high performance green propulsion system; bringing LMP-103S to market

Orbital ATK signed an agreement with leading European green propulsion technology firm ECAPS to develop, demonstrate and market a high performance green propulsion (HPGP) system. The HPGP system, which offers significant cost advantages and reduces the environmental risks associated with traditional monopropellants, is aimed at both attitude control and main... Read more →

EPA finds moderate or severe corrosion in majority of diesel fuel underground storage tank systems studied

In a report released recently on corrosion inside diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found moderate or severe corrosion that could affect metal components inside both steel and fiberglass underground tank systems. Corrosion inside USTs can cause equipment failure by preventing proper operation of... Read more →

EPA issues endangerment finding on aircraft GHG emissions; opens door to regulation

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a determination under the Clean Air Act that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain types of aircraft engines contribute to the pollution that causes climate change and endangers Americans’ health and the environment. The findings are for CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),... Read more →

An international team from MIT, Argonne National Laboratory and Peking University has demonstrated a lab-scale proof-of-concept of a new type of cathode for Li-air batteries that could overcome the current drawbacks to the technology, including a high potential gap (>1.2 V) between charge and discharge, and poor cyclability due to the... Read more →