Airbus & partners develop hybrid aircraft EcoPulse
Airbus, Safran and Daher have developed a business aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion and scheduled the demo model’s maiden flight to take place in three years. This consortium is taking a different path than Ampaire with its hybrid aircraft though.
Japan aims to take off with flying cars
The Japanese government is working on founding an industry consortium to realise electrified flying car technology. A total of 21 companies are said to be involved, including Uber, Airbus and Boeing.
100-seater hybrid aircraft to take-off in 2020
Airbus, Siemens and Rolls Royce announce a hybrid airplane ready to take-off in 2020, thus bringing the dream of electric flying in close proximity. The E-Fan X will fly regional routes first and serve to propel electric aviation.
Boeing, Zunum Aero, Airbus, Purdue University.
Boeing bets on flying cabs: The U.S. planemaker has acquired Aurora Flight Sciences that has last been on the news with its VTOL sponsored by the Pentagon and also for working with Uber Elevate. The firm has been advancing autonomous flying capabilities since 1989. The acquisition has yet to be approved by the U.S. Defense Department as it includes the transfer of Aurora’s novel technologies.
And Boeing backs another high flyer in Zunum Aero, a company working on a small hybrid airplane due by 2022. Using two electric motors and an engine, Zunum says its commuter aircraft can carry up to 12 passengers at speeds of 550 kph on trips of under 1,600 km. Once battery technology advances by the end of the decade though, Zunum Aero wants to offer planes for up to 50 people flying ever further.
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Wallbox launches a new charging system at EVS30 that interacts with you, Copper: Among several new features of existing products, Wallbox is presenting at the EVS30 for the first time their most innovative charger, Copper, which includes Facial Recognition and Sense Technology. Come and see the Copper at the EVS30, Hall 1, Booth G31.
Across the pond, Airbus has been busy to move into electric airspace for some time already and says its all-electric CityAirbus is ready to start real world tests before the end of 2018. Testing the electric propulsion system has been concluded successfully and so soon, the 4-person plane may zigzag the sky at 120 kph and can also start and land vertically.
Smarter converters: Researchers from Purdue University researchers have come up with a smaller, more efficient drive system for hybrid and electric vehicles. They designed an improved power inverter that can be used to convert direct current electricity into alternating current to power a motor.
Skeleton Technologies, SK Innovation, Airbus, Asahi Kasei.
Ultracap cells made in Germany: Skeleton Technologies has opened a large factory in Saxonia, close to Dresden, where the firm plans to make 4m ultracapacitor cells a year. Skeleton’s supercaps base on graphene and provide over 1m charge/discharge cycles according to the company. For the facility, 6.2m euro investment was made by the young firm, supplemented by federal and state funds from a programme to improve the regional economic structure (GRW).
Battery business shut down: Korean SK Innovation has halted the lines at its battery facility in Beijing due to China’s protective measures. The policies that exclude batteries from subsidies if they use nickel-manganese-cobalt (NCM) or parts from non-Chinese makers like most Korean producers do, has led to a rapid decline in orders. SK Innovation is now looking to “build a joint venture to produce battery cells with Chinese partner companies,” a SK official said.
Crushed dreams: Airbus has faltered at the challenge to fly all-electrically and says it will switch its small E-Fan electric plane to hybrid propulsion instead. The new development project is titled E-Fan X and promises more range – obviously – but way less fancy. Initially, the plane maker wanted to build 100 small electric aircrafts for training purposes and had already sent the E-Fan across the English channel.
aero.de (in German), lefigaro.fr (in French)
Demand has increased for separators used in Li-ion batteries made by Asahi Kasei in Japan. The chemical company said it will grow production capacity by 30 percent with an investment of 11m yen until 2019. Asahi Kasei claims rising sales of electric and hybrid vehicles to be responsible for its growth.
Airbus, Italdesign, Scilla, XPAND, Goodyear.
