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.
Solar Impulse 2, FEV, Electrovaya/Dongfeng, Enerdel/B3CG, DTU.
Fuel-free around the globe: Swiss Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have now presented their second generation solar plane. The Solar Impulse 2 only weighs 2.4 tons including the batteries (633 kilos) and can stay in the air for five days and nights in a row. Next year, the two plan to fly around the world on solar power only.
youtube.com (teaser video), nbcnews.com
Transmission for hybrids: FEV North America will present its new transmission at the SAE World Congress in Detroit. The plug‐in hybrid transmission includes a two‐speed all-electric driving mode and is designed to fit into downsized engine compartments.
— Ad —
Electromobility powered by Siemens – Siemens is presenting its drivetrain solutions for electric and hybrid cars on Hannover Messe 2014 from April 7th – 11th – Automation & IT Tour. Follow the red carpet and find Siemens’ solutions for electric cars in entrance area south. Visit also Siemens in hall 9, booth D35. www.siemens.com
Electrovaya and Dongfeng: The Canadian battery manufacturer is supplying the Chinese company with its latest generation of li-ion batteries. Its ‘Lithium Ion SuperPolymer 2.0’ are said to be 20% more powerful than the previous generation and fit both Dongfeng’s EV platforms.
Electric school bus: Li-ion battery manufacturer Enerdel partners with B3CG to develop and produce li-ion batteries für Canada’s school buses. The latter are build by Lion Bus and funded by the government. The batteries are supposed to hold 100 kWh, enough for about 50 miles range.
Iron and carbon to replace platinum: A team at Denmark’s Technical University has developed a new catalyst. They found that iron and carbon remain stable and active in acidic and alkaline environments and could thus replace the costly platinum in PEM fuel cells.
Journey of carbon, Volvo C30 Electric II.
Video tip I: BMW tells the story of carbon used in its i-series from the source to the finished car. Go on the “Journey of carbon.”
Video tip II: Siemens is currently exhibiting at the Hannover Messe and in this video focusing on the strategic partnership it has with Volvo. In a first step, a total of 100 Volvo C30 electric have been equipped with motors and converters from Siemens.
Audi, Tesla, NEVS, Peugeot, Smith Electric Vehicles, LG Chem.
Audi A6 e-tron for China: Together with joint venture FAW-Volkswagen, Audi will bring a plug-in hybrid version of its long-wheelbase A6 to the Chinese market. As announced this morning, the plug-in hybrid will have an electric range of 50 km and will feature “cutting-edge battery technology.”
Tesla leasing: In the U.S., businesses can now lease a Model S through Tesla Finance. Everything can be done in an online process, from “signing” a contract to confirming the delivery of the Tesla. Prices start from 1,012 dollars – gas and tax savings excluded.
Hej-hej electric Saab: NEVS has started production of the electric Saab 9-3. In a first step, 200 cars will be produced in Sweden before going to Qingdao, China to be tested. If trials are successful, production will be expanded this autumn to start selling the e-Saab in Sweden by 2015.
Slightly exalted: Peugeot did not lose time to leak its latest concept for the Beijing Auto Show either. Here, the French carmaker will present the Exalt, a hybrid sedan that uses the Hybrid4 technology.
Silent exit: Smith Electric Vehicles has stopped production of its electric truck already last year. The “news” has now been broken not by the company itself but by the DoE which has funded demonstration vehicles by the company from Kansas.
New e-bike battery supplier? Apparently, LG Chem is thinking about making batteries for electric bikes as it sees clear signs of growth in the trending segment. The Korean corporation would be the last of the mayor battery suppliers to discover electric two-wheelers after Samsung, Bosch and Panasonic.
Video interview: Gilles Bernard, GIREVE SAS.
Gilles Bernard, Chairman of the Board at french GIREVE SAS says that just putting in place charging stations is not enough. One also has to coordinate operators and their service to make charging easier for users. At Hubject’s Developers Conference in Berlin, Bernard told electrive.com exactly how GIREVE plans to do that in France and where he sees the European electric mobility market in comparison to the U.S. and Asia.
electrive.com (video interview)
IBG, Montana Tech, Tesla, Mobileye.
