NASA plans electric test flights by end of 2020
NASA presented an early version of its X-57 Maxwell all-electric passenger aircraft. The electric aircraft is based on the Tecnam P2006T twin-engine propeller aircraft, in which the combustion engines have been replaced by 14 electric motors. The first test flight is scheduled for the end of 2020.
DLR and NASA laud e-airplane design from Munich
The German center for aerospace (DLR) has lauded the winners of the competition they organized in cooperation with NASA for design ideas regarding future flight technology. The winners were a team from the technical university in Munich.
Mars exploration via helicopter
NASA is thinking far ahead and has a project with transport potential on Mars sorted before any passengers have even reached the red planet. Whilst the Tesla Roadster is on its way through space, NASA engineers have come up with the Mars Helicopter that will accompany their rover by 2020.
Uber will trial its electric aircrafts in L.A.
Uber has closed a cooperation deal with U.S. space agency NASA to realise tests of its “flying cars” also above Los Angeles. As reported, Uber extends its project called Uber Elevate in order to create a network for its planned on-demand service.
Mystery Space Vehicle.
Half Mars rover half Batmobile but science fiction for real is this latest development by Nasa. The six-wheel space rover collects sun rays and drives electric but is is unclear, which planet it may roam in the future.
Honda NSX Hybrid, NASA.
Video tip: Latest Top Gear member Chris Harris takes a spin in the Honda NSX hybrid racer. He concludes that this is a “cut-price Porsche 918 Spyder”.
Click tip: NASA has been working on electric cars since the 1970ies. Papers uncovered by Jalopnik show the Garret-Airesearch Electric Hybrid Vehicle. It did not use an engine though but supported its lead-acid battery with a flywheel instead.
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
NASA, Riversimple, Canada, ZF.
NASA electric: NASA is testing the experimental electric plane -57, which is nicknamed Maxwell and features 14 electric motors. The plane’s technology could reduce flight times, fuel usage, operational costs and noise pollution.
Rasa road tests: Riversimple has received the green light for a 12-month trial of their Rasa on the roads of Monmouthsire, Wales, later this year. Twenty cars will be leased to sixty to eighty drivers in the area. Riversimple will be covering the costs of the cars during testing.
Component costs reductions: The National Research Council of Canada, Hydro-Quebec subsidiary TM4, and Rio Tinto Metal Powders are researching how to cut costs of electric motor components. First results from the 4-year project are being showcased at the Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition in Montreal.
8DT in production: ZF has officially started production of its eight-speed dual clutch transmission, the 8DT. The German supplier developed the 8DT alongside Porsche at their Brandenburg plant. It has been developed as a modular kit to support usage in hybrid vehicles.
NASA, model car, Manz, Tesla.
Electric passenger plane: NASA is looking to launch an electric aircraft called Sceptor (Scalable Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology and Operations Research) by 2019. The concept is said to be able to hold up to nine passengers. They would be carried by a 500 kW electric motor integrated into an experimental wing.
Out of the woods comes this model car developed by Swedish Innventia, Swerea and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Its roof is made from carbon-fibre sourced from softwood lignin. The same light-weight material was used for the electrode of the Li-ion battery. Lignin could become available by 2024.
German SME to help build batteries: Manz says it received a multi-million euro order to build machines for making large Li-ion batteries. The machines will be mainly delivered to Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and Manz relates the growth to electric transport.
Metal that matches Model 3: Prices of rare materials essential for EV batteries, such as nickel, cobalt, aluminium and cooper, continue to drop. Good news for Tesla, as it brings the EV maker closer to its goal of offering its upcoming economy EV, the Model 3, at a lower price than the rest of the line-up.
Formula E, Phinergy, NASA, Kongsberg Automotive.
Formula E gets faster: FIA published the adjusted technical regulations for the upcoming season of the ePrix. Peak power output has been increased from 200 to 250 kW and maximal battery weight from 200 to 230 kg. The permitted race energy, however, remains the same, at 28 kWh.
Cash injection for aluminium-air battery: Israeli battery start-up Phinergy received another 50m dollars for the development of its aluminium-air battery. Aluminium manufacturer Alcoa contributed 10m dollars. Phinergy has been able to raise a total of 288m dollars to date.
