Battery train, Formula E, Solar Forest, TU Delft.
Britain’s 1st battery-electric train: Network Rail is currently testing an battery-powered Abellio Greater Anglia Class 379, which is usually fed via overhead lines. Bombardier has now retrofitted the train with battery packs to see if these could enable it to run on routes without overhead power lines.
Formula E charges wireless: At least the safety cars do as Qualcomm delivers its inductive charging technology for two BMW i3 and two i8. So far, only one i3 is ready to charge without a wire but the other three will be made fit to charge inductively soon.
Recharge under a tree: Designer Neville Mars has come up with the idea of a ‘Solar Forest,’ where every “tree” charges an EV and provides shade at the same time. The charging stations are powered by leaf-like solar canopies that follow the path of the sun.
Fuel cell racer: Student’s at the TU Delft are testing the sixth iteration of the Forze, a hydrogen powered lightweight race car that can go from 0 to 100 kph in less than four seconds and onwards to a top speed of 210 kph. The 100-kW fuel cell is supported by a supercapacitor that adds another 90 kW of power.
autoevolution.com (with video)
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Wednesday was the new anti-Tesla conspiracy featuring the “toxic tesla crime-mobile” in our Short Circuit section.
Smart USA, Lars van der Wansem.
That is all you need to text in San Francisco today to get picked up a by smart ED and driven to any location you want. The latest campaign of Smart USA is aimed at the tech-savvy users of the Yo app and to show how easy it is to park the smart in cities like San Francisco.
“It’s really exploded the last six or seven years. The Netherlands, Denmark, the north of Germany is at the forefront.”
Lars van der Wansem, product manager of ‘Bike Europe’ magazine, on the surging e-bike sales in Europe.
– ADVERTISEMENT –
BMW i3 REx review, Chevrolet Citation IV concept.
Reading tip: Mr. C. Nicholson is well-versed in the EV world as he previously owned a Chevy Volt and a Ford Fusion Energy. He exchanged those for a German car and is now driving the BMW i3 REx. Obviously, he was not shy to compare it to the Volt.
Click tip: Take a look back, way before even the EV1, as before that car there was the Chevrolet Citation IV concept in 1984 and that is where the EV1 got its styling from.
Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW, Urban Glider, Ford.
Golf to borrow from XL1: Again it is Autocar leaking news from Volkswagen. Apparently, the next generation Golf will come with aerodynamic improvements first tested on the XL1. Flywheel technology as well as electric turbochargers are also being discussed, the inside source said.
There might be no more tax rebate for Tesla when its Model 3 comes out. The IRS, revenue service in the U.S., has capped its 7,500-dollar incentive at 200,000 units per manufacturer. If Tesla stays within its production plan, 75,000 electric cars will be build next year, followed by another 100,000 the year after so when the economy class Tesla enters the market, the rebate credit would be as good as gone.
First impression BMW i3: Consumer Reports has now taken delivery of its range extended electric BMW after a nine months wait. While real testing has yet to start, first impressions add up to a “quirky” car with a ride that is a bit “stiff” and an extender engine that resorts to a “rough thrum” at certain speeds.
Electric unicycle: The ‘Urban Glider’ was looking for backers on Kickstarter but stopped 20,000 dollars short of its 75,000-dollar funding goal. It seems that Inventist, maker of the Solowheel, sees its patents violated and may consider taking legal actions.
autoevolution.com, kickstarter.com (campaign video), google.com (patent)
Review Ford Fusion: The Fusion Energi gives Jerry Kronenberg hope for the American car industry. He calls the plug-in the “ultra-green” sibling of the regular hybrid Ford and is impressed by its 19-mile electric range, but also by the rather high price.
– ADVERTISEMENT –
LG Chem & Audi, Samsung SDI, POSCO, ORNL.
German-Korean battery deal: LG Chem will start to supply batteries for Audi’s plug-in and micro hybrid vehicles, says the battery maker. No further details have been released, except that the deal is “worth hundreds of millions of dollars”. LG Chem now supplies batteries to 20 customers worldwide.
