Audi, Hyundai/Kia, Rimac, McLaren, BYD, Ryno.
Audi plans electric attack: The German carmaker is aiming to go head-to-head with Tesla with the launch of the all-electric Q8 in 2017. Internally known as Tesla-fighter, the Audi Q8 e-tron’s super batteries are said to give it a range of up to 700 km (about 430 mi). Furthermore, Audi plans to introduce PHEV versions of the A4, A6, A7, A8 as well as Q5, Q6, Q7 with a range of 65 km (40 mi) by 2016.
autobild.de (In German), ecomento.com
Plug-in hybrids for Korea: Hyundai will release PHEV versions of its Sonata LF and Kia K5 (known as Optima in Europe) next year. These will be the first Hyundai plug-in hybrids for its domestic market. The all-electric Kia Soul EV is set to launch later this year.
All-electric super car: The Concept One by Rimac has turned many heads since its first appearance at the German IAA in 2011. CNN takes a closer look at the Croatian company and talked to its founder and designer Mate Rimac. Meanwhile Rimac is working on another head-turner: the Greyp electric bike.
P1 on-track review: McLaren’s introduced its P1 hybrid in Bahrain where Steve Sutcliffe of ‘Autocar’ tested the racer in its “natural environment” – on a race track. Fans have to let go of all hopes though, as all 375 pieces are sold and will not be reissued, according to McLaren.
autocar.co.uk (Video review), technologicvehicles.com, automobilwoche.de (In German)
BYD dynasties: The Chinese car maker has now secured rights for another twelve names of Chinese emperors. Following the Qin, the Tang is scheduled for next year. If all the remaining eleven dynasties will inspire new hybrid cars is yet open to speculation.
Super Segway: The Ryno one-wheeled electric motorbike looks as if it is straight from the future. It operates like a segway with the rider leaning forward to speed up and vice versa. While the Ryno is street-legal, it only goes as fast as 10 mph with a range of ten miles. We still think it looks like great fun!
EV Sales in China.
Only a total of 17,600 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in China last year. However, these 14,604 all-electric and 3,038 PHEVs are still 37.9% more than in 2012 but only take an insignificant share of the overall market where 21,984,100 vehicles were sold.
chinaautoweb.com via evobsession.com
InTeLekt, Elio Motors, Flywheels, Human Hybrid Vehicle.
Reliable power modules: The InTeLekt project (integrated testing environment for power modules) is led by Fraunhofer LBF and has been started in December 2013. Together with automotive suppliers Continental, Bosch, Schaeffler and others, a new testing environment for the simulation of errors in power modules will be developed to rule out reliability and safety issues beforehand. InTeLekt is funded with about three million euros (4.1m dollars) over three years by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
elektroniknet.de (In German), pressebox.de (In German)
Design update: Elio Motors presented a new version of its trike, which was first shown at CES this year (we reported). The new Elio in striking orange now features larger covers for its front wheels. The company believes to start production of the super-efficient car next year in its plant in Louisiana, USA.
Flywheels the next big thing: While most people think of heavy and rather crude things when talking about flywheels, current advances in technology might make them cheaper and lighter options for next-gen hybrids. Neil Winton explores the “low-tech” solution and takes a look at possible applications.
Human Hybrid Vehicle: Or, HEV, is a three-wheeled mixture of bicycle and a hybrid. Sheltered under a fibreglass hood, the driver can reach speeds of up to 100 mph with this pedal-assisted system. Regenerative breaking and solar panels will give extra energy to enable a range of about 75 miles, according to designer Lyon Smith. The first prototype is on the road and classifies as a motorcycle.
“It’s really a guessing game. Still the internal combustion engine will still be the major drivetrain, even 10 years from now.”
Ludwig Willisch, president of BMW North America “guesses” that maybe one day, BMW’s electric i-series will account for about 10-15% of global sales.
Cold weather fuel-efficiency, Porsche 918 Spyder.
Click tip: Cold winters affect the range of all vehicles, not only electric ones, according to FleetCarma’s Showdown infographic on cold weather fuel-efficiency.
