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.
Nissan, Peugeot, Mahindra, ExtraEnergy, Cadillac.
Nissan Murano debut: The Japanese carmaker will show its 2015 Murano at the New York Auto Show this April. No details have yet been revealed about powertrain options but a hybrid version is expected.
Hybrid Air launch: Peugeot has confirmed series production of its Hybrid Air system from 2016. The Peugeot 2008 will be the first model to use compressed air instead of a battery pack in combination with a combustion engine. Later the B and C segment commercial vehicles from Peugeot and Citroen will follow.
Another Mahindra export: As the electric Reva e2o has not received much response in India so far, the company is looking to offer it to island states. Mahindra believes tourists to be more open to the vehicle and that its range of 100 kilometres would be just enough for small isles.
LEV Business park: The ExtraEnergy Service GmbH is a newly formed subsidiary of the organisation of the same name. Its mission is to promote light electric vehicles. The company together with the ExtraEnergy and EnergyBus organisations is now moving to its new premises in the German town of Schleiz, Thuringia. Here it plans to revive an industrial estate by inviting LEV component manufacturers to relocate.
ea.sendcpt.com (Press release)
Cadillac ELR review: Matt Keegan spent a week with GM’s luxurious electric car which turned out to be as much about the driving experience as it was about finding an empty public charger. Here, the strongest competitor was not a Volt, which drivetrain the ELR shares, but a Nissan Leaf using the same park and charge spots.
Volkswagen reckons it will soon need to produce 400,000 electric vehicles annually, the equivalent of electrifying three to four percent of its fleet, to be able to comply with EU carbon emission limits.
automobilwoche.de (In German)
Walmart, Rinspeed, Wrightspeed, Volkswagen, SNAM.
Futuristic truck: Walmart revealed the WAVE or Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience which is the latest of its fleet efficiency programme. The aerodynamic truck seats its driver in a central position and carries a trailer completely made from carbon fibre. Powering the WAVE is a Capstone turbine engine coupled to an electric powertrain.
Rinspeed’s XchangE: The Swiss think tank will present a highly modified Tesla Model S at the Geneva Motor Show to showcase its vision of autonomous driving. The XchangE’s interior focuses on the passengers who will be able to face each other, surf the net and “park” the steering wheel in the centre of the dashboard to “steer by wire.” Rinspeed’s slogan: “Not even flying is better!”
technologicvehicles.com, globenewswire.com, youtube.com (Video)
Big savings for big trucks: Wrightspeed’s ‘Route system’ is a plug-in hybrid setup making use of a fuel-efficient microturbine engine. Ian Wright, Wrightspeed founder and former Tesla employee, is aiming to electrify lorries and heavy duty vehicles with his new powertrain.
VW for EV battery recycling: The German carmaker has signed a partnership agreement with the French Société Nouvelle d’Affinage des Métaux (SNAM). SNAM will be responsible for the collection, dismantling and reutilisation of used li-ion and NiMH batteries of electric vehicles according to EU directive 2006/66/EC.
EV subsidies in China, Building the Electric Highway Tour.
Reading tip: China’s EV subsidies seem to be a bit of a mess and while the latest extension is a welcome step, observers are calling for simplifying and amplifying means by offering tax reliefs for example.
Video tip: The following video tells the story of a different kind of an EV road trip as this one did not go along the Tesla supercharger route but promotes EV charging that is open to all. Meet the people behind GOe3 on their “Building the Electric Highway Tour.”
Audi, BMW, SGL Carbon, Apple, Tesla, Honda, Mahindra, Infiniti.
New Audi A4 is late: Audi seems to have set its priorities right and is postponing the launch of the next A4 by six month until early 2015. According to German newspaper ‘Handelsblatt’, Audi wants to prepare the car for electric and hybrid drivetrain variants first. It seems like Ulrich Hackenberg, new head of development at Audi, is giving the right orders.
BMW to boost carbon production: The carmaker and its partner SGL Carbon said they will double output from 3,000 to 6,000 tons while building a second hall for carbon fibre production at their jointly run facility in Germany. The move comes after growing demand for BMW’s electric i-series and plans to use the material in other vehicles like the new 7 series.
