Research + Technology


Rosatom, Ontario, Johnson Matthey, MTEE.

From nuclear to lithium: Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, rushes to join the lithium run and targets 30 percent non-nuclear sales by 2030. The state-owned corporation builds on the electric car boom and plans to mine and trade the metal and supply complete power packs as well. Rosatom is already looking into reviving lithium mines in Siberia and also got its eyes on South America to buy its way in. A trading company is open for business in Swiss Zug and Rosatom stated an interest in working with carmakers as well. The move comes as sales of uranium, Rosatom’s core business, are in rapid decline.

Concepts for fuel cell trains wanted: Ontario is seeking design concepts for hydrogen-powered trains as an alternative to overhead wires. The province wants to electrify its GO rail network to change how people move around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). A feasibility study called HyRail is currently running and train design will become a decisive part of it.

E-mobility is Johnson Matthey’s next bet on big business and so it will invest 200m pounds next year to include battery materials in its portfolio. The British specialty chemicals company explains its move with the growth it expects in the electric automotive industry.

Novel Range Extender: Mitsubishi subsidiary MTEE presents the Range+ a generator for charging while driving. The range extender uses a gas turbine to drive a generator that charges the battery.

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Research + Technology


Nikola, Bosch, Electrovaya, Proterra, Ballard.

Bosch powertrain for Nikola’s H2 trucks: The U.S. start-up partners with German supplier Bosch in order to equip its upcoming H2 trucks Nikola One and Nikola Two with Bosch’s eAxle – a compact unit combining the electric motor, power electronics and transmission. The fuel cell vehicles’ market launch is due by 2021.,,

Major order for Electrovaya: The Canadian battery specialist has signed a contract worth 4.3m Canadian dollars (3.51m USD) with Walmart Canada for its forklift battery systems. The reason is that Walmart intends to replace lead acid batteries of forklifts in one of its distribution centres through lithium ion battery systems.,

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EVS30EVS30 in Stuttgart: New standards in electromobility: From 9th to 11th October 2017 the entire electromobility industry will meet in Stuttgart for the EVS30. Find out about latest trends as well as applications of the electric drive train – at the exhibition or in the international conference. Don’t miss EVS30 and also visit the co-located events BATTERY+STORAGE and f-cell.

New battery cell for utility vehicles: U.S. electric bus manufacturer Proterra teams up with Korean battery specialist LG Chem in order to develop a new cell, meeting particularly the performance and safety demands of the heavy-duty vehicle market. Proterra’s new battery facility in Burlingame/California has meanwhile started production. After an initial ramp-up period, the company hopes to reach a total output of 500 MWh annually.

Ballard joins Hydrogen Council: Canadian fuel cell specialist Ballard is now a member of the Hydrogen Council, which was founded at the World Economic Forum in January in order to encourage investments in fuel cell technology. Members are vehicle manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Kawasaki and Toyota, but also companies like Air Liquide, ENGIE, Shell, Linde, Total, Alstom, Anglo American, Iwatani, Plastic Omnium – and now also Ballard Power Systems

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Research + Technology


Kreisel Electric, Ciments Vigier, Leclanché, alpha-En.

Kreisel inaugurates R&D centre: Kreisel Electric has opened a 7000 square metres R&D site in the Austrian city of Rainbach. The new centre includes a prototype workshop and a fully automated production line for the company’s storage devices. Besides, Patrick Knapp-Schwarzenegger, nephew of former CA governor and movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, has acquired a stake in the company together with a group of strategic partners., (in German)

Gigantic electric dumper truck: Kuhn Schweiz AG and Lithium Storage GmbH have modified a diesel-powered Komatsu HD 605-7 into an electric vehicle with 45 tons empty weight, 65 tons loading capacity and a 4.5 tons battery pack with 700kWh. If the vehicle proves to be suitable for daily use, cement company Ciments Vigier SA could power up to eight units in the long run.

Leclanché batteries for Fastned fast-chargers: Swiss battery specialist Leclanché teams up with Dutch company Fastned in order to develop a scalable battery storage solution with large-format lithium-ion batteries for Fastned’s fast charging EV stations. In a first step, two pilot projects will be kicked-off at different locations. Leclanché’s buffer batteries shall enable Fastned to deploy several high powered chargers per site while reducing the strain on the grid.,

Promising battery components: alpha-En Corporation has invented a process to produce high-purity thin-film lithium metal anodes for EV batteries and gained now an award of 750,000 dollars from the US Department of Energy. This funding will allow to commercialise Argonne National Laboratory’s proprietary highly conductive solid-state electrolyte coating for alpha-En’s anodes – a decisive step towards market launch.,

Research + Technology


Continental, Chevy Bolt, Hinkley, Tesla.

