Research + Technology


Lilium, Webasto, XING Mobility,

Lilium-First-FlightLilium’s aircraft takes off: The start-up based by Munich has mastered the first test flight with its VTOL prototype. Equipped with 36 electric jets, the two-seated machine takes off vertically before switching in forward flying modus. It is supposed to accelerate to 300 kph and reach a range of 300 km. The ESA backed company also wants to develop a five-seated model and entertains the vision that someday we may hail a heli via app at taxi prices.,,,

Webasto introduces electric mobility division: The supplier used the Shanghai’s Motor Show to present its new business unit ‘E-Solutions & Services’. It shall focus on battery and charging solutions “in private and semi-private environments” and cooperate with OEMs and specialised partners.

Megawatt vehicle made in Taiwan: Start-up XING Mobility will bring its Miss R, a road-legal prototype of an electric racer to the upcoming EV Taiwan show. Four electric motors deliver an output of no less than 1 MW and claim to accelerate the vehicle in two seconds from 0 to 100 kph.,,

Batteries from waste glass bottles: UCR researchers have turned waste glass bottles into nanosilicon anodes for Li-ion batteries. A low-cost chemical process and the promise of storing four times more energy than batteries with conventional graphite anodes may make these batteries a success.

Research + Technology


Toyota, GKN Driveline, Continental, Microvast.

Toyota-Project-PortalToyota truck with Mirai tech: After starting with sedans and buses, the Japanese is en route to employ its fuel cell system in 40 ton trucks. Los Angeles not Tokyo harbour will pioneer the ‘Project Portal’ pilot that sees two fuel cell stacks from the Mirai plus a 12 kWh battery power a H2 lorry. Range is given at 320 km and Toyota promotes its tech-carrier’s fast acceleration in a drag race video of sorts.,, video

1m electric drives: GKN Driveline has set its eyes on the EV market in China and hopes to produce one million electric motors annually through its joint venture SDS by 2025. One of the eDrives is fully integrated and already on display in Shanghai. It packs the electric motor, power inverter, and gearbox within a single casing, while delivering 65 kW. An unnamed OEM is to use it for a small PHEV.,

Conti too has an electric drive in Shanghai, which it hopes to sell to Chinese OEMs. The electrical axle drive is compact, weighs about 75 kilos but has an output of up to 150 kW. It will be made in China.

Macro investment for Microvast: The battery maker secured 400m dollars from investors for its allegedly inflammable Li-ion packs. Microvast plans to expand production and is working on its next-gen battery due within this year. A factory is under construction in Chinese Huzhou, which shall produce 15 GWh a year from 2019.,

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Research + Technology


Renault, ZF, EMS, XL Hybrids.

Renault-Hybrid-RS-2027Renault envisions a future F1 where racers would run all-electrically in pits and during safety car periods. But the hybrid RS 2027 concept may only become a reality in 10 years time and would then be autonomous and connected to a level that gamers could “race” in real-time, just like the fan boost of the Formula E has foreseen.,

ZF in China: The German supplier expanded its R&D centre in Shanghai, where it wants to employ 600 additional engineers by 2022 to work on electric mobility products for the Asia-Pacific markets. The total investment is about 50m euros.

A ton of hydrogen at a pressure of 500 bar is the target of EMS latest hydrogen storage system currently under development. The system contains high-strength lightweight composite (CFRP) pressure vessels, which will be embedded in standard containers to be stored at H2 fuelling stations.

Certified retrofit: CARB has approved XL Hybrids hybrid conversions for Ford Transit vans and wagons. Furthermore, the company has become part of CARB’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), meaning those willing to convert receive 2,500 dollars.

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Research + Technology


Sun Mobility, NGT CARGO, Riverside, Sanitov Bicycles.

Battery swap: The idea of battery swapping is here to stay it seems, just its advocates change. The latest attempt is by Mahindra founder Chetan Maini, who wants to turnover power packs with his new company Sun Mobility. Yet, he added a twist – at the base of his business are modular battery packs, suitable for all kind of EVs, i.e. two-wheelers as well as big industrial vehicles. Maini has a service model in mind that not only allows to exchange a battery pack quickly but also keeps prices low as drivers won’t need to buy the batteries. On the Indian market this might actually work.,

DLR-Cargo-TrainThe future of freight: The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has turned from rockets to rails as its engineers present their holistic concept for the next-gen of cargo transport. NGT CARGO – hitherto known as freight trains among earthlings – are made up of powerful end cars and intelligent single wagons, that automatically couple and only as needed. The latter come equipped with separate electric drives and recuperating batteries in order to master the last miles autonomously. DLR hopes its trains may some day replace some of the container ships trawling the seas between Europe and Asia.,

Coat for life: Researchers at the University of California, Riverside are en route to solve the dendrite problem of lithium metal anodes. A coating made from the organic compound methyl viologen apparently stabilises performance, eliminates dendrite growth and may thus triple the battery’s lifetime.