Airbus and Italdesign popped up quite literally in Geneva, where the two show a concept that is both car and drone for up to two passengers. The Pop.Up is self-driving, or self-flying, once the little capsule is propped upon or underneath respective power modules for electric air and ground transport. Control is left to artificial intelligence and Airbus believes that commercial applications for what it calls “urban air mobility” could emerge in as little as ten years – if a few regulatory hurdles can be jumped.
autonews.com, airbusgroup.com, youtube.com
The next EV too has design roots in Italy and while it looks as if it could take off at any minute, the Scilla is made for the road. It is in fact closer to the ground than a Ferrari 488 and was conceived by students at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Turin, Pininfarina and the editors of Quattroruote magazine. Its got four in-wheel electric motors and shall sit two but earliest in 2030 as for now it is just a concept.
carscoops.com, quattroruote.it (in Italian, with video)
Scalable battery solution: Kokam launched the XPAND battery pack, suitable for all sorts of commercial and industrial electric vehicle applications, be it a bus, tram or ship. The XPAND will come with either 7.1 kWh or 11.4 kWh and both versions are scalable.
Smart tire: Goodyear unveiled the IntelliGrip Urban, a concept tire designed with autonomous electric ride-sharing vehicles in urban areas in mind. The tire senses road and weather conditions, which it sends to the vehicle so the car may adjust speed, braking, handling and stability.
Vanda Electrics, Airbus, Nikola Motor, Mayflower.
Giving a glimpse: Vanda Electrics from Singapore is showing first teaser images of its electric sports car, developed together with Williams Advanced Engineering. The Dendrobium will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. As reported, the company plans a small production series of 10 to 20 units in 2018.
Flying taxi: Airbus CEO Tom Enders confirmed that first test flights with the all-electric and autonomous Vahana (we reported) are scheduled for this year. Next to the single-seat flying taxi, Airbus also plans on setting up a drone delivery service called Skyways and at a later date, the flying taxis service CityAirbus that can carry more than one person and will also be all-electric and autonomous.
Nikola Motor update: The first 5,000 units of the fuel cell truck will be built by company Fitzgerald Glider Kits in Tennessee. Thompson Machinery and Ryder Systems will be in charge of sales and distribution. Meanwhile, Nikola Motor wants to invest 1bn dollars in a new research and development centre, as well as its own production line that could churn out 50,000 fuel cell trucks per year. Nikola says it will pick a location by mid-2018.
Futuristic celebration of the past: For the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing the Atlantic, another vessel will set sail from Plymouth to New England in 2020. Only this one will be fully autonomously and will get its energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydrogen.
EV sales in the UK.
All-electric cars had a tough month in November, with registrations dropping 22.4 percent compared to last year. Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, had a good month. A total of 1,905 units rolled off the lot – 22.5% more than in November 2015. Pure hybrid sales even soared nearly 39%, with 4,153 HEVs sold.
Airbus, BASF, supercaps, Tesla.
Autonomous Vahana taxi takes flight: Airbus has forged a partnership with MTSI and SOAR in Oregon. The will help getting the self-flying electric cab (we reported) off the ground. First prototypes could prepare for take-off as early as next year, while market launch is intended for 2020.
Distinguished battery researchers: BASF and Volkswagen honoured William Chueh from Stanford and Martin Ebner from ETH Zürich for their research results in the areas of energy storage and conversion and of fast charging of lithium-ion batteries. Chueh was awarded the “Science Award Electrochemistry 2016,” while Ebner received a special prize for applied research.
Flexible supercaps for cars? Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a new process for creating flexible supercapacitors with a higher energy storage capacity and that can be charged more than 30,000 times without capacity loss. If they go into series production, it could mean shorter charging times and longer lifespans for EV battery packs.
Tesla coming to Kärnten? The California EV maker is looking for a production location in Europe and the federal state Kärnten in southern Austria is looking to offer a spot. The city of Villach is throwing its hat into the ring, saying a 40-hectare large industry park would be the perfect site for Tesla.
kaernten.orf.at (in German)
Airbus, Infinieon, TU Graz, smart charging.
Self-flying electric cab: Airbus presents the Vahana concept, which it also calls a CityAirbus, designed by its A3 subsidiary in Silicon Valley. The copter cab, as we dub it, carries one passenger with no pilot needed and is powered by four electric motors at tilting wings that enable vertical take-off and landing. An airborne prototype is scheduled for the end of next year and a demonstrator shall land by 2020.
Microcontroller for EVs: Infineon’s Aurix microcontroller has been designed for electric vehicles and automated cars. They offer a high level of integration and real time performance, making them faster and safe. The MC are scalable up to 16Mbyte of flash and 6Mbyte of RAM.
