|2018/11/14 14:02||Green Car Congress||
Nissan Serena’s e-POWER system named RJC Technology of the Year
Nissan’s e-POWER electrified powertrain (earlier post), available in the Serena minivan (earlier post), has been named Technology of the Year for 2019 by the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference of Japan (RJC).
The Nissan Serena became the second model equipped with e-POWER in February 2018, following the Nissan Note e-POWER, which was introduced in Japan in November 2016. The e-POWER system combines an electric motor, which drives the wheels, with a gasoline engine that charges the vehicle’s battery.
Because the wheels are driven by an electric motor, the e-POWER system delivers the powerful, smooth acceleration of an all-electric vehicle, with torque delivery from the system surpassing that of a minivan with a 3.5-liter engine. Used solely to charge the battery, the gasoline engine runs at a constant, optimal speed for maximum fuel efficiency, achieving 26.2 km/L (62 mpg US, 3.8 l/100 km), Nº 1 in its class.
Fun and comfortable to drive, the Serena e-POWER has been a hit in Japan. Since its launch, 40% of Serena buyers have chosen the e-POWER version. In addition to the system’s powerful acceleration, its e-POWER Drive mode offers the convenience of being able to speed up or decelerate by using only the accelerator pedal. Using the e-POWER Drive mode, stress is relieved as brake pedal application decreases by nearly 70%.
With optimized engine management and noise reduction measures throughout the vehicle body, the Serena e-POWER also transcends its class in terms of quietness.
The e-POWER system is a key part of Nissan’s electrification strategy; Nissan plans to launch more e-POWER models globally.
|2018/11/14 10:30||Green Car Congress||
EPA launches Cleaner Trucks Initiative to update NOx standards for heavy-duty trucks
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI) to further decrease NOx emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines. The CTI will include a future rulemaking that will update the existing NOx standard which was last set in 2001 while also streamlining compliance and certification requirements.
This action follows petitions for a rulemaking on this issue from more than 20 organizations including state and local air agencies from across the country.
The EPA’s goal is to develop a program that could be adopted by EPA and the California Air Resources Board, creating a 50-state program, which would streamline compliance for manufacturers. In developing the proposal, EPA will work with a broad range of stakeholders, including heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers; the California Air Resources Board; labor groups; technology suppliers; environmental non-governmental organizations; state and local air quality agencies; truck dealerships; trucking fleets; and truck drivers and owners.
The US has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards. Through rulemaking and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and incentivize new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.
—Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler
From 2007 to 2017, US NOx emissions dropped by more than 40%. It is estimated that heavy-duty trucks will be responsible for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector in 2025. EPA expects that any update to the standards will result in significant mobile source NOx reductions, which will aid communities across the country in the attainment of ozone and particulate matter standards.
EPA last revised NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001. The Agency is not required by statue to update the standard. EPA intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2020.
In addition to updating NOx emissions standards, the CTI will cut unnecessary red tape while simplifying certification of compliance requirements for heavy-duty trucks and engines, according to the EPA.
Areas of deregulatory focus will include onboard diagnostic requirements, cost-effective means of reassuring real world compliance by using modern and advanced technologies, the deterioration factor testing process, and concerns regarding annual recertification of engine families.
|2018/11/14 10:00||Green Car Congress||
Ballard closes strategic collaboration with Weichai Power; heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles
Ballard Power Systems has successfully closed a strategic collaboration transaction with Weichai Power Co., Ltd., initially announced in August. (Earlier post.)
This strategic collaboration with Weichai—a leading automotive equipment manufacturer specializing in the production of powertrains, automobiles, intelligent logistics, automotive parts and components—underscores our high conviction in the opportunity for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, or FCEVs, in China’s Heavy Duty Motive market. We see our collaboration with Weichai as an important validation of the FCEV value proposition and Ballard’s technology leadership in PEM fuel cells. We expect our partnership to be a positive long-term catalyst for Ballard’s business and for shareholder value.
—Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO
Ballard’s strategic collaboration with Weichai includes the following key elements:
Equity Investment. Weichai has made an equity investment in Ballard in the amount of approximately $163.6 million, representing a 19.9% interest in the company, through the subscription and purchase of shares from treasury at a price of $3.54, which reflects a 15% premium to the 30-day VWAP of $3.08 on 29 August 2018.
In addition, Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Co., Ltd.—a current Ballard strategic investor and Chinese partner—has invested a further approximately $20.2 million, through the subscription and purchase of shares from treasury at the same price of $3.54 to maintain its 9.9% ownership position in Ballard.
As a result, the Weichai and Broad-Ocean equity investments in Ballard have generated total gross proceeds of approximately $183.8 million. The use of proceeds are expected to include investment in Ballard’s core fuel cell business, equity contributions to a joint venture company established by Weichai and Ballard to finance Ballard’s ownership position in the joint venture’s operations, and support of potential M&A transactions.
The Weichai and Broad-Ocean investments are subject to 2-year “standstill” and resale restrictions (subject to customary exceptions). For so long as Weichai holds at least 15% of Ballard’s outstanding shares, it will have the right to nominate two directors to Ballard’s board of directors, and Ballard will expand its board from the current seven directors to nine directors. Weichai has also agreed that, in the event of a third-party offer to buy Ballard, Weichai will have the right to make a superior proposal or otherwise must vote its shares in accordance with the Ballard board recommendation.