Urban Bee hive by Conti: Described as “industrious worker bee for the urban mobility of the future”, the BEE is a compact electric car with wide ranging autonomy. Short for “Balanced Economy and Ecology mobility concept”, IAA visitors can experience it in virtual reality only but Continental hopes that many of the two-seaters could navigate tomorrow’s mega cities using swarm intelligence.

Driving all alone: The autonomous Chevy Bolt is ready for mass production, reports GM’s Cruise Automation division that just released the third generation of the autonomous experiment. While jurisdiction may say otherwise, once full self-driving will get the go, GM’s lines are ready to roll. (the engineers),

All-electric yacht: Powered by the same battery that propel BMW’s i3, Hinkley’s luxury vessel Dasher uses two of the power packs. Each drives a 59 kW electric motor and when driven at the cruising speed of 10 mph, a range of 40 miles is possible. The price range though is undisclosed.,,

The battery swap is not dead at least not on paper which Tesla filed to the patent authorities back in May. The concept describes a battery swap technology to deploy out of a trailer. Rather than being automated, this one mentions engineers and up to 15 minutes per swap.,

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Research + Technology


Germany, Suzuki, A123, Ford.

Public money into private pockets: The German government wants to pour at least 60m euros into e-mobility research, DPA reports quoting a paper by the Ministry of Economy. The latter wants to spend 20m a year throughout 2020 to eliminate “technical and regulatory obstacles” for electric transport. Another ten millions are allegedly earmarked for the development of electric trucks for inner city driving and five million euros shall help the industry to make its electric drives more efficient. (in German)

Suzuki erects battery facility in India: Together with JV partners Toyota and Denso, Suzuki wants to produce Li-ion batteries in the Indian state of Gujarat. The facility is set to go into operation by 2020 and will first deliver packs for Suzuki’s electric and hybrid models before selling on to other OEMs.

A123 invests in solid-state batteries: Based in the States but owned by Chinese Wanxiang A123 Systems has taken a stake in Solid Power, a spin-off from the University of Colorado Boulder. Solid Power’s battery materials are inorganic and possess no flammable or volatile components.,

Zero emission package for Ford: Lightning Systems and New Eagle developed a battery-electric upfit system for all Ford Transit models as part of Ford’s eQVM programme. Depending on battery option and drive cycle, a retrofitted Ford EV will have a range of up to 200 km.

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Research + Technology


Ballard, StoreDot, TUEV SUED, Faurecia.

Ballard’s double breakthrough: The Canadian fuel cell specialist presents the world’s first Non Precious Metal Catalyst (NPMC) to use in a lightweight PEM fuel cell stack. Developed together with Nisshinbo from Japan, Ballard hopes to have the new product ready for sale later this year. Further advances comes from China where Ballard just opened a new facility for fuel cell stacks in Yunfu together with its JV partner Synergy. The stacks are designed for commercial vehicles., (China)

Ultra-fast charging pulls investors: Daimler is the latest company to believe in Israeli fast-charge start-up StoreDot. Its traction battery promises to charge EVs within just a few minutes, seconds for smartphones, and thus gained another 60m dollars in its latest round of funding. Apart from Daimler trucks, Samsung as well as Roman Abramovich count among the followers.,

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Advanced e-mobility lab: TÜV SÜD plans to expand its laboratory services in Asia, Germany, and the U.S. to respond to increasing demand from the electric transport sector. Next to battery testing, engineers will also conduct certification of high-voltage charging systems and new tests for H2 technology.

French fuel cell scheme: Supplier Faurecia has come to an agreement with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to set up and R&D programme for fuel cell stacks over 5 years. The aim is to ready a stack designed for the automotive industry.,

Research + Technology


Samsung, Honda, University of Arkansas, Formula E.

Samsung’s new battery solutions: With a German battery production missing, the IAA is a good place for Samsung to lay out its multifunctional offering. A modular system is to enable up to 700 kilometres of range and the novel ‘Low Height Cell’ was designed with light weight in mind. Cells with 21700 format for cylindrical batteries have been brought over from Korea as well.,

Honda’s Power Manager: As Japan’s second biggest carmaker enters electric territory with its Urban EV, it started to think about managing currents as well. The Power Manager enables to integrate electric cars into smart grids and its V2G functionality works both ways. Honda will put the Power Manager to the test as part of a pilot scheme called SMILE (Smart Ideas to Link Energies) in France.

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EVS30EVS30 in Stuttgart: New standards in electromobility From 9th to 11th October 2017 the entire electromobility industry will meet in Stuttgart for the EVS30. Find out about latest trends as well as applications of the electric drive train – at the exhibition or in the international conference. Don’t miss EVS30 and also visit the co-located events BATTERY+STORAGE and f-cell.

