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CATL and Toyota form comprehensive partnership for new energy vehicle batteries
China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) and Toyota Motor Corporation have entered into a comprehensive partnership agreement for the stable supply and further development of New Energy Vehicle (NEV) batteries. The two companies have also commenced discussions that cover a wide range of fields, including: supply of batteries, new technology development, product quality improvements, and the reuse and recycling of batteries. CATL is the world’s leading supplier of drive battery systems for vehicles with competitive advantages across the globe. In recent years, as vehicle electrification has accelerated worldwide, the company has won recognition from many automobile manufacturers both in China and overseas. Toyota was one of the first companies to promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles and boasts a rich array of technologies and experience in the development, production, and sales of electrified vehicles. To further promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles, CATL and Toyota agree that a stable supply of batteries is critical and that battery technology must be further developed and advanced. To this end, the two companies intend to establish joint systems and engage in specific initiatives together. Through this broad-ranging collaboration, CATL will combine its battery development and supply capabilities with Toyota’s electrified vehicle and battery development technologies.
Lotus unveils $2M electric hypercar Evija (Type 130); 2,000 PS, 1,700 Nm
Lotus unveiled its electric hypercar, the Evija, formerly called the Type 130 (earlier post). Carrying a starting price of €1.7 million (US$2.1 million)—plus duties and taxes—the Evija is intended to be the most powerful series production road car ever built with output of 2,000 PS and 1,700 N·m. An ultra-lightweight carbon fibre monocoque also makes it the world’s lightest production EV hypercar at 1,680 kg (including the 70 kWh battery pack). Target 0-62 mph (0-100km/h) is less than three seconds, with a top speed of more than 200 mph (320 km/h) and a targeted range of 250 miles (400 km). The Evija is the first hypercar from Lotus, and the company’s first model with an electrified powertrain. It is also the first completely new car to be launched under the stewardship of Geely. Production is limited to not more than 130 units, making it among the most exclusive cars ever launched. It’s a figure set in tribute to the car’s project code, Type 130. The all-electric powertrain was developed with technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). Key to the exceptional power output is the 2,000 kW lithium-ion battery, supplied with its management system by WAE as part of a joint venture with Lotus to collaborate on advanced propulsion technologies. WAE won a 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise for translating its EV expertise from the race track to road-going vehicles. The battery pack is mounted centrally behind the passenger compartment, and its cover is visible through the glass rear screen. This positioning delivers significant advantages in terms of styling, aerodynamics, packaging, weight distribution, occupant comfort and dynamic handling. It also supports fast and convenient servicing and maintenance. Furthermore, the set-up has been designed so that in the future alternative battery packs—for example, to optimize track performance—can be easily installed. Power is fed from the battery pack to a bespoke in-line axial arrangement of two high-power density e-motors. These feature integrated silicon carbide inverters and epicyclic transmission on each axle of the four-wheel drive powertrain. The motors and inverters being supplied by Integral Powertrain Ltd. Four exceptionally compact, extremely light and highly efficient single-speed, helical gear ground planetary gearboxes transfer power to each driveshaft. Measuring a mere 100mm in depth, each gearbox comes packaged with the e-motor and inverter as a single cylindrical Electrical Drive Unit (EDU), with a target power of 500 PS per e-motor. Torque-vectoring, enabled by the four e-motors, provides exceptional dynamic response and agility on the road. This fully automatic, self-adjusting system can instantly distribute power to any combination of two, three or four wheels within a fraction of a second. In Track mode the ability to add more power to individual wheels enables the radius of corners to be tightened, potentially reducing lap times. The Lotus Evija is equipped with ESP stability control to ensure safety in all road conditions, with further grip provided by the four-wheel drive system. A pure steering feel is assured via an electro-hydraulic system. Power can be delivered over a sustained period. The car’s advanced aerodynamics and four-radiator cooling package keep the battery at an optimum temperature. It means that the Evija is capable of being driven flat-out with no derate for at least seven minutes in Track mode. Through the partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, the battery has the ability to accept an 800 kW charge. Although charging units capable of delivering this are not yet commercially available, when they are it will be possible to fully replenish the battery in just nine minutes. Using existing charging technology—such as a 350kW unit, which is currently the most powerful available—the Evija’s charge time will be 12 mins to 80% and 18 mins to 100%. The car is built on a one-piece motorsport-inspired carbon fibre monocoque chassis supplied by CPC. Constructed from multiple carbon plies, the manufacturing process is identical to that of an F1 chassis, and ensures the lightest, stiffest, safest and most technically advanced Lotus road car platform ever built. The total weight of the monocoque tub is a mere 129 kg. This chassis, coupled with innovative engineering and clever packaging throughout every element of the Evija’s powertrain, has contributed to the class-leading target weight of 1,680kg in its lightest specification. The Evija is the first Lotus road car to ever feature a full carbon fibre chassis. Moulded as a single piece for exceptional strength, rigidity and safety, the full length of the underside is sculpted to optimize downforce. It includes an integrated air diffuser which extends from under the B-pillars to the rear. Active aerodynamics are deployed in the form of a rear spoiler, which elevates from its resting position flush to the upper bodywork, and an F1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS). Both are deployed automatically in Track mode, though can be deployed manually in other modes. The absence of traditional door mirrors plays a part in reducing drag. Cameras integrated into the front wings are electronically deployed on unlock, while another camera built into the roof provides a central view. Images are displayed on three interior screens.
ZF presents new electric 2-speed drive for passenger cars
ZF has introduced a new 2-speed electric drive for passenger cars that integrates an advanced electric motor with a shift element and appropriate power electronics. The improvement in energy conversion efficiency compared to previous e-drives extends the driving range for each battery charge. The compact design also makes this new drive system of interest for passenger cars in the compact class. The modular design of this unit can also be fine-tuned and scaled up for use in sports and performance vehicles. For electric vehicles in everyday use, it is important to obtain as much range as possible from each battery charge. Every percent of improvement in energy conversion efficiency translates into two percent more range.—Bert Hellwig, Head of System House at ZF’s E-Mobility division To increase the performance rating of the new electric axle drive system, ZF leveraged its expertise in systems to develop a new electric motor with a maximum power rating of 140 kW paired with a two-stage shift element. Vehicles with the new 2-speed drive consume less energy, which in turn extends range by up to five percent when compared to a one-speed unit. Shifts take place at 70 km/h. By connecting to the vehicle’s CAN communication it is also possible—if the customer so wishes—to devise other shift strategies, possibly linked to digital map material and GPS. For example, the vehicle could identify from the GPS route programming how far it is to the next charging station, enabling it to respond predictively by switching into Eco-mode. More effective shifts would also be possible in accounting for topography on the interstate, and on inter-city journeys. The software in the drive can also be updated via the network link to Cloud services via over-the-air updates. For vehicle manufacturers, the new 2-speed drive offers two options for using improved energy conversion efficiency. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) could either go for an extended range while retaining the same size of battery, or utilize a smaller batter. The 2-speed concept also offers benefits for OEMs pursuing performance. Until now, with electric motors, vehicle manufacturers have had to choose between high initial torque and a high top speed. We are now resolving this conflict and the new drive will be compatible for performance and heavier vehicles—for example for passenger cars towing a trailer.—Bert Hellwig ZF’s modular approach combines the 2-speed gearbox with even more powerful electric motors rated for up to 250 kW. This delivers enhanced acceleration and, potentially, faster top speeds. With its modular concept, the new drive can meet a variety of requirements.
Adamas: lithium deployment in passenger EVs up 47% y-o-y in May 2019
In May 2019, 47% more lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) was deployed globally in batteries of passenger EVs than the same month the year prior, according to Adamas Intelligence’s latest subscription-based “EV Battery Lithium Monthly” report. This increase in LCE deployment was driven primarily by two factors, Adamas said. Global sales of passenger HEVs, PHEVs and BEVs collectively increased by 12% in May 2019 versus May 2018, translating to an increase in deployment of li-ion batteries. Sales of high-capacity BEVs, such as the Tesla Model 3, BYD Yuan and Nissan Leaf PLUS/e+, made up a greater share of total passenger EV sales this year than they did last year, boosting the sales-weighted-average battery capacity of all EVs sold by 33% over the same period, translating to greater use of LCE per vehicle. In total, 47% of LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 523 cells (primarily in the form of lithium carbonate), up from 43% the same month the year prior. Similarly, 14% of LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 622 cells (primarily in the form of lithium hydroxide), up from 8% in May 2018. Moreover, 2% of all LCE deployed globally in passenger EV batteries in May 2019 went into NCM 811 cells (primarily in the form of lithium hydroxide) versus near-negligible quantities deployed the same month the year prior. In total, the collective market share of NCM 622 and NCM 811 cathodes (by capacity deployed) has doubled since May 2018, indicating increasingly heavy demand for lithium hydroxide and other precursors used in these chemistries.
