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DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute awards ~$10M to 10 projects
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) will award nearly $10 million for ten projects to help advance its goals and enable US manufacturers to develop and implement innovations that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation.
Launched in 2016, CESMII focuses on bringing innovative smart manufacturing solutions to the marketplace to increase energy productivity, economic performance, and workforce capacity. The institute received up to $70 million in federal funding from DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) that is matched by $70 million in private cost-share commitments from industry, consortium members, and partners.
More than 40 proposals were submitted in collaboration with 62 organizations and spanned six Technical Areas of Interest that propose to bridge the gaps in smart manufacturing technologies facing US industries today.
Proposals focused on enabling technologies including: Cross-cutting Research and Development and Reusability; Process and Controls; Sensors; Data Modeling for Machine Learning and Data-Centric Analytics; Smart Manufacturing Platform Infrastructure; and Business Practices and Workforce Development.
The selected organizations (and project descriptions) from this first call selection are:
University of Connecticut. This project aims to develop and demonstrate tangible benefits of Smart Manufacturing approaches applicable to subtractive and additive precision manufacturing. It will involve the coordinated utilization of systems engineering, modeling, advanced controls, data analytics and secure communication protocols for energy efficiency improvement in the precision machining and hybrid manufacturing of metals/alloys to support cross-industry platforms.
Penn State University. The proposed idea is to build a small scale process simulator, with both machinery and software components, which mimics aspects of a smart manufacturing system for educational purposes. The project will involve developing the communication and data storage architecture, developing the optimization/machine learning algorithms and models, and developing the educational modules and interfaces.
ArcelorMittal. The main objective of the project is to improve steel slab quality and productivity of the continuous casting process by adopting Smart Manufacturing methodologies and technologies, and thereby reduce the overall energy intensity of the existing steelmaking and casting operations.
Texas A&M Experimental Station. The aim of this project is to develop Smart Manufacturing Platform-ready tools for the reliable, profitable, and energy-efficient operation of a cryogenic air-separation unit, rigorously test these tools in cyber-physical environment, and deploy some of them to efficiently operate in a commercial air-separation plant.
University of Louisville. The project intends to incorporate modern monitoring, simulation and control systems that will allow lower energy use in the cement-making process. Because energy (fuel) costs are a significant portion of the cost of the cement production, lowering firing temperatures and times will reduce cost and environmental impacts making this industry more viable through adoption of Smart Manufacturing technologies and processes.
Virginia Tech. The overall project goal is to develop optimization strategies to improve recovery (ratio of product output over incoming raw material) and quality (rework elimination), which are anticipated to substantially reduce energy requirements, waste and environmental impact. The testbed will be implemented at an industrial facility, which specializes in lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing with Thermal-Mechanical Processing path.
Honeywell. This project will develop technologies on data modeling, machine learning, and data-centric analytics for smart aerospace additive manufacturing. It will implement these innovations using data from working aerospace manufacturing facilities.
El Camino Community College. The project goal is to develop and imbed an SM workforce model that leverages existing education and workforce training systems in California. This program is designed so that any curriculum, training component, or business development tool can be easily adopted and customized by organizations nation-wide.
University of California, Irvine. The project goal of this proposed Smart Connected Workers program is to create affordable, scalable, accessible, and portable smart manufacturing systems (A.S.A.P. SM systems) through which advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can be effectively integrated into mobile sensor platforms to augment the intelligence of workers and supervisors with smart manufacturing principles and methods.
THINKIQ. The goal of this project is to drive out wasted energy in manufacturing facilities through improved information technology. This project will apply new data modeling and analytics technology to significantly reduce the cost and time to implement an effective energy optimization solution.
The institute strongly encouraged teaming between companies, national laboratories, and universities as an effective strategy for the successful advancement of CESMII-relevant technologies. The intended period of performance of each project is 24 months or less.
CESMII is a part of Manufacturing USA, a network of regional institutes that have a specialized technology focus to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing research and development infrastructure.
In-wheel electric drive company Protean Electric raises $40M; JV with Weifu
In-wheel electric drive company Protean Electric announced the completion of a $40-million equity investment as the initial closing of its Series E funding round. The investor group is led by Weifu High-Technology Group Co., Ltd., a leading diversified automotive component manufacturer, and Oak Investment Partners, Protean’s charter investor and long-established, multi-stage venture capital firm.
The Series E financing proceeds will support Protean’s on-going business activities and help to establish a global licensing model covering all key markets. Weifu has further invested in the relationship by agreeing to form a joint venture in China for the manufacture of ProteanDrive Pd18.
Using a scalable and patented sub-motor architecture, the current Pd18 product, designed to fit inside an 18" wheel rim, provides the power and torque required to propel hybrid and electric vehicles from C-segment all the way to light commercial categories.
A technology center will be set up within the joint venture to focus on customer application engineering and manufacturing process engineering. Under the leadership of Protean’s technology center in England, the joint venture will support product development and continuous engineering of in-wheel motor products.
This investment supports Protean Electric’s position as the world leader of in-wheel motor technology and eDrive systems. As we win more customer projects, our investors are convinced our technology offers tangible vehicle level benefits. The relationship with Weifu also provides great support for the industrialization of ProteanDrive, allowing us to focus on our technology and software to deliver enhanced vehicle functionality such as augmented ABS, torque vectoring, and control of the digital corner.
—Kwok-Yin Chan, CEO of Protean Electric
Protean maintains operations in the United Kingdom, China and the US, with its manufacturing plant at Tianjin, China.
Weifu High Technology Group is an automotive component manufacturer, and one of the Top 30 Automotive Enterprises. Operating since 1958 in China, Weifu Group leads in automotive fuel intake and exhaust systems. With 10 wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries including 2 joint ventures, and one JV with minority interest, Weifu Group has international presence in the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Russian reseachers: quantum is key to securing blockchain
Blockchain is a distributed ledger platform that allows consensus in a large decentralized network of parties who do not trust each other. Transactions are accountable and transparent, making it useful for a variety of applications from smart contracts and finance, to manufacturing and healthcare, to logistics and ride-sharing. One of the most prominent applications of blockchains is cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
However, although blockchain is traditionally seen as secure, it is vulnerable to attack from quantum computers. Now, a team of Russian researchers has developed a solution to the quantum-era blockchain challenge, using quantum key distribution (QKD).
Writing in the journal Quantum Science and Technology, the researchers set out a quantum-safe blockchain platform that uses QKD to achieve secure authentication.
Blockchain is promising for a wide range of applications. But current platforms rely on digital signatures, which are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers. This also applies to the cryptographic hash functions used in preparing new blocks, meaning those with access to quantum computation would have an unfair advantage in procuring mining rewards, such as Bitcoins. These risks are significant—it is predicted that 10 percent of global GDP will be stored on blockchains or blockchain-related technology by 2025.
—Lead author Dr. Evgeniy Kiktenko, from the Russian Quantum Center, Moscow
To overcome these risks, the researchers developed a blockchain platform combining original state-machine replication—a general method for implementing a fault-tolerant service by replicating servers and coordinating client interactions with server replicas—without use of digital signatures, and QKD for providing authentication.
They then ran an experiment to test its capability in an urban QKD network.
Using QKD for blockchains may appear counterintuitive, as QKD networks rely on trust among nodes, whereas many blockchains lack such trust. More specifically, one may argue that QKD cannot be used for authentication because it requires an authenticated classical channel for operation itself.
However, each QKD communication session generates a large amount of shared secret data, part of which can be used for authentication in subsequent sessions. Therefore, a small amount of seed secret key that the parties share before their first QKD session ensures their secure authentication for all future communication. This means QKD can be used in lieu of classical digital signatures.
—Co-lead author Dr. Aleksey Fedorov, from the Russian Quantum Center
In addition to using QKD for authentication, the researchers redefined the protocol of adding new blocks in a different way from modern cryptocurrencies. Rather than concentrating the development of new blocks in the hands of individual miners, they employed the information-theoretically secure broadcast protocol, where all nodes reach an agreement about a new block on equal terms.
A crucial advantage of our blockchain protocol is its ability to maintain transparency and integrity of transactions against attacks with quantum algorithms. Our results therefore open up possibilities for realising scalable quantum-safe blockchain platforms. If realised, such a blockchain platform can limit economic and social risks from imminent breakthroughs in quantum computation technology.
—Co-lead author Prof. Alexander Lvovsky
SoftBank to invest $2.25B in GM Cruise; GM to add $1.1B; driving large-scale AV deployment
SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC (GM Cruise), further strengthening the company’s plans to commercialize autonomous vehicle (AV) technology at large scale. GM will also invest $1.1 billion in GM Cruise upon closing of the transaction. The investments value GM Cruise at $11.5 billion.
GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion. The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry.
—Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers
The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in two tranches. At the closing of the transaction, the Vision Fund will invest the first tranche of $900 million. At the time that Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment, the Vision Fund will complete the second tranche of $1.35 billion, subject to regulatory approval.
General Motors President Dan Ammann (left) and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra (right) give SoftBank Investment Advisers Managing Partner Michael Ronen a closer look at the Cruise AV on 30 May 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)
Together, this will result in the SoftBank Vision Fund owning a 19.6% equity stake in GM Cruise and will afford GM increased flexibility with respect to capital allocation.
The GM and SoftBank Vision Fund investments are expected to provide the capital necessary to reach commercialization at scale beginning in 2019.
Marks & Spencer to lease Dearman zero-emission TRU
Dearman has launched a partnership with UK retail giant Marks & Spencer, as the retailer seeks to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its chilled deliveries. M&S will lease a dual compartment Dearman Hubbard transport refrigeration unit (TRU), on a refrigerated semi-trailer, to be operated out of its Hemel Hempstead depot.
Dearman’s liquid nitrogen-powered engine (earlier post) is zero emission. The technology will replace diesel-powered secondary engines used to power (TRUs), which are used to keep food cold on the road.
The Dearman transport refrigeration system combines cryogenic refrigeration with a Dearman engine and a downsized vapor compression refrigeration cycle, giving it several decisive advantages.
It is 50% more efficient in delivering cooling than cryogenic systems using evaporation only, meaning it uses far less nitrogen to produce the same amount of cooling.
