Zap-Map announces voice support
The UK-based EV charging platform Zap-Map announced the launch of a voice-activated function for Google Assistant, allowing users to search for nearby charging points without having to take their hands off the wheel.
Uber & Lime expand cooperation in Europe
Uber clients in Europe may now book Lime e-bikes straight through the Uber app. The cooperation started in the US and is currently being rolled out across the continent. Prague, Warsaw and Stockholm are among the first wave of European markets with other capitals to follow suit.
Google and VW to develop quantum batteries
The research cooperation between the two companies in the area of quantum computers is showing its first results. VW announced that they had first succeeded in simulating the structure of industry-relevant molecules on a quantum computer.
Baidu to start making autonomous electric buses
China’s equivalent to Google, Baidu, is about to begin serial production of electric shuttle buses that will self-drive in selected areas. And it is that autonomy behind that self-drive that may be Baidu’s concern rather than just making EVs themselves.
Google, Schaeffler, London, Renault.
Google car project is now called Waymo: Google is spinning off its self-driving car unit into its own Alphabet company called Waymo. Jon Krafcik, who currently heads the undertaking, will remain in charge. However, as reported, Google’s own vehicles development will give way to more cooperation with traditional carmakers.
Bio-hybrid pedelec: Schaeffler will present its futuristic concept (we reported), a four-wheeled vehicle fitted with a pedelec drivetrain that will supply energy only when the rider is pedalling, at the CES in Las Vegas. The self-named “bio-hybrid” includes a roof, is suitable for bicycle paths, and can be linked with a number of apps.
Charging on the fly: Researchers at London’s Imperial College have been able to translate the concept of wireless charging to drones. Once the latter gets close enough to a charging station, energy will be transferred to the battery.
Hybrid truck: With the Urban Lab 2, Renault presented its newest truck concept based on the 19-tonner D WIDE. Thanks to its mild hybrid technology including an automatic start-stop function and 48-Volt starter generator, as well as to a special aerodynamic design, the vehicle is said to use 13 percent less diesel.
Google, AutoDrive Challenge, TU Munich UQM Technologies.
No Google car: Apparently, Google will not pursue the development of a self-driving car any further at this point. Instead, the IT giant wants to focus more on forging alliances with traditional carmakers and hopes to therefore offer an autonomous ridesharing fleet by the end of next year. Google is already partnering with Fiat-Chrysler.
theinformation.com (original source; paid content) via theverge.com
Autonomous Bolt: General Motors and SAE International kicked off a new student competition called “AutoDrive Challenge.” Teams have three years to design an EV that is based on the Chevy Bolt and has level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. Meanwhile, GM announced that the electric Chevy will be the first self-driving EV to join the fleet of ride-hailing company Lyft.
greencarcongress.com (competition), businessinsider.de (Lyft)
New battery test cell: Michael Metzger, researcher at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has developed a new battery test cell. The cell is fitted with a thin capillary, which allows for the gasses that are released during charging and discharging to be sampled and investigated using a mass spectrometer.
Electric drivetrains for utility vehicles: UQM Technologies has received a substantial order from China. It will deliver 300 PowerPhasePro 135 for commercial vehicles to company Kunde ITL Efficient Energy Tech.
Hyundai, Tesla, NanoFocus, Google.
Self-driving Ioniq: Hyundai, too, is working on autonomous driving technology and now presented an Ioniq fitted with radars and cameras in LA. The additions are almost not visible from the outside and costs were purposely kept low, meaning the feature could soon be available for customers. Three Ioniq and two Tucson Fuel Cell are already being tested.
autocar.co.uk, greencarcongress.com , autoblog.com
Tesla P100D speeds up some more: With a new software update, Tesla wants to offer its drivers of the Model S and X with Ludicrous mode a little extra fun. A new Easter egg will make the car go from 0 to 100 kph in 0.1 seconds less than before. The only downside: drivers must first find the Easter egg first.
