Eaton & Ballard to improve fuel cells for hydrogen trucks
Power management company Eaton announced a new partnership with Ballard Fuel Cell Systems and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop heavy-duty truck fuel cells. The prototype will incorporate airflow technology initially designed to improve fuel efficiency.
Fuel Cell Stacks, PSA, Paul Scherrer Institute, NREL.
Scaling up fuel cell production: EU Digiman programme wants to fully automate mass production of fuel cell stacks for the car industry. Headed by fuel cell manufacturer Intelligent Energy, the 3.5m euro project shall provide a blueprint for a robust platform designed to deliver more than 50,000 fuel cell stacks annually by 2020. Toyota is the project’s automotive partner.
greencarcongress.com, businessgreen.com, fuelcellsworks.com
PSA initiates field trial: The French group kicked-off the research project GridMotion together with Direct Energie, Enel, Nuvve, Proxiserve and the Technical University of Denmark. They aim to explore potential energy savings by implementing smart charging and discharging strategies for real-life EVs. Thus, the project team is still looking for participants, who live in France and drive a Peugeot or Citroën with construction date January 2015 or younger.
Slowing battery ageing: Based on X-rays, scientists of the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute show how lithium-sulfur compounds change within a Li-S-battery and lower its capacity. But once they added quartz powder the battery’s performance improved by 25 to 30%.
greencarcongress.com, sciencedaily.com, psi.ch
An exclusive license agreement was forged by the NREL and Forge Nano, in order to commercialise its patented Li-ion battery materials and systems for high-stress environments. The tech bases on the encapsulation of materials with solid electrolyte coatings.
BMW, Digital e-drive, Qualcomm, Fraunhofer ISE, NREL.
Future BMW motorbike: Following visions for BMW, as well as Mini and Rolls-Royce, the Bavarians introduced a futuristic motorbike concept with an electric drivetrain. The ‘Vision Next 100’ not only emits zero emissions, it has no bearings or joints and is self-balancing, meaning the driver does not have to wear a helmet or protective gear. Active assistance systems keep the bike upright at a standstill or while driving.
electriccarsreport.com (with video), bmwgroup.com
Digital e-drive shifts into gear: The project kicked off at the Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS). Financed by Daimler and Bosch, ‘Digital e-drive’ will look at digital methods to examine operational strategies of electric drivetrains in automated and connected vehicles.
springerprofessional.de, fkfs.de (Articles in German)
S-Series charges wirelessly: Qualcomm presented its inductive charging technology that will be used in the Mercedes S550e plug-in hybrid starting next year. It is based on the Halo WEVC system, which was tested during the Formula E and will charge the PHEV with 3.6 kW. Efficiency is said to be similar to a conductive charging system.
Fraunhofer ISE signs with NREL: The two biggest research institutions are joining forces. The German Fraunhofer ISE and U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) agreed to work together closely in the fields of hydrogen and fuel cell research.
Maven, NREL, Bristol, Greenlining, United Arab Emirates, ChargePoint.
Opel car sharing: German Vauxhall is to import GM’s car sharing service Maven to Europe by 2017. If the service will include the Ampera-e (aka the Bolt) remains to be seen as details will only follow in November. The cars will be booked via app but the system is not free flow.
automobilwoche.de (in German)
Technological evolution: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is looking to convert 14 propane-powered buses to electric power at Utah’s Zion National Park. So far, the move will first be evaluated by gathering data on use and topography. Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska has made its decision and took delivery of two hydraulic hybrid shuttles from Lightning Hybrids.
greencarreports.com (Utah), greencarcongress.com (Alaska)
University of Bristol decided to replace four diesel vans with electric ones as it found the diesels not suitable for the conditions on campus that include short rides and start-stop at hills. The four Nissan e-NV200 are charged at four EV charging station on-site, saving further time and pit stops.
Widespread EV adoption: The Greenlining Institute has issued an online tool kit to facilitate EV adoption in underserved communities. “Electric Vehicles for All: An Equity Toolkit” deals with EV awareness, affordability as well as information about specific tools and resources for policy-makers.
greenlining.org (guide), chargedevs.com
Charging like a sheik: Al Qasba, a tourist and family destination in the city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates has installed two EV charging stations at its car park. To promote the new spots, two BMW i8 made a princely charge stop. The stations are part of a green parking initiative.
High qualifier: ChargePoint appointed Jennifer Granholm to its Board of Directors. The former governor of Michigan is a law professor at UC Berkeley, senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, and project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Buckeye Bullet, NREL, LiFePO4, Nur Majan.
A top speed of 644 kph is what students from Ohio State University are aiming for with their 2,200-kW electric racer. The current Buckeye Bullet “only” manages 600 kW but still holds the record as fastest electric vehicle, reaching 517.89 kph set last August.
Short circuit cut short: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed and patented the ‘Internal Short Circuit Device’ for testing purposes. It helps developers simulate effects of short circuits, which may lead to better and safer Li-ion batteries.
LiFePO4 connection: Chinese Pulead and Belgian Prayon have formed a joint venture to produce and sell lithium iron phosphate material for Li-ion batteries. Prayon already holds a license through the LiFePO4+C Licensing AG since 2012.
Arab super EV: Nur Majan from Oman presented a winged-door prototype boasting a said range of 600 km. The super electric car will apparently be offered with four different performance levels, ranging from 294 kW to 1,177 kW. Production is set to start by 2020.