The system generates its own power to run ancillary systems, making it truly independent of the truck’s propulsion engine—there is never any need for idling while stationary.
It is extremely powerful, and can cool a vehicle from +15ºC to -21ºC in less than 30 minutes—much faster than a typical diesel-powered system.
Compared to a conventional diesel-powered TRU, a Dearman Hubbard system has the potential to cut CO2 emissions by up to 95%. The Dearman TRU also eliminates NOx and PM, the emissions of which from a diesel TRU are many times higher than those of a Euro VI truck propulsion engine.
As a result, replacing a diesel TRU with a Dearman system could reduce the truck’s total engine emissions by more than 70% for NOx and more than 90% for PM. Since the Dearman TRU is zero-emission, it would qualify to operate in cities planning to regulate the use of diesel.
Because the Dearman TRU is powered by expansion rather than internal combustion, it is also markedly quieter than a diesel unit. It will meet the 60 decibel (dB(A)) limit under the PIEK standard (the PIEK-standard has been adopted in several countries including: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands & UK), which many local authorities adopt to regulate night-time deliveries. This means it can be used out-of-hours without disturbing neighbors or breaking any local regulations. Studies have suggested that delivering at night, when there is less congestion, can reduce fleet CO2 emissions by up to 30%.
M&S has a strong record with liquid nitrogen TRUs; it led the way with hundreds of Polarstream trailers 20 years ago, and has taken on 15 Frostcruise units in the last four years. Last year saw M&S use more than one million liters of liquid nitrogen.
M&S’ ambition, in partnership with Dearman, is to quantify the costs and environmental benefits of Dearman’s technology before leading to a nationwide roll-out.
M&S’ last 10-year sustainability plan already saw it become the world’s first and only carbon neutral major retailer. It now plans to go even further in cutting its carbon emissions and in June 2017 launched its new sustainability plan: Plan A 2025. The retailer has more than 1,000 stores across the UK and 60% of its UK turnover is from food sales.
StreetScooter opens second manufacturing facility in Düren; doubles capacity to 20,000 electric vans per year
StreetScooter GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Group and leading producer of electric delivery vehicles (earlier post), has opened its second manufacturing facility.
With immediate effect, up to 10,000 electric vans per year will run off the production line at the automotive supplier’s new 78,000 m2 factory in Düren, corresponding to a daily production rate of 46 vehicles (in single shift operation). Together with its main factory in Aachen, StreetScooter now has production capacities of up to 20,000 electric vehicles per year.
In the Düren factory, the Pure (chassis only), Pickup (flatbed vehicle) and Box (box truck with 4 or 8 m3 loading volume) variants of the StreetScooter WORK and WORK L models will be produced. The new site will employ some 250 people in the area.
The fact that Deutsche Post deploys more than 6,000 StreetScooters throughout Germany clearly demonstrates that electro-mobility is, in several areas, already a perfectly viable, everyday transport solution. It is success stories such as these that can make North Rhine-Westphalia a key driver of growth in electro-mobility.
—Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia
E-mobility is on the move. We can see it in growing public interest and increasing third-party customer demand for our StreetScooters. The number of StreetScooters used in the business world, in municipalities and at Deutsche Post is also on the rise in Germany and abroad, and the reason is the same in both arenas: Pollution and more pollution in major cities everywhere. That’s why we’re delighted to be able to start production in Düren.
—Jürgen Gerdes, Board Member for Corporate Incubations at Deutsche Post DHL Group and responsible StreetScooter
The WORK and WORK L StreetScooter models have been available to external customers since summer 2017. Industries that have a need for customized electric vans include—in addition to municipalities and craft workshops—energy suppliers, waste disposal companies, airports, facility management enterprises, and catering companies. StreetScooter will produce variants tailored to serve a variety of individual needs with such features as variable loading volumes that include power supply, refrigerated containers, and tilting load platforms.
StreetScooters have been being deployed successively in Deutsche Post DHL’s delivery fleet since 2013. At present, the Group is already using around 6,000 of these electric vehicles, which have covered more than 26 million kilometers and save around 20,000 tons of CO2 per year.
With these vans and the 12,000 or so electric e-bikes and e-trikes, Deutsche Post DHL is operating the biggest electric fleet in Germany.
Michelin 2048 goals: tires made with 80% sustainable material and 100% tire recycling
At the Movin’On 2018 mobility summit, Michelin announced its ambition that by 2048, all of its tires will be manufactured using 80% sustainable materials (recycled and renewable materials) and that 100% of all tires will be recycled.
Today, the world-wide recovery rate for tires is 70%; of that 70%, some 50% are recycled for various applications. Michelin tires are currently made using 28% sustainable materials (26% bio-sourced materials such as natural rubber, sunflower oil, limonene etc., and 2% recycled materials such as steel or recycled powdered tires). For a sustainable future, Michelin is investing in high technology recycling technologies to be able to increase this content to 80 percent sustainable materials.
The route to this ambitious sustainable material target will be achieved by research programs into bio-sourced materials such as Biobutterfly and working with Michelin’s high-level partners, and the advanced technologies and materials that are being developed in these partnerships.
Michelin launched the Biobutterfly program in 2012 with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beet. (Earlier post.) Butterfly covers all research and development phases in the process—from scientific concepts, to the pilot phase and validation on an industrial demonstrator.
BioButterfly was backed by a €52-million budget extending over eight years. The project was selected by France’s Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) to receive €14.7 million in financing as part of the Investing in the Future program.
Michelin is developing innovative solutions today in order to integrate more and more recycled and renewable materials in its tires, while continuing to improve performance, including 30% of recycled materials by 2048.
This is demonstrated by Michelin’s recent acquisition of Lehigh Technologies, a specialist in micronized rubber powder (MRP) which are derived from recycled tires.
Lehigh Technologies is now a specialty chemical company that is part of the High Technology Materials Business Unit of Michelin. Lehigh‘s proprietary cryogenic turbo mill technology transforms crumb rubber material into micron-scale rubber powders of various sizes, including 80 mesh and even down to 300 mesh. Unlike other technologies, MRP is virtually metal and fiber-free, enabling its use in a wider range of advanced products. These applications include high-performance tires, plastics, coatings and roofing systems.
To put MRP size in context, this micron-size material has the consistency of flour and is smaller than a human hair in diameter. MRP is easy to incorporate into new or existing formulations, is compatible with multiple polymers and provides a smooth surface appearance on finished products.
MRP reduces feedstock costs by up to 50% and replaces oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications
Lehigh operates the world’s largest MRP manufacturing plant in Tucker, Georgia, with an annual production capacity of 54,000 tonnes. Lehigh’s Application & Development Center is also located in Tucker and serves as an innovation hub where Michelin conducts research and formulates MRPs in collaboration with its customers.
Michelin has five MRP product ranges so far, PolyDyne, MicroDyne, EkoDyne, Rheopave and Zenoflex, and continues to expand the range of solutions in core markets. Lehigh Spain, a joint venture with Hera Holding, is based in Barcelona. The first Lehigh plant outside of the US, located in Murrillo del Fruto, is under construction and will begin operations in summer 2018.
Recycling. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimates that in 2018, 1 billion of end-of-life tires will be generated worldwide, representing around 25 million tonnes. Within this total, 70% of tires are recovered and 50% are recycled every year on average. This 50% is the amount of material recycled into products such as rubber used in sports surfaces; the additional 20% is transformed into energy.
By comparison, 14% of plastic containers or packages are recovered each year, while the automotive industry has a target of 3.5% recycling rate.
Michelin is investing in high technology recycling so that by 2048 tires are 100% recycled for the vehicles of the future.
To achieve these ambitions, Michelin proposes to develop partnerships and identify new ways to recycle tires, or new outlets for recycled tires. A Hackathon was held in 2017, in partnership with Aliapur, the leader in the field of recovering used tires in France, to brainstorm solutions in which tire granulates could be used.
The winner of this Hackathon was “Black Pillow”, which suggested creating safe urban furniture made of tire granulates.
Potential gains. Should these ambitions—80% sustainable materials and 100% of tires recycled—the savings will be equivalent to:
33 Million barrels of oil saved per year (16.5 supertankers), or 54,000 GWh.
One month’s total energy consumption of France.
65 billion kilometers driven by an average sedan (8 L/100 km) per year.
All cars in Europe driving 225 kms (291 million kms), or 54 kms for all cars worldwide (1.2 billion cars estimated).
Lion Electric unveils eLionM electric midi/minibus at Movin’On
At the Movin’On 2018 mobility summit in Montreal, Québec-based Lion Electric unveiled its 100% electric midi/minibus, the eLionM. The low-floor vehicle will be able to travel up to 75 miles (120 km) (one 80 kWh pack) or 150 miles (240 km) (two 80 kWh packs) per charge.
The eLionM features a 149 kW (200 hp) traction motor, embedded 19.2 kW charger (J1772), and high-performance batteries from LG Chem. Fast DC charge (SAE-Combo) is available as an option.
Optional quick battery swapping technology enhances the operation process as well as the fleet and charging infrastructure management.
The use of aluminium reduces the weight of the vehicle, increase its range and significantly extends the vehicle lifespan.
The midi/minibus, which was created and designed specifically for the paratransit market, will go on sale during the summer of 2018.
Lion spent the last 8 years designing and developing all-electric vehicles and the last 3 years commercializing the eLionC, an all-electric Type C school bus. The Company has already deployed more than 150 eLionCs, with more than a million miles driven.
Lion has the biggest fleet of all-electric Type C school buses in North America.
In addition to distributing the eLionC and eLionM, Lion will also introduce the eLionA this summer, an electric minibus designed to meet school transportation requirements.
Lion will also start manufacturing a new complete line of all-electric trucks in 2019, leveraging the technologies developed over the last eight years. The company is specifically looking at specialty medium to heavy-duty urban trucks (classes 5 to 8). The vehicles will range from ambulances, service trucks, cranes and delivery trucks.
Revolve Technologies working with Ford for hybrid ECUs
Ford has appointed UK-based Revolve Technologies, a specialist powertrain, engineering and development business, as its sole European Quality Calibration Modifier (QCM), giving the company access to Ford engine technical information.