Cheaper fuel cells: As part of the project Supersurf, NanoFocus is working with manufactures, suppliers, etc. to develop a new measuring instrument for fuel cell production. The goal is to lower the error quote and increase efficiency to allow for a more economical mass production of fuel cells.
iwr.de, nanofocus.de (articles in German)
Hitching the right ride: A new patent by Google shows the possible future of autonomous electric cars at a time, when there are already scores on the road and it could be difficult to determine which car is meant for which customer. It outlines a signal technology for cars to show the clients, which vehicle is there to pick them up.
SK, Uber Elevate, Google, Red Bull Global Rallycross.
SK quadruples battery production: The South Korean company SK Innovation announced that it will quadruple production capacities for EV batteries. It will open a new plant in Seosan, which is said to increase yearly output to 3 GWh by 2018.
Uber plans flying EVs: The company says it is working on Uber Elevate, setting up an on-demand service for electric aircrafts from 2021. These will feature helicopter-like EVs that do not need a runway for takeoff or landing.
Google monetarises autonomous cars: Google’s self-driving cars business CEO John Krafcik confirmed that his business unit will soon evolve into an independent entity outside of Google. The internet giant sees itself more as a technology and mobility provider, than a carmaker.
New e-racing series: The Red Bull Global Rallycross will add a new electric car class from 2018. The Red Bull GRC CEO described e-mobility as a “hot topic,” saying that manufactures are recognizing the technology’s potential. Reason enough to “embrace” it on the track.
Nissan, NEC, ETH Zurich, NASA, Google.
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.
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.
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.
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
Honda NSX, Elinta, Google, Formula E.
Family planning: According to Autocar, Honda is planning to use its NSX as a platform for up to five offshoots. An all-electric variant could also be in the works. The carmaker hopes to earn back some of the investment it has made in the NSX’s development and refresh its performance image.
Retrofitting transporters: Lithuanian company Elinta has developed a plug-in hybrid drivetrain for transporters that will allegedly fit all standard 3.5 tonnes vans. The switch from diesel to electric can also be controlled via GPS, so that an emission free operation in sensible zones can be guaranteed.
logistra.de, transport-online.de (articles in German)
On its own four wheels: Google has signed Kevin Vosen as first legal chief for its autonomous vehicle branch. A move that many see as a sign that the self-driving unit under Alphabet will become a standalone business.
BMW and Nissan on the track? The Formula E could get some prominent new additions as soon as next season, as both Nissan and BMW seem keen on hitting the track. According to Autosport, they are currently looking into teaming up with existing players.
Tesla, Google, Green Omi Terminal, Nexeon.
Tesla testing on consumers: Tesla is using the Model S always-on internet connection to pull sensor data from customers’ vehicles. The company reportedly installed the software on drivers’ cars remotely, enabling their self-driving technology to observe and be passively tested on the real road while customers drive.
Google R&D Center: Google announced plans to open a dedicated self-driving car technology development centre in Novi, Michigan, near Detroit. As per Google’s recent partnership with Chrysler, the 53,000 square foot centre will prep the Chrysler Pacifica self-driving hybrid minivans for the road.
Zero-emission port project: The 26.6m dollar Green Omni Terminal demo project has been launched in California to achieve real-time zero and near-zero emission at the new Pasha marine terminal. The project is funded in part by the California Air Resources Board. Implementation will start in June and will include a fleet of zero-emission cargo handling equipment.
UK-based battery developer Nexeon secured 44m dollars to develop Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes. Compared to batteries with carbon anodes, the Nexeon batteries can delivery almost ten times more gravimetric capacity per gram. The funds will be used to open a lab in Asia and to build a larger factory.
– Feedback –
Most clicked link on Thursday was the SAE issued industry guideline for wireless power transfer between infrastructure, vehicle suppliers and OEMs.
Google, GM, Li-ion batteries, Lingyun.
