Green Car Congress - 切り抜き一覧
Japan’s NIMS reports highly stable cycling of nanoporous, amorphous silicon anodes for all-solid-state lithium batteries
Researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have reported that nanoporous, amorphous silicon film anodes can show excellent cycling stability with extremely high lithium storage capacity: 2962 mAh g−1 and 2.19 mAh cm−2 after 100 cycles. An open-access paper on their work appears in the Nature journal Communications Chemistry.
Silicon has theoretical lithium storage gravimetric and volumetric capacities of 4,200 mAh g-1 and 2,370 mAh/cm3, respectively. These capacities are, respectively, approximately 11 and 3 times larger than those of conventional graphite anode materials. Many efforts therefore have been devoted to the application of silicon anodes to lithium-ion batteries using conventional organic liquid electrolytes to prolong the cruising distance of electric vehicles.
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of the cross-section of a nanoporous, amorphous silicon film anode. The film anode was prepared using a sputtering deposition method using a reacting gas of helium. Sakabe et al. Click to enlarge.
However, as the batteries are charged and discharged, silicon anodes undergo enormous volume expansion and contraction. The large volume changes during charge and discharge cycles result in irreversible mechanical damage, which in turn results in a rapid capacity fading.
Furthermore, due to narrow electrochemical stability windows of the electrolytes and the anodes’ severe volume changes, the conventional liquid electrolytes decompose on the silicon anodes during every charge processes, which also leads to the capacity fading. Hence, a strong demand exists for research the appropriate approach to take measures against these issues without lowering the capacities of the anode materials: nanostructure design of silicon anodes and encapsulation of the anode-active materials have been extensively studied for the batteries using the liquid electrolytes.
The NIMS team addressed capacity fading by combining nanoporous, amorphous silicon films with an inorganic solid electrolyte. The nanoporous structure accommodates the volume change of silicon and thus limits the mechanical fracture and pulverization of the anode. The solid electrolyte used—unlike liquid electrolytes—does not decompose on the silicon anodes due to its wide electrochemical stability window. Experiments demonstrated that the capacity of the silicon material, which is practically high, only slightly decreased even after 100 charge and discharge cycles.
This study was financially supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Toyota Motor Corporation for a project entitled “Applied and Practical LiB Development for Automobile and Multiple Applications (P12003).”
Junichi Sakabe, Narumi Ohta, Tsuyoshi Ohnishi, Kazutaka Mitsuishi & Kazunori Takada (2018) “Porous amorphous silicon film anodes for high-capacity and stable all-solid-state lithium batteries,” Communications Chemistry Volume 1, Article number: 24 doi: 10.1038/s42004-018-0026-y
Volkswagen testing use of quantum computing in battery research
For the first time, Volkswagen researchers have succeeded in simulating industrially relevant molecules using a quantum computer. This is especially important for the development of high-performance electric vehicle batteries.
In the long term, Volkswagen wants to simulate the chemical structure of a complete electric vehicle battery on a quantum computer. Their objective is to develop a “tailor-made battery”—a configurable chemical blueprint that is ready for production. Volkswagen is presenting its research work connected with quantum computing at the CEBIT technology show in Hanover, June 12-15.
We are focusing on the modernization of IT systems throughout the Group. The objective is to intensify the digitalization of work processes—to make them simpler, more secure and more efficient and to support new business models. This is why we are combining our core task with the introduction of specific key technologies for Volkswagen. These include the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as quantum computing.
—Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group
Using newly developed algorithms, the Volkswagen experts have laid the foundation for simulating and optimizing the chemical structure of high-performance electric vehicle batteries on a quantum computer. In the long term, such a quantum algorithm could simulate the chemical composition of a battery on the basis of different criteria such as weight reduction, maximum power density or cell assembly and provide a design which could be used directly for production. This would significantly accelerate the battery development process, which has been time-consuming and resource-intensive to date.
We are working hard to develop the potential of quantum computers for Volkswagen. The simulation of electrochemical materials is an important project in this context. In this field, we are performing genuine pioneering work. We are convinced that commercially available quantum computers will open up previously unimaginable opportunities. We intend to acquire the specialist knowledge we need for this purpose now.
—Florian Neukart, Principle Scientist at Volkswagen’s CODE Lab in San Francisco
On this project for the simulation of electrochemical materials, IT is co-operating closely with Volkswagen Group Research. The Volkswagen experts have already successfully simulated key molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains, on a quantum computer. They are now working on more complex chemical compounds, but are only at the beginning of their development work.
Specialized IT experts from Volkswagen, including data scientists, computer linguists and software engineers, are working together at the IT labs in San Francisco and Munich to develop the potential of quantum computers for applications which will be beneficial for the company. The main focus is on the programming of algorithms on quantum computers.
The Volkswagen Group is cooperating with the technology partners Google and D-Wave, who provide Volkswagen with access to their systems.
California Energy Commission providing $78.7M for replacement of oldest school buses; electric preferred
The California Energy Commission School Bus Replacement Program is making up to $78.7 million in grant funding available for the replacement of California’s oldest school buses. (GFO-17-607) Additionally, the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) has up to $13 million in grant funds for electric vehicle infrastructure and $2.4 million in grant funds for compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure for the replacement school buses.
The Energy Commission is emphasizing electric school buses as the preferred type of bus replacement under SB 110, the legislation providing the funding for the replacements. As an incentive, the Energy Commission is planning to provide up to $60,000 per awarded bus for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Additionally, the Energy Commission expects to provide school districts/COE awarded an electric bus under this solicitation, access to workforce development and training resources.
Funding is available for public school districts and county offices of education that operate the oldest buses in California. Priority consideration will be given to school buses that operate in a disadvantaged community and public school districts and county offices of education that had a majority of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
School districts/COE applying for a CNG replacement bus under this solicitation may also be eligible for up to $500,000 per applicant for compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure.
Funding for the CNG school buses, CNG fueling infrastructure, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and workforce development and training will originate from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) or other appropriate funding sources.
Each school district/COE is allowed to submit one application under this solicitation. Each application may contain a request for multiple buses. Each school district/COE is eligible to receive a maximum of 10 school buses under this solicitation. The Energy Commission, at its sole discretion, may waive this requirement.
The Energy Commission will host a pre-application workshop on 12 June 2018, at 10:00 AM.
GM and Honda partner on next-gen batteries for EVs for N America
General Motors and Honda are partnering on new advanced chemistry battery components, including the cell and module, to accelerate both companies’ plans for all-electric vehicles. The next-generation battery will deliver higher energy density, smaller packaging and faster charging capabilities for both companies’ future products, mainly for the North American market.
Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate based on GM’s next generation battery system with the intent for Honda to source the battery modules from GM. The collaboration will support each company’s respective and distinct vehicles.
The combined scale and global manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers.
GM and Honda already have a proven relationship around electrification, having formed the industry’s first manufacturing joint venture to produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system in the 2020 timeframe.
The integrated development teams are working to deliver a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems.
In addition to our ongoing joint development and production of fuel cells, this battery component collaboration will enable us to take a new step toward the realization of a sustainable society.
—Takashi Sekiguchi, Chief Officer for Automobile Operations and Managing Officer of Honda
Japan V2G demonstrator project using EVs as virtual power plant resource; METI funding
Seven companies—Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO); TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc.; TEPCO Power Grid, Inc.; Hitachi Systems Power Service, Ltd.; Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC); SHIZUOKA GAS Co., Ltd.; and Hitachi Solutions, Ltd.—have been selected by the Ministry for Economy, Transport and Infrastructure (METI) to receive grants under METI’s FY2018 Sustainable open Innovation Initiative (SII) to help fund “A Demonstrator Project for A Virtual Power Plant Utilizing Consumer Energy Resources (V2G Aggregator Project)”.
Scope of demonstration system to be built in FY 2018.
Commencing today, the project aims to build a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, and through this a business model that utilizes the electricity storage capabilities of multiple EV/PHEVs to regulate power demand and supply between the grid and electric vehicles.
Japan is promoting the adoption and expansion of renewable energy sources as a measure to reduce greenhouse gases. However, the rapid adoption of solar power and other renewable sources has made apparent a number of problems that impact the stable running of the power grid, these including the fluctuations in output and the generation of surplus power that renewable sources can cause.
Stabilizing the power grid requires the use of thermal power but this incurs costs in owning and maintaining such power generating plants. For this reason, projects to create virtual power plants (VPP) are being promoted as a new approach by society which provides, at a low cost, the sustainable adoption of renewable energy sources and power grid stability.
Against this backdrop, the hopes are that the batteries of EV/PHEVs, ownership of which is expected to grow rapidly in the near future, can be effectively utilized as a VPP resource. There are, however, several problems that must be solved first, including: the establishment of V2G technology that utilizes large numbers of EV/PHEVs; upgrading of related systems; and ensuring grid stability is compatible with EV/PHEV mobility needs.
The seven partners will work to establish a V2G business model, the objective of which will be to encourage sustainable adoption of renewable energy sources and of power grid stabilization. In FY2018, the companies will build the testing environment and conduct validation testing on the results produced using the V2G system.
The V2G Aggregator Project is a business model for making V2G function in our society and for the solution of energy and environment-related problems by promoting the adoption of renewable energy sources. The seven companies aim to establish the V2G aggregation business by building systems that make effective use of EV/PHEV batteries.
Demonstrator Project sites will include the Mitsubishi Motors Okazaki Plant in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, and the Shizuoka Branch of SHIZUOKA GAS.
Daimler Trucks North America unveils two Freightliner electric vehicle models and Electric Innovation Fleet
Freightliner Trucks premiered two fully electrified commercial vehicles—a Freightliner eCascadia heavy-duty truck and a Freightliner eM2 106 medium-duty truck—during the Daimler Trucks Capital Market and Technology Day in Portland. Freightliner plans to deliver an Electric Innovation Fleet of 30 vehicles to customers later this year for further testing under real-world operating conditions.
Both electrified Freightliner models are designed to fit specific applications, carefully identified through an extensive co-creation process with customers. The goal is to build and deliver commercial electric vehicles that support the business and sustainability goals of our customers.
The eCascadia has up to 730 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 550 kWh usable capacity, a range of up to 250 miles (402 km) and have the ability to charge up to 80% (providing a range of 200 miles) in about 90 minutes. The Class 8 tractor is designed for local and regional distribution and drayage.
