Siemens/BAIC, VDMA, Mercedes, Saft.
Siemens and BAIC join forces: A newly formed joint venture called ‘Beijing Siemens Automotive E-Drive System’ will produce motors and inverters for hybrids and EVs. Prototyping is set to start this year while mass production with more than 100,000 units per year is set to follow in 2015 in Beijing.
One battery for all: The ‘Modular Multi-Use Battery Systems’ project unites 30 companies and research institutions trying to develop a standard for high performance batteries. The EnergyBus organisation is to provide its open standard initially written for LEVs for the communication between smart battery modules.
Mercedes with a mind: The new ‘Intelligent HYBRID’ system by Mercedes-Benz assesses the road ahead and manages the remaining energy accordingly. Designed for hybrid vehicles, the system keeps the battery charged only enough to take full advantage of recuperation, thus generously boosting the drive with electric energy in between.
thegreencarwebsite.co.uk, greencarcongress.com, hybridcars.com
Electric ferry for Stockholm: The Swedish capital placed an order with battery manufacturer Saft to supply li-ion batteries. The batteries are destined to power a new electric ferry, which will be operated by Ballerina on behalf of Stockholm Public Transport.
BYD, Volvo, Infiniti, Mahindra, Toyota.
One more from BYD: The Chinese manufacturer will debut the Tang PHEV at its home fair. The Tang features the same 110 kW motor that works inside the Qin. A 205-hp petrol engine completes the hybrid mix. The price of the plug-in SUV is said to convert to 48,000 dollars.
Volvo Plug-in hybrid S60: Volvo will show the S60 PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) concept at the Auto China in Beijing. Like on the V60 PHEV, the electric motor has 50 kW but is coupled with a petrol instead of the diesel engine. The S60L will be produced at the Chengdu plant and is set to launch in China beginning of next year.
Luxurious stretch: China and the U.S. can look forward to an extended version of Infiniti’s Q70 to gain more space in the rear. The updated hybrid limousine is powered by a V6 engine and an e-drive with 50 kW. Its premiere will be at the New York Autoshow.
E-Scooter by Mahindra: The Indian company is set to launch its first ever electric scooter in the U.S. this summer. The GenZe will cost about 3,000 dollars and features a replaceable battery said to last for about 50 miles. The display has a touchscreen that connects to a smartphone via bluetooth.
A whole new Camry: Its debut is due in New York next week and Toyota has added some 2,000 new parts to its now completely redesigned best-seller. The new Camry is trimmed to deliver a more dynamic performance though the hybrid drive system remains the same.
Fuel cell vehicles in California.
All in all, 200 FCVs are currently out on the streets in California. To refill, they can choose from 19 public H2 stations, another 19 are set to follow in the next 18 months. The chicken and the egg seem almost on par for once…
Suzuki, MG, NIMS/SEU, Battery research.
Suzuki to save some fuel: The Japanese maker of small cars has announced plans to introduce ‘gas-electric hybrid technology,’ but it won’t be more than a mild hybrid. Suzuki hopes however, to go full-hybrid sometime in the future.
Anniversary EV: MG is celebrating its 90th birthday by showing a concept of an electric car. The MG Dynamo has been created at the parent company’s HQ (SAIC) in Longbridge and is currently on display at SMMT’s offices in Westminster, UK. The concept has been developed to help the company understand Europe’s demand for a pure electric small MG.
High quality fuel cells: The Japanese National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) and the Chinese Southeast University (SEU) signed a memorandum of understanding to design new platinum-free electro-catalysts based on graphene for premium fuel-cell electrodes.
The devil is in the detail: New research on lithium-iron-phosphate batteries suggests, that scientists might have been wrong to use the Butler-Volmer equation all along. Instead, cell performance might be dependent on the speed electrons move between the electrode and its carbon coating.
BMW X5 e-drive, Hybrid and electric trucks.
Reading tip: Take a seat in the future – the electric SUV by BMW that is. John Voelkcer had the chance to drive an X5 e-drive plug-in hybrid prototype and packed its report with all the details hitherto known.
Study tip: Navigant Research predicts global annual sales of hybrid and electric trucks to grow from below 10,000 in 2013 to more than 100,000 in 2020, if companies can find strategies to utilise these vehicles efficiently to equalise higher initial costs.
navigantresearch.com via electriccarsreport.com
Denza, BMW, Chevrolet, Nissan, Merida.