Research on power electronics is to advance at the University of Arkansas now that the DoE granted it 3.2m dollars. Two teams look to develop new power converters designed to reduce weight and complexity of such systems. The aim is to help electrify heavy vehicles and reduce cost of electric cars.

More power for FE racer: 10 kW more in racing mode (up from 170 kW) is one of the changes awaiting Formula E drivers and spectators in season 4. The ten teams have been confirmed.

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Research + Technology


Renault Symbioz, Project One, Jaguar, Audi.

Renault envisions a future in which living has formed a symbiosis with tech. So much so that an electric car simply comes as part of a house with which it shares a smart grid. The Symbioz concept delivers 500 kW at a range of 500 km and could be tested from 2019 – the car, not the house.,,,

Project One premiers: Even before the doors of the Frankfurt fair opened officially, Mercedes AMG took the wraps off its youngest hyper baby, the hybrid Project One. Drawaing from its involvement in the Formula 1, the street legal luxury car combines a turbo engine with four electric drives. The result are over 1,000 hp and a top speed of 350 kph that will be hard to keep up, even on a German Autobahn. Yet acceleration from 0 – 200 in less than six seconds should make up for any road restrictions.,,

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Jaguar goes wild now that it is about to launch its first electric car. The I-Pace on-sale will be accompanied by its own race as part of the Formula E. The I-Pace eTrophy will see up to 20 racy Jaguar EV battling it out, in front of a large audience of course.,, (teaser)

All-autonomous Audi: The Aicon is a true concept as it lacks both a steering wheel and pedals. Audi underscores its ambition for full autonomy also in the interior that resembles a lounge rather than a car. More feasible in a near future seem the four electric motors that account for 256 kW. The battery is conceived with a range of 800 km and inductive charging capability.,

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Research + Technology


CATL, GKN, Nidec, Tesla.

CATL to start Gigafactory: The Chinese supplier wants to enter the battery market as early as January 2018 when a new facility in Liyang will take up its work. The first phase already aims at an annual capacity of 10 GWh. This shall increase gradually until output reaches 36 GWh, just like Tesla’s Gigafactory. The cells will be assembled by cooperation partner SAIC that could soon supply enough packs for up to 300,000 EVs a year. CATL, that also delivers cells for the BMW i3, was the world’s third largest battery maker in 2016 with an output of 6.8 GWh. (in German)

Electric drive: GKN Driveline is about to construct a new manufacturing facility in Tokoname City, Japan. It will replace an older plant, and has become necessary to meet increasing demand for AWD and eDrive systems. GKN will break ground this month and targets completion by mid-2018.,

Another e-drive from Japan is presented by Nidec that has developed a lightweight motor system for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. It combines a gearbox, an inverter and a motor with a proprietary cooling system and has an output of 40 to 150 kW to cater for various vehicles.

Lonesome ranger: 400,000 miles driven with almost no battery degradation. What sounds like one of those Tesla milestones has actually been hit by a single Chevy Volt driven by a GM employee. Note though that the electric miles count 141,795 only.

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Research + Technology


Audi, Mazda, ElringKlinger, XFC.

Automated EV concepts: Audi’s booth at the IAA will include two concept EVs with autonomous capabilities of level 4 and 5. The SUV show car is based on the e-tron Sportback concept with three electric drives. The other study in self-driving settles in the D segment and got four electric motors and a said range of 700 – 800 kilometres. Nothing has been issued regarding production plans.

Mazda reaffirms electrification: Japan may soon lead the electric evolution as even Mazda confirms plans to jump on the fuel-free drive train. Though EV options across the whole range are only due by 2035, mild hybrid will become the norm from 2019, the same year a first Mazda EV is expected together with a rotary REx. From 2021, plug-in hybrids are to join the line-up as well.

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E-mobility by ElringKlinger: The German component maker has made electric vehicles its focus at the current IAA, where it presents battery systems and lightweight solutions. Also on display is an eAxle alongside a fuel cell stack ready for integration.

Funding for extra fast-charging: The US Department of Energy wants to support the development of EVs and/or batteries with extremely fast-charging (XFC) capabilities. The aim is to charge twice as fast a current fast-charging systems. The actual funding proposal has yet to be released.

Excellent is different: Chevy’s Bolt, this time as Opel Ampera-e has got a four star rating in the EuroNCAP crash test. The inspectors found fail with the rear’s resilience and also wanted passengers sitting in said back to be automatically reminded to put their seat belts on., (results), (crash test)

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