New Samsung SDI facility: The battery maker has started building its new production facility in China where cells for EVs will be made. An investment of 600 million dollars shall return 40,000 batteries annually for Samsung with production set to start this October.
Lithium extraction facility: POSCO is building a large demo plant in Argentina to showcase its latest lithium extraction technology. The facility is being shipped in parts from Chile. The mining company mentioned growing demand from electric carmakers as one reason for expanding its operations.
A 100-mile range is enough: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory tells drivers and makers of EVs in its latest study, to not expect more than a 100-mile range to keep costs at an affordable level. At least until battery prices have fallen to less than 100 dollars per kWh.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Tuesday was the news about the electric revival of Spanish Loryc and its Electric Speedster.
Li Shufu, Jim Wunderman.
“It’s best if it’s completely open, like in the United States and Europe. Whoever wants to produce cars can do it.”
Geely CEO, Li Shufu, is urging the Chinese government to deregulate the market, saying it would be “fair” and might help the industry to “develop better.”
“We urge Tesla to build this plant in its home state. We urge the legislature and the governor to step out of their comfort zones to make this happen in California.”
Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, is practically begging politicians to do whatever is in their power to bring the Gigafactory “home.”
Eurobike preview, How EPA determines EV range.
Reading tip: This year’s Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will be dominated by electric bikes in all shapes and sizes with multiple systems and uses. This article is just the start…
Reading tip: If you ever wondered how the EPA actually determines EV range, look no further. Even though the Multi-Cycle Test (MCT) procedure for electric cars only delivers an estimate – it mostly is a pretty good one.
– ADVERTISEMENT –
Saleen, McLaren, Volkswagen, Acura, BMW, Honda.
Tuned Model S presented: Saleen has unveiled its ‘FourSixteen’ as promised. This altered Model S looks even more sportive, features an optimised gear box, stronger brakes and better cooling. Pricing starts at 152,000 Dollar while all upgrades are available to retrofit any Model S individually.
Most exclusive super hybrid: McLaren presented the design of its P1 GTR at Pebble Beach. This super hybrid costs almost two million pounds (3.34m dollars) and will only be build 30 times. Exclusively reserved for previous P1 customers, the 1,000-hp car is to be driven on race courses.
Will there be an VW XL2? Volkswagen is working on a four-seat model based on its super efficient XL1, Autocar reports. What would possibly called the XL2 might already hit the market by 2015 and is said to come with more battery capacity and power while still being as efficient as the original two-seater.
Delayed Acura coming soon: Honda’s subsidiary initially planned to release its RLX Hybrid sedan already this spring. Technical issues concerning the battery and electric motor have now been solved and sales are set to start very soon. The drivetrain is similar to that of the upcoming NSX of which a prototype had recently burned down at the Nürnburgring (we reported).
BMW delivers first i8: At the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, the German carmaker has handed over the first units of its hybrid sports car to its American customers. A total of seven production i8s were delivered to an exclusive circle of owners.
The Honda Accord Hybrid is in short supply in the States, where dealers and customers currently do not know when they can get their hybrid car. According to the carmaker, the Ohio-based production of the hybrid Honda is suffering from “component supply constraints.”
PEV production in China.
In China 5,799 EVs and plug-in hybrids were produced in July alone, ten times more than in the same month last year. Accumulating the first seven months of 2014, this is 280 percent more EVs than in the same period of 2013. Looks like the incentives seem to work.
Loryc, Venturi, Google, AMP.
Really retro: German entrepreneur Charly Bosch is reviving the Loryc, a car that was build on the Spanish island Mallorca in 1920. His rebuild will feature an electric motor while the design will basically remain untouched. The first Loryc Electric Speedster is said to be unveiled in spring 2015 already.
Venturi ventures out again: And this time its eyes are fixed on the 400-mph mark. The Monaco-based company aims to set a new FIA electric world speed record with its VBB-3. Its four wheel drive delivers 2,200 kW of power and a total torque of up to 2,800 Nm.