Lightning Systems all-electric medium-duty vehicles selected for State of California contract
Lightning Systems announced that its all-electric powertrains for Ford and Chevrolet medium-duty trucks and buses are now offered on a California state contract. State agencies and city and county governments throughout California can order Class 3 to 6 shuttle buses, cargo vans, box trucks, cab-over vehicles, and stripped chassis models under the program. Vehicles eligible include the Ford Transit 350HD Passenger Van and Cargo Van, Ford E-450 Cutaway Chassis, Ford F-59 Stripped Chassis, and Chevrolet 6500XD Low Cab Forward Truck. The contract term, which is estimated to be worth approximately $15 to $20 million in vehicle orders, is for two years with an option to extend the contract for two additional one-year periods. Lightning Systems estimates that 140 to 160 vehicles will be ordered under the contract. Agencies, cities and counties interested in purchasing vehicles should consult contract number 1-19-23-22 (A-D) at www.caleprocure.ca.gov. All vehicles under the contract are eligible for special funding via the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). The voucher program can reduce the upfront cost of advanced zero emissions fleet vehicles by 40 to 70 percent. HVIP was formed by CARB to respond to a key market challenge by making clean trucks and buses more affordable for fleets. By offering point-of-sale incentives for clean trucks and buses, HVIP provides a streamlined approach for providing helpful incentives to fleets without waiting to submit proposals or complicated paperwork. Fleets receive the voucher discount at the point of sale while HVIP-approved vendors and dealers process the required documentation. In the last 10 years, HVIP has committed to supporting the purchase of 2,500 zero emission trucks and buses with vouchers requested by California fleets. CARB estimates that the total number of ultra-clean trucks and buses operating on California’s roadways will reach more than 7,000 over the next two years with more on the way, as demand for vouchers continues to grow. Since 2009, the program has helped more than 1,100 California fleets buy cleaner vehicles. HVIP is administered and implemented through a partnership between CARB and CALSTART (selected by CARB via a competitive grant solicitation).
Super Store Industries first dairy manufacturer to deploy Class 8 electric trucks
Orange EV and California-based Super Store Industries (SSI) announced the deployment of Orange EV T-Series pure electric terminal trucks to multiple SSI facilities, supporting both grocery distribution and dairy and beverage manufacturing. SSI’s first Orange EV yard truck was immediately deployed into heavy service, operating up to 19 hours per day. Replacing just one heavy use yard truck with an Orange EV electric can eliminate up to 166 tons of CO2 and 1.7 tons of NOx annually. Super Store Industries leveraged funds from the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) to purchase their Orange EV trucks. HVIP is currently open, enabling Orange EV discounts of up to $165,000 per T-Series electric terminal truck and up to $30,000 per truck voucher for charging equipment. Super Store Industries is the first dairy manufacturer in the U.S. to deploy a pure-electric Class 8 truck. SSI is taking the lead, eliminating emissions with 100% electric yard trucks while reducing costs and accelerating payback. Orange EV trucks cost less in fuel, maintenance, and other diesel-related costs, and when operated in California, can generate a significant additional income stream.—Mike Saxton, Orange EV Chief Commercial Officer SSI is registering its Orange EV electric trucks in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) marketable carbon credit trading program. By operating yard trucks with a cleaner power source (i.e., electric vs. diesel), SSI will earn LCFS credits for each metric ton of CO2 reduced. At current market prices and fleet-reported electricity usage, fleets operating Orange EV yard trucks are expected to be paid up to $12,000 per truck annually from LCFS credit proceeds.
NREL/Volvo study demonstrates approach to quantify automated vehicle fuel savings
Automated control of cars may enable drivers to achieve more fuel savings than if they were completely in charge, according to a new study conducted by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Volvo Cars. The study findings are detailed in a paper in the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine. Zhu’s co-authors are Jeffrey Gonder, who manages his group, and three researchers from Volvo Cars. The car manufacturer supplied data from more than 18,500 trips taken by employees and their family members operating similar Volvo vehicles within the designated analysis area. Placing a number on the fuel efficiency of automated vehicles is challenging, as fuel economy is typically measured in a laboratory setting, but that doesn’t work for automated vehicles. This challenge motivated NREL to develop an objective approach for quantifying real-world efficiency impacts from automated vehicle technologies. NREL partnered with Volvo Cars to demonstrate the approach. The researchers leveraged on-road data from Volvo vehicles driving around Gothenburg, Sweden, and compared fuel efficiency for cars that used adaptive cruise control (ACC) to those that did not. ACC is a partial automation technology that relies on cameras and radar sensors in a vehicle to set its speed and distance from the car in front. One obstacle to research like this is limited availability of real-world travel data from automated vehicles. The partnership with Volvo Cars provided a rare opportunity to work with actual vehicle operation and energy consumption data in real traffic.—Lei Zhu, a researcher in NREL’s Mobility, Behavior and Advanced Powertrains Group and lead author The fuel economy calculation approach quantifies vehicle fuel efficiency in a wide variety of driving conditions both when ACC is active and when it is inactive. It then weights each condition-specific fuel efficiency by the amount of driving that occurs in each condition to obtain the overall fuel economy for manual vs. ACC operation. Following this procedure, the researchers found the use of ACC resulted in a 5%-7% drop in those vehicles’ fuel consumption. Gonder said other considerations for automated vehicle fuel use include their types and penetration levels into traffic. For example, while the ACC vehicles in this Volvo study operated mostly around other vehicles with the driver in complete control, simulation studies have shown that lots of ACC vehicles operating together can worsen traffic due to the lag for each vehicle to detect speed changes in the others. Gonder said that it is possible for high automation penetration to improve rather than worsen overall traffic flow if it includes vehicle-to-vehicle communication, enabling cooperative ACC (also known as CACC). Another consideration is the degree to which vehicle automation may induce behavior changes in the amount or distances that people travel. The innovative fuel economy calculation approach featured in this new study can be applied to simulation studies of hypothetical “what if” future scenarios as well as to data from the latest vehicle technologies operating in current traffic conditions. With automated vehicles possessing enhanced data collection and connectivity capabilities, the first-of-its-kind approach could further provide visibility into how on-road fuel economy evolves with changes in vehicle technology, penetration rates, and traffic impacts. Such transparency is important for stakeholders and policymakers who wish to measure technology impacts on transportation energy use, and for automakers who wish to get credit for potential fuel-saving features of automated vehicle technologies.—Jeffrey Gonder NREL’s portion of this research was supported by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) under the Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation (SMART) Mobility Laboratory Consortium, an initiative of the Energy Efficient Mobility Systems (EEMS) Program. Resources L. Zhu, J. Gonder, E. Bjarkvik, M. Pourabdollah and B. Lindenberg (2019) “An Automated Vehicle Fuel Economy Benefits Evaluation Framework Using Real-World Travel and Traffic Data,” IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine doi: 10.1109/MITS.2019.2919537
JAXA and Toyota begin joint research into manned pressurized lunar rover
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) signed a three-year joint research agreement running from fiscal year 2019 to fiscal year 2021. Over the course of the three-year joint research period, JAXA and Toyota will manufacture, test, and evaluate prototypes, with the goal of developing a manned, pressurized lunar rover and exploring the surface of the moon as part of an international project. On 12 March 2019, the two parties had announced their agreement to consider collaboration on joint research into a manned, pressurized lunar rover that uses fuel cell electric vehicle technologies. Fiscal year 2019: Identifying technological elements that need to be developed for driving on the surface of the moon; drawing up specifications for a prototype rover (a modified version of a standard production vehicle). Fiscal year 2020: Manufacturing test parts for each technological element; manufacturing a prototype rover. Fiscal year 2021: Testing and evaluating both the manufactured test parts and the prototype rover. JAXA intends to acquire data related to driving technologies in order to develop a manned, pressurized lunar rover. The rover will be used for missions to explore the moon’s polar regions, with the aim both of investigating the possibility of using the moon’s resources―such as frozen water―and of acquiring technologies that enable exploration of the surfaces of massive heavenly bodies. On 1 July 2019, Toyota established a dedicated Lunar Exploration Mobility Works; Toyota plans to expand the department’s workforce to approximately 30 members by the end of the year. Looking further out, the partners tentatively plan to launch the lunar rover in 2029. From 2022: Manufacture and evaluation of a 1:1 scale prototype rover; acquisition and verification testing of data on driving systems required to explore the moon's polar regions. From 2024: Design, manufacture, and evaluation of an engineering model of the rover; design of the actual flight model. From 2027: Manufacture, and performance and quality testing of the flight model.
