Research + Technology


Drexel University, UN-Habitat + DLR, Qualcomm, China-Canada connection

Charge in seconds? A novel material puts supercap properties into batteries say researchers from Drexel University, who call the stuff MXene. This flat nanomaterial paired with a hydrogel allows for free flow of ions and the team hopes to soon be able to charge devices “much, much faster.”,, (study, paid content)

Making earth a better place: The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) signed a MoU to cooperate in the field of sustainable urban mobility, mainly through research. Their efforts shall align with the New Urban Agenda adopted during the Habitat III conference last year as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that call for environmental-friendly transport to be inclusive for all.

qualcomm-halo-ces-2017-induktives-laden-300x150Wireless in Asia: Qualcomm and Japanese OEM Nichicon have entered into a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) license agreement. Practically this opens the door for Qualcomm’s Halo inductive charging technology to be offered in Asia as part of Nichicon’s portfolio.

China-Canada connection: Anode maker Shinzoom from China intends to form a joint venture with Canadian Nouveau Monde Graphite in order to offer its anodes to Li-ion battery manufacturers in North America. A letter of intent has been signed but is not binding.,

Research + Technology


Tesla, Tokyo, Nano One, Walmart

tesla-model-3-schwarz-elektroauto_300x150pxThe final surprise? Maybe Tesla got one more Model 3 detail in store before the launch this week. Insiders think the EV maker could be using larger battery cells referred to as 4416, contrary to previous speculation placing high energy density 2170 cells in the Model 3. Elon will tell on Friday.

Solid-state battery development: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have devised a low-cost, scalable approach to developing all-solid-state batteries, improving prospects for scaling up the technology for widespread use in EVs. The approach involves substituting germanium for tin and silicon.

LFP patent: Nano One has filed for a patent for its method of synthesising Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) cathode material. The novel process uses fewer steps and cheaper raw materials while eliminating waste streams, costly equipment and manufacturing complexities.

H2 refill at Walmart: Plug Power expects to provide its GenKey hydrogen fueling station to up to 30 additional Walmart sites in the U.S. over the next three years. Ten sites are already under contract and scheduled to be finished by the end of this year.

Research + Technology


TerraE, Faraday Challenge, Fisker, Tesla,

BMZ-Rundzellen-Pack_300x150pxTerraE plans two Gigafactories in Germany: TerraE-Holding has been busy since its formation this May and now leads a consortium of 17 partners from business and academia charged with the planning for mass production of Li-ion cells. Previous reports mentioned only one “Gigafactory” but TerraE is now looking for two locations in Germany. Where exactly the plants will stand, or who those consortium members are has not been disclosed, yet the holding says it is about to begin talks with other potential partners looking for cells made in Germany and who are willing to invest. (in German)

Competitive battery development: The British government will give away 246m pounds through the so-called Faraday Challenge that seeks to bring state-of-the-art batteries for electric cars and other applications to market. The first leg calls for a virtual ‘Battery Institute’ and the winning bid will have 45m pounds to incorporate its plan into base-level reality, that is to build an actual R&D centre in the UK. Promising research developed here, may then be moved closer to market with industrial partners led by Innovate UK. The four year programme consists of competitions divided into the fields of research, innovation and scale-up, and thus addresses designers, developers and manufacturers alike.,

Fisker’s graphen battery has just become more unlikely as Nanotech Energy steps back from the planned joint venture that was to focus on said energy storage. In order to keep Fisker’s tight timing for the EMotion, the graphen specialist would have had to concentrate “on that and that alone,” a move Nanotech CEO Jack Kavanaugh rejected. Fisker’s resurrection will thus run on Li-ion cells by LG Chem.

Tesla of the Seas is too tempting a name not to use it for Norway’s first electric and self-sailing containership currently under construction. The renown collaboration between fertiliser firm Yara and Kongsberg has now been priced at 25m euros. Further details show stages of autonomy that will essentially see the bridge move first from ship to shore for remote operation before the Birkeland is to sail the 37 miles down a fjord on its own in 2020, still under supervision on shore.,

Research + Technology


Apple + CATL, Schaeffler + Frauenhofer, Indian Railways, Hyperloop

Apple and CATL to create EV batteries? The tech giant’s ambitions to create an own EV seemed to decline during the last months, but rumours rise again after a report of business journal Yicai Global. Thus, in the frame of a “confidential” project, Apple is developing EV batteries with CATL, China’s biggest battery maker that reportedly seeks to generate a production output of 50 GWh by 2020, making it the worldwide biggest li-ion battery producer behind Tesla/Panasonic. Apple already partners with CATL’s holding Amperex Technology in order to supply batteries for its iPhones and MacBooks.,

Schaeffler and Frauenhofer team up: Car supplier Schaeffler and research association Fraunhofer signed a strategic agreement to intensify their collaboration – among others in the section of emission-free mobility. Just recently, Schaeffler announced to create an own electric mobility division within automotive, starting at January, 1st.