New player in the cargo trike market: The start-up Sanitov Bicycles introduces its first electric cargo trike called movE. The company was created by a Danish designer based in London and his electric trike can carry loads of up to 200 kilos in its rear box that can be customised.

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Research + Technology


Continental, Energy Observer, Williams Engineering, India.

Continental expands in the Valley: The Germans just opened a new R&D centre in Silicon Valley, where they want to employ up to 300 experts for sustainable transport. 6,000 sq metres in San Jose are reserved for offices and labs busy with projects ranging from electric to autonomous driving and mobility service. Conti has earmarked a million dollars for the new complex.

Dreamboat: This electric catamaran is anything a green heart could wish for as it not only sails but also runs with zero emissions self-sufficiently. Its power sources are the sun and sea, literally, as it uses solar power to produce hydrogen on-board that in turn fills its fuel cell system. The Energy Observer has been launched in sea at Saint Malo, from where it is to catch the wind to circumnavigate the globe at about 19 kph. Halts at 101 ports in 50 countries are planned for the 30 metre boat.

British battery making: As Williams Engineering has benefitted from the APC’s latest round of funding, details emerged on that 100m pounds. The money will help set up a battery production facility on the Isles and the Aston Martin RapidE could be first to use the cells.,

Indian battery making: Toshiba, Suzuki and Denso want to set up a joint venture this year to build batteries in India. Capitalisation stands at 2bn yen (18.4m dollars) with Suzuki shouldering 50 percent and Toshiba and Denso 40% and 10% respectively. Manufacturing shall start as early as possible.,

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Research + Technology


India, Superpedestrian, Corvus Energy, Rheinmetall.

Battery production in India: The Automotive Research Association of India (Arai) has tested Li-ion batteries developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre and found them valid for commercialisation. True to the local market, the batteries are specifically made for use in two- and three-wheelers. The government is now planning to transfer the technology to companies for production and also plans to install a central agency to lead the country’s EV programme. State-owned utilities have shown some interest in particular with regards to the EV batteries’ potential to double as storage for solar energy India hopes to have in excess.

Human-enhancing technology: The Copenhagen Wheel has been around for some time and now Superpedestrian makes another attempt at commercialising the MIT idea fully. The latest version of the in-wheel pedelec system, that combines sensors, computers, battery, and motor in one case, is said to react ever faster and subtler to changes in the human motion. The Copenhagen Wheel can be ordered online for 1,499 dollars or already installed in a bike for 1,999 dollars.

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10 years of trust: Corvus Energy has been awarded a 10-year contract to maintain and service Scandlines’ entire hybrid ferry fleet. The agreement includes both maintenance of the fleets’ batteriess, which Corvus delivered, as well as the firm’s remote monitoring service, Watchman.,

Full disclosure: Rheinmetall Automotive will exhibit components for electric vehicles and emission reduction in Shanghai. To showcase its wares, the German OEM made a car from plexiglas with a range extender and heater/cooler module inside.

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Research + Technology


APC, Quebec, Renesas, AVX.

62m GBP for low-carbon tech: The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has granted 62m pounds in funding to projects overseen by the likes of BMW Motorsport, Jaguar Land Rover, Williams Advanced Engineering, or Ford. The seven collaborative research initiatives revolve around more powerful (BMW) or cheaper batteries (Williams) and a hybrid drive train for niche vehicles like pods.,

4.4m dollars for Quebec’s EV landscape: The Canadian province announced to spend 4.4m dollars to promote research and development as well as design and production of electric cars in Quebec over five years. Behind this is the intention to propose a law by 2018 that would force car companies in the province to make, produce and sell more electric cars – California or China-style. At the same time, the ministers confirmed that EV incentives would continue and are confident that by 2020 about 100,000 Quebecers will have made their move to drive electrically.