The eM2 has up to 480 peak horsepower. The batteries provide 325 kWh of usable capacity, a range of up to 230 miles (370 km) and have the ability to charge up to 80% (providing a range of 184 miles) in about 60 minutes. The eM2 is Freightliner’s electrified solution for local distribution, pickup and delivery, food and beverage delivery, and last-mile logistics applications. The announcement comes as Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) explores proprietary solutions to meet the most promising target applications for electrified commercial vehicles, with the goal of starting production in 2021.
The Freightliner eCascadia with 80,000 lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR) and eM2 with 26,000 lb. GCWR are part of Daimler Trucks’ global electrified truck initiative. The Mercedes-Benz eActros, with a range up to 124 miles and a 55,000 lb. GCWR, is now entering testing for distribution applications with customers in Europe, while the E-FUSO Vision One, a Class 8 concept truck in Japan with a range of 220 miles and a 51,000 lb. GCWR, gives an outlook on the electrification of the Fuso portfolio. The FUSO eCanter, a light-duty truck, is already available in series model production as a fully electric truck from Daimler Trucks.
DTNA is striving to develop electric commercial vehicles that reduce emissions and enhance our customers’ bottom lines through improved uptime and lower operating costs. With the largest dealer and service network in North America, we will offer unparalleled access to factory-trained technicians, parts and support. We will leverage this network to support the Freightliner Electric Innovation Fleet and, as more electric commercial vehicles are delivered to our customers, we will provide the superior support they expect from Freightliner.
—Richard Howard, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Freightliner Trucks
The eCascadia and eM2 join the Thomas Built Buses all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus and the FUSO eCanter to establish Daimler Trucks as the leader in North America with the widest range of commercial electric vehicle models.
Daimler Trucks launches E-Mobility Group; single global electric architecture
Daimler Trucks has launched an E-Mobility Group (EMG) comprising all of its electric activities. The Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has already delivered the first models of its fully-electric FUSO eCanter to selected customers in the USA, Europe and Japan. Its sister brand, Mercedes-Benz, will put its medium-duty eActros on the road for customers this year as well. Daimler Trucks is also working to ensure that e-mobility is economical for the customer as well as the manufacturer.
Mercedes-Benz eActros electric heavy-duty truck.
The EMG will soon be defining the strategy for everything from electrical components to completely electric vehicles for all brands and all business divisions, while also working to create a single global electric architecture.
EMG is globally structured, with employees working cross functional in various locations throughout the company’s worldwide development network—in Portland (US), Stuttgart (Germany) and Kawasaki (Japan). Effective 1 July 2018, Gesa Reimelt will establish and lead this new entity. The position reports directly to the Executive Vice President for Global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering Daimler Trucks, Frank Reintjes.
As the undisputed global market leader, we aim to take the leading role in the field of electric-powered trucks and buses. We started working on electric trucks at an early stage and aspire to set the benchmark in every relevant segment of this industry. By establishing our new global E-Mobility Group we can maximise the effectiveness of our investments in this strategic key technology. This will enable us to provide our customers with the best solutions in battery systems, charging systems or energy management.
—Martin Daum, member of the Daimler Board of Management for Trucks & Buses
Daimler trucks will invest more than €2.5 billion (US$2.9 billion) over the course of 2018 and 2019 in research and development, of which more than €500 million (US$589 million) is dedicated to electrification, connectivity and the automation of its products and services.
On an international scale, Daimler Trucks already has more than one-half million trucks connected to the Internet of Things via its FleetBoard and Detroit Connect connectivity platforms. It was also the first truck manufacturer to demonstrate digitally connected trucks—platooning—on public roads in Europe, the US and Japan. In the fall of 2017, Daimler Trucks presented a further possible application for future implementation of automated commercial vehicles: At an airfield in Bad Sobernheim, Germany, an automated and remote-controlled fleet of four Mercedes-Benz Arocs tractor units cleared the runway.
In 2017, Daimler Trucks brands sold around 470,000 units sold. Daimler Trucks has already sold a total of about 21% more trucks in the first quarter of 2018 than it did in the equivalent period of the previous year. In the NAFTA region, unit sales in Q1 rose by a full 24%.
With its Mercedes-Benz, FUSO, Freightliner, Western Star and BharatBenz truck brands, as well as its Mercedes-Benz Buses, Setra and Thomas Built Buses bus brands, Daimler Trucks & Buses has an internationally strong product portfolio. It is the market leader in Germany, Europe and the NAFTA region. In Brazil, India and Japan the company also holds a leading position.
Seven-Eleven Japan, Toyota launching next-gen convenience store project in 2019; fuel cell trucks and generators
Seven-Eleven and Toyota entered into a basic agreement in August 2017 regarding considerations toward energy conservation and carbon dioxide emission reduction in store distribution and operation. Toyota has been investigating the use of newly developed fuel cell trucks and fuel cell generators, and the project will be implemented in stages starting in 2019.
The project aims to introduce technologies and systems developed by Toyota in Seven-Eleven store operation and distribution, reducing CO2 emissions. Stationary fuel cell generators (FC generators) and rechargeable batteries will be introduced at stores, managed centrally by building energy management systems (BEMS), raising the proportion of renewable energy and electric power derived from hydrogen used. A newly developed small fuel cell truck (small FC truck) will be introduced in the distribution process, aiming to achieve zero emissions of substances of concern including CO2.
The Seven & i Group is currently addressing five key issues, one of them being non-wasteful usage of products, ingredients and energy. Specifically, the Group plans to increase renewable energy use in stores to 20% and reduce CO2 emissions by 27% compared to FY 2013 by 2030. Seven-Eleven is taking measures to reduce CO2 emissions throughout its entire supply chain to meet its goals, focusing on renewable energy.
On 7 December 2017, Seven-Eleven opened the environmentally, user friendly Seven-Eleven Chiyoda Nibancho Store as a flagship of these initiatives. The second such store, the Seven-Eleven Sagamihara Hashimotodai Itchome Store, opened on May 22, 2018, with renewable energy accounting for 46% of the store’s electric power usage. Toyota technologies and systems that use hydrogen will be introduced in stores and distribution sites, with next generation stores further using renewable energy. Two small FC trucks are intended to be introduced within the Tokyo metropolitan region in approximately spring 2019, and operations next generation stores are expected to commence in approximately autumn 2019.
In the joint project, the two companies will investigate ways to procure renewable energy and use energy efficiently, aiming to shift the energy used in stores to renewable energy and low-carbon hydrogen. Rechargeable batteries and stationary FC generators—using a Mirai fuel cell stack—will be installed in stores and small FC trucks will be introduced for deliveries to reduce CO2 emissions. Performance, costs, durability, and CO2 reduction effects will be evaluated with the aim of promoting further deployment.
The in-store FC generator will generate electricity from hydrogen for store use. Boil-off hydrogen from the hydrogen station can also potentially be used. Efforts will be made to use hydrogen energy effectively, aiming toward the use of low-carbon hydrogen.
Rechargeable batteries will be installed for stable use of solar electric power, with the output being weather-dependent. When power is generated in excess of store demand, the batteries charge. When there is a shortage in power generated, the batteries discharge, raising the proportion of renewable energy use in the store.
End-of-life 10 kWh packs from hybrid vehicles will be used as rechargeable batteries; multiple units can be connected.
The building energy management system (BEMS) controls solar power generation, FC generators, and stationary rechargeable batteries, optimally supplying power to the store according to the store’s power consumption status.
In addition to charging BEVs and PHEVs, bi-directional chargers can supply electric power from BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs to the store. When necessary, the charger can be operated with the BEMS to supply power from a BEVs, PHEVs, or FCEV connected to the charger to the store, maintaining store operations and contributing to local recovery during a disaster. Input/output during charging is AC 200V, 5 kW/DC 50―450 V. Power supply from a vehicle to store is 10 kW maximum.
The small fuel cell trucks will also be equipped with Mirai FC units. The electric power generated by the FC unit powers the truck and serves as the power source for the refrigerator unit. When stopped, the FC unit supplies generated electricity to the refrigerator/freezer unit.
The truck will be equipped with an external power supply function, for high-output, high-capacity electric power supply (maximum output of 9.8 kW and maximum capacity of 235 kWh) and can be used as a power source during a disaster.
VW’s 1.0 TSI in the new up! GTI wins International Engine of the Year 2018 award in its category; Euro 6d-TEMP
Volkswagen’s 1.0 TSI in the new up! GTI1 has been named International Engine of the Year 2018 in its category. The 85 kW / 115 PS gasoline-fired engine is the first of its kind to be combined with a four-way catalytic converter and installed in the up!. It also comes with a gasoline particulate filter.
Exhaust gas after-treatment paired with innovative features inside the engine enables the GTI engine to meet the new EU 6AG (Euro 6d-TEMP) emission standard.
The 85 kW / 115 PS 1.0 TSI in the up! GTI.
The 1.0 TSI version of the up! GTI—available since spring this year—is the latest addition to the EA211 range of engines. The 999 cm3 award-winning engine contains a turbocharger with electric wastegate actuator, an intake manifold with integrated intercooler and an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head.
With a pressure of 350 bar (high for a gasoline engine), the fuel mixture is injected directly into the combustion chambers. The compact, lightweight four-valve engine delivers 115 PS at between 5,000 and 5,500 rpm. From 2,000 rpm, the 1.0 TSI—which is fitted with two adjustable camshafts—balances a force of 200 N·m to the drive axle. (As a comparison point, in 1976, the first Golf GTI delivered 140 N·m at 5,000 rpm.) The maximum torque remains constant up to 3,500 rpm.
One key aim when developing the new TSI was to ensure the lowest possible emissions. This was achieved by innovations inside the engine, such as the new 5-hole piezoelectric injector; high injection pressure; newly developed turbocharger; new pistons; and innovative emission after-treatment system.
A core element of the emission after-treatment system is a new four-way catalytic converter with integrated gasoline particle filter (OPF), which reduces particle emissions by 95%. After flowing through the turbocharger, the exhaust gas is fed directly into the particulate filter. Due to its special coating, it works in parallel as a regular catalytic converter.
In the first component of the exhaust gas purification system carbon (C) is retained and converted during the regeneration phases into carbon dioxide (CO2). In parallel with this, the catalytic converter function reduces three further emission components from the exhaust gas: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and hydrocarbon (CmHm). Catalytic reactions turn them likewise into CO2, and into nitrogen (N2) and water (H20). A second three-way catalytic converter in the underbody guarantees that the threshold specified in EU 6AG is complied with even under heavy loads.