Autonomous driving: Paul Ingrassia from Drive had the chance to be a passenger on board of Google’s autonomously driving Lexus RX 450h for a 25-minute test ride. He finds “the most remarkable thing about Google’s driverless car is that it is utterly unremarkable.”
Electric lorry approved: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the ‘Workhorse E-Gen’ by AMP. The electric truck has a small range extender that only works in park-mode. It enabled the company to downsize the battery thus bringing down the price of the E-gen to a competitive level.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Monday was the report on Copenhagen’s Tesla taxi, which could not meet expectations after almost one year in service.
– ADVERTISEMENT –
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Joan Ogden, Guy Hall.
“A Rolls-Royce can’t be a compromise.”
Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös is dampening expectations that we could see an all-electric RR anytime soon as it is at least five years away and would certainly come with inductive charging technology.
“The next three to four years will be critical for determining whether hydrogen vehicles are just a few years behind electric vehicles, rather than decades.”
Dr. Joan Ogden, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the UC Davis, on his latest study that predicts a “hydrogen transition” soon to come. The research has been contested because of its optimistic suppositions (we reported).
“Charging slows you down to take a break. I’ve met some marvellously nice people here.”
Guy Hall, chairman of the Sacramento EV Association, who drove his Model S from Mexico to Alaska in 17 days. Still, it seems as if he had plenty of time along the way. He now hopes to turn his route into a challenge – so no long breaks this time.
Renault Zoe trip in Ireland, BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance edition.
Reading tip: For a change, this coast to coast trip has not been made in a Tesla and has not crossed the USA. Instead, Eddie Cunningham drove a Renault Zoe from Dublin to Galway and back. In Ireland, charging does appear to be a bit more adventurous than in the supercharged States.
Click tip: BMW’s special edition of the i8 has been auctioned off for 825,000 dollars at the Concours d’ Elegance at Pebble Beach this weekend. That is about six times the asking prices but guarantees the buyer a “one-of-a-kind” hybrid super car.
Renovo, U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors, Tesla.
Renovo Coupé revealed at Pebble Beach: Powered by a 500 hp electric motor, the sports car can go from 0 to 100 kph in just 3.4 seconds. Its body is that of a Shelby SCX9000 Daytona. It has a top speed of 193 kph and a 100-mile range. The EV will go into limited production in the U.S. next year, with initial sales targeted for California.
green.autoblog.com, electricautosport.com , vimeo.com (Video)
U.S. sponsors fuel-efficiency research: The U.S. Department of Energy will award a total of 55 million dollars to 31 research projects of plug-in and fuel-efficient technologies. The largest single award (10m dollars) goes to further developing the Gasoline Direct-Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) technology from Delphi. But nine projects concern the use of Li-ion batteries.
After Volt comes Bolt? GM has filled a trademark application for the name, though what will become of it is still a unknown. Hybrid Cars says it has seen reports that the Bolt would be a cheaper version of the Chevy Volt, featuring a smaller battery pack. If a Chevy Bolt will ever roll of production line remains to be seen.
Tesla upgrades warranty: Just like the EV’s battery pack, the drivetrain of the Tesla Model S is now covered by an eight-year ‘infinite mileage’ warranty. Moreover, it applies not only to new models, but retroactively to all Model S. How customers who already paid for an extended warranty will benefit from the upgrade is still in the works.
– ADVERTISEMENT –
Hydrogen fueling price.
A mere 7 dollars is what people will spend on a tank full of hydrogen in 5 to 12 years’ time, a study by the University of California, Davis (UCD) concludes. The reason, they say, are the planned investments in infrastructure as high as one billion dollars, as well the increasing number of fuel cell vehicles on the roads.
greencarcongress.com, ucdavis.edu (Study)
RunWise, Polestar, EcoCAR3, Elco Motor Yachts.
Hydraulic-hybrid rubbish truck: RunWise is the first lorry of its kind. It features a series hybrid system, able to use hydraulic pressure to power the vehicle. While the engine charges the high-pressure hydraulic system when driving, the lorry will then collect the garbage at your home almost silently.
