LeEco, Apple, Tesla, Renault, EV incentives, Nissan.
LeSee unveiled: White, sporty and autonomous is how the LeSee concept rolled on stage. LeEco CEO Jia Yueting had summoned the EV via his smartphone, demonstrating that connectivity, self-driving technology and a powerful electric motor are all part of the package. Technical details will be unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show.
No deal with Apple: According to German Handelsblatt, Daimler and BMW have ended secret talks with Apple about a cooperation on the latter’s EV project. It seems, the three parties could not agree on who would be in charge. Apple is looking for partners to help launch its project. Canadian-Austrian firm Magna is currently believed to be the favourite.
Quality issues with Model X? U.S. magazine Consumer Reports questions the quality standards of Tesla’s SUV. One owner complained about the electric windows not functioning correctly and about the sensors of the falcon door wings missing, resulting in a first dent. Similar complaints have been voiced in online forums. The opposite is true for the Model S: in the UK, it received a satisfaction rating of 97,46 percent.
consumerreports.org, teslamotorsclub.com (Model X), autoexpress.co.uk (Model S)
High-performance Zoe? According to Autocar, Renault is considering a more powerful version of its all-electric Zoe called the Zoe RS. However, the move will not be possible before the EV can be fitted with a better battery to not trade range for more performance.
EV incentives in Germany – update: It seems the ruling coalition has agreed on an outline for an incentive scheme. All EVs bought before 2020 will be exempt from the road fund license and electricity charged at the workplace will not be taxed as a noncash assistance. Moreover, the government will increase the EV quota for its own fleet by 20 percent by 2017, will step up the installation of charging infrastructure and fund research and development of battery technologies. A purchasing incentive will be discussed at a separate meeting at the end of April.
Disaster relief: Following the earthquake in Japan last week, Nissan will donate 100 e-NV200 and Leaf to double as emergency power outlets. Following the devastating earthquake in 2011, carmakers like Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda began developing technology that would turn their EVs and FCVs into portable powerstations.
Apple, Beverly Hills, Amsterdam, GKN.
iSecret in Berlin? According to German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Apple has secret lab for its upcoming electric car in the German capital. As many as 20 experts from the German automotive industry are said to work there to prepare the launch of the iCar in Germany in 2019 or 2020, at which point it will become part of a carsharing fleet.
faz.net (in German); macrumors.com, cultofmac.com
Autonomous in Beverly Hills: The Los Angeles neighbourhood decided to implement a self-driving limousine service. Thanks to the vast network of fibreglass cables, the cars can stay connected with each other as well as that part of town. Beverly Hills plans to sit down with Tesla and Google to talk about delivering the fleet – which will therefore be all-electric.
Autonomous Amsterdam: The Dutch city, too, wants to kick off a pilot project with fully self-driving cars. The EU could issue a general approval of autonomous vehicles by 2019. Meanwhile, the city will test the cars on separate roads.
eAxle for Volvo: Following the Volvo XC 90 PHEV, GKN will also deliver its eAxle system for the Volvo S90 Plug-in Hybrid. The system supports both all-electric driving, as well as all-wheel drive where the rear is powered by an electric motor and the front by a combustion engine.
Apple, nuTonomy, Toyota, Stanford University.
Apple batteries: Apple’s recent job listings, combined with a patent on solid-state batteries, hint that the company is ready to tackle sub-par batteries. Listings imply a focus on the use of ceramic as an electrolyte, and plans to improve on current lithium-ion batteries.
Self-driving taxis: MIT spin-out nuTonomy is developing driverless electric taxis for the densely populated Singapore. By cutting out the need to pay drivers, they should prove cheaper than Uber or conventional taxis. nuTonomy cars passed their first driving test last week, and are now seeking approval for on-road testing.
Mirai’s 100,000 km test: Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai has driven around Germany for 16 hours a day for 107 days, completing 100,ooo km. Testing on city streets and rural roads, no mechanical breakdowns were reported and the fuel cell is said to have operated reliably at 100%. Drivers identified the car’s three-minute refuelling time as a major advantage.
Lithium batteries: A team at Stanford University has found a way to address two of the toughest issues for lithium-metal anode batteries. By encapsulating lithium inside a porous host scaffold, a material is created that can deliver around 2,000 mAH7g as stable anodes for Li-metal batteries. This may finally lead to real commercial solutions in the future.