The EU 6AG (Euro 6d-TEMP) emission standard includes fuel consumption measurements according to the new, realistic Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test. The measurements are made on a dynamometer and under real conditions on the road.
The fuel consumption and emission levels of the up! GTI were determined based on the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light-Duty Vehicles Test Procedure). The RDE (Real Driving Emissions) tests are also new. They check emission and fuel consumption levels in real operation on the road. Over the combined cycle the WLTP produces a consumption figure of 5.7 to 5.6 l/100 km (41.2 to 42 mpg US); the corresponding NEDC level is 4.8 l/100 km (49 mpg US).
Mercedes-Benz Cars invests €1B in new “Full-Flex” car plant in Hungary; Factory 56 applied to full plant
Mercedes-Benz Cars is starting construction of its first “Full-Flex Plant“ in Kecskemét, Hungary, about 90 km in the south of Budapest. Overall, the company is investing €1 billion in the new car plant and creating more than 2,500 jobs. The first global “Full-Flex Plant” of Mercedes-Benz Cars is based on the “Factory 56” principles introduced in February (earlier post), and is thus digitized consistently, designed for sustainable production and puts the human at the center of all activities.
With an investment of one billion euros, we are building in Hungary the first ‘Full-Flex Plant’ in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In a ‘Full-Flex Plant’, several vehicle architectures from compact models to rear-wheel drive sedans and various drive forms, including electric vehicles, can be flexibly produced on one line. Thereby we lift the production concept of ‘Factory 56’ to the next level.
—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain
The new car plant in Kecskemét consists of a press shop, a body-in-white shop, a paint shop and an assembly. The plant is highly efficient and has a CO2-neutral energy supply. With the “Full-Flex Plant“, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating additional capacity and also technical requirements for the flexible production of future vehicles. This includes passenger cars with a wide variety of body and drive variants. Both passenger cars with conventional drive variants and also electric vehicles using the latest technology in automated driving can be produced under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations.
In February, Mercedes-Benz Cars presented “Factory 56” in Sindelfingen, one of the most modern car production facilities in the world. The human is at the center of all activities and it is consistently “Digital, flexible, green”. Core elements are the digital interconnection of the infrastructure including the digital control of the material flow and the quality control. Tablets, handhelds, smartphones and smart watches support employees in their daily work. The plant is not only digitized consistently according to Industry 4.0, it is also connected to other productions in the global production network.
The company is now transferring the blue print of “Factory 56” to a complete factory. Because all parts of the plant—from the press shop to assembly—are new, the entire production flow can be optimally coordinated. In addition to the fully flexible production of vehicles with front- or rear-wheel drives, other types, such as electric drives, can also be produced on the same line. Production will start at the beginning of the next decade.
For the new Full-Flex Plant, 972,700 m3 of earth are being moved. The area under construction is 382,033 m2. This corresponds to approximately 54 soccer fields. More than 17,000 tons of steel will be used in the construction of the second plant at the Kecskemét site. With this amount of steel, around 1.7 Eiffel Towers in Paris could be built.
Already in the planning phase, the “Full-Flex Plant“ is fully digitally depicted and optimized. Production is based on “Lean Production” specifications and includes an ideal plant layout with short distances and processing times for maximum efficiency with a common pulse rate throughout the entire production process. This also includes human-machine cooperation and digitally supported processes, including work organization, logistics and quality assurance.
The body-in-white shop also has new production concepts: From the very first component, the production sequence is defined as in a pearl chain. In the body-in-white shop of the future, the individual stations are flexibly combined. Due to this flexibility, different derivatives of a series can be manufactured simultaneously. Today, this requires several specific production lines.
Modern logistics concepts are also integrated. State-of-the-art Pick-by-Light or Pick-by-Voice technologies are used in the picking areas. While with Pick-by-Light the articles and quantities to be allocated are transmitted to the order picker via a compartment display arranged directly at the picking compartment, the Pick-by-voice employee receives the orders from the warehouse management system via radio directly into the ear.
The employees work at ergonomically optimized workstations and are optimally supported in their tasks by digital tools. The focus is on the use of intelligent, flexible technology. Intelligent human-machine cooperation makes partial automation possible to relieve humans.
Characteristic for the automobile production of the future and thus also for the second plant at the Kecskemét site are modular building structures with a design that is both energy efficient and green, so environmentally friendly. Furthermore, the avoidance of waste and the reduction of water consumption are a guideline that is applied throughout the entire operation of the site. Finally, the second plant at the Kecskemét site uses renewable energies and will therefore have a CO2-neutral energy supply.
Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world. Three of them are currently being established. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees it includes the central functions of production planning, TECFACTORY, logistics, and quality.
Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the seventh record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components).
Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance. Around the globe, electro hubs are being built for the production of electric vehicles and batteries.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét has about 4,000 employees. In 2017, it produced more than 190,000 Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles. The first model to roll off the line in Kecskemét was the Mercedes-Benz B-Class in 2012. It was followed by the four-door CLA compact coupe in 2013 and by the CLA Shooting Brake in 2015. Both of these models are produced exclusively in Kecskemét for the world market. In 2018, the new A-Class will also join the product range of the Hungarian production site.
Shell Aviation and SkyNRG in strategic collaboration to advance use of sustainable aviation fuel
Shell Aviation and SkyNRG entered a long-term strategic collaboration to promote and develop the use of sustainable fuel in aviation supply chains. The collaboration combines Shell Aviation’s technical and commercial expertise, world-class supply chain and carbon management operations with SkyNRG’s proven track record of supplying sustainable aviation fuels and in-depth knowledge of this market.
The agreement will see Shell Aviation and SkyNRG work together to develop long-term opportunities for low carbon solutions. These efforts are structurally supported by committed funding to a joint business development fund.
We want Shell to be a leader in the low carbon transition in aviation fuels. Today’s agreement with industry pioneers SkyNRG demonstrates the type of progressive collaboration which can help us move us towards a lower carbon emissions future. Working together, we believe we can advance sustainable solutions for the benefit of our entire industry.
—Anne Anderson, Vice-President Shell Aviation
The agreement is a multi-year collaboration, with both companies acknowledging that the path to lower carbon emissions in aviation requires long-term commitment.
The collaboration will focus on the joint development and funding of new opportunities to extend the use of and build more resilient supply chains for sustainable aviation fuels. This will be coupled with the development of a range of comprehensive carbon management options that will provide support to Shell Aviation and SkyNRG customers.
NEVS and Phantom Auto collaborating on autonomous vehicles
Swedish electric vehicle manufacturer NEVS is using Phantom Auto’s teleoperation safety technology to ensure safe deployment of electric autonomous vehicles.
NEVS (formerly Saab Automobile) and Phantom Auto, the leading provider of teleoperation safety technology for autonomous vehicles (AVs), are collaborating to ensure the optimally safe and efficient deployment of NEVS’ electric AVs throughout the world.
Silicon Valley-based Phantom Auto enables a remote human operator to drive an AV when it encounters a scenario which the AV cannot handle on its own, enabling the safe and rapid deployment of AVs.
NEVS is shaping mobility for a more sustainable future with its global portfolio of electric AVs. Working together, NEVS and Phantom Auto are setting the bar for safety in AV deployments.
Our AVs must be able to drive from any point A to any point B, which means driving through all edge cases they experience on the road, such as inclement weather, road work, and any other road obstructions.
Phantom Auto’s teleoperation safety technology ensures that passengers in our vehicles can safely and efficiently drive through any edge case, and that’s why I am excited and proud to call them NEVS’ partner.
—Stefan Tilk, CEO of NEVS
Founded in 2012 after acquiring the assets of Saab Automobile AB, NEVS plans to deploy electric autonomous vehicles in the early 2020s, both in the EU and China.
The company is now preparing for large volume production of the NEVS 9-3 EV in its new production plant in Tianjin, China, by the end of 2018. The company will also soon establish another production plant and innovation center in Shanghai, China.
NEVS is the first joint venture company with investors from outside China that has been granted a New Energy Passenger Vehicle Project investment approval by the Chinese government.
In October 2017, NEVS and DiDi Chuxing, the world’s leading mobile transportation platform, formed a strategic partnership and finalized a number of steps towards an extensive cooperation. In April 2018, DiDi Chuxing, NEVS, and other companies collectively founded the “D-Alliance”. The alliance will build up a new ecosystem of automotive operations, promote car sharing, and drive forward the transformation of automotive industry towards smart mobility and new energy together.
Founded in 2017 in Silicon Valley by a team of network communication and robotics experts, Phantom Auto enables a remote human operator to drive an autonomous vehicle when it encounters a scenario that the vehicle cannot handle on its own, enabling the safe and rapid deployment of autonomous vehicles.
Phantom Auto offers a teleoperation-as-a-service safety solution for all autonomous vehicles that includes low latency vehicle communication software, an API for real-time assistance and guidance, and a remote operator service.
Audi Q8 makes debut in China; 48V mHEV system standard
The Audi Q8 made its debut at the Audi Brand Summit in Shenzhen, China. The five-passenger SUV offers advanced connectivity, infotainment and driver assistance systems, combined with capable driving dynamics. All drive systems are enhanced by the standard new mild hybrid technology (MHEV). The 48-volt primary electrical system supports the TFSI engine and functions as the main vehicle electrical system.
The 48-volt primary electrical system incorporates two main technology modules: a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter. During braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and feed it back into the battery. The MHEV technology enables long coasting phases with the engine deactivated and a start-stop range that begins at 22 km/h (13.7 mph).
The Audi Q8 launches on the European market in the third quarter of 2018 and in the US in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Standard equipped with quattro all-wheel drive, the purely mechanical center differential transfers power to the front and rear axle at a standard ratio of 40:60, and when required, can transfer the majority of the power to the axle with better traction.
When required, it transfers the majority to the axle with the better traction. That plus as much 254 millimeters (10.0 in) of ground clearance, short overhangs and hill descent control means the Audi Q8 can keep going even after the pavement ends. The suspension with damper control is standard. Audi offers the adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as an option, with either comfort or sport setup. It adjusts the ride height depending on the driving situation and the driver’s preference by as much as 90 millimeters (3.5 in).
Besides the standard progressive steering, the steering ratio of which becomes increasingly direct the further the steering wheel is turned, Audi also offers the option of all-wheel steering. It can turn the rear wheels as much as 5 degrees—counter to the direction of the turn at low speeds to increase agility and at higher speeds in the direction of the turn for better stability.
