Research + Technology


BMW, Subaru, Sweden, Hydrogen Production.

BMW-5er-PHEV-300x150BMW to increase R&D spending: The German carmaker bets on in-house innovation and wants to increase its budget for development to account for about 6 percent of sales this year, up from 5.5% in 2016. The money is to flow into electrification, autonomy and dealing with CO2 emissions, CFO Nicolas Peter informed. If sales develop as planned, R&D spending will amount to about 5bn euros in 2017.,

Japan increases e-mobility investments as well with Subaru being the latest to jump on board the electric train. Bloomberg suggests an EV is in the cards as it looks at increase R&D spending. The latter is a trend in Japan, where all seven carmakers including Suzuki intend to raise their stakes considerably. (Subaru), (the big 7)

Sweden to foster EV research? The Nordic nation is considering to build a test centre for electric cars in a bid to bring manufacturers and researchers closer together. The initiative is governmental but already representatives for Volvo and Scania met this week in Gothenburg with several universities to discuss the plan. A research institute has now been tasked to study the feasibility of such a test bed.

Low emission H2 production: Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation launched a 2-year project that aims to produce hydrogen without generating emissions at the same time. Funding stands at 2.5m USD through Toyota, Hyundai and others.,

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Research + Technology


TerraE, Volkswagen, Eindhoven.

TerraE-Logo-300x150Cells made in Germany: Details emerged on the planned battery production from TerraE as the newly founded firm confirms its intent to build a German Gigafactory. It will follow the principle of a foundry known from the semi conductor industry and will build up capacities to make up to 34 GWh per year successively until 2028. BMZ and Leclanché sign responsible, while Holger Gritzka, formerly ThyssenKrupp has been appointed as CEO. (in German)

VW incubator: Volkswagen reaches out to start-ups as its opens its transparent factory in Dresden for an incubator programme. One company from Berlin pitched successfully despite (or because of) its unusual concept. Tretbox is a pedelec but sheltered like a car. (in German),

Million mark passed: Electric buses in the Dutch city of Eindhoven have billed one million kilometres since their inception last December. The 43 VDL Citea single deckers operate across eight different routes and owner Hermes says the buses are running for about 9,000km each day on average.

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Research + Technology


OSVehicle, Kamag, Visedo, Sisu Auto, SolarStratos.

OSVehicle introduces modular EV: Known for its open source platform Tabby, the company presents a self-driving EV called EDIT. Its modular design shall attract B2B clients (e.g. car sharing providers or delivery services) as the car is easily adaptable to different usage requirements. That also applies to the interior space with its autonomous driving tech reaching from level 1 to 5.,,

E-Wiesel-AGV-300x150Headless shuttle for heavy loads: Kamag introduced its E-Wiesel AGV pallet, an autonomous electric transporter that lacks a driver’s cab and thus can be loaded from both sides with up to 30 tonnes. Navigation is handled through sensor technology and loading and unloading is automated too.

Hybrid power for heavy trucks: The Finnish companies Visedo and Sisu Auto developed a hybrid electric power system for the heavy road transport sector. The parallel hybrid drive relies on an electric motor as well as a diesel engine and shall provide up to 850kW and more than 5000Nm torque.

Insights of Elektra-2: The SolarStratos project reported the maiden flight of its ultra-light solar aircraft two weeks ago and now has details. Weighing 420 kilo with a wing span of 25 metres, Elektra-2 uses technology from the DLR spin-off Elektra-Solar. It aims to fly 20 km high with a payload of up to 100 kg.

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Research + Technology


Qualcomm, Volvo, AK Steel, myFC.

Renault-Qualcomm-FABRICDynamic charging at 20 kW: Wireless charging of moving electric vehicles has just been demonstrated by Qualcomm as part of the EU backed FABRIC project. The company said its Halo technology delivered up 20 kW to two Renault Kangoo ZE on the 100m test track. They also managed to refuel both vehicles at the same time on the same stretch. Another partner of the 9m euro project, Vedecom, is now to perform further safety tests. FABRIC is to continue through December 2017 with 25 organisations from nine EU countries going d’accord.