MAHLE-led consortium’s micro-CHP CNG engine provides 20% efficiency boost over current market best
Tests have demonstrated that a residential combined heat and power (CHP) engine developed as an Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)-backed venture through the Generators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems (GENSETS) program (earlier post) offers at least a 20% improvement in efficiency over the current leading alternatives. The single-cylinder engine, which runs on natural gas (NG), has been developed by a consortium led by MAHLE Powertrain. It features the specialist’s low friction technology and manufacturing techniques, including the new MJI (MAHLE Jet Ignition) pre-chamber ignition technology, which is already being demonstrated in automotive applications. Jet ignition is a pre-chamber-based combustion system that enables enleanment beyond what is achievable with traditional spark ignition engines. MJI extends traditional limits of lean combustion to maintain lower gas temperatures and therefore reduce harmful NOx formation. The enleanment capabilities of the 390 cc single-cylinder engine are extended from λ = 1.6 to λ = 2 with the incorporation of auxiliary fueling in the pre-chamber. As the engine is enleaned beyond λ = 1.6, fuel is injected into the pre-chamber. The engine utilizes PFI for the main chamber and direct injection for the pre-chamber auxiliary fuel. A major benefit of the additional enleanment is a further 93% reduction in engine-out NOx between the two lambdas. MAHLE Powertrain is supported in the project, which was announced in November 2015, by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Louthan Engineering, Kohler Company and Intellichoice Energy. Electricity generated at the point of use is an effective way of combating the inefficiencies of centrally produced power. CHP motors are a perfect solution for generating electricity and harnessing otherwise wasted energy for heating, for both primary power and heat generation or for use on an ad hoc basis during power outages. However, this technology has previously been cost prohibitive, inefficient and displayed suboptimal reliability characteristics. In testing, the 1 kWe micro-CHP motor achieved 33% Electrical Conversion Efficiency; 20% more than the current leading unit in this power class.—Mike Bunce, Head of Research for MAHLE Powertrain LLC and Principal Investigator on the project Further, simplicity of design and manufacturing will reduce cost and increase durability. Downspeeding is a technique that, alongside downsizing, has brought significant efficiency benefits to the automotive and commercial vehicle markets. Alongside MJI, this has been the key to increasing efficiency of the new ultra-lean motor. The ability to efficiently generate and harness residential power represents a huge opportunity to help make our country, and planet, cleaner. The incremental benefits brought by evolving technologies help make CHP motors a more viable solution, which hopefully inspires a greener outlook that encourages the next steps towards an ultra-low emissions goal.—Mike Bunce In a paper presented on an aspect of the work at WCX SAE World Congress Experience this year, Bunce and his colleagues noted that while the primary intended application for the engine is stationary power generation, it is possible ultimately to extend the concept to automotive range extender applications as well given the similar two-valve configuration and cylinder displacement. MAHLE’s low friction expertise has been crucial for delivery of the GENSETS project. The final design incorporates a wide range of the company’s commercialized technologies, including its Evotec II piston, which is an award-winning, lightweight component to encourage enhanced efficiency. Finally, low temperature lean aftertreatment helps meet expectations for reduced emissions. Resources Peters, N., Bunce, M., and Blaxill, H. (2019) “The Impact of Engine Displacement on Efficiency Loss Pathways in a Highly Dilute Jet Ignition Engine,” SAE Technical Paper 2019-01-0330 doi: 10.4271/2019-01-0330
Teijin and AEV Robotics to co-develop lightweight automotive solutions for future transportation
Teijin Limited signed a joint development agreement with Australian venture AEV Robotics (AEV). Teijin and AEV will use the first two years of this initiative to develop elemental technologies for future vehicles. The agreement is to create lightweight components and solutions for next-generation transportation to realize new forms for transportations in an aging society. The components will use Teijin’s advanced materials such as polycarbonate resin, carbon and aramid fibers, and composites technologies owned by Teijin and its group companies including Continental Structural Plastics for innovative structural design. Teijin will also contribute specialized knowhow for heat management to optimize weight reduction and heat insulation and for sound absorption. Teijin will additionally apply expertise it has developed in supporting the Kogakuin University Solar Team’s participation in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. AEV’s Modular Vehicle System will serve as the foundation for a standard for next-generation vehicles that satisfy the Well-to-Wheel Zero Emission goal established by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). AEV is concurrently developing a highly efficient electric vehicle platform and autonomous driving system that realize low-speed electric vehicle (LS-EV) for use in various fields, such as medical care, logistics and industry, as well as conventional transportation. AEV plans to use a common robotic base for its vehicles, which will then be fitted with functional pods to move people, deliver goods and perform tasks in urban environments. Through this co-development project, Teijin expects to continue striving to be a company that supports the society of the future, particularly by offering new solutions for automotive applications based on advanced materials and structural design required for next-generation EVs. In recent years, EVs have rapidly progressed as a practical solution for environmental load reduction based on the concept of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) next-generation automobiles. In addition, the role of automobiles is evolving under the concept of mobility as a service (MaaS), which views transportation as a total service. Meanwhile, fast-aging societies are encountering increasing problems with traffic accidents caused by seniors in urban areas and pedestrian vulnerability in rural areas, as well as traffic congestion, environmental degradation and advancing urbanization in Japan. In response, METI launched its Strategic Commission for the New Automotive Era with the aim of strengthening the global competitiveness of Japan’s automotive industry. The ministry has established Well-to-Wheel Zero Emission as a long-term national strategy for Japan to achieve the world's highest level of environmental performance, including green processes for producing gasoline and electric power sources for automobiles, by 2050. Teijin says that AEV has developed innovative ideas and construction methods that are not offered by major OEMs. AEV’s engineering capabilities will be applied toward developing simple, lightweight solutions for the chassis, suspension and steering. Teijin will present AEV’s Modular Vehicle System at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019 Nagoya this week.
New Volkswagen MQ281 manual gearbox shaves up to 5g CO2/km
Volkswagen has developed a new generation manual gearbox; the MQ281 saves up to five grams of CO2 per kilometer depending on the engine-gearbox combination. The new Passat is the first vehicle to be equipped with the MQ281, followed by almost all vehicle classes of the brands Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA and Volkswagen. MQ281 manual transmission Only slight modifications were sufficient to improve efficiency and consumption. Although they function unobtrusively, manual gearboxes have a significant share of the gearbox market worldwide due to a high installation rate. The trend towards vehicles from the SUV segment with large-diameter wheels places high demands on the gearbox. With the MQ281, we have developed a highly efficient manual gearbox that reliably meets these demands—and is soon to be introduced into a number of vehicle classes in the volume segment.k—Helmut Göbbels, Head of Manual Gearbox and Four-Wheel Drive Development at Volkswagen The MQ281 has a torque spectrum of 200 to 340 N·m, which means it completely or partially supersedes the current Volkswagen gearbox designs with the internal designations MQ250 and MQ350 respectively. The MQ281 is based on a 2.5 shaft concept and boasts a high gear spread of maximum 7.89. On the one hand, this guarantees good driving off performance—even for heavy vehicles with large wheels—and facilitates, on the other hand, downspeeding, which is (fuel-saving) driving in high gears with low engine speed. Development of the new gearbox focused primarily on improving efficiency. Here we employed virtual development methods. This enabled us to design a completely new oil conduction system. Using a variety of oil conduction measures, we are able to achieve a uniform and optimum lubrication of gear wheels and bearings, reducing the amount of lifetime oil required to just 1.5 liters.—Helmut Göbbels To further reduce friction, a bearing concept adapted to the gearbox was developed. The design used friction-minimized bearings with low-contact seals. Material use and its distribution for the gearbox housing was also optimized. With the aid of a further virtual development tool, a strength-optimized housing structure could be designed. The new housing supports the noise requirements of today (avoidance of undesired secondary noises) and therefore ensures improved driving comfort through less audible and noticeable vibrations in the vehicle. As is the case with many Volkswagen gearboxes, the MQ281 is produced in-house. SEAT Componentes, together with Martorell and Barcelona, one of the three production centers for the Spanish brand and simultaneously part of the production portfolio for Group Components, has started production of the new MQ281 gearbox. Up to 450,000 units can be built per year. Re-sorting gearbox production goes hand-in-hand with the production start of the new MQ281. While the new six-speed gearbox is being produced in El Prat de Llobregat and Córdoba (Argentina), the MQ200 manual gearbox has been primarily relocated to ŠKODA Components in Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic). At the same time, the component plant in Kassel is concentrating on the production of the dual clutch gearbox DSG, and above all on the production of the electric drive for future vehicles built on the MEB platform. SEAT Componentes is a key plant for our company and, with the assignment of this project, for the Volkswagen Group as well. With these new gearboxes, we can increase maximum production to up to 3,500 units per day and use the facility as a reference center for efficiency, productivity and quality.—Dr Christian Vollmer, SEAT Vice President of Production and Logistics
California Energy Commission awards nearly $70M to replace diesel school buses with electric school buses throughout state
The California Energy Commission approved nearly $70 million in funding to replace more than 200 old diesel school buses with all-electric buses that will reduce school children’s exposure to harmful emissions and help the state reach its climate and air quality goals. School buses are by far the safest way for kids to get to school. But diesel-powered buses are not safe for kids’ developing lungs, which are particularly vulnerable to harmful air pollution. Making the transition to electric school buses that don’t emit pollution provides children and their communities with cleaner air and numerous public health benefits.—Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan The Energy Commission’s School Bus Replacement Program is providing more than $94 million to public school districts, county offices of education, and joint power authorities to help transition from diesel school buses to zero- or low-emissions vehicles. Together with the newly approved funding, the Energy Commission has awarded $89.8 million of the program’s funds to schools in 26 California counties. The electric buses approved today will eliminate nearly 57,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides and nearly 550 pounds of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually. Diesel buses emit harmful pollutants, including fine particles that can lodge deep in the lungs and enter the bloodstream. Because children’s lungs are still developing, and due to their faster breathing rate and other factors, children are more susceptible to the adverse health effects linked to air pollution including lung damage and asthma attacks. Scientists have found that these fine particles can cause asthma in healthy children. To help protect this vulnerable population, there are a number of state initiatives to replace diesel school buses—largely with electric buses. These efforts include the statewide California Climate Investments (CCI) initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment. Projects funded through the CCI initiative to put electric school buses on the road include the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s Rural School Bus Pilot Project, Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, and Community Air Protection Program. CARB’s Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program also helps fund electric school buses. Most of the Energy Commission’s awards support buses in disadvantaged, low-income communities, which are disproportionately affected by air pollution and health problems from poor air quality. Ninety percent of the buses newly awarded will be operating in disadvantaged communities. The Energy Commission also estimates that schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per bus over 20 years. The Energy Commission is using funds from the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, also known as Proposition 39, to provide schools with electric buses. Proposition 39 is a voter-approved initiative that adjusted the corporate income tax code and allocated revenues to school districts for energy improvements. Over five years, the Energy Commission’s Proposition 39 K-12 Program awarded more than $1.7 billion to schools to plan and install energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy generation measures. The Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program, also known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, will provide the charging infrastructure to support the buses purchased through the School Bus Replacement Program. The Clean Transportation Program will also fund workforce training and development opportunities for drivers and maintenance technicians.
US used vehicle sales are more than double the number of new vehicle sales
In the US, the used light-duty vehicle market is more than twice the size of the new light-duty vehicle market for each year shown. Used vehicle sales for 2018 were 40.2 million vehicles, while new vehicle sales were 17.2 million. Used vehicle sales include pre-owned vehicles sold by dealerships, franchises, independent used vehicle dealers, and private party transactions.