Among the assistance systems are adaptive cruise assist, efficiency assist, crossing assist, lane change warning, curb warning and 360 degree cameras. One highlight is the remote garage pilot, which will follow in early 2019.
Under the supervision of the driver, it guides the SUV into a garage and back out again autonomously. The driver gets out of the car beforehand and activates the process using the myAudi app on their smartphone. The (remote) parking pilot offers a similar level of convenience. Behind all of these features is the central driver assistance controller. It continuously computes a differentiated model of the surroundings and uses this to manage the assistance systems. The required data are obtained—depending on the selected options—from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors and the laser scanner.
GM outlines electrification path in China; 10 NEVs from 2016-2020, double by 2023
On World Environment Day, General Motors mapped out its electrification path in China. GM is on track to deliver 10 new energy vehicle models in China between 2016 and 2020. From 2021 through 2023, GM will maintain momentum by doubling the number of new energy vehicles available.
The Cadillac CT6 Plug-In, Buick VELITE 5 extended-range electric vehicle and Baojun E100 electric vehicle are among the models that have already been launched in the domestic market. Buick recently announced plans to introduce the VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, followed by the VELITE 6 electric vehicle.
By the end of last month, GM’s new energy vehicles in China had logged more than 75 million electric kilometers.
We will continue to grow our electric vehicle portfolio in China with diverse solutions that encompass various electric ranges and body styles. We are integrating GM’s global expertise in electrification with our local research, development and manufacturing capabilities. Our focus is on delivering safe and reliable products that are tailored for our customers across China.
—Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and president of GM China
The fundamental building block of an all-electric vehicle is the battery. GM began developing in-house battery research and development expertise early on. It now possesses battery development, validation and testing capabilities in both the United States and China.
GM China battery R&D lab.
The battery lab at the GM China Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai is an important member of GM’s global battery lab network. It develops, validates and tests battery systems to ensure the quality of GM’s electrified vehicles in China. It also carries out work on battery fundamentals, such as chemistry and cell design, to advance their performance capabilities.
The Shanghai Battery Assembly Plant operated by GM’s SAIC-GM joint venture will support GM’s expanding electric vehicle portfolio in China. It utilizes the same global assembly processes and follows the same strict technical standards as GM’s other facility, the Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant in the United States.
New Hyundai Tucson in Europe features 48 V mild hybrid diesel powertrain
The New Hyundai Tucson for Europe, which enters production this month, will be equipped with a fuel-efficient 48 V mild hybrid powertrain. It is the first model in the company’s line-up to offer the new technology. Production of the new compact SUV starts in June 2018, to be launched in the European market in summer.
The New Tucson is designed and built in Europe. In addition to the upgraded powertrain portfolio, all Tucson engines meet the new Euro 6d-TEMP emission standards. The New Tucson also offers a major design update and wider range of advanced technology and convenience features to continue the model’s success story across the region, having been the best-selling Hyundai in Europe in 2016 and 2017.
With our new mild hybrid powertrain system for our best-selling model, we are further expanding the company’s electrification strategy to make clean technologies accessible for even more customers. In order to continue on this path consistently, the highly efficient system has been developed by our engineers at our European Technical Centre. It will be available in combination with more engines in the future, as part of our highly diverse mix of electrified solutions.
—Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing and Product at Hyundai Motor Europe
The New Tucson combines a 48 V mild hybrid system with the 2.0 litr†e diesel engine. The technology comprises a 0.44 kW/h 48-volt lithium-ion battery, a Mild Hybrid Starter Generator (MHSG), a LDC converter (Low Voltage DC/DC) and an inverter.
Under acceleration the MHSG supports the engine with up to 12 kW and thereby reducing fuel consumption. The system switches automatically between mechanical use of the engine and energy recuperation. The MHSG assists the combustion engine by discharging the battery to reduce engine load with light acceleration or to provide additional torque to the engine under strong acceleration. During in-gear deceleration and braking, energy is recuperated to recharge the battery. In this way, the system significantly improves the engine’s fuel economy and CO2 emissions without sacrificing maximum driving pleasure.
With this technology, Hyundai aims to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 7% combined with the manual transmission.
The 2.0 diesel engine is the most powerful in the New Tucson’s powertrain line-up, offering an output of 137 kW/186 PS. It comes with four-wheel drive and can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or optionally with the newly developed 8-speed automatic transmission.
By spring 2019, the 48 V mild hybrid technology will also be available with new Smart Stream 1.6-liter diesel engine in the New Tucson.
Fraunhofer joins AddESun project to develop new generation of lead-acid batteries
The Fraunhofer R&D Center Electromobility Bavaria, located at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, has joined a consortium of partners from industry and research to develop a new generation of lead-acid batteries.
The collaborative project AddESun, aiming to safeguard the future of lead-acid batteries, was launched in September 2017. The list of project goals includes a more sustainable production, improved charging behavior, longer service life and higher power density. The key task of researching new additives and their effect on battery properties was assigned to the Fraunhofer ISC.
Electrochemical investigations and model-supported analyses will help gain a better understanding of the effect mechanisms of additives in lead-acid batteries. The information will be used to synthesize new or to optimize old materials. The systematic approach is intended to improve service life and augment energy density by up to 30%. A battery demonstrator with an energy capacity of 30 kWh—equal to a 200 km range for an electric vehicle—will serve to evaluate and verify the findings.
Our task within the AddESun project is to investigate the correlation between the chemical and physical structure of the additives and to understand what part they play within a battery. Special attention will be paid to the effect of additives on a battery’s mechanical stability, conductivity and on the porosity of the active mass.
—Jochen Settelein, AddESun project leader at the Fraunhofer ISC
Testing will take place on a test cell developed by the Fraunhofer researchers and ideally representing the lead acid system. The test cell was designed to enable the transfer of standardized tests to lab scale almost without any artefacts to close the gap between research and application.
Overall project volume is €3.41 million (US$4 million) for a term of three years with 60% funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Project aim is to provide new input on innovative materials that will put industry partners in the position to produce improved lead-acid battery systems. Among the research partners are Exide Technologies Operations GmbH (battery manufacturer), Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH, Penox GmbH, SGL Carbon GmbH and the Institut für Stromrichtertechnik und Elektrische Antriebe ISEA at the RWTH Aachen (simulation).
The “AddESun” project is coordinated by EXIDE Technologies Operations GmbH & Co. KG.
Leclanché secures $76M in funding, $51M facility for acquisitions and joint ventures in e-Transport and stationary grid-based storage markets
Switzerland-based energy storage company Leclanché SA has secured new additional funding from FEFAM, Leclanché’s largest shareholder. In addition to CHF 75 million (US$76 million) committed corporate funding, FEFAM has agreed to provide a conditional CHF 50 million (US$51 million) funding facility for acquisitions and joint ventures. The facility shall operate on the basis of a Right-of-First-Offer (ROFO) for FEFAM.
The new funding follows Leclanché’s full year 2017 results announcement on 3 May 2018 that it is expected to be EBITDA positive by 2020, supported by an order book of over 50 MWh, contributing CHF 40-50 million of revenue in 2018, and a milestone of 100MWh of energy storage systems in operation by 2018.
Further, as indicated on 1 March, Leclanché confirms that it has signed a non-binding term sheet with a potential strategic investor to increase its overall corporate funding to between CHF100 million (US$102 million) and CHF125 million (US$127 million). The company said that it anticipates that negotiations will be completed, and a final agreement will be executed, by Q4 2018.
This substantial investment fully funds our business plan through to 2020 when we expect to be EBITDA positive. We thank FEFAM for their continued strong investment support. This additional funding will allow us to capitalize on the exciting opportunities we see in the fast-growing markets of stationary grid-based storage and e-Transport worldwide.
We aim to use the acquisitions and joint-ventures facility to accelerate Leclanché’s technology leadership through margin accretive acquisition(s); and grow market share in Europe, Asia and North American in both the stationary grid-based storage and e-Transport businesses.
We are in the process of completing the acquisition of a leading Energy Management Software solution from a company based in the USA. We are also in the advanced stage of completing an agreement to set up a joint venture with a market leader in India. This JV will give Leclanché a strong foothold in one of the potentially largest Electric Vehicles market in the world. We look forward to updating the market in the near future.
—Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché
ARPA-E awarding up to $24M to 10 projects to support advanced nuclear power plants
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $24 million in funding for 10 projects as part of a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program: Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER). MEITNER teams will identify and develop innovative technologies that enable designs for lower cost, safer, advanced nuclear reactors.
Nuclear power generates nearly 20% of US electricity, delivering reliable, low-emission baseload power to the grid. These plants are all conventional light water reactors (LWR), the technology of which has evolved steadily over time. As utilities have begun retiring older plants, however, comparatively high costs have made it difficult to justify building new nuclear power plants. The low volume of new plant construction combined with expected retirements of existing plants is projected to reduce US nuclear electricity capacity by 20.8 GW by 2050.
For nuclear energy to contribute in the coming decades, the next generation of nuclear reactor plants need simultaneously to achieve “walkaway” safe and secure operation, extremely low construction capital costs, and significantly shorter construction and commissioning times than currently available plants. To attain these goals, new, innovative, enabling technologies for advanced reactor designs are needed.
The development of these enabling technologies requires an understanding of the interrelatedness of design choices. To address this, MEITNER encourages a rethinking of how pieces of the nuclear reactor system fit together when developing the technologies that will make these plants viable. In the building phase, cost savings may be realized through modular and advanced manufacturing techniques that bring most of the work to the factory instead to the construction site. Technologies that could reduce operational expenses include robotics, sophisticated sensing, model-based fault detection, and secure networks to enable substantially autonomous controls as well as a high degree of passive safety.
ARPA-E developed this funding opportunity in close coordination with DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and MEITNER teams will have access to department modeling and simulation resources as they develop their concepts. Project teams will coordinate regularly with a DOE-supported resource team of experts from across the Department and DOE’s National Laboratories.
The MEITNER projects are:
General Atomics: Improved Load Following in an Advanced Nuclear Plant Using a High-efficiency Brayton Cycle with Variable-speed Generator – $1,455,762. The General Atomics team seeks to develop a detailed and dynamic model of a nuclear power system using a helium-driven Brayton-cycle engine. The team will use a variable-speed turbo-generator that will allow operators to control the plant temperature, as well as power electronics to connect the plant to the grid and provide rapid load-following, the important ability to increase or decrease power output based on demand. A quantitative assessment will be done on the continuous load following capability of the proposed system that would be capable of sharing the grid with substantial renewable resources such as wind and solar.