Self-driving minivans: Google is officially partnering with Fiat-Chrysler to further develop the former’s self-driving vehicle technology. The internet giant will more than double its fleet, adding 100 Google technology-equipped 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. Some will already hit the road later this year.
Autonomous taxis: GM and Lyft will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevy Bolt electric taxis on public roads within a year. Details, including the location, are still unknown, but customers will be able to opt in or out of the pilot when ordering a taxi. At the beginning, the cars will still have a driver for safety reasons.
Longer battery lifecycles: The Technical University of Munich and the Research Centre Jülich have pinpointed what makes lithium-ion batteries wilt after several charges. They blame the production of a highly reactive singelt oxygen and expect lightweight alternatives to be the best solution.
idw-online.de (in German)
Futuristic concept: Lingyun presented a streamlined two-wheeled concept car at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. The wheels can turn up to 90 degrees, enabling the car to turn on its own axis. Equipped with a 25 kWh battery pack, the company still claims a range of up to 400 km. That seems a lot, but is apparently possible due to the cars reduced weight and aerodynamics.
SK Innovation, Google, Auro Robotics, Carla Cargo.
SK innovates: Korean energy solution company SK Innovation intends to increase production of lithium-ion battery separators, a core EV battery component, by 30 percent before 2020. After expanding two production lines next month, SK hopes to become the worldwide leading LiBS manufacturer.
Google tech: Fiat Chrysler is reportedly in late-stage talks with Google over a technology partnership and the deployment of Google’s driverless car technology. The deal would start with Chrysler’s Pacifica minivans. An announcement could come as early as this Friday, but details are still under wraps.
Campus shuttles: Autonomous campus shuttle service Auro Robotics secured 2m dollars in a funding round led by Motus Ventures. The money will allow Auro Robotics to roll out a shuttle service using multi-sensor clad electric vehicles at an unnamed American university later this year.
Bike haul: The German-designed Carla Cargo electric bicycle trailer prepares bikes for 150 kg loads. It can be powered to trail behind a bike or unhitch and operate as a powered hand truck. The motor generates 250 watts of power and can go up to 23kph. The Carla Cargo starts at 4,000 euros before tax and shipping.
Google, Formula E, Lazareth, Loop Energy.
Growing Google team: According to Reuters, at least 170 people are already working on the autonomous Google car. More than 40 experts were recruited directly from other automotive companies, such as Tesla, GM and Ford. And there are new job openings on the production side. Still, Google is not looking to mass produce its vehicle. It is more likely that it is looking to build more prototypes and that it will corporate with i.e. Foxconn for serial production.
No car changes for Formula E: FIA is looking for new battery and chassis suppliers for the 2018/2019 season of its electric racing series. From that 5th season, the cars are said to have enough battery to last the whole race. Drivers currently need to swap vehicles half way through.
Electric Sports-Quad: French tuner Lazareth presented the prototype of its latest EV-creation. The E-Wazuma is part motorcycle and part quad, powered by two 30 kW in-wheel electric motors. The company’s main objective – fun behind the wheel.
E-FC-trucks: Loop Energy has been awarded 7.5m dollars from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop two zero emission powertrains for heavy duty trucks. It combines a battery and fuel-cell drive, as well as the patented eFlow technology that enables more durability and higher peak power.
Pininfarina, Giugiaro, Accumotive, Google.
Hydrogen racer: Pininfarina surprised in Geneva, showing its H2 Speed concept. It is fuelled by a light-weight hydrogen fuel cell that powers two electric motors by Green GT with race specification. The Italian car design firm claims its creation to be between a “competition prototype and a production supercar.” It definitely has been styled throughout, including the sound.
Electric racer: The teaser becomes reality, as Giugiaro unveiled its all-electric GTZero concept in Geneva. Very. Three electric drives have a combined output of 360 kW, gearing up for a top speed of 155 mph. The carbon frame keeps it light enough for a 300 mile range.
