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.
LG Chem, Chevrolet, University of Michigan, Local Motors.
An European EV battery plant will be build by LG Chem. The South Korean company is looking for a suitable location. A most likely site is Polish Wroclaw, where LG Electronics, LG Display and LG Innotek already have branches. Planned annual production capacity is 50,000 batteries. It looks like European companies are ultimately too late to join the game.
Autonomous Chevy Volt: GM is to deploy a fleet of self-driving Volts at its Warren Technical Center in late 2016. The Volts with Super Cruise control will be available for rent by employees to get around campus. GM will also launch a ride-sharing program in New York but did not say if it will be electric.
New battery lab: The University of Michigan opened the ‘Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility.’ The battery lab is funded with 2m dollars from U-M, 5m dollars come from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and another 2.1m dollars from Ford. The facility has open access.
EV print facility: Local Motors is putting the finishing touches on its micro-factory in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here, the company is to 3D-print components for its Reload Swim and Sport EV models. Orders can be placed via Indiegogo from next month (we reported).
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Most clicked link on Monday was GM’s confirmation that the Bolt EV would indeed arrive next year and with cheaper batteries than ever – 145 dollars/kWh was the word on the conference.
Volkswagen, California NanoSystems Institute, University of Michigan.
One battery cell for all? VW is thinking about a single cell design for all batteries of its various electrified models, head of development Heinz-Jakob Neusser said. This could lead to cost reduction of 66 percent. At the moment, cells for VW’s e-Golf and Golf GTE as well as the Audi A3 e-tron are delivered by Panasonic, while Samsung SDI supplies cells for the new Passat GTE and upcoming Audi e-trons.
Hybrid supercapacitor: Researchers from the California NanoSystems Institute have developed what they call a hybrid supercapacitor. It combines the virtues of supercaps like fast charge/discharge rates with a high energy density – six times as much as commercially available supercapacitors.
Promising H2 storage: The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) awarded researchers at the University of Michigan with 1.2 million dollars to continue their work with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as those prove promising as efficient materials for high-density on-board hydrogen storage for FCVs.
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Most clicked link on Thursday was Tesla signing up big customers like Wal-Mart and Cargill with its stationary batteries.
Hyundai/Kia, Feadship Savannah, University of Michigan, Tongass Rain.
A centre for innovation has been opened by Hyundai and Kia in the South Korean city of Gwangju. The R&D facility focuses on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and is to fund young businesses with up to 177.5 billion won (162m dollars) in cooperation with the City of Gwangju and investors. Hyundai and Kia will provide around 1,000 unused patents to those who want to open automotive start-ups.
koreajoongangdaily.com, koreatimes.co.kr, just-auto.com
Hybrid superyacht: Dutch Feadship says it is about to build the world’s first hybrid megayacht. The Savannah is 83.50 metres long and features a diesel engine, three diesel-electric generators as well as Li-Ion batteries with a capacity of 1,000 kWh. Together, the setup is said to save about 30 percent fuel.
“Bulletproof” battery: A new battery technology developed by the University of Michigan is said to prevent fires like the ones that grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The trick is an advanced barrier made from Kevlar, the material in bulletproof vests, between the electrodes pf Li-ion batteries.
Truly eco tours: The Tongass Rain is an electric catamaran Bob Varness is looking to build. It is designed to provide a silent and thus unobtrusive approach to whale watching in his hometown Juneau, Alaska. The electric vessel is ready for production, provided crowdfunding seeps in.
kickstarter.com (campaign), juneauempire.com
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Most clicked link on Wednesday was the Salamander, an all-electric amphibious rickshaw developed by H2 Technologies.