General Atomics: Reducing Nuclear Plant Capital Costs Using Pre-cast Fiber-reinforced Concrete – $1,532,752. The General Atomics team seeks to develop a new construction method for concrete components used to build nuclear power plants. The team’s approach will reduce cost by using pre-cast modules made of ultra- high-strength concrete in the factory before delivering to the building site. This saves time and allows quality control to be conducted in a standardized, efficient environment, creating significant opportunities for reducing construction time and capital cost.
HolosGen, LLC: Transportable Modular Reactor by Balance of Plant Elimination – $2,278,200. The HolosGen team seeks to develop a transportable, gas-cooled nuclear reactor with load following ability. By using a closed Brayton-cycle engine with components connected directly to the reactor core, the team expects to simplify plant construction, leading to lower costs and shorter commissioning times. The reactor can be packaged in a standard shipping container, making it highly portable and reducing cost. The team aims to demonstrate the viability of this concept using multi-physics modeling and simulation tools validated by testing a non-nuclear prototype.
North Carolina State University: Development of a Nearly Autonomous Management and Control System for Advanced Reactors – $3,386,834. The NCSU team seeks to develop a highly automated management and control system for advanced nuclear reactors. The system will provide recommendations to plant operators and will use artificial intelligence and continuous data monitoring to predict future plant status through machine learning. Ultimately, the team seeks to enable a significantly smaller operational staff to manage the plant, assisted by instrumentation, operator training, and smart procedures, reducing overall operational cost.
State University of New York at Buffalo: Reducing Overnight Capital Cost of Advanced Reactors Using Equipment-based Seismic Protective Technologies – $1,443,635. The State University of New York at Buffalo team seeks to reduce nuclear power plant complexity and cost by integrating seismic protection systems into the development of advanced reactor buildings and their supporting structures. All nuclear power plants require seismic protection against earthquakes, made of large components that are typically custom-produced for each new plant construction. The team’s approach aims to simplify plant design while enabling the use of standardized equipment that can be optimized for individual projects.
Terrestrial Energy USA: Magnetically Suspended Canned Rotor Pumps for the Integral Molten Salt Reactor – $3,150,000. The Terrestrial Energy USA team will develop a novel, magnetically suspended circulation pump for molten salt reactors to improve plant performance, increase pump lifetime, and reduce cost. Compared to state-of-the- art cantilever type pumps that are used today in harsh environments, the team’s next-generation molten salt pump is self-contained, does not require vulnerable mechanical seals, and is sturdy enough to meet the requirements set by the reactor core’s seven-year operating lifetime. The project team will conduct extensive fabrication and performance testing of the pump during its ARPA-E project term.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation: Technology Enabling Zero-EPZ Micro Modular Reactors – $2,350,000. The Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation team will develop advanced technologies for gas-cooled reactors to increase their power density, thus allowing them to be smaller. Specifically, the team seeks to develop a high-performance moderator—which slows down neutrons so they can cause fission—to enable a compact reactor with enhanced safety features. Shrinking the reactor size enables greater versatility in deployment and reduced construction times and costs, both of which are especially important for smaller modular reactor systems that may be constructed wherever heat and power are needed.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Enabling Load Following Capability in the Transatomic Power MSR – $774,879. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign team seeks to develop a fuel processing system for molten salt reactors that allows these reactors to lower their output during times of reduced electricity demand. To enable this load-following capability, the team will conduct simulations to determine how to remove unwanted fission by-products that slow reaction rates and, thus, energy production. By establishing a design for reprocessing the reactor’s molten salt fuel, the team hopes to remove a major barrier to commercialization for molten salt reactors.
Westinghouse Electric Company: Self-regulating, Solid Core Block “SCB” for an Inherently Safe Heat Pipe Reactor – $5,000,000. The Westinghouse Electric Company team will develop a self-regulating solid core block that employs solid materials (instead of bulk liquid flow or moving parts) to inherently regulate the reaction rate in a nuclear reactor. The nature of the design will allow the reactor to achieve safe shutdown without the need for additional controls, external power source, or operator intervention, enabling highly autonomous operation. The team will conduct modeling and simulation to demonstrate the SCB’s self-regulating ability, with additional testing to validate modeling & simulation tools and confirm manufacturability.
Yellowstone Energy: Reactivity Control Device for Advanced Reactors – $2,599,185. The Yellowstone Energy team seeks to develop a new reactor control technology to enhance passive safety and reduce costs for its molten salt reactor and other designs. Materials embedded in the control rods will vaporize at elevated temperatures, producing a vapor that captures neutrons and slows reaction rates, even in the absence of external controls. The team will use simulation tools to determine the effectiveness of the control device and conduct a techno-economic analysis at the plant level to determine cost effectiveness.
2018 Toyota AYGO mid-lifecycle update features enhanced 1.0L engine; Euro 6d-TEMP-compliant; up to 61.8 mpg
Toyota Motor is introducing a mid-lifecycle model change for the AYGO, its successful A-segment entry in the European market. In 2017, AYGO was amongst the top sellers of the A-segment with more than 85,000 units sold, and a segment share of 6.6%.
Launched in 2005 for Europe, the first generation Toyota AYGO was designed to attract young, urban-based customers, and to bring a greater sense of playfulness to the Toyota brand. AYGO was not only Toyota’s first model in the compact city car segment, but also the result of a new joint-venture with PSA, with the cars specifically developed for Europe and produced at the new TPCA (Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile) factory in Kolin, Czech Republic.
Along with design and content changes, the new AYGO features a more efficient powertrain with improved performance and handling characteristics to make it even more fun to drive.
With my 14 years of experience in being a Chief Engineer for joint venture projects, I know the importance of sustaining modernity during a vehicle’s lifecycle. So when we started development of the second generation AYGO in 2012, I already had in mind the visual changes and innovations I wanted to pursue for this mid-lifecycle model change.
From the start of the development, it was clear that we had many big challenges on our hands, since the outgoing model was still very well thought of by A-segment customers thanks to its strong exterior design and fuel efficiency. But we also had to take into account the increased number of competitors which make the A-segment an even more challenging environment. Based on this, we wanted the new model to look and feel like a new car, while focussing on three pillars to enhance AYGO’s DNA: re-evaluate the exterior design, make the car quieter and more fun to drive, and lower the total cost of ownership by making new AYGO even cheaper to run.
Through significant improvements to the 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine –such as adding exhaust VVT and twin injectors- we are now able to offer A-segment customers the best combination of performance and best in class fuel efficiency, in-line with AYGO’s DNA of ‘fun and efficient’. Thanks to these changes I can confidently say that new AYGO is the most responsive car in its segment, while keeping its green credentials.
—David Terai, AYGO Chief Engineer
Toyota’s award-winning, 998 cc, 3-cylinder, 12-valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i engine is now Euro 6d-TEMP-compliant (also called Euro 6.2). The unit has been extensively revised, now combing a balance of power and fuel consumption with enhanced torque delivery at lower engine rpm for an even better driving experience in urban traffic.
The 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine was extensively revised and we improved the combustion efficiency through the adoption of a new dual fuel injector system. The compression ratios have been increased and friction within the engine was reduced. A new throttle body motor and ignition coil were adopted and, last but not least, we made changes to the cylinder head and block, the piston design and the EGR system.
By applying all these changes we were able to make new AYGO’s powertrain compliant with the latest Euro 6.2 regulations and reduce CO2 emissions by 5 g/km across the entire model range. This is a tremendous achievement for such a small engine that was already very efficient.
—Kristof Muylle, Senior Project Manager at Toyota Motor Europe’s R&D center
The cylinder head benefits from a new dual fuel injector system, enhancing combustion efficiency. The shape of the intake port has been changed to achieve optimum intake tumble flow. As a result, combustion efficiency is further enhanced, improving both fuel economy and exhaust gas performance.
The shape of the exhaust port has been changed to increase its size, decreasing pressure within the exhaust manifold. This not only contributes to enhanced torque delivery throughout the engine speed range, but also improves fuel economy.
A VVT mechanism has been added to the exhaust camshaft, improving fuel efficiency and exhaust gas performance. Furthermore, the optimization of the valve spring characteristics and the addition of a diamond-like carbon coating to the valve lifter reduce friction to further enhance fuel economy.
Within the cylinder block, the shape of cooling passages between cylinder bores has been optimized to improve cooling efficiency. This achieves superior anti-knock performance while contributing to enhanced fuel economy and exhaust gas performance.
A foamed rubber-type water jacket spacer has been adopted to optimize cylinder bore heat distribution, reducing piston-generated friction and improving fuel economy.
The shape of the combustion chamber has been optimized, increasing the engine’s compression ratio from 11.5:1 to 11.8:1. Both piston and piston ring friction have been reduced through the resin coating of the reshaped piston skirt, and the addition of a diamond-like carbon coating to the piston ring top section.
An Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) cooler system has been added, enhancing the cycle efficiency of the EGR system to further improve fuel economy. A dynamic damper has been added to the right-hand engine mount to improve Noise and Vibration (NV) performance.
Finally, an improved balance shaft has been adopted to reduce vibration at idling speed.
As a result of these comprehensive enhancements, the engine now develops 53 kW (72 DIN hp) at 6,000 rpm, and 93 N·m of torque at 4,400 rpm. New AYGO will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 13.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph).
New AYGO comes in both standard and Eco versions. The latter benefits from a longer 4th and 5th gear, low Rolling Resistance Coefficient (RRC) tires, Toyota’s Stop & Start system and aerodynamic improvements.
The standard version achieves a fuel consumption of 4.1 l/100 km (57.3 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 93 g/km. The Eco version returns class-leading fuel economy figures of as low as 3.8 l/100 km (61.8 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of only 86 g/km1.
x-shift. The x-shift is available as an option on new AYGO. This automated manual transmission has a fully automatic shift mode and no clutch pedal, using computer control to synchronize engine, clutch and transaxle for quick and precise shifting.
Selecting E (Easy Mode), M (Manual) or R (Reverse) allows the car to creep like a conventional automatic. In E mode, the system selects a suitable gear according to the accelerator pedal, vehicle speed and driving conditions.
New AYGO’s x-shift is equipped with the kick-down function standard to automatic transmissions. Moreover, it is possible to override the system temporarily by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Selecting M mode allows the driver to manually change gear via either the shift lever itself or with the paddle switches.