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Most clicked link on Monday was hoover manufacturer Dyson’s plan to build an electric car.
GaTe, CO2 reduction, Apple, Shiwa.
More range with efficient heater: As part of the joint research project GaTe, Mahle, Daimler, Bosch, et al. looked at “integral thermo-management of electric vehicles.” They found that coolant-heat pump and more circulating air will make a car’s heater more efficient. At freezing temperatures, range could be increased by 33 percent in city traffic.
automanager.tv (in German)
Battery anodes from CO2: Researchers from George Washington and Vanderbilt University were able to able to demonstrate a process that replaces graphite electrodes in batteries with carbon material from the atmosphere. An EV would thus not only have zero emission, but even clean the air.
iCar production site found? The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that Apple has rented a nearly 9,000 square metre facility in Sunnyvale, which according to the paper could serve as a location for the production of an Apple car. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne himself offered to partner on the project.
businessinsider.de, ibtimes.co.uk (Fiat Chrysler)
Autonomy in sight: The IED Istituto Europeo di Design and Quattroroute have presented the futuristic design concept Shiwa at the Geneva Motor Show. The autonomous car has no windows, but four electric motors.
worldcarfans.com (with video), carscoops.com
Volkswagen, General Motors, Porsche, Qoros, Sevcon, Apple.
Electric statement: Volkswagen’s rumoured economy EV is becoming more concrete. Engineers are working on a dedicated electric car of the likes of the BMW i3. It will be the first to serially use the MEB platform, boast a range of more than 500 km (311 miles) and connectivity features, and most likely launch by 2019. VW CEO Müller has promised 20 electric or plug-in hybrid cars in the line-up by 2020.
Sharing to earn: General Motors considers sharing the Volt’s powertrain technology with other carmakers. A licensing model could create a win-win situation, as it enables smaller companies to electrify, while GM itself hopes to put some development cost of the Voltec system back its pockets.
Mission E launch: Porsche has started development of its electric model under the official codename J1. The all-electric sports car is due by 2020. The team is headed by Stefan Weckbach.
Qoros en route to electrification: The Chinese will present an electric car at the Auto China this April. Based on the Qoros 5, the model is set to enter the Chinese market as EV or PHEV in the coming 12 to 18 months. Meanwhile, the firm plans to open an R&D centre in Israel to build an electric smart car.
Controller meets charger: British Sevcon, maker of motor controllers for electric and hybrid vehicles, has acquired Italian Bassi. The latter manufactures fast-charging technology, which Sevcon thinks is “highly complementary” to its own products and will eliminate interoperability issues.
Employee poaching: Another Apple employee makes a move for Tesla, as Andrew Graham joins the Autopilot developers to add his sensor expertise. Graham follows Jim Keller who recently took the job as vice-president for autonomous hardware development.
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BAIC, China, Tesla, Apple, Spyker, Volvo.
BAIC wants to increase EV production: Beijing Electric Vehicle, BAIC’s subsidiary for electric cars, has announced an ambitious five-year plan. It wants to increase annual production to 800,000 EVs and PHEVs by 2020, shooting for yearly sales worth 60bn yuan (9.1bn dollars).
China fights misuse of subsidies: Some smaller companies are suspected to get their hands on government money by producing cheap vehicles, and selling them to their own car hiring companies, which only exist on paper. They may now face investigations and scrutiny.
Tesla eyes China: Elon Musk told Engadget that he is looking to find a partner for a joint venture in China by mid-2016, as well as a location for a production facility in the country.
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Project Titan loses head: The Wall Street Journal has learned that Steve Zadesky, head of the never confirmed Apple car project, is leaving the company due to personal reasons. What that means for the future of the iCar remains to be seen.
Spyker with EV in Geneva? Sportscar maker Spyker will exhibit at the Geneva Auto Show in March. It is rumoured that the manufacturer is planning a comeback with an electric sportscars.
Hybrids in flames: Four Volvo hybrid buses in Bekkestua in Norway caught fire, while parked at night. According to police, the fire started in one of the buses that was being charged at the time.
nrk.no (in Norwegian)
Panasonic, Apple, BMW, Zar.
