Electric BMW M3, EV sales in the U.S.
Reading tip I: If EV West is doing something, it does it right and so the ev-conversion company has found, that the best conversions, are full conversions – fully electric that is. Their most famous conversion certainly is the Pikes Peak winning BMW M3. Check it out!
Reading tip II: Peter Kelly-Detwiler is taking an expectant look at the strong EV sales in the U.S. for the first half of this year (up 33%) and wonders if this growth will even be stronger in the months to come. While the Leaf is in the lead, Tesla sales have taken a slight slope.
GM, Battery Market, BMW, Volkswagen, Energica Ego.
GM killing the Opel Ampera? Because the European twin of the Chevrolet Volt only reports poor sales figures, GM is apparently considering to drop the new 2016 model, according to Automotive News Europe. Because the Chevrolet brand will be withdrawn from Europe by 2016, there will be no new Volt either.
50 billion dollar energy storage market: According to Lux Research, plug-in vehicles are on course to become the largest market for batteries and might one day outgrow consumer electronics as the currently biggest segment. The former are expected to take a market share of 21 billion dollars by 2020 and further reduce cost through economies of scale.
bostonglobe.com, luxresearchinc.com (report, subject to a charge)
BMW to support Formula E: As we reported recently, the collaboration between the German carmaker and the electric racing series is becoming more concrete. The BMW i3 and i8 will be the official vehicles of the electric racing series and thus chauffeur VIPs and serve as safety and medical cars. What has become of the agreement with Rimac (we reported) is not yet clear.
All about the E-Golf: Green Car Congress delivers a full review of Volkswagen’s electrified car for the masses. The review takes into account not only the drivetrain (“an electric delight”) but also the carmakers strategy for large scale production EVs and how they are made.
Super bike tame as a Vespa: Marco della Cava from USA Today had chance to experience riding the electric super bike ‘Energica Ego’. He was pillion of Energica CTO Giampiero Testoni who is particularly proud of the bikes ability to work well at low speeds too.
Tesla road trip.
A road trip of 5,900 kilometres through eight European countries in a Tesla Model S is the latest adventure of Bjørn Nyland, the Norwegian programmer who also proved that you could drive a Tesla in Norway’s harsh winter conditions.
youtube.com (teaser clip)
ABB & Volvo, Mahle, University of New South Wales, Mazda.
Global e-bus partnership: ABB and Volvo Buses signed an agreement to work together on quick charging for plug-in hybrid and electric buses. Together, they want to set new standards with their system which will first be used in Luxembourg next year. The chargers will automatically connect to the roof of the bus and charge with up to 300 kW.
More power for range extender: Automotive supplier Mahle will offer its range extender engine in two new power variants. The currently 30 kW will be increased to 40 and 50 kW suitable for vehicles weighing more than 1.6 tonnes. The new engines are said to be still compact and utilise many parts from the original. The stronger versions are currently being tested.
springerprofessional.de (in German)
Record to break: Sunswift, a team of students from the University of New South Wales hopes to break the EV record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 miles) ride with their eVe. The current record is 45 mph and Sunswift believes to be faster even without utilising the car’s solar panels.
Back to the future: In 1993, Mazda fitted its legendary Miata with a rotary engine running on hydrogen. While it was not a fuel cell vehicle, the MX 5 actually burned H2. However, fuelling was arduous and the tank made driving anything else than nimble. Points for trying though.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Monday was the ‘Short Circuit’ about the futuristic Nimbus micro-bus concept.
Driving the Kia Soul EV, "Range annoyance".
Video tip I: Nigel Abbott had the chance to drive the Kia Soul EV in Korea and delivers a video review from Seoul. He believes that the range of 125 miles Kia claims for its first EV is actually realistic.
Video tip II: What happens when a Leaf battery is utterly drained, wondered Robert Llewellyn and simply tried to run out of power for a new episode of Fully Charged. While others might be thrilled, Llewellyn discovered “range annoyance.”
Gigafactory, Audi, Japan, Airbus, Porsche.