Optimising the Volvo V60 D6: Polestar, the Volvo tuning company, developed an upgrade for the plug-in hybrid, increasing power output by 15 hp to 298 hp and 670 Nm, making it the most powerful Volvo diesel car out there. Unfortunately, it is the combustion engine that is upgraded, not the electric motor.
Hybridising the Chevy Camaro: As part of the third edition of the ecoCAR challenge, GM and the U.S. DOE will hand a Chevrolet Camaro to each of the 16 participating universities. The goal is to implement an electric-hybrid system without having to alter the design or performance of the iconic vehicle.
Introducing Elco Motor Yachts: The New York-based company used to build electric- and gasoline-powered ships in the first half of the century, and now focuses on providing electric drivetrains for marine use, suitable for yachts of up to 50 feet long. A smart move, considering that market for electric boats is expected to grow 150% between 2013 and 2023.
Mark Reuss, Dan Galves, Shreyas Patil.
“People like to say the ELR is [competition for the Model S], but it’s really not. It’s a different car, it’s a different price point. It’s way-different technology.”
Mark Reuss, GM’s head of global product development, has to admit that former GM CEO Dan Akerson was wrong assuming that it would be easy to compete with Tesla.
“We believe that Tesla has already proven that EVs are inherently better, although most industry observers, and certainly the general public, don’t know it yet.”
Credit Suisse’s Dan Galves and Shreyas Patil have come to the conclusion that the market fight between EVs and petrol cars will not be a fair one, because the technologies are worlds apart.
German showcase regions, Tesla Model S road trip.
Click tip: Germany’s Transportation Ministry has launched its new website, introducing showcase regions and projects concerning electric mobility in the country. And, it is available in English.
schaufenster-elektromobilitaet.org (Showcase regions)
Video tip: In this edition of Fully Charged, Robert Llewellyn continues his road trip across the country in a Tesla Model S. This time he focuses on cost. Not of the EV itself, but charging it. A point, no one can disagree, speaks 100 percent for going electric.
Saleen, Tesla, Toyota, NEVS, Riese & Müller, Mitsubishi.
Showtime for Saleen: The carmaker will present its EV ‘Foursixteen’ this Sunday at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is Saleen’s first all-electric vehicle project and it is based on the Tesla Model S. No detailed information or technical specs have been released at this point, though the specialty manufacturer of high performance vehicles did promise more details and pictures ahead of the launch.
Difficult relationship: According to Bloomberg, engineers of Tesla and Toyota were unable to work together and even clashing over minor details, such as the parking brake of the RAV4 EV. Tesla and Toyota co-developed the electric SUV, but it was anything but a sales hit. The Japanese are now focusing on fuel cells, a technology Elon Musk apparently “ridicules.”
Saab escapes bankruptcy: Chinese company NEVS, which had bought the car brand, stopped its already limited production, saying it was unable to pay suppliers (we reported). Now, the supplier who had filed a petition trying to force NEVS to declare bankruptcy will withdraw that request.
Riese & Müller search fountain of youth: With a new design strategy for their e-bike ‘Culture,’ the German e-bike manufacturer hopes to target a younger clientele. The pedelec will be available in four categories and feature the Bosch Active Cruise system.
Testing the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: Carsguide seem to like the plug-in hybrid SUV and technology behind it, but wish for more ways to engage the driver. Since all systems are interconnected, he or she becomes “less of a driver and more of a machine operator.”
Longest electric bicycle journey.
A family trip over 6,000 miles is one thing but taking two kids on electric bicycles to travel over six months from Montana to Maine, then south to Florida is truly exceptional. It is an attempt at breaking a world record and the self-proclaimed ‘Camper Clan’ is making sure to film it all.
Proton Motors, Schaeffler, Carbon fibres, ZeroTruck.
Fuel cell range-extender: The 25 kW fuel cell system HyRange 25 FC can power buses, as well as light and heavy duty vehicles. But Proton Motors hopes to mainly use it as a range extender for EVs. The modular system is based on Proton Motor’s PM400 fuel cell stack and can be combined to 50 and 75 kW configurations.
