Swatch, EC Power, JAC, Baidu, Tesla.
Swatch batteries to come in 2018: After delays, the announced Super-battery for EVs made by Swatch shall finally roll off the production lines in the upcoming year. It is supposed to provide 30 percent increase in capacity compared to the Gigafactory product. The delay is due to the company’s target to still improve and optimise the cathode of the battery, according to Swatch CEO Nick Hayek.
U.S. battery tech for Chinese EVs: The Winter Olympic Games in 2022 in Beijing shall see 10,000 electric-powered service cars and buses, equipped with cell tech developed by Pennsylvania State University spin-off EC Power. Its so called all-climate battery (ACB) is said to be performing even with temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius. The battery packs are supposed to be produced by EC Power’s licensees MGL in China.
Autonomous EVs by JAC and Baidu? Chinese search engine giant Baidu teams up with manufacturer JAC, in order to kick-off serial production of autonomous cars by 2019. It’s likely that they go for new energy vehicles, maybe even for fully electrified cars.
Tesla kicks-off solar cell production: In the EV maker’s solar plant in Buffalo, called Gigafactory 2, the first cells for Tesla’s solar panels roll off the lines. Tesla and Panasonic target an annual production capacity of 1 GW by 2019, in the long term even 2 GW, according to a new statement of Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel.
Bosch, Swatch, Blue Bird, NSK.
Bosch battery production: Bosch wants to decide until the end of the year whether or not to venture into battery cell production. According to Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner, the decision mostly depends on whether it is possible to develop and manufacture technologically better and cheaper cells than i.e. Samsung SDI or Panasonic.
Vanadium battery by Swatch: Said to have a 30 percent higher capacity than regular batteries (we reported), the vanadium battery will be testes in China in March. Expectations are high. Swatch CEO Nick Hayek expects that just by selling the technology to other OEMs, Swatch will make between 10 and 15bn francs by 2020.
cash.ch, luzernerzeitung.ch (articles in German)
Giving back: Georgia-based manufacturer Blue Bird is working on a school bus with bi-directional charging capabilities. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and aims to demonstrate eight such buses in California by 2019.
Wheel hub motor with transmission: Japanese company NSK presented the, by its own account, world’s first transmission equipped wheel hub motor. Based on expertise gained from the prototype, NSK wants to commercialise components for wheel hub motors in the future.
LG Chem, ZF, Swatch, POC.
LG Chem to take the lead: The Korean firm aims to become world’s largest maker of EV batteries and to achieve 7 trillion won (6.4bn dollars) in sales in 2020. If successful, LG Chem’s battery business would need to grow nearly six times in four years. As the EV market in Europe is gaining traction, another battery production facility is planned in Poland to handle operations on the continent.
ZF drives commercial vehicles electrically as it developed an all-electric central drive designed for delivery trucks and buses in urban environments. ZF also presented the AVE 130 electric portal axle, a concept that has been introduced in Mercedes’ Urban eTruck von Mercedes.
Swatch electric plane: Swatch subsidiary Hamilton debuted the first electric plane to be used for aerobatics in Switzerland. The Silent Aircraft Twister is powered by an electric drive delivered by Siemens. The battery comes from Renata, another Swatch subsidiary and lasts for 160 km.
20min.ch (in German, with video)
Electric motorcycle brand: Swedish sports brand POC has a new label called Cake. It will offer off-road electric motorcycles. The first model is planned for 2017 and the company aims for a 10 percent market share in ten years.
Accumotive, Swatch, Eco-driving, Hyperloop.
Daimler battery storage: Daimler subsidiary Accumotive announced a new cooperation with Hannover’s utility enercity. Together, they will set up a 15 MW battery storage facility before the year’s end. 3,000 battery modules reserved for existing electric Smarts will be stored and serve as stationery energy storage at the same time. It is the Daimler’s second storage project, following the first in Lünen.
Swatch battery update: The “super battery,” which Swatch says will have 30 percent more capacity, utilises vanadium pentoxide and an unconventional electrolyte. A first production line for prototypes was recently set up and serial batteries for light-electric vehicles can be expected this year.
nzz.ch (in German)
Eco-driving research: Researchers from TU Chemnitz and the University of Southampton studied eco-driving behaviour in hybrid vehicles. They found that green technologies alone are insufficient and have to be backed up by systems that facilitate and not only encourage eco-conscious driving.
greencarcongress.com, sciencedirect.com (guidelines)
Hyperloop pod by MIT: After Space X just asked Aecom to build a test track for Elon Musk’s high speed tube, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) won the design competition. It will now build the capsules for the Hyperloop.