MIT researchers develop method to make smaller, safer, and faster lithium-rich ceramic electrolyte
Researchers at MIT have devised a new pulsed laser deposition technique to make thinner lithium electrolytes using less heat, promising faster charging and potentially higher-voltage solid-state lithium ion batteries. The method enables future solid-state battery architectures with more room for cathode volumes by design, and reduces the processing temperature. The findings are reported in a paper in Nature Energy. Key to the new technique for processing the solid-state battery electrolyte is alternating layers of the active electrolyte lithium garnet component (chemical formula, Li6.25Al0.25La3Zr2O12, or LLZO) with layers of lithium nitride (chemical formula Li3N). First, these layers are built up using a pulsed laser deposition (PLD) process at about 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit). Then they are heated to 660 ˚C and slowly cooled, a process known as annealing. Schematic of the experimental approach for the employment of a multilayer structure to deposit cubic Li6.25Al0.25La3Zr2O12 via PLD. Thin layers of Li3N were incorporated to compensate for Li loss at elevated temperatures. Pfenninger et al. During the annealing process, nearly all of the nitrogen atoms burn off into the atmosphere and the lithium atoms from the original nitride layers fuse into the lithium garnet, forming a single lithium-rich, ceramic thin film. The extra lithium content in the garnet film allows the material to retain the cubic structure needed for positively charged lithium ions (cations) to move quickly through the electrolyte. The really cool new thing is that we found a way to bring the lithium into the film at deposition by using lithium nitride as an internal lithiation source. The second trick to the story is that we use lithium nitride, which is close in bandgap to the laser that we use in the deposition, whereby we have a very fast transfer of the material, which is another key factor to not lose lithium to evaporation during a pulsed laser deposition.—MIT Associate Professor Jennifer Rupp, senior author Although other methods to produce lithium-rich ceramic materials on larger pellets or tapes, heated using a process called sintering, can yield a dense microstructure that retains a high lithium concentration, they require higher heat and result in bulkier material. The new technique pioneered by Rupp and her students produces a thin film that is about 330 nanometers thick. Having a thin film structure instead of a thick ceramic is attractive for battery electrolyte in general because it allows you to have more volume in the electrodes, where you want to have the active storage capacity. So the holy grail is be thin and be fast. There is no need in a solid-state battery to have a large electrolyte.—Jennifer Rupp What is needed is an electrolyte with faster conductivity. The unit of measurement for lithium ion conductivity is expressed in Siemens (S). The new multilayer deposition technique produces a lithium garnet (LLZO) material that shows the fastest ionic conductivity yet for a lithium-based electrolyte compound, about 2.9 x 10-5 S cm-1. This ionic conductivity is competitive with solid-state lithium battery thin film electrolytes based on LIPON (lithium phosphorus oxynitride electrolytes) and adds a new film electrolyte material to the landscape. Co-authors Michal Struzik and Reto Pfenninger carried out processing and Raman spectroscopy measurements on the lithium garnet material. These measurements were key to showing the material’s fast conduction at room temperature, as well as understanding the evolution of its different structural phases. One of the main challenges in understanding the development of the crystal structure in LLZO was to develop appropriate methodology. We have proposed a series of experiments to observe development of the crystal structure in the [LLZO] thin film from disordered or amorphous phase to fully crystalline, highly conductive phase utilizing Raman spectroscopy upon thermal annealing under controlled atmospheric conditions. That allowed us to observe and understand how the crystal phases are developed and, as a consequence, the ionic conductivity improved.—Michal Struzik Their work shows that during the annealing process, lithium garnet evolves from the amorphous phase in the initial multilayer processed at 300 ˚C through progressively higher temperatures to a low conducting tetragonal phase in a temperature range from about 585 ˚C to 630 ˚C, and to the desired highly conducting cubic phase after annealing at 660 ˚C. Notably, this temperature of 660 ˚C to achieve the highly conducting phase in the multilayer approach is nearly 400 ˚C lower than the 1,050 ˚C needed to achieve it with prior sintering methods using pellets or tapes. One of the greatest challenges facing the realization of solid-state batteries lies in the ability to fabricate such devices. It is tough to bring the manufacturing costs down to meet commercial targets that are competitive with today's liquid-electrolyte-based lithium-ion batteries, and one of the main reasons is the need to use high temperatures to process the ceramic solid electrolytes. This important paper reports a novel and imaginative approach to addressing this problem by reducing the processing temperature of garnet-based solid-state batteries by more than half—that is, by hundreds of degrees. Normally, high temperatures are required to achieve sufficient solid-state diffusion to intermix the constituent atoms of ceramic electrolyte. By interleaving lithium layers in an elegant nanostructure the authors have overcome this barrier. Although the paper describes specific application of the approach to the formation of lithium-rich and therefore highly conducting garnet solid electrolytes, the methodology has more general applicability, and therefore significant potential beyond the specific examples provided in the paper.—Professor Peter Bruce, the Wolfson Chair of the Department of Materials at Oxford University, who was not involved in this research After demonstrating the novel processing and high conductivity of the lithium garnet electrode, the next step will be to test the material in an actual battery to explore how the material reacts with a battery cathode and how stable it is. MIT and ETH have jointly filed for two patents on the multi-layer lithium garnet/lithium nitride processing. This new processing method, which allows precise control of lithium concentration in the material, can also be applied to other lithium oxide films such as lithium titanate and lithium cobaltate that are used in battery electrodes. This work was funded by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Thomas Lord Foundation, Competence Center Energy and Mobility, and Swiss Electrics. Resources Reto Pfenninger, Michal Struzik, Iñigo Garbayo, Evelyn Stilp & Jennifer L. M. Rupp (2019) “A low ride on processing temperature for fast lithium conduction in garnet solid-state battery films” Nature Energy 4, pages 475–483 doi: 10.1038/s41560-019-0384-4
Team finds high concentrations of combustion- and friction-derived magnetic air pollution nanoparticles in human hearts in Mexico City
An international team led by Professor Barbara Maher, of Lancaster University in the UK, has found that iron-rich, magnetic combustion- and friction-derived nanoparticles (CFDNPs), which are abundant in particulate air pollution, are highly abundant in the hearts of young urban residents with lifelong exposure to high concentrations of particulate air pollution above current USEPA standards. A 2016 study by Professor Maher and colleagues found abundant magnetite nanoparticles in brain tissue; magnetite is toxic and has been implicated in the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in the human brain, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Solid CFDNPs in air pollution are characterized by the abundant presence of strongly magnetic, iron-rich particles which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release, often retaining a rounded or spherical shape as they cool. These magnetic nanospheres are abundant in urban airborne PM, and are released from a wide range of PM sources, including transport (road exhaust and brake-wear, rail and metro), metal processing and power generation plants. In Mexico City, residents are exposed year-round to airborne PM concentrations above the National Air Ambient Quality Standards (NAAQS) for the US; both the PM2.5 annual air quality standard of 12 μg/m3 and the 24-hr standard of 35 μg/m3 have been exceeded for the last two decades. In the new study, Maher and her colleagues used magnetic analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to identify heart CFDNPs and measured oxidative stress (cellular prion protein, PrPC), and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (glucose regulated protein, GRP78) in 72 subjects age 23.8 ± 9.4y: 63 Mexico City residents and 9 controls. Magnetite/maghemite nanoparticles displaying the typical rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures of CFDNPs were more abundant in MMC residents’ hearts. NPs, ∼2–10 × more abundant in exposed vs controls, were present inside mitochondria in ventricular cardiomyocytes, in ER, at mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCs), intercalated disks, endothelial and mast cells. Erythrocytes were identified transferring ‘hitchhiking’ NPs to activated endothelium. Magnetic CFDNP concentrations and particle numbers ranged from 0.2 to 1.7 μg/g and ∼2 to 22 × 109/g, respectively. Co-occurring with cardiomyocyte NPs were abnormal mitochondria and MERCs, dilated ER, and lipofuscin. MMC residents had strong left ventricular PrPC and bi-ventricular GRP78 up-regulation. The health impact of up to ∼22 billion magnetic NPs/g of ventricular tissue are likely reflecting the combination of surface charge, ferrimagnetism, and redox activity, and includes their potential for disruption of the heart’s electrical impulse pathways, hyperthermia and alignment and/or rotation in response to magnetic fields. Exposure to solid NPs appears to be directly associated with early and significant cardiac damage.—Calderón-Garcidueñas et al. The organelles and structures containing abundant NPs displayed substantial abnormality. The subjects also have significant neurovascular unit damage and evolving Alzheimer’s disease. Failure to compensate for chronic myocardial inflammation, oxidative and ER stress possibly resulting from incursion of iron-rich, magnetic, redox-active NPs may prime the development of pathophysiological CV states in children and young adults in polluted environments. Identification of magnetic CFDNPs in the heart tissue of children and young adults provides an important novel layer of information for the understanding of CVD pathogenesis and emphasizes the urgent need for prioritization of particulate air pollution control. Exposure to iron-rich combustion- and friction-derived nanoparticles is a modifiable risk factor for the development of cardiovascular diseases. This study substantially advances the case for global efforts to reduce exposure to particulate matter air pollution and, specifically, to regulate the ultrafine fraction.—Calderón-Garcidueñas et al. Resources Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, Angélica González-Maciel, Partha S. Mukherjee, Rafael Reynoso-Robles, Beatriz Pérez-Guillé, Carlos Gayosso-Chávez, Ricardo Torres-Jardón, Janet V. Cross, Imad A.M. Ahmed, Vassil V. Karloukovski, Barbara A. Maher (2019) “Combustion- and friction-derived magnetic air pollution nanoparticles in human hearts,” Environmental Research doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108567
18 more Solaris trolleybuses going to Italian cities; 45 kWh battery packs
The operators SETA Modena and TEP Parma, both providing carrier services in the Emilia-Romagna region in the North of Italy, have placed orders for 18 modern Solaris Trollino 12 vehicles. Eight of the trolleybuses commissioned will join the fleet of SETA Modena, the other ten will go to TEP Parma. The contracts signed by Solaris and the operators is worth nearly €12 million. The latest Solaris Trollino 12 ordered by the two carriers are twin structures. The first recipient will be transport firm SETA Modena. Eight vehicles adjusted to serving on a trolleybus route with an atypical voltage rate of 750V (usually 600-650V)—the rate used in Modena—will be delivered by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the delivery of 10 zero-emission Solaris vehicles for TEP Parma will be carried out in several batches, between April and July next year. The vehicles feature a central traction motor and traction batteries with a capacity of 45 kWh and a cooling system, all of which will allow the vehicles to cover a much longer distance without the need to be attached to overhead wires. There is room for nearly 80 passengers in the air-conditioned passenger compartment, and 24 of them will be seated. The seats, as well as internal walls, window pillars and the cover of the battery chamber will be given an anti-graffiti coating. The vehicle will also encompass a passenger information system with external and internal direction displays and voice announcement loudspeakers and energy-saving lighting in LED technology. Solaris Bus & Coach added trolleybuses to its offer back in 2001. Since then, the company has supplied nearly 1,500 vehicles of that type to customers in 16 countries, including 160 to Italy.