When equipped with x-shift, new AYGO returns fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US) and generates CO2 emissions of 95 g/km.
Driving Dynamics. Complementing the improvements to engine performance and efficiency, the new AYGO’s suspension settings have been changed and the steering software updated. Various elements of new AYGO’s proven MacPherson front and torsion beam rear suspension systems have been revised and fine-tuned to improve ride comfort with no detriment to handling agility and responsiveness.
The shock absorber damping force of both the front and rear suspension systems has been optimized to achieve superior handling ability and ride comfort, and a lower coil spring insulator has been added to the front suspension to further enhance ride comfort.
Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH). Added sealing and absorption materials to the dashboard, A-pillars, doors and rear deck have resulted in a marked reduction in NVH within the cabin across the full range of engine rpm.
The material used for the dash inner silencer has been optimized to enhance sound insulation and absorption. Its upper surface area has been enlarged and benefits from the addition of a caulking sponge.
The thickness of the front cowl louvre caulking sponge has been increased by 3 mm, and that of the air shutter and cowl separator by 2 mm, reducing engine noise and high speed wind noise.
The thickness of the front fender protector has been increased by 1.3 mm, reducing engine and road noise. A caulking sponge has been added to the fender garnish reducing the penetration of engine and wind noise through the gap between the fender panel and side member.
Labyrinth clips have been added to the door inner panels to reduce the entry of road noise through the door drainage holes. Hole plugs have been added to the door inner panel and front pillar inner panel to reduce both engine noise and wind noise when driving at high speeds.
Within the cabin, further noise and vibration suppression measures include the addition of felt and ethylene propylene rubber seals to the front pillar garnish, an increased area of felt within the rear door trim, and the addition of felt to the tailgate trim.
New solid polymer electrolyte outperforms Nafion; novel polymer folding
Researchers, led by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, have used a polymer-folding mechanism to develop a new and versatile kind of solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) that currently offers proton conductivity faster than Nafion by a factor of 2, the benchmark for fuel cell membranes.
As reported in a paper in Nature Materials, the layered sulfonated polyethylene-based structure offers an innovative and versatile design paradigm for functional polymer membranes, opening doors to efficient and selective transport of other ions and small molecules on appropriate selection of functional groups.
The researchers’ new structure self-assembles into hairpin shapes, resulting in acid-lined channels that allow for efficient transport of protons across the electrolyte.
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells depend on membranes such as Nafion to transport protons between electrodes while providing a mechanical and electronic barrier. Nafion has a complex multiscale phase-separated morphology with well-connected hydrophilic domains in which sulfonate-lined water channels percolate through a hydrophobic, semicrystalline polytetrafluoroethylene-like matrix. While the exact structure remains controversial, the water channels are thought to be nominally cylindrical. For decades, researchers have sought to develop new membranes with lower production cost, higher operating temperature, lower operating humidity and other desirable attributes, using percolating hydrated domains as a design rule. Most of these new polymers have amorphous, poorly controlled morphologies like Nafion, and are typically not on par with Nafion’s performance. In striking contrast, controlled hairpin polymer folding is a cutting-edge, versatile strategy featuring a highly ordered morphology that holds promise for the development of new membranes to efficiently transport protons, ions and even small molecules.
… Our innovative approach controls polymer folding to achieve a desirable, well-ordered, highly crystalline morphology with high proton conductivity. The success of this approach provides striking new insight into the design of proton—or other—ion-conducting synthetic membranes. Control of chain folding and morphology is made possible by precise control of the chain microstructure via acyclic diene metathesis synthesis. … Here, sulfonic acid groups, which are highly hygroscopic moieties, replace carboxyl groups, producing hydrated layers with high proton conductivity. Our simulations show that the ordered, layered structure enhances diffusion relative to the tortuous water channels of an amorphous polymer. The layered poly-ethylene-based structure is a new design paradigm for functional polymer membranes, opening doors to efficient and selective transport of protons, ions and small molecules on appropriate chemistry selection.
—Trigg et al.
The study was led by Karen I. Winey, TowerBrook Foundation Faculty Fellow, professor and chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Edward B. Trigg, then a doctoral student in her lab. Demi E. Moed, an undergraduate member of the Winey lab, was a co-author.
They collaborated with Kenneth B. Wagener, George B. Butler Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and Taylor W. Gaines, a graduate student in his group. Mark J. Stevens, of Sandia National Laboratories, also contributed to this study, as well as Manuel Maréchal and Patrice Rannou, of the French National Center for Scientific Research, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, and the Université Grenoble Alpes.
Nafion, which is widely used in proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, is a sheet of flexible plastic that is permeable to protons and impermeable to electrons. After absorbing water, protons can flow through microscopic channels that span the film.
A thin, SPE like Nafion is especially enticing for fuel cells in aerospace applications, where every kilogram counts. Much of the bulk of portable batteries comes from shielding designed to protect liquid electrolytes from punctures. Systems using liquid electrolytes must separate the electrodes further apart then their solid electrolyte counterparts, as metal build-up on the electrodes can eventually cross the channel and cause a short. Nafion addresses those problems, but there is still much room for improvement.
Nafion is something of a fluke. Its structure has been the subject of debate for decades, and will likely never be fully understood or controlled.
Nafion is hard to study because its structure is random and disordered. This fluorinated polymer occasionally branches off into side chains that end with sulfonic acid groups. It’s these sulfonic acids that draw in water and form the channels that allow for proton transport from one side of the film to the other. But because these side chains occur at random positions and are of different lengths, the resulting channels through the disordered polymer are a twisty maze that transports ions.
With an eye toward cutting through this maze, Winey’s group recently collaborated with Stevens to discover a new proton-transporting structure that has ordered layers. These layers feature many parallel acid-lined channels through which protons can quickly flow.
This new structure is the result of a special chemical synthesis route developed by Wagener’s group at the University of Florida. This route evenly places the acid groups along a polymer chain such that the spacing between the functional groups is long enough to crystalize. The most detailed structural analysis to date was on a polymer with exactly 21 carbons atoms between carboxylic acid groups, the polymer that initiated the Penn-Florida collaboration a decade ago.
While Winey’s group and Stevens were working out the structure and noting it’s potential for transporting ions, Wagener’s group was working to incorporate sulfonic acid groups to demonstrate the diversity of chemical groups that could be attached to polyethylenes. Both teams realized that proton conductivity would require the stronger acid.
Precisely placing the sulfonic acid groups along polyethylene proved to be our biggest synthetic challenge. Success finally happened in the hands of Taylor Gaines, who devised a scheme we call ‘heterogeneous to homogeneous deprotection’ of the sulfonic acid group ester. It was this synthetic process which finally led to the formation of the precision sulfonic acid polymers.
The details of this process were also recently published in the journal Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics.
With the chains forming a series of hairpin shapes with a sulfonic acid group at each turn, the polymer assembles into orderly layers, forming straight channels instead of the tortuous maze found in Nafion.
The disordered structure of Nafion, left, means the path protons take through the electrolyte is hard to predict or control. The researchers’ new structure, right provides a straighter path. (Nafion illustration adapted from Kreuer. J., Membr. Sci. 2001, 185, 29–39, Fig. 2)
The group’s next step is to orient these layers in the same direction throughout the film.
We’re already faster than Nafion by a factor of two, but we could be even faster if we aligned all of those layers straight across the electrolyte membrane.
More than improving fuel cells where Nafion is currently employed, the crystallization-induced layers described in the researchers’ study could be extended to work with functional groups compatible with other kinds of ions.
Better proton conduction is definitely valuable, but I think the versatility of our approach is what is ultimately most important. There’s still no sufficiently good solid electrolyte for lithium or for hydroxide, another common fuel cell ion, and everyone who is trying to design new SPEs is using a very different approach than ours.
At the University of Pennsylvania, this study was supported by the National Science Foundation through grants DMR 1506726 and PIRE 1545884, and by the Army Research Office through grant W911NF-13-1-0363.
Edward B. Trigg, Taylor W. Gaines, Manuel Maréchal, Demi E. Moed, Patrice Rannou, Kenneth B. Wagener, Mark J. Stevens & Karen I. Winey (2018) “Self-assembled highly ordered acid layers in precisely sulfonated polyethylene produce efficient proton transport” Nature Materials doi: 10.1038/s41563-018-0097-2
K.D. Kreuer (2001) “On the development of proton conducting polymer membranes for hydrogen and methanol fuel cells,” Journal of Membrane Science Volume 185, Issue 1, Pages 29-39 doi: 10.1016/S0376-7388(00)00632-3
Volkswagen launches new engineer training program for ID EV family
The Volkswagen brand has launched a program—the “Future Electronic Engineer Program” (FEEP)—to train 100 young engineers and skilled workers throughout the world as top production experts in e-mobility. The first participants to complete the three-year program will support the run-up phase of the I.D. family, the new generation of full-electric vehicles based on the modular electrification toolkit (MEB) in Zwickau.
The new training program was initiated by the Volkswagen brand’s Pilot Hall in Wolfsburg, which forms part of the Production and Logistics Board of Management division. Plants in China, Brazil, Argentina, the US and Mexico are also participating in the program, which is supported by Volkswagen’s volunteering initiative and local universities. From June onwards, young specialists from Germany, China and the Americas will be participating in the program.
This year and next year, we will have to master about 80 starts of production. The vehicles have more digital intelligence on board than ever before. These are severe challenges. And the situation will become even more challenging with the MEB models. We need start of production specialists who can provide local support at our plants when the need arises and ensure a good start of production. We intend to implement outstanding volume production that meets our high quality requirements.
—Oliver Wessel, Head of the Pilot Hall
The successful FEEP trainees will act as “midwives” for the new electric cars to be launched on the market as part of Volkswagen’s major electric offensive.
Within three years, Volkswagen will be starting production of a total of 27 electric car models for four brands in three regions of the world. At the Zwickau plant alone, models of three Group brands will roll off the production lines. In future, our MEB plants throughout the world will need young engineers who are thoroughly conversant with the requirements for production of the new vehicle architecture and also have considerable practical experience.
—Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the brand Board of Management responsible for E-Mobility
Participants entering the program in fields such as vehicle informatics or data logistics will normally have completed a practically oriented course of studies. Initially, they will be provided with basic training on commissioning at the Volkswagen brand pilot hall in Wolfsburg and will work on current vehicle projects such as the first compact I.D.