Open to speculation: Andrian Perica, merger and acquisitions chief at Apple, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year, reports the SF Chronicle. While the meeting might have been (re-)fuelling speculations about Apple buying the electric carmaker, no new or feasible facts emerged.
sfgate.com via news.cnet.com
No more Honda hybrids: Due to low demand, the Japanese carmaker will stop offering its Insight and CR-Z hybrids in Europe. Only the Jazz hybrid (also known as Fit) will stay but could be discontinued in 2016.
Electric cab export: Mahindra will not offer its latest Verito Electric on its domestic market. The company is however looking into exporting it as an electric taxi and is currently researching potential markets.
Infiniti Hybrid tested: Autoweek set out to find out if the new Q50s hybrid is able to compete with its German competitors. Being “Prius quite” and with a “very good” overall quality, Infiniti is on the right track to become a serious competitor to the “established kings of lederhosen”.
EV Registrations in Germany.
The BMW i3 was Germany’s favourite electric car with 229 units sold this January. It was followed by the Nissan Leaf (71) and Renault’s Zoe (48). The Tesla Model S found 30 buyers.
kba.de (Excel sheet)
McKinsey, NREL, DoE, IIT, Stanford University, Opel.
EVs made in Germany: McKinsey’s latest Electric Vehicle Index (EVI) saw Germany overtaking Japan and becoming the second largest EV manufacturer behind leading USA. The consultants had a word of warning for the German carmakers though, to not concentrate their efforts on plug-in hybrids as the uptake of all-electric cars is much stronger, particularly in North America.
motor-traffic.de (In German), mckinsey.de (In German)
Fuel cell buses in Canada: Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have issued a full report on their two-year trial of fuel cell electric buses (FCEB) in Whistler, Canada (we reported). The 20 FCEB ran for 22 hours a day, thus reeling off three million kilometres.
Refillable battery: Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology have developed liquid electrodes. The new batteries, which in theory will be able to store five times more energy, could be recharged conventionally and refuelled like gasoline.
Pomegranate-like anode design: Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy believe a new design inspired by pomegranates could open up the use of silicon or other volume changing materials as anodes for lithium batteries.
Opel range extender: The German arm of GM’s Vauxhall brand will present a new three-cylinder engine at the Geneva Motor Show. While it will primarily be used to power the small Adam model, it could soon become a lighter and more economical range extender for the Opel Ampera and GM Volt.
Mia Electric, Wanxiang, Fisker, Tesla, Kia, BMW, Nissan.
Mia Electric undergoes judicial reorganisation: In the coming six months, the French e-carmaker will be under the watchful eye of the insolvency courts. But Michele Boos, head of Mia Electric, is not ready to throw in the towel. She wants to continue pushing the all-electric car in France and hopes to produce some 200 vehicles per month in 2014.
transportevolved.com, lepoint.fr (in French)
Wanxiang Group wins Fisker-bid: The Chinese company won the bankruptcy auction to buy the remaining Fisker assets. Wanxiang has bid 149.2 million dollars, of which the company will pay 126.2 million in cash. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is expected to approve the bid tomorrow.
Parked Tesla catches fire: A Model S burst into flames while parked in a garage in Toronto, Canada. The car was not being charged at the time. Moreover, the battery and charging infrastructure remained intact. Tesla says it is examining the incident.
Kia Provo premiers in North American: After it had been shown for the first time at Geneva last year, the hybrid concept car is now on display at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS). It features a gasoline-fuelled turbocharged engine assisted by an electric motor and was designed for “pure fun” and “is a game changer in the B-Segment,” so the carmaker.
BMW van on display in Geneva: It is time for the Bavarian carmaker to show the production version of its new compact van. Unveiled as a plug-in hybrid concept at Geneva 2012, it is highly likely that the plug-in drive will make it into production as well. The 2 Series Active Tourer will start with petrol and diesel engines when starting in September this year.
focus.de (in German)
The greenest of them all: According to Automotive Science Group, the Nissan Leaf has the lowest carbon footprint, taking into account i.e. materials, assembly, and end-of-life recovery. A complete study of 1,300 vehicles sold in North America will be released this spring.
EV Sales in France.
Some 775 EVs were sold in France in January – an overall decrease compared to last year numbers. Best-seller was again the Renault Kangoo ZE with 200 units sold; a poor result considering that 444 models had been sold in January 2013. The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, more than doubled its sales.