More money for the Gigafactory: Panasonic announced that it will invest between 1.5 to 1.6bn dollars in Tesla’s Gigafactory. The Japanese had previously promised to give as much as one billion dollars.
teslamag.de, marketwatch.com, valuewalk.com
Apple car domain: Apple has registered the domains apple.car, apple.cars, and apple.auto, fueling rumours that we will at one point see an iCar. Another plausible reason could be that the sunrise period for these domains started early December and the company wanted to protect its brand.
mactechnews.de, insideevs.com, autoblog.com, mashable.com (Sunrise period)
EV unmasks bumper: BMW premiered another useful feature at the CES. The “Bumper Detect” systems activates a camera when a (parked) car gets hit, filming those responsible and sending the images to the car owner’s smartphone.
Electric scooter for the carry-on: The supposedly smallest and lightest electric scooter worldwide is called Zar and is looking for cash via crowdfunding. The Zar is foldable, weighs four kilos and can go 20 km on one charge. The scooter is now available for 300 dollars and will later sell for 500 dollars.
Tesla Model S safety, Potential Apple iCar suppliers.
Click tip: A massive tree let loose by a landslide would have likely killed a mother and her child would it not have been their Tesla Model S that withstood the crushing forces of nature.
teslamotorsclub.com via greencarreports.com
Reading tip: Who might supply the Apple iCar, Re/code wonders. For hints, it turns to those that already deliver parts to Google and Tesla, like Continental, Bosch, Renovo Motors, Samsung, Atieva and Qualcomm. None of the companies possibly involved would comment.
General Motors, Apple, TÜV Süd, Schaeffler.
Battery costs go down: For the first time GM has mentioned concrete cost figures for their batteries at a recent conference. According to the car company, the costs for the LG batteries of the all-electric Bolt, which will go into production next year, will contribute only 145 dollars/kWh. GM believes that the barrier of 100 dollars/kWh will be breached by 2022.
Apple expansion for EVs? While Apple is already building the mighty Campus2 project in Cupertino, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that the IT giant has signed a lease for a huge new site in Sunnyvale. The development of Apple’s electric vehicle could possibly be located at this new site, but no official confirmation was made.
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Efficient Engines: The new project of the leading edge cluster Electric Mobility South-West “Effect 360°” is studying the efficient product and production solutions for electrified vehicle. The focus being on the urban-efficient vehicle segment. emobil-sw.de
TÜV to test EV batteries in Japan: Together with ESPEC Corporation, TÜV Süd has inaugurated a testing center for the safety of EV batteries north of Tokyo. It is the first testing facility of its kind, and will offer battery manufacturers comprehensive testing facilities for safety and conformity with the more stringent UN-ECE regulation 100.
japanmarkt.de (in German)
Automatic Clutch: With their e-clutch Schaeffler wants to pave the way for the manual transmission into hybridisation. The automated clutch will make fuel-saving driving strategies, such as coasting or electric assisted driving possible for cars with manual transmissions.
Apple, Volkswagen, Skoda, BMW, Porsche.
Only four years till the iCar? According to the Wall Street Journal, the IT company stepped things up a notch and will triple the now 600 person strong development team. Moreover, it set a target ship date for 2019. Apple will first present an all-electric car before adding self-driving technology. The Guardian reports that the company recently met with officials from California to discuss autonomous car regulations.
VW caught cheating: Volkswagen has admitted to systematically cheating on U.S. air pollution tests for years by selling diesel versions of VW and Audi cars with software that masks the car’s true emissions during testing. The confession comes two days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the carmaker of purposefully manipulating emissions tests for almost 500,000 vehicles. Volkswagen shares fell over 20 percent on Monday, as the carmaker could face up to 18bn dollars in fines.
usatoday.com, nytimes.com, forbes.com
Skoda has EV plans: The Czech carmaker is reportedly working on a number of electrified models. According to Business Car Manager, a plug-in hybrid version of the Superb will be launched in 2018, followed by a PHEV variant of the next-gen Fabia, as well as an all-electric city car by 2020.
