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Technologies, issues and policies for sustainable mobility.



Updated: 2017-11-18T15:43:41Z

 



Jülich, ORNL researchers advance high energy density iron-air batteries

2017-11-18T15:43:41Z

In a new study published in the journal Nano Energy, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provide in-depth insight into the electrochemically induced surface reaction processes on iron anodes in concentrated alkaline electrolyte in... In a new study published in the journal Nano Energy, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provide in-depth insight into the electrochemically induced surface reaction processes on iron anodes in concentrated alkaline electrolyte in iron-air batteries. Using in-situ electrochemical atomic force microscopy (in-situ EC-AFM) at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at ORNL, they were able to observe how deposits of iron hydroxide particles (Fe(OH)2) form at the iron electrode under conditions similar to those prevalent during charging and discharging. A deeper understanding of the charging and discharging reactions is viewed as the key for the further development of this type of rechargeable battery to market maturity. Iron–air batteries, originally proposed in the 1970s, have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg; by comparison, present-day lithium-ion batteries come in at about 600 Wh/kg, and even less (350 Wh/kg) if the weight of the cell casing is taken into account. When it comes to volumetric energy density, iron–air batteries could perform even better with 9,700 Wh/l—almost five times higher than today’s lithium-ion batteries (2,000 Wh/l). Although lithium–air batteries, which are technically considerably more difficult and complicated to realize, can have gravimetric energy densities of up to 11,400 Wh/kg, even these advanced cells theoretically have “only” 6,000 Wh/l. Iron–air batteries are thus particularly interesting for a multitude of mobile applications in which space requirements play a large role. In addition, their main constituent—iron—is an abundant and therefore cheap material. However, due to technological challenges such as catalyst corrosion, self-discharge and hydrogen evolution during battery charging, research into metal–air batteries was abandoned in the 1980s for a long time. The past few years, however, have seen a rapid increase in research interest. Iron–air batteries draw their energy from a reaction of iron with oxygen. In this process, the iron oxidizes almost exactly as it would during the rusting process. The oxygen required for the reaction can be drawn from the surrounding air so that it does not need to be stored in the battery. These material savings are the reason for the high energy densities achieved by metal–air batteries. Different from lithium-ion technology, the electrochemistry of iron is confined to surface reactions which result in the formation of a redox-layer on the iron electrode surface in alkaline electrolyte. The redox-layer on iron is mostly referred to as the passivating layer or passive film since the redox-reaction products accumulate on the electrode and eventually prevent further electrochemical reactions of the metallic iron surface beneath. However, the material constituting the redox-layer is not inactive and affects the redox-behavior of the electrode. The effects of the redox-layer on the electrochemistry of iron are, first, the contribution of secondary electrochemical reactions and, second, the moderation of the available electrode surface area. Due to its tremendous technological importance regarding the protection against corrosion, the passivation of iron has been a subject to numerous physical and chemical studies. As a result of these studies, different models for the structure and the composition of the redox-layer have been proposed. However, although being interesting from a fundamental and an applied point of view, to date, only a few groups have investigated the evolution of the redox-layer in alkaline media and even less have reported in-situ microscopy studies in concentrated electrolytes due to the aggressive measurement [...]



LA Metro and Via Join partner to offer shared rides to select transit stations; $1.35M grant

2017-11-18T11:00:00Z

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Via, a provider of on-demand shared rides are partnering to offer an affordable, equitable, and accessible option to connect to major train and bus stations. The project is funded in part...

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Via, a provider of on-demand shared rides are partnering to offer an affordable, equitable, and accessible option to connect to major train and bus stations. The project is funded in part by the largest federal grant of its kind—a $1.35-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for advanced technology to help bridge the first/last mile gap.

Using the Via app, passengers will be able to instantly book a seat in a shared, dynamically-routed vehicle to or from three major Metro stations. Via’s algorithm will instantly match passengers with others going their way in a vehicle following an optimized flexible route that minimizes detours and delays.

Via will collaborate closely with Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation to expand LA’s mobility menu, improving access to public transportation, and providing an affordable, equitable, and accessible way to Go Metro.

The new Metro-Via service will be shared, affordable, on-demand, dynamic, accessible, and integrated enabling the use of either a credit card or a TAP account.

First launched in New York City in September 2013, the Via platform currently operates in New York City, Chicago, and Washington DC, providing more than 1.5 million rides per month, and is growing rapidly. Via also licenses its on-demand transit technology to transportation operators, and partners with cities and transit authorities globally.

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API: US petroleum demand last month highest for October since 2007; 19.9 mbpd

2017-11-18T10:50:00Z

Total petroleum deliveries in October moved up by 1.1% from October 2016 to average 19.9 million barrels per day, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). These were the highest October deliveries since 2007. Compared with September, total...

Total petroleum deliveries in October moved up by 1.1% from October 2016 to average 19.9 million barrels per day, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). These were the highest October deliveries since 2007. Compared with September, total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of US petroleum demand, decreased 1.8%. For year-to-date, total domestic petroleum deliveries moved up 1.2% compared to the same period last year.

Gasoline production was up from the prior month, but was down from the prior year and the prior year-to-date. In October, gasoline production reached the second highest output for the month of October, up 3.5% from the prior month, but down 0.2% from the prior year to average 10.0 million barrels per day in October.

For year-to-date, gasoline production decreased 1.5% compared to the same period last year and was the second highest year-to-date on record. Distillate production in October reached the highest production level for the month of October at just below 5.0 million barrels per day.

This was up 9.7% from the prior month, up 7.4% from the prior year, and up 3.0% from the prior year-to-date. Distillate production year to date 2017 was the second highest year to date on record. Kerosene-jet production averaged nearly 1.6 million barrels per day in October, reaching the second highest output in October since 2000.

The economy continues to grow as fuel demand remains strong and more people find work. Unemployment went down last month and gas prices remain relatively low benefiting American businesses and workers.

—API Director of Statistics Hazem Arafa

US crude oil production in October remained strong and above 9.0 million barrels per day for the ninth consecutive month. Domestic crude oil production increased 7.0% from the prior year and reached the highest October output in 45 years, since 1972, to average 9.4 million barrels per day in October.

Compared with the prior month and the prior year to date, crude oil production decreased 1.1% and increased 3.3%, respectively. The month-ago declines in crude oil production likely reflected the impact of Hurricane Nate.

US total petroleum imports decreased 5.4% from September and decreased 0.8% from October 2016 to average just above 9.6 million barrels per day in October. These were the lowest imports since November 2015. For year-to-date, total petroleum imports were up 1.6% compared with year-to-date 2016. Crude oil imports decreased 3.6% from October 2016 to 7.3 million barrels per day in October. These were the third lowest imports for the month of October in 21 years, since 1996. Compared with September, crude oil imports were 2.1% lower. For year-to-date, crude imports were up 2.2% compared with year-to-date 2016.