Following this stage, they will receive intensive seminars—for example, during specialist training as programmers—and will work on projects with gradually increasing requirements. They will then complete an assignment to another country where they will work on starts of production and benefit from practically oriented support by highly qualified mentors and senior experts working on a volunteering basis.
BMW fitting all gasoline and PHEV models in Germany with particulate filters for Euro 6d-TEMP compliance
As of July 2018, all BMW gasoline and plug-in hybrid models available in Germany will be fitted as standard with a gasoline particulate filter (GPF) and thus will comply with the exhaust standard Euro 6d-TEMP.
BluePerformance Technology including SCR catalytic converter with AdBlue injection has been a standard feature of all BMW diesel models since March 2018. This means they all offer highly efficient, multi-stage exhaust gas treatment consisting of NOx storage catalytic converter and SCR system (Selective Catalytic Reduction).
Due to the particularly effective reduction of particulate emissions achieved, these also comply with what will then be the most rigorous exhaust standard Euro 6d-TEMP. In addition, another 39 diesel models will be going on the market with Euro 6d-TEMP rating.
The emissions standard Euro 6d is being introduced in two stages: the first, referred to as Euro 6d-TEMP, will apply from September 2019 to the end of 2020 and, for the first time, contains both NOx and particle number limits for road measurements.
New passenger car models to be newly certified in the EU are subject to the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure). This test is now mandatory for all newly registered passenger cars (for vans with commercial use there will be other timelines).
Alongside the new WLTP dynamometer driving cycle, there is an additional on-road measurement to guarantee compliance with the new Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standard. Called Real Driving Emissions (RDE), the purpose of the additional procedure is to validate the emissions values measured on the dynamometer under real driving conditions. The “road emissions value”, including a measuring tolerance, must not exceed 2.1 times the laboratory limit for nitrogen oxides.
In the second stage, emission standard Euro 6d (1 January 2020), the factor for the deviation between road and lab limits will fall to 1.5.
Major automakers, startups, technology companies and others launch Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI)
Early in May major automakers, startups, technology companies and others came together to launch, MOBI, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, to explore blockchain for use in a new digital mobility ecosystem that could make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible.
MOBI is working with companies accounting for more than 70% of global vehicle production in terms of market share. MOBI and partners, including, BMW, Bosch, Ford, General Motors, Groupe Renault, ZF, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA and others seek to foster an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information.
Blockchain technology operates by distributing information to a network of independent computers, ensuring that transactions are secure and data privacy, ownership rights, and integrity are protected. Working in a consortium allows MOBI and partners to create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud, and reduce frictions and transaction costs in mobility, such as fees or surcharges applied by third-parties.
Chris Ballinger, former Chief Financial Officer and Director of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute, is joining MOBI as Chairman and CEO to coordinate this initiative and create a more open platform where users, owners, mobility service companies, and infrastructure providers can better control and monetize their assets, including their data.
Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles. By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities.
Through an open-source approach to blockchain software tools and standards, the MOBI consortium hopes to stimulate more rapid and scalable adoption of the technology by other companies developing autonomous vehicle and mobility services. MOBI will connect global mobility providers with blockchain innovators as well as government and non-government agencies, and institutions to collaborate on the development of blockchain-enabled vehicle data and mobility services applications.
MOBI’s approach to ecosystem development is open and inclusive, inviting stakeholders from across the entire mobility value chain to establish a “minimum viable network”. This includes automakers, public transportation and toll road providers, other forms of transportation, technology firms, blockchain firms, academic institutions, startup innovators, and regulatory bodies across the globe.
Joining Chris Ballinger as co-founders and members of the initial Board of Directors are Ashley Lannquist from Blockchain at Berkeley and David Luce, a veteran technology leader. Dan Harple, CEO of Context Labs, Joseph Lubin, Co-Founder of Ethereum and Founder of ConsenSys, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director of Hyperledger, Jamie Burke, CEO of Outlier Ventures, and Zaki Manian, Executive Director of the Trusted IoT Alliance, join MOBI’s Board of Advisors.
Initially, MOBI will be working with its partners on projects related to:
Vehicle identity, history and data tracking
Supply chain tracking, transparency, and efficiency
Autonomous machine and vehicle payments
Secure mobility ecosystem commerce
Data markets for autonomous and human driving
Car sharing and ride hailing
Usage-based mobility pricing and payments for vehicles, insurance, energy, congestion, pollution, infrastructure, etc.
MOBI’s launch partners included: Accenture, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA, Beyond Protocol Inc, BigchainDB, Blockchain at Berkeley, BMW, Bosch, Chronicled, ConsenSys Systems, Context Labs, Crypto Valley Association, Dashride, Deon Digital AG, Digital Twin Labs, DOVU, Fetch.ai, FOAM, Ford, General Motors, Hyperledger, IBM, the IOTA Foundation, Luxoft, MotionWerk, NuCypher, Oaken Innovations, Ocean Protocol, Outlier Ventures, Groupe Renault, Ride Austin, Shareing, Shift, Spherical Analytics, the Trusted IoT Alliance, VeChain, Xain, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Hitachi Chemical licenses rights to several Silatronix organosilicon materials for use in Li-ion battery electrolytesV
Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. (HCC) is licensing from from Silatronix, Inc. the rights to manufacture, sell and use specific organosilicon (OS) compounds for use in lithium-ion battery electrolytes. (Earlier post.)
In early 2016, HCC and Silatronix entered into a joint development agreement. (Earlier post.) The companies selected specific compounds from the Silatronix portfolio of OS materials to evaluate their feasibility for application in LiB electrolytes. Over the last 2 years, Silatronix has provided HCC with numerous samples of the selected OS materials, as well as samples of OS3, Silatronix’ current commercial product.
Based on the performance benefits demonstrated in their evaluations, HCC found that combinations of OS materials and HCC anode materials improved LiB performance. As a result, HCC decided to obtain license rights to the selected materials, which does not include OS3. HCC expects a further synergy created by various combinations of OS materials and HCC anode materials.
Silatronix uses the fundamental stability of the silicon (Si) atom as a framework to synthesize new OS compounds with variations in physical and chemical properties that not only solvate lithium salts but can also protect materials from decomposing, improve anode and cathode functionality, and maintain a safe operating profile. From its portfolio OS advanced functional solvents, Silatronix has qualified OS3 as its first commercial product in the LiB market.
Silatronix is currently scaling up OS3 production to support pre-production and pilot builds at multiple LiB manufacturing customers. Additionally, Silatronix has OS3 evaluations in process at over 30 organizations in the global LiB industry, many based in Asia, covering a range of applications that include consumer electronics, industrial products, automotive, and military. LiBs are the fastest growing segment in the battery industry with current production volume expected to grow by a factor of four by 2025. Silatronix believes commercial opportunities for its portfolio of OS electrolyte products could exceed US$1 billion in this timeframe.
US/China team develops robust, stable Ni/Fe OER catalyst for water-splitting at low overpotentials
A team from the University of Houston and Hunan Normal University in China has developed an active and durable oxygen evolution reaction (OER) catalyst for water splitting that meets commercial crtieria for current densities at low overpotentials.
In a paper in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the report that together with a good hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) catalyst, they achieved current densities of 500 and 1,000 mA cm-2 at 1.586 and 1.657 V respectively, with very good stability—significantly lower than any previously reported voltage.
The researchers said that their discovery sets the stage for large-scale hydrogen production by water splitting using excess electrical power whenever and wherever available.
Water electrolyzers are promising commercial apparatus to produce high-purity hydrogen with unlimited water resources, among which alkaline water electrolyzers are more appealing than that based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) in acid. This is primarily because low-cost electrocatalysts, instead of noble meal-based catalysts, can be utilized in alkaline media.
However, efficient and mass hydrogen production in industry has not been widely deployed at present (<5% hydrogen production) due to the high cost of the noble metals as catalysts in acid and the low energy conversion efficiency of the non-noble metal catalysts in base. Although a variety of alkaline water electrolyzers have been constructed by designing robust electrocatalysts, most of them require cell voltages significantly larger than 1.8V to deliver 200 mA cm-2, unsatisfactory for the commercial requirements of 1.8-2.4 V for current densities of 200-400 mA cm-2.
—Zhou et al.
The researchers constructed their new OER catalyst using three-dimensional porous interwoven (Ni, Fe) oxyhdroxide nanorod arrays. These arrays are mainly derived from amorphous Ni/Fe (oxy)hydroxide mesoporous films on Ni foams synthesized by a simple stirring process.
They paired the OER catalyst with a MoNi4 HER catalyst. The resulting system can be driven by different power sources, including an AA battery or a thermoelectric generator.
Haiqing Zhou, Fang Yu, Qing Zhu, Jingying Sun, Fan Qin, Yu Luo, Jiming Bao, Ying Yu, Shuo Chen and Zhifeng Ren (2018) “Water splitting by electrolysis at high current density under 1.6 volt” Energy & Environmental Science doi: 10.1039/C8EE00927A
Fiat Chrysler to phase out diesels in its passenger cars in EMEA by 2021; electrification roadmap
Fiat Chrysler will phase out diesel engines in its passenger cars sold in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) market by 2021, according to company executives presenting at FCA Capital Markets day in Balocco, Italy. The company, however, will still offer diesel in its light commercial vehicles across its brands.
Company executives also laid out broad as well as brand-specific electrification plans—running the gamut from 48V mild-hybrids (mHEVs) and high voltage hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicles—as well as alternative fuels.
Mark Chernoby, FCA Chief Compliance Officer, mapped the the four electrified systems against vehcile segments, with some additional specificity on the design on the propulsion system: i.e., P1 through P4. Click to enlarge.
Projected adoption of the different technologies varies by sales region, said Mark Chernoby, FCA Chief Compliance Officer. In 2022, the company expects that technology adoption will be :
EU28: 40% non-electrified, 40% mHEV (essentially the diesel replacement); and 20% high-voltage electrification.
China: 65% non-electrified, 20% mHEV, 15% high-voltage electrification
US: 65% non-electrified, 15% mHEV, 20% high-voltage electrification.
Brazil: 99% non-electrified and ethanol, <1% high-voltage electrification
More than 30 Group nameplates will utilize one or more of the electrification systems by 2022:
Brand highlights presented at the meeting included (Chrysler and Fiat brands were omitted):
Alfa Romeo expects to launch 6 plug-in hybrids by 2022 in the C, D, E and specialty segments, with L2 & L3 autonomy. The PHEV platform will be next-generation technology, with an all-electric range of more than 50 km (31 miles), and the ability to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in the mid 4-seconds range.