Groupe PSA and VINCI Autoroutes test new autonomous vehicle features
Groupe PSA and VINCI Autoroutes have tested new autonomous vehicle features in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (France), following on from the trial carried out in July 2017, which led to the crossing of a tollgate in full autonomous mode for the first time. (Earlier post.) The partners assessed a vehicle’s ability to drive autonomously at cruising speed and to pass through a tollgate in autonomous mode. Two new complex driving situations were also tested in real traffic conditions on the VINCI Autoroutes network: changing into autonomous mode in a traffic area temporarily altered due to roadworks; performing a “safe stop”, which involves the vehicle driving to a safe place in the event that the driver does not take back control in a specific situation (exceptional presence of obstacles on the road, severely deteriorated weather conditions, etc.) or in case of the end of the motorway. These trials were carried out on the A10 and A11 motorways between Dourdan and Ablis using a Groupe PSA Peugeot 3008 prototype, which is part of the autonomous vehicle fleet for the AVA “Autonomous Vehicle for All” program. The driving situations tested in this new phase of the common program require more sophisticated communication between the autonomous vehicle and road infrastructure. The goal is to improve the vehicle’s ability to adapt its driving in exceptional or complex situations. This operation is part of a collaboration between the two partners, which began in 2016. The results of these trials will feed into the standardization work that will be carried out in various collaborative projects such as C-Roads or the SAM Project, to which both groups contribute. This trial is an additional step towards the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Two years after the first trial, the aim was to include even more constraints in the use cases by strengthening communication between the autonomous vehicle and the road infrastructure in order to broaden the scope of the system's action while ensuring safety. These trials demonstrate the innovative and practical nature of the collaboration between Groupe PSA and VINCI Autoroutes, which is vital for the development of autonomous vehicles.—Carla Gohin, Groupe PSA’s Chief Technology Officer
UK expert group focuses attention on non-exhaust emissions from road traffic as regulatory concern
A new report released by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) in the UK recommends as an immediate priority that non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are recognized as a source of ambient concentrations of airborne PM, even for vehicles with zero exhaust emissions of particles. Non-exhaust emissions (NEE) from road traffic refers to particles released into the air from brake wear, tyre wear, road surface wear and resuspension of road dust during on-road vehicle usage. These emissions arise regardless of the type of vehicle and its mode of power, and contribute to the total ambient particulate matter burden associated with human ill-heath and premature mortality. No legislation is currently in place specifically to limit or reduce NEE particles, so whilst legislation has been effective at driving down emissions of particles from the exhausts of internal-combustion-engine vehicles, the NEE proportion of road traffic emissions has increased. Data from the UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory indicate that particles from brake wear, tyre wear and road surface wear currently constitute 60% and 73% (by mass), respectively, of primary PM2.5 and PM10 emissions from road transport, and will become more dominant in the future. Currently they contribute 7.4% and 8.5% of all UK primary PM2.5 and PM10 emissions. Therefore to achieve further gains in PM2.5 and PM10 air quality in relation to road transport sources requires attention to reducing non-exhaust emissions, not solely a focus on lowering exhaust emissions.—“Non-Exhaust Emissions from Road Traffic” UK emissions of PM10 (top) and PM2.5 (bottom) from road transport. NEE particles are also an important source of metals to the atmosphere; the UK national inventory estimates NEE contributions of 47% and 21% for Cu and Zn, primarily associated with brake and tire wear, respectively. The national inventory does not include estimates of road dust resuspension. The authors note that the magnitudes of NEE are “highly uncertain” as they vary widely according to brake, tire and road-surface material, and with driving style. The NEE emission factors used in inventories have a wide span of uncertainty—greater than a factor of two is typical, the authors said—including uncertainty the PM10 and PM2.5 fractions. In the UK, available data indicate that half of NEE occurs on urban roads, owing to the greater braking per km than on non-urban roads. Emissions may also be high in areas such as trunk-road exits. Tire-wear emissions are estimated to be greatest on high-traffic trunk roads and motorways (both urban and rural). Regenerative braking does not rely on frictional wear of brake materials so vehicles using regenerative braking totally or partially, for example electric vehicles, should have lower brake wear emissions. However, tyre and road wear emissions increase with vehicle mass, which has implications for any vehicle with a powertrain that is heavier (for example due to additional battery and hardware mass) than the equivalent internal-combustion-engine vehicle it replaces. The net balance between reductions in brake wear emissions and potential increases in tyre and road wear emissions and resuspension for vehicles with regenerative braking remains unquantified, and will depend upon road type and driving mode, as both influence the balance between the different sources of emissions. In locations where brake wear makes a major contribution to overall NEE, it seems likely that there will be a net benefit, but this has yet to be demonstrated. Other as yet unproven technological mitigation methods include trapping brake wear particles prior to emission, and mandating formulation of low-wear/low-emission tyres, brake pads and road surfaces. —“Non-Exhaust Emissions from Road Traffic” A further priority, the authors suggest, is to work towards a consistent approach internationally for measurement of NEE and to update and narrow the uncertainties in their emission factors. Such a program could form the basis for subsequently including criteria on brake and tire wear emissions in future type approvals and regulations governing formulation. AQEG also recommends that further studies be conducted to quantify the efficacy of technical solutions on NEE reductions; in particular, to understand gains from use of regenerative braking versus potential increased tire and road wear due to additional mass of vehicles incorporating such braking—i.e., electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The AQEG is an Expert Committee to the UK’s Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) that provides independent scientific advice on air quality, in particular the air pollutants contained in the Air Quality Strategy (AQS) for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and those covered by the EU Directives on Ambient Air Quality. Members of the group are drawn from those with a proven track record in the fields of air pollution research and practice.
Great Wall Motor battery offshoot SVOLT premieres Li-ion battery lineup, targeting EVs
New battery company SVOLT Energy Technology Co. Ltd, whose precursor was the Battery Business Unit of Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd, introduced its cobalt-free lithium-ion battery cell (NMx) and four-element lithium-ion battery cell (NCMA). SVOLT product roadmap. In the product launch event, Yang Hongxin, General Manager of SVOLT, said that the NMx battery cell rivals the NCM811 cell in performance, while reducing the cost of materials by 5%-15% and the cell balance of materials (BOM) cost by around 5%, and allows the materials to rise above strategic resources. The NCMA material not only outperforms NCM811 in cycle life, but also exhibits better resistance to heat, the ability to generate less gas and greater safety, which translates into higher capacity, longer cycle life and better safety performance in the final products, the company claimed. Based on a global mindset, SVOLT also announced its plan to build a base in Europe. Two billion euros ($2.24 million) will be invested to build a 24GWh battery factory, a factory for cathode materials and a battery technology center. It will also integrate its 6 manufacturing bases around the globe into its AI factory construction plan. SVOLT is primarily focused on the electric vehicle battery business, embracing an open supply to automakers around the world. Since its establishment, SVOLT has been committed to the product development based on the high-speed stacking technology of prismatic batteries and automotive grade standardization. The high-speed stacking process is the new generation of battery technology that breaks the bottleneck of winding processes of batteries. SVOLT aims to finish stacking one cell in 0.25 seconds in one single station. In contrast to the same type of winding process, the energy density of SVOLT stacking batteries improves 5%, the cycle life improves 10% and the cost reduces 15%. SVOLT started its cell pre-research work in 2012, and became independent in February, 2018. SVOLT plans for 7 R&D centers around the globe, with four currently in operation, in Baoding, Korea, Shanghai and India, and three are under construction in the US, Japan and Wuxi. Domestically, SVOLT’s factory is under construction in Changzhou, Jiangsu, which will be operational by the end of 2019 with SOP in February 2020, and will have a capacity of 12GWh in 2020.