Video tip: For the 100th edition of ‘Ignition,’ Carlos Lago tested the Porsche 918 Spyder under the Spanish sun. What a way to celebrate!
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Tesla, Germany, Brammo, BYD, Toyota.
Tesla goes China: Veronica Wu, vice president of Tesla in China, told Reuters in an interview about Tesla’s big plans for China. Tesla aims to open shops in 10-12 Chinese cities by the end of this year. By 2015 the production for China could be on level with the number of cars made for the U.S. and eventually requiring a local plant, Elon Musk said. Thanks to a recent court decision, the electric carmaker now owns the rights to operate under its name “Te Si La”.
reuters.com (China plans), greencarreports.com (Te Si La), bloomberg.com (Production)
German EV incentives: Minister for transport, Alexander Dobrindt, announced plans for a new law to promote the advent of EVs in Germany. Free parking and the use of bus lanes are some of the proposed measures. Dobrindt made it clear though that he is not planning on spending any extra money and establishing buying incentives.
wiwo.de (In German)
Brammo for the UK: GoinGreen is now the official distributor for Brammo electric motorbikes in the UK. The subsidiary of Green Automotive Company (GAC) has a wide range of electric vehicles on offer and sells famous models such as the G-Wiz from India and the French Mia.
BYD electric van: What almost looks like Nissan’s NV200, is the latest van from BYD. In the past, the Chinese carmaker has not been very successful with its MPVs but the new M3 could become a bestseller. It could either get the Qin hybrid drivetrain or the electric drive from the E6, Chinese media are reporting.
More ‘waku-doki’: By order of Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, the next models of the Camry and Prius will get a more “heart-racing” design. Engineers and designers are trying to realise a “more emotional, more impactful design,” without jeopardising the market leaderships of the two models.
Formula 1, EnerG2, BYD, Lexus.
Formula 1 with ERS: For this year’s Formula 1 season, FIA changed the regulations of the Energy Recovery System significantly. Renault is the first to publish details about their latest race engine that is now capable of giving an extra boost of 120 kW, mainly regenerated from braking and by the exhaust system.
Silicon-carbon composite: EnerG2 has introduced a composite of silicon and carbon to improve the performance and capacity of lithium-ion batteries. The company claims that the new anode composite will improve the cycle times of batteries by a factor of five.
BYD put to the test: In Canada, a 40-foot BYD electric bus has completed the first ten months of road trials rather successfully. Supplemented by a small diesel-powered heater, the bus was able to achieve an average consumption of 15 kWh per 100 km with air conditioning and full passenger loads. Société de transport de Montreal (STM) will continue tests until spring of 2014.
Hybrid versus Diesel: Although comparisons between diesel and petrol-powered cars are always like comparing apples and oranges, it is worth mentioning what Whatcar? just found out. In the magazine’s most recent real-world MPG test of executive cars, the Lexus IS 300h not only was the most powerful car but also came out as winner by beating all four German diesel competitors in terms of fuel efficiency.
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Lu Guanqiu, Stella Li.
“Of course we want to pocket Fisker. But we will bid rationally. Whatever the result, nothing can stop us from making electric cars.”
Lu Guanqiu, founder of Wanxiang, is talking about his plans to enter the electric car-making business and that he will not bid for Fisker if the price is too high. Regardless from who will pocket the Fisker remains at the upcoming auction, Wanxiang said it will work on its relationship to Tesla.
“It’s easier to sell our buses and cars to Sao Paulo, California or Israel than in Beijing and Shanghai, and those places have better air than China. It’s disheartening as a Chinese to see how local interests are holding back the adoption of electric vehicles.”
Stella Li, senior vice president of BYD, complains about Shanghai after the company failed to receive incentives from the city’s latest air pollution initiative. Despite its offerings of free trials, it failed because the city favoured local companies, BYD said.
E-Bikes in the U.S., Controlled EV charging.