Gigafactory deal: Tesla and Panasonic seem to have come to an agreement as the Japanese are expected to sign a contract this month to support Tesla in building its battery factory. Panasonic will invest 200 million dollars while two billions will come from the Californian carmaker. The rest of the required 4-5 billion dollars Tesla hopes to raise from other partners. Could Apple or Samsung be among those?
electric-vehiclenews.com, seekingalpha.com (partners)
Diesel e-tron first for A8: At the beginning of next year, Audi will introduce its new plug-in hybrid with a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel and a system power of 368 hp and 700 Nm of torque. It is set to appear first in the A8 before eventually being implemented in the A6 and Q7.
Backing for H2: The Japanese government is planning to support the purchase of a fuel cell vehicle from domestic carmakers with two million yen (20,000 dollars). Additionally, more than 100 H2-fuelling stations will be set up. Just recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drove and refuelled the Toyota FCV himself.
asia.nikkei.com, greencarcongress.com, motornature.com (prime minister)
Electric Airbus from 2017: The European aircraft company has publicly presented a prototype of its ultra-lightweight electric plane called E-Fan at the Farnborough International Air Show in England. From 2017, the E-Fan 2.0 that sits two is set to be commercialised and Airbus hopes to be able to offer the E-Fan 4.0, a four-seater, shortly after.
transportevolved.com, greencarreports.com, youtube.com (video)
Porsche is to invest in engine technology and has just opened three new buildings at its R&D facility in Swabian Weissach. Investment will go further as Porsche plans to spend 95 million euros (128.6m dollars) by 2017 for the development of new engine technologies, including hybrid systems.
automotiveworld.com (Weissach centre), kfz-betrieb.vogel.de (new investments, in German)
EV sales in China.
In China, 5,503 EVs were sold in June – five times more than in the same month last year (832). Almost all top-selling brands were Chinese with the BYD Qin leading the list with 1,055 units. Tesla is the non-domestic exception having sold 958 Model Ss.
LG Chem, Air Berlin, Bosch, Tesla.
200-mile batteries: LG Chem’s CTO has announced that the Korean company will offer batteries with 200 miles range for electric vehicles by 2016. These could be used in Renault’s Zoe or electric cars by General Motors and other carmakers which LG Chem supplies with battery packs already.
Electric taxying: Air Berlin has signed a letter of intent with WheelTug and FTI to develop a so-called Pilot Ground Situation Awareness System (PGSA). As part of the WheelTug system, electric motors will be fitted to the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, which enable the plane to be manoeuvred on the ground without the use of the jet engines or a tug.
Shifting for efficiency: Automotive supplier Bosch beliefs (or hopes?) that electric cars will soon get automatic transmissions with multiple gears. This is said to increase efficiency not only in hybrids but EVs as well. Bosch estimates plug-in car sales to reach 5.5 million in 2020.
Model S hack not good enough: The hacking competition at the SyScan360 conference (we reported) has a winner: a team from Zhejiang University. The students broke into the system of a Tesla Model S but did not manage to tamper with drivetrain functions or doors of the electric car. Therefore, the prize money was not fully paid.
BMW i3 vs. Mercedes B-Class ED, Right-handed BMW i8.
Reading tip: Brad Berman has compared the battery packs of the BMW i3 and the Mercedes B-Class electric drive. While both models cost almost the same, the Mercedes boasts a bigger capacity while the BMW clearly is more energy efficient.
Video tip: British Autocar‘s Steve Sutcliffe tested the BMW i8 with right-hand steering. The 11-minute video shows Sutcliffe whizzing on the best roads one can find in Scotland.
Skoda, QUANT e, BMW, Nissan, Lexus.
Skoda plug-in to come? The new Skoda Superb will be offered as a plug-in hybrid by 2016, AutoExpress reports. The insider information further specified that the Skoda will use the technology of the VW Passat, which would be a 154 hp gasoline engine coupled with a 75 kW electric drive.
QUANT e gets approval: The electric sports limousine has been approved by TÜV Süd in Munich for use on European roads. It uses NanoFlowcell technology by a small company of the same name, which is now working on the homologation for the series production.