As engine designs become ever more complex, optimizing for new applications is an increasing challenge that requires access to complex data sets. Engines produced for hybrid vehicles using specially calibrated ECUs can offer improved reliability and fuel economy. Complying with Euro6 emissions regulations in particular requires highly precise designs to meet the stringent emission requirements.
Revolve has been granted access to the complete engine data, and is one of only five companies in the world to partner with Ford in this way. Hybrid vehicle OEMs can now use Ford engines with optimized engine management parameters, based on full technical information obtained through the authorized and supported QCM route.
By giving Revolve access to an ‘open/development’ ECU, they can start work with the base calibration of a current Ford vehicle, and then work with customers, adjusting calibration settings to suit the customer’s application or vehicle.
—Paul McDermott, Sales Director of Ford Component Sales
Previously, they had to purchase their ECUs for each engine design from third parties with no access to the important Ford parameters that are essential to maximizing performance from hybrid engines.
There are many new opportunities to take advantage of this new development, as we now have infinitely variable control over what can be offered. Niche OEMs and volume producers of hybrid and conventional vehicles will benefit.
—Bryn Slaney, Revolve’s Engineering Manager
The Revolve formal QCM partnership is already in place for conventional engines.
How crude-oil prices influence gasoline prices
by Michael Sivak.
Gasoline is one of the products refined from crude oil. Thus, the price of crude oil should have a strong influence on the price of gasoline. However, the retail price of gasoline includes other costs as well. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in the United States from 2008 to 2017, crude oil represented only 61% of the retail price of gasoline. Refining costs and profits represented 12%, distribution and marketing costs 12%, and federal and state taxes 15%. Gasoline prices are also influenced by gasoline demand relative to gasoline supply. So how strong, indeed, is the relationship in the United States between crude-oil and gasoline prices?
To answer that question, I examined the daily prices of crude oil (from EIA) and regular gasoline (from GasBuddy). The 10-year period covered was from April 24, 2008 through April 23, 2018. Although the gasoline prices were available for each day throughout this period, the crude-oil prices were not available for weekends, holidays, and selected other days. Therefore, the analysis included only those days for which both prices were available—a total of 2,518 days.
Even a cursory look reveals that the relationship between the two sets of prices is not perfect. During the examined 10-year period, crude-oil prices peaked on July 3, 2008 at $145.31/barrel, while the gasoline prices peaked on July 16, 2008 at $4.103/gallon. Furthermore, oil prices reached their minimum on February 11, 2016 at $26.19/barrel, but gasoline prices reached their minimum on December 29, 2008, at $1.592/gallon.
Nevertheless, the correlation between the two sets of prices was positive (as one goes up, so does the other) and strong, with the correlation coefficient of +0.93. (A correlation coefficient can be between ±1 for perfect correlation and 0 for no correlation.) Introducing a short-term time lag between the price of crude oil and the price of gasoline did not influence the correlation substantially: The correlation coefficient was +0.94 for a 5-day lag in the present database, and +0.93 for a 10-day lag.
Another way to look at the relationship between the two sets of prices is to calculate the price of gasoline (per gallon) as a percentage of the price of crude oil (per barrel). This value averaged 4.0%, with a minimum of 2.8% and a maximum of 7.0%. The correlation between this percentage and the price of crude oil was negative, with the correlation coefficient of -0.83. The negative relationship implies that at higher prices of crude oil, the prices of gasoline tend to correspond to lower percentages of the price of crude oil, and vice versa. (For example, when the crude oil prices were at their maximum, this percentage was 2.8%, while when the crude oil prices were at their minimum, the percentage was 6.5%.) This relationship is consistent with the fact that the price of gasoline depends not only on the price of crude oil, but also on the costs that are either unaffected by the price of crude oil (taxes), or are affected less strongly (refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs).
In conclusion, as expected, the price of gasoline is strongly (but not perfectly) correlated with the price of crude oil, and the introduction of a short-term lag between these two sets of prices does not affect the relationship substantially. However, the relationship between the prices of gasoline and crude oil is complicated by the fact that other factors besides the price of crude oil affect the price of gasoline.
Michael Sivak is the managing director of Sivak Applied Research and the former director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan.
Gasoline prices are from information provided by GasBuddy, a fuel price tracking website. The crude-oil prices are spot prices at Cushing, OK, for West Texas Intermediate crude oil.
Audi: e-tron prototype drag coefficient of 0.28 contributes to 400 km range; virtual mirrors and dimples
Audi’s e-tron prototype, the forerunner of its coming series-production battery-electric SUV, features a drag coefficient of 0.28—a top result in the SUV segment. The figure is a decisive factor in the everyday range of more than 400 kilometers (248.5 mi) in the WLTP cycle; a hundredth of the drag coefficient figure represents a range of around five kilometers (3.1 mi) driving under everyday conditions, Audi says.
On the aeroacoustics test rig in the Wind Tunnel Center in Ingolstadt—the world’s quietest vehicle wind tunnel—Audi engineers optimize drag and noise under extreme conditions. With an output of 2.6 MW, the fan produces speeds of up to 300 km/h (186.4 mph). The Audi e-tron prototype was put through more than 1,000 hours of testing here.
To achieve the drag coefficient of 0.28, the Audi engineers developed a wide range of aerodynamics measures in all body areas. Some of these technical solutions are evident at first glance, while others fulfill their purpose hidden away from sight.
With these solutions, the drag coefficient for the Audi e-tron prototype is almost 0.07 less than for a comparable, conventionally powered vehicle. With a typical usage profile this set-up increases the range by around 35 kilometers (21.7 mi) per battery charge in the WLTP cycle.
Virtual exterior mirrors and dimples on the underbody. The optional virtual exterior mirrors will be making their world premiere in the volume-production version of the Audi e-tron prototype. They are much narrower than the standard mirrors: They reduce the vehicle width by 15 centimeters (5.9 in) and, given their new shape, not only reduce drag, but also noticeably cut the nonetheless low wind noise.
Each of their flat supports integrates a small camera. The captured images appear on OLED displays in the transition between the instrument panel and door. The virtual exterior mirrors can be adapted for various driving situations, thus potentially improving safety. Three views are available in the MMI system: for highway driving, turning and parking.
Another important factor is the standard adaptive air suspension—a pneumatic suspension with adjustable damping. At speeds above 120 km/h (74.6 mph), it lowers the body by up to 26 millimeters (1.0 in) below the normal position, thus reducing the drag. The underbody of the all-electric SUV is fully enclosed; the front and rear area are fully paneled.
Underneath the passenger cell, an aluminum plate protects the high-voltage battery against damage from below, such as stone chipping or curbs. Its bolting points come with bowl-shaped indentations, similar to the dimples on a golf ball. They make the air flow much better than a totally flat surface.
The controllable cool-air inlet – a frame behind the Singleframe with two electrically operated louvers—also helps lower drag. When shut, the air in this area flows with virtually no swirl. As soon as the drivetrain components need cooling or the air conditioning condenser requires ventilation, the top louver opens first and then both louvers. When the hydraulic wheel brakes are subject to high loads, the controllable cool-air inlet opens and releases two ducts which channel the cooling air into the front wheel arches to the brakes.
The side air inlets at the front of the Audi e-tron prototype incorporate additional ducts, which are clearly visible from outside, to the wheel arches. They channel the airstream so that it flows past the outside of the standard aerodynamically optimized 19-inch wheels. Their design is flatter than with conventional wheels. The 255/55 size tires stand out with their ultralow rolling resistance. Even the tire sidewalls add to the aerodynamic design—the lettering is negative instead of raised.
Northwestern team develops way to stabilize high capacity Li4Mn2O5 cathode; doping with vanadium or chromium
A Northwestern University research team has found ways to stabilize a promising new high capacity cathode material—Li4Mn2O5. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Science Advances.
Lithium-ion batteries shuttle lithium ions back and forth between the anode and the cathode. The cathode is made from a compound that comprises lithium ions, a transition metal and oxygen. The transition metal, typically cobalt, effectively stores and releases electrical energy when lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode and back. The capacity of the cathode is then limited by the number of electrons in the transition metal that can participate in the reaction.
There has been a significant research effort to improve the specific energy of LIBs for emerging applications such as electric vehicles. Conventional cathode materials used in LIBs are typically Li-containing transition metal (TM) oxides or phosphates (for example, LiCoO2, LiFePO4, and LiMn2O4) that can store (release) electrical energy via (de-)insertion of Li+ ions, accompanied by redox reactions of the TM cation. The specific capacity of the cathode is limited by the number of electrons per TM cation that can participate in the redox reaction. This exclusive dependence on the TM cations as the redox center in cathode materials typically used in LIBs has been challenged by the recent discovery of oxygen redox reactivity in Li-excess cathode materials.
… Recently, Freire et al. reported a new disordered rock salt–type Li-excess Li4Mn2O5 cathode material with partially occupied cation and anion sites that exhibits a discharge capacity of 355 mA·hour g-1 in the first cycle within an operating voltage window of 1.2 to 4.2 V versus Li/Li+. On subsequent cycling, the material is reported to preserve its rock salt structure with a discharge capacity of ~250 mA·hour g-1.
… Here, we first give a detailed atomistic-level picture for the origin of the observed simultaneous anionic and cationic redox activity in this promising new high-capacity material.
—Yao et al.
The French research team first reported the large-capacity lithium-manganese-oxide compound in 2016. By replacing the traditional cobalt with less expensive manganese, the team developed a cheaper electrode with more than double the capacity. However, the battery’s performance degraded so significantly within the first two cycles that researchers did not consider it commercially viable. They also did not fully understand the chemical origin of the large capacity or the degradation.
After composing a detailed, atom-by-atom picture of the cathode, Christopher Wolverton, the Jerome B. Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, and his team discovered the reason behind the material’s high capacity: It forces oxygen to participate in the reaction process.
By using oxygen—in addition to the transition metal—to store and release electrical energy, the battery has a higher capacity to store and use more lithium.
Next, the Northwestern team turned its focus to stabilizing the battery in order to prevent its swift degradation.
Armed with the knowledge of the charging process, we used high-throughput computations to scan through the periodic table to find new ways to alloy this compound with other elements that could enhance the battery’s performance.