Study finds association between air pollution, coronary atherosclerosis in Chinese population
Researchers from the University at Buffalo (UB), with colleagues in the US and China, have provided pathophysiologic evidence of the effect of air pollution on cardiovascular disease in China. Their findings also suggests that China may need to revise its standard for one type of pollutant. Spatial Distribution of Estimated Annual Pollution Concentrations in 2015 in China. A, Concentration of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) per 1 × 1 km2. B, Concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per 1 × 1 km2. Wang et al. Researchers found that long-term exposure to particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, as well as proximity to vehicular traffic, were associated with severity of coronary artery calcium, or the buildup of plaque in the artery walls. The study was conducted on 8,867 Chinese adults aged 25 to 92. The findings, published in an open-access paper in JAMA Network Open, are significant because, while similar studies have been conducted in the US and Europe, this one is the first to investigate the connection between air pollution and coronary artery calcium in China. The country has focused more recently on reducing the extremely high levels of air pollution that exist in some regions, particularly northern China. This finding should contribute to an understanding of air pollutant effects worldwide, providing both much-needed, locally generated data and supportive evidence to inform the air pollution standard setting process on a global scale.—first author, Meng Wang Dr. Wang is assistant professor of epidemiology and environmental health in UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions and is also a faculty member in the UB RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water) Institute. Atherosclerosis refers to the build-up of plaque, or fatty deposits, in the artery walls, which, over time, restricts blood flow through the arteries. This can cause a blood clot resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis is a lifelong process. As such, the effects of air pollution exposure on atherosclerosis are likely to be chronic.—Meng Wang If an association between this condition and air pollution were established, Wang added, it could provide an opportunity for local-level efforts to control people's exposure to pollution before it becomes harmful to health. The study centered on levels of nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5. The study also looked at proximity to traffic and used nitrogen dioxide as a more precise indicator of vehicular emissions. It showed that the risk of a higher coronary artery calcium score increased by 24.5% for every 20 micrograms per cubic meter of air increase in nitrogen dioxide. Air pollution remains a significant issue in China. In 2015, more than 95% of the Chinese population was exposed to concentrations of PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide greater than the minimum level of the study, according to Wang. Since more than 40 percent of all deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease, the potential contribution of air pollutants to cardiovascular disease in China is very large.—Meng Wang Improving air quality to the Chinese national standards of 35 and 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air for PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide, respectively, may help people live longer, Wang said. Still, the effect of nitrogen dioxide exposure on coronary artery calcium persisted even when researchers restricted their analysis to concentrations below 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air. This suggests that the current air pollution standard may need to be re-evaluated.—Meng Wang The study involved researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle; Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Tsinghua University; Emory University; and Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Resources Wang M, Hou Z, Xu H, et al. Association of Estimated Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution and Traffic Proximity With a Marker for Coronary Atherosclerosis in a Nationwide Study in China. JAMA Netw Open. Published online June 28, 20192(6):e196553. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6553
Study finds shifts to renewable energy can drive up energy poverty
Efforts to shift away from fossil fuels and replace oil and coal with renewable energy sources can help reduce carbon emissions but do so at the expense of increased inequality, according to a new study by researchers at Portland State University (PSU) and Vanderbilt University. Julius McGee, assistant professor of sociology in PSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and his co-author, Patrick Greiner, an assistant professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University, found in a study of 175 nations from 1990 to 2014 that renewable energy consumption reduces carbon emissions more effectively when it occurs in a context of increasing inequality. Conversely, it reduces emissions to a lesser degree when occurring in a context of decreasing inequality. Their findings, published recently in the journal Energy Research & Social Science, support previous claims by researchers who argue that renewable energy consumption may be indirectly driving energy poverty. Energy poverty is when a household has no or inadequate access to energy services such as heating, cooling, lighting, and use of appliances due to a combination of factors: low income, increasing utility rates, and inefficient buildings and appliances. McGee said that in nations such as the United States where fossil fuel energy is substituted for renewable energy as a way to reduce carbon emissions, it comes at the cost of increased inequality because the shift to renewable energy is done through incentives such as tax subsidies. This reduces energy costs for homeowners who can afford to install solar panels or energy-efficient appliances, but it also serves to drive up the prices of fossil fuel energy as utility companies seek to recapture losses. That means increased utility bills for the rest of the customers, and for many low-income families, increased financial pressure, which creates energy poverty. People who are just making ends meet and can barely afford their energy bills will make a choice between food and their energy. We don’t think of energy as a human right when it actually is. The things that consume the most energy in your household—heating, cooling, refrigeration—are the things you absolutely need.—Julius McGee Alternatively, in poorer nations, renewable sources of electricity have been used to alleviate energy poverty. In rural areas in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a solar farm can give an agrarian community access to electricity that historically never had access to energy, McGee said. That’s not having any impact on carbon dioxide emissions because those rural communities never used fossil fuels in the first place.—Julius McGee The study recommends that policymakers consider implementing policy tools that are aimed at both reducing inequality and reducing emissions. McGee and Greiner said such policies would both incentivize the implementation of renewable energy resources, while also protecting the populations that are most vulnerable to energy poverty. We really need to think more holistically about how we address renewable energy. We need to be focusing on addressing concerns around housing and energy poverty before we actually think about addressing climate change within the confines of a consumer sovereignty model.—Julius McGee Resources Julius Alexander McGee, Patrick Trent Greiner (2019) “Renewable energy injustice: The socio-environmental implications of renewable energy consumption,” Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 56, 101214 doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.05.024
NEVS and AutoX to collaborate on large-scale RoboTaxi deployment in Europe
Swedish EV manufacturer NEVS and the autonomous vehicle start-up AutoX have entered into an exclusive strategic partnership to integrate AutoX’s autonomous drive technology in NEVS’ next-generation vehicle architecture. The partnership is directed towards a target of deploying the first large-scale RoboTaxi pilots in Europe by the end of 2020, demonstrating and evaluating technology and design of a new vehicle type that will shape mobility for a more sustainable future. Robotaxi vehicle concept The vehicle is currently being developed by NEVS in Trollhättan, Sweden, inspired by the “InMotion” concept that was shown at the CES Asia, in 2017. AutoX enables companies like NEVS to become autonomous by creating an A.I. driver which is tailored to the specific geolocation it is in; adopting local driving styles, while also navigating in urban and dynamic conditions. We are proud to start deploying our technology together with a global OEM that really takes the mobility revolution seriously.—Jianxiong Xiao, founder and CEO of AutoX Already at our first meeting in Silicon Valley, we were not only impressed by the performance and maturity of AutoX’s AD stack, but also saw a perfect partner in terms of approaching the market and shared corporate values. AutoX’s vision to empower the world with AI drivers enabling universal access to transportation of people and goods, safely and efficiently, makes them go truly hand in hand with our view on the future we want to create.—Stefan Tilk, CEO of NEVS For AutoX, the partnership follows an important milestone of becoming the second company to be permitted by the California Public Utilities Commission to operate a RoboTaxi pilot program and launching their service xTaxi immediately thereafter (in the 95054 and 95134 areas of north San Jose/Santa Clara). The partnership will immediately intensify the collaboration between the two companies, as rigorous testing of the technology integrated in NEVS vehicles will start in the third quarter of 2019. Slightly more than a year later, the collaboration intends to hit public roads in Europe, in conjunction with a pilot launch of NEVS’ upcoming driverless vehicle platform. The partnership’s ultimate goal is to deploy a large fleet of robotaxi’s across the globe. AutoX was founded in 2016 by Jianxiong Xiao (a.k.a. Professor X); the team consists of top scientists from MIT, CMU, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, as well as a team of experienced engineers.
Enel X launches new electric mobility business in North America
Enel X, the Enel Group’s advanced energy services business line, launched its new electric mobility unit in North America by integrating the company’s US-based electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions subsidiary, formerly known as eMotorWerks, into the Enel X brand. With the launch of this new unit, the company will add JuicePass, Enel X’s new EV charging app, as well as eMotorWerks’ smart charging products to its existing North American offering of energy solutions such as battery storage, demand response and energy advisory services. This strategic business decision combines Enel X’s global resources and energy sector know-how with eMotorWerks’ technological expertise in smart, grid-connected EV charging. Integrating smart charging into Enel X’s broad line of solutions to deliver renewable energy and manage commercial energy loads through demand response and on-site battery storage, Enel X can broaden the range of energy uses while meeting environmental and cost savings needs of businesses and consumers. JuicePass offers users a single interface for Enel X’s portfolio of charging solutions, allowing customers to connect their JuiceBox as well as monitor and schedule EV charging. The EV charging app will constantly evolve in line with drivers’ needs and technological innovations in e-mobility while also expanding its functionalities, embedding new ancillary services offered by Enel X and third parties to offer customers an integrated mobility experience through a single touchpoint. JuicePass will manage the entire existing and future portfolio of Enel X charging solutions covering customers’ charging needs around the clock. Other products, previously sold under the former eMotorWerks brand, will also be offered as part of the Enel X suite of smart charging solutions. These products include: JuiceBox EV charging station (Nº 1 selling EV charger on Amazon); JuiceNet IoT (Internet of Things) cloud software; and JuiceConnect software that enables smart charging control through integration with in-vehicle software developed by car manufacturers. Enel X smart charging allows utilities and grid operators to manage the overall electricity system in a more sustainable way, by shifting the time and rate of power delivery to EVs, with the aim to balance electricity demand and supply as well as increasing renewable penetration. Smart charging can also provide a range of services that assist utilities through fast modulation of energy flows from the grid to the vehicle, enabling real-time grid balancing and reductions in the cost of procuring energy, as well as integrating more renewable energy. A recent Enel X survey in the US found that additional education will help drive EV adoption, with 62% of participants saying they would purchase an EV after they hear the facts and benefits. EV sales reached 345,000 units in 2018 in the US, up 80% from 2017. Nearly 100 new models are expected to be launched in the US between 2019 and 2023. Annual passenger EV sales are expected to increase to 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030, and 56 million by 2040. Enel X is Enel’s global business line dedicated to developing innovative products and digital solutions in sectors in which energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries and electric mobility. Enel X holds the leading position in demand response programmes globally, with more than 6 GW of demand response capacity currently managed and assigned in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Enel X operates more than 50,000 electric vehicle smart charging points in 20 countries. Enel X in North America has around 3,400 business customers, spanning more than 10,400 sites, representing approximately 4.6 GW of demand response capacity and over 20 operational behind-the-meter storage projects. The company’s intelligent DER Optimization Software is designed to analyze real-time energy and utility bill data, improve performance, and manage distributed energy assets, including behind-the-meter storage projects.