Hybrid train with solar panels: Indian Railways has started to operate the first diesel-electric train whose battery gets feed by solar cells at the wagons’ roofs. In the next days, approximately 50 such solar trains are supposed to follow on short distance lines. Later on, they shall be deployed in long-distance traffic, too.

Hyperloop line at U.S.’s east coast? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted that its other brainchild The Boring Company has gained the U.S. government’s verbal approval to build a Hyperloop line between Washington D.C. and New York City. Musk added however, that for formal approval there is still much work waiting. The White House confirmed promising talks, but did not name any details. A spokesperson of NYC’s mayor tweeted that this announcement is new for the City Hall. According to Musk, the distance between both east coast metropolis could be done in 29 minutes.,,

Research + Technology


Continental, Jaguar Land Rover, Horiba Mira, Battery500.

Continental-E-Shuttle-300x150Conti operates an electric shuttle at Frankfurt Airport to gain insights into the practicalities of autonomous passenger transport. The CUbE (Continental Urban mobility Experience) is based on the EZ10 shuttle by French EasyMile of which Continental owns a minority share (we reported).

British e-mobility research: Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Warwick have been granted 5.7m pounds for the development of electric vehicle technologies. They will focus on improved drives as well as energy storage and take a look into bearing and gear surfaces and power electronics as well. The research will also be embedded into learning within skills programmes. The initial funding comes from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) but JLR is to match the grant.,

High-voltage battery testing: Warwickshire-based Horiba Mira has begun to build its Advanced Battery Development Suite for the testing and development of high voltage battery systems for 2m pounds. The company also just opened its 8m GBP vehicle emissions testing centre at Nuneaton.

Battery500 in the making: North Amerciacan consortium Battery500 wants to develop a battery with an energy density of 500 Wh/kg (we reported). 15 projects have been chosen by now that share funding from the DoE worth 5.7m dollars. The iniiative is led by led by DOE’s PNNL., (list of projects, pdf)

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Research + Technology


GaN Systems, H2 Street Sweeper, Romeo Power.

BMW i Ventures moves into next-gen power electronics as it makes a strategic investment into GaN Systems. Their transistors use Gallium Nitride (GaN), a semiconductor material that allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance.,

H2-street-sweeperH2 street sweeper: The streets of Dutch Hoogezand will henceforth be cleaned silently by a new hydrogen cleaning machine. It is a first and Finnish Visedo signs responsible for the electric drive of the street sweeper, that had been converted from diesel to fuel cell by Holthausen. Groningen municipality is involved in the project too and already Rotterdam and Amsterdam have signalled interest, as has the Vatican. A single hydrogen fill got the machine on its sweep for 1.5 days so to speak and its operating noise was reduced by half and is expected to fall to about 40 dBA with upgrades.,

From space to earth: The Indian Space Research Organisation has approved Li-ion batteries developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (we reported) for commercial use by major car manufacturers. The approval may soon see them appear in buses, EVs and rickshaws.,

Universal fork lift battery: Romeo Power presents its Thunder Pack-C and says this Li-ion battery pack fits any fork lift model. 4,000 charging cycles are guaranteed.

Research + Technology


Navya, Lithium, Paul-Scherrer-Institute, CF Motoring Services.

Navya-Arma-300x150Navya found its new home in the States in the town of Saline, Michigan. It is the first oversea activity for the French manufacturer of autonomous shuttles and Navya hopes to build 25 Armas there this year.,

Lithium offensive in Bolivia: President Evo Morales wants to tap into the world’s largest lithium reserve that rests under the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. After a pilot plant has run for some time, Bolivia now wants to scale up the mining production and processes with 800m dollars to start extraction by 2020. Morales vision goes beyond the raw material though as he sees the landlocked country as a hub for the entire value chain like battery and car factories that promise jobs. For now however, Bolivia faces challenges regarding purity of its lithium but also infrastructure and doubts from investors. Nevertheless, firms from both China and Germany are active in the country already.