100kW-class inverter: Renesas Electronics launched a new inverter solution for 100kW-class motors as used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and more compact electric vehicles. Offered as a kit with optimisation software, Renesas hopes to reduce development time with its development.,

Power film capacitors for HEV: AVX Corporation has released the new FHC1 and FHC2 Series power film capacitors, which were received with hybrid and electric vehicles in mind. The firm said the capacitors are “ideal for use in conjunction with IGBT modules, as well as medium-sized motor drives.”

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Research + Technology


SK Innovation, Bolt EV, VTOL, mobile H2 quality check

sk-innovation-batterie-zellen-300x150500 km EV battery: SK Innovation is working to improve its cells as it gears for a range of 500 kilometres on one charge by 2020. Current power packs deliver about 350 km and the Korean battery specialists sees the 500 km threshold necessary to compete with ICE head to head if not overtake them.,

Autonomous Bolt EV challenge: GM together with SAE seek to get the Bolt EV up to level 4 autonomy with the help of students. If enrolled at one of eight U.S. universities selected for the AutoDrive Challenge, the teams have three years to enable GM’s latest electric baby to get around an urban driving course unharmed and by itself.

The Pentagon’s VTOL project is getting ready for take off as Aurora Flight Sciences successfully concluded testing a subscale demonstrator. The real thing, a 24-fan hybrid airplane reportedly known as LightningStrike may begin proper flight tests in late 2018, and aims to be twice as fast than helicopters., (pdf)

Mobile H2 quality check: ZSW has developed an inspection system to ensure gaseous hydrogen refueling equipment is in compliance with international standards. H2 samples are taken simultaneously to checks of pressure, temperature and the like before the testing truck rolls on to the next station.

Research + Technology


VW, Einride, China, Electric GT

volkswagen-vw-id-konzept-300x150VW accelerates battery research: The carmaker’s plan of a ‘Centre of Excellence’ will become reality already this month, reports Automobil Produktion referring to VW chief strategist Thomas Sedran. The centre will be in charge of development, acquisition and quality control of the group’s battery systems and is to explore solid state batteries, too. First laboratory results are scheduled for 2018 and shall be followed by a pilot production in 2020. Sedran also confirmed advanced discussions with potential partners and is confident to close deals within 2017. (in German)

Autonomous good transport: Einride’s engineers created an all-electric truck, which is driverless but can be remote controlled. The so-called T-Pod measures seven metres, ranges 200 km and (fully loaded) weighs 20 tonnes. First trials are scheduled for the ongoing year and the Swedish start-up hopes to have a first batch of 200 EVs for freight ready by 2020.,

Battery production in China: For 400m euros Dynavolt has opened a new assembly facility in Fujian and seeks to produce lithium batteries at an annual capacity of 6 GWh. Until 2020, Dynavolt wants to increase the output, namely up to 25 GWh in Fujian and another plant in the province of Hubei.,

Electric GT kickoff in November: The very first GT race series is to debut in November with a double race on the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, where 20 drivers will compete in modified Tesla Model S. The premiere will be followed by eight races in different European countries.,,

Research + Technology


Hyundai, Amazon, Plug Power, Ballard, VTOL.

Hyundai-Ioniq-electric-300Hyundai to develop solid-state batteries? The Korean car manufacturer readies battery tech based on solid rather than liquid electrolytes, Korea Herold reports referring to insider information. Hyundai apparently operates pilot production facilities already but does not intend to go serial before 2025. Also Samsung SDI und LG Chem are said to research solid-state batteries as well as Toyota and BMW.

Amazon tasks Plug Power: Plug Power gains a new order of no other than Amazon, who plans to deploy a fleet of H2 forklifts in 11 of its logistics centres. Delivering the corresponding tech, PlugPower estimates Amazon will spend 70m dollar on the deal in 2017 and likely twice that next year. Furthermore, Amazon is authorised to acquire 23% of the company if spending exceeds 600m dollars.,

11m dollar deal for Ballard: Canadian Ballard Power Systems signed an 11m dollar order for 200 FCVeloCity systems to be delivered this year for the Chinese market. Buyer is Broad-Ocean, who intends to use them for demonstrations of H2 buses and industrial vehicles in China.

18 rotor drone production ready: German start-up e-volo has readied its 18 rotor electric VTOL and hopes it will be launched and authorised for commercial passenger transport soon. On top, the two-seated model shall serve the air sport market. A four-seater model is planned, too.

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