Made in Germany


Brands + News


Renault, Ford, ZAP-Jonway, VW, Easybike, Matra, Mercedes.

Light-weight plug-in hybrid by Renault: The French manufacturer will use its home show in Paris to unveil its compact concept Eolab. The small car weighs only 955 kilos and is driven by the ‘Z.E. Hybrid’ which combines a 78-hp petrol engine with a 50-kW electric drive. Renault aims to reach a fuel economy of 1-litre per 100 km and wants to use the technology in serial models within the next ten years., (video)

Ford facelift: The C-Max, which is also available as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid in the states, has been promised an “extreme makeover.” A first teaser picture has just been released. Later today, the new C-Max will be unveiled before it will have its first appearance at the Paris Motor Show.

Californian China EV: Zap subsidiary Jonway Auto says it has sold 2,000 EVs since June this year already. The Californian company produces low cost (electric) cars for the Chinese market and has just recently held an dealer event for about 150 prospective dealers.


Updated Touareg: Volkswagen gave its next generation Touareg a new look and added some technological advancements. In Europe it will launch this autumn while it will only come to the States and Asia early next year. As before, a hybrid version will be offered alongside diesel and gasoline engines.

Easybike to take over Matra: The two companies have signed a letter of intent to move Matra’s e-bike production to Easybike’s new plant in French Saint-Lo which is expected to be ready by 2015. The acquisition only concerns Matra’s e-bike business as the company will continue to produce spare parts for Renault.

Review 2016 S-Class plug-in: John Voelcker tried the brand new Mercedes S550 plug-in hybrid set to hit the States next spring. He finds it quite the luxurious ride you’d expect and is particularly impressed with the the shift between power modes as they are “far smoother than in any previous hybrid” from Daimler.

Number of the Day

Nissan Leaf sales.

There are more than 60,000 Leafs in the Untied States, Nissan said. Globally, the EV has been sold 135,000 times. In 2014, Nissan Leaf sales in the U.S. are up 34 percent and expected to increase further.

Research + Technology

Siemens, Freescale Semiconductor, BMW, ZeHus.

Electric motor from Siemens: In its Bad Neustadt-facility in Germany, Siemens added a new production line for electric motors to be used in EVs and HEVs. The first product is set for spring 2015: a 60-kW synchronous motor which will be utilised in the new Volvo XC90, the first of Volvo’s forthcoming Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), among other vehicles., (both in German)

New controller for Li-ion: Freescale Semiconductor presented its new 14-cell controller MC 33771 for Li-ion batteries. The technology is designed to be used in 48-V battery systems. As the devices are sampling now, the production of the controllers for use in automotive applications are expected to commence by third quarter of 2015.

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Intelligent energy management: The EFA project by a research consortium led by BMW says that smart driving and connected technologies can extend EV range by up to 15%. A so-called efficiency assistant could compute the available range, taking into account the topology and traffic situation., (in German)

Hybrid bike: The Polytechnic School of Milan has developed the ZeHus e-bike kit. The motor only helps when extra power is needed most, i.e. when accelerating and recuperates during deceleration. Everything is packed in the rear hub, including the battery. So far, the kit is only available on complete bikes and not separately.

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Most clicked link on Tuesday was the video that documenting the production process and test drive of world’s first 3D-printed electric car.

Quotes of the day

Wang Chuanfu, Gweon Yeong-su, Franck Montagny.

Wang-Chuanfu“The next three years will see a boom in electric vehicles, just like what happened to e-commerce 10 years ago and the Internet 20 years ago. But what’s different is that in addition to the commercial drive, the development of new-energy cars relies on more government push.”

BYD CEO Wang Chuanfu on the future of electric transport. Similar to European manufacturers, he also sees hybrid as the way forward in personal mobility but makes a strong case for all-electric vehicles in public transport.

Gweon-Yeong-su“In 2016, when the spread of electric vehicles begins in earnest, we will become well-established as the world’s No.1 player.”

Gweon Yeong-su, head of LG Chem’s battery unit, is positively beaming and with good reason. His words might well got something to do with the rumoured strategy change at Nissan (we reported).

Franck-Montagny“I have driven many different cars in many different series and I have to say that this is one of my best times in a car!”

Formula E race driver Franck Montagny apparently loves his new car. Unsurprisingly so, as he just came second at the first race of the series in Beijing.

Fleets + Infrastructure

Indianapolis, Chicago, California, Georgia, Tesla.

An all-electric bus line might soon enter service in Indianapolis. The city is granting two million dollars for a feasibility study and soon will release more details. The e-bus would fit in well with Indianapolis’ plans to install the biggest electric car sharing of the States together with Bolloré (we reported).

America’s first electric garbage truck will help keep Chicago clean. The ERV (Electric Refuse Vehicle) is made by Motiv Power Systems and the company plans to build 20 of these for the city over the next five years.,

H2 roadmap: the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has published a road map showing the planned hydrogen infrastructure. The accompanying report called Hydrogen Progress, Priorities and Opportunities (HyPPO) points out the next steps.

High EV market share: Georgia currently has the lead in the race for EV adoption as 1 in 60 vehicles in the state are now electric, helped along by a generous tax rebate of 5,000 dollars. That is a market share of 1.6%, which puts Georgia ahead of California (1.4%).

Supercharged Europe: Tesla plans to expand its fast charging network on the continent extensively over the coming year. A new map shows Superchargers as far south-east as Istanbul, Turkey, and up north as Finland while Eastern Europe is part of the expansion, too. (map)

Service + Suggestions

Nissan Leaf road trip, Tesla firmware update 6.0.

Reading tip: Trish and Tyrel Haveman and their Nissan Leaf have safely completed a 1,500-miles road trip from Canada and are full of praise for Oregon’s fast charger network. Along the way, they used 30 different charging stations as they were keeping the battery well charged.

Video tip: This video takes you through Tesla’s firmware update 6.0. The system now takes into account traffic information for navigation, you can name your car and choose from energy saving options.

Short circuit

Four-legged transport.

Researchers from MIT have developed a robot cheetah as they are looking into how animals efficiently move forward. As they are making good progress with this wild machine cat, the developers even play with the idea that four legs might one day replace four wheels.