DoE, rare earth, BMW, Hyundai.

11m dollars in funding is what the U.S. Department of Energy is offering for the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle powertrains. Both electric and hybrid vehicle projects will be considered, as long as they decrease fuel consumption by at least 50 percent compared to conventional vehicles.

Cheaper rare earth: Two years after China had to give in to the WTO and waive export regulations restricting the trade of rare earth minerals (we reported), prices fell by about 50 percent. While one ton cost an average of 25,600 dollars in 2013, it now sells for 12,100 dollars/ton.

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New BMW Lightweight centre: The German manufacturer has laid the foundation for its new Lightweight Design Center at BMW’s Landshut site. By 2016, about 160 engineers will research new materials that will also be used in the i-series. BMW will invest 20m euros (22m dollars) in the R&D facility.

Cheaper FCV: Hyundai has developed its own membrane electrode assembly after ten years of research. The company thus no longer needs to import the core component of fuel cells. The new membrane is said to be stronger, more durable and cheaper than the previously imported MEA.


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