Details of Daimler’s Denza: The first Chinese-German offspring will make its debut at Beijing Motorshow. For Daimler, it is the first product it ever designed abroad with its partner BYD. The Denza’s battery sits underneath the car in a shock-proof alloy frame. The price has still not been revealed.
welt.de (in German)
BMW i3 production: BMW has ramped up production of its electric car in Leipzig by 43% reports Bloomberg with reference to an email by BMW’s head of production, Harald Krüger. Due to high demand, 100 instead of 70 units of the i3 will now be built a day.
Spy shots of the new Volt: The 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been spotted on one of its test runs but highly covered in camouflage. It seems like the car will get a complete new bodywork and will be based on a new platform. Overall, it appears the new Volt will be sleeker than the current model.
Nissan unveils the Murano in New York today. The third generation follows the ‘Resonance Concept’ and will be available as front and all-wheel drive. However, Nissan has nor confirmed or denied plans for a hybrid Murano yet.
manufacturing.automotive-business-review.com, youtube.com (video)
E-Bike production growing: Taiwanese Merida will expand its facility in Yuanlin to meet increased demand for e-bikes and frames. Demand is driven by the introduction of Shimano’s new pedelec system Steps which requires special frames.
Toyota sales in Europe.
In Europe 21 percent of all Toyotas and Lexus sold in the first quarter of this year were hybrids, the company reports. The hybrid Yaris proved to be particularly popular with 15,305 buyers. 80% of Lexus customers preferred the hybrid-powered Lexus IS 300h over the regular Lexus IS.
Hybricon, V-Charge, Bombardier, D-Face.
Super-fast charging at 625 Ampere: In Swedish Umea, the new Arctic Whisper (HAW) electric bus by Hybricon Bus Systems has been charged ultrafast via Opbrid’s Bůsbaar. In the trial, 625 amps were pushed inside the battery for six minutes, making way for 2-3 min. charges at 500-1,000 kW in the future.
greencarcongress.com, youtube.com (Busbaar video)
Autonomous charging: In the EU project ‘V-Charge’ (for Valet Parking and Charging) ETH Zurich and the universities of Brunswick, Oxford, and Parma, are developing driverless park and charge systems for EVs together with Bosch and Volkswagen. A first prototype system is now up and running in Stuttgart, Germany.
EVs by Bombardier: Charles Bombardier of the company of the same name is drafting electric vehicle concepts based on Bombardier’s own inductive charging technology. In his vision, electric shuttles, one-man vehicles or electric motorcycles could all be charged contactless soon.
charlesbombardier.com via justpark.de (in German)
Bubble-car is back: In German dubbed “Knutschkugel” (snog ball), the BMW Isetta is back as EV with range extender. The D-Face concept by Japanese firm D Art was on display at the Taipei EV show and the company is looking to license the mini EV with a top speed of 45 mph in other countries.
GM, Electric car convertibles, Volcano charging a Nissan Leaf.
Reading tip: Brooke Crothers wanted to get to the source and asked two GM managers about the carmaker’s latest EV marketing strategies rather excessively. Dig in!
Click tip: “Where are all the electric car convertibles” our colleagues over at Green Motors asked themselves before simply building, well, rendering them themselves. Automakers, please take them as an example!
greenmotor.co.uk via insideevs.com
Video tip: Nowadays, dancing on a volcano is out, instead you better use it to charge your EV. Not literally of course, but on the way downhill as Neil Wagner does it in Hawaii.
Volvo, Volkswagen, Saleen, Formula E, Bosch eBike Systems.
Volvo electrified: The Swedes’ new SPA platform, the XC90 is based on, is most variable. According to Dennis Nobelius, VP for the 90’s models, the XC90 drivetrains will include everything electric, from a mild and plug-in hybrid to a fully electric version. Even a version featuring Volvo’s flywheel KERS is likely.
Jetta update: Volkswagen has freshened up its sedan for the New York Auto Show. Even though the 2015 Jetta is presented with a new diesel engine, the hybrid version remains. Apart from improving the aerodynamics, VW also introduces new driver assistant systems.
Tuned Tesla tease: Saleen has released first renderings of its redesign of the Model S (we reported) making it look even more racy. Still it is not known though, which mechanical advances we can expect from the tuning specialist when the first cars hit the streets this summer.
No electric race in Rio: The Formula E has issued an updated calendar for its inaugural race sessions. Rio de Janeiro has been dropped and a new host city is to be named shortly. Furthermore, the electric racing series will adopt the scoring system of the F1.
Bosch eBike Systems U.S. launch: The German company has officially launched its Performance Line in the states. As in most countries in Europe, Magura will carry out the service of the e-bike system starting from September this year.