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UC Santa Barbara team develops catalytic molten metals for direct conversion of methane to hydrogen without forming CO2

2017-11-17T16:17:35Z

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed catalytic molten metals to pyrolize methane to release hydrogen and to form solid carbon. The insoluble carbon floats to the surface of the melt, where it can be removed and... Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed catalytic molten metals to pyrolize methane to release hydrogen and to form solid carbon. The insoluble carbon floats to the surface of the melt, where it can be removed and stored or incorporated into composite materials. This method also avoids carbon formation on steam-reforming catalysts, which usually deactivates the catalysts. In a paper in the journal Science, the team reported that a 27% Ni–73% Bi alloy (Ni0.27Bi0.73) achieved 95% methane conversion at 1065°C in a 1.1-meter bubble column and produced pure hydrogen without CO2 or other by-products. Under these conditions, the equilibrium conversion is 98%. When the temperature was reduced to 1040 °C, the CH4 conversion decreased to 86%. Steam methane (CH4) reforming (SMR) followed by the water-gas shift reaction is the most common process for large-scale hydrogen production today. Although commercially optimized for decades, the endothermic SMR process is ex- pensive; high capital costs and high energy consumption are unavoidable. Furthermore, the process produces stoichiometric CO2, which may impose additional costs because of the need for sequestration or because of a possible carbon tax. Despite the fundamental economic and environmental limitations of SMR, none of the presently deployed renewable power sources, including hydrogen from electrolysis, can compete with the SMR process for large-scale H2 production. Alternatively, H2 can be produced by pyrolysis of CH4 without producing CO2 … only half as much H2 is produced per mole of ch4 compared to SMR; however, considerably less energy input is required and solid carbon is coproduced rather than CO2. … Metallic catalysts (e.g., Ni, Pd, Pt) achieve high conversion and selectivity to H2 at moderate temperatures; however, their melting temperatures are extremely high and as solids, they are rapidly deactivated by solid carbon (coke). The only report of the use of a molten metal as a catalyst for CH4 pyrolysis described pure liquid magnesium (Mg), which was used to achieve ~30% of the equilibrium conversion, at 700 °C. Higher conversions, at higher temperatures, were not possible because of Mg evaporation.—Upham et al. Hydrogen production with a Ni-Bi molten catalyst. (A) Reactor for CH4 conversion to H2 and carbon in a molten-metal bubble column with continuous carbon removal. (B) Scanning electron microscopy image of the carbon produced. (C) Raman spectrum of surface carbon. The dashed line labeled “D” is at 1350 cm−1, and the dashed line labeled “G” is at 1582 cm−1. (D) Ab initio molecular dynamics simulation showing an orbital (green) of a Pt atom dissolved in molten Bi (gray) alloy. Upham et al. Click to enlarge. In their study, the UCSB researchers prepared liquid alloys of active metals in low–melting-temperature metal “solvents” (Sn, Pb, Bi, In, and Ga) using known equilibrium phase behavior to produce catalysts that melt at [...]



Toyota and Suzuki partnering on EVs in India

2017-11-17T15:34:30Z

Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor have concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on moving forward in considering a cooperative structure for introducing electric vehicles (EVs) in the Indian market in around 2020. Specifically, Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian...

Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor have concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on moving forward in considering a cooperative structure for introducing electric vehicles (EVs) in the Indian market in around 2020. Specifically, Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian market and will supply some to Toyota, while Toyota is to provide technical support.

Additionally, Toyota and Suzuki intend to conduct a comprehensive study of activities for the widespread acceptance and popular use of EVs in India. Such activities encompass the establishment of charging stations, human resources development that includes training for after-service technicians employed throughout sales networks, and systems for the appropriate treatment of end-of-life batteries.

Under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is endeavoring to rapidly promote an automotive transition to EVs. Suzuki has already announced that it intends to construct a lithium-ion battery plant on the grounds of its recently opened automobile plant in the Indian state of Gujarat.

As envisioned by the agreement, in addition to lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and other major components would be locally procured for the production of EVs in India, helping the Indian government fulfill its “Make in India” initiative, even in the field of EVs.

In February the two companies had agreed to begin exploring a business partnership, after which they began discussing, among other topics, the dissemination of vehicle electrification technologies in India.

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Volkswagen Group to spend >$40B over next 5 years to develop electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization

2017-11-17T15:24:26Z

The Volkswagen Group will spend more than €34 billion (US$40 billion) by the end of 2022 on the development of electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization. Most of this investment will go into the electrification and hybridization... The Volkswagen Group will spend more than €34 billion (US$40 billion) by the end of 2022 on the development of electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization. Most of this investment will go into the electrification and hybridization of all Group models. This marks another move to advance the Roadmap E electrification offensive which was announced in September; the goal is to electrify the entire model portfolio by 2030. (Earlier post.) We are reinventing the car. We are making targeted investments in digitalization, autonomous driving, electric mobility and new mobility services by providing the necessary funds from our own resources. We are, however, doing so without sidelining existing technologies and vehicle projects, since this is how we will earn our money for the foreseeable future.—Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG As part of the planning round for 2018 to 2022, the Group has also optimized its plant and workforce assignment. The main highlights: For the launch of Europe’s first series production of electric vehicles on the MEB platform (the I.D. series), the Zwickau site will be remodeled into a pure-play e-mobility plant. This will lay a key foundation for the electrification and hybridization of the Group’s product portfolio. Other location decisions at the individual brands will be made as the Roadmap E is rolled out further. From the end of 2018, the entire Passat family will be concentrated at the Emden site. The VW Golf family will be bundled in Wolfsburg from the next vehicle generation onward. cess." Despite the ambitious growth targets, Group management says it is committed to reduce both the capital expenditure ratio and the research and development ratio in the Automotive Division. According to the new planning round, each of the two ratios will decline to a competitive level of 6.0% from 2020 onward. In 2016, the corresponding capex ratio stood at 6.9%. The Volkswagen Group expects Brazil, China, Russia and North America to be the main growth drivers in the coming years. The planning round does not include the investments of the joint venture companies in China. These companies finance the investments in the Chinese plants and products from their own resources. Successful implementation of Roadmap E would result in around one in four new vehicles produced by the Group being a battery-only electric vehicle. Depending on how the market develops, this could mean up to three million e-cars a year. Electrifying the entire model portfolio by 2030 would mean that by then there will be at least one electric variant of each of the Group’s around 300 models. To this end, the Company has invited tenders for one of the largest purchasing volumes ever, with plans to spend over €50 billion (US$60 billion) on battery cells. (Earlier post.) [...]



Univ of Washington team working to make poplar coppice viable cheap, high-volume biofuel feedstock

2017-11-17T11:00:00Z

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar an economically viable biofuel feedstock by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently—after only two or three years—instead of the usual 10- to 20-year... A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar an economically viable biofuel feedstock by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently—after only two or three years—instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle. These juvenile trees are planted closer together and cut in such a way that more branches sprout up from the stump after each harvest, using the same root systems for up to 20 years. This method is called “coppicing,” and the trees are known as poplar coppice. The UW team is the first to try converting the entire young tree—leaves, bark and stems—into bio oil and ethanol using two separate processes. Their results, published recently in two papers—one in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and the other in Biotechnology for Biofuels (open access)—point to a promising future for using poplar coppice for biofuel. Our research proved that poplar coppice can be a good option to meet the cheap, high-volume criteria of biofuel feedstock. Our findings are significant for the future biofuel industry, and the ultimate goal is to make poplar coppice biofuel a step closer to the pump.—Chang Dou, a doctoral student in the UW’s Bioresource Science and Engineering program and lead author on both papers Poplar woodchips from older trees have been the focus of most research, mainly because wood parts contain the highest concentration of sugar, which is important for making ethanol and chemicals. Earlier studies show that poplar woodchips are a viable biofuel source, but costs still don’t pencil out, especially since trees are cut just once every 10-plus years. Additionally, other tree parts go to waste when only the trunk is used, making the process more inefficient and wasteful. However, if poplar were planted close together like an agriculture crop, and whole trees were harvested on a much quicker cycle, it could make sense from a cost perspective and offer a short return on investment, and be more attractive for farmers. The researchers harvested poplar trees approximately the size shown in this photo. Chang Dou/University of Washington. Click to enlarge. Alternative fuels must make economic sense, the researchers stress, for biofuels to make a dent in the petroleum-driven market. We have the environmental incentives to produce fuels and chemicals from renewable resources, but right now, they aren’t enough to compete with low oil prices. That’s the problem.—Renata Bura, a UW associate professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and the senior author Bura’s research is part of the Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest project funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The project, directed by UW professor Rick Gustafson, is a consortium of universities and industries led by the UW whose goal is to lay the foundation for a Pacific Northwest biofuels and bio-based industry based on poplar feedstock. For this study, trees in Jefferson, Oregon—one of the four study sites—were planted in rows close together in spring of 2012 and harvested less than two years later before the leaves had fallen. The UW team first tested whether entire young poplar trees could be converted into sugar by a process that uses high temperature, pressure and enzymes to break down the wood materials into sugar. From there, it is possible to make ethanol, acetic acid, lactic acid and other valuable chemicals by fermenting the sugar. After processing the trees, the researchers found that leaves are poor performers and lowered t[...]