Study tip I: Have you always wondered why people in the U.S. would rather use electric bicycles? You might want to read the e-bike study undertaken by ORTREC at Portland State University to find out.
ecycleelectric.com, transportation.research.pdx.edu (Study)
Study tip II: In this Carnegie Mellon University study researchers found out that controlled EV charging in accordance with grid demands could help cutting electricity costs by 50%. But EVs also might drive up prices if they are charged during times of peak demand.
cmu.edu, greencarcongress.com, sciencedirect.com (Study)
Terra Motors, Formula E, Infineon, Tesla, Arcimoto.
Welcome to a new edition of “electrive.com today”, the fresh industry service for electric mobility – made in Germany! Our newsletter is published every workday, delivering you all the latest global emobility news – short, to the point, and free of charge. Here are today’s top stories and innovations:
– Brands + News –
Premium e-motorbike: Terra Motors will present its Terra Kiwami at the Auto Expo in India. All we know is that Kiwami means ‘Extreme’ in Japanese and it will be a ‘premium’ motorbike. Terra Motors is best known for its A4000i electric scooter, which turns the riders’ iPhone into a dashboard screen to display details such as the speed, charge status and range.
Formula E to build HQ in UK: The electric racing series has started constructions on its new premises close to Donington Park Racing Circuit. From May this year, facilities for each of the ten Formula E teams, together with offices, stores and workshops for about 150 Formula E employees will spread across an area of 44,000 ft² (4,088 m²).
Infineon eyes e-mobility: Jochen Hanebec, responsible for the automotive division at Infineon, predicts that profits from semiconductors used in electric cars could increase by factor ten until 2020. However, this would require the electric mobility to have its breakthrough. EVs like the BMW i3 are already using almost double as much chip and conductor technology than regular vehicles.
faz.net (In German), techfieber.de (In German)
Much ado about less: Contrary to what ‘China Car Times’ reported yesterday, Tesla will not charge its fans in China an extra-high price. Instead, the Model S with 85 kWh will start from 734,000 yuan (121,400 dollars) and is therefore rather competitively priced.
teslamotors.com, hybridcars.com, chinacartimes.com
Arcimoto e-trike: The Oregon-based start-up has been around since 2009 and just recently updated its electric trike. The new Arcimoto has an alloy chassis, is build on a modular platform and will feature a swappable battery pack.
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DoE, Samsung, EnergyBus, London, MEET.
50 million dollar fund: U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) will spend further 50 million dollar to help carmakers meet its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and emissions standards. The new funding includes automotive suppliers in the programme and also reaches out to lightweight solutions as well as EV and semi conductor companies.
cleantechnica.com, energy.gov, transportevolved.com
Stabilising electrolyte: Resarchers from Samsung’s Energy Lab in South Korea, found a new electrolyte system more suitable with lithium metal anodes. The study tested different electrolyte compositions by combining simulations, model-based experiments, and in-situ analyses. In addition, the Samsung SDI devision has signed an agreement to build an electric car battery factory in China by 2015.
greencarcongress.com, nature.com (Report), reuters.com (Battery factory)
E-Bike standard underway: The EnergyBus organisation has issued version 2.0 of the CiA 454 CANopen/EnergyBus protocol which strives to implement a standard for the communication between LEV components. The EnergyBus protocol serves as starting point for the work of the IEC and ISO, which could publish a pre-standard already this summer.
Low carb research in London: Imperial College London and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) have opened the new ‘UTM Centre of Low Carbon Transport.’ There, researchers from the UK and Malaysia will work on developing more fuel efficient engines and lighter cars as well as looking into electric and hybrid drivetrain technologies.
Battery 2nd-use scenarios: The MEET battery research institute of the University of Münster, Germany, has started the ‘EOL-IS’ (End-Of-Life Solutions for eCar batteries) project, which will receive more than 2 million euros (2.7m dollars) in funding until the end of 2016. Together with car makers, recycling providers and energy consultants, the researchers aim to develop software which will be able to determine the best re-utilisation for a battery.
uni-muenster.de (In German), emobilitaetonline.de (In German)
Elon Musk, Michael O'Brien.
“We do expect more sales in Asia than any other part of the world just by virtue of population and economy.”
The ‘Huffington Post’ launched ‘World Post’ to publish opinions of prominent leaders in their field. Here, they spoke with Elon Musk, who mainly elaborates on his HyperLoop idea but did mention his high hopes for Tesla in Asia.