—Zhenpeng Yao, co-first author of the paper and a former Ph.D. student in Wolverton’s laboratory
The computations pinpointed two elements: chromium and vanadium. The team predicted that mixing either element with lithium-manganese-oxide will produce stable compounds that maintain the cathode’s unprecedented high capacity. Next, Wolverton and his collaborators will experimentally test these theoretical compounds in the laboratory.
Schematic illustration of the battery’s cathode structure in which lithium is red, oxygen is green, manganese is purple, chromium is dark blue and vanadium is light blue. Credit: Wolverton Research Group, Northwestern University. Click to enlarge.
This battery electrode has realized one of the highest-ever reported capacities for all transition-metal-oxide-based electrodes. It’s more than double the capacity of materials currently in your cell phone or laptop. This sort of high capacity would represent a large advancement to the goal of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
This research was supported as a part of the Center for Electrochemical Energy Science, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Science under award number DE-AC02-06CH11357.
Yao, currently a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University, and Soo Kim, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are both former members of Wolverton’s laboratory and served as the paper’s co-first authors.
Zhenpeng Yao, Soo Kim, Jiangang He, Vinay I. Hegde and Chris Wolverton (2018) “Interplay of cation and anion redox in Li4Mn2O5 cathode material and prediction of improved Li4(Mn,M)2O5 electrodes for Li-ion batteries” Science Advances Vol. 4, no. 5, eaao6754 doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6754
ARTS Energy in supply agreement with Hunan Copower for NiMH cells for HEV applications in Europe; 1st step into transportation market
France-based ARTS Energy, a manufacturer of battery-based energy storage solutions using a variety of chemistries, is entering the hybrid-electric vehicle and very high power application markets via a strategic partnership with Hunan Copower EV Battery Co, a subsidiary of the Corun Group. ARTS Energy currently serves the solar, defense & aviation, medical, professional electronics and emergency lighting markets.
ARTS Energy will now have access to Hunan Copower 33600 NiMH cells. Hunan Copower EV Battery currently supplies Toyota for its hybrid cars produced in China. ARTS Energy is the first manufacturer in Europe being in a position to use this battery technology developed especially for the HEV market.
These batteries can be charged and discharged in less than 3 minutes and could be used in a wide range of applications requiring very high power features: start/stop, 48V, full high-voltage hybrid.
The cells represent the fourth generation of the HEV Ni-MH technology since the launch of the Toyota Prius in 1997, in a cell already qualified by several Chinese and Japanese manufacturers, with a cylindrical standard size of which makes it easier to integrate into modules and packs.
A survey by Harris Interactive for Automoto, conducted between the 21-31 August 2017 with 1,002 French drivers found that 72% said their first choice would be now to drive a hybrid car, instead of a diesel or gasoline car and even a full electric car.
Beginning 1 September, ARTS will propose purpose-built modules.
Hunan Copower EV Battery Co. is a subsidiary of the Hunan Corun New Energy group, which specializes in the design, the production of battery components, cells, batteries and hybrid systems around Ni-MH technology.
Hyundai’s 2019 IONIQ electrified line-up adds active safety features, voice recognition, remote charge management
Hyundai’s model-year 2019 IONIQ lineup—hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric—adds new and broader applications of active safety features, enhanced voice-recognition features and standard remote charge management for Plug-in and Electric models. 2019 Ioniq models will be available at Hyundai dealerships this summer.
2019 Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid
New for the 2019 IONIQ models:
Driver Attention Alert and High Beam Assist safety features now available
Enhanced, natural-language, server-based voice-recognition and POI-search database provided by HERE
Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist and Smart Cruise Control added to SEL trim level
Standard remote charge management for Plug-in and Electric models via Blue Link
Powertrains. The Ioniq Hybrid Blue model has an estimated 58 mpg (4.05 l/100 km) combined rating, the highest rating of any non-plug-in vehicle sold in the US market. The Ioniq Hybrid’s electric motor delivers an estimated 32 kW (43 horsepower) with an estimated maximum torque of 125 lb-ft (169 N·m), powered by a 1.56 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack positioned under the rear passenger seats. In combination with the 1.6-liter direct-injected engine, Ioniq Hybrid offers a total system output of 139 horsepower while providing low emissions, outstanding efficiency and range.
The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid features a Kappa 1.6L direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a thermal efficiency of 40% and delivers an estimated 104 horsepower and an estimated 109 lb-ft (148 N·m) of torque. This engine has been specifically tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a quick-shifting six-speed dual-clutch transmission, differentiating Ioniq from its key competitors with a more dynamic and engaging driving experience.
2019 Ioniq Hybrid
The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid’s 44.5 kW (60 horsepower) electric motor can operate at speeds up to 75 mph (121 km/h) and delivers instantaneous torque at low speeds, with available power-assist at higher vehicle speeds. The Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid provides an estimated all-electric range of 29 miles, 119 MPGe in EV mode and 52 mpg (4.52 l/100 km) in hybrid mode, powered by an 8.9 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
The Ioniq Electric has an estimated 136 MPGe rating, the highest efficiency rating of any electric vehicle sold in the US market. The Ioniq Electric offers pure electric mobility with a 28.0 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery for an estimated driving range of 124 miles. The electric motor has a maximum output of 88 kW (118 horsepower) and 218 lb-ft (296 N·m) of torque mated to a single-speed reduction-gear transmission.
Electric power for the Hybrid and the Plug-in Hybrid, as well as for the Electric, is generated by a permanent magnet synchronous motor the parts of which were optimized by reducing the thickness of core components by up to 10% and adopting rectangular-section copper wire to decrease core and copper loss.
Six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid both feature a six-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission (DCT), which delivers best-in-class transfer efficiency through the use of low-friction bearings and low-viscosity transmission oil. It achieves a mix of driving performance and fuel efficiency for a spirited and fun-to-drive character—an important differentiator from the majority of other Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid cars that use Continuously Variable Transmissions, often criticized as having rubber-band-like acceleration, Hyundai said.
Enhancing the car’s fuel efficiency and dynamic driving characteristics, the driver can select either SPORT or ECO modes. The SPORT function holds lower gears longer and combines power from the engine and electric motor for maximum performance. Also in SPORT mode, the gasoline engine remains on and the electric motor acts as a power assist for maximum responsiveness. In ECO mode, the DCT optimizes gear selection for efficiency, upshifting earlier to achieve class-leading fuel economy. Both Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models have steering-wheel paddle shifters for an even more engaging driving experience.
2019 Ioniq Electric
Battery Technology. Hyundai uses a lithium-ion polymer battery system for all Ioniq models; the battery is 20% lighter than non-polymer lithium-ion batteries and can be shaped more optimally to the interior than standard cell format batteries. This also provides lower battery memory sensitivity, excellent charge and discharge efficiency, and excellent maximum output.
Both efficient packaging and a low center of gravity were taken into consideration as the battery system is located underneath the rear seats so the passenger cabin and cargo area is uncompromised in the Ioniq Hybrid, offering a total interior volume of an estimated 122.7 cubic feet (more than Toyota Prius). Even the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid and the Ioniq Electric, despite having larger battery systems, both offer a total interior volume of an estimated 119.2 cubic feet.
All Ioniq Electric models are equipped with standard Level-3 DC fast-charging capability. Charging the Ioniq Electric’s lithium-ion polymer battery up to 80% only takes about 23 minutes using a SAE Combo Level-3 DC, 100 kW fast-charger. An integrated In-Cable Control Box (ICCB) also allows drivers to charge their Ioniq Electric and Plug-in Hybrid using a standard household electric socket when necessary.
Lightweighting focus. Ioniq sought significant weight reduction targets without compromising fun-to-drive and comfort characteristics. Ioniq uses aluminum in the hood and tailgate, reducing weight by 27 lbs (12.25 kg) compared with conventional steel and no measurable disadvantages in noise or vibration.
In addition, the lead-acid auxiliary 12V battery found in competitors’ hybrid models has been omitted for the Ioniq Hybrid, resulting in a 26-pound reduction in weight. Lightweighting also extended to less obvious areas such as the cargo-screen cover. With higher usage of lightweight components and a more compact build, the cargo-screen cover is about 25% lighter than the types used in other Hyundai models.revp
Driving performance. Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a multi-link rear suspension system with dual lower control arms for agile ride and handling coupled with excellent ride quality. In addition, extensive use of aluminum in front and rear suspension components saves about 22 lbs (10 kg) of weight compared with conventional materials. In addition, the placement of the battery systems below the rear seats provides a lower center of gravity for more responsive handling.
The Ioniq Electric applies a torsion-beam rear axle, providing more space for the 28.0 kWh lithium-ion polymer batteries, placed below the rear seats. Ioniq’s responsiveness and feedback from the steering system is clear and precise, with a quick steering ratio for an engaging and responsive feel.
Braking force is optimized for maximum efficiency from the regenerative braking system, helping Ioniq to maintain a steady state of charge (SOC). Regenerative braking also operates with reduced noise, using a third-generation recuperating stopping system. Regenerative braking force can be adjusted to meet the driver’s preference and driving conditions through steering-column-mounted regenerative brake-level control paddles.
An Integrated Brake Assist Unit (iBAU) and Pressure Source Unit (PSU) also contribute to quieter operation. This helps ensure ultra-low friction for maximum energy regeneration and efficiency levels.
Michelin tires give Ioniq enhanced levels of efficiency, as the car is fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires for 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheels, plus the car’s larger 17-inch wheels (Ioniq Hybrid Limited) are fitted with high-silica tires for better all-around performance. The multi-link rear suspension system of Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid has been adapted to work most efficiently with low-rolling-resistance tires while minimizing typical tire performance trade-offs.
Aerodynamics. A fluid exterior shape and natural air flow channels emphasize aerodynamic body lines and surface volumes. A sporty, hatchback-like profile is inspired by aerodynamic efficiency, complementing the soft lines and surfaces that trace the car’s outline.
Front wheel air curtains, a rear spoiler and diffuser, side sill moldings, floor undercover and a closed-wheel design all contribute to the car’s high aerodynamic efficiency of 0.24 Cd. Additionally, the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid feature a three-stage active air flap integrated with the front grille, while a sleek, closed front fascia differentiates the Electric model.