Automatic pedelec gear shift: Schaeffler will present its Fag-Velomatic for (e-) bikes at the Eurobike show. The transmission comes with the Velodaptic app that gathers GPS and performance data. The FAG-Velomatic measures cadence, force, speed and gradient for shifting, while cyclists can also adapt their profile via the app.
Talking carbon: According to Reuters, South Korea’s GS Caltex wants to meet with Tesla, which has entertained the idea of using carbon fibres for some time now. Meanwhile, a study by the German army (Bundeswehr) reports that fumes emitted by burning carbon fibres (i.e. when in a crash) could cause cancer.
reuters.com (Tesla), ndr.de (Bundeswehr)
Electric truck conversion: ZeroTruck is converting medium-duty trucks. The company’s Electric Drive Integration System (EDIS) is funded by the California Energy Commission but has been in operation since 2010. The system has a top speed of 70 mph and a range of up to 80 miles.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Thursday was the 200-dollar electric bicycle made from scrap in Mumbai.
Bob Carter, Naveen Rabelli.
“In short, of all the advanced powertrain systems we have in our portfolio, we see hydrogen fuel cells as being THE no-compromise, primary-option vehicle for the next 100 years.”
Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales’ senior vice president, seems never tired of getting his point for fuel cell vehicles across as Toyota is most obviously pushing its technology of choice with all its strength.
“It will be a long journey, but this can have an effect on the whole world.”
It will be a long journey indeed, we’d like to add, as Naveen Rabelli is attempting to go all the 6,000 miles from Bangalore to London in a self-made, solar-powered, electric tuk-tuk called Tejas, Sanskrit for ‘radiance.’ Safe travels, Naveen!
Electric Motorcycles and Three Wheelers, Formula E, Webcast.
Research tip: A new study from IDTechEx is tellingly called “Electric Motorcycles and Three Wheel Electric Vehicles 2015-2025.” It predicts a market volume of 10.5 billion dollars by 2025 for these vehicles, including electric rickshaws and tuk-tuks.
Video tip: The Formula E is gearing up for its first race in Beijing with a TV spot called “Drive the future.” It features rather dystopian images and a child’s voice claiming back the cities as “ours.”
Event for the upcoming week: Webcast “Accelerating Electric-Vehicle Battery Development and Advanced Simulation” (August 21st)
You can find a complete list of upcoming industry events at electrive.com/calendar
GM, Hero Electric, Brammo, BMW, Audi, Chevy Volt.
The Chevy Volt prove exceptional once more, as it is the only (!) model that has not had to be recalled by General Motors this year. The American company has had to admit safety issues with almost its entire range, forcing them to recall tens of millions of cars.
autonews.com via greencarreports.com
Low cost e-scooter for India: Hero Electric presented its latest electric scooter, the Photon, designed for the Indian market. It has a top speed of 45 kph and a said range of 80 kilometres. The Photon is priced at 54,110 rupees, that is less than 900 dollars, and will first be available in five cities across India.
Brammo in Australia: ELMOFO (Electro Motive Force) has been appointed the importer and distributor for the electric motorcycles of Brammo in Australia. The company not only supplies but also designs and builds electric vehicles and EV components.
Canadian i3 review: “Electric. Eclectic. Edgy i3. Goes fast. But not far,” is the short version of Kathy Renwald’s review of the BMW i3. However, she got much more to say as Renwald also gives details about the pricing for the Canadian market.
Audi A3 e-tron: EV Fleetworld‘s Danny Coobs is looking at the Audi A e-tron’s suitability for fleets. Although the carmaker took its time to arrive in the plug-in market, Cobbs thinks “perhaps now is the time when the consensus of opinion will favour this type of drivetrain,” esp. as his verdict puts the e-tron above all other plug-in hybrids on the market.
Will Volt become a family? The new generation Volt is already loaded with expectation. It seems, however, as if they not all point in one direction but could give an indication that GM is planning a whole range of Volt models, similar to Toyota’s Prius, Transport Evolved muses.
Mazda, Stanford University, Volvo, BYD.