Incentives in Normandy.
A total of 11,300 euros (15,600 dollars) is the incentive an EV buyer in Normandy now gets. The regional government almost doubles the usual allowance of 6,300 euros in an attempt to become France’s first ecoregion. Formidable!
Smart Highway, Ioxus, Neues, Vanmoof.
Smart Highway: In the Netherlands, the first stretch of the Smart Highway project has been unveiled. On 500 metres, drivers are now guided by glow-in-the-dark lines, which store sunlight during the day. Inductive charging while driving will also be implemented in the future.
21 million for ultracaps: Ioxus has received 21 million dollars from investors including IFC, a member of the World Bank, for their ultracapacitor business. The company plans to spend the money on improving service, sales and production in China.
Built-your-own EV: Japanese company Neues is looking at licensing its chassis for small EVs, which could be bodied however customers like. Examples of the kit-car inspired electric cars are currently being shown at the Taipei EV event in Taiwan; Neues is also looking for UK distributors.
Integration is key: Vanmoof stays true to its principle also with their electric bike. The ‘Electrified’ is powered by a battery that sits within the frame. Furthermore, the display, embedded in the head tube, features GPS to locate the pedelec anytime. Orders for the 2,248 euro bike (3,100 dollars) are now being taken.
technologicvehicles.com (with video)
Range Extended Metro Cab, Tesla Ad.
Video tip: Robert Llewellyn turns cab driver in this episode of Fully Charged, in which he tests the Range Extended MetroCab for London.
Video tip: Another fan made advert for Tesla called ‘Hope’ uses Tesla imagery and dubs it with Charlie Chaplin’s most famous speech from his movie ‘The Great Dictator.’
youtube.com (Hope ad), youtube.com (Chaplin’s full speech)
Mercedes, Lexus, Hyundai, Smith Electric Vehicles, Renault.
Electric B-class now in production: Mercedes-Benz has started production of the new B-class Electric Drive at its Rastatt plant, Germany. Sales of the Tesla-powered car will start in the U.S. this summer with the European market following at the end of this year. UK buyers might have to wait for a right-hand drive version until 2015 though.
Lexus NX unveiled: Just before its actual debut in Beijing, the Japanese carmaker has released details of its hybrid compact SUV. The hybrid Lexus NX is powered by the same drive as the IS300h but will come with front and all-wheel drive. Lexus is also introducing a new 2-litre turbo engine for the NX.
ix35 FC delayed: Hyundai’s hydrogen car was expected to arrive in the U.S. in March but the company has now said shipments of the H2 Tuscon from Korea are delayed for at least another month. In any case, Hyundai does not expect to see more than 100 vehicles on American roads this year.
Smith EVs to resume operations: CEO Bryan Hansel has now said that production at Smith Electric Vehicles has not stopped (we reported) but is being suspended. Production processes and the supply chain for the electric trucks need to be restructured before a new attempt to become profitable will be started this summer.
Renault production: French daily Les Echos reports the French carmaker is considering to cut one of two shifts at its plant in Flins, where the Zoe is built amongst other models. This would reduce the annual output from 140,000 to 110,000 cars.
EV sales in Denmark.
In Denmark, 142 EVs were sold in March making it the best-selling month to date. More than half of them were Tesla’s (79) followed by Nissan Leaf with 27 and Volkswagen’s e-Up which sold 15 units.
Auto-Stack Core, Hyundai, MotorBrain.
European fuel cell development: The ‘Auto-Stack Core’ project aims to develop a new generation of fuel cells for vehicles as well as the basics for serial production by 2016. Project partners include car and component manufacturers as well as system-integration specialists in various European countries. Coordinated by German ZSW, the programme is backed with 14.7 millions euros, 7.7 from the EU.
springerprofessional.de (in German)
Li-sulfur battery: Hyundai researchers discovered a new electrolyte based on sulfone which improves performance of lithium-sulfur batteries. Tests showed an increase of capacity by more than 50%, while capacity rentention was raised by up to 70%.
Compact electric drive: Together Infineon, Siemens, ZF and TU Dresden presented a prototype called MotorBrain, a small and efficient motor system. It only weighs 77 kilo and is said to be able to increase the range of an EV by up to 25 miles. No rare earth metals are required for the MotorBrain.
Tesla's Cross Country Rally, Audi e-tron guide.
Video tip: Take a look at what was going on behind the scenes, when Tesla employees travelled in two Model S from New York to Los Angeles in only three days earlier this year.