Robot built EV: German IBG introduced its new assembly unit at the Hannover Messe. Three robots within the iProcell are supposed to take care of everything from unloading to assembly. This way, IBG plans to build its own electric cars. While Lübeck is the company’s place of choice for the automated EV production, IBG feels the city could be more supportive than it currently is.
computerwoche.de (in German), ln-online.de (Lübeck – in German)
German battery factory? The Austrian Montana Tech Components Groups to which parts of German Varta belongs, plans to build a European EV battery factory. The company has already worked with Volkswagen and says it is currently speaking with all German manufacturers. If the talks are succesful, planning could start in 2015 and production already two years later. To finance the facility, Montana might start trading Varta’s EV segment on the stock market.
handelsblatt.com (in German)
Inside Tesla: One tech-savvy Model S owner has managed to plug into an Ethernet port to hack his own car and made Firefox run on the mid-console. However, he immediately got a message by Tesla Motors asking him nicely but firmly to stop his digital endeavours.
Meanwhile, Mobileye was granted permission to import one Model S into Israel with the goal to develop and test semi-autonomous driving technology. According to the Israeli paper Harretz, Mobileye is working directly for Tesla.
Mandatory EV noise, Tesla store timelapse.
Reading tip: Faye Sunderland is looking into the issue of artificial EV noise to see what all the fuss is actually about. Her findings show that legislators around the globe are in favour of sounding electric cars while vehicle makers are responding to the call, if we like it or not.
thegreencarwebsite.co.uk (with sound examples)
Video tip: One Norwegian Tesla fan has visualised the current success of the Model S when filming the coming and going of cars and people in a Tesla store with time-lapse video.
Video interview: Gilles Bernard, GIREVE SAS.
Gilles Bernard, Chairman of the Board at GIREVE SAS says that just putting in place charging stations is not enough. One also has to coordinate operators and their service to make charging easier for users. At Hubject’s Developers Conference in Berlin, Bernard told electrive.com exactly how GIREVE plans to do that in France and where he sees the European electric mobility market in comparison to the U.S. and Asia. GIREVE is a company whose founding shareholders are five major players (i.e. EDF, Renault) in this market, united by their converging interests in electric mobility.
Opel, GM, Lexus, BMW, Pariss Electric, Maserati, Tesla.
All-electric Opel? The German GM subsidy also known as Vauxhall apparently has plans to build a small EV to be sold by 2017, several media report. Internally, the new model is known as BEV (for battery electric vehicle) and is said to be cheaper and smaller than the Ampera/Volt. Opel has not commented on the story yet.
GM to ramp up Volt production: The U.S. carmaker wants to invest 450 million dollars in its Detroit-Hamtramck plant and nearby battery assembly facility to expand its production for the 2016 Chevy Volt. In order to do so, GM will introduce a second shift and create another 1,400 jobs.
detroitnews.com via greencarreports.com
Lexus NX debut: The production version of Lexus’ concept LF-NX will premiere at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition later this month. A teaser image of the hybrid SUV called NX does not reveal much but it looks as if the finished product will strongly resemble the initial study.
— Ad —
Electromobility powered by Siemens – Siemens is presenting its drivetrain solutions for electric and hybrid cars on Hannover Messe 2014 from April 7th – 11th – Automation & IT Tour. Follow the red carpet and find Siemens’ solutions for electric cars in entrance area south. Visit also Siemens in hall 9, booth D35.
X5 eDrive in the USA: BMW will show an updated version of its concept hybrid SUV at the New York Auto Show this month. It remains unclear, however, what exactly the update entails as the performance data remains unchanged.
Electric Alfa Romeo 4c: Not quite, but the French start-up Pariss Electric claims its electric sports car will be able to compete with Alfa’s latest offspring. Like its idol, the Pariss Electric is made from carbon and weighs just 800 kilos. So far, just one prototype has been made but the company says it has received already 60 orders.
Maserati vs Tesla: Top Gear’s Jason Barlow puts up tradition against innovation when comparing the Maserati Ghibli with Tesla’s Model S. Yet, despite all its Italian class, the Maserati does not stand a chance against the “Silicon Valley interloper (that) has changed everything.”
EV sales in the Netherlands and Spain.
The Dutch EV market is back with 1,890 PHEVs sold in March alone. The Netherland’s darling is Mitsubishi’s Outlander (931) followed by Volvo’s V60 with 459 sales, and the Model S (190). In Spain, the situation could not be any more different. There, only 111 EVs were sold in the first three months of 2014 – only 39 of them in March.
ev-sales.blogspot.de (The Netherlands), ev-sales.blogspot.de (Spain)