Iran, Siemens, EP Tender, Technical University of Aachen.
Iran goes hybrid: The country’s leading carmaker Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) said they have completed the development of a plug-in hybrid car. The ‘Runna’ reaches up to 120 km/h and will go 70 to 80 km all-electrically on a charge. First tests are scheduled for summer.
Hot H2: Siemens has developed ceramic electrolytic cells for electrolysis at 850 degrees Celsius. Not only does the high-temperature process increase efficiency, it also makes it possible to reverse the flow of electricity.
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Range extender on demand: The EP Tender by French inventor Jean-Baptiste Segard is essentially a gasoline engine, build onto a small trailer. The trailer can be hitched to any EV to help it go that extra mile.
More than just a toy: As part of the ASTE project, students and engineers at the Technical University of Aachen built a miniature Unimog made out of Lego and featuring a fully functional parallel hybrid drive. The goal is to better explain alternative drives to students.
elektromobilitaet-praxis.de (In German)
Model T vs. Model S, T.E.N. Episode 21.
Reading tip: ‘Car and Driver’ put a Tesla Model S up against a 99-year old Ford Model T in a race from Detroit to Long Island. Guess who won!
Video tip: This week, T.E.N. (Transport Evolved News) reports about the trip from Texas to Panama in a Model S, the BMW i3 Launch Edition and plans in U.S. state Georgia to kill EV subsidies.
Volkswagen, Kia, Renault, Supra, Honda, Ariel Rider.
E-Golf available: In Germany, Volkswagen is now taking orders for its latest electric car. The e-Golf starts at 34,900 euros (47,700 dollars), including an eight-year battery warranty or 160,000 km respectively. Like the E-Up, the electric Golf comes with standard features such as a heated windscreen and LED daytime running lights.
auto-medienportal.net (In German), volkswagen-media-services.com (In German)
Kia Soul in Geneva: The long-awaited Soul EV will make its European debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show alongside the updated Optima Hybrid. The two will be joined by Kia’s new 48 V mild-hybrid system, which is capable of driving a car in all-electric mode at low speeds and while cruising.
Twingo in Geneva: Another highlight in Geneva this year will be the unveiling of the latest generation of Renault’s Twingo. With an electric version in the making, the Twingo will also serve as a base for the new Smart Forfour. So far, the third-gen Twingo reminds us a more of the Fiat 500 or Opel Adam though.
Supra set: Toyota made its decision that its FT-1 concept will indeed become a production Supra, according to a “source close to Toyota.” The Japanese carmaker is believed to be working on a smaller hybrid sports car too, expected by 2017.
Hybrid Odyssey: Honda’s developer Takashi Shinchi said the Japanese carmaker is considering to introduce a hybrid version of its Odyssey on its domestic market but no decision has been made yet. The Odyssey’s ultra-low floor makes it particularly tricky to integrate a battery.
New e-bike brand: ‘Ariel Rider’ has started its work on electrifying cruiser bicycles. These new alloy bikes have no-plastics frames but come with details such as stitched handlebars or automatic LED lights. Behind Ariel Rider are the same people who launched e-Bann bikes.
EV Registrations in Germany.
In Germany 541 electric cars were registered last month. This is a meager 0.3% of the overall market but a 50% increase of EV sales.
kba.de (In German)
Mitsubishi Electric, Fraunhofer ESK, Toyota, UK.
Compact motor: Mitsubishi Electric’s latest prototype for a new EV drive system comes with a built-in silicon-carbide inverter, thus making it very compact. Thanks to similar figures in volume and power, the new motor will be able to be used as a replacement part for current motors. Before commercialisation, cooling technologies will have to be finalised.
V2G demonstration: At the Hannover Trade Fair in April, the Fraunhofer ESK will present a charging station serving as an interoperable node between EV and the grid’s control center using the ISO/IEC 15118 and IEC 61850 standards. The researchers designed their model as reference for utility providers still hesitating to apply the standards.
Inductive charging trial: Toyota will be testing its wireless charging technology in Aichi, Japan. If successful, the Japanese carmaker believes its inductive system could reduce charging times to 90 minutes.
How-to for flooded EVs: With great parts of the UK currently being hit by floods, this guide might be helpful to some EV drivers right now. Transport Evolved sums up the most important advices if your car has been gone under water. Hopefully you will never need it!