Ford and Volkswagen expand global collaboration to include EVs, invest in Argo AI
Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles—and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the US and Europe. Volkswagen is joining Ford in investing in Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle technology platform company. (Earlier post.) In 2017, Ford announced it would invest $1 billion over five years in Argo AI—an artificial intelligence software startup founded by former Google and Uber leaders—to develop an SAE Level 4 virtual driver system for the automaker’s autonomous vehicle coming in 2021, and for potential license to other companies. Working together with Ford and Volkswagen, Argo AI’s self-driving system (SDS) is the first with commercial deployment plans for Europe and the US. Plus, being able to tap into both automakers’ global reach, Argo AI’s platform has the largest geographic deployment potential of any autonomous driving technology to date. Volkswagen and Ford independently will integrate Argo AI’s SDS into purpose-built vehicles to support the distinct people and goods movement initiatives of both companies. Argo AI’s focus remains on delivering a SAE Level 4-capable SDS to be applied for ride sharing and goods delivery services in dense urban areas. Ford and Volkswagen will have an equal stake in Argo AI, and combined, Volkswagen and Ford will own a substantial majority. The remainder will be used as an incentive pool for Argo AI employees. The full transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions. Company leaders also announced Ford will become the first additional automaker to use Volkswagen’s dedicated electric vehicle architecture and Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) to deliver a high-volume zero-emission vehicle in Europe starting in 2023. Ford expects to deliver more than 600,000 European vehicles using the MEB architecture over six years, with a second all-new Ford model for European customers under discussion. Volkswagen started developing its MEB architecture in 2016, investing approximately $7 billion in this platform. The car-maker is planning to use this platform to build approximately 15 million cars for the Volkswagen Group alone in the next decade. For Ford, using Volkswagen’s MEB architecture is part of its more than $11.5 billion investment in electric vehicles worldwide. Looking ahead, even more customers and the environment will benefit from Volkswagen’s industry-leading EV architecture. Our global alliance is beginning to demonstrate even greater promise, and we are continuing to look at other areas on which we might collaborate. Scaling our MEB drives down development costs for zero-emissions vehicles, allowing for a broader and faster global adoption of electric vehicles. This improves the positions of both companies through greater capital efficiency, further growth and improved competitiveness.— Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess The alliance, which covers collaborations outside of Volkswagen and Ford’s joint investments in Argo AI, does not entail cross-ownership between the two companies and is independent from the investment into Argo AI. The alliance is governed by a joint committee, which is led by Hackett and Diess and includes senior executives from both companies. The companies also are on track to deliver medium pickup trucks for global customers, aiming to start in 2022, followed by commercial vans. Equal Shareholders in Argo AI. Volkswagen will invest $2.6 billion in Argo AI by committing $1 billion in funding and contributing its $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company, which includes more than 200 employees—most of whom have been developing self-driving technology for the Volkswagen Group. As part of the transaction, Volkswagen also will purchase Argo AI shares from Ford for $500 million over three years. Ford will invest the remaining $600 million of its previously announced $1 billion cash commitment in Argo AI. The full transaction represents a valuation for Argo AI that totals more than $7 billion. Both automakers see significant potential, including profitable growth by tapping new business areas tied to autonomous technology. Argo AI plans to work closely with Ford and Volkswagen to provide the autonomous vehicle technology the automakers need to deliver fully integrated self-driving vehicles that can be manufactured at scale for safe, reliable and durable deployment in ride sharing and goods delivery services. Based in Munich, Germany, AID will become Argo AI’s new European headquarters and will be led by AID’s current CEO Karlheinz Wurm. With the addition of AID employees, Argo AI will grow from 500 to more than 700 employees globally. In addition to its global headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa., the new location marks Argo AI’s first engineering center in Europe and the fifth globally in addition to Dearborn, Mich.; Cranbury, NJ; and Palo Alto, Calif. Collaborating with Ford, Argo AI also is testing its technology in Miami and Washington, D.C., where together they plan deployment of commercial services. Ford to Use Volkswagen’s MEB Electric Vehicle Architecture for 600,000 Vehicles. Ford plans to design an all-new, MEB-platform-based EV model, which starts arriving in 2023, in Köln-Merkenich, Germany. Volkswagen will supply MEB parts and components as part of the collaboration. Both companies also will continue to target additional areas where they can work together on electric vehicles. Commercial Van and Pickup Collaboration On-Track. Ford and Volkswagen remain on track in their previously announced plan to improve their respective strengths in commercial vans and medium pickups in key global markets. The work on these vehicle lines will create significant efficiencies for each company. Ford will engineer, source and build the previously announced medium pickup for both companies for customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America, with trucks expected to arrive in key markets as early as 2022. For both companies, Ford intends to engineer, source and build larger commercial vans for European customers starting in 2022, and Volkswagen intends to develop, source and build a city van for sale in Europe and other select global markets. Volkswagen and Ford have strong complementary commercial van and pickup businesses around the world, with popular models including the Ford Transit lineup and Ranger as well as the Volkswagen Transporter, Caddy and Amarok. As both companies expect customer demand for medium pickups and commercial vans to grow globally in the next five years, collaborating on these key segments will allow better technologies and more innovation to reach their respective customers more quickly, with better plant capacity utilization.
Licht Group reports high-yield, low-energy synthesis of carbon nano-onions from CO2
Researchers at George Washington University led by Prof. Stuart Licht (earlier post) report a process for the high-yield, low-energy synthesis of carbon nano-onions (CNOs) by electrolysis of CO2 in molten carbonate. A paper on their work is published in the journal Advanced Sustainable Systems. High yield electrolytic synthesis of carbon nano-onions from CO2, either directly from the air or from smoke stack CO2, in molten carbonate. Liu et al. Carbon nano-onions are a recently recognized, less-studied morphology of carbon nanomaterials consisting of nested concentric carbon spheroids (concentric nested buckyballs). The first observation of the structures appears to have been in 1980, and the first synthesis—using intense electron-beam irradiation of soot—in 1992. Carbon nano-onions have a range of remarkable applications, but these applications have been largely ignored due to their high synthesis cost. Closely related morphologies of molybdenum and tungsten diselenide nested fullerenes and their lubrication properties have driven sales of thousands of tons per year of these alternative inorganic fullerenes. Carbon nano-onion applications often focus on the confined, high surface area of chargeable surfaces or symmetry of the CNO morphology. Examples include nano-onion ultrahigh power super capacitors with unusually high charge storage due to the ease with which ions can access the active material, maximum anodic capacity lithium batteries, increased capacity gas, and energy storage materials with a high 984.3 m2 g−1 specific area, increased activity in heterogeneous catalysis such as for styrene oxidative dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene to styrene, and CNOs were employed as the support for Pt in direct methanol fuel cells outperforming Pt/Vulcan XC-72 in the electro-oxidation of methanol. —Liu et al. CNOs are currently valued at more than $1 million per ton, according to the researchers. Previously, the Licht Group achieved a high yield growth of carbon nanotubes (CNT) by CO2 electrolysis in molten carbonate through transition metal nucleation points on the electrolysis cathode. Now, the researchers instead achieve effective low energy CNO synthesis from CO2 by excluding those nucleating agents from the molten carbonate growth medium. This exclusion of transition metal nucleation agents inhibits CNT growth but results in a profusion of uniform CNOs, with an increasing diameter correlated to increasing growth time. The source of CO2 to produce CNOs can be industrial flue gas, or direct air carbon capture. The researchers estimate the upper-bound cost of the new chemistry of CNO production by molten carbonate electrolysis—excluding anode costs to be determined—to be $1,000 per ton. This is several orders of magnitude less than alternatives. The team said that future studies will explore inexpensive anodes for use in the CO2 electrolytic growth of CNOs, and also explore application-level material testing of the charge storage, electrochemical, and tribological properties of CNOs from CO2. Rather than carbon taxes or extended debates on the necessary international path to combat global warming, transforming the greenhouse carbon dioxide to a valuable product incentivizes its “mining” and removal, either from industrial flue gas or directly from the air.—Prof. Licht Resources X. Liu, J. Ren, G. Licht, X. Wang, S. Licht (2019) “Carbon Nano-Onions Made Directly from CO2 by Molten Electrolysis for Greenhouse Gas Mitigation” Advanced Sustainable Systems doi: 10.1002/adsu.201900056
Lightning Systems Gen 2 electric Ford Transit named in CARB executive order; new NMC batteries for longer range
Lightning Systems, a global developer of zero-emissions drivetrains for commercial fleets, has had its longer-range, higher-speed, Generation 2 model of its Lightning Electric system for the Ford Transit (earlier post) named in an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This step—which certifies the vehicle as a ZEV—is a prerequisite for sales of the vehicle in California. The new vehicle also is available nationwide. Gen 2 Lightning Ford Transit. The Lightning Electric Ford Transit is a battery-electric drivetrain package for the Ford Transit 350HD, a product used extensively by commercial and government fleets. Certified dynamometer test results demonstrated that the Ford Transit 350HD equipped with the Lightning Electric drivetrain achieved 61 MPGe on EPA city and highway routes. The vehicle platform is offered in 60-mile and 120-mile range versions. Our new Gen 2 model is an ideal vehicle for commercial and government fleets that operate delivery and logistics trucks, food and beverage vehicles, and shuttle and paratransit buses. We’re very pleased with the test results that not only proved our advances in overall vehicle performance, but came at no reduction to overall cabin space. —Brian Johnston, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Lightning Systems With new thermally managed NMC Lithium-ion batteries, the new Generation 2 all-electric powertrain has 20% longer range than Gen 1, with battery configuration options for 60 or 120-mile ranges. The new batteries are all housed under the floor of the vehicle, with no impact on ground clearance. The latest powertrain offers peak power of 160 kW (equivalent 215 horsepower), a torque rating of 994 N·m, (733 lb-ft), and a top speed of 65 mph (software limited). The full-electric system is available for the Ford Transit Passenger van, Cargo van, Cutaway and Chassis Cab models. Featuring a liquid-cooled Lithium-ion battery system from a volume-ready world-class battery supplier, the Lightning Electric accommodates a full charge in 1 hour (60-mile range) or 1.5 hours (120-mile range) with Lightning’s DC fast charging option (using standard CCS-Combo charging). Depending on battery option and drive cycle, Lightning Electric Ford Transit has a payload capacity of up to 4,200 pounds. The Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) was formed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to respond to a key market challenge by making clean trucks and buses more affordable for fleets. By offering point-of-sale incentives for clean trucks and buses, HVIP provides a streamlined approach for providing helpful incentives to fleets without waiting to submit proposals or complicated paperwork. Fleets receive the voucher discount at the point of sale while HVIP-approved vendors and dealers process the required documentation. In the last 10 years, HVIP has committed to supporting the purchase of 2,500 zero-emission trucks and buses with vouchers requested by California fleets. CARB estimates that the total number of ultra-clean trucks and buses operating on California’s roadways will reach more than 7,000 over the next two years with more on the way, as demand for vouchers continues to grow. Since 2009, the program has helped more than 1,100 California fleets buy cleaner vehicles. HVIP is administered and implemented through a partnership between CARB and CALSTART (selected by CARB via a competitive grant solicitation).