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BMW plug-in outlook: BMW will likely launch two PHEV versions of its next-gen 5 Series in 2017, Spanish motor.es reports. In addition to the basic version 530e, BMW reportedly also plans the 540e with a 258-hp four-cylinder and a 70-kW electric motor, as well as an inductive charging system.
motor.es (in Spanish) via insideevs.com
Porsche wins again: Round five of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship was once again dominated by Porsche. The 919 Hybrid achieved its third win in a row after its victories in Le Mans and Nürburgring this season.
Apple, Bosch, Borgward, ZF.
Apple fuelled by hydrogen? The electronics giant applied to patent a fuel cell system that could power a MacBook or mobile for days. While the patent only refers to “portable computing devices,” it does support rumours about a recent story about a fuel cell powered iPhone built by Intelligent Energy. May there be an iFCV on the horizon?
Warmth wisely managed: Bosch will introduce a heat-pump-based thermal management system for EVs at next week’s IAA. It is designed to increase range by 25 percent without modifications to the battery, as it distributes heat and cold using a combination of a heat pump with coolant pumps and valves.
New EV institute: Borgward has entered into a strategic partnership with engineering company FEV to establish the “BORGWARD Group AG Engine Technology Research Institute in cooperation with FEV” in Aachen. The institute aims to develop alternative drive technologies and to conduct market analysis.
Begin transmission: New hybrid drive technology by ZF has gone into serial production and will first be utilised in the BMW X5 xDrive40e. The hybrid system is integrated into an 8-speed automatic transmission, enabling electric driving at speeds of up to 120 kph and up to 70 percent fuel savings.
Apple, Hyundai, Vestel, Zotye.
Hydrogen-powered iCar? Intelligent Energy recently unveiled an iPhone with a built-in hydrogen fuel cell. According to Seeking Alpha, Apple may already have exclusive rights to the technology and use it as leverage to partner with a carmaker such as BMW for Apple’s much rumored electric cars. Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell is said to offer high energy density and low weight. Also, it does not require high pressure hydrogen storage and can be refueled by swapping out self-contained modules.
Electrifying research: Hyundai is preparing a self-driving fuel cell vehicle called the “R Car” at its R&D centre in South Korea, says Korea JoongAng Daily. The carmaker is reportedly also developing a lithium-air battery to increase range of future EVs to up to 500 kilometers.
Electric cars from Turkey: Turkish electronics company Vestel allegedly plans to enter the automotive sector and is expected to make a long-term investment valued at 1.1 billion dollars. The main focus of the investment will be the production of electric cars and automotive electronics.
Nissan Z rumours: Nissan is preparing a radical sports crossover to bring its Z badge back to the masses, Autocar has learned. The car is said to hit showrooms within the next 18 months and will be previewed at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept could feature a hybrid drivetrain.
Electric Hyundai spied: As previously reported, Hyundai is working on a purely electric model. Latest spy shots suggest that this will actually be an all-electric variant of Hyundai’s dedicated hybrid model.
Zotye goes electric: Chinese carmaker Zotye will launch two pure electric cars this year and plans to introduce more plug-in hybrid models next year, according to a recent Gasgoo report.
Apple, India, DS Automobiles, Trulli.
Brain drain: Apple just hired Jamie Carlson, a former Tesla engineer who has been working on a self-driving technology. According to its LinkedIn profile, Carlson’s role at Apple remains unspecified. Tesla is not the only manufacturers to see its employees join Apple. BMW, Volkswagen and Ford engineers have also been recruited by Apple.
Cost-effective battery technologies for buses: Working with the India Space Organisation (ISRO), the Indian Transport Ministry wants to develop cost-effective battery technologies. The goal is to make electric buses more economically feasible. First results are expected in the six to 12 months.
DS Automobiles announces motor sport division: The new “DS Performance” division will be headed by Yves Matton and support DS Virgin Racing during the upcoming Formula E season. Its engineers developed the DSV-01 racer, with the exception of the motor management system, which was built together with Magneti Marelli. And DS Virgin Racing just unveiled the new livery design for the upcoming season.
Powertrain troubles: It seems the Trulli Formula E team has issues with its Motomatica powertrain developed for the second season and may revert to the previously used Spark SRT_01E. Time is of the essence, with the championship less than two month away.