China Joint Venture and Technology Transfer. Weichai and Ballard will establish a joint venture company in Shandong Province to support China’s Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle market, with Ballard holding an initial 49% ownership position. The JV will manufacture Ballard’s next-generation LCS fuel cell stack and LCS-based power modules for bus, commercial truck and forklift applications with exclusive rights in China and will pay Ballard $90 million under a program to transfer technology to the JV in order to enable these manufacturing activities. The JV will purchase Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for LCS fuel cell stacks exclusively from Ballard under a long-term supply agreement.
Weichai and Ballard will fund pro rata shares of the JV based on an agreed business plan. Weichai will hold three of five JV board seats and Ballard will hold two, with Ballard having certain shareholder protection provisions. Ballard will also retain an exclusive right to the transferred technologies outside China.
Broad-Ocean has also expressed an interest in acquiring a 10% ownership position in the JV, which would correspondingly reduce Ballard’s ownership position from 49% to 39%. Discussions regarding this investment are currently underway between the parties.
Fuel Cell Sales. Weichai intends to build and supply at least 2,000 fuel cell modules by 2021 for commercial vehicles using Ballard technology. Specific terms related to the scope of supply, product mix, pricing and timing of shipments are under discussion between the parties.
Ballard is continuing discussions with the Synergy-Ballard joint venture and other partners in China to address current issues and future opportunities.
|2018/11/14 9:30||Green Car Congress||
European Parliament approves binding 2030 32% renewables target; 14% of fuel for transport from renewables; 1st gen biofuels phased out
The European Parliament approved binding 2030 target for renewables (32%) and an indicative target on energy efficiency (32.5%) that will play a crucial role in meeting the EU’s climate goals.
Parliament on Tuesday confirmed the provisional agreement reached with the Council in June on energy efficiency (434 votes to 104 with 37 abstentions), renewables (495 votes to 68 with 61 abstentions) and governance of the Energy Union (475 votes to 100 with 33 abstentions)—three important legislative files that are part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package.
By 2030, energy efficiency in the EU has to have improved by 32.5%, whereas the share of energy from renewables should be at least 32% of the EU’s gross final consumption. Both targets are to be reviewed by 2023. These targets can only be raised, not lowered.
For the first time, member states will also be obliged to establish specific energy efficiency measures to the benefit of those affected by energy poverty. Member states must also ensure that citizens are entitled to generate renewable energy for their own consumption, to store it and to sell excess production.
Second generation biofuels can play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of transport and at least 14% of fuel for transport purposes must come from renewable sources by 2030.
First generation biofuels with a high risk of indirect land use change (ILUC)—i.e. when land is converted from non-crop cultivation such as grasslands and forests to food production, which increases CO2 emissions—will no longer count towards the EU’s renewable energy goals from 2030.
From 2019, the contribution of first-generation biofuels to these goals will gradually be phased out until it reaches zero in 2030.
Each member state must present a ten-year “integrated national energy and climate plan” with national targets, contributions, policies and measures by 31 December 2019, and every ten years thereafter.
We are pleased with the European Parliament’s voting result. As expected, the Parliament supports the EU-wide overall target of 32% for renewables in 2030, and the binding target of minimum 14% for renewables in transport in 2030. This clearly indicates that the European Union takes climate change seriously, and it has ambition to increase the use of renewable energy in transport.
The EU Renewable Energy Directive creates a predictable investment environment for biofuels.
—Ilkka Räsänen, Director of Public Affairs at Neste
The proposal needs to be formally approved by the Council before final publication. Once the European Council formally adopts the deal, the new rules will be published in the Official Journal, and enter into force 20 days after publication.
The regulation on governance will be directly applied in all member states, whereas member states will have to transpose the new elements of the other two directives into national law no later than 18 months after its entry into force.
|2018/11/14 9:00||Green Car Congress||
AP&C to offer aluminum alloy F357 powder from April 2019 to meet increased demand from aerospace and automotive sectors
AP&C—a GE Additive company— will begin production of aluminum alloy F357 powder in Q1 2019 with customer deliveries expected from April 2019. Aluminum F357 alloy is increasingly in demand from customers particularly from the aerospace and automotive sectors. It is known to have good weldability with high strength and toughness offering a good corrosion resistance and heat conductivity.
AP&C is a leader in the production of titanium and nickel alloy powders for additive manufacturing. Its process produces highly spherical metal powder designed for excellent flowability and low porosity.
Aluminum alloy F357 powder will be produced using AP&C’s proprietary Advanced Plasma Atomization (APA) at its recently expanded facility in Saint-Eustache, Canada. This new, automated plant offers a full production capacity of 1,000 tons.
Plasma atomization is a relatively new process that has gained powder market share rapidly because of its ability to produce highly spherically shaped particles in accurate size distributions with low oxygen content and low internal porosity. In this process, wire is fed into a plasma torch which converts the wire into droplets that subsequently solidify to powder form.
Aluminum shares similar characteristics with titanium, and aluminum alloy F357 powder has the same quality signature as APA titanium powders—good processability, high flowability, high packing, low porosity and high purity—which are all required by the additive manufacturing industry to enhance performance and reliability of the aluminum printing process.
This new powder maps well with AP&C’s existing product range and experience working with reactive and low density metals.
Our customers have been asking us to provide aluminum solutions to address the challenges they currently experience. We are confident we’ve developed a solution that solves these challenges.
The modular cell-based structure of our new plant in Saint-Eustache allows us to respond quickly to the additive industry’s demands as it rapidly evolves.
—Alain Dupont, President & CEO, AP&C