Modern fuel cell testing: The fuel cell research centre HyCentA at TU Graz opened a new test infrastructure for fuel-cell systems together with AVL List GmbH. The 2.3m euro test stand allows dynamic operating modes and is open for automotive suppliers as well as fuel cell system producers.
Intelligent charging: A study by the University of California, Irvine concludes that smart charging PEVs minimises the scale of infrastructure needed. With smart charging the required power capacity drops to 16% (from 60%), while V2G could render non-vehicle energy storage systems unnecessary.
Asko, Kenworth Trucks, Airbus, South Korea.
Logistic department tests fuel cells: Norway’s biggest convenience goods wholesaler Asko and Scania will test three fuel cell trucks for distribution services with distances of around 500 km. The hydrogen fuel is produced using local solar energy. The Norwegian government co-finances the undertaking. There is a lot of potential, as Asko has about 600 trucks on the road.
Electrifying port work: Kenworth Trucks has received three government grants worth a total of 8.6m dollars to build drayage tractors with hybrid and fuel cell drivetrains. The technology will be used to transport freight from the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California.
Autonomous taxi plane: The City Airbus, a sort of multikopter, will be all-electric and act as a sort of shared cap in cities. It can be called via an app and will, in the long run, operate without a pilot.
Preparation for FCEV component production: South Korea is setting up a production hub for fuel cell components in the South Chungcheong Province and will invest 65m dollars in the project until 2021. In a first stage, it will focus on R&D of FCEV part technology, while the second stage will focus on setting up evaluation and assessment equipment.
Adaptive City Mobility, Faraday Future, Airbus, SnikkyBike.
eTaxi from Adaptive City Mobility: The Adaptive City Mobility project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy, unveiled the final design of their lightweight CITY eTaxi. The small EV comes with a newly developed battery swapping technology, meaning it will not need time to charge.
adaptive-city-mobility.de, pressebox.de (battery swapping, in German)
Faraday driverless tech tests: California-based start-up Faraday Future is seeking to test their self-driving vehicles on the roads in Michigan. The company has applied for three manufacturer license plates, a prerequisite for testing on Michigan roadways, and is currently testing both mechanical and software systems.
3D Printed Electric drone: Airbus showed off their new 3D printed drone “Thor” at the 2016 International Aerospace Exhibition and Air Show in Berlin. It is made of 50 3D printed parts and two electric engines. Testing began in November 2015, and there are 18 more test missions planned for 2016.
Scooter kick started: The SnikkyBike is an electric scooter currently looking for financing on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. It has one full-sized 700C bicycle wheel in the front, one 16-inch motorised wheel in the back, and is driven while standing (it actually has no saddle). The inventor is seeking 100,000 dollars and is already halfway there.
gizmag.com, kickstarter.com (crowdfunding, with video)
Airbus, Siemens, WiTricity, Volvo, fuel cell.
Hybrid propulsion system: Airbus and Siemens have signed an agreement to jointly develop hybrid-electric drives for airplanes. Until 2020, the partners want to show the feasibility of various propulsion systems. Airbus CEO Tom Enders is convinced that an airplane with less than 100 seats could be propelled by a hybrid system by 2030.
Inductive charging technology: WiTricity has signed another license agreement, this time with Japanese company Daihen. The latter will use WiTricity’s magnetic resonance technology for its inductive charging technology for forklifts and Automatic Guided Vehicles (AVG).
Generator highway: Volvo has fitted a short bit of highly frequented U.S. road with an underground hydraulic generator. Every passing vehicles generates electricity, used to charge a nearby parked Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid. The PHEV thanked (perplexed) drivers on a giant screen and left the charger with a full battery later that day.
youtube.com (video) via nydailynews.com
Fuel cells from South Africa: As part of a project to build up local skills in hydrogen and FC development in South Africa, company Impala Platinum Limited unveiled a new fuel cell powered forklift and H2 fuelling station. It was developed by Hydrogen South Africa (HySa) Systems, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the Department of Science and Technology.
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Most clicked link on Thursday was France’s environmental minister offering Tesla to set up a production plant in an old nuclear facility.
Airbus, Honda, quantum batteries, Skeleton Technologies.