Sumitomo Electric, Univ of Toyama develop magnesium alloy for die casting with superior heat resistance

2017-11-17T10:02:00Z

Sumitomo Electric Industries and the University of Toyama have developed a high heat-resistant magnesium alloy for die casting applications. In die casting, a molten metal is injected into a die under high pressure and quickly cooled and solidified into the...

Sumitomo Electric Industries and the University of Toyama have developed a high heat-resistant magnesium alloy for die casting applications. In die casting, a molten metal is injected into a die under high pressure and quickly cooled and solidified into the final part. Owing to its high productivity, die casting is widely used for manufacturing aluminum automotive parts.

One important way the automotive industry is seeking to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles is by reducing their weight. Due to their low castability and heat resistance, high component production cost, and low recyclability, conventional magnesium alloys cannot be used as substitutes for aluminum alloys.

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Ingots of die-cast magnesium alloy.

Sumitomo Electric conducted joint research with Prof. Seiji Saikawa of the faculty of engineering, the University of Toyama, and succeeded in developing a new heat-resistant magnesium alloy free of the above shortcomings.

The newly developed magnesium alloy has the following features:

  • Superior heat resistance (compressive creep characteristics and tensile strength at 150-200 ˚C). Compressive creep is the tendency of parts to deform over time when they are fastened with bolts or other means and placed under a constant compressive stress. Since deformation of a metal usually increases with a rise in temperature, a material with high compressive creep characteristics would gradually reduce the tightening force of the bolts.

  • Little change in composition from re-melting and re-casting, which makes the alloy recyclable.

  • No-use of costly rare-earth elements.

Sumitomo Electric will establish a new alloy ingot production system to introduce alloy products into the market.

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New Nissan LEAF makes its China debut

2017-11-17T09:54:00Z

The new Nissan LEAF makes its China debut at the 15th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition. Nissan is also exhibiting the Vmotion 2.0 concept car, providing a glimpse of the future of sedans. Venucia, the local brand of Dongfeng Venucia...

The new Nissan LEAF makes its China debut at the 15th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition. Nissan is also exhibiting the Vmotion 2.0 concept car, providing a glimpse of the future of sedans. Venucia, the local brand of Dongfeng Venucia Motor Co. within Nissan’s joint venture in China, will also bring its all-new Venucia T70 to the show.

ith the strong and steady growth of Nissan’s joint venture companies in China, Nissan China has achieved accumulative growth in the past 10 months, and we are set to increase our annual sales target to 1.5 million vehicles.

—Jun Seki, president of Dongfeng Motor

In addition to offering greater range, the new LEAF comes with Nissan’s ProPILOT autonomous driving technology, ProPILOT Park and e-Pedal.

Unveiled earlier this year, the Vmotion 2.0 concept car showcases a future vision for ProPILOT functionality that allows autonomous driving on urban roads for a more flexible driving experience.

The new Venucia T70 comes with a connected system, “AI Voice Assistant.” The system offers the driver assistance with 200 actions, such as making a call or turning on the air conditioning, solely through voice commands. In addition, the navigation system, co-designed by Dongfeng Venucia and Autonavi, provides 24-hour guidance through blind zones.

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Transloc partners with California transit agencies to begin deploying next-generation microtransit services

2017-11-17T09:01:00Z

TransLoc, a technology provider of flexible agency-owned microtransit solutions, is partnering with three California transit agencies readying to deploy microtransit in their respective communities: Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (CCCTA) and the San Joaquin Regional...

TransLoc, a technology provider of flexible agency-owned microtransit solutions, is partnering with three California transit agencies readying to deploy microtransit in their respective communities: Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (CCCTA) and the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD).

Microtransit is a highly flexible, on-demand mode of transportation that couples traditional fixed-route services, such as public buses and trains, with demand-driven options to serve the specific needs of cities and communities. Microtransit can positively impact a community’s social mobility and economic viability while also addressing concerns stemming from traffic and parking congestion.

Powered by TransLoc’s MicroTransit Simulator, a predictive modeling service that can simulate rider demand and determine fleet operations for successful new pilot programs for on-demand transit services, OCTA, CCCTA and SJRTD are now in the initial stages of rolling these new services out to the public. By introducing new agency-owned flexible transit services, each transit agency is now better able to serve their community with their own unique brand of services.

Located southeast of Los Angeles, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) serves 34 cities, including Anaheim, Santa Ana, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, California. OCTA’s microtransit service, called OC Flex, will help the agency reduce parking congestions, grow ridership and provide more efficient service for public-transit riders.

OCTA says it plans to launch OC Flex in the summer of 2018 in two zones within the county—one serving the cities of Huntington Beach and Westminster, and the other serving Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel.

In the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay Area, CCCTA plans to deploy microtransit to complement its current demand-response services, as well as help its riders connect more seamlessly with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Walnut Creek station. CCCTA currently transports 20-40 commuters per day on its demand-response service that requires call-ahead scheduling. The new microtransit service is about providing CCCTA riders with a positive customer experience that will help to grow ridership numbers.

San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) in Stockton, California is currently leveraging microtransit services, powered by TransLoc, to better serve its rural residents. RTD piloted microtransit in its community to make it possible for riders to request on-demand rides in both real-time and also to schedule services in advance. San Joaquin RTD’s microtransit pilot began in July 2017.

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Toyota introducing new EV in China in 2020, expanding scope of fuel cell feasibility study

2017-11-17T09:00:00Z

At Auto Guangzhou 2017, Toyota Motor announced it will introduce an electric vehicle under the Toyota brand in the Chinese market in 2020, and that the scope of a fuel-cell vehicle feasibility study will be expanded to cover commercial vehicles...

At Auto Guangzhou 2017, Toyota Motor announced it will introduce an electric vehicle under the Toyota brand in the Chinese market in 2020, and that the scope of a fuel-cell vehicle feasibility study will be expanded to cover commercial vehicles such as buses.

For years, Toyota has developed China-made hybrid units and expects to sell a total of approximately 100,000 units of the Corolla Hybrid and Levin Hybrid models in 2017, both of which feature domestically-produced hybrid units. In addition, development of plug-in hybrid variants of the Corolla and Levin is underway in preparation for their rollout.

We will use the technology we have nurtured in hybrid electrification to carry out extensive development of new energy vehicles as required by China.

— Hiroji Onishi, Senior Managing Officer and CEO of the China Region

Recently, the Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. (TMEC) hydrogen station was completed for fuel cell vehicles, and verification is being carried out under a three-year plan from October using two Mirai vehicles. Toyota will also study and evaluate the feasibility of using commercial vehicles, such as buses, in China to explore the potential usage of fuel cell technology.

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Fuel cell buses have already been introduced in Japan and a feasibility study on potential usage of fuel cell technology in heavy-duty trucks in the US are ongoing. (Earlier post.) Toyota is also proceeding with demonstration tests of fuel-cell vehicles with Mirai in countries such as Australia, the U.A.E., and Canada. Ultimately, Toyota aims to achieve a hydrogen-based society through verification under a range of environments.