Apple, New Flyer, Toyota, Auro Robotics.
iCar close to reality? Apple’s project Titan seems to be moving ahead more quickly than originally believed. The Guardian claims to have documents showing this project is actively seeking to use a special facility to test autonomous tech. According to the report, Apple already has a self-driving electric car “almost ready for the road”!
Fuel cell bus demonstration: New Flyer announced that the California Energy Commission has approved a 2.1 million dollar grant to conduct a demonstration project involving a New Flyer Xcelsior electric transit bus with a Hydrogenics CelerityPlus fuel cell. The demonstration bus will use a Siemens ELFA electric drive motor for propulsion and the Hydrogenics fuel cell as a range extender.
Maintenance costs: Some Toyota hybrids are capable of saving up to 1,000 euros in maintenance after three years, according to research conducted by Tec-RMI. But the Toyota Auris Hybrid and Lexus IS 300h were in fact the only hybrid models generating savings for their owners. Other brands’ hybrids ended up costing more than their diesel and petrol counterparts.
Driverless electric shuttle: Auro Robotics is currently testing a driverless electric shuttle car at various universities in the United States. The company is also planning to expand to other markets like amusement parks, retirement communities and small islands later this year.
Google, BMW, Apple, Lotus, Toyota.
Google uncovered: As the Guardian reveal, the internet giant already set up Google Auto LLC back in late 2011, founding its very own car company. It is now licensed as car manufacturer, too, which might surprise all those who Google made believe that it had no intention of becoming their competitor anytime soon. The grounds to sell passenger cars have been laid.
BMW and Apple update: Details about talks between the IT firm and the German carmaker over the BMW i3 have emerged through Reuters. Insiders said Apple was interested in developing its own car, while BMW was equally keen on guarding its status as manufacturer rather than becoming a mere supplier. Still, both companies intend to keep communication channels open.
Lotus hybrid SUV? British Lotus Cars is collaborating with Chinese Goldstar to develop its first SUV, Car Magazine reports. The new model will be offered in China by 2020 and the magazine believes that a hybrid version to be “likely.”
Canada strengthens Toyota and the other way around, as the Japanese carmaker says it would invest 421 million dollars in the production of the next-gen Lexus RX350 and Lexus 450h at its Cambridge facility in Ontario. The Canadian government and province support the investment with 100 million dollars.
Yaris extended: The Toyota Yaris line up in the UK now includes the Active and Sports version as hybrids. The Yaris Hybrid Active is available from 14,995 pounds. The Yaris Hybrid Sport starts at 16,695 pounds. Both cars share the hybrid system with a combined output of 73 kW.
France, China, Apple & BMW, Tesla, Faraday Future, Thailand.
La mobilité électrique: France passed a law on the energy transition, including measures to promote electric mobility. Half of all public busses and transporters will be electrified by 2020, reaching 100 percent by 2025. The law also includes plans to install 7 million chargers across the country by 2030 as well as a scrappage bonus of up to 10,000 euros when replacing a diesel-powered car with an EV.
klimaretter.info (in German), lcp.fr (in French)
China follows California: According to Xu Heyi, head of the state-owned Bejing Automotive Group and member of the communist party, China wants to implement measures to promote EV uptake based on California’s example, such as ZEV credits for manufactures. Consumers would get credits based on the distance they drive in full electric mode. Both measure could be implemented in the first half of 2016.
Apple-BMW update: According to German Manager Magazin, Apple wants to use BMW’s i3 platform for its own electric car project. Initial negotiations in autumn 2014 were fruitless, but the two parties agreed to continue their dialogue. New BMW head Harald Krüger is reportedly also planning new versions of the i3 and i8 as well as a convertible version of the i8.
manager-magazin.de (in German)
New entry-level Tesla available: Tesla´s 70 kWh rear wheel drive Model S can now be ordered from 70,000 dollars before incentives. That’s 5,000 dollars less than the previous entry-level AWD model.
FF production plans: Californian start-up Faraday Future wants to pick a production site for its electric vehicles within this quarter. U.S. states California, Nevada, Louisiana and Georgia are being considered.
EVs from Thailand: Kwaithong Motor wants to invest 5 billion baht (about 143 million dollars) to build an assembly plant for electric vehicles in the country. Kickoff is planned for mid-2016 with electric buses. Kwaithong wants to sell some 5,000 units in Thailand and Asean countries by 2018.