“The range and refuelling speed of our Tucson Fuel Cell is superior to the range and charging limitations of competing battery-electric vehicles.”
In an ‘Autoweek’ interview, Hyundai vice president of corporate and product planning, Michael O’Brien is highlighting the benefits for the customer deriving from the use of a fuel-cell vehicle. He is convinced that the fuel-cell technology will help to increase the adoption rate of zero-emissions vehicles, so that everybody will receive the environmental benefits.
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Fully Charged, Michael Lynch.
Video tip: For the testing of the Zero S electric motorcycle, Fully Charged got a mysterious guest rider in pink to tame the “powerful beast” that has 54 hp.
Reading tip: In the first part of his H2 series (we reported), Michael Lynch questioned the effectiveness of California’s fuel cell commitment. In part 2 and 3, Lynch casts doubts on the technology itself and makes a stand for battery-electric transport.
forbes.com (Pt. 2), forbes.com (Pt. 3)
FAW-Volkswagen, Renault, Tesla, New PHEVs.
VW CrossBlue made in China: Zhang Pijie, General Manager of the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture, confirmed that it will produce the seven-seater from 2017. However, the Chinese will not build the plug-in hybrid version of the CrossBlue.
Mysterious Renault concept: The French carmaker announced to debut a new concept car at the Auto Expo in India next month. Renault has not leaked any details yet, but it might very well be a pre-preview of a new plug-in hybrid.
indianautosblog.com (Auto Expo), autoexpress.co.uk (Plug-in hybrid)
Model S to be costly in China: Tesla will ask for 1.2 million yuan (198,000 dollars) from Chinese Model S buyers – almost twice as much as in the U.S. (94,570 dollars). The price is due to high import taxes and the need to “earn extra money”. With one showroom in Beijing and another planned for Shanghai, ‘Tesila’ sales will officially start in June.
New hybrids by 2015 and beyond: This year, a wave of new PHEVs is expected to flood the U.S. but rumours of future models are already swirling around in the internet. Brad Berman fished out 8 to 10 new plug-ins, which are likely to hit the states from next year.
As of this writing, Future Motion collected 344,232 dollars on Kickstarter for its electric ‘Onewheel’ and still has another three days to go. Initially, the company only pledged for 100,000 dollars to bring its self-balancing board to production. The future seems to be now.
KSPG, FEW, LG Chem, R&D investments, Vampire drain.
Silent and compact REX: German KSPG and FEW are testing a low-noise range extender installed in an electric Fiat 500. The V2-type engine weighs only 62 kilos and fits into the space of a spare tyre. According to German media sources, KSPG expects the range extender to go into serial production within 18 months at a price of less than 2,000 euros (2,700 dollars).
electricvehiclesresearch.com, aachener-zeitung.de (In German)
Separator patented: LG Chem Ltd. obtained a patent for its safety-reinforced separator (SRS) in Europe and Japan. SRS is a key component of li-ion polymer batteries, as it prevents internal short-circuits by using nanoscale ceramic particles. LG Chem already holds SRS patents in the U.S., China and South Korea.
Investing in innovation: Carmakers and their suppliers like Bosch and Continental are increasingly investing in research and development, Boston Consulting found out. VW, GM and Toyota are the three biggest spenders. Expenses concentrate on fuel efficient power trains, lightweight materials, connectivity, and assisted driving.
ft.com, thegreencarwebsite.co.uk, bcg.com
Vampire drain de-mystified: How thirsty is a Tesla really if being left unplugged in a freezing parking lot in the middle of Norway? Bjørn Nyland took the test and after 27 days, his Model S had consumed about 20% of its previous charge of 95%. The car went into hibernation mode to keep only the most essential functions operational.
youtube.com (Video) via transportevolved.com
Helmut Holzapfel, Elon Musk.
“There are one billion vehicles in this world, and they are set to become two, three billion. This is impossible. The continuation of this trend is a problem in our minds.”