Daimler battery production: Daimler invests 500m euros in its subsidiary Accumotive to triple its battery assembly capacity and build a second factory in Saxony, Germany. Construction will start in autumn, with operations set to begin already in summer 2017.
Google car crash: The self-driving capabilities of the internet firms EVs have proven faulty for the first time, as a Google car brushed a public bus at a crossing. Both, the car and its human driver apparently assumed the bus would let them back into the lane. Welcome to the world of everyday driving.
SK Innovation, Techrules, Google, Sea Bubbles.
Mercedes with SK cells: Korean SK Innovation says it secured a contract to supply battery cells for Mercedes plug-in models from 2017. Other than it being a “large-scale project” involving multiple models, no more details have been revealed yet. Kia and BAIC are also customers of SK.
reuters.com, greencarcongress.com, koreatimes.co.kr
Turbine EV: Over 1,000 miles on one charge sounds impossible, but China-based Techrules claims that its electric racer can do just that. Power is given at 768 kW, reached with a turbine recharging system, whose inner workings are yet to be revealed. The super car concept is scheduled to debut in Geneva this spring.
Google search: The company hunts for a location for its new R&D centre. The facility will concentrate on autonomous driving technology, so it makes sense the internet firm is scouting Detroit, Michigan, rather than its native California. Google is looking for at least 30,000 sq feet for its lab.
Hover boats: Paris is to trial autonomous electric boats hovering above the Seine. The Sea Bubbles derive their name from their encapsulated nature. Only four “marine wings” touch the water, while the boats float above much like a catamaran. With a speed of up to 18 kph they will take passengers, eventually without a captain on board. If testing is successful this summer, the water cabs could be launched by 2017.
Riversimple Engineering, Bosch, Google, Lightweight.
Rasa FCV update: Welsh company Riversimple Engineering says its fuel-cell-powered two-seater Rasa with wheel hub motors is ready to hit the road. A prototype ready for series production will be tested from autumn. Meanwhile, the company is in talks with the Welsh government to build a production plant with an annual production capacity of 5,000 units.
Bosch gets state aid: The company is looking to expand its production plant in Hatvan, Hungary, investing some 19bn Hungarian forint (about 69m dollars). The Hungarian says it will support Bosch’s effort with a 4.7bn HUF (17m USD) non-refundable grant. The expansion will create 601 more jobs, and lead to production of high-tech products, such as control units for new generation electric and hybrid cars, new radars and sensors.
Manufactured by Google? Despite previously denying that it wanted to get into the car making business, Google is advertising about 36 new jobs related to its self-driving vehicle project – 12 with a special focus on manufacturing. It seems as though the internet giant may not partner with a traditional carmaker, but build much of the hardware itself.
Hidden electromagnetic wheel: German company Lightweight has developed a prototype e-bike with so-called ‘Maglev Transrapid Technology,’ incorporating a hidden electromagnetic wheel. Some 200 magnets are embedded in the wheel trim that pass through coils, creating energy and allegedly 500 watts of assistance. The coil can also be used as an electromagnetic brake.
Toyota, Google, Wattway, Inventev.
Toyota endurance racer: The TS050 is set to race in the 2016 World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours, where the Japanese will go up against German Audi and Porsche. While specs have yet to be released, Toyota’s hybrid will boast 740 kW from a V8 coupled with electric motors.
Google pods in London? The British capital is in “active discussions” with the internet firm to trial its self-driving electric cars. London hopes to i.e. decrease costs for tunnels in the future, as they could be build more narrowly. Overall, the UK government plans to invest 20m pounds in eight driverless car projects. Google has not yet taken its pods outside the U.S. and has not commented on London’s drive.
A 1,000 km stretch of solar streets will be installed in France over the coming five years, Ségolène Royal announced. The so-called Wattway is a joint project by French infrastructure firm Colas and INES (France’s National Institute for Solar Energy). The photovoltaic panels can carry trucks and each km generates enough energy for 5,000 homes. Testing could start as early as spring, given administrative details are sorted out.
