Brands + News


Volvo, Toyota, Daimler, Elextra, Zero Motorcycles, Audi.

volvo-xc90-phev-hybrid-300x150pxVolvo to scrap diesel: The Swedish brand will no longer invest in the development of new diesel engines, CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in an interview with FAZ. He reasoned that the cost of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions is becoming too expensive but added that the technology would have a role to play until at least 2023 and later told Reuters that no firm decision is imminent. While Samuelsson may be careful, Volvo has long decided to invest in electrification and committed to offering a PHEV variant for each of its models., (original source, in German)

Toyota to produce batteries in USA? With a move to Li-ion technology and away from NiMH batteries upon Toyota, its subsidiary Primearth EV Energy said there are plans to set up a plant in the States. While the project is still in discussion, Toyota does want to produce its own batteries for both hybrids and electric cars and is also concerned about shipping the packs from Japan. Until such a production facility would be set up however, Primeearth is to expand its capacities in Japan, while Toyota will source batteries for its Li-ion Prius PHEV from Panasonic until 2020 at least.

Daimler gets behind e-buses: A fully electric version of the Citaro bus is due to premier by 2018, Daimler confirmed at the Global Public Transport Summit in Montreal. Prototype testing is well underway and the German corporation has also instructed the Mobility Solutions unit of Daimler Buses to offer advice on e-mobility to public transport providers.,

In-depth details of the Danish-Swiss supercar Elextra emerged and tell of two electric drives that deliver up to 500 kW to all four wheels. The 0 – 100 sprint is a 2.3 sec leap and the design team hopes for a range of 600 km. A 100 pieces small series is to start by 2019 for half a million euros each and will be build in Stuttgart – just at the doorstep of Elextra’s most likely rival, the Porsche Mission E.

Don’t Wait For Washington: Zero Motorcycles promises buyers of its electric two-wheelers to take over the 10 percent Federal tax credit if the Government fails to revive the programme by the end of the year. It offers buyers up to 1,869 dollars cash back if they buy an electric motorcycle.

Price increase: Audi raised the price of its A3 Sportback e-tron by 600 dollars to arrive at a starting price of 39,500 dollars in the States. At least one gets a slightly more lux trim, too.,

Number of the Day

Nissan Leaf as Electric Taxi.

In 113 cities in 26 countries Nissan Leafs serve as electric taxis since 2013. It was then a Japanese cab company decided to electrify its entire fleet, leading to a little (r)evolution in the business with cabbies in the UK, Hungary, Spain or the Netherlands following suit. (with infographics and videos)

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.

Quotes of the day

Tony Seba, Raj Nair.

Tony-Seba“What the cost curve says is that by 2025 all new vehicles will be electric, all new buses, all new cars, all new tractors, all new vans, anything that moves on wheels will be electric, globally.”

Given that Prof. Tony Seba is a Stanford University economist, this may be more than wishful thinking. He bases his “Rethinking Transportation” report on data dealing with “market, consumer and regulatory dynamics” and on existing technology only., (full report, download)

Raj-Nair“A lot has changed since 2013. I think hydrogen fuel-cell technology is a very spikey technology progression and there are times that we feel like we are really progressing fast and then it’s going slow.”

Ford CTO Raj Nair denounces previous plans of a hydrogen car, saying the timeline has changed. Ford initially formed an alliance with Mercedes and Nissan to develop a mass-market FCV by 2017.

Fleets + Infrastructure

Seoul, Philippines, Amsterdam, Green Motion.

Diesel ban in Seoul? Korea’s capital is pondering a plan to restrict entry to the ancient centre for old diesel cars and chartered buses. If such a ban passes, it would be easy to enforce as the old town lies within four gates and Seoul said controls would be strict. A study on traffic control has been commissioned and the city wants to expand both bus and bike lanes to fill in the transport gap.

The Philippines go green officially as its Department of Energy will donate 24 Toyota Prius government offices tomorrow. The move is aided through a grant from the government of Japan.

Zero emission delivery: Dutch Albert Heijn launched two electric trucks to supply its supermarkets in Amsterdam. Proivided by logistic partner Simon Loos, the e-trucks will charge while being loaded at distribution centres and could thus run continuously but will drive up to 6 times a day in practice.

Eco-friendly car rent: Green Motion specialises in electric and hybrid cars and opened a new outlet at Ljubljana airport in Slovenia. It is the 30th country the services launches, as a franchise in this case.,

Service + Suggestions

Cities, Nio EP8.

Reading tip: Cities are pushing for a change in transport despite federal policies lacking behind and this report points out shining examples in Tokyo, London, Mexico, Stuttgart and even the States where a buyers community defies Trump.

Video tip: You can now relive the record-breaking run of the Nio EP8 at the Ring, when the electric racer scored a lap time of 6m 45.900s.

Short circuit

Clean air cycle.

Designer Daan Roosegaarde is on a mission to fight pollutants. Following its first Smog Free Tower, his latest concept is the Smog Free Bicycle. And, yes, bikes are always emission free but his bicycle would “inhale” polluted air and then envelop the cyclists in a bubble of fresh oxygen when “exhaling”., (smog free project)