Fort Worth buying four New Flyer electric buses for new zero-emission route
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (Trinity Metro) has awarded New Flyer a contract for four heavy-duty, thirty-five-foot Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric buses. The zero-emission buses (ZEBs) support a new route called The Dash, a zero-emission service connecting Downtown Fort Worth with its Cultural District and utilizing Trinity Metro’s first all- electric buses. New Flyer is further supporting the deployment with management of ABB charger installation and commissioning through New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions. New Flyer Group has delivered nearly 130 buses to Fort Worth including buses from New Flyer, MCI, and ARBOC since 1990. Trinity Metro’s first Xcelsior CHARGE was unveiled in Fort Worth during a May 2019 event, which previewed The Dash service. The bus showcased reduced air and noise pollution, and enhancements such as wood-like floors and USB charge ports for passengers. The purchase was supported by local, state, and federal funds. The Dash is in the testing phase and will begin operations on 22 September. Trinity Metro is a regional transportation system providing public transportation in Fort Worth, Texas, and other cities in Tarrant County, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. It delivers nearly 10 million passenger trips per year.
Electrify America to provide Harley-Davidson LiveWire owners with nationwide charging plan
Electrify America announced an agreement with Harley-Davidson to provide owners of its first all-electric motorcycle—the Harley-Davidson LiveWire (earlier post)—with the per minute equivalent of 500 kWh of complimentary charging over two years at Electrify America stations nationwide. LiveWire motorcycle customers who purchase models manufactured between August 2019 and July 2021 can enroll and manage their charging plan through the newly launched Electrify America mobile app, available for both Android and iPhone. Harley-Davidson customers will be able to take advantage of Electrify America’s network of ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) chargers across highway and metro charging stations planned in 42 states and the District of Columbia. To highlight the convenience of charging on the network to new LiveWire motorcycle owners, Electrify America charging locations will be integrated with the latest version of the Harley-Davidson App. As of 1 July 2019, Electrify America has begun implementing the Cycle 2 National ZEV Investment Plan and Cycle 2 California ZEV Investment Plan and expects to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging station sites with 3,500 chargers by December 2021. Over this 30-month investment cycle, Electrify America will expand to 29 metros and 45 states, including two cross-country routes, delivering on its commitment to support increased ZEV adoption with a network that is comprehensive, technologically advanced and customer-friendly.
Shell and Sumitomo Corporation invest in LO3 Energy to develop blockchain-based community energy platform
Shell Ventures and Sumitomo Corporation Group have invested in LO3 Energy to support the global development of its blockchain-based community energy networks. In 2017, Shell and fellow energy majors BP and Statoil, along with trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria; and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale, announced a collaboration to develop a blockchain-based digital platform for the energy commodity trading industry. Earlier than year, Shell, Centrica plc, Elia, Engie, Sempra Energy, SP Group, Statoil ASA, Stedin, TWL (Technical Works Ludwigshafen AG), and Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) joined forces to support the Energy Web Foundation (EWF), a non-profit organization the mission of which is to accelerate the commercial deployment of blockchain technology in the energy sector. (Earlier post.) LO3 Energy—the first to enable peer-to-peer energy sharing—has developed a transactive energy platform to overcome the challenge of integrating distributed energy resources (DERs) into supply networks. LO3 says that its system can democratize the energy industry, allowing people to both consume and produce electricity at their home and business. LO3 already has investment from Braemar Energy Ventures, Centrica, and Siemens. The investment from Shell and Sumitomo represents a landmark moment for LO3 Energy as we begin to scale our blockchain-based energy networks around the world. Energy is going through a revolution with renewable distributed energy resources increasingly picking up market share—but to integrate them efficiently we need to re-invent our energy networks. These investments will help us accelerate the roll-out of less carbon-intensive microgrids, which help all stakeholders benefit through distributed, decentralized and decarbonized local energy transactions and demand response energy management on a building-by-building level.—LO3 Energy CEO Lawrence Orsini The way energy is produced and consumed is changing from the traditional model of large-scale power stations with long-distance transmission to one where more is produced at the ‘grid edge’ by distributed resources (DERs). There is now an opportunity to develop a circular economy around energy, connecting these resources together in local energy markets to produce both financial and environmental benefits for all stakeholders involved. LO3 Energy’s transactive energy platform was pioneered with the Brooklyn Microgrid and the company now runs projects with partners around the world, in the UK, Colombia, Japan, Australia and the US. Users set preferences on a dedicated mobile app, choosing how and when to use the local energy resources available to them and allowing them to select the specific sources they purchase it from. The actual electrons flow through the normal grid transmission network, but the private, permissioned blockchain manages the definition of the energy source and the contract agreement to pay for it. This enables a wide range of business use cases, including peer-to-peer energy trading, energy hedging for businesses, virtual power plants, dynamic electric vehicle charging and demand response.
Continental to begin series production of new integrated electric axle drive this year
Continental is presenting its third generation of electric powertrains at the IAA 2019, with the new, very high-performance, light and compact axle drive set to take to the roads in various electric models from several Chinese and European manufacturers later this year. Highly integrated means that the new high-voltage drive combines electric motor, power electronics and reduction gear in a single housing. This makes the Continental Powertrain division one of very few system suppliers to offer a complete, electrified powertrain from a single source. New axle drive unit. Continental began development work in 2006 on an electric drive that was used in an electric car from a European manufacturer from 2011. It was not only years of expertise in electric drives that went into the new, now market-ready, third-generation of the axle drive, but also experience from long-standing everyday use of this technology. With their systems expertise, Powertrain engineers were able to further improve the interaction between the individual components, consisting of the electric motor, power electronics and transmission, and synchronize them optimally—and also optimize installation space and weight. The new axle drive now weighs less than 80 kilograms. The function of an electric parking lock has now been integrated into the transmission. The new, more powerful axle drive offers not only an outstanding driving experience, but also a favorable cost level—numerous cable connections and connectors, for example, are no longer necessary thanks to the smart combination of the components, with a focus on integration. We offer the highly integrated axle drive in two performance levels, with 120 kW or 150 kW. The new, high-voltage drive, comprising electric motor, power electronics and reduction gear, has also reached a previously unseen level of development.—Thomas Stierle, head of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle business unit of the Powertrain division With output of up to 150 kW and a maximum torque of up to 310 N·m, the new electric axle drive is roughly equivalent to a conventional two-liter turbo-diesel engine. The electric motor and power electronics of the new system are liquid-cooled. Due to its size, performance data and characteristics, the axle drive from Continental is suitable for numerous vehicle classes and concepts. Specifically, the drive module will take to the road in a small European car and several compact SUVs from Asian manufacturers later this year. In addition to these new electric vehicles from traditional OEMs, the new Continental technology is setting the Sion electric vehicle from German start-up Sono Motors in motion. The Sion is the first series-produced electric vehicle to have solar cells integrated into its body. The car thereby produces electric energy self-sufficiently, extending its range. Production of the car, the electronics architecture of which is prepared for innovative sharing concepts, will begin in the coming year. The partnership between Continental and Sono Motors is oriented toward the long term, covering the Sion’s entire life cycle. Series production of the new axle drive used worldwide will begin at the Continental plant in Tianjin, China, in the third quarter of 2019. The reason for hosting production in China is that it means proximity to what is currently the largest and fastest-growing market for electric vehicles, coupled with the strong supplier chain that Continental has established in China.