Mazda with diesel hybrids? Apparently, Mazda is planning to launch diesel hybrids in its domestic as well as European markets, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reports. So far the carmaker only has the Mazda 3 with Toyota’s hybrid technology on offer and has been experimenting with rotary engine hybrids.
Improved separator: Researchers from Stanford University’s Cui Group were able to increase the capacity and cycling stability of lithium-sulphur (Li-S) batteries. Their idea was to apply a thin coating on the separator to prevent the inactive sulphur-related species layer from forming.
T-easer Volvo XC90: The Swedes new SUV will come with striking t-shaped LED daytime lights that took inspiration from Thor’s hammer, says Volvo. The XC90 will be Volvo’s first model built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which maximises freedom for development. On Augusts 27th, the new SUV will officially be presented in Stockholm.
Manganese cathodes: Apparently BYD plans to produce new high-energy batteries for the use in its electric vehicles as early as next year. To achieve better energy density, the Chinese battery maker will add manganese to its lithium iron phosphate cathode material. This could mean a 10 to 15% increase of range.
metal.com via greencarcongress.com
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Wednesday was the video of the kite-driven Volkswagen E-Up, putting a new meaning to EV sailing mode.
Bob Carter, Ferdinand Dudenhöffer.
“Today, we’re on the cusp of the automotive hydrogen age… so this is the chance to get in the ground floor on what we strongly believe will be the car of the Future.”
And the future is hydrogen for Bob Carter, Toyota Motor Sales’ senior vice president, who sees FCVs to become the car of choice for “the next 100 years.”
“Merkel might have just as easily said that we would have 100,000 cars driving on the moon by 2020.”
Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, often referred to as Germany’s EV expert, once more speaks out against the governments policies to foster EVs. In his eyes, those policies are way to hesitant and not sufficient to reach the government’s goal to have one million electric cars on German roads by 2020.
Deloitte University, EV prices.
Research tip: Deloitte University published their study on mobility, which had 23,000 participant in 19 different countries. Surprisingly enough, the younger generation (20-37 years) is the one most keen on comfort thus often opting for hybrids but without a plug.
Reading tip: Jordan Golson reasons why it is cheaper to lease an electric car rather than buying a used one. The argument takes two corners as it is tax rebates that makes new EVs cheaper, first to the leasing company which then passes on the lower price to the lessee.
NEVS, Nissan, Lexus, VW, Tesla, BMW.
NEVS bankrupt? Because the Chinese investors behind Swedish Saab are not able to pay supplier bills, most of their workers currently have to stay at home instead of building electric cars. According to just-auto, NEVS might be in negotiations with Mahindra and Dongfeng as potential investors.
Nissan Z with hybrid power? In 2017, Nissan might bring a successor of its sportcoupé 370Z, Australian Motoring reports. Apparently, the new model would be named Z35, feature Mercedes engines (2.0 and 3.0 litres) which will most probably be supported by electric motors.
Lexus NX is in production: The new SUV of Toyota’s luxury subsidiary is rolling off the production line in the Japanese Miyawaka facility. The company said it already has received about 6,500 orders for the Lexus. In Japan, the NX is offered with combustion engine but also as the hybrid NX 300h.
VW E-Up review: Faye Sunderland is full of praise for the “plucky little e-up!” as she fondly calls Volkswagen’s smallest EV. As with the electric Golf, the E-Up is based on an existing model but Sunderland does not think it takes away from its EV feel at all. The only faults she finds is range and price.
Tesla dealing in emissions: According to a emission regulations, Swiss car importers will have to lower the carbon emissions of their fleet to 130 g per km per vehicle by 2015. Now Tesla wants to capitalise on it, offering to trade in its CO2 certificates. So far, at least Hyundai Suisse is showing interest in the deal.
bernerzeitung.ch (in German)
Tesla vs BMW: One thing the Model S 85 and the i8 have in common is that they are “at the pointy end of the price pyramid,” as Frank Markus in his comparison duly notes. And while he had plenty of time to accommodate to the Tesla in a long-term test, it is BMW’s hybrid that holds the “racy/spacey” revelation. The Californian however, is the true “revolution.”