Also at Auto Guangzhou 2017, Toyota announced the rollout of a second Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) vehicle in the middle of next year—a compact SUV (known as the IZOA, or C-HR) fitted with a newly developed 2.0-liter TNGA engine—following the launch of the Camry in China, the first vehicle developed using TNGA.

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Musk unveils Tesla Semi; 500-mile range at highway speed with 80,000 lbs GVW; next-gen Roadster appears

2017-11-17T05:42:55Z

Emphasizing “BAMF” performance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi in an evening event. The sleek electric truck, with a 0.36 coefficient of drag (supported by intelligent flaps that support a range of trailers), will accelerate from 0-60 mph... Emphasizing “BAMF” performance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi in an evening event. The sleek electric truck, with a 0.36 coefficient of drag (supported by intelligent flaps that support a range of trailers), will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, charge up a 5% grade at 65 mph, and deliver 500 miles of range, Musk said. According to Musk, 80% of truck routes are less than 250 miles; the Tesla Semi thus in theory could make a round trip on those routes without charging, he suggested. Taking a page from Toyota’s presentation book, Tesla ran animations comparing the acceleration of the Tesla Semi vs. a conventional diesel truck. (For the reveal of its Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell prototype, Toyota presented a video of a side by side acceleration demonstration between the actual Portal fuel cell prototype and a diesel. Earlier post.) The diesel made it from 0-60 in 20 seconds, compared to the 5 seconds of the Tesla Semi. View from the cockpit with its centered driver position. The Tesla Semi will feature an enhanced autopilot capability as standard, with automatic emergency braking, automatic lane keeping, and forward collision warning. Tesla guarantees the 4-motor drivetrain (one independent motor on each of the rear four wheels) to last one million miles. Tesla estimates $1.26/mile average cost versus $1.51/mile for a diesel truck. Musk also emphasized the economic benefits of a 3-truck platoon, which can he said can beat rail in terms of cost. Musk said that reserving a Tesla Semi requires a $5,000 reservation. Production is projected to begin in 2019. New solar-powered “Megachargers” will be able to add 400 miles of range in 30 minutes of charging. Tesla also revealed the next-gen Roadster, with eye-watering specs: 0-60 seconds in 1.9 seconds, the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and a 200 kWh battery pack supporting 620 miles of range. The four-seater is slated to be available in 2020. Founders Series reservations for the Roadster 2 run $250,000; a standard Roadster 2 reservation runs $45,000. [...]



PPG partners with SiNode Systems to commercialize high-energy silicon-graphene anodes

2017-11-16T22:42:43Z

PPG has entered into a partnership with SiNode Systems to accelerate the commercialization of high-energy silicon-graphene anode materials for advanced battery applications in electric vehicles. The 30-month project will enable the partners to rapidly develop and demonstrate anode materials that... PPG has entered into a partnership with SiNode Systems to accelerate the commercialization of high-energy silicon-graphene anode materials for advanced battery applications in electric vehicles. The 30-month project will enable the partners to rapidly develop and demonstrate anode materials that will store more energy than conventional lithium-ion battery materials, enabling electric vehicles to travel farther on a single charge or to have a lighter-weight battery. In 2016, SiNode was selected among several competitors to receive a contract for the project from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), which is providing 50% of the project’s funding through the US Department of Energy. (Earlier post.) Project partners are funding the remaining 50%. SiNode technology utilizes a composite of silicon and graphene in a layered structure, which was developed, optimized, and patented in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory. Whereas current graphite-based anodes offer a capacity of 372 mAh/g, SiNode material can be customized to achieve capacities between 1000 mAh/g and more than 2500 mAh/g, delivering higher cell level energy density. In addition, in-plane nano-engineered porosity is introduced to the graphene layers, allowing rapid ionic diffusion through the structure for faster charging. The project will focus on improving the stability and scalability of SiNode’s anode materials to meet or exceed USABC targets for a battery’s active materials, which store the energy. Raymor Industries will provide graphene to PPG, which will then prepare the material for SiNode. PPG will help both Raymor and SiNode scale up their manufacturing processes to production volumes to support the project. Partnering with PPG will allow us to accelerate the commercialization of our battery materials platform for a wide range of markets, from consumer electronics to electric vehicles.—Samir Mayekar, SiNode co-founder and CEO We believe SiNode’s technology has great potential to benefit the battery market, and we appreciate this opportunity for collaboration. Boosting the range and reducing the weight of electric vehicles through batteries that store more energy will increase the practicality of, and consumer interest in, these cars. Applying PPG technology to help improve the sustainability of products, such as electric vehicles, is a strategic goal for us, and we are pleased to participate in this project.—Kurt Olson, PPG research fellow PPG’s current goal is to have 40% of its total sales derived from sustainable products by 2020. The company met its initial 30 percent goal five years ahead of schedule in 2015. [...]



Federal-Mogul Powertrain acquires Controlled Power Technologies; adds electrification capability; 48V

2017-11-16T16:30:59Z

Federal-Mogul Powertrain has completed the acquisition of UK-based Controlled Power Technologies Ltd (CPT). The purchase provides a timely route for Federal-Mogul Powertrain to expand into the development and manufacture of powertrain technologies for electrification and hybridization that complement the company's... Federal-Mogul Powertrain has completed the acquisition of UK-based Controlled Power Technologies Ltd (CPT). The purchase provides a timely route for Federal-Mogul Powertrain to expand into the development and manufacture of powertrain technologies for electrification and hybridization that complement the company's existing capabilities. Headquartered in Laindon, Essex and with a further site in Coventry (UK), CPT specializes in the development of 12V and 48V electric motor-generators for start-stop applications, mild hybridization, exhaust-driven electrification technologies, e-boosting for combustion engines, e-compressors for fuel cells and similar products. (Earlier post.) These provide powertrain manufacturers with fuel economy improvement, drivability, performance enhancement and emissions reduction measures suitable for a wide range of applications including passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial engines. Financial details of the acquisition have not been released. The new unit will offer its solutions under the name “Federal-Mogul Controlled Power Ltd”. The acquisition of CPT significantly expands the scope of Federal-Mogul Powertrain's business, providing our customers with an exciting new range of electrification technologies that are ready for integration with their development programs. Stringent emissions targets can only be met through a combination of improved efficiency of combustion engines with measures like reduced internal friction or advanced combustion strategies as well as through further electrification of the powertrain. With the acquisition of CPT, Federal-Mogul Powertrain now has access to leading technologies in each of these areas.—Rainer Jueckstock, Chief Executive Officer, Federal-Mogul Powertrain Some of the key product families within CPT’s portfolio are: CPT SpeedStart and CPT SpeedTorq: a highly controllable and thermally managed family of motor-generators for engine and driveline electrification delivering industry-leading drive-cycle and real world driving benefits; COBRA: liquid-cooled electric superchargers that offer CO2 and fuel economy improvement up to 15% for medium to heavy-duty applications; COBRA FC: innovative air supply solutions for fuel cells; TIGERS: energy recovery systems that recuperates energy from exhaust gasses to generate electricity. While internal combustion engines will continue to play a vital role for many years to come, we see hybridization and electrification of powertrains as a key enabler for vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions. This acquisition will enable Federal-Mogul Powertrain to offer electrified powertrains, further strengthening our position as a key development partner for our customers.—Rick Llope, Senior Vice President Global Sales and Corporate Strategy, Federal-Mogul Powertrain [...]