Infotainment and connectivity. Ioniq is equipped with a high-definition 7-inch TFT information cluster. With a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, it displays all gauge functions (speedometer, drive mode, fuel level). Depending on the selected drive mode, background color and gauges are adapted to always provide the most important and useful information. Within SPORT mode, the display changes into a revolving digital speedometer that is surrounded by an analog-type tachometer, showing engine rpm in red. When choosing ECO mode, the TFT-information cluster simulates the classic speedometer needle.
For 2019, navigation-equipped Ioniqs use an enhanced, natural-language, server-based voice-recognition technology with a new POI-search database supported by HERE that includes charging station locations for driver convenience.
The driving experience inside Ioniq is enhanced through state-of-the art connectivity features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Blue Link, as well as wireless charging for smartphones. Both systems enable users to connect their devices to activate music, telephone or navigation functions. Ioniq also offers a wireless inductive-charging pad for Qi-compatible devices.
Active and passive safety. Ioniq’s light-yet-rigid body is the result of advanced design, construction methods and materials. Featuring Advanced High Strength Steel, the chassis benefits from superior rigidity for responsive handling and safety, with high impact-energy absorption and minimized cabin distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision. This rigid structure also leverages 476 feet of advanced structural adhesives in its design, simultaneously yielding both lightweighting and rigidity benefits.
For 2019, Ioniq adds Driver Attention Alert and High Beam Assist to its available safety features. Ioniq offers Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist function, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, for high levels of both active and passive vehicle safety.
Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert help to warn the driver of surrounding vehicles that could lead to a collision. Lane Keeping Assist sounds an alarm as the car moves over lane lines if the driver did not signal for an intended lane change and helps keep drivers in their intended lane with small steering corrections. Additional safety features include rear parking sensors and headlights with Dynamic Bending Light (DBL).
The Ioniq is also available with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with Pedestrian Detection, an advanced active safety feature that helps alert drivers to potential emergency situations, including braking automatically.
For 2019, AEB is standard for the high-volume SEL trim, making this enhanced safety feature even more accessible to Ioniq buyers. With sensor-fusion technology that utilizes the front radar and camera sensors, AEB operates in three stages. Initially warning the driver visually and acoustically, it can modulate braking force according to the collision danger stage, applying braking before an imminent collision.
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System also helps ensure each individual tire is properly inflated. A total of seven airbags, including a knee airbag for the driver, help protect the vehicle’s occupants in the event of a collision. Body structure improvements, complemented by a high-strength fiber-reinforced rear bumper fascia make the entire Ioniq line-up strong and durable in the event of a crash.
ChargePoint. Hyundai is also working with ChargePoint. ChargePoint has the world’s largest electric vehicle charging network with more than 32,000 locations at which to charge, including more than 400 Express DC fast-charging sites. Ioniq owners will receive welcome kits, informing them with key information and benefits in the use of the ChargePoint charging network, and ChargePoint access cards that are easy to activate. In addition, owners will have the capability to conveniently locate ChargePoint chargers on their mobile devices using the MyHyundai/Blue Link app.
Blue Link. For 2019, Ioniq models equipped with Blue Link offer complimentary three-year Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and guidance services.
Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies such as Remote Start with Climate Control, Destination Search by Voice, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, and Stolen Vehicle Recovery.
Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, via the Blue Link smartphone app and now through the Amazon Alexa Blue Link skill and Google Assistant. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatch apps.
Owners of Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid and Electric will also be able manage and monitor their car’s charging schedule remotely via the Blue Link smartphone app or simply ask Alexa or Google to start and stop charging as needed. This capability to schedule charging is ideal for individuals that experience lower electricity rates during off-peak hours, offering a high level of both convenience and cost efficiency. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
Widgets for easy access to remote features, including an Ioniq Electric-specific widget
Additional status indicators for trunk and hood open/closed
Access to Blue Link notification settings
Access to the Hyundai accessories website
Federal-Mogul Powertrain introduces new piston ring for commercial vehicles; increased efficiency, lower emissions
Federal-Mogul Powertrain has developed a new piston ring for use in commercial vehicle diesel engines that enhances gas sealing capability by stabilizing ring dynamic motion and homogenizing oil film. The running surface profile of the new eLine rings for use in the second groove has been designed to distribute oil more evenly around the cylinder bores and to modify the running face area for reduced gas pressure force.
This results in enhanced engine efficiency, increased robustness and lower emissions. Bench tests with eLine in different diesel engines have shown a significant reduction in blow-by of up to 20%, which converts directly into either an increase in mean effective pressure or a decrease in fuel consumption.
eLine is the first commercial vehicle piston ring technology that distributes oil circumferentially in a consistent layer. The design compensates for localized surplus oil drops, protects against local oil film breakdown, supports low oil viscosity strategies, improves the sealing of combustion gases and reduces wear. The specific running surface profile has also been designed to prevent radial ring instabilities, which are becoming more common due to the industry trend for increased peak combustion pressures.
—Dr. Steffen Hoppe, Director, Technology, Rings & Liners, Federal-Mogul Powertrain
Rings used in the second groove of commercial vehicle engine pistons are predominantly designed with a tapered running face profile. These can struggle to maintain a homogenous oil film in sub-optimal conditions, such as bore distortion or oil supply issues. The tapered profile also provides a comparably large running face area, which can result in radial ring instability when pressure between the inner and outer diameter of the ring becomes imbalanced.
Federal-Mogul Powertrain's new eLine piston ring has a circumferential groove towards its lower side, allowing surplus oil to be retained below the ring. ©2018 Federal-Mogul LLC
The eLine piston ring has a circumferential groove towards its lower side, allowing surplus oil to be retained below the ring. The oil in this groove reservoir creates a circumferential pressure difference that generates controlled oil flow around the bore as the piston reciprocates, improving the uniformity of the oil film. The hydrodynamic function of the running surface profile has been developed in a way that allows for a reduced area for gas pressure force towards the upper side of the ring.
Federal-Mogul Powertrain's eLine piston rings are currently with customers for validation in preparation for short-term market introduction.
UK milk delivery service orders 200 electric StreetScooter delivery trucks
Milk & More, Britain’s largest milk delivery service has purchased 200 electric StreetScooters (earlier post). The £6.5-million (US$9.1-million) investment in the StreetScooters makes the business one of the largest operators of electric vehicles in the country.
The new electric fleet is the first of its kind in the UK and represents the latest step as the brand continues to transform its operation in 2018. Milk & More is also the first UK company to operate the StreetScooter EV van, which is currently only used in Germany by Deutsche Post. (StreetScooter is owned by Deutsche Post DHL Group.)
Noise reduction is a key customer benefit of the new delivery vehicles and a very important one, given that many of the milkmen and women deliver to customers’ homes mostly by 7am.
The StreetScooters have a 905 kg payload and an eight-meter cube box, enabling Milk & More to carry 860 pints of milk at a time, as well as an extensive range of locally sourced products from bacon and bread to cereals and juice. The new floats have a 40 kWh battery pack supporting a range of up to 75 miles. Economical to run, in the first month of operation, Milk & More has seen a 90% reduction on operational fuel costs, versus the outgoing diesel vehicles.
The StreetScooters are all left-hand drive, enabling milkmen and women to get in and out of the milk floats on the curbside. Milk & More is likely to add to the 200 StreetScooters it has already purchased as it seeks to further increase its fleet of electric milk floats later in the year.
Government of Canada to buy Trans Mountain Pipeline System and Expansion Project for C$4.5B, resume planing and construction
The Government of Canada will purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the expansion project (TMEP) for C$4.5 billion (US$3.46 billion); Kinder Morgan has agreed to work with the Government of Canada to seek a third-party buyer for the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and TMEP.
The 1,150-km (714-mile) Trans Mountain pipeline system (TMPL) is the only pipeline system in North America that transports both crude oil from the oil sands and refined products to the west coast. (Earlier post.) The Trans Mountain Expansion Project involves building a new pipeline along the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline running from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia, and expanding the capacity of the terminal in Burnaby.
This expansion would increase daily capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels, while improving market access to the US Pacific Coast and Northeast Asia.
The project faced significant opposition from environmental groups, resulting in significant delays; Kinder Morgan had set a 31 May deadline to decide if it would proceed with the expanded line.
As part of the agreement, the Government has agreed to fund the resumption of TMEP planning and construction work under the ownership of a Crown corporation. The Government will guarantee TMEP’s advances under a separate Federal Government recourse credit facility until the transaction closes.
The Government emphasized that it does not intend to be a long-term owner of this project. Canada will work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners, in a way that ensures the project’s construction and operation will proceed in a manner that protects the public interest, the Government said.
The Government will extend federal indemnity to protect any prospective new owner from costs associated with “politically motivated” delays. The province of Alberta will also contribute to get the project built. Alberta’s contribution would act as an emergency fund and would only come into play if required due to unforeseen circumstances. In return, Alberta will receive value commensurate to their contribution, through equity or profit-sharing.
The parties expect to close the transaction late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2018, subject to KML shareholder and applicable regulatory approvals.
Our government believes that the commercial agreement we have reached with Kinder Morgan is the best way to protect thousands of good, well-paying jobs while delivering a solid return on investment for Canadians. This is an investment in Canada’s future.
—Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
Background. The Trans Mountain Expansion Project was originally proposed as a way to deliver more Canadian oil resources to international markets. Twinning the existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline and expanding the Westridge Marine Terminal would increase the capacity and allow producers to receive a better price for their products. The original Trans Mountain Pipeline was built in 1953 and continues to operate today.
On 29 November 2016, the Government of Canada granted approval for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Earlier, on May 19, 2016, following a 29-month review, the National Energy Board concluded that the project is in the Canadian public interest and recommended the federal Governor in Council approve the expansion, which it did. In addition, the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office issued an environmental assessment certificate, allowing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to proceed.
Kinder Morgan Inc., owner of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, had been advancing the pipeline project, on a commercial basis, for several years. The company had obtained all the necessary approvals and permits required to proceed with the project and has done so in full accordance with Canadian law.
