Tesla-Gigafactory, BYD, Honda, BMW.
Billions for battery factory: Tesla has now released more details on its Gigafactory plans. The factory is said to employ 6,500 new workers and to ensure the supply of cells and batteries (35 GWh in cells and 50 GWh in packs) for up to 500,000 cars a year by 2020. This will cut today’s battery costs by at least 30%, Tesla says. With Tesla investing 2 billion dollars itself, made possible by a new convertible notes offering worth 1.6bn dollars, other partners are still to be announced. Rumours say Panasonic and Toshiba could be two of the partners to join up and fund the project with 1bn dollars each. Regardless what rumours say, Elon Musk has kept most of his promises to this day and that’s why investors are once again putting their money where his mouth is and help Tesla’s shares to reach just another all time high.
gigaom.com, teslamotors.com (Gigafactory-PDF), green.autoblog.com, forbes.com (stock price)
Boost for BYD: The all-electric e6 is now officially listed as eligible for EV incentives in the Chinese capital Beijing. The same goes for the Denza EV. Also, after BYD’s Qin plug-in hybrid has been listed in Shanghai, the company shares soared 9%.
Insight to be discontinued: Honda has announced to discontinue production of its hybrid model Insight altogether in February due to low demand. Furthermore, the Japanese carmaker confirmed that the Fit EV will only be produced 1,100 times with production coming to a halt in autumn.
bloomberg.com (Insight), transportevolved.com (Fit EV)
Flexible financing for BMW i3: BMW Group Financial Services has created the ‘OwnersChoice with Flex’ for buyers of the electric i3. The aim of the new offer is to give the customer the means to own a new i3 but at the same time offers end-of term options including the optional return of the car.
The U.S. government has invested 900 million dollar in 362 projects included in its ‘ARPA-E’ (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) programme so far. Another 625 million were added from private-sector funding following initial investments of 95m dollars by ARPA-E.
Magna, University of Vermont, BASF.
– Research + Technology –
Mila Blue by Magna: The automotive supplier will present a lightweight vehicle concept powered by natural gas at the Geneva Auto Show. The Mila Blue is said to weigh only 670 kilos. A 12 V motor allows for electric cruising at low speed of up to 30 km/h.
Packetised charging: Researchers from the University of Vermont have applied for a patent for their new charging concept based on smart meters. With their method charging times of electric vehicles would be broken down into chunks. Charging would be interrupted if local demand (e.g. in one neighbourhood) was high and continued as soon as demand decreases.
Battery sales to soar: Chemical company BASF aims to make 500 million euros (684m dollars) from selling battery materials by the end of the decade. This is five times more than today as turnover stands at about 100m euros. While EV sales are currently not as strong as predicted by many, BASF said it will stay “committed” to its long-term strategy.
Study on nanotechnology, Tesla Roadtrip.
Study tip: The Fraunhofer ISI, Germany, published a study on nanotechnology in photovoltaic and energy storage applications and predicts that it will soon become more widely used for electric transport.
iec.ch (complete study as pdf)
Video tip: Electric cars are first and foremost fun, is what these jolly Dutch wanted to prove when going on a road trip in a Tesla Model S. From Amsterdam they headed towards Paris with one thing in mind: party! But first, they had to overcome a few charging obstacles…
youtube.com (video in Dutch), thenewmotion.com (blog in Dutch)
EU, Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan.
The EU made its final decision on car carbon emissions. The initial target of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre still stands but has been pushed back by one year to 2021. Parliament also approved the ‘super-credit scheme’, which was proposed by Germany, allowing carmakers to collect credits for producing EVs but only between 2020 and 2022. A car emitting less than 50g/km will count as two cars in 2020, 1.67 in 2021 and 1.33 cars in 2022.
E-Golf skyrocketing in Norway: Only 3.5 hours after VW’s importer in Norway had officially started its sale of the anticipated VW E-Golf, already 1,500 orders were placed. First deliveries are scheduled for June with prices starting at 244,200 kroner (40,400 dollars).
abcnyheter.no (In Norwegian)
Ford bicycles: The American carmaker has now signed a licensing agreement with Taiwanese bike manufacturer Dahon. Together, they will create a full range of Ford-inspired folding and standard bicycles, some of which will be shown at the upcoming Taipei Cycle Show. The agreement includes electric bikes and accessories.
Details on Intrado: Hyundai’s latest fuel cell concept to be presented at Geneva is the first development under the new head of design, Peter Schreyer. It is inspired by aircraft design features and supposed to be easy and intuitive to use as well as versatile. The Intrado’s interior allows for glimpses of the lightweight materials used.