Akasol opens €10M, 600 MWh production facility for commercial electric vehicle batteries

2017-11-16T15:32:25Z

Akasol announced the opening of a new semi-automated production facility for high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for commercial vehicles. The company has invested €10 million (US$11.8 million) into the new commercial plant at Langen, and may double that investment as demand...

Akasol announced the opening of a new semi-automated production facility for high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for commercial vehicles. The company has invested €10 million (US$11.8 million) into the new commercial plant at Langen, and may double that investment as demand increases.

Akasol has begun serial production at the facility, which, with a capacity of 600 MWh, is now the largest assembly line for commercial vehicle battery systems in Europe. As recently announced, Akasol will supply its lithium-ion system to two leading European bus manufacturers in contracts to build approximately 10,000 buses within the next few years. (Earlier post.) Akasol currently also supplies technology and consulting to leading companies including VDL Bus & Coach, Alexander Dennis, Alstom, Bombardier and Bucher Municipal.

The plant can currently produce high-performance battery systems for up to 3,000 hybrid or electric vehicles or other large commercial vehicles each year. The Langen plant will manufacture the company’s AKAsystem OEM for commercial vehicles, such as buses and trucks.

The company is currently Europe’s only mass manufacturer to offer flexible solutions for battery sizes and chemistry while fulfilling all industry reliability and safety requirements.

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As more cities across Europe choose zero-emission buses, we’re witnessing the European market for hybrid and electric buses growing by more than 35 percent each year. Cities are increasingly looking for bus leasing solutions to avoid higher investment costs, so finding the right supplier for battery systems is of strategic importance for bus manufacturers. We are the only mass manufacturing company offering flexibility for battery size and cell chemistry, while fulfilling all performance, reliability and security requirements for our clients.

—Akasol Managing Director Sven Schulz

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Nikola Motor selects Nel to build 16-station hydrogen refueling network spanning 2,000 miles; first two underway

2017-11-16T11:30:00Z

Nikola Motor Company, which is developing a Class 8 hydrogen-fuel-cell electric truck (earlier post) has chosen Nel ASA as the sole equipment supplier to build a 16-station hydrogen refueling network that will span 2,000 miles. Nikola has already issued a...

Nikola Motor Company, which is developing a Class 8 hydrogen-fuel-cell electric truck (earlier post) has chosen Nel ASA as the sole equipment supplier to build a 16-station hydrogen refueling network that will span 2,000 miles. Nikola has already issued a purchase order for the first two stations; the other 14 will follow immediately after installation.

We have thousands of trucks that have been reserved and need to be delivered. The stations are the first step to completing that process. Nel has delivered over 3,500 hydrogen solutions in over 80 countries since 1927. We are confident they can deliver.Scott Perry, Nikola’s chief operating officer

  • Nel ASA will provide engineering, electrolysis, and fueling equipment. Nikola will provide the balance of plant, construction, dispensers and other station equipment.

  • The hydrogen stations will initially produce up to eight tons daily, but can also be expanded up to 32 tons per day.

  • Each Nikola truck is anticipated to consume around 50-75 kgs per day.

  • Each Nikola truck will store between two and three megawatt hours (mWh) of energy.

  • Each station will have around 4,000 kgs of backup storage for redundancy

  • Each station is anticipated to produce hydrogen at 700 bar (10,000 psi) and 350 bar (5,000 psi)

  • Nikola will allow all hydrogen vehicles to fill at our stations

Nikola’s objective is to produce hydrogen through zero emission methods whenever possible by using wind, solar and hydro-electricity. Nikola is also exploring partnerships in Europe.

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Toyota Financial Services partners with Launch Mobility to support rideshare drivers

2017-11-16T11:00:00Z

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is partnering with Launch Mobility, a developer of shared mobility solutions, to develop a product that will make previously leased vehicles available for short-term rentals to rideshare drivers. The companies will be able to draw upon...

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is partnering with Launch Mobility, a developer of shared mobility solutions, to develop a product that will make previously leased vehicles available for short-term rentals to rideshare drivers.

The companies will be able to draw upon an array of resources across the Toyota organization:

  • alignment with Toyota Motor Corporation’s global Mobility Services Platform (MSPF), developed and operated by Toyota Connected;

  • input from Toyota’s dealer network, which is able to offer a vital perspective on vehicle sales and maintenance; and

  • access to the TFS field teams to market test a new solution.

The companies are developing a pilot with the intent to deploy in select markets by the end of the calendar year.

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BYD delivers first all-electric automated side loader refuse truck to city of Palo Alto

2017-11-16T10:15:00Z

BYD delivered the first all-electric automated side loader refuse truck to the City of Palo Alto and GreenWaste, the city’s waste hauler service. The BYD electric refuse truck uses its batteries for propulsion, as well as to power the hydraulic...

BYD delivered the first all-electric automated side loader refuse truck to the City of Palo Alto and GreenWaste, the city’s waste hauler service. The BYD electric refuse truck uses its batteries for propulsion, as well as to power the hydraulic system for the body.

The electric refuse truck has 76 miles of range and requires only two to three hours maximum to fully charge. The truck will operate on a variety of service routes in the community from urban to residential neighborhoods including streets with steep inclines.

BYD wants to electrify everything in transportation, and we see great potential for turning over diesel or natural gas refuse truck fleets to zero emission, battery-electric trucks. This battery-electric refuse truck in Palo Alto will save GreenWaste tens of thousands of dollars annually in fuel costs while completely eliminating tailpipe emissions and operating quietly in residential neighborhoods. The benefits of operating this truck will be enjoyed by both the city and its residents and will begin to materialize almost immediately upon going into service.

—Andy Swanton, vice president of truck sales for BYD Heavy Industries

GreenWaste and the City of Palo Alto will enjoy savings of more than $16,000 annually due to the truck’s high-efficiency electric motors and controls, as well as less maintenance required for the propulsion systems, fewer fluids to change, less brake wear due to regenerative braking technology, and fewer moving parts overall. GreenWaste will monitor and collect data from the electric refuse truck’s routes to determine if additional electric refuse trucks can be purchased in the future to replace its entire diesel truck fleet.

Due to the stop-and-go nature and designated daily routes of refuse hauler operations, the refuse market represents a prime opportunity for vehicle electrification. Earlier this year, BYD introduced the first class 8 heavy-duty electric refuse truck designed and built by an original equipment manufacturer at the 2017 ACT Expo.

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Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center to study societal acceptance of connected and automated vehicle technologies

2017-11-16T10:00:00Z

Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced five new research projects focused on better understanding how drivers use and respond to advanced vehicle technologies, including automated driver assistance systems. The new projects, undertaken in partnership with five US research institutions,... Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced five new research projects focused on better understanding how drivers use and respond to advanced vehicle technologies, including automated driver assistance systems. The new projects, undertaken in partnership with five US research institutions, will launch as part of CSRC Next, the Center’s new five-year program designed to support and inform a safe transition to future mobility. Emerging vehicle technologies, including automated driver assistance systems, offer tremendous promise to help improve road safety, but important questions remain about the most beneficial interaction with drivers, and how drivers can be educated about their safe operation. Four of the five research projects will focus on societal acceptance and generate data-driven insights into the use of these technologies. This data can help support their effective integration, foster safer driving behaviors, and offer potential countermeasures to risky driving behavior. The five research projects will launch in partnership with George Mason University, Rockville Institute, University of Washington, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and San Francisco State University. Data from each project will be shared across the institutions to help speed research, with the results made public to support the advancement of auto safety industrywide. The new CSRC Next research projects include: Organization Description George Mason University A Neuroergonomic Evaluation of Mental Model Development of Future Automated Driving Technologies This project is aimed at objectively determining (through neuroergonomic methods) how different factors impact mental model development and evolution of advanced safety technologies. Rockville Institute A Naturalistic Driving Evaluation of Mental Model Development of Future Automated Driving Technologies This project will develop a taxonomy of mental model development of automotive safety technologies by determining in a naturalistic driving setting how users develop and maintain mental models as AV safety technologies are integrated into the vehicle. University of Washington Effectiveness of Short and Long Term Education Methods to Enhance Risk Mitigation and Associated Safety-Related Driving SkillsThe aim of the project is to develop analytical models that can capture and identify changes in driver performance that are indicative of risk mitigation behavior and to assess the effectiveness of candidate behavioral countermeasures aimed at curbing future risk. University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Guidelines for Development of Evidenced-Based Countermeasures for Risky Driving The overall project objective is to create a set of guidelines that can be used to inform the development of risky driving countermeasures that are evidence-based, guided by theory, and lead to sustained behavioral change. This will be done by identifying the underlying constructs of current, and future, risky driving behaviors, identifying driver attributes that contribute to the performance of these risky behaviors, and finally, ascertaining the behavior change theories that are mostly likely to create lastin[...]