Mia Electric, BMW, Toyota, Suzuki, Tesla, Apple.
Much ado about Mia: An anonymous buyer purchased all of Mia Electric’s assets for just 800,000 euros. The French EV maker had previously been bought by a consortium for 1.3 million euros, but the sale was declared void. The court suspected a fraudulent buyback by former Mia boss Michelle Boos.
automobile-propre.com (in French)
Hybrid double: Motoring says it has additional details about BMW’s and Toyota’s joint sportscar project “Silk Road.” Quoting insiders, the site reports that both sports cars will be based on the BMW i8 platform, and contrary to previous reports, will both feature plug-in hybrid technology, which will be provided by Toyota and not BMW.
Prius plug-in with 35 mile range? Referencing inside information, Green Car Reports writes that the next generation of the Prius plug-in hybrid will be able to drive electric for 30 to 35 miles on one charge. The new Prius will become available this year, with the PHEV variant to follow about one year later.
Hybrid two-wheeler from Suzuki? If we believe its recently filed patent, the Japanese manufacturer is working on a motorcycle featuring a hybrid drivetrain and semi-automatic transmission. According to the description, the bike could also drive purely electric.
Tesla goes with silicon: In its newly announced 90 kWh battery pack, Tesla will also use silicon for the anode of the Li-ion battery cells, allowing for more capacity without increasing battery size. Moreover, Tesla believes it will be able to increase the range of its EV models by 5 to 10 percent every two years.
iCar rumour update: Media reports that Apple hired Doug Betts, the former head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler and an expert in auto manufacturing. That of course fuels rumours that Apple wants to build its own EVs in the future.
General Motors, Tesla, Apple, A123 Systems, Samsung.
Volt battery gets 2nd life: General Motors is employing five used batteries from the Chevy Volt to store energy from solar and wind power to supply its ‘Enterprise Data Center’. The demonstration project is to be the start for a series of tests together with partners, not unlike what Nissan just started doing.
greencarcongress.com, freep.com, detroitnews.com
Tesla seeks expertise: To further decrease costs of its batteries, the Californian carmaker has employed Jeff Dahn as an advisor, media reports. He is recognised as one the leading developers of lithium batteries. In return for his services, Tesla is to sponsor his research activities.
marketwatch.com, wsj.com (after registration)
Expert poaching resolved: Apple and A123 Systems have settled a lawsuit that accused Apple of poaching talents from the battery maker thus violating non-compete clauses. The case had fuelled rumours about Apple working on an EV. For what terms the two parties settled in the end is confidential.
A total of 4,761 automotive-related patents from Apple, Google, Samsung, Tesla and Uber from 1990 to 2014 were counted by Forbes. Surprisingly, 3,094 are held by Samsung that added 632 in 2014 alone, including a very large interest in battery and fuel cell technologies for next-generation vehicles.
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Most clicked link on Wednesday were the pictures of the undisguised 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV captured in Japan.
Google, Advanced Propulsion Centre, Toyota, A123 Systems, Apple.
Google EVs ready by summer: The internet giant wants to bring some of its autonomous vehicles to the streets of Mountain View, California, by summer, says Chris Umson, head of the project. The current versions will still feature steering wheels, as well as acceleration and brake pedals that will become redundant in the future.
Drivetrain funding: The British Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) announced a 60 million pound funding programme for low carbon propulsion technologies. Key areas are i.e. electric machines, power electronics and lightweight powertrain structures. Registration deadline is June 24th.
Toyota gives batteries a second life: 208 decommissioned nickel-metal hydride batteries from Toyota Camry hybrids were installed at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch inside the Yellowstone National Park. With a combined storage capacity of 85 kWh, they will be able to hold enough excess energy produced by local solar panels and micro hydro turbines to power the farm off the grid.
Poaching dispute settled: Apple and battery maker A123 Systems have come to an agreement in a recent dispute, where Apple was accused of poaching A123 employees to set up a battery unit for its upcoming electric car. The financial (or in fact any) details of the deal have not been announced.
WEC racecars and drivers, Apple iCar design contest.
Reading tip: The WEC Season is about to start and Sofiane Kennouche has listed every LMP1 car with details and even includes the drivers. Ready – set – go!