Nanomaterial for electrolyser: Researchers from Paul-Scherrer-Institut and Empa have developed a new catalyst material for electrolysers that helps store solar energy efficiently at lower costs in the form of hydrogen.They managed to produce perovskite in the form of miniscule nanoparticles.

EV training scheme: CF Motoring Services wants to deliver electric and hybrid vehicle training to 90 staff. The company teamed up with Gateshead College to secure European Social Fund cash for the project, which will see people learn how to repair and restore EVs and hybrids safely.

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Research + Technology


PSA, Africa, Tesla, Porsche, Solid-State.

PSA wants to dive into sustainable mobility in Africa and has just agreed to work with five universities in Morocco. Two American and one French university are on board as well and operate branches in the North African country already. For PSA it is the 18th so-called OpenLab with others active in Brazil, China and France. The researchers’ agenda lists electric vehicles, renewable energy as well as future logistics and they got four years to progress and to take advantage of PSA’s network.

Three more U.S. Gigafactories: The next few years might witness the rise of two to three more Gigafactories in the States, said Elon Musk during an interview with the National Governors Association. His statement was well placed given that Tesla is currently scouting locations and wants to take a decision before the year’s end, so this is the call on states to put out favourable conditions.,

Goodbye WEC? Porsche ponders its exit from the WEC series after winning it three times in a row. If the VW brand follows Audi indeed, it would leave Toyota as sole contender in the hybrid LMP1 category. Porsche will decide this July and is also looking at the Formula E or making motors for the Formula 1.

Novel solid electrolyte: Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have found a low-cost, scalable approach for solid-state batteries. The team substituted germanium in the solid electrolyte for two more readily available elements: tin and silicon.

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Research + Technology


Rheinmetall, Boreas, Electrovaya, Japan.

Electric drive and battery system by Rheinmetall: The German car supplier has announced to put a 90 kW electric drive unit and a modular battery pack on display at this year’s IAA edition in September. Both systems are currently installed in a demonstration vehicle built around a sub-compact car. With the new electric drive, the vehicle is said to reach 135 kph and a range of up to 275 km.,

Plug-in hyper car from Spain: DSD Design & Motorsport has developed a prototype of a hybrid super sports car called Boreas. The PHEV comes with 1,000 hp all-wheel drive and an electric range of 100 km. In less than 3 seconds the hypercar shall accelerate from 0 to 100 kph with top speed at 378 kph. However, only 12 units are going to roll off the lines.,

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Follow-up order brings Electrovaya 1m euros from a European OEM that does not want to be named. Electrovaya is based in Canada and produces cells, electrodes and ceramic separators through its subsidiary Litarion. The company’s manufacturing capacity is about 500 MWh per year.

H2 supply chain complete: In Japan, all facilities for a low-carbon hydrogen supply chain announced back in 2015 have been completed. The system will use H2 produced from renewable energy in facilities along Tokyo Bay to power 12 fuel cell forklifts. The project is now in full-scale operation. Participating partners are Toyota, Toshiba among others as well as the local government.

Research + Technology


Mercedes, DoE, GM, Volvo, Ricardo.

Mercedes strengthens EV activities at home: After an intense struggle between Daimler’s management and the works council, the Untertürkheim site will become home to Mercedes’ fourth battery production as well as a hotspot for electric drives and components with more than 250 jobs to be generated. Apart from batteries, the agreement includes assemblage of powertrain modules for EVs of the EQ brand and the creation of a “project house eATS” in order to gain additional know-how for the next-gen electric drive systems. Finally, the ‘E-Technikum‘ agreed on in the first stage of negotiations, shall significantly expand to form a competence centre for electric mobility.,,

The DoE raises 19.4m dollars to support 22 research projects, among them activities of Mercedes-Benz and GM. Both look into Li-sulfur batteries. Key topics are advanced battery tech, lightweight materials, engine emission control technologies and energy efficient mobility systems (EEMS).

Hybrid wheel loader by Volvo: Supported by the California Energy Commission, Volvo presented a prototype of its LX1 hybrid wheel loader that shall have 50% better fuel efficiency while doing the work of an even larger wheel loader. The new model couples a much smaller diesel engine (3 litre instead of 13 litre) with electric motors and hydraulics and a battery energy storage system.

Ricardo’s new EV battery control tech: The British supplier draws attention to its new BMS for EVs that is said to be adaptable to a broad range of applications. Partly developed in the frame of a Li-sulfur project, the BMS shall optimise the performance of cell chemistries.,

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