Compact electric excavator: Volvo Construction Equipment presents the EX2 prototype, an electric excavator said to be ten times more efficient than its conventional equivalent. Plus, he emits only a tenth of the noise obviously but so far, the EX2 is just a concept machine., (video)

Next-gen steel: 1.8 million dollars have been awarded to AK Steel through the DOE to develop electrical steels for hybrid and electric vehicle motors. The three year project is part of the Next Generation Electric Machines (NGEM) programme and has motor maker Regal Beloit Corporation on board as well.,

Twice the range for any EV is the aim of Swedish fuel cell maker myFC for its Lamina Range Extender. Commercial tests are scheduled for 2018 and myFC says the REx based on its own fuel cell and the patented JAQ fuel and hopes it will combine both worlds of hydrogen and batteries.

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Research + Technology


University of Tokyo, TU/e, Helmholtz, Faurecia.

Charging on the go: A team from the University of Tokyo has come up with wireless technology that allows for a charge while driving. It relies on in-wheel motors and charging lanes or on sections of roads embedded with energy transmission coils and first demos have been a success. The same is true for Israeli ElectRoad which embeds copper wire into tar. First passed road tests earned the start-up a 120,000 dollar grant from the government to electrify a strip in Tel Aviv over one and a half mile in length. (Japan), (Israel)

Bio-composite electric car: Lina is a natural and a lovely name for an eco-friendly concept EV by students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). At the heart of the material is sugar beet and the whole vehicle only weighs 300 kilos, making “her” very efficient. The Netherlands Vehicle Authority sure took a liking to Lina, classifying the idea as roadworthy and for four passengers. Lina will go on tour in the Netherlands following the debut at the Eco Marathon in London later this month.,

New nanomaterial: A team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has made a nanomaterial from nanoparticles of a titanium oxide compound and tested it as a cathode in lithium-sulphur batteries. The porous nanomaterial has high storage capacity that remains nearly constant over many charging cycles.

Carbon fibre hydrogen tanks: Faurecia is now able to design, produce and commercialise high-pressure hydrogen tanks made of carbon fiber composites for fuel cell electric vehicles. It acquired its know how from Stelia Aerospace Composites.

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Research + Technology


Toyota, Akasol, Marine Rack System, Daymak.

Toyota’s flying car: 40m Yen (352,982 dollars) is what a dream is worth to the Japanese carmaker and what backs project Skydrive, that had been started by a group of Toyota employees (the Cartivators) outside their regular work hours. Skydrive’s ambitions are expectedly high as the airborne electric car is to be the smallest of its kind and scheduled to be production ready in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. A manned test flight with a prototype is set for the end of next year. via

Scaling up battery production in Germany is Akasol, which is to dedicate two more facilities to make Li-ion battery systems. One is already operational at its headquarters in the city of Darmstadt, where Akasol manages small-scale production for utility vehicles but also rail and marine applications. On top, a new facility in Langen will be extended from next year to accommodate for serial assembly of battery systems for European bus manufacturers. Akasol targets an annual output of 300 MWh, enough for about 1,500 electric buses initially, but has room to go up to 600 MWh. (in German)

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The Marine Rack System by Leclanché is a modular battery set up for vessels such as Denmark’s large E-Ferry. The MRS is the first battery system of its type to receive the latest certificate through the DNV-GL and there is potential for a 1,000 ferries to move on to electric power in Europe alone.

The world’s fastest electric cart is the Daymak C5 Blast, at least according to its maker. Daymak says the prototype propels from 0 – 100 kph in less than 1,5 seconds. Toronto will see the production of the electric cart that is to be offered in two versions. Top speed however has a 60,000 dollar price tag.,

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Research + Technology


Terra E, Podbike, Visedo, TECO, Hyundai.

German battery cell production: Terra E is the name of a consortium that consists of ThyssenKrupp, M+W and Manz who reportedly want to team up with battery assembly firms like Litarion, BMZ and StreetScooter to establish large scale battery cell production in Germany. Varta may join the partners’ endeavour and BMW has been mentioned as first automotive customer. The first task for Terra E will be to find 150m euros before applying for further funding from the federal government. (in German)

The Podbike is designed to deal with Norwegian weather as it is a pedal-assisted quad, so neither bicycle nor car. It is not actually a pedelec either, at least none that works with a chain. Instead the passenger pedals to power a generator that in turn activates the two in-wheel electric motors in the rear. While the size of a very small car, it is light enough to be “parked” upright. Production of 600 pieces may start next year but expect to see a prototype within this quarter. via (in German)

New heavyweight emerges: Visedo and TECO join forces to electrify heavy vehicles in Asian markets particularly. While TECO means access to the ASEAN zone to Visedo, it will profit in turn from the Finnish firm’s technology and expertise in large electric drives for ships and buses.,

Patent diggers: Hyundai is working on wireless charging, while Lucid Motors plans to have its own battery system and Toyota manages energy anew for plug-in hybrids. All this and more was dug out by our colleagues over at Inside EVs, who scanned the latest patent filings.