However, due to the political uncertainty around the project’s future, Kinder Morgan felt unable to proceed as planned, and in April 2018 decided to suspend all non-essential spending on the project.
Lithium Werks signs multi-year Nanophosphate Li-ion cell supply agreement with Super B
Lithium Werks, a Li-ion battery and portable power solutions manufacturer that earlier this year separately acquired Valence Technologies and the industrial division and cylindrical cell manufacturing plant of A123 Systems, has signed a multi-year cell supply agreement with lithium battery specialist Super B.
Both Super B and Lithium Werks specialize in lithium iron phosphate technology, a lithium-ion chemistry that offers high thermal and chemical stability and is seen as the safest lithium-ion technology available today. The strategic cooperation builds on an existing relationship.
Under the agreement, Lithium Werks will gear up its continuous supply of Nanophosphate power cells, as Super B continues to expand its operations in response to accelerating demand for lithium-ion batteries.
Nanophosphate is an engineered nanoscale material with specific structural and chemical properties designed to maximize the performance of lithium-ion batteries. The Nanophosphate technology allows higher rate capability resulting in higher power, increased safety, and better life than other iron phosphate cells.
Lithium Werks also offers Valence’s Lithium Iron Magnesium Phosphate (LiFeMgPO4) cells, which offer greater energy density.
Super B develops and produces high-end lithium batteries for a variety of industries and applications. In For automotive applications, Super B specializes in 12V and 48V solutions.
Super B’s lightweight automotive batteries have been developed for a number of applications ranging from motorbikes to military trucks. Existing customers include car manufacturers such as Renault, Aston Martin, several military contractors and more. Super B possesses several patents on the complete battery design.
Scenario study suggests increased vehicle electrification in Europe increases demand for gas in power sector; limited ability for power-to-gas
A study published by the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) has explored the possible impact of increased electrification of road transportation and domestic heating and cooking on the energy system (electricity and gas), as well as on CO2 emissions and on GDP. The study is based on a set of scenarios for 2050 of electrification in five European countries: Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), France (FR), Germany (DE) and the Netherlands (NL).
There are three scenarios: the first where electrification remains limited; the second where the residential and road transport sectors are virtually fully electrified by 2050; and a third intermediate path. Among the main conclusions of the report is that increasing electrification in the transport and heating sectors reduces the consumption of fossil fuels in these sectors but because the demand for power increases significantly, the use of gas as energy resource of last resort gains weight in the generation mix.
Specifically, the authors found that while demand for gas from the residential sector decreases as electrification progresses, because of the planned phasing-out of coal and nuclear generation and limited increase of renewables, overall gas demand rises in the power market. The net effect depends on the countries’ specific policies and current energy mix, with demand for gas increasing in BE, FR and DE, remaining constant in AT and slightly decreasing in NL.
As more renewable sources of generation (biomass, wind, solar) are progressively deployed in the market, the electricity supply becomes more weather-dependent and thus more volatile so that a substantial amount of gas-fired power plant capacity will be necessary for reliability of supply. In BE, FR, DE and NL this capacity should be around 3 to 4 times the current capacity by 2050, while in AT a small increase would be sufficient, the study found.
The current plans of the countries’ governments regarding the expansion of renewable generation capacity, coupled with a full electrification scenario, result in very small amounts of renewable electricity being available to use for power-to-gas. From now to 2050, only under exceptional weather conditions will an oversupply of electricity occur.
As both electricity and gas provision rely heavily on the use of transmission and distribution networks, an increase in power generation and/or gas consumption requires a possibly costly resizing of the networks. In 2050, in a full electrification scenario, the electricity grid capacity would have to increase in BE by 70%, in NL by 50%, in AT by 34%, in FR by 35% and in DE by 37%. Except for NL and possibly BE, the capacity of the gas networks will have to be extended.
Electrification of the residential and road transport sectors will shift CO2 emissions from these sectors to the power sector, with an increased price on carbon as a result. The net effect depends on the technology mix for power generation and is therefore country-specific. In 2050, with a full electrification scenario, CO2 emissions from the residential, road transport and electricity sectors together in BE would decrease only by 11% relative to the corresponding 1990 levels, in AT by 62%, in DE by 70%, in FR by 48%, and in NL by 40%.
The model results show that the social costs of a full electrification path towards 2050 vary significantly, ranging from 0.5% of GDP in FR to close to 7% of GDP in NL, with intermediate rates for AT (2%), DE (4%) and BE (4.5%). The cost per ton of CO2 reduction would be €250 for NL, €146 for BE, €142 for DE, €78 for FR and €54 for AT.
The authors caution that their study is based on a number of assumptions and includes limitations, such as:
The limited geographical scope of the study, based on case studies of five Western European, EU member states;
The increased carbon price within the EU ETS, as a result of increased gas fuel power production, has not been taken into account; and
The gradual introduction of renewable gases has not been fully taken into account.
Scenarios, added the authors, are not forecasts or recommendations for specific policy options. Rather, they illuminate challenges and choices, in this case those to be respectively addressed and made by policymakers and the energy sector to manage in the most efficient way the impact of possible electrification paths.
The Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE) promotes robust and consistent regulation in Europe’s network and digital industries. CERRE’s members are regulatory authorities and operators in those industries as well as universities.
The study, by Professor José Luis Moraga (coordinator), CERRE & Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Professor Chloé Le Coq, CERRE and Stockholm School of Economics; Professor Machiel Mulder, University of Groningen; and Professor Sebastian Schwenen, CERRE and Technical University Munich, is an independent project which received the financial support from a number of CERRE members.
The views expressed in this CERRE report are attributable only to the authors in a personal capacity and not to any institution with which they are associated. They do not necessarily correspond either to those of CERRE, to any sponsor or to any (other) member of CERRE.
International review study seeks to improve modeling for plug-in vehicle adoption
A team from Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the US and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and German Aerospace Center in Germany has reviewed and compared 40 market diffusion models for plug-in vehicles to find similarities or differences and make recommendations for future improvements in modeling in this field.
The team reviewed models from 16 countries, including the United States, Germany, China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Ireland. These studies modeled the decision factors that drive consumers to purchase PEVs: vehicle and energy prices, operating costs, available charging infrastructure and range, among others.
In an open-access paper in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, they report that important input factors for the US are the purchase price and operating costs, while for Germany energy prices and the charging infrastructure are mentioned more often. Larger sales shares of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles than battery electric vehicles are often found in the short term results (until 2030) while the picture is not so clear for the medium- to long-term.
The value of the models is not in their predictive power, but in connecting ‘important’ factors in a way that enables us to construct some possible future based on what we know about consumer behavior and other factors.
—Thomas Stephens, Argonne National Laboratory
The studies provided vastly different projections of future PEV market shares, mainly in the US and Germany. Estimates ranged from a few percent to more than 50% by 2030. This disparity results, in large part, from the models’ diverse assumptions about market conditions, vehicle and fuel prices, and other factors.
Sales shares in base scenarios of models for 2020, 2030 and 2050 distinguished by PEV type. Gnann et al. Click to enlarge.
We found that many models handled factors very differently or even neglected some that seem to be important, so a wide range in market projections is not surprising.
The study focused on addressing the following specific questions:
What are the projected market shares for a particular region?
What are consumers’ primary purchase considerations?
What is the effect of rebates, tax credits, battery research and development and high-occupancy vehicle lane access?
What is the potential effect of PEV sales on petroleum demand, emissions and demand for electricity?
Though researchers cannot predict if or when PEVs could reach a tipping point in the US, they can help identify factors that could speed or hinder the adoption process, according to Stephens.
Based on their study, the team offers several findings for future PEV models that address important considerations neglected by many of the models they reviewed: the limited range, available charging infrastructure and the technological and projected cost improvements of batteries over time.
Till Gnann, Thomas S. Stephens, Zhenhong Lin, Patrick Plötz, Changzheng Liu, Jens Brokate (2018) “What drives the market for plug-in electric vehicles? - A review of international PEV market diffusion models,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 93, Pages 158-164 doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2018.03.055
New Volkswagen Touareg SUV offers pneumatic suspension coupled with electromechanical roll stabilization; 48V and supercapacitors
Volkswagen’s new third-generation Touareg SUV (earlier post) offers new advanced running gear made largely of lightweight aluminum, featuring a combination of four-corner pneumatic suspension with adaptive electronic damping control and—for the first time at Volkswagen—a completely newly developed electromechanical active roll compensation system (eAWS).
The eAWS features active anti-roll bars which use electric motors and a 48-volt system to adapt instantly to the driving situation, bringing a level of agility and ride comfort that is practically unmatched by any other SUV, Volkswagen says.
The key components of the electromechanical active roll compensation are the anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles. Conventional suspensions are fitted with steel anti-roll bars at the front and rear which reach from one end of the axle to the other. The two ends of the anti-roll bar twist relative to each other when cornering (or when only one side of the vehicle is driving over very uneven road surfaces). The kinetics ensure that the vehicle’s tendency to roll in bends is reduced. The active roll compensation goes one step further as it holds the vehicle body in a horizontal position almost parallel with the road.
The eAWS features electromechanical anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles. A central control unit coordinates their use. The two ends of each anti-roll bar are connected to one another by a step motor.
Depending on the driving situation, the electric motor twists the two ends of the anti-roll bar relative to each other to stiffen them or even decouples them. The 48 volts required to activate the electric motors is built up quickly using supercapacitors.
The lateral inclination of the Touareg decreases significantly when cornering due to the active anti-roll bars. This makes the vehicle more agile, while still providing the driver with natural feedback about the driving dynamics.
The eAWS also significantly improves the rolling comfort. Because the electromechanical anti-roll bars can be decoupled when driving straight ahead—in contrast to steel anti-roll bars—the pneumatic suspension with its adaptive dampers no longer has to overcome the force of the anti-roll bars. This also has a noticeable effect on the suspension characteristics and therefore the ride comfort.
When driving off-road, the articulation of the axles and the traction can be improved by electromechanical decoupling of the anti-roll bars.
BMW offering 3.2 kW wireless charging option for 530e PHEV; production starts in July
BMW i is introducing a factory-fitted, fully integrated inductive charging facility for the high-voltage battery in a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Production will start in July. The BMW Wireless Charging option can be ordered now as a leasing-option for the BMW 530e iPerformance (fuel consumption in legislative EU test-cycle combined: 2.3 – 1.9 l/100 km; electricity consumption combined: 13.9 – 13.3 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 52 – 47 g/km).