DS Virgin Racing, NEVS, NREL, Sumitomo Electric.
Virgin teams up with Citroen: The next Formula E season will see teams constructing their own powertrains. For Team Virgin, this will be undertaken by the PSA brand DS. Together, they will appear as the DS Virgin Racing team. While the cooperation is said to be of a technological nature, no technical details are known. DS hopes not only to win races but to transfer its racing technology to road cars, too.
400m dollar EV factory: Saab owner NEVS celebrated the launch of its Chinese venture. The plan is to build up production as well as R&D joint ventures in the Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech zone. The new facility will focus on New Energy Vehicles and aims for an annual capacity of 200,000 units. JV partners are the State Research Information Technology (SRIT) and the IT company, Teamsun.
Afterlife proves valid: Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) set out to identify second use strategies for EV batteries on request of the DoE. By coupling techno-economic analyses with laboratory and field testing, the NREL found utility energy storage to be the the most promising application with the potential to drive down cost and to increase grid stability.
New power transistor for EVs: Sumitomo Electric has developed a new silicon carbide (SiC) power transistor. With its low on-state resistance, high stability, and higher blocking voltage, the semiconductor is particularly suited for electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles.
Nissan, NREL, GM, Siemens, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Renault.
Leaf battery for sale: In the U.S., Nissan now offers a replacement battery for its Leaf. The 24-kWh battery can be bought for 5,499 dollars but only if the old pack is traded in. Even though the new battery will carry improved technology from the 2015 Leaf, all previous models can be fitted with the replacement pack.
Fuel cell partnership: The U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and GM will join their research and development efforts to lower the cost of fuel cells. One focus of this longterm and well-funded agreement is to reduce the use of platinum.
New research alliance: Siemens and the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg will develop new energy systems at the new ‘Campus Future Energy Systems.’ Research spans over energy storages, power electronics, motors and generators. Market-ready innovations will be used by Siemens’ or assigned to start ups. Other institutes and unis will join the effort in which Siemens is to invest tens of millions of euros over three years.
siemens.com, idw-online.de (in German)
Mercedes dominates the F1: The Renault drivetrain powering Red Bull’s F1 car cannot be improved considerably anymore this season. This seemingly premature defeat comes from Renault’s deputy managing director Rob White. The changes required are too big to be dealt with within FIA regulations.
California, H2USA, BYD, BMW, NREL, Indianapolis, Bolloré.
H2 campaign: The California Energy Commission supports the installation of 28 H2-fuelling stations, investing 47 million dollars in the project. 27.6 million dollars are allocated for a total of 19 Toyota and FirstElement Fuel joint projects, some of which will be installed at existing gas stations. Linde LLC plans to set up a H2-fueling station in San Ramon.
California joins H2USA, a public-private partnership headed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The goal is to push commercialisation of clean energy technologies and especially fuel cell technologies and H2-fuelling infrastructure.
News from BYD: The Chinese manufacturer kicks off production of one of its e-buses at its new plant in California. Some 200 electric buses are set to roll off the production line there every year. The first will hit the streets of LA in August. Meanwhile, BYD has delivered three units to Taiwan.
chargedevs.com (California), automobiledistribution.automotive-business- review.com (Taiwan)
Sun(ny) roof: BMW Designworks USA has developed a solar carport, especially designed to the BMWi models. Using the BMWi Wallbox Pro, a live readout of the power generated from the panels vs. taken from the grid is possible.
Interim results: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has begun its evaluation on the first results collected during six months into a 12-month trial of 10 medium-duty Smith Newton electric vehicles (EVs) and 10 comparable conventional diesel vehicles operated by Frito Lay in the Seattle area. The test focuses on fuel economy, maintenance and durability.
16 million dollars for car-sharing: The city of Indianapolis and utility provider Indianapolis Power and Light want the state to foot the bill for installation of charging infrastructure and power lines for a proposed EV-sharing programme. French Bollore will supply all 500 EVs as well as invest 35 million dollars in the programme.
McKinsey, NREL, DoE, IIT, Stanford University, Opel.
EVs made in Germany: McKinsey’s latest Electric Vehicle Index (EVI) saw Germany overtaking Japan and becoming the second largest EV manufacturer behind leading USA. The consultants had a word of warning for the German carmakers though, to not concentrate their efforts on plug-in hybrids as the uptake of all-electric cars is much stronger, particularly in North America.
motor-traffic.de (In German), mckinsey.de (In German)
Fuel cell buses in Canada: Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have issued a full report on their two-year trial of fuel cell electric buses (FCEB) in Whistler, Canada (we reported). The 20 FCEB ran for 22 hours a day, thus reeling off three million kilometres.
Refillable battery: Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology have developed liquid electrodes. The new batteries, which in theory will be able to store five times more energy, could be recharged conventionally and refuelled like gasoline.
Pomegranate-like anode design: Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy believe a new design inspired by pomegranates could open up the use of silicon or other volume changing materials as anodes for lithium batteries.
Opel range extender: The German arm of GM’s Vauxhall brand will present a new three-cylinder engine at the Geneva Motor Show. While it will primarily be used to power the small Adam model, it could soon become a lighter and more economical range extender for the Opel Ampera and GM Volt.