The BMW i8 is set to arrive on the British Isle this Saturday after its launch in Germany last month. In the UK, the hybrid sports car is priced from 94,845 pounds, including a 5,000-pound government grant. The i8’s petrol engine is made at the BMW Hams Hall facility in Birmingham.
REX to BEV ratio: George Betak from InsideEvs attempted to find out how many of the i3s sold in the U.S. come with the range extender. Based on serial numbers, he estimates a 3:2 ration between the i3 with range extender and without. But sales of the all-electric version are on the rise.
Nissan to electrify Puerto Rico: The Japanese apparently have begun selling the Leaf on the Caribbean island which is an unincorporated territory of the States. The Leaf is the first EV to be sold in Puerto Rico and will start at a price of 33,480 dollars. But thanks to a new law, all import tariffs will be reimbursed.
elnuevodia.com (in Spanish) via hybridcars.com
Lexus NX 300h review: John Voelcker drove Toyota’s latest luxury offering in the U.S. and found it to be the “least hybrid-feeling hybrid” he has driven lately. According to Voelcker this has been achieved by effective noise suppression and giving the acceleration a more “natural feel.”
Siemens & StreetScooter, OpEneR, Fraunhofer IPA, Tesla.
StreetScooter upgrades made easy: Siemens and StreetScooter are currently testing a new electronic and software architecture as part of the RACE project funded by the the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. The technology enables to retrofit new functionalities like electrical brakes in a plug-and-play approach. By the end of the year, the architecture will be implemented and tested in a StreetScooter delivery van.
noodls.com, projekt-race.de (project homepage)
More range through optimisation: The European OpEneR (optimal energy consumption and recovery based on a system network) project presented its solutions to increase electric range. The researchers of the project partners such as Bosch and PSA optimised the interaction of various components such as the electric motor, regen braking, navigation and the surround sensors and reached promising results.
Modular battery management: Fraunhofer IPA filed a patent for its concept of the “Intelligent Cell.” With that, each cell in a battery comes with an integrated circuit measuring the current state-of-charge. The modular battery management system makes costly maintenance obsolete as faulty cells can quickly be identified and replaced without having to exchange the whole battery pack.
ipa.fraunhofer.de (in German)
Tesla challenged: Chinese Qihoo 360 Technology says it has hacked the Model S, enabling them to remotely control the car’s horn or locks, even while driving. The news comes ahead of the SyScan360 Conference where organisers offer 10,000 dollars for those able to hack the Tesla (we reported). They might have a winner already…
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Thursday was the The Weeks‘s quick roundup on various reviews of the BMW i8.
Smart, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, YouMo, BMW.
New Smart debuts in Berlin: The Daimler subsidiary presented the 2016 models of the ForTwo and ForFour in Berlin last night. The ForTwo will be 10 centimetres wider than its predecessors and feature a number of new and improved safety systems, such as blind-spot monitoring. The event focused on the petrol-driven models. When the electric version will hit the road remains uncertain.
greencarreports.com, autoblog.com (with video)
Details of the C-Class plug-in: The Mercedes C350 plug-in hybrid is set to enter the market by 2015 and will have a four-cylinder gasoline engine with 208 hp, complemented by a 50 kW electric motor. CO2 emissions are expected to be around 50 gram per kilometre.
New GM batteries: The 2015 Chevy Volt’s battery pack will get more capacity. Instead of 16.5 kWh, the upgraded battery will feature 17.1 kWh. Similar to the Chevrolet Spark EV (we reported), the updated battery pack will not affect range according to EPA ratings.
Toyota free rider: The Yaris Hybrid is to be exempt from congestion charge in London. The Toyota is therefore the first non-plug-in hybrid to receive this rating thanks to its carbon emissions being below 75 g/km. The starting price for the new Yaris will remain the same, despite its extended extras.
