Made in Germany

Brands + News


Volkswagen, Audi, Mini, Pikes Peak, Hyundai.

VW e-scooter: The German carmaker is planning an electric trike dubbed City Surfer, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said in an interview with German Bild. The LEV will weigh less than 20 kilos, have a range of about 20 kilometres and cost less than a 1,000 euros. Market entry is set for the second half of 2016. Meanwhile, Winterkorn confirmed that the rumoured 1,500 hp Bugatti will indeed be a hybrid (we reported). (City Surfer, in German with pictures), (Bugatti)

Audi A4 without e-tron? Audi presented the next-gen A4 for the first time but did not announce a PHEV as part of the motor line-up, even though media expected an A4 e-tron. German Heise Autos still believes a hybrid variant will come at a later date. First, the Audi Q5 PHEV will take the road., (Q5, in German)

Mini Superleggera with i8 drive? Despite Mini denying production plans of its Superleggera concept, the rumour mill will not stop. Autocar reports that the classy convertible might be powered by a motor similar to that of the BMW i8 and expects a definite decision about production in November.

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e-mobilBW_ESW-Projekt-OPTIFELIOOptimised production of battery casings: The new project of the leading edge cluster Electric Mobility South-West “OptiFeLio” is dedicated to reducing production costs in the manufacturing of cell casings for pouch and prism cells. Already existing production methods are being upgraded.

Pikes Peak electrified: Drive eO’s 1,020-kW electric racer took the first place in this weekend’s hill climb race. The Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One came in second, making the dominance of electric vehicles perfect. Only one gas guzzler climbed onto the podium.,, (video out of the winning hill climber)

Hyundai’s hopes on hydrogen: Hyundai’s fuel cell manager Kim Sae Hoon sees the future in FCVs. He says fuel cell batteries can be incorporated into vehicles of all sizes because they are easily scaled and are thus more competitive. But the technology needs more time to penetrate the market.

Number of the Day

My Electric Avenue reaches 2.7 million km.

More than 2.7 million kilometres have been driven in Nissan Leafs taking part in the ‘My Electric Avenue’ project. The project has been going on for less than 18 months, during which clusters of neighbours lease Nissan Leaf to test the strain on the local grid with multiple EVs charging.

Research + Technology

DS Virgin Racing, NEVS, NREL, Sumitomo Electric.

DS-Virgin-Racing-TeamVirgin teams up with Citroen: The next Formula E season will see teams constructing their own powertrains. For Team Virgin, this will be undertaken by the PSA brand DS. Together, they will appear as the DS Virgin Racing team. While the cooperation is said to be of a technological nature, no technical details are known. DS hopes not only to win races but to transfer its racing technology to road cars, too.,

400m dollar EV factory: Saab owner NEVS celebrated the launch of its Chinese venture. The plan is to build up production as well as R&D joint ventures in the Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech zone. The new facility will focus on New Energy Vehicles and aims for an annual capacity of 200,000 units. JV partners are the State Research Information Technology (SRIT) and the IT company, Teamsun.,

Afterlife proves valid: Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) set out to identify second use strategies for EV batteries on request of the DoE. By coupling techno-economic analyses with laboratory and field testing, the NREL found utility energy storage to be the the most promising application with the potential to drive down cost and to increase grid stability.,

New power transistor for EVs: Sumitomo Electric has developed a new silicon carbide (SiC) power transistor. With its low on-state resistance, high stability, and higher blocking voltage, the semiconductor is particularly suited for electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles.

Quotes of the day

Martin Winterkorn, Jean-Pierre Diernaz, Steve Gooding

martin-winterkorn“Volkswagen is doing intensive research in Silicon Valley in California for the super-battery, which will be cheaper, smaller and more powerful. An electric VW which can drive 300 kilometres electrically already is in sight.”

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn is confident that Volkswagen is on top of developments concerning EV technology. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag, he described the 300-kilometre as a “quantum leap” for electric cars. (in German), (background)

Jean-Pierre-Diernaz“Every single city is looking at something, whether now or in the near future, in terms of ultra-low emission zones. This will be a massive problem for companies making deliveries in these cities and their solution will be e-mobility.”

Nissan EV director, Jean-Pierre Diernaz, sees regulations for improving air quality in cities as a game changer for EV uptake. London plans the ULEV zone by 2020 and when Paris banned diesel vehicles for a few days, Nissan saw a peak in traffic to its website’s EV section.

Steve-Gooding“For the time being that is still dependent on a government grant. The challenge for manufacturers will be to offer economically attractive options when the grants get reined in.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, comments on the current success of the British Plug-in Car Grants. So far, 29,469 electric vehicles have benefitted from the government scheme on the Isles.

Fleets + Infrastructure

Hyundai, Yeoju, Electric Circuit, Charge Ahead.

Charging Korea pt. 1: Hyundai agreed with POSCO on the installation of 120 EV charging stations. Hyundai will install the units this year, while POSCO will service and operate the stations. Additionally, Hyundai will install 121 charging stations at its centres across Korea. Eventually, all 2,200 locations will have EV chargers.,

Charging Korea pt. 2: The Korean city of Yeoju has installed four EV charging stations. The stations are free to use with charging time being four to five hours.

Electric Circuit widened: Two more fast-chargers have been installed in Quebec, Canada. Supported by Nissan and Hydro-Québec, they are part of the Electric Circuit initiative, which plans to erect 50 fast-charging stations across the region by the end of 2016.,

Charging California: The city of Campbell in California has installed four electric vehicle charging stations funded by the Bay Area Charge Ahead Project. The dual-charging stations allow multiple vehicles to charge at a time and bring the total number of public charging stations in the city up to 15.

100 BMW i3 will be incorporated into the DriveNow fleet, first in Berlin, German Wirtschaftswoche reports. The electrification is due in July and will be successively rolled out to other German cities like Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg and Munich. More details will only follow by mid-July. (in German)

Service + Suggestions

Formula E, London Mayor.

Click tip I: As the Formula E season has come to an end, pictures of the best moments at the last races in London prevail. The photo series includes winners, champagne spills, race cars and the ever present Mayor Boris Johnson in a race suit.

Click tip II: And it is Boris Johnson again, this time actually driving a Formula E racer, which he found so quiet he “could hear a squirrel.” Being the mayor of London clearly has its advantages.

Short circuit

Bat(-tery) cover.

Chevrolet is looking into a way to reuse its Volt batteries that goes beyond using just the cells and will now reuse the circuit trays, too. They make for brilliant bat boxes for the nocturnal creatures to escape disease, to nest and rest in darkness.