DOE: Cumulative US sales of fuel cell vehicles totaled 2,748 from June 2014 through September 2017

2017-11-16T09:30:00Z

According to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE), cumulative US sales of fuel cell vehicles from June 2014 through September 2017 are 2,748 units, spread across three available models. The DOE noted that fuel cell vehicle sales...

According to figures gathered by the US Department of Energy (DOE), cumulative US sales of fuel cell vehicles from June 2014 through September 2017 are 2,748 units, spread across three available models. The DOE noted that fuel cell vehicle sales (including leases) are currently only offered in select areas that have hydrogen refueling infrastructure—mainly in California. For this reason, fuel cell vehicle sales do not directly reflect consumer demand, and sales volumes should not be compared to sales volumes of mainstream vehicles that are sold in all 50 states.

Of the three publicly available fuel cell models, the Toyota Mirai has sold 2,158 units.

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US sales of the Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Mirai, and Honda Clarity from June 2014 to September 2017. Vehicle leases are counted as vehicle sales. The Dec-14 data point reflects cumulative sales from June 2014 through December 2014. The Dec-15 data point reflects cumulative sales for all of 2015. Click to enlarge.
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Ipsos RDA study finds traditional US dealerships often not prepared for EVs

2017-11-16T09:00:00Z

A new study by market research company Ipsos RDA has found that the EV sales process at traditional brand dealers who sell EVs alongside other vehicles, has, in many instances, has not been differentiated from the traditional process and is,... A new study by market research company Ipsos RDA has found that the EV sales process at traditional brand dealers who sell EVs alongside other vehicles, has, in many instances, has not been differentiated from the traditional process and is, in effect, passive. The availability of inventory, as well as critical EV ownership information in-store (from the sales staff or marketing materials) and online, is concerning and leaves shoppers with unanswered questions. This, by contrast, is not the case with Tesla sales staff, who, advantaged given their EV-only product line, exude a passion for electric vehicles and are equipped with the information needed to help consumers make informed decisions. The inaugural Ipsos RDA Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales Experience and Best Practice Study examined the sales process across automotive brands currently offering battery electric vehicles. Ipsos RDA deployed mystery shoppers to dealerships in the top selling all-electric vehicle markets in the US to assess their preparedness for this growing consumer base. The study also found that the sales process experience at traditional brand dealerships is largely inconsistent. Consumers shopping for a specific EV model may have distinctly different experiences from one dealership to another in the same brand family—one well informed, educational and supportive, the other completely lacking. The lack of consistency in the EV shopping experience, even within the same brand, highlights the need for better product knowledge and support to effectively position electric vehicles with the US automotive consumer.—Todd Markusic, VP, Research at Ipsos RDA These core issues tend to result in dealers moving consumers toward other, non-EV, models they are more comfortable selling. One key issue revealed in these findings was the belief held by some dealers that the consumer must be prepared to compromise on their EV shopping experience expectations. This included expecting limited or no inventory to physical evaluate or select from. Rather than search for, or order, the desired vehicle, many shoppers are pressed to accept what is available—including hybrids or even gasoline-engine alternatives. Attempting to switch a shopper away from their EV interest is not only damaging the likelihood of a potential sale, but it can damage the trust a consumer has with the dealership.—Mike VanNieuwkuyk, SVP, Ipsos RDA Electric vehicles are not often seen on the showroom floor nor are marketing materials displayed or made available and many dealerships that sell these vehicles don’t have designated EV sales people to manage the various questions and concerns potential owners have. This lack of support for the EV shopper lessens the likelihood that they will make the decision to go electric. It is surprising that consumers often were not offered an EV test drive, a key experience that showcases the uniqueness of its performance benefits. Most of the time the consumer had to request one.—Todd Markusic The inaugural Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales Experience and Best Practice Study is a syndicated partnered project between Ipsos RDA Automotive and the Ipsos Loyalty’s mystery shopping practice—the largest such practice in the world. The study wa[...]



WiTricity and Texas Instruments collaborate on wireless charging solution for EVs

2017-11-16T08:52:00Z

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity has collaborated with Texas Instruments (TI) to use automotive-grade semiconductor components in WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging systems and reference designs. WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging system enables drivers to park their electric vehicles (EVs)...

Wireless power transfer company WiTricity has collaborated with Texas Instruments (TI) to use automotive-grade semiconductor components in WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging systems and reference designs.

WiTricity’s DRIVE 11 wireless charging system enables drivers to park their electric vehicles (EVs) and be assured of rapid and efficient charging without having to handle charging cables.

WiTricity’s TMN Controller utilizing TI’s C2000TM real-time control microcontroller (MCU) can enable DRIVE 11-based electric vehicles and charging stations to optimize energy transfer between the source and vehicle automatically in a wide range of real-world operating conditions including parking misalignment, differing vehicle ground clearance and varying battery voltage conditions.

WiTricity has announced licensing agreements with Toyota, Delphi, TDK, IHI, Shindengen, Daihen and BRUSA. WiTricity is also collaborating directly with leading carmakers to drive global standards for wireless charging systems. Standards initiatives the company is involved in include the SAE International, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), STILLE, China Automotive Technology & Research Center (CATARC) China Electricity Council and Chinese Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI).

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Hyundai Motor America to release 8 new crossovers by 2020; gasoline, diesel, hydrogen and electricity

2017-11-16T08:30:00Z

Hyundai Motor America said it will introduce to eight new or re-engineered crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) in the United States by the year 2020. Beginning with the US launch of the Kona—Hyundai’s first global B-segment CUV)—in March, this new lineup... Hyundai Motor America said it will introduce to eight new or re-engineered crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) in the United States by the year 2020. Beginning with the US launch of the Kona—Hyundai’s first global B-segment CUV)—in March, this new lineup will encompass models from the A-segment (entry level) size class all the way up to the eight-passenger midsize class. Hyundai said it will showcase its latest gasoline engine, diesel engine, hydrogen fuel cell (earlier post) and battery electric technologies in these vehicles. Hyundai currently offers gasoline, diesel, hydrogen and battery-electric vehicles—but not a diesel—in the US. The 2018 Kona for the US will initially feature a 1.6L turbo 4-cylinder engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT), as well as a 2.0L Atkinson cycle engine coupled with a 6-speed automatic. The Gamma 1.6T-GDI engine delivers 177PS, a 0-100 km/h time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). The engine delivers maximum torque of 265N·m (195 lb-ft) from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm. The 2.0-liter MPI Atkinson engine produces 149PS, with a 0-100 km/h time of 10 seconds and a top speed of 194 km/h (121 mph). Paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine delivers maximum torque of 179 N·m (132 lb-ft) at 4500 rpm. In addition to the 1.6T-GDI engine, customers in Europe can also opt for Hyundai’s downsized 1.0 T-GDI turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual transmission. Also available will be a 1.6 diesel engine for select markets. Hyundai Motor is currently the only car manufacturer to make its own steel to produce its vehicles globally. The lightweight body frame has been developed with 51.8% Advanced High Strength Steel to deliver class-leading levels of passive safety. Hot stamping methods produce lightweight, super-strong structural elements to maximize the cabin’s central safety zone. The length of structural adhesives used in production extends to 114.5 meters, providing additional torsional rigidity and further reducing weight. The platform also features an innovative multi-load path structure—an advanced energy dispersion technology that boosts impact tolerance by dispersing crash energy across multiple structures to protect passengers in the event of an accident. [...]