Hypersonic hydrogen jet: Airbus has patented a plane that could fly from Paris to Tokyo in less than three hours. The hydrogen-fueled Concord successor would use three different types of engines, including rocket boosters, to jump above the atmosphere. However, so far, the jet is just a concept.
EV emergency response: Honda and Tottori University started field testing Honda’s Power Exporter CONCEPT 9000. The Inverter is designed to power external devices with up to 9 kW and could thus transform EVs and FCVs into mobile energy sources during disasters.
Quantum batteries? Quantum physics migth eventually provide a leap in battery technology, as researchers explore the quantum battery or “quantacell.” The latter could lead to a speedup through quantum entanglement, which provides shortcuts between charged and uncharged qubits. The denser the qubit thicket, the faster the charging.
Ultracap starter module: Skeleton Technologies introduced a 24V engine start module called SkelStart ESM, which uses graphene-based ultracapacitor technology. It currently serves to start up trucks but might become available for electric cars soon, given energy density can be increased considerably.
greencarcongress.com(trucks), green.wiwo.de (electric cars, in German)
Airbus, Toyota, Lexus, Formula E, Kia.
First! Airbus has crossed the Channel in the E-Fan 2.0. The 46-mile flight took 37 minutes and was supposed to be the first battery-powered flight. The record attempt was (almost) silently undercut by French pilot Hugues Duval in his mini electric plane CriCri. However, the latter had to be carried by a bigger plane to reach sufficient height.
Toyota hybrid update: The carmaker presented the 2016 Sienta MPV for Japan. The car’s design (which is also offered as a hybrid) was inspired by a trekking shoe – and it shows. Prices for the new version start at 1,689,709 yen (13,820 dollars).
Lexus ES 300h refreshed: Toyota’s luxury subsidiary presents an updated version of the hybrid that now features a very bold spindle grill. While the motor remains unchanged, the 2016 Lexus ES 300h comes with added safety technology like Steering Assist and blind spot monitoring.
New season calendar FE: Formula E published the list of cities to hold electric races in 2016. As reported, Monaco is taking a break, while Paris has been added as sole new entrant to the circuit. Like this season, 11 races will be held in 10 cities with London taking the double bill.
Kia Soul EV extended: The Japanese carmaker has trimmed its electric car for 2016. The Soul EV-e is the economy class that still features a DC fast-charge port and an on-board charger as standard. The premium Soul EV+ trim now comes with the ‘Sun & Fun Package’ that includes a panoramic sunroof and funky interior LEDs.
Nissan, Airbus, Hybrid aircraft propulsion, Hyperloop.
2nd life for Nissan EV batteries: Nissan now partnered with Green Charge Networks to deploy second-life Li-ion vehicle batteries for stationary commercial energy storage internationally. Market entry is set for the last quarter of this year. Prices are not yet know, but the second-life energy storage unit is said to have a cost advantage over traditional units.
greencarcongress.com, electriccarsreport.com, transportevolved.com
E-Fan 2.0 in sight: Airbus presented the prototype of its electric plane at the Paris Air Show. The E-Fan 2.0 ist destined to go into serial production and might spread its wings in service already by 2017.
Hybrid propeller: A new hybrid propulsion system (HPS) for light aircraft has been unveiled at the Paris Air Show. The system can be retrofitted and employed in six modes including generator functionality for charging a battery, but also serves as electric propulsion up in the air.
Enter the Pod competition Elon Musk has set up to further boost its idea of the Hyperloop. A SpaceX challenge is calling on students and engineers to give their ideas of how such a passenger projectile could look like. The best entries will be realised and tested on a short SpaceX test track in June 2016.
spacex.com (competition) via techcrunch.com
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Most clicked link on Tuesday was the Tesla driver that alerts pedestrians with an old-school brass bell that is activated electrically.
Sumitomo Chemical, Proterra, McMaster University, Airbus.
Separators in high demand: Sumitomo Chemical, supplier to Panasonic and Tesla, will more than double production capacity for its PERVIO separator in Japan by next spring. Furthermore, the company plans to build a new facility in South Korea where production is to start by 2017.
New electric bus by Proterra: Testing is completed for Proterra´s new electric bus called Catalyst. The company says it is in the process setting records for efficiency, gradeability, weight and acceleration. The motor delivers 220 kW and the Catalyst will be offered with both lithium-titanate and NMC batteries.
