« March 2019 | Main

by Michael Sivak. In a recent article, I examined changes in distance driven in the United States during the period from 1984 through 2017. Distance driven per person reached a maximum in 2004. While this rate has been on a rebound since 2013, the 2017 rate is still down from... Read more →


Severe drought influences ozone pollution

From 2011 to 2015, California experienced its worst drought on record, with a parching combination of high temperatures and low precipitation. Drought conditions can have complicated effects on ozone air quality, so to better understand the process, researchers have analyzed data from two ozone-polluted cities before, during and after the... Read more →


Solid-state sodium-ion batteries are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries, which pose a risk of fire and explosions, but their performance has been too weak to offset the safety advantages. Researchers at the University of Houston have now developed an organic cathode that improves both stability and energy density. The improved... Read more →


NTU scientists discover sustainable way to increase seed oil yield in crops up to 15%

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) scientists have developed a sustainable way to demonstrate a new genetic modification that can increase the yield of natural oil in seeds by up to 15% in laboratory conditions. The new method can be applied to crops such as canola, soybean and sunflower, which... Read more →


Ambarella and Momenta unveil HD mapping platform for autonomous vehicles

Ambarella, Inc., a developer of high-resolution video processing and computer vision semiconductors, and Momenta, an autonomous driving technology company based in Suzhou, China, announced a collaborative HD mapping platform for autonomous vehicles. The combined solution leverages Ambarella’s CV22AQ CVflow computer vision system-on-chip (SoC) and Momenta’s deep learning algorithms to provide... Read more →


Hyundai Motor Group has developed smartphone-EV pairing-based performance adjustment technology which allows users to customize primary functions through a smartphone application—an industry-first innovation. Drivers can use this technology to adjust seven performance features including the maximum torque output of the motor, acceleration and deceleration abilities, regenerative braking capacity, maximum speed... Read more →


Toshiba launches sensorless control pre-driver IC for automotive BLDC motors

Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation launched a sensorless control pre-driver IC “TB9062FNG” for brushless DC motors (BLDC motors) used in automotive applications, including electric pumps. Samples are available now, with mass production scheduled for December this year. The new pre-driver can control BLDC motors by pulse-width modulation (PWM) input... Read more →


Toyota establishes joint research institute with Tsinghua University; hydrogen and advanced mobility

Toyota Motor Corporation and Tsinghua University are establishing the Tsinghua - Toyota Joint Research Institute (Joint Research Institute). The two plan to conduct various research together over the next five years through the institute. By establishing the Joint Research Institute, Toyota sees an opportunity to further contribute to the development... Read more →


NSF funds U of Kansas researcher developing machine learning technology to monitor and prevent thermal runaway in Li-ion batteries

Supported by a new five-year, $500,000-grant from the National Science Foundation, a researcher from the University of Kansas is developing machine learning technology to monitor and prevent overheating in lithium-ion batteries. The research will develop a foundational framework for characterizing and monitoring LiB packs’ spatially and temporally distributed thermal behavior,... Read more →


Last week at China’s Auto Shanghai motor show, Aston Martin Lagonda revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, the Rapide E. The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s St Athan production facility—the brand’s Home of Electrification—Rapide E represents a first step towards achieving the... Read more →


According to a new study published by the ifo Institue Center for Economic Studies (CESifo) in Germany, EVs will barely help cut CO2 emissions in the country over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles does not necessarily lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic... Read more →


DOE announces $39M for oil and natural gas R&D projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $39 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects that aim to improve oil and natural gas technologies. The United States is now the world’s leader in both oil and natural gas production. According to the US Energy Information... Read more →


Nidec to acquire OMRON Automotive Electronics

Nidec Corporation will acquire OMRON Automotive Electronics Co. Ltd. via a stock purchase agreement. Nidec positions its automotive motor business as one of its key strategic businesses, and is engaging in active efforts in the business for automotive motor market which is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. Nidec... Read more →


Aluminum Association introduces first material designation system for 3D printing; “Purple Sheets”

The Aluminum Association released its first new material registration record in nearly 20 years. The “purple sheets” will provide clear chemical designations for aluminum powder used in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The purple sheets are the newest addition to the Aluminum Association’s long-running “rainbow sheet” series, which... Read more →


API: US continues to lead world in natural gas liquids and crude oil production; petroleum demand at strongest level for March since 2005

The American Petroleum Institute’s latest monthly statistical report showed that the US sustained its position as the world’s leading oil producer, continuing a pace of 12.1 million barrels a day (mb/d), matching February 2019. In addition, petroleum demand in March was the strongest for that month in more than a... Read more →


ZF is introducing a new electric central drive for buses and medium-duty trucks. Developed in China, with future production planned there, the new unit is designed to meet the particular conditions of the Chinese market and the requirements of vehicle manufacturers there. The new electric central drive was developed by... Read more →


China’s rare earth exports increased 61% in March 2019; average unit price down 39%