Parker Project demonstrates cross-brand V2G in Denmark; more tests of grid services slated

2017-11-15T14:26:48Z

The Parker Project has used a fleet of four vehicles from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, PSA Groupe and Nissan to demonstrate that vehicles from different car brands can contribute to supporting the electricity grid with vehicle to grid (V2G) services. The... The Parker Project has used a fleet of four vehicles from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, PSA Groupe and Nissan to demonstrate that vehicles from different car brands can contribute to supporting the electricity grid with vehicle to grid (V2G) services. The aim of the Parker project is to validate that series-produced electric vehicles can support the power grid by becoming a vertically integrated resource both locally and system-wide. To do so, Parker is testing a wide range of new and existing grid services to examine how electric vehicles can best contribute to balancing the power system and—not least—whether electric vehicles can deliver such grid services across car brands. This is the first time, three major automotive brands come together to demonstrate cross-brand V2G just as it is the most thorough and systematic cross-brand V2G service demonstration ever conducted.—Peter Bach Andersen, Senior Researcher at the Center for Electric Power and Energy, DTU Electrical Engineering and Project Manager of Parker With the demonstrations kicked off in the second half of 2017, the project has now demonstrated that the vehicles are operational and able to deliver services across brands. The first tests conducted by Parker included grid services such as frequency regulation, voltage support and stacking. For vehicles on a global scale to support the power system optimally, a universal definition for grid integration must be formed so that vehicles can connect with and balance the grid no matter brand and location, which is what the automotive brands Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, PSA Groupe and Nissan sets out to do in Parker together with Enel, Nuvve, Insero, Mitsubishi Corporation and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a pioneer in EVs and PHEVs and has been working on use of these vehicles as a storage battery for more than 5 years. The V2G demonstration conducted here in Denmark is a study to utilise EVs and PHEVs as a power interchange tool for society. We do expect EVs and PHEVs as social infrastructure will become more indispensable than ever before in the near future.—Vincent Cobee, Corporate Vice President at the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Parker’s test equipment includes seven Enel chargers and four different series-produced electric vehicles from the three different automotive brands. The vehicles have already integrated the V2G technology and are thereby capable of providing electricity back to the grid. For us, V2G presents significant business opportunities, and we are making great strides in the advancement of this technology within the overall smart grid development so we can assure a balanced power system based on renewable energy.—Alberto Piglia, Enel’s Head of e-Mobility Parker’s test plan contains 11 services which will be tested during the winter of 2017. Among other things, the project will asses the vehicles’ ability to provide frequency regulation, grid overload prevention and do real-time charging in accordance with a CO2 signal which informs the vehicle of when the CO2 emission from energy producers are at their lowest. Th[...]



NAIT partnering with Oberon, Mack and Westcan to advance use of DME fuel in long-haul trucks

2017-11-15T10:57:00Z

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is partnering with Mack Trucks, Oberon Fuels and Westcan Bulk Transport to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner-burning (sulfur-free and no PM), high-cetane (55-60), diesel fuel alternative that... The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is partnering with Mack Trucks, Oberon Fuels and Westcan Bulk Transport to develop fuel moisture management technology for dimethyl ether (DME), a cleaner-burning (sulfur-free and no PM), high-cetane (55-60), diesel fuel alternative that can be made from natural gas or methanol produced from biomass feedstock, such as wood chips. The technology will remove any residual water from the DME before injection into the engine, eliminating the risks of corrosion and reduced performance. The researchers hope to test the technology using Mack trucks from Westcan’s fleet, traveling Alberta Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary—a distance of about 300 km (186 miles). DME offers performance that is similar to diesel, making it suited for fleets that have to haul heavy loads. DME produces zero soot, zero sulfur oxides (SOx), less NOx and also significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel (especially if made from biogas). DME is a gas under ambient conditions. However, because it can be stored as a liquid under moderate pressure, it eliminates the need for the high-pressure containers used for CNG or cryogenics, as in the case of LNG. DME’s easy handling properties make fueling and infrastructure relatively simple and inexpensive. Producing DME usually uses a two-step process: the feedstock gas is converted to methanol; the methanol is then dehydrated to form DME and water, with some unconverted methanol also in the effluent. ISO 16861 specifies a maximum limit of 0.050 mass % methanol and 0.030 mass % water in DME used for fuel. (ISO 17197 specifies a test procedure for the amount of water content in DME used as fuel; this procedure is applicable to determine the amount of water up to the value specified in ISO 16861.) The NAIT project is being funded with $368,000 from the Government of Alberta – Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. In January 2017, Oberon, a producer of DME, announced the first customer demonstration of a DME-powered Mack truck, a Mack Pinnacle. Oberon and Mack are working with the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to run the vehicle at the Fresh Kills Landfill and evaluate performance and overall drivability. The test is the first step in the city’s evaluation of both DME trucks and DME fuel as a potential long-term strategy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and to achieve the city’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030. (Earlier post.) Oberon Fuels has developed proprietary skid-mounted, small-scale production units produce DME from various feedstocks, such as biogas and natural gas. This small-scale process circumvents the financial, infrastructure, and permitting challenges that large-scale projects confront. Oberon units have the capacity to produce 10,000 gallons of DME per day to service regional fuel markets. Because DME can be produced from natural gas, its use could provider another value-added product from Alberta’s resources. The partners noted that the global DME market is expected to grow to $13.1 billion by 2020. Oberon[...]



DiDi Labs opens new campus in Mountain View

2017-11-15T10:00:00Z

Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest mobile transportation platform, announced the opening of its main US research facility in Mountain View, California to facilitate the growth and expansion of its Bay Area-based team. Since its official launch in March 2017, DiDi...

Didi Chuxing, the world’s largest mobile transportation platform, announced the opening of its main US research facility in Mountain View, California to facilitate the growth and expansion of its Bay Area-based team.

Since its official launch in March 2017, DiDi Labs has focused on AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies, with the aim of attracting leading engineering and technology talent to advance DiDi’s vision for the transportation industry in China and around the world.

Dr. Gong Fengmin, Head of DiDi Labs, said in the past eight months, DiDi Labs has brought its headcount close to 100. The new campus will allow DiDi Labs to hire additional engineers and data scientists. In addition to research and development, DiDi Labs serves as a hub for collaboration among industry leaders, policymakers and academia, with plans for more outreach programs to engage and participate in knowledge-sharing and collaborative research projects.

Didi Chuxing offers a full range of mobile tech-based mobility options for more than 450 million users, including Taxi, Premier, Express, Hitch, Luxe, Bus, Minibus, Designated Driving, Car Rental, Enterprise Solutions and Bike-Sharing. In addition to handling more than 25 million daily rides, DiDi leverages its AI capabilities to help cities develop smart transportation solutions. DiDi acquired Uber China in August 2016.