A total of 15 million dollars in funding will go to the Canadian McMaster University from the Ontario Research Fund. 4.4 millions are destined for the ‘Virtual Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Powertrain Integration Lab’ (HEPIL), where engineers and scientists will research and test the next generation of vehicles with electrified powertrains using a sophisticated dynamometer.
Charging while flying: The ‘Fly Your Ideas’ competition by Airbus has seen young inventors coming up with a concept that allows an airplane to reap energy from the fluctuations experienced during flight. An all-woman team presented electric taxiing via inductive charging technology embedded in the runway.
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Most clicked link on Thursday was the all-electric bus MD 9 ElectriCITY by Turkish company Temsa.
Airbus, NASA, Canada & Taiwan, FlexPV.
Airbus to produce e-plane: The E-Fan 2.0 electric two-seater airplane will go into serial production at a yet to be erected Airbus facility in French Pau. The company will invest 20 million euros in building the factory, which is set to be operational by 2016. The E-Fan 2.0 will become available via Voltair, an 100-percent Airbus subsidiary, from late 2017 or early 2018.
NASA makes progress in electric flying, as its Langley Research Center tested the unmanned electric aircraft ‘Greased Lightning’ or GL-10. Powered by ten electric motors, the plane can switch between hovering and wing-borne flight in mid-air and is thus a mix between a drone and a mini plane.
ibtimes.co.uk, theepochtimes.com, youtube.com (video)
Joint fuel cell efforts: The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and Taiwanese Green Trade Project Office signed a memorandum of understanding at the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Conference, saying they will cooperate on the development of fuel cells as back-up power solutions and as energy systems for vehicles.
EV kit kick-started: The FlexPV lets you electrify anything from a bike to roller blades to a pram. It is basically an electrically-powered wheel that sits on a wheel (never mind traction or friction losses) and the team is looking to raise 20,000 dollars for what it calls an open-source EV.
kickstarter.com (campaign) via techinasia.com
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Most clicked link on Tuesday was the launch of KTM’s Freeride E-SM electric motorcycle destined for heavy asphalt use.
Gigafactory, Audi, Japan, Airbus, Porsche.
Gigafactory deal: Tesla and Panasonic seem to have come to an agreement as the Japanese are expected to sign a contract this month to support Tesla in building its battery factory. Panasonic will invest 200 million dollars while two billions will come from the Californian carmaker. The rest of the required 4-5 billion dollars Tesla hopes to raise from other partners. Could Apple or Samsung be among those?
electric-vehiclenews.com, seekingalpha.com (partners)
Diesel e-tron first for A8: At the beginning of next year, Audi will introduce its new plug-in hybrid with a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel and a system power of 368 hp and 700 Nm of torque. It is set to appear first in the A8 before eventually being implemented in the A6 and Q7.
Backing for H2: The Japanese government is planning to support the purchase of a fuel cell vehicle from domestic carmakers with two million yen (20,000 dollars). Additionally, more than 100 H2-fuelling stations will be set up. Just recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drove and refuelled the Toyota FCV himself.
asia.nikkei.com, greencarcongress.com, motornature.com (prime minister)
Electric Airbus from 2017: The European aircraft company has publicly presented a prototype of its ultra-lightweight electric plane called E-Fan at the Farnborough International Air Show in England. From 2017, the E-Fan 2.0 that sits two is set to be commercialised and Airbus hopes to be able to offer the E-Fan 4.0, a four-seater, shortly after.
transportevolved.com, greencarreports.com, youtube.com (video)
Porsche is to invest in engine technology and has just opened three new buildings at its R&D facility in Swabian Weissach. Investment will go further as Porsche plans to spend 95 million euros (128.6m dollars) by 2017 for the development of new engine technologies, including hybrid systems.
automotiveworld.com (Weissach centre), kfz-betrieb.vogel.de (new investments, in German)
Airbus resorts to Ryanair methods.
The plane manufacturer now issued a patent for seats that strongly resemble bicycle saddles but are fixed and narrowly lined up in a row. The concept is designed to save space and money but even Airbus admits it will result in “reduced comfort.” Does this construction imply passengers will have to pedal-power their plane next?!