Half a million bucks for hybrid trucks: Inventev received a 500,000 dollar grant from the Department of Energy ARPA-E to develop and test its plug-in hybrid technology for heavy duty vehicles. Research and trials of the Energy SWAT Truck will be carried out on NextEnergy’s microgrid campus in Detroit.
Vanda Electrics, OmniSteer, Google, Panasonic.
Supercar from Singapore: Vanda Electrics teamed up with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop an electric supercar. Dubbed Dendrobium, the racer is set to launch in Geneva next year. Equipped with a light battery pack, the EV aims to go from 0 – 100 km in under three seconds. The first model alone has a budget of 10m dollars and Vanda Electrics plans to also include an electric truck and e-bike in its line-up.
Autonomy unlimited: The newly launched OmniSteer aims to increase manoeuvrability of electric cars with in-wheel motors. KIT, Schaeffler, Paravan and Hella will jointly look into concepts and prototypes until 2018. The project is funded with 3.4m euros from Germany’s Ministry of Education and Research.
Complete autonomy: Google is testing wireless charging systems for its driverless cars, documents from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal. Inductive charging technology comes from Hevo Power and Momentum Dynamics. Also, the company will include Kirkland, Washington, in its extended test run of its autonomous electric pods.
spectrum.ieee.org (wireless), automotive-business-review.com (Kirkland)
Panasonic production in China: The Japanese firm has entered in a JV with Dalian Levear Electric, as it is looking to set up production of automotive batteries in China. Assemblage will begin by 2017, with power packs are destined for “eco-friendly” vehicles, meaning electric and hybrid cars.
GM, Google, Greenwich, SolidEnergy.
GM creates electric car division: The manufacturer has formed a dedicated team for electric and self-driving cars to speed up advancement. Doug Parks takes the lead as vice president and will oversee research and development of new electrical and battery systems, as well as software.
Google to expand EV testing: The internet corporation says it will bring its self-driving electric cars to four more U.S. cities. Testing is to start this March. Only Ann Arbor, Michigan, has so far been named as potential location for the Google cars.
Driverless pods in Greenwich: This summer, electric, self-driving pods will begin roaming the roads of the London borough. They will resemble the electric passenger shuttles already in operation at Heathrow Airport, but are currently being adapted for use on public roads.
bbc.com, businesscar.co.uk, ibtimes.co.uk
12m for battery start-up: The MIT spinoff SolidEnergy has raised 12m dollars in a Series B round led by an undisclosed mayor car company from the United States. The firm’s promise is to bring a battery said to double EV range to market by next year.
WePod, Google, Skeleton Technologies, AVL.
Driverless bus goes public: In Dutch Wageningen, an autonomous electric bus is rolling up and down a 200 metre stretch of road. The WePod goes 8 kph tops, but nevertheless uses public streets. The pilot will eventually expand to cover a 6 km long route, while the WePod will gradually speed up to 25 kph. The city looks to roll out an entire fleet over the coming years.
reuters.com, theguardian.com, wepods.com
Google eyes Austria: The IT giant is looking to test its self-driving pods in conditions not usually found in Silicon Valley, looking to Austria, where it will find snow, mountains and narrow curves. Autocluster AC Styria already signed a letter of intent with Google.
wirtschaftsblatt.at (in German)
Ultracap backed up: Skeleton Technologies received a 4m euro (4.4m USD) cash injection from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company with shareholders like ABB, EDF, and Total. Skeleton aims to reach the ambitious target of a 20 Wh/kg energy density for its graphen-based technology by 2020.
greencarcongress.com, businessgreen.com, skeletontech.com
New technology centre: AVL’s latest technology centre has begun operations near Stuttgart, Germany. It features nine test beds for the development and testing of engines, powertrains and vehicles, including EVs. The modular design allows the addition of another 16 test beds.