Reading tip: For those who lost track of which electric car the Audi e-tron actually stands for at the moment or how many there might be, Antony Ingram has compiled the “ultimate” Audi e-tron guide.
Audi, Beijing Automotive, Ford, BMW, Applus.
Tesla fighter I: According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, the electric Q8 (we reported) with a range of 700 kilometres will come to market in 2017 and feature inductive charging technology. Meanwhile a prototype of the 2015 version of the R8, which is said to come to market as all-electric sports car with 450 km of range, has been spotted at Nürburgring.
auto-motor-und-sport.de (Q8 – in German), autozeitung.de (R8 – in German)
Tesla fighter II: Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Automotive Group, said his company has partnered with an unnamed American firm to introduce a new electric car to China by the end of next year. According to Xu, the new EV will “outperform Tesla’s Model S.”
Focus update: Ford will present its Focus Sedan in New York with updated exterior and interior. While the drivetrain of the Focus EV will remain unchanged, U.S. customers now have the option of the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a new six-speed manual transmission.
China debut: BMW will show the i3 and i8 for the first time in China at the upcoming Beijing show. The press release is titled “market launch,” so it is likely BMW will start offering its i-range very soon.
iShare concept EV: Applus will show its design of an ideal electric carsharing verhicle in New York. The iShare is with two metres even shorter than a Smart and weighs just 530 kilos. Its doors are opened via barcode on the driver’s mobile.
green.autoblog.com (with video)
ECOmove, Turn-E, Local Motors, Battery replacement.
Danish lightweight chassis: ECOmove produced a carbon-fibre chassis specifically designed for EVs. The so called Qstrung technology will be used in a Porsche 356 Speedster replica which was converted to electric by German Turn-E.
ecomove.dk, turn-e.de (Speedster in German)
Local Motors found funding for its electric drift trike on Kickstarter easily, so expect to see grown-up men sliding past on very low bikes very soon. The Verrado is said to go 45 minutes on a charge.
green.autoblog.com (with video)
Prius battery replacement: The Prius is dead, long live the Prius was Tony Bradley’s motto, who did not want to give up on his hybrid Toyota when the battery died. Instead of going for a 4,000 dollar replacement, he went for a much cheaper, reconditioned battery.
Porsche 919 hybrid, Tesla's battery safety shield.
Video tip: The hybrid Porsche 919 has been spotted testing for WEC at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. Indulge in some hybrid humming…
Click tip: Tesla’s titanium plate protection for the Model S’ underbody (we reported) is now available. David Nolan already went for the free retrofit and has documented the result in detail.
greencarreports.com (with pictures)
Bentley, Mercedes, GM, Ryno, Mugen, Yo-Mobil.
Bentley’s plug-in hybrid: Rather sooner than expected, the Brits will present their first plug-in hybrid concept at the Beijing Auto Show. For now, the drivetrain is fitted into a Bentley Mulsanne but it will debut in the plug-in SUV in 2017. Bentley promises 50 kilometres (31 miles) electric range and 70% less carbon emissions.
MLC preview: Mercedes published a first picture of the Concept Coupé to be unveiled in Beijing later this month. The car is a predecessor of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC SUV which is said to be planned as plug-in hybrid and diesel-electric hybrid model too.
GM means business – electric business: The company has now confirmed the 449 million dollar investments in both EV plants in Brownstone and Detroit-Hamtramck. At the same time, GM revealed plans for two new electric models but did not go into detail. This coincides with Opel’s rumoured small EV (we reported).
Ryno for real: The videogame-inspired monowheel can now be ordered in the real world for 5,295 dollars. The Ryno is balanced by a gyroscope like a segway and has a top speed of about 12 mph. Its battery allows for 10 miles of fun riding.
Mugen’s Shinden San: Team Mugen will enter this year’s TT Zero Challenge on the Isle of Man with a brand new electric motorcycle. The Shinden San is lighter and with 100 kW and 220 Nm also stronger than the 2013 model. The team thus hopes to finally win the race in which it has finished second twice already.
Low cost hybrid too costly: The Yo-Mobil by Russian Onexim was supposed to be Russia’s first low-cost hybrid. However, with rising costs for development and repeated delays in production, the group has now sold the rights to the state-owned Nami institute for the symbolic price of one euro.
rt.com via thegreencarwebsite.co.uk
Tesla Model S convertible.
A Chinese investor has ordered 100 Tesla Model S convertible from Newport Convertible Engineering. While the conversion specialist will start with the production in July, a request for a formal partnership with Tesla to convert another 5,000 units has so far remained unanswered.