Click tip: Website Freelancer.com recently hosted an online design contest, asking what an Apple iCar might look like. The entries were plenty (193) and pretty fancy.
freelancer.com (winner) via macrumors.com
EV record attempt in Berlin, Apple iCar.
Join us! Berlin is trying to crack the record of the longest parade of EVs on the weekend of May 23rd, the same day the German capital is hosting the Formula E ePrix. So if you have an electric car, come join the attempt or rent one of the many electric carsharing vehicles to participate.
Click tip: Ever wonder what Apple’s iCar will look like? The website carwow has taken to the drawing board to sketch out a possible concept. Their idea was inspired by rumours that the electronics giant may be in talks to purchase Tesla Motors.
Apple, Daimler Trucks, Toyota, Mercedes, Thailand, Kia.
New iCar rumours: According to German Manager Magazin, Apple’s electric car business model stands. Apparently the company wants to impress clients with the best software and digitalization concept, as well as the best battery pack. Apple is allegedly already talking to “top shots” of the automotive industry.
manager-magazin.de (in German)
Hybrid super truck: Daimler Trucks North America showed its Freightliner SuperTruck featuring a hybrid system at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The drivetrain combines an 11-litre diesel engine and an electric motor. Daimler says it improved fuel economy by 115 percent compared to current trucks.
15 percent: That is how much less fuel the next generation of the Toyota Prius could use compared to the current model due to Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota recently provided an update on its progress with TNGA, which is said to not only lower costs but also help reduce fuel consumption.
hybridcars.com (Prius), greencarcongress.com (TNGA)
Daimler pickup planned: Mercedes has a pickup in the pipelines, the first one from a premium manufacturer. It could be ready for sale as soon as 2017. For now, a hybrid variant is not being planned, but German magazine Automobil Produktion believes it could be offered at a later date.
automobil-produktion.de (in German), greencarcongress.com
EVs made in Thailand: The country’s Energy Ministry wants to make Thailand a hub for electric vehicle production. It also plans to amend laws and regulations to allow EV chargers at petrol stations; a move that should increase sales and attract carmakers to use the country as a production site.
New Kia Optima unveiled: One day after only partially revealing the new hybrid, new spy shots emerged on the web, showing the car from all angles. The new Kia Optima will make its official debut at the New York Auto Show starting this Friday.
BMW & Apple, China, Foxconn, Tesla, e.GO Mobile, Honda, Bosch.
Ideas on the iCar: Industry insider Georg Kacher is turning the rumour mill as he wonders how an alleged cooperation between Apple and BMW might look like. His best guess is an evolutionary i3, boasting more range and power while being cheaper. To make that happen, Kacher hints at a move away from pricey carbon to a more flexible material mix while serial production could be done at Magna Steyr. By 2018, up to 200,000 units could be produced annually.
sueddeutsche.de (in German)
China charges ahead: The government of the People’s Republic now published new rules on EV manufacturing thus allowing for licensing of non-automotive producers already this year. Accordingly, Foxconn affirmed its plan to build EVs below 15,000 dollars (we reported) and has further forged alliances with both the Chinese internet company Tencent and the Chinese car dealer Harmony Auto.
wantchinatimes.com (licensing); evertiq.com, cio.com (Foxconn)
Tesla to produce in China? The Californian EV maker is thinking about moving production to China, local media reports. Apparently, talks to form a joint venture with Lifan Group and Changan Automobile took place already last week.
wantchinatimes.com, dailykanban.com, cqnews.net
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StreetScooter spreads: German StreetScooter spin-off e.GO Mobile is planning to sell a two-seater based on the StreetScooter C16 for about 10,000 euros as well as a larger version for about 14,000 euros. Through licensing, the EVs could also reach markets in the U.S., Mexico and China, e.GO said.
welt.de (in German)
Honda is offering new lease options for both existing and new customers of the Fit EV. A two-year lease or extension of the same length is offered for lower monthly payments of 199 dollars (259 USD before). The move is possibly due to the fact that Honda has not sold any Fit EV this year.
Bosch intensifies two-wheeler business: The global supplier is to pool its motorcycle segments under a newly formed unit called ‘Two-Wheeler and Powersports’. Obviously, market leadership is the declared goal and Bosch will thus also strengthen its activities in electric drivetrain technologies for motorcycles.