Following a slowdown in exports in January and February of this year, China’s exports of rare earth oxides (and oxide equivalents) increased 61% month-over-month in March 2019 to 4,659 tonnes, according to Adamas Intelligence. While the amount of material exported was up in March, the total value of exported rare... Read more →


Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank Vision Fund to invest $1B in Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group; automated ridesharing services

Toyota Motor Corp., DENSO Corporation and the SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) will invest $1 billion in Uber Technologies Inc.’s Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG). The investment, in a newly formed ATG corporate entity, aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services. Under the terms, Toyota and DENSO... Read more →


BYD recently delivered a BYD 8R Class 8 Automated Side Loader (ASL) battery-electric collection truck to Waste Resources to serve its customers in the City of Carson, California. This vehicle is the first all-electric refuse truck in residential collection operation in Southern California. The heavy-duty truck features BYD’s propriety electric... Read more →


RoboSense launches Smart Sensor System at Shanghai Auto Show

RoboSense has teamed up with partners Horizon Robotics, Cainiao Network, Sensible 4, and AutoX to launch the Smart Sensor System (SSS) designed for four key smart transportation vehicle applications: autonomous passenger cars; low-speed autonomous vehicles; high-speed RoboTaxis; and V2R (Vehicle to Road infrastructure). The RoboSense Smart Sensor System combines new... Read more →


Neste and the City of Oakland partner to fuel the city fleet with waste cooking oil converted to diesel

Waste feedstock from the City of Oakland, California is now being converted to Neste MY Renewable Diesel and fuels the city’s fleet. The city, Neste, fuel distributor Western States Oil and local collectors for used cooking oil joined forces to gather waste cooking oils from restaurants and other businesses in... Read more →


Zero Labs Automotive, LLC has introduced its first electric production classic vehicle—a fully restored and re-engineered classic (1966-77) Ford Bronco. The Bronco is handcrafted with aerospace grade carbon fiber construction, real wood interior panels, all digital control and display and more than 1,000 newly designed parts. Only 150 of these... Read more →


Volkswagen Group joins collaboration for responsible sourcing of strategic minerals using blockchain; focus on cobalt

Volkswagen has joined an open industry collaboration for the responsible sourcing of strategic minerals that will use blockchain technology to increase efficiency, sustainability and transparency in global mineral supply chains. Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem and RCS Global announced the collaboration earlier this year. (Earlier post.) Joining... Read more →


Researchers at the University of California San Diego have improved their recycling process that regenerates degraded cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries. The new process is safer and uses less energy than their previous method (earlier post) in restoring cathodes to their original capacity and cycle performance. Zheng Chen, a professor... Read more →


The benefits of connected, self-driving cars (CAVs) will likely induce vehicle owners to drive more, and those extra miles could partially or completely offset the potential energy-saving benefits that automation may provide, according to a new University of Michigan study. In the coming years, self-driving cars are expected to yield... Read more →


Toyota introduced the next-generation three-row 2020 Highlander SUV at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in Toyota dealerships in winter, the Highlander gasoline model will arrive in December 2019 and the Highlander Hybrid will make its way to customers in February 2020. Just as the first RAV4 launched the... Read more →


Dana introduces enhanced TM4 motor and inverter in Shanghai

Dana Incorporated introduced its enhanced TM4 MOTIVE motor and inverter for the light-vehicle market at AutoShanghai. The new TM4 MOTIVE motor and inverter from Dana from an integrated system featuring high-RPM permanent magnet electric motors, power-dense electronic inverters, and advanced controls. The system is designed for seamless integration into Dana’s... Read more →


Mazda Motor Corporation announced at the New York International Auto Show that it has begun accepting pre-orders for the diesel-powered 2019 Mazda CX-5 in the US market. It is the first time Mazda has offered a diesel-powered passenger car in the US market. The 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D... Read more →


Aeva partners with Audi’s AID on next generation autonomous driving tech; 4D LiDAR

Aeva, a company building a next-generation sensing system for autonomous vehicles, is partnering with AID (Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Audi AG and the “center of excellence” for Volkswagen Group’s autonomous driving system, to bring 4D LiDAR to its autonomous vehicle program. Aeva will develop and equip... Read more →


At Auto Shanghai 2019, Mercedes-Benz is premiering the close-to-production show car Concept GLB and the Mercedes-AMG A 35 L 4MATIC developed exclusively for China. Alongside the Concept GLB are the battery-powered EQC (electricity consumption combined: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km) (earlier post) and the new GLE, both of which celebrate... Read more →


Eaton to introduce new technologies for China’s growing electric vehicle market

Power management company Eaton today will introduce technologies from its eMobility business in China to help automakers meet increased demand for electric vehicles (EVs) in the market. eMobility specializes in three key areas for electric and hybrid vehicles: intelligent power electronics; power systems; and advanced power distribution and circuit protection.... Read more →


Buick has launched the VELITE 6 MAV electric vehicle in China. As Buick’s first global all-electric vehicle and SAIC-GM’s first electric vehicle for the mass market, the VELITE 6 MAV (which stands for Multi-Activity Vehicle) integrates GM and SAIC’s resources and advanced technology in new energy and connected vehicles. It... Read more →


