An electric aircraft called e-Sling has managed its maiden flight at Dübendorf airfield in Switzerland. Developed by students at ETH Zurich, the four-seater plane with roots in Africa carries a unique propulsion system designed in Zurich, enabling battery swaps during stopovers.
Battrion, a spin-off by ETH Zurich, is developing a high-performance battery that made our news last year. The start-up now announced the opening of a small-scale production line in Switzerland able to make electrodes for 20 MWh fast-charging Li-ion battery cells a year.
Mercedes-Benz is supplying three units of the new all-electric eCitaro G articulated bus to Switzerland. They will be used by the Eurobus transport company to provide a fast connection between two university locations of the ETH in Zurich.
Battrion has jointly developed a battery cell prototype with the construction technology group Hilti. The developed battery is expected to offer a significant increase in performance compared to commercially available lithium-ion battery cells.
Students from the ETH Zurich have come out with a prototype of a power packed electric motorcycle. Their Ethec boasts a 15 kWh battery for 400 kilometres of range. It supplies the AWD formed of two in-wheel motors delivering 50 kW at peak.
Nissan to discharge battery business? The Leaf maker may sell its stake in a battery manufacturer co-owned by NEC, Nikkei reports. Talks with Panasonic are on-going as Nissan believes it could buy power packs for its EVs from other makers cheaper, sources said. Nissan officially dismissed such talks as “speculation.” In any case, the idea alone is food for thought for German manufacturers only now trying to get a foot into the Li-ion battery market. asia.nikkei.com, reuters.com
All-solid battery: Researchers at ETH Zurich developed a battery that contains neither liquids nor gels but is made of solid materials only. The electrolyte is of Lithium-garnet and cannot ignite. ethz.ch
NASA to fund eco-flying: The American space agency announced five projects that look into making aircrafts more sustainable. Research ranges from Lithium-Air batteries over improved fuel cells to 3D printing. So far, NASA is only following up on ideas to see if they are feasible. nasa.gov, techcrunch.com
Moving on his own: Google’s self-driving car CTO Chris Urmson if off to seek new ventures. He leaves the company after seven years, just as the Google car is close to commercialisation. He did not say what he will be working on next but it seems he has parted on good terms as Google wishes him the best. medium.com (Urmson blog) via forbes.com
Hybrid Airship: French firm Flying Whales plans to build a 60-tonne Large Capacity Airship, LCA60T, with the help of ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies. It will be equipped with a hybrid electric power propulsion system and is designed primarily to transport logging timber. greencarcongress.com
50% better charge: Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich have developed a simple procedure for enhancing conventional Li-ion rechargeable batteries by optmising the graphite anode. They were able to enhance performance by up to 30 to 50 percent. psi.ch
New solvents: Strem Chemicals will be manufacturing and distributing nine battery solvents and additives based on material licensed from Argonne National Laboratory. Future steps include the implementation in commercial batteries. chargedevs.com
PowerCell Sweden delivers: A prototype of PowerCell Sweden AB’s 100 kW PowerCell S3 fuel cell stacks for distribution trucks has been delivered to a European transport company. greencarcongress.com
Students of the ETH Zurich have developed an electric wheelchair that can take stairs by itself. Two rubber tracks basically even out the edge and smoothly pull the Scalevo up. On the flat, two large balancing wheels take over again. electronicsweekly.com
Thinking ahead: A BMW i3 has been refitted to be controlled solely by the driver’s brain waves. It was developed by MoneySuperMarket for its Car Insurance Epic Mind Drive project. Via a headset, specially trained drivers think “right,” “left,” and “brake,” by associating these commands with images the EV can read. dailymail.co.uk
Another Swiss solar plane is attempting to break a record. The ETH Zurich has developed the unmanned Atlantik Solar, which attempts to stay airborne for 80 hours. If successful, it would be the second longest, autonomous solar flight with a plane weighing less than 50 kilos worldwide. The plane is part of the EU project Icarus and could be used in crisis areas to save lives. tagesanzeiger.ch (in German)
Silent approach: Iceland is now operating the electric schooner Opal. It can “sail” electrically, and generates electricity with a specially designed turbine when setting actual sail. The Opal is being used for eco-conscious whale-watching and backed by multiple Scandinavian companies and organisations. icelandnaturally.com, businesswire.com
10 kW wirelessly: Canadian ELIX Wireless, a spin-off of the University of British Columbia, has developed a 10 kW wireless charging solution. The E10K Wireless Charging System applies the company’s patented Magneto-Dynamic Coupling technology. electriccarsreport.com
Swedish eHighway: Siemens and Scania will conduct a joint demonstration project of a catenary system for hybrid trucks. The contract was awarded by the Swedish Transport Administration to the County Council of Gävleborg and means the electrification of a two-kilometer stretch of the E16 highway north of Stockholm. The core of the system is a pantograph which hooks up to the catenary system and disconnects automatically at speeds of up to 90 km/h. Two hybrid trucks by Scania will be used in the demonstration phase. siemens.com
EU aims for more range: The project JOSPEL is set to develop a novel energy efficient climate control system for electric cars to help reduce the energy used for passenger comfort by at least 50 percent. The project is funded with 6.7 million euros through EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. greencarcongress.com, europa.eu
Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, together with ETH Zürich and road sweeper manufacturer Bucher Municipal have developed a natural gas-electric hybrid powertrain for road sweepers. Compared to conventional sweepers, the energy consumption has been halved. A concept study to investigate possible commercialisation is currently under development. empa.ch
New magnet: Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University were able to synthesize a powerful new magnetic material that could replace rare earth magnets. The new material consists of nanoparticles containing iron, cobalt and carbon atoms with a magnetic domain size of roughly five nanometers. greencarcongress.com, vcu.edu
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Most clicked link on Thursday was the report by German WirtschaftsWoche on BMW allegedly planning an all-electric SUV to take on the Tesla Model X.
