Hermes, Lyft, nuTonomy, France, Bluepoint, Texas.
Hermes kicks-off electric delivery in Hamburg: The German logistics company started to deploy six electric transporters in different neighbourhoods of Hamburg. The sextet bases on Fiat’s Ducato and has been modified by Hamburg-based Emovum. In early 2018, Hermes and cooperation partner Mercedes-Benz Vans want to extend the electrified delivery nationwide by gradually adding 1,500 electric powered Vito and Sprinter until the end of 2020.
electrive.net , newsroom.hermesworld.com (both in German)
Lyft and nuTonomy team up in order to bring “thousands” of autonomous cars on the streets. The MIT spin-off intends to start working with the cab service already next month with a pilot project in Boston. There Lyft users will be able to book autonomous Renault Zoe models for a ride.
In France too, the Zoe is to drive autonomous as car supplier Delphi plans to launch a new service together with Transdev and Renault. Kick-off is scheduled for the on-going year with two autonomous Zoe models in Normandy and a shuttle bus in Saclay close to Paris. Due to security reasons, human drivers will accompany the service initially.
London to see Bluepoint’s car hire scheme: EV charging network operator Bluepoint wants to repeat the success of Paris’ Autolib scheme and thus announced plans to expand its plug-in car hire business across London. According to the company, a trial in Hammersmith and Fulham already worked out well.
Texas rewards EV purchase again: Texas reanimates its subsidy programme for electric vehicles stopped in 2015. Thus the state contributes again 2,500 dollars to every new EV on top of the federal subsidy of 7,500 USD.
Leclanché, nuTonomy, Penn State University, Plug Power.
Leclanché forges alliance in China: Partnering with Narada Power, the battery maker wants to develop and produce new Li-ion technology for the automate sector. Leclanché will provide the necessary know-how about its fast-charging lithium titanate (LTO) and high energy density graphite nickel manganese cobalt (G-NMC) solutions, which Narada will manufacture in a new 25 GWh factory from 2017.
New frontiers: Following tests with self-driving shuttles in Singapore (we reported), start-up nuTonomy wants to conquer the streets of Boston. There, it will begin testing an autonomous Renault Zoe on public roads (but in an industrial park) before the end of the year.
Battery protection: The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded 1.1m dollars to Pennsylvania State University for the development of a new protective coating for Li-ion batteries used in i.e. electric cars. The so-called nanostructured hybrids are said to prevent the formation of dendrites by separating the anode from the electrolyte.
New deal: Plug Power has signed a declaration of intent with Zhangjiagang Furui Special Equipment and an unnamed Chinese carmaker (supposedly one of the top three in the country). The goal is to develop fuel cell and hydrogen solutions for the automotive sector in China.
South Korea, Australia, NuTonomy, Texas Instruments, Charging Corridor.
Futuristic expressway: South Korea wants to build a network of “smart” motorways for self-driving electric cars by 2020. These are said to include stretches where the EVs can be charged inductively while driving. By 2018, all major rest stop along the country’s expressway will be equipped with chargers.
Fuelling the future: The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has already ordered 20 units of the next Hyundai fuel cell model, said to hit the road in 2018. The cars will be part of a project that is looking to use excess wind energy to produce hydrogen to fuel more than 1,000 FCVs.
Expanding the autonomous fleet: Start-up NuTonomy that recently began testing autonomous taxis in Singapore (we reported), wants to also trial its electric cars in other cities. It will add three Asian cities to the mix from 2017 and wants to expand to a total of ten locations by 2020 – then also including cities in Europe and the U.S.
Wi-Fi enables chargers: Texas Instruments presented a reference design of an EV charger with Wi-Fi connection, to allow EV owners to i.e. charge at non-peak times or monitor charging from a distance. The technology can be used for home and public chargers.
Charging corridor: A total of ten fast-chargers are to connect Quebec in Canada with the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon. When the project will be completed is not clear, but on the Quebec side, a number of charger have already been installed. Two other U.S.-Canadian corridors are still up for discussion.
NuTonomy, Ecopro, inductive bidirectional charging, Lausanne.
Autonomous taxi with chaperon: Start-up NuTonomy has begun testing its self-driving electric shuttles in Singapore. Riding the retrofitted Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV is free. For now, there is still a NuTonomy employee sitting behind the steering wheel.
Battery alliance : South Korean battery material supplier Ecopro and Chinese recycling company GEM have formed a joint venture to set up a production site for cathode materials in the city of Pohang. The factory will most likely open its doors in 2017.
Inductive bidirectional charging: The U.S. Department of Energy financially supports a joint research project by UPS, Workhorse, Calstart, Cisco and the Oak Ridge laboratory that aims to developed inductive charging technology for electric trucks. The system should also be able to re-receive energy.
Crystal clear: Researcher at the Technical University of Lausanne have developed cheaper a method to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen. They are using a self-built scalable solar water splitting device that does not use any rare-earth materials and is connected to new-generation, crystalline silicon solar cells.
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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