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DRIVEtheARC EV fast charging corridor opens in Nor Cal; 55 new fast chargers at 25 locations

2017-11-15T09:54:00Z

DRIVEtheARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, announced the completion of the chargers’ deployment and its official grand opening on the one year anniversary of the project’s official launch. (Earlier post.)... DRIVEtheARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, announced the completion of the chargers’ deployment and its official grand opening on the one year anniversary of the project’s official launch. (Earlier post.) A collaborative effort between the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) (Japan’s largest public R&D management organization), and the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, in partnership with Nissan Motor Co., Nissan North America, Kanematsu and EVgo, DRIVEtheARC encourages longer and more frequent trips with EVs by increasing the ease of long distance travel along one of California’s most frequented travel routes. All CHAdeMO EVs and Combo EVs can be charged at DRIVEtheARC stations. CHAdeMO EV users can activate the charger using the DRIVEtheARC App, credit card, EVgo Access Cards, and EZ-Charge Cards. Combo users can activate the charger using credit card, EVgo Access Cards, and EZ-Charge Cards. As an integrated, international cooperation, NEDO is funding the DRIVEtheARC corridor as part of its mission to improve energy conservation and promote new energy technologies, as well as to help facilitate government relations and research and information exchange between the US and Japan. DRIVEtheARC has also announced the start of a real-time SOC data link service with NissanConnect via the DRIVEtheARC smartphone app. The app will provide more accurate range advice, and users will be able to select a recommended station based on the cruising range and charger availability data. By the end of 2018, the app will include trip planning and voice recognition features. The app was created in partnership with Kanematsu, a global trading house with expertise in electronics and information technology. Driving statistics will allow Nissan, Kanematsu, EVgo and NEDO to analyze and measure charger use patterns to support future EV charging projects globally. The opening of the DRIVEtheARC corridor represents a significant milestone for the further adoption of EVs. A robust public EV charging network is a key factor for stimulating further EV utilization and eventual EV market expansion. We are delighted to be able to provide Northern California with a fast charging network that covers major points of interest and recreation for drivers.—Hitoshi Kawaguchi, Chief Sustainability Officer of Nissan Motor Nissan partnered with DRIVEtheARC as part of its ‘Infrastructure for All’ strategy. Nissan has played a leading role in growing the number of EV fast charging stations in the US, allowing it to provide Nissan LEAF drivers with access to the largest metro area network of fast charging stations in the country. DRIVEtheARC enhances the existing EV infrastructure Nissan has supported as part of its ‘No Charge to Charge’ promotion by connecting the metropolitan areas of Monterey, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. As the project’s local partner, EVgo managed the installat[...]



Mercedes-Benz R&D North America opens Digital Hub in Seattle; focus on software development and data operations in cloud computing

2017-11-15T09:30:00Z

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) is opening a lab in Seattle, the organization’s sixth. Software experts there will focus on Cloud computing to expand and enhance connected car functionality in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The new digital hub is planning...

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) is opening a lab in Seattle, the organization’s sixth. Software experts there will focus on Cloud computing to expand and enhance connected car functionality in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The new digital hub is planning on expanding to 150 people, and is headed by Mike Dosenbach, who has worked for more than 10 years in Seattle with a broad experience and network to the software industry.

Mercedes-Benz' global network of Research and Development facilities is kept continuously up-to-date, with 25 locations in 11 countries. MBRDNA has been headquartered in Silicon Valley since 1995, with key areas of Autonomous Driving, Advanced Interaction Design, Digital User Experience, Machine Learning, Costumer Research, and the Lab1886 Incubator.

In Redford, Michigan, the focus is on powertrain and eDrive technology as well as in Long Beach, where the E-Mobility Group helps to shape the future of the North American market for hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles.

The Testing and Regulatory Affairs Division in Ann Arbor and the Advanced Vehicle Design in Carlsbad complete the competence center. Together, all 500 developers, technicians, engineers and designers take on the challenges of creating the next generation of intelligent vehicles.

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Newsight Imaging and LeiShen Intelligent partner on new solid-state V-LiDAR for automotive

2017-11-15T09:00:00Z

Israel-based Newsight Imaging, a developer of advanced CMOS image sensors for laser LiDAR and spectral analysis, is partnering with China-based LeiShen Intelligent, a global provider of high-performance laser LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems to deliver V-LiDAR—a solid-state 3D pulsed-based...

Israel-based Newsight Imaging, a developer of advanced CMOS image sensors for laser LiDAR and spectral analysis, is partnering with China-based LeiShen Intelligent, a global provider of high-performance laser LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) systems to deliver V-LiDAR—a solid-state 3D pulsed-based LiDAR for automotive applications used in ADAS systems and in autonomous vehicles.

The V-LiDAR (Vehicle-LiDAR)—to be based on LeiShen’s advanced 3D LiDAR and on Newsight’s NSI5000 CMOS image sensor using Newsight’s eTOF (Enhanced Time-of-Flight) technology—will become available in the first half of 2018.

Newsight’s patent-pending eTOF (Enhanced Time-of-Flight) bridges the gap between short-distance iTOF and the 200m automotive requirement by extending the dynamic range while retaining high accuracy.

NewSight combines both digital processing and analog units on the same chip. The image sensor chip technology uses backside illumination (BSI) technology which improves pixel sensitivity by reducing metal reflections and an adjusted pixel size capability suited for many applications.

The V-LiDAR is real solid-state (no moving parts, No MEMS), high resolution (VGA and above), with range and accuracy that meet the automotive industry definition, and with the appropriate ISO certifications. Newsight and Leishen have a track record of successful collaboration in the robotics market; LeiShen built a rotating-head LiDAR based on the Newsight NSI3000 line sensor. The V-LiDAR will be offered at a very competitive low cost for high volume orders, the partners said.

The partnering companies have established a special collaboration program for first adopters, OEM or first-tier collaborators, who will gain access to R&D in order to define, review, and contribute to the product definition, influencing the LiDAR’s internals, such as CMOS image sensor, optics, board, software algorithms, and interfaces.

Participants will also receive extensive R&D support for their final system design. The program will also be offered to companies developing advanced support solutions, such as algorithms and image processing.

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Greensboro Transit Authority buying four Proterra electric buses; North Carolina’s first battery-electric public transit bus fleet

2017-11-15T08:56:00Z

Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) is going forward with the purchase of four 40-foot Proterra electric buses this fall, setting in motion the potential to expand its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) fleet over the next four years. This new procurement represents a...

Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) is going forward with the purchase of four 40-foot Proterra electric buses this fall, setting in motion the potential to expand its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) fleet over the next four years. This new procurement represents a joint effort by GTA and Proterra to minimize emissions, reduce traffic congestion and accelerate sustainable infrastructure development throughout the Greensboro community.

When the four Proterra buses are put in service, they will replace retiring fossil fuel buses and eliminate annually more than 1.2 million lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the environmental benefits, the new electric buses will also have a positive impact on GTA’s bottom line, since they require less energy to operate and reduced maintenance.

Over their 12-year lifetime, the four Proterra buses will result in maintenance and operations cost savings of more than $1.7 million. Greensboro has a five-year contract with Proterra, and expects to purchase additional buses as it works to replace its full fleet.

Providing the community with the best service possible, and doing so in a way that benefits our residents and the environment, is at the core of GTA. As we move forward with the Mobility Greensboro 2040 plan, cutting back on emissions levels and laying the foundation for sustainable urban ecosystems will be key to the future of our Greensboro transportation system. That’s why we’re more than excited to officially deploy our new electric buses in the coming year.

—Adam Fischer, director of the Greensboro Department of Transportation

With an annual total ridership of 6.1 million, GTA provides mass transit services to citizens and visitors throughout the Piedmont Triad, including nine dedicated routes serving higher learning institutions and select destinations throughout Greensboro.

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