Traffic researcher Helmut Holzapfel from Kassel University, Germany, asks the car industry to radically rethink their current focus on products and to concentrate more on services like car sharing.
kfz-betrieb.vogel.de (In German)
“Consider the whole fuel cell system against a Model S. It’s far worse in volume and mass terms, and far, far, worse in cost. And I haven’t even talked about hydrogen being so hard to handle. Success is simply not possible.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk rallies against established carmakers now pushing hydrogen technology. He believes it is just “to show they’re doing something ‘constructive’ about sustainability” while actually trying to avoid working with what is already a reality – electric cars.
Volkswagen, Smart, Changan, GM, Renault.
Meet the Golf GTE: Volkswagen has baptised its first plug-in hybrid. The Golf GTE is scheduled for mid-2014 and is one of the steps towards VW’s aim to become market leader in the electric car segment by 2018. The company has announced to emphasise its electric endeavours in March at its “electrified” event for investors, press and public. For two weeks the former Berlin Tempelhof airfield will become a hub of information on e-mobility made by Volkswagen, including test riding opportunities.
autozeitung.de (In German), volkswagen-media-services.com (In German), telegraph.co.uk (Golf GTE review)
Smartest, smallest, cheapest and the only convertible e-car available in the U.S. Reasons enough for John Voelcker to take the latest version of the Smart ED for a test-ride. He found the drive of the heavier car to be “far smoother” compared to gasoline models and better to handle, too. Only the interior Voelcker rated as “seriously outdated.”
New hybrid for China: Changan Motors will launch its Eado Hybrid to their home market by February. The sedan for 130,000 yuan (21,500 dollars) is positioned against BYD’s Qin, which retails from 180,000 yuan (30,000 dollars).
Luxury leasing: GM released lease prices for the Cadillac ELR. They start at 699 dollars per month with a 6,000 dollar deposit and 39-month leasing term. Miles are limited to 32,500 during the lease period, which breaks down to 10,000 miles per year. While BMW has not confirmed a final price for leasing its i3, a customer received a quote of 930 dollars, with a cap at 12,000 miles a year. Tesla Model S’ lease prices range from 1,100 to 1,250 dollars per month.
green.autoblog.com (Caddy ELR), greencarreports.com (BMW i3), plugincars.com (Comparison)
Renault Twizy re-reviewed: Nikki-Gordon Bloomfield was one of the first to jump on the Twizy-bandwagon but soon discovered it was not a car she “could live with everyday.” However, she has not given up on the Twizy entirely and now found a better use for the little racer: “weekend jollies in the countryside.”
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Europe loves Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV with over 12,000 orders in 2013. 8,197 plug-in hybrids actually got delivered to their customers by the end of the year, with 8,009 of those going to the Netherlands. There, revised tax breaks boosted Mitsubishi sales to 2,736 Outlander PHEVs in December alone, making it the best-selling car in that month. According to electrive.com sources, deliveries in Germany will start in March, two months before its official market launch.
Tesla, UQM, UMTRI.
Winter charging problem: Tesla received numerous complaints from Norwegian Model S drivers having trouble charging. Apparently, the portable UMC (universal mobile connector) does not hold the connection if it gets real cold. Replacement UMCs Tesla sent, did not resolve the issue. The Californians are now trying to adapt their equipment to Norway’s grid.
insideevs.com, teslamotorsclub.com, dagbladet.no (In Norwegian)
Indonesian electric bus: The American UQM Technologies reports that its PowerPhase Pro system is used to drive an all-electric bus in Jakarta. The e-bus by PT Sarimas Ahmadi Pratama is part of the goal of Indonesia’s government to start mass-production of e-cars and e-buses this year.
U.S. consumers less car-keen: A report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found a proportional increase in American households without a car. However, this trend varies greatly between America’s 30 largest cities. New York showed the strongest increase with 56.5% while in San Josè car ownership remained most steady (5.8%).
“We´re about a year away from the first Model X deliveries and probably another three to four months that will be the point at which we do volume production of the Model X.”
Tesla-CEO Elon Musk said that the company is making good progress not only with the Model X but also in its planning for the Giga Factory and the Model E.
video.cnbc.com (Video interview), cnbc.com (Transcript)
Fuel cell vehicles in California, Transport Evolved.