BYD debuted its E-SEED GT concept car and Song Pro SUV alongside its all-new e-series models at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. The company also showcased its latest Dynasty series of vehicles, which were recently unveiled at the company’s spring product launch in Beijing. A total of 23 new... Read more →


At the New York auto show, Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the HabaNiro concept—a fully-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seat car with an range of more than 300 miles, level-five autonomous mode, and butterfly wing doors. We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road... Read more →


Bosch, BASF invest in quantum computing startup Zapata

Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the corporate venture capital company of the Bosch Group, has completed an investment in Zapata Computing’s Series A round. Comcast Ventures together with Prelude Ventures are leading an US$21-million round. It includes participation from new and existing investors including Pitango Ventures, BASF Ventures, Pillar... Read more →


NEMA to develop standards for vehicle-to-infrastructure communications

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has formed the Connected Vehicle Infrastructure Technical (CVIT) Committee to develop a harmonized technical specification for roadside connected vehicle (CV) devices. The standards, to be completed by the end of 2019, are for traffic signals, school zone beacons, pedestrian crossings, and other electronic devices... Read more →


Fiat pays CARB $6.4M penalty for diesel emissions violations

The California Air Resources Board announced a settlement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies Industrial S.p.A for emissions-related violations affecting nearly 2,000 on-road and off-road diesel engines. The settlement includes a mandatory recall of affected vehicles and $6.4 million in penalties. The enforcement case began after the company informed CARB in 2015... Read more →


Nikola selects AVL to provide electrification and fuel cell testing equipment for new lab

AVL Test Systems, Inc. has been awarded the contract to provide electrification and fuel cell testing equipment to Nikola Motor Company for the first phase of its fuel cell development laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona. Nikola’s new facility will enable development, validation and testing of its entire fuel cell system and... Read more →


Volkswagen is tackling the Nürburgring-Nordschleife this year instead of Pikes Peak with its electric ID. R racer. Because of this change in course—a race track instead of a hill climb, full-throttle sections instead of hair-pins—Volkswagen is focusing on the development of the aerodynamics. Volkswagen ID. R in the wind tunnel... Read more →


For the first time, the Audi S5 Coupé/Sportback has a V6 diesel under the hood. The 3.0 TDI engine in the S5 Coupé and the S5 Sportback produces 255 kW (347 hp) and delivers up to 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft) of torque between 2,500 and 3,100 rpm. An electric powered... Read more →


A white paper by AMPLY Power, a company providing fleet charging as a service, finds that 25 of America’s largest metropolitan areas could save an average of 37% on fuel costs by electrifying their bus and light-duty vehicle fleets. Additionally, well-managed electric fleets that optimize electricity charging for off-peak hours... Read more →


Genesis revealed the Mint Concept ahead of the opening of the 2019 New York International Auto Show. The Mint Concept is a battery-electric luxury car for the city, with a new vehicle typology featuring organic design and an innovative interior user experience. The Mint powertrain is capable of an estimated... Read more →


New Flyer of America Inc. congratulated the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) as it welcomed its first battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus. New Flyer previously reported the order for five forty-foot battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit buses in September 2017. TriMet partnered with Portland General Electric (PGE) to purchase,... Read more →


Bangchak invests in Enevate; fast-charging EV battery technology

California-based Enevate Corp., a developer of battery technology to address extreme-fast charge times for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, announced that Thai energy giant Bangchak, through its Bangchak Initiative and Innovation Center (BiiC), has invested in the company. The companies did not disclose the investment amount. Enevate’s HD-Energy Technology for EVs... Read more →


New Flyer of America Inc. announced that New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions (earlier post) has successfully deployed two rapid, OppCharge on-route chargers along New York City Transit Authority’s (NYCT) M42 route. This marks completion of the first on-route charging solution in the United States that uses a globally recognized system to... Read more →


China’s first hydrogen car sharing project launched; 10,000 Grove H2 cars in 2020-2021

Chongqing Nan’an District government, Chongqing Panda Automobile Rental Company and Chongqing Geosciences Industry Technology Institute Co., Ltd. signed a three-party strategic cooperation agreement to launch a hydrogen car sharing project—the first of its kind in China. Currently, domestic sharing cars are mainly electrical; no hydrogen cars have been applied in... Read more →


Proterra is partnering with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. to create a $200-million credit facility in support of a battery lease program. Mitsui, a leading Japanese investment and trading company, holds a diversified portfolio of businesses in various sectors, including mobility, infrastructure and renewable energy. The battery leasing credit facility, the... Read more →


Volkswagen is bringing the electric Volkswagen ID. BUGGY concept—unveiled in Geneva earlier this year (earlier post)—to the New York auto show. With a minimalistic design with no roof, no doors, and a weatherproof interior, the 2-seater ID. BUGGY shows the versatility of the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The MEB... Read more →