The system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, enabling the high-voltage batteries on board the BMW 530e iPerformance to be fully charged in around three-and-a-half hours. The efficiency rate is around 85%.
The product offer starts with Germany, subsequently followed by the UK, the US, Japan and China.
BMW Wireless Charging enables electric energy from the grid supply to be transmitted to a vehicle’s high-voltage battery without any cables when the vehicle is positioned over a base pad, which can be installed in a garage, for example. The launch of this technology sees the BMW Group move another step closer to an infrastructure that will make charging the battery of an electrified vehicle even simpler than refueling a car with a conventional engine.
Available to customers as an option, BMW Wireless Charging consists of a Inductive Charging Station
(GroundPad), which can be installed either in a garage or outdoors, and a secondary vehicle component (CarPad) fixed to the underside of the vehicle. The contactless transfer of energy between the GroundPad and CarPad is conducted over a distance of around eight centimeters. The GroundPad generates a magnetic field. In the CarPad an electric current is induced, which then charges the high-voltage battery.
As soon as the vehicle has been parked in the correct position above the inductive Charging Station, followed by a simple push of the Start/Stop button, the charging process is initiated. Once the battery is fully charged, the system switches off automatically.
BMW Wireless Charging also helps the driver to maneuver into the correct parking position. Communication between the charging station and vehicle is established via WiFi. An overhead view of the car and its surroundings then appears in the Control Display with colored lines that help guide the driver while parking. A graphic icon shows when the correct parking position for inductive charging has been reached. This can deviate from the optimum position by up to seven centimeters longitudinally and up to 14 centimeters laterally.
The GroundPad can also be installed outdoors, where it may be used regardless of the weather conditions. All components that conduct electricity are protected from rain and snow, and driving over the GroundPad will not damage it in any way. During charging, ambient electromagnetic radiation is limited to the vehicle undercarriage. The GroundPad is permanently monitored and will be switched off if any foreign matters are detected. The BMW Group also offers an installation service for BMW Wireless Charging, on request.
BMW Brilliance Automotive expands battery factory in China
Seven months after opening its battery factory in China (earlier post), the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture has laid the foundation for a comprehensive expansion of the plant. At the “High-Voltage Battery Centre Phase II”, BBA will produce the new, more powerful batteries of the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology for the fully-electric BMW iX3.
Starting in 2020, the BMW iX3 will be built at the neighboring BBA plant Dadong.
Today, we break ground for the next stage of our electric model offensive. In this regard, we further increase the capacity of our local battery production. This enables us to follow the increasing demand for electro mobility in China.
—Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Production
China is the BMW Group’s largest single market and has become the pacesetter for e-mobility worldwide. With six electrified models currently available, the BMW Group offers Chinese customers the widest current range of options in the premium segment.
In 2017, the BMW Group more than doubled its sales of electrified vehicles in China from the previous year and expects this growth to continue in 2018. Earlier this year, production of the new BMW 5 Series Plug-in Hybrid got underway at the BBA plant Dadong. Expansion of the battery factory underlines the BMW Group’s commitment to China.
Production of fully-electric cars to be integrated into existing structures. The BMW Group’s Leipzig plant began building the fully-electric BMW i3 in 2013. Today, the BMW Group produces cars with combustion engines on the same lines as plug-in hybrids at ten locations worldwide. Three battery plants in Germany, the US and China supply local production of electrified vehicles with batteries. In the future, production of fully-electric vehicles will also be integrated into existing manufacturing structures.
Maximum utilization of plant capacity is a priority for us. That is why we are designing our production system so that we can build models with a fully or partially electric drive train or combustion engine on the same assembly line.
In addition, two enhanced flexible vehicle architectures will be suitable for all drive forms, thereby reducing complexity in production. This gives the BMW Group maximum production flexibility and enables it to respond quickly to market and customer demands worldwide. It also ensures optimal utilization of production capacity, avoids high investments and creates job security.
The BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture. The BBA Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded in 2003. In 2017, the BBA automotive plants in Tiexi and Dadong produced almost 400,000 vehicles for the Chinese market—an increase of around 30% year-on-year. The maximum capacity of the two plants will reach 520,000 units per year from 2019.
Since 2009, the joint venture has invested more than 52 billion RMB (approx. €6.7 billion, or US$7.8 billion) in the BBA plants, and employs more than 16,000 people.
In 2014, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. extended their joint venture contract early and laid the foundation for deepening the successful cooperation. The extended contract is valid for ten years (from 2018 to 2028).
U Akron team develops Mn-based high performance anode for Li-ion batteries
Researchers at the University of Akron have developed hierarchical porous Mn3O4/C nanospheres as anode materials for Li-ion batteries. These nanospheres exhibited a high reversible specific capacity (1237 mAh/g at 200 mA/g), excellent ratability (425 mAh/g at 4 A/g), and extremely long cycle life (no significant capacity fading after 3000 cycles at 4A/g) as an anode in a Li-ion battery. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of Power Sources.
Transition metal oxides (MOx, where M is Mn, Co, Ni, Cu or Fe etc.) are promising anode candidate materials, owing to their high theoretical capacity and low cost. Among those materials, Mn3O4 has been intensively investigated as one of the most promising anode materials due to its abundance, low oxidation potential and competitive electrochemical performance. However, several issues hamper the utilization of transition metal oxides as anode materials in LIBs: First, the poor intrinsic electrical conductivity of metal oxides limits the electron transfer throughout the electrode, leading to poor active materials utilization and low ratability. Second, the large volume expansion and shrinkage of the metal oxides during the lithiation and delithiation can result in electrode pulverization that promotes capacity fading during cycling. It has been well recognized that nano-engineering and carbon hybridization are effective ways to overcome or limit these issues
… In this work, a facile method to synthesize highly porous Mn3O4/C nanospheres with hierarchical structure was achieved by self-assembly to form spherical Mn based MOC, followed by a thermal annealing process. The Mn3O4/C nanospheres consisted of homogeneously distributed Mn3O4 nanocrystals with a conformal carbon coating. Such a hierarchical, porous structure provided both good electrical conductivity and volume changes accommodation capability, which were desired for transition metal oxide based conversion reaction type electrode. These characteristics led to high specific capacity, excellent ratability and ultra-long cycle life in a lithium-ion half-cell for the Mn3O4/C nanosphere electrode.
—Liu et al.
Schematic illustration of the fabrication procedure for the Mn3O4/C nanospheres. Credit: ACS, Liu et al.
The team synthesized a self-assembled manganese (Mn)-based metal organic complex (Mn-MOC) with a spherical structure via a solvothermal reaction. The researchers then converted the Mn-MOC precursor materials to hierarchical porous Mn3O4/C nanospheres through a thermal annealing treatment.
Electrochemical performance of Mn3O4/C nanosphere as anode in LIBs. a) Cyclic voltammogram of Mn3O4/C nanosphere performed at a scan rate of 0.2 mV/s within the voltage range of 0.005–3 V (vs. Li/Li+). b) Galvanostatic charge and discharge profiles for the 1st, 10th, 50th, 100th, 190th cycles at a current density of 200 mA/g (Voltage vs. Li/Li+). c) Cycle performance at a current density of 200 mA/g d) Specific capacities at current densities of 200 mA/g, 500 mA/g, 1 A/g, 2 A/g and 4 A/g. e) Long cyclability test at a current density of 4 A/g. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS, Liu et al.
They attributed the lithium storage capacity to the unique porous hierarchical structure of the nanospheres, which consist of homogeneously distributed Mn3O4 nanocrystals with thin carbon shells. Such a nanostructure not only provides large reaction surface area and enhanced electrical conductivity, but also promotes the formation of a stable solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) and accommodates the volume change of the conversion reaction type electrode.
Kewei Liu, Feng Zou, Yuandong Sun, Zitian Yu, Xinye Liu, Leyao Zhou, Yanfeng Xia, Bryan D. Vogt, Yu Zhu (2018) “Self-assembled Mn3O4/C nanospheres as high-performance anode materials for lithium ion batteries,” Journal of Power Sources, Volume 395, Pages 92-97 doi: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2018.05.064
Krakow orders 30 Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid buses
The Krakow public transport authority, Poland’s second-largest public transport authority, has placed an order for 30 Mercedes-Benz Citaro hybrid vehicles as well as 56 conventional Citaro buses.
The Citaro hybrid buses are based on the hybrid technology unveiled by Mercedes-Benz last year (earlier post), and offer a fuel saving of up to 8.5% compared with the conventional Citaro.
The Citaro hybrid features a 7.7-liter OM 936 h engine with 220 kW (299 hp); a 14 kW electric motor; and a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The city of Gdansk is also investing in city buses from Mercedes-Benz. At the beginning of May, a contract for the supply of 46 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses was signed between the Gdansk public transport authority GAiT (Gdanskie Autobusy i Tramwaje) and Daimler Buses. The new vehicles will be handed over to the customer in the spring of 2019.
A further order, this one for 18 Mercedes-Benz Conecto buses, has also been placed during the first half of this year by the city of Bialystok in north-eastern Poland. The vehicles will be delivered towards the end of the year to Bialystok’s public transport operator.
The Mercedes-Benz Conecto is a city bus offered specifically for the markets in Eastern and Central Eastern Europe. These markets are characterized by their price-sensitive tendering processes and by a particularly strong focus on the lowest possible overall operating costs. The vehicles comply with the Euro VI emissions standard and offer customers an optimum in terms of comfort and safety engineering.
All Citaro city buses are manufactured at the EvoBus plant in Mannheim.
Toyota and Suzuki to start discussing joint projects for technological development, vehicle production, and market development; India and Africa
Toyota Motor Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) agreed to start discussing new joint projects in the fields of technological development, vehicle production, and market development. After having concluded a memorandum of understanding toward business partnership on 6 February 2017 (earlier post), Toyota and Suzuki have been pursuing concrete forms of cooperation and have announced the mutual supply of vehicles for the Indian market (earlier post) and other joint efforts.