Apple iCar, New Brammo website.
Click tip 1: Appleinsider claims to have uncovered the location of where Apple is working on its all-electric iCar. These seemingly unimpressive buildings are registered to a company called SixtyEight and are believed to be a key component of Apple´s “Titan” project.
Click tip 2: After the Polaris takeover, Brammo has given its website a makeover. The new focus has clearly been placed on the new business model, the development of electric powertrains.
brammo.com via insideevs.com
BMW & Apple, Continental, Aston Martin, VW, EDI, Seat.
BMW i3 to become the iCar? The Bavarians are talking to Apple about a possible cooperation, German Auto Motor und Sport reports. Apparently, the i3 could become the Apple EV, or both companies could develop a new car altogether. However, BMW was quick to deny any plans of jointly developing an EV with the IT giant but does confirms that a dialogue is indeed on-going.
auto-motor-und-sport.de (rumours in German), reuters.com (denial in English)
Conti to court Apple: Meanwhile, automotive supplier Continental has expressed its interest in becoming a partner in the iCar project. Conti would be interested in acting as partner for Apple if the company decides to build a car, CEO Elmar Degenhart said.
Aston Martin EV to get serious: As reported, the Brits brought the electric DBX Concept to Geneva. Now it looks like it is much more than a show car as Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Automobil Produktion that the electric Crossover might hit the market as early as 2018.
automobil-produktion.de (in German)
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Lower priced e-Golf: Volkswagen has announced a new trim line of its all-electric Golf in the US. The 2015 e-Golf Limited Edition will cost nearly 2,000 dollars less than its SEL counterpart at 33,450 dollars. Changes concern interior and exterior features like seats or lights.
Class 3 PHEV truck: Efficient Drivetrains (EDI) now offers a plug-in hybrid system for utility trucks. The system offers an all-electric range of up to 40 miles. The battery is further said to hold enough energy to operate work tools on-site or to act as power source in an emergency.
Seat SUV concept: In Geneva, Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary presented its 20V20 SUV. Set to launch by 2016, Seat said it is considering plug-in hybrid versions combined with TSI and TDI engines.
topgear.com, puregreencars.com, seat.com
BMW i3 winter test, Apple.
Video tip: BMWBLOG took the BMW i3 for a winter test driving in icy -15 degrees Celsius weather, using a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tires. A good choice, judging by the feedback.
youtube.com via insideevs.com
Reading tip: Bloomberg View columnist Katie Benner looks at recent Apple iCar rumours, at what we can expect and at what Apple needs to focus on in order for its projects to be a success. She believes the key lies in the battery technology.
The Apple car obviously does not have “Windows,” but displays, where you swipe away the scenery. It will be powered by Apple´s “Craptic Engine” and can run for no less than 24 minutes on one charge, while U2 singer Bono takes the back seat. Don’t believe us? Watch the video.
Apple, Samsung, Ricardo, BASF Toda Battery Materials, Graphene ESD.
Apple vs. Samsung: Not a day goes by without more news or rumours about the iCar-project. Now it seems that Apples was interested in taking over Magna’s battery division, before Samsung SDI got the green light. Moreover, Korea Times reports that Apple continues headhunting Samsung employees, including battery experts.
faz.net (in German), businessinsider.sg, koreatimes.co.kr
New electric motor: British company Ricardo has developed a rare earth element free prototype 85 kW synchronous reluctance motor designed primarily for electric vehicle traction applications. The development was part of the research and development project RapidSR (Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor).
greencarcongress.com, theengineer.co.uk, electriccarsreport.com
Japanese joint venture: BASF and Toda Kogyo officially established a joint venture, specializing in cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. The cooperation was originally announced back in October. BASF Japan owns 66 percent of the new company BASF Toda Battery Materials.
Supercap cooperation: Graphene ESD and the Research Foundation of Stony Brook University (SBU) will work together on the development of new supercapacitors designs. Target applications are grid-tied inverters, grid-stabilization systems, as well as automotive and locomotive drivetrains.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Tuesday was the Technology Review report on BASF researchers exploring the possibilities of nickel-metal hydride batteries.