Reading tip: Michael Lynch takes a critical look at California’s latest move to foster fuel cell vehicles. He calls for choosing an ends (less carbon emissions) rather than a means (fuel cells), to see which technology will prove best.
Video tip: For once, we made news ourselves when our colleague Marc Kudling broke the launch of electrive.com to ‘Transport Evolved’. Apart from his appearance, their latest podcast covers electric developments seen at Detroit’s NAIAS.
Renault, Toyota, Kia.
Fluence ZE cancelled: The production of the electric Renault Fluence has been stopped due to low sales. The battery-swap version had already come to a halt in May 2013, following the closing of Better Place. The re-badged version Samsung SM3, sold in South Korea only, remains in production.
Hybrid minivans: Toyota launched redesigned versions of its Noah and Voxy vans in Japan. The hybrid versions are set to follow in February at a price of 2.85 million Yen (27,300 dollars). Both vans feature the Prius hybrid system. The battery is located in the front cabin, leaving more space for cargo in the rear.
Kia Soul EV exposed: A prototype of the upcoming Korean electric car has been spotted with just little camouflage during winter testing. The Soul EV resembles its conventional parent, except for redesigned bumpers and indicators. The electric Kia is expected in Europe and the U.S. later this year at a price of around 22,000 euros (about 29,800 dollars).
Toyota stays cleanest: The Kraftfahrtbundesamt or KBA (Germany’s Federal Motor Vehicle and Transport Authority) ranks the Japanese as the cleanest high-volume manufacturer on the German market. Toyota’s average carbon emissions in 2013 was 121.2 g/km per car, which is 4.7% less than in 2012. The reduction is a result of the increased demand for hybrids (up 41% from 2012) which made up 28% of Toyota’s sales in Germany last year.
auto-medienportal.net (In German)
Nissan Leaf hits milestone.
Nissan’s Leaf is a best-seller with now 100,000 units sold worldwide. It is available in 35 countries with the U.S. being the biggest market. Europe is closing up fast as the electric Nissan topped sales of conventional cars in Norway in October 2013.
DELFIN project, Falling prices for EV batteries.
More service, more EVs: The DELFIN project is a joined effort between the renowned German research institutes KIT, Fraunhofer IAO and RWTH Aachen university. The researchers aim to develop services designed to further the uptake of electric cars. Customer support is one topic, IT services another. Furthermore, the conglomerate is working on a forecast of future market trends. The project is part of the “Dienstleistungsinnovationen für Elektromobilität” (Innovations in services for e-mobility) initiative funded by the German ministry of education and research.
idw-online.de (In German), emobility-services.com (Project’s webpage in German)
Disruptive price drop: The editors from Cleantechnica.com bolster up the much discussed article of ABB’s director of e-mobility, Hans Streng, with more facts, figures and opinions collected online. Streng’s original piece describes falling prices for EV batteries and predicts this trend as continuous and exponential, thus having enormous effects on the EV market in the near future.
Mike Tinskey, Shiro Nakamura, Ulrich Hackenberg.
“Ford believes that offering a range of electrified vehicles is the best way to reduce CO2 emissions, deliver leading fuel economy across our lineup and meet different customers’ transportation needs. To do this, we are electrifying global vehicle lines rather than creating a single, special electrified vehicle model.”
Mike Tinskey is Ford’s director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. He finally came round to publish a response to Tesla’s provocative thesis, which stated that big car companies were too rigid to make a smooth transition to EVs.
“It’s not just at the concept level. We are making serious progress with in-wheel motors; cost is becoming less of an issue, and at a certain point we would like to use in-wheel motors.”
Nissan’s Head of Design, Shiro Nakamura, on the possibility of in-wheel motors for new electric vehicles, which he believes to become a USP in the future.
“Instead of 215 kilometres, technical innovation will enable us to hit the 400-kilometre mark. Furthermore, battery prices are falling.”
Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s chief-developer, on the hybrid super-car R8 e-tron, which will most probably go into small scale production after all.
welt.de (In German)