Nissan (surv-)eying Tesla: The Japanese carmaker has asked Model S owners in California to participate in a survey to establish what is so likable about their competitor. Not only is Nissan asking its questions on customer satisfaction online but would also like to see a driving diary and personal interviews. Tesla will probably take this as a compliment rather than a threat.
The New Motion.
The New Motion hast just opened its 10,000th charging point in The Hague, Netherlands. TNM was founded in 2011 as part of the “Green Deal,” a green initiative by the Dutch government to erect the network. Its stations can now also be found in Belgium and Germany.
thenewmotion.com (In Dutch)
Oerlikon Fairfield, ZF Friedrichshafen, Accell Group, Lawless Industries.
Off-highway hybrid: A new drivetrain from Oerlikon Fairfield is said to save 30% fuel and will be introduced in March. Initially, the hybrid system was developed to power a wheel loader but the company says it may be used in other off-highway applications as well.
New test centre: German ZF Friedrichshafen announced plans for a new testing centre for transmissions in Friedrichshafen. The automotive supplier will merge departments of its current R&D Center to gain office space but will also build a new building to house workshops, labs and test benches.
New e-bike middle motor: Dutch Accell Group will extend its own e-bike drive system ‘Ion’ to include a mid-motor. The system will be presented this autumn and follows predictions that pedelecs with middle motors will dominate in the future while demand for front hub drives is believed to decrease.
Electric dragster: The SR-37 now features a 1.5 megawatt electric drive system fitted by ‘Lawless Industries’ from Poland. The custom-built General Electric motor has been tuned to be strong enough for the 200 mph+, 6-second drag race over 1/4 mile.
Volvo, Smart, Ford, Paice.
Volvo-Trilogy of concept cars: After having presented the Concept Coupé and the Concept XC Coupé, Volvo will showcase the Concept Estate in Geneva next week. Leaked images are teasing a station wagon which could become the new V90 with plug-in hybrid drive.
autoevolution.com, indianautosblog.com, carbuzz.com
Spy shots Smart Forfour: The latest mini Mercedes with four seats has now been spotted. It is based on the Renault Twingo platform and is expected to go on sale in the last quarter of this year. An electric version is almost certain as its predecessor, the Fourjoy concept, already featured an electric drive.
Ford sued over patent infringement: Paice LLC is accusing the carmaker to use its hybrid system in the C-Max, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ thus infringing patents. Paice had successfully sued Toyota over the same patent infringement in 2005 and has pending complaints against Hyundai and Kia.
Elio trike reservations.
Elio announced it has received 10,000 orders for its super-efficient trike even though production is only set to start next year. The promise that the Elio will do 84 miles to the gallon (3,4 l/100 km) and 670 miles on a tank seems to at attract buyers. Reservations start at 100 dollars.
Kia, Aaglander, Knapheide.
Battery of the Soul EV: Together with SK Innovation, Kia has developed a battery consisting of 192 lithium-ion polymer battery cells in eight modules making for a total capacity of 27 kWh. The cathode is made from nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) providing energy density of 200 Wh/kg.
Electric carriage: Shown for the first time at the Hannover Messe fair last year, Linde Material Handling has equipped a coach of German Aaglander manufacturer with an electric motor. In Geneva, an updated version will be presented that uses a rear servo drive that comes without gearbox and differential. The carriage as such serves more as a technology test bed as the ‘Connected Dual Servo-Drive’ rear axle by Inmares could also be used in sports cars.
nordbayern.de (in German)
100 hybrid truck conversions: Knapheide announced that it has completed more than 100 installations of XL Hybrids’ XL3 drivetrains on fleet vehicles, namely the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans.
Range anxiety, History of electric cars.
Study tip: Research by the TU Chemnitz, Germany, identifies different types of EV drivers with subjective levels of range anxiety and respective charging patterns. The study finds that drivers artificially limit their drivable range and usually leave 20% to 25% as a safety buffer.
Reading tip: No less than three waves of EVs counts Ken Green Burridge. The latest was started by Tesla’s Roadster and Toyota’s Prius and resembles a tsunami.
Hyundai, Subaru, Nissan, Toyota.
Hyundai H2 concept leaked: Images of the ‘Intrado’ concept emerged ahead of its debut at this year’s Auto Salon in Geneva. Apparently, Hyundai is determined to take hydrogen on to the next level. The drivetrain, based on ix35′s Fuel Cell (called Tucson overseas), is said to offer a range of 600 kilometres.