Meanwhile, the two companies have also been broadening the scope of their partnership considerations to include joint efforts related to production and market development.
Topics under discussion include:
Denso Corporation and Toyota to provide Suzuki with technological support for a compact, ultrahigh-efficiency powertrain to be developed by Suzuki.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. (TKM) to produce models developed by Suzuki for sale in India through each of the Toyota and Suzuki brand network.
Supply of models developed by Suzuki, including those to be produced by TKM (as mentioned above), from India to African and other markets by Toyota and Suzuki, employing each of the Toyota and Suzuki sales networks to sell such vehicles, and advancing cooperation in the domains of logistics and services.
Details related to the above are to be discussed going forward.
Suzuki was the first among Japanese companies to enter India, and, together with the people of India, has been a presence for pulling forward India’s automotive society. Such represents the spirit of “Let’s do it” that I mentioned when announcing the conclusion of our memorandum of understanding on beginning concrete examinations for business partnership. Or, as I like to say, Suzuki is a company that puts into practice being “The Best in Town.”
—Toyota President Akio Toyoda
It is my hope that the new joint projects will contribute to the future success of both companies, not only in India, but also in the global market.
—Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki
Kalmar and Yara developing first fully-digitalized and electric cargo solution for autonomous electric Yara Birkeland
Kalmar, part of Cargotec, and Yara have entered into an agreement in which Kalmar will deliver fully autonomous equipment, software and services for a unique, fully digitalized container handling solution at Yara’s Porsgrunn facility in Norway. This means that all the necessary operations related to the world's first autonomous and electric container vessel Yara Birkeland (earlier post) will be conducted in a fully autonomous and cost efficient manner, with zero emissions.
The order was booked in Cargotec’s 2018 second quarter order intake and delivery is scheduled to be completed during the second quarter of 2020.
With this agreement, Yara Birkeland is not just the world’s first electric and autonomous container vessel; it is the world’s first fully digitalized and electric supply chain, with all operations, including loading, unloading and sailing conducted in a fully autonomous manner with zero emissions. Kalmar has the proven equipment and software, and the know-how to integrate their solutions into our supply chain.
—Tove Andersen, EVP Production, Yara
Yara, a world leading mineral fertilizer company, last year announced a partnership with technology company Kongsberg to build the world’s first fully autonomous, battery-operated container vessel.
Yara Birkeland will reduce emissions and improve road safety by removing up to 40,000 truck journeys annually in a densely populated area of Norway. The vessel will transport fertilizer from Yara’s Porsgrunn plant via inland waterways to the deep-sea ports of Larvik and Brevik, a journey of 31 nautical miles.
Kalmar will provide the autonomous loading and unloading solution for Yara Birkeland, as well as transportation between the fertilizer production facilities and the quay. The Kalmar solution consists of one Kalmar Automated Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (AutoRMG); three Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads; a FastCharge charging station; and related automation and safety systems. The solution will be implemented in phases, with the level of automation gradually increased over time. The end result will be a fully autonomous, mixed-traffic and zero-emission solution in an industrial environment.
Kalmar will also support Yara’s operations with a full-scale service contract. The Kalmar Care contract includes full maintenance with parts for Kalmar FastCharge AutoStrads including an availability agreement as well as preventive maintenance for the Kalmar AutoRMG crane. Furthermore, Kalmar personnel will provide operational, automation and software support for the whole solution.
BMW and MIT Self-Assembly Lab collaborate to design the first printed inflatable material; liquid printed pneumatics
The BMW Design Department in collaboration with MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory have successfully developed printed inflatable material technologies that selftransform, adapt and morph from one state to another. This commission is on display for the first time during the exhibition The Future Starts Here, which explores the power of design in shaping the world of tomorrow, at V&A museum in London.
The BMW Design Department and MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory have started their cross-disciplinary study two years back with the mutual ambition to push the boundaries of material technologies. BMW’s forward-thinking concepts of future interiors that can interact and adapt seamlessly were the starting point of an in-depth exploration by MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory. This collaboration resulted in the first example of a fully printed inflatable that can be customized to any size or shape.
The silicone-printed object can change shape depending on the amount of air pressure in the system. The pneumatic controls in the system allow the printed structure to transform into a variety of shapes, functions or stiffness characteristics.
The outcome of this collaboration manifests that a new material future is imminent. There is no need to lock the car of the future into any particular shape. Interiors could even take on malleable, modular uses.
—Martina Starke, head of BMW Brand Vision and BMW Brand Design at BMW Group
Together with the Self-Assembly Laboratory at MIT, Starke was eager to move away from our current understanding of car interiors as the forces reshaping the nature of transportation are eventually shifting toward a kind of vehicle that defies conventions like front and back seats. This is why the study is fully focusing on technological dimensions and material properties at this stage.
After testing various directions on how a visionary interior could take shape, the experts at the Self-Assembly Lab achieved a breakthrough when they managed to liquid print air and water-tight inflatable geometries—i.e., customized printable balloons. With this technology they can produce complex channels and pockets that self-transform.
We then brought together a number of recent technologies such as Rapid Liquid Printing and techniques from soft robotics to achieve this adaptive material structure. In the past, scenarios like these have often required error-prone and complex electromechanical devices or complex moulding/tooling to produce inflatables. Now we’re able to print complex inflatable structures with custom actuation and tunable stiffness.
—Skylar Tibbits, founder of the Self-Assembly Lab
On display at the V&A is a three dimensional object which is highly dynamic, morphing its form and function. This meter-scale object exhibits robotic-like transformation from a pneumatic system with seven independent chambers to create different movement patterns.
This adaptive material technology points towards a future of transformable surfaces for adaptive human comfort, cushioning and impact performance.
The Future Starts Here brings together ground-breaking technologies and designs currently in development in studios and laboratories around the world. Drawing upon international research, and working closely with a range of companies, universities, practitioners and advisors, the exhibition explores over 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow.
CARB approves $423M plan to mitigate harm from Volkswagen defeat devices; significant investments in heavy-duty vehicles and equipment sectors
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved a plan to mitigate statewide harm from more than 10,000 tons of smog-causing pollutants released in the state due to Volkswagen’s (VW) use of illegal “defeat devices” in diesel passenger cars. The National VW Environmental Trust provides California with $423 million for this purpose.
Proposed project allocation distribution.
Over the next 10 years this plan will put in place not only tools to clean up VW’s excess emissions, but also to help achieve further reductions of smog-forming pollution for decades to come.
—CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols
The mitigation plan approved by CARB will invest primarily in zero emission replacements for heavy-duty trucks, buses and equipment. There is also money to reduce emissions at freight facilities, marine projects and light-duty vehicle charging.
Senate Bill 92, passed last year, also requires that a minimum 35% of the mitigation investment benefit disadvantaged communities. As designed, the plan approved today invests about 50% of the available funds in those communities.
The plan provides:
$130 million for to replace eligible Class 4-8 shuttle buses, school and transit buses with new, commercially available, zero-emission technologies. Specifically, staff proposes a maximum incentive of up to $400,000 for a battery electric school bus; up to $180,000 for a new battery electric transit bus; up to $400,000 for a new fuel cell electric transit bus; and up to $160,000 for a new battery electric shuttle bus, each including supporting infrastructure.
These proposed amounts are expected to fund up to 95% of the cost of a battery-electric school bus; to fund the incremental costs of a zero-emission transit bus above the typical Federal Transit Administration funding; and to fund a large portion of the incremental costs for a battery-electric shuttle bus. As required by the Consent Decree, total costs per vehicle must not exceed 75% for non-government owned vehicles and 100% for government owned vehicles. For school bus incentives, staff recommends a minimum 5% match from the school district or other funding source.
$90 million to replace eligible Class 8 freight trucks and port drayage trucks with new zero-emission technologies. At least four additional manufacturers are expected to introduce zero-emission Class 8 commercial trucks in the next one to three years, and manufacturers representing the majority of the California truck market have publicly announced plans to launch zero-emission trucks in the next five years. While a portion of this allocation will support the early deployment of existing commercially available trucks, staff proposes 70% of the allocation be focused on expanding the market as manufacturers bring additional zero-emission trucks to market in the next 3 to 5 years. The first installment of this funding will be $27 million, and the next installment(s) will be determined during the implementation process.
Staff proposes a maximum incentive of up to $200,000 per truck, including supportive infrastructure, in the first year, and will reevaluate incentive amounts in subsequent years, as incremental costs are expected to decline.
$70 million to replace eligible airport ground support equipment (GSE), forklifts, and port cargo handling equipment with new, commercially available, zero-emission technologies and to install oceangoing vessel shore power systems at port terminals. The goal of this project category is to maximize NOx reductions by funding the most cost-effective zero-emission freight or marine projects.
Staff proposes funding airport GSE vehicles up to the full incremental cost; up to $175,000 for a heavy-lift forklift or battery electric port cargo handling equipment vehicle, including supportive infrastructure; and up to $2,500,000 for installing a portside ocean-going vessel shore power system at berths that service vessels that are not required by regulation to reduce their onboard power generation. Staff also proposes funding up to $2,500,000 for ferry or tug all-electric engine repowers, including fuel cell technology.
$60 million to replace eligible Class 7 and 8 freight trucks, including waste haulers, dump trucks, and concrete mixers, or their engines (1992 to 2012 model year); freight switcher locomotives or their engines (pre-Tier 1); and ferry, tugboat, and towboat engines (pre-Tier 3) with the cleanest commercially available internal combustion or hybrid technologies. For each vehicle, locomotive, or engine replaced, an existing vehicle, locomotive, or engine must be scrapped.
The goal of this project category is to maximize NOx reductions by funding the most cost-effective, lowest emission engine projects. Specifically, staff proposes maximum funding up to $85,000 for a certified 0.02 g/bhp-hr low NOx engine truck and up to $35,000 for a non-government owned low NOx repower. Government owned vehicles may be eligible for up to $50,000 for a low NONOxx repower.
Staff proposes up to $1.35 million for a Tier 4 freight switcher locomotive or engine repower, and up to $1 million for a Tier 4, or hybrid with Tier 4-equivalent NOx emissions, ferry, tugboat, or towboat engine repower.
$10 million for fueling