Swiss cruise e-bike: The start up YouMo has launched its first pedelec. The cruise bike aims young people (YouMo means Young Mobility) and comes in four versions. The YouMo One costs 2,950 euros (3,990 dollars), while the top of the range s-pedelec with a 500 W rearwheel motor is 4,470 euros (6,050 dollars).
Second-hand i8 review: The Week did a quick roundup on various reviews of BMW’s i8. The review features the first reactions from authors like Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson and his colleagues from AutoExpress, Daily Express and Autocar.
EVs in Norway.
More than 35,000 EVs are currently (silently) cruising the streets of Norway. This means that theoretically every 142nd Norwegian owns an electric car. In terms of new sales, electric cars already hold a market share of impressive 14.5 percent.
Albemarle, Rockwood, SAE J2601, CiA 454, Visedo.
Billion dollar chemistry deal: The U.S. chemistry industry just sealed what is said to be its “biggest deal” ever, as Albemarle bought Rockwood for 6.2 billion dollars. The latter is the biggest among four companies which currently control 90% of the world’s lithium market. Albemarle sees the potential of the automotive industry as being especially attractive and expects a steep demand increase around 2017.
Hydrogen fuelling standard: SAE International published its first standard for safe and quick refuelling of FCEVs. The SAE J2601 harmonises the protocol for hydrogen fuelling stations worldwide for both 35 MPa and 70 MPa systems.
Future-safe LEV standard: The EnergyBus organisation has issued an update of its communication interface standard for e-bikes and other light electric vehicles. The new version of the CiA 454 open communications standard is a commitment to all future developments, which are supposed to be compatible with older types of for example the charge-lock plug.
E-bus made in Finland: Manufactures of electric buses like French Safra or the Finnish VTT use drivetrains from Finnish Visedo. In a recent comparison organised by Veolia in Helsinki, these buses did stand out with impressive efficiency numbers, the company says.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Wednesday was Tesla’s decision to call its Model E the Model III.
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell, Phinergy.
Video tip: Hyundai presents its Tucson Fuel Cell (aka ix35 Fuel Cell) in a short clip. The FCV is now being offered to carefully selected retail customers in the U.S.
Reading tip: Markkus Rovito clearly evokes a sense of “history in the making” when looking at Phinergy, manufacturer of aluminium-air batteries. The Israeli start-up certainly made headlines and had U.S. president Obama’s undivided attention.
BMW & Samsung SDI, Tesla, Audi, Mercedes, Smart.
Billions for batteries: BMW has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Samsung SDI to extend its supply of battery cells for BMW’s i-series and hybrids. As demand grows, the Korean company is to increase quantities as well as further the development of new, stronger cells. The deal is believed to be worth multiple billion euros. Meanwhile, BMW board member Klaus Draeger said BMW would be happy to share battery technology, i.e. with rival Mercedes.
greencarcongress.com, automotive-business-review.com, hybridcars.com (sharing)
Model III: Tesla has just confirmed that its upcoming car for the masses, formerly known as the Model E, will be called Model III. Tesla had to drop the ‘E’ because of claims from Ford (we reported). The new EV will be available from 2017 and rival cars such as the BMW 3-Series.
Audi e-tron TDI: The carmaker plans to introduce a new plug-in hybrid by 2015, combining electric power with a V6 diesel engine. The so-called e-tron TDI system is said to deliver 275 kW and 700 Nm torque with an all-electric range of at least 50 kilometres and could first be implemented in the new Q7.
automobilwoche.de (in German)
Spy shots C-Class Convertible: The Mercedes Cabriolet has been spotted with heavy camouflage but is confirmed to make it to market by the end of 2015. The new C-Class will also be offered as plug-in hybrid with an electric range of 50 kilometres (31 miles).
motorauthority.com, auto-motor-und-sport.de (in German)
Smart sneak peak: Take a look at the new Smart ahead of its premiere in Berlin, Germany, tonight. Sketches of the new Fortwo have been released by Smart. While the exterior remains indeed sketchy, the interior image seem to resemble the inside design of the production car.