Hybrids take flight: The NASA Glenn Research Center is working on hybridising passenger airplanes, hoping to decrease the use of kerosene by up to 30 percent. Considering that U.S. airlines alone annually use 8.9bn tons of fuel, adding electric motors could make a significant difference.
On board Charger for PHEVs: Kongsberg Automotive received an order for On Board Chargers (OBC) for new plug-in hybrids form an anonymous Chinese manufacturer. The deal is worth 49m euros over seven years. Production is said to kick off in 2018.
LG Chem, graphene production, NASA, Minsk Automobile Plant.
LG now uses NMC patents: LG Chem has entered into a license agreement with 3M to use nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cathode materials more widely. It can now utilise 3M patented materials in the USA, Asia and Europe and position itself as cathode supplier as well.
Improved graphene production: Scientists at RWTH Aachen University and research centre Jülich have developed a new method to produce synthetic, high-quality graphene on a large scale. The production is based on chemical vapour deposition (CVD), a known method the researchers refined by avoiding contamination of graphene obtained and recycling the copper used during the process.
The next electric plane could look like one of these five designs NASA selected as winning concepts. The design challenge was aimed at university students, asked to outline a four-seater electric aircraft able to fly 575 minutes. Overall winner was the Georgia Institute of Technology.
bsaeronautics.com, techtimes.com, nasa.gov
Electric bus from Belarus? MAZ (Minsk Automobile Plant) says it is working on an electric bus destined for European markets. A first prototype will be introduced in spring next year.
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.
Luftstrom, ZSW, Mattro, NASA, Lane Splitter.
Air cooling for EVs: The German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) granted 6.5 million euros to the “Luftstrom” (air stream) project which is to develop new drivetrain and charging technologies for EVs that are cooled with air instead of water. The project is to run until 2018 with twelve partners, among them Siemens, Infineon as well as universities and research institutes.
idw-online.de (in German)
Battery scanner: The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW) now has a dual-source X-ray scanner that delivers high-definition images of the insides of batteries. The nano-focus tube makes smallest fractions visible in 3D, thus enabling researchers to assess damage and literally gain new insights.
All-terrain EV: The Mattro Ardenner is essentially an electric snowmobile but more versatile than that. Three individually controlled electric in-wheel motors make it most agile. The Ardenner can get as fast as 80 kph and develops 1,400 Nm of torque.
EV fun: NASA developed the Modular Robotic Vehicle – an EV that can be remotely controlled, drift and even park itself. Another interesting piece is the Lane Splitter, which literally splits into two separate electric motorcycles.
youtube.com (NASA), motoroids.com (Lane Splitter)
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Most clicked link on Thursday was the Renault Twizy Cargo Ambulance revealed at the CV Show in Birmingham.
NASA, University of Delaware, Cadillac, Crosspoint Kinetics.
Electric plane testing: NASA has made some progress with its electric plane project (we reported) and space agents are currently testing the so-called LEAPTech wing – though only on the ground for now. It consists of a 9.5 meter carbon composite span with 18 small electric motors powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries.
engadget.com, time.com, nasa.gov
Cost-efficient catalyst: Researchers from the University of Delaware have discovered a cheap and efficient catalyst for converting water to hydrogen. As they combine copper and titanium in a way that imitates the structure of a platinum catalyst, H2 production could become a lot less expensive.
Mixed material: To create a light-weight body for the upcoming CT6, Cadillac has come up with a new mix of materials. While most of it is aluminium (64%), 13 other materials helped shave off 90 kilos compared to a steel construction. The CT6 will also be offered as plug-in hybrid variant in the future.
Commercial hybrids: Crosspoint Kinetics is now working with Morgan Olson to produce hybrid delivery vans. The Kinetics Hybrid system with a 50-kilowatt electric motor mounts directly to a driveline so the van’s original components can stay in place. Energy is recuperated and released in boosts.
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Most clicked link on Tuesday Greg Kable’s review of the all-electric Audi R8 e-tron, which he says “accelerates with terrific force.”
GAC, Nissan & NASA, Spira4u, Logos Technologies & Alta Motors.
Autonomous PHEV: GAC Motor announces to present two concept PHEVs at the NAIAS. The plug-in hybrid SUV WitStar is designed to showcase autonomous driving technology and comes with an all-electric range of 62 miles and a top speed of 99 mph. Information on the GA6 GT sedan is yet scarce.