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Research + Technology


Tesla, University of Antwerp, Fraunhofer, TM4, Cummins.

Tesla doubles battery lifetime or is about to achieve this goal four years ahead of schedule, its chief battery researcher Jeff Dahn announced. He detailed that said cells were currently tested in the lab and not in Tesla’s products yet. The advances result from in-depth research into degradation processes and improved chemistry (we reported). Dahn deals with Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC) battery cells mainly, which Tesla puts into its Powerwall and Powerpack. Still, the scientist said they had also started to look into the vehicles’ batteries made from Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA).

Pure power: Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven have developed a process that purifies air and generates power at the same time. The device needs nothing but light to cleanse air in one chamber and produce hydrogen in the other. The team now seeks to upscale its membrane from only a few square centimetres to industrial application eventually.

600 V converter: The Fraunhofer Institute IAF has developed a half-bridge circuit for the 600 volt class in which all the electronic components are monolithically integrated on one chip. The GaN chip enables compact designs at improved electronic properties.

REx for buses: TM4 and Cummins joined their efforts to build a plug-in hybrid system for buses that reduces fuel by 50 percent compared to conventional hybrid buses. Their drive is more of a range-extended electric motor with a 111 kWh onboard Li-ion battery. It can be used in 6 – 18 metre vehicles.

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Research + Technology


Global Power Synergy, Tesla, DOE, BASF, VW.

Petrol dollars for battery factory: Thai oil company PTT sends his subsidiary Global Power Synergy (GPSC) to erect a plant for battery production in Thailand by next year. A technology has been found already as GPSC signed a license agreement with 24M, an A123 spin-off, for their semi-solid electrolyte technology. GPSC thus has the copyright to produce Li-ion batteries in Thailand and Asean countries and hopes to utilise them as back up storage for energy from renewables. However, talks have been held with both Tesla and GM regarding battery back up for their vehicles allegedly.

Tesla delivers details for its solar tiles and says one square foot (0.09 sqm) cost about 22 dollars on average – less than conventional PV systems and including battery backup. Installations are lined up this summer in the States, but clients overseas will have to wait until next year., (cost calculator)

Nanoparticles improve fuel cells: Researchers at the DOE’s Ames Laboratory started to make smaller, more efficient intermetallic nanoparticles which also use less platinum for fuel cells. The trick lies in the surface-to-volume ratio and some added zinc.,

Applications are open for the ‘Science Award Electrochemistry’ from BASF and VW. The award is worth 100,000 euros in total with 40,000 for the winner alone. Researchers may apply until August 18.
Apply via

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Research + Technology


Electric Container Ship, Panasonic, Tesla, Proterra.

Zero-Emission-FeederWorld’s first electric container ship: Global fertiliser firm Yara and technology group Kongsberg combine their forces to build the first autonomous, electric container feeder ship. Named YARA Birkeland, the vessel will reduce diesel-powered truck journeys by some 40,000 a year. Operation is to start in the second half of 2018 in Norway. The ship will initially be manned, but is to move to autonomy from 2019 until it will self-steer entirely by 2020. The makers call it a “game-changer for global maritime transport” and estimates say one large tanker emits as much CO2 as 50m cars.,, video

Panasonic speeds up EV development: Known for its batteries rather than cars, Panasonic has joint Japanese Azapa in its task to develop a software said to halve R&D for EVs by reducing the need for prototypes. The programme’s algorithms are able to model and estimate performance and characteristics like power consumption and range based on the conduct of different parts. By involving itself in the design process at an early stage, Panasonic hopes to open markets for its components beyond batteries. Support for all standards in the U.S., Europe and China is to be incorporated soon.

The Tesla solar roof tiles are ready and on sale with immediate effect, Elon Musk tweeted. At least this is true for the first two versions, with two more types to tile houses from early 2018.

Proterra package: The electric bus maker has launched some additions like the Proterra Diagnostic Tool together with the Proterra Cold Weather Package for improved efficiency of electric buses. Furthermore, Proterra joined the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County to bring about an autonomous driving programme. (efficiency), (autonomy)

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