Mercedes launches B-Class ED: The Tesla-powered electric B-Class has officially entered the U.S. market this Tuesday – at least in some states. It is also its world premiere, since Damler has chosen the U.S. as the first market for the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive, which starts at 41,450 dollars and has a range of up to 104 miles.
Tesla Supercharger update.
An impressive 1,000,000 kilowatt-hours (1 GWh) have been delivered by Superchargers in June alone, says Tesla. That is enough power for 3.7 million electric miles, or for 7.5 trips to the moon and back.
BYD, Zenith Motors, Rutgers University, EPA.
BYD goes Brazil: The Chinese company plans to build its first facility in South America near Sao Paulo. There, BYD will produce electric buses with recyclable iron phosphate batteries. From 2015, the factory will see an annual output of up to 1,000 buses and employ 450 workers.
Electric van for the USA: Zenith Motors just received the EPA Certificate of Conformity for its all-electric transporter. It utilises the ‘PowerPhase Pro 135’ system by UQM. Kentucky-based Zenith Motors claims that its electric shuttles were the first to receive this certificate in their class.
More efficient and cheaper catalyst: Researchers at Rutgers University have synthesised nitrogen-rich carbon nanotubes (NRCNTs) that can efficiently electrocatalyse the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), thus replacing platinum. They function well under acidic, neutral or basic media alike.
Get real: The American EPA has made a proposal requiring carmakers to prove their self-certified ratings to the EPA and test them under real life conditions – on the road. The initiative follows recent complaints and incidents at Ford, Hyundai and Kia where the carmaker’s false claims led to lowered MPG ratings.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Tuesday were the video clips with Volkswagen’s E-Golf proving some of common EV myths wrong.
Volkswagen, China, Ferrari, Tesla, Chargemaster.
CrossBlue made in Tennessee: Volkswagen confirmed that it will build a new mid-size crossover SUV, based on the CrossBlue concept, at its site in Chattanooga. The seven seater is likely to come with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and thus compete with the upcoming plug-in SUVs from Volvo and Mitsubishi.
China to promote EVs further: After scrapping the purchase tax for new energy vehicles (we reported), the Asian government now urges its officials to integrate electric and plug-in hybrids into their fleets. By 2016, 30% of all new vehicles sourced by the government are supposed to be (partially) electric.
automotive-business-review.com, techtimes.com, reuters.com
New LaFerrari editions: The Italian carmaker confirmed its plans for launching a 1,050 hp racing version of its hybrid supercar by 2015. However, only 30 units of the FXX will be build. The LaFerrari Spider convertible is limited to 50 cars and is said to cost about 2.8 million dollars.
autoguide.com, youtube.com (video of the LaFerrari FXX testing)
Tesla to stand alone: While the White House favours more consumer choice for fuel-efficient vehicles, it sees itself unable to regulate direct-to-consumer car sales. A petition had called on the Obama administration to preempt state laws preventing the Californian EV maker to sell through its concept stores (we reported) but this would be a matter for Congress, advisor Dan Utech said.
Chargemaster recharged: A fresh injection of capital by investment company Beringea will help the British company to further strengthen its posision in its domestic market. Moreover, Chargemaster wants to use the three million pounds to expand to the continent.
Kandi EV sales.
Kandi sold 4,114 electric vehicles in the second quarter of 2014. That is an increase of 238 percent compared to the first quarter in which the Chinese Geely subsidy sold 1,215 EVs.
Toyota Prius, Battery anode characterization.
Buyers of the upcoming Prius IV will have the choice between a low-cost nickel-metal hydride or Li-ion battery for improved electric-only driving range. Furthermore, Toyota ponders to offer its hybrid flagship with AWD. The launch only recently was pushed back to December 2015.
Characterised battery anodes: Scientists at Rice University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created a theoretical model able to predict the performance of carbon based anodes. The model is based on intrinsic characteristics of anode materials and how minor changes in the structure, chemistry and shape of an anode can influence the battery’s capacity, voltage and energy density.
news.rice.edu via greencarcongress.com
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Monday was the bad news of the unfortunate death of the Tesla thief who crashed the stolen Model S on July 4th.