Nissan meets NASA: The Japanese carmaker and the U.S. space agency unite in a five-year R&D partnership to develop autonomous vehicle systems ready to go to market. A fleet of self-driving Leafs will be set up for testing at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California before the end of the year.
inautonews.com, businesswire.com, greencarcongress.com
Electric foam car: Chinese Spira4u has started pilot production of its electric three-wheeler. With a composite chassis and a body made of fiberglass with lightweight foam body panels, the Spira4u EV weighs only 190 kilos and costs 9,000 dollars. An amphibious version is under development.
Hybrid military motorcycle: Logos Technologies has entered phase two of the operation assigned by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The SilentHawk hybrid motorcycle is based on Alta Motor’s Redshift in full camouflage. An AWD prototype is expected within 18 months.
NASA, GS Yuasa, University of Wollongong, Kia Soul EV.
NASA to fly electrically: The American space agency is working on what it calls the ‘distributed electric propulsion’ system which could eventually make the dream of flying electric cars come true. The technology is based on multiple small electrically driven propellers and said to be highly efficient. Testing is to start within two weeks and more details are to follow in less than a year.
Tripled capacity? Japanese battery manufacturer GS Yuasa claims to have developed a Li-ion battery that bears three times the capacity of existing products thanks to a sulfur-based cathode. GS Yuasa plans to commercialise its new battery technology by 2020.
New anode material: Researchers at the Australian University of Wollongong have identified lead germanate-graphene nanosheets composites to make suitable anodes for Li-ion batteries. The composite anode prove superior in terms of capacity, cycling stability and rate capability.
Kia Soul EV battery: The Korean carmaker issued a video explaining the inner workings of the Soul EV battery. It uses cells by SK Innovation which will soon be implemented in the Chevrolet Volt as well, according to Steve Kosowski, National Manager Kia Motors America.
youtube.com (video) via insideevs.com
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Most clicked link on Monday was the BMW 2-series Active Tourer, which is said to become available as an all-wheel driven plug-in hybrid variant next year.
NASA, Sakti3, Formula E, Tesla.
Vertical-takeoff plane: NASA is testing its GL-10 Grease Lightning hybrid-electric plane to see if it could one day transport passengers. The unmanned plane has swivelling wings with ten electric motors, which get their energy from two diesel engines in the back of the vessel.
Battery breakthrough? The Michigan start up Sakti3 says its solid state cells with liquid electrolyte would soon offer a capacity of 1,100 Wh per litre, which translates into a 480-mile range when compared to the battery of a Tesla Model S. As if that would not be sensational enough, the company further believes it could bring down cost to 100 dollars per kWh.
Race cars powered by algae: Formula E has come to an agreement with Aquafuel. The British company will deliver generators to “fuel” the racing series electric cars with electricity gained from glycerin produced from salt-water algae.
Start and lock via smartphone: The next Tesla update for the Model S will enable its owners to not only unlock but even to start their electric luxury car with their mobile phone. Among other new features, software version 6.0 will now include navigation with real time traffic data.
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Most clicked link on Thursday was the unveiling of NEVS’ electric Saab 9-3 EV prototype with a range of about 200 kilometres.
ZeEUS, NASA, Hydrogenics.
Zero Emission Urban Bus Systems (ZeEUS): This EU project unites 40 partners in eight European cities to research the emission saving potential of e-buses in public transport. In the city of Münster, Germany, a complete bus route will be operated with five all-electric buses recharging at two fast-charging stations. The test is coordinated by two institutes of RWTH Aachen university. ZeEUS will receive funding from the EU worth 13.5 million euros (18.3m dollars) until 2017.
emobilserver.de (In German), egvi.eu (Project coordination)
NASA’s electric car trial: A programme designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions at Kennedy Space Center has brought “really insane” results in its first three months, according to NASA’s Frank Kline. Ten employees using electric cars and charging them with green energy on-site have already saved 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in only three months – mission to be continued.
H2 stations for UK: Fuel cell developer Hydrogenics announced it won two contracts from the British government to provide its electrolyser technology for new hydrogen fuel stations. The company’s HyStat 60 and 30 electrolyser will be used by BOC, a subsidiary of the Linde Group.