Acura NSX Hybrid revealed: Honda has finally shown us the production-ready 2016 Acura NSX in Detroit. The hybrid sports car combines a twin-turbo V6, a three-electric motor “sport hybrid” system, and a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission. Total system output will be “north of 550 hp”. Without naming the price, Acura says it is already taking orders and expects deliveries to begin later this year. forbes.com, hybridcars.com, caranddriver.com
Glass electrode: Researchers of ETH Zurich developed and patented a new material for Li-Ion battery cathodes. The cathode made from vanadate-borate glass coated with reduced graphite oxide is believed to potentially double the capacity and energy density of Li-Ion batteries in the future. ethz.ch
Rechargeable aluminium-air battery: Fuji Pigment has developed a new type of aluminum-air battery and is ready to commercialise the technology by spring 2015. The 0.7-0.8 V battery, which provides 400-800 mA/cell, is capable of working for minimum 14 days by refilling with water occasionally. greencarcongress.com, power-eetimes.com
Solar energy extends EV range: A team at the University of Windsor and Unconquered Sun Solar Technologies have proven the benefits of solar rooftops for EVs. The panels can reportedly extend their range by up to 45%. The technology could be launched first for low-speed EVs already this spring. windsorstar.com
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Most clicked link on Monday was the rumour, that GM would unveil the all-electric Bolt EV at the NAIAS in Detroit. Now we know it´s true. autoblog.com
3D printed StreetScooter: Stratasys will present a prototype of the StreetScooter C16 at the EuroMold fair in Frankfurt next week. The electric car is planned to be offered for less than 10,000 euros (12,550 dollars) and will feature exterior parts printed with a 3D printer from Stratasys. 3dprint.com, 3druck.com (in German)
Electric plane from China: Shenyang Aerospace University has presented a small electric aeroplane at the Airshow China. The two-seater RX1E is said to fly 90 minutes per charge and will be produced by next year. Price is annonced at 1 million Yuan (163,000 USD) technologicvehicles.com, eco-business.com
Driverless transport: Singapore has launched the automated ‘People Mover’ system with two ‘INNOVIA APM 100’ vehicles by Bombardier. They run on a separate track, energised by conductor rails. Another 13 vehicles have already been ordered, eight are set for delivery already this year. marketwired.com
Cheaper high-capacity anodes: Researchers from ETH Zurich have identified vanadate-borate glasses as high-capacity cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. The composite electrodes with reduced graphite oxide are said to deliver specific energies around 1,000 Wh/kg and retain high specific capacities in the range of 300 mAh/g for the first 100 cycles. greencarcongress.com
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Most clicked link on Wednesday was the rumored BMW i5, which “Autocar” suggests might be using a version of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell system. autocar.co.uk
All-electric race cars: When Spanish Quimera presented their AEGT Evo2 electric racer last year, they created quite a stir in the world of motor sports. Quimera keeps moving and now published first renderings of its AEGF which is said to come with “Formula 1 specifications.” electricautosport.com
Dream big and electric: Icon has come up with the Helios, a rather iconic looking road cruiser which the company seeks to commission. Founder Jon Ward is hoping for Elon Musk to share his Model X platform with him while designer Ralph Lauren would be Ward’s favoured first customer. topgear.com
Swiss win: The Formula Student Electric team from ETH Zürich took the first place at the recent competition at Hockenheim. Second-best was the team of German Stuttgart Uni leaving the Dutch three-time winner Delft University of Technology behind. electricautosport.com
More Li-sulfur: Researchers at the University of Texas say they increased the capacity of lithium-sulfur batteries by using titanium disulfide and sulfur for the cathode. Meanwhile, British OXIS Energy and Multi Source Power Technologies (MSP) will jointly develop Li-sulfur batteries for ships and boats and aim to launch by spring 2015. greencarcongress.com (Texas Uni), greencarcongress.com (OXIS/MSP)
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Most clicked link on Monday was the ‘Short Circuit’ with the Youtube clip of Koodo’s mobile charging station. youtube.com