Jeep will offer electrification options across each nameplate by 2021, and offer 10 PHEVs and 4 BEVs by 2022. L3 autonomy will be available by 2021. The brand will also enter three new segments, at the top and bottom of the spread.
More specifically, the EMEA region will see the end of diesel, and will gain 8 PHEVs and 5 mHEVS. China will have 4 PHEVs and 4 BEVs. North America will see 8 PHEVs.
Maserati will see the introduction of a luxury electric coupé (PHEV/e-AWD) that will hit 0-100 km/h in ~ 2 seconds, reflecting a focus on performance-oriented PHEVs.
Full BEV Maseratis—targeting Tesla—will use an 800V system coupled with 3-motor AWD with torque vectoring. In total, the brand is looking at 8 PHEVs and 4 BEVs,with L3 autonomy.
US researchers demo separation-free, IL-based process for conversion of biomass to advanced biofuel
Researchers from three US national labs (Berkeley, Pacific Northwest and Sandia) has demonstrated a separation-free, ionic-liquid (IL)-based process to convert biomass to an advanced biofuel (the sesquiterpene bisabolene).
The process, described in an open access paper in the RSC journal Green Chemistry, is also the first to demonstrate full consumption of glucose, xylose, acetate, and lactic acid in the presence of the IL cholinium lysinate ([Ch][Lys]).
Bisabolene is a chemical precursor to bisabolane—a potential renewable diesel and jet fuel that phase separates readily when released to the fermentation broth, enabling efficient recovery via two-phase extractive fermentation with an organic overlay.
Lower cost and higher efficiency biomass deconstruction remains a critical hurdle towards large-scale deployment of affordable lignocellulosic biofuels. Certain ionic liquids (ILs) have unique solvent properties that enable more efficient and uniform deconstruction of a wide array of lignocellulosic biomass types, including disruption of lignin and decrystallization of cellulose. These advantages are counterbalanced by process development challenges created by the toxicity of many ILs towards hydrolytic enzyme mixtures and biofuel production strains.
This toxicity can be mitigated by extensive water washing to remove residual ILs prior to saccharification or fermentation, by use of a new class of lower toxicity ILs, by development of IL-tolerant enzyme mixtures and biofuel production strains, or by a combination of these techniques.
… To achieve high fermentation performance in the presence of ionic liquids, we employ the robust and metabolically flexible host Rhodosporidium toruloides.
—Sundstrom et al.
In the study, the team demonstrated bisabolene production from sorghum hydrolysate in a scalable one-pot process comprising IL pretreatment, saccharification, and fermentation.
They achieved high titers of bisabolene relative to those previously obtained using a multi-step process. Conversion efficiency improved with scale, demonstrating the feasibility of integrating all biomass conversion unit operations within the biorefinery.
This study is the first demonstration of a fully consolidated process combining IL pretreatment, enzymatic saccharification, and biocatalysis for production of the advanced biofuel precursor bisabolene using an engineered host. This is also the first such demonstration with R. toruloides, or with any host capable of co-consuming alternative substrates including xylose, lactic acid, and aromatic lignin decomposition products.
The process proved to be robust under high-intensity conditions at bench and larger scales, with both the deconstruction and bioconversion platforms improving performance at scale despite the presence of organic acids produced during biomass deconstruction. No separations were required prior to saccharification or fermentation, and minimal media additions are required to facilitate bioconversion, resulting in an efficient and streamlined process.
… With further intensification and optimization, this process is a promising new approach towards commercial production of low-cost and low-impact lignocellulosic biofuels.
—Sundstrom et al.
Eric Sundstrom, Junko Yaegashi, Jipeng Yan, Fabrice Masson, Gabriella Papa, Alberto Rodriguez, Mona Mirsiaghi, Ling Liang, Qian He, Deepti Tanjore, Todd R. Pray, Seema Singh, Blake Simmons, Ning Sun, Jon Magnuson and John Gladden (2018) “Demonstrating a separation-free process coupling ionic liquid pretreatment, saccharification, and fermentation with Rhodosporidium toruloides to produce advanced biofuels” Green Chemistry doi: 10.1039/C8GC00518D
Québec investing $130M in Nemaska Lithium
The Québec government is investing a total of $130 million ($80 million in capital stock and $50 million in bonds) as part of a $-1.1 billion financing effort to commission a spodumene (lithium ore) mine at Nemaska, 300 km north of Chibougamau in Eeyou-Istchee James Bay territory. In addition, a commercial lithium hydroxide and carbonate plant will be built in Shawinigan, Mauricie.
Following this investment, Ressources Québec, acting as agent for the government, will increase its stake in Nemaska Lithium to nearly 13%.
In April, Nemaska Lithium announced that it had entered into an investment agreement with Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp. under which SoftBank will acquire up to 9.9% of Nemaska Lithium’s outstanding common shares. (Earlier post.)
It is expected that construction and commissioning will be completed within 15 months for the mine, and approximately 24 months for the commercial plant.
Spodumene ore from the Whabouchi mine will be converted to value-added lithium salts (hydroxide and lithium carbonate) and then sold primarily to manufacturers of cathode materials for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. One of these suppliers is located in the Montreal area, which could ensure that the entire value chain is located in Québec, the government said.
Nemaska Lithium will use a novel and patented electrochemical process that will produce lithium salts by membrane electrolysis, which generates products of high purity. In addition, this innovative electrochemical process, which is more efficient and more economical than the traditional manufacturing process, will use Québec’s hydroelectricity, thus further reducing its carbon footprint.
Thanks to Nemaska Lithium’s innovation, this project will have a significant structuring effect because it will facilitate access to lithium products for manufacturing companies that specialize in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles. By developing technologies related to the electrification of transport, the company joins the guidelines of the 2015-2020 Transport Electrification Action Plan, which aims in particular to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector.
—Dominique Anglade, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for the Digital Agenda
Founded in 2007, Nemaska Lithium is a vertically integrated development company, from spodumene mining to the commercialization of high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate. Its head office is located in Québec, while its activities are located in Shawinigan and the Whabouchi mine on the Eeyou-Istchee James Bay territory.
Roland Berger: demand for purpose-built vehicles for ride-sharing, many electric, to reach 2.5M cars by 2025
The growing demand for ride-sharing services worldwide is spawning a new category of vehicles with a flexible interior that can be individually tailored to the needs of their users. In a new report, consultancy Roland Berger forecasts that one million of these specially designed vehicles, many of them electric, are set to be sold by 2020 in Europe, the United States and China alone. Demand will reach some 2.5 million by 2025, according to the report.
This new type of car unites two of the key mobility megatrends in one vehicle: ride-sharing and electromobility. What this new vehicle category does is put the passenger, not the driver, firmly center stage. And it is purpose built for use as a taxi service.
—Jan-Philipp Hasenberg, Partner at Roland Berger
An attractive market segment for automotive OEMs is opening up here, given that the reduced complexity of these vehicles will allow them to be manufactured for about half the cost of a conventional car. Further, with electric models in their portfolio, automakers will be better able to meet applicable CO2 targets.
Vehicle manufacturers should take active steps to get into this niche market now so that they can establish a strong competitive position and get their customers excited about the new models.
Passengers, too, will benefit from the new mobility concept. These vehicles offer higher levels of convenience and are also cheaper to buy and maintain because they don’t require oil changes and the brakes don’t wear out so fast, for example.
We anticipate the price per kilometer for using these cars to come in at between 0.5 and 0.8 euros. These purpose-built vehicles will therefore be among the cheapest means of getting around in a car. The only thing that will be cheaper to use, at less than 0.3 euros per kilometer, will be genuine robocabs without a driver.
—Wolfgang Bernhart, Partner at Roland Berger
There is also much potential in the market for ride-sharing services. Such players are experiencing remarkable growth worldwide as the demand for mobility services that don’t depend on personal car ownership continues to tick ever upward.
One of the main drivers here will be China, which makes up at least 60 percent of the market, but Europe and the United States will also see their market for these vehicles grow as time goes on. Indeed, this is a key growth market that no OEM can afford to ignore.
Symbio intros 40 kW hydrogen fuel cell range-extending module for heavy-duty electric vehicles
At the Movin’On 2018 mobility summit in Montreal, hydrogen fuel-cell company Symbio intoduced a 40-kW fuel cell system—H2Motiv L—targeting range-extending conversion applications for heavy-duty electric vehicles.
Symbio has a great deal of experience with using hydrogen fuel cells as range extenders. Symbio currently has several hundred converted Renault Kangoo ZE Maxi light electric commercial vehicles equipped with a 22 kWh battery pack and 5 kW hydrogen fuel range extender with 2.08 kg H2 at 700 bar in service in Europe. (Earlier post.) In 2017, Symbio integrated a 15 kW (net) fuel cell range extender in a Nissan e-NV200 electric van, with plans to introduce the vehicle to the European taxi market.
Based on a 40 kW hydrogen fuel cell designed to fit into vans, heavy-duty vehicles, buses, as well as SUVs i.e. for taxi usage, H2Motiv L provides these vehicles with a number of advantages, Symbio says:
Hydrogen refueling in about 10 minutes;
Battery life that is three times greater compared to its equivalent, regardless of the season (or use of heating).
Low impact on the loading weight and volume due in particular to the compactness of the kit, which makes the vehicle similar to a classic combustion powered model.
Similar use to that of a conventional vehicle due to the power (40 kW).
The new Symbio kit has been especially adapted to address the challenges of manufacturers who wish to position themselves in the zero- emission mobility market, in terms of:
Quality. The hydrogen fuel cell meets the highest standards of an automobile (durability, shock resistance, vibration, hot or cold weather etc.) Symbio oringally worked with fuel cell technology from France’s CEA; the company has now switched to fuel cell technology developed by Michelin, which is an investor in Symbio.
Balance of plant (BOP) optimization. Auxiliary functions are optimized for system operation (power conversion, cooling, preheating, air compression). The kit is packaged with its power electronics unit for the conversion of fuel cell power for the battery.
Integration. H2Motiv L is quickly installed because the system (hydrogen fuel cell and auxiliary functions) is pre-integrated. The kit utilizes the vehicle’s CAN bus.
Related services. Symbio has the ability to support the manufacturer's service providers upon the arrival of vehicles equipped with hydrogen systems as well as train its sales teams. o Its digital platform enables customer-specific services and reduces maintenance costs. Additionally, after-sales teams can perform remote diagnostics and updates as well as implement predictive maintenance strategies.