Swatch, ORNL, BioSolar, University of Michigan.
Swatch update: The announced Super-battery is taking form. Serial production of the prototype is to commence in June – first for e-bikes, electric scooters and drones, followed by EVs in 2017. Swatch promises an 30 percent increase in capacity compared to the Gigafactory product. And it is said to charge faster.
handelszeitung.ch (in German)
Battery alliance: Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Solid Power have signed a licencing agreement for lithium-sulphur for battery packs of the next generation. He goal is to develop more energy-dense batteries for the rechargeable energy market.
BioSolar update: The company says it concluded the first development stage of its allegedly revolutionary cathode technology (we reported). According to BioSolar, it could reduce the cost to less than 100 dollars per kWh. The next development stage will focus on the opimisation of production and preparation of demonstrators.
Autonomous funding: The University of Michigan as received 2.7m dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to test whether autonomous vehicles can help people drive more efficiently. Most cars used for the study will be electric or feature hybrid technology.
Toyota, diesel-ban, Swatch, Lexus, Formula E.
New Prius spotted: Pictures of what looks like 2016 Toyota Prius Liftback and new Prius plug-in have emerged on a Taiwanese website. Its report puts the PHEV’s electric range at 31 miles (50 km) on the moderate Japanese JC08 cycle, about 5 miles more than the current model.
mobile.autonet.com.tw (in Chinese) via hybridcars.com
A diesel ban in German cities is one of the EU Commission’s recommendations in a 23-page report regarding non-compliance with EU regulations on air quality. Levels of nitrogen dioxide are too high and unlikely to decrease as long as Germany supports fiscal preferences for diesel vehicles. Further measures include the advancement of electric and hybrid vehicles. The EU Commission will also start discussing new CO2 emission targets for 2025. 68g/km to 78g/km are being assessed.
fazjob.net (Germany), europe.autonews.com (all EU members)
Swatch FCV revival: German electricity company Group E will take over the fuel cell car project by Belenos, a subsidiary of Swiss watchmaker Swatch and a shareholder. The latter will further license fuel cells and concentrate on batteries. Group E plans to build hydrogen cars and infrastructure.
Update: The Infiniti QX60 Hybrid (Nissan Pathfinder) has not been discontinued entirely, as it is available in global markets like China and Mexico, Lexus USA clarified following a report suggesting otherwise. Should demand strongly increase in the U.S., it could even there get back on the shelves.
Next Formula E takes shape: Based on a draft of next season’s calendar, there will be no electric races in Monaco, Hong Kong or Miami. Furthermore, FIA has published the list of the ten teams to take part in the ePrix. Three will run under amended names to reflect a change of sponsorship.
electricautosport.com (Races) electricautosport.com (Teams)
Swatch, DoE, SCE France, Infineon.
Swatch-made EV battery? According to Swatch CEO Nick Heyek, the watch maker and its subsidiary Belenos Clean Power want to start selling batteries for EVs within the next three to four years. In collaboration with the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), Belenos Clean Power has allegedly developed batteries with an energy storage capacity 50 to 100 percent higher than that of currently available batteries. No technical details on how this new battery technology works were revealed yet.
i4u.com, news24.com; hebdo.ch (in French)
DoE funds hydrogen fuel cells: The Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has earmarked a total of 10 million dollars for a total of 11 projects that will drive innovations and address critical challenges and barriers in the fields of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
New battery researcher: Hydro-Québec and the French Aquitaine Regional Council have founded the subsidy SCE France. The latter will focus on research and technology transfer in the Aquitaine region to develop lithium-iron-phosphate-based batteries and carry out research on new battery technologies that use advanced materials.
New Infineon IGBTs: Infineon is sampling a new family of 650V IGBTs for fast switching automotive applications. The Trenchstop 5 Auto IGBTs are said to reduce power losses and improve reliability in EV and HEV applications such as on-board charging, PFC, DC/DC and DC/AC conversion.
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Most clicked link on Thursday was the video about the “leaked” details of Apple’s iCar, which also explains why the EV never crashes.