Viziv 2 to come: Subaru released a teaser image of its updated Viziv Concept which debuted in Geneva last year. The new version will again be unveiled at the Auto Salon and while details are not yet known, it is most likely to come with the same setup of all-wheel drive hybrid with CVT.
Electric revelations by Nissan: Also in Geneva next month, will the arrow-shaped electric sports car BladeGlider have its first European appearance. Furthermore, the Japanese carmaker will present the production version of its e-NV200 which will go on sale in May. A modified version of the transporter will be offered as a people carrier under the name Evalia.
Service issues: Owner’s of Toyota’s RAV4 EV are currently venting their anger in online forums. Their complaints range from a lack of Toyota workshops actually qualified to maintain the electric car to technical problems concerning the ECU gateway supplied by Tesla. With the RAV4 EV being a Toyota product and Tesla only a supplier, customers can not expect support from Tesla’s service centres either.
Review Subaru XV Crosstrek: It is the first hybrid by the Japanese carmaker and as thus welcomed by Matt Keegan as an attempt to go green. He is however not entirely sold (yet) as “fuel economy disappoints and seating comfort falls short.” Keegan remains hopeful though for future improvements.
E-bike sales Accell Group.
An increase of 23 per cent in e-bike sales made 2013 another successful year for Dutch Accell Group. Pedelecs thus accounted for 35% of Accell’s total bicycle sales last year, compared with 32% in 2012.
Rawlemon, Drive System Design, Yamaha, Zytek, Local Motors.
Moonlight charging: Rawlemon from Barcelona, Spain, has designed a round, compact concentrator for sun and even moon rays. While the ‘Beta.ey’ is currently a small scale phone charger, it could soon be used to charge EVs. The crowdfunding campaign only ends in a week but has already collected more than the initial 124,000 dollars.
indiegogo.com (Campaign), periscopepost.com
New testing centre: Drive System Design (DSD) has opened a new testing facility for transmissions and drivetrains in Southam, UK. The new centre comes with workshops and equipment to test mechanical parts but also features two environmental chambers.
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Details about Motiv.e: At the Tokyo Motor Show 2013, Yamaha presented an electric city car concept. Its motor is a design by Zytek, a subsidiary of Continental, and weighs only 13 kilos while providing up to 25 kW. The lightweight Motiv.e is said to have a range of up to 100 kilometres.
Print an electric car: This September, Local Motors will present the first 3-D printed production EV at IMTS in Chicago. Its first customer is the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and the electric car will be “manufactured” at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Chris Harris drives McLaren P1, Colouring book about EVs.
Video tip: Chris Harris drives the hybrid super car P1, more precisely the pre-production unit XP7, at the Abu Dhabi race circuit and discusses the technology with Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s head of testing and uses rather non-car terms such as: “bitch, classic or girl in the corner.” But see for yourself.
Click tip: A colouring book that answers all the usual (and unusual) questions about EVs in the simplest fashion possible. Sounds good to you? Then help fund this truly unpretentious campaign!
kickstarter.com (campaign) via electric-vehiclenews.com
BMW, Volkswagen, Fisker, Rimac.
BMW X5 eDrive by 2015: The German carmaker released details of its first plug-in hybrid which will incorporate elements from the i-series. The eDrive adds 70 kW which enables the X5 to drive electrically at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour. In French Miramas, journalists could take the BMW for a spin. Its debut is scheduled for November in Los Angeles.
Plug-in VW Golf GTE: With less than two weeks left until the start of the Geneva Motor Show, VW released more details on its next plug-in hybrid. The bad news first: The VW Golf GTE is not scheduled to be sold on the U.S. market yet.
Diluted Fisker: Wanxiang announced its plan to team up with VL Automotive to offer the Karma also as a VL Destino with V8 engine. Furthermore, production will move from Finland to VL Automotive’s plant in Michigan soon. 1,000 Karmas, respectively Destinos are said to be build within the coming 18 months (we reported).
reuters.com via greencarreports.com
Small scale production supercar: The electric Rimac Concept One is scheduled to become a reality by 2015. The Croatian company plans to build only 88 of the cars which are said to boost 800 kW and have a range of 500 kilometres. May the race for the few specimen begin!
Denso, Nissan, Drive System Design, Equal.
Denso tests wireless charging: The corporation will start a ten-month field test of its wireless charging system next week in Toyota City, Japan. Denso uses a Yamato delivery truck that has been equipped with a power receiver for the trial. The wirelessly charged battery is then used to power the vans refrigeration system.
Nissan hybrid system updated: Details of the next version of Nissan’s hybrid drivetrain, which can be found in the Infiniti Q50, Q70, Qx60 and the Pathfinder, have just been presented at the recent SAE 2014 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium. Numerous improvements were applied, such as a 6% reduction of friction or an increased engine starting time by 20%.
E-drive made in Britain: Drive System Design is developing a powertrain based on an axial flux motor from Yasa and a multi-speed transmission. The MSYS engine weighs only 55 kilos and could expand EV range by 10-15%, according to the company.
Missing 500,000 dollars are what keeps the Kenguru company from jumpstarting production of the ‘Equal’ EV. The little low-speed EV was designed with easy access for wheelchair users in mind but financial as well as technical difficulties have delayed the project so far.
Toyota Wireless Charging Demonstration, E-Bike Study, Events.
Video tip: Toyota made a film demonstrating its wireless charging system and included a split-screen sequence to show the beauty of automatic parking. Can it get any more convenient?!
Study tip: Research institute Dr. Grieger & Cie. monitored 4,038 Germans and their buying and riding behaviour for bicycles. While 11% consider buying an e-bike next time, over 40% of those only want to spend around 800 euros (1,100 dollars) – too little for most e-bikes currently available on the market. Still, the study expects sales of 400,000 pedelecs this year.
bike-eu.com, zahlendatenfakten.de (Order study in German)
Select events for the upcoming week: Guangzhou International Auto (02-22-2014 – 02-24-2014, Guangzhou, China) ++ FC Expo (02-26-2014 – 02-28-2014, Tokyo, Japan) ++ Battery Japan (02-26-2014 – 02-28-2014, Tokyo, Japan).
You can find a complete list of upcoming industry events at electrive.com/calendar
Dongfeng, PSA, Fisker, Barack Obama, Via Motors, Saleen, BYD.
Saving PSA: Both, Chinese Dongfeng and the French government will inject 800 million euros (1.1b dollars) into the PSA corporation and get 14% shares each. Apart from this capital increase, the companies also vowed to strengthen their industrial partnership while Carlos Tavares, former Renault executive, is taking over as CEO.
Fisker deal finalised: Judge Kevin Gross at Delaware bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Fisker to Wanxiang America for 149.2 million dollars. The company wants to restart production asap and expects to sell about 1,000 Karmas in the next 18 months.
Fuel efficiency standards: U.S. President Barack Obama has announced plans to further increase fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. As the private sector is expected to introduce things like hybrid systems and aerodynamic designs, the Obama administration continues to work on its ‘SuperTruck’ program.
New Chair of Via Motors: The company has made board member Bob Lutz its new Chairman. Lutz, former GM manager also known as the father of the Chevy Volt, is replacing Carl Berg who will remain Via Motor’s largest shareholder.
Saleen teams up with AC Propulsion: The tuning specialist is adding the electric car specialist to its design team to work on a new electric sports car. AC Propulsion has provided technology to Tesla in the past for developing the Roadster and will now take care of the motor and batteries of Saleen’s upcoming model.
BYD’s domestic sales: Last year the carmaker sold 1,544 units of its electric e6 and 142 Qin plug-in hybrids. Numbers for the Qin are low because it was only launched in December. January already saw stronger sales of 637. BYD hopes to sell 2,000 units a month.
Hybrids and EVs in California.
The Toyota Prius is accounting for 50 per cent of all hybrid cars on California’s streets. Overall, 9.3 per cent of the vehicles in the Golden State drive fully or partly electric.
MTT-136, Isabellenhütte, Bolton University, Berkeley Lab, Echo.
Electric sled: The MTT-136 (MTT stands for My Track Technology) might not sound fancy but is pretty strong and versatile. The sled was constructed by Canadian Yvon Martel and his draught horse weighs just 280 pounds (127 kilos). The threaded sled can pull along from 28 to 130 miles on a single charge and even works without snow. The designer is currently looking for partners.
New current sensor: The German Isabellenhütte has developed a new sensor to be used in battery management systems of EVs and hybrids. The ICB-M comes with two independently powered measurement channels which are galvanically isolated. One is digital, measuring current on shunt basis and the other analog thus using the magnetic method.
pressebox.de (In German)
UK-U.S. fuel cell research: A team at British Bolton University will work together with researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA to improve the efficiency of hydrogen storage. The aim is to find nano-composite materials that are capable to absorb more H2 thus making its storage easier and more cost-efficient.
Hybrid system to be extended: Echo Automotive plans to expand its retrofit ‘EchoDrive’ hybrid system to more GM vans like the Chevy Express and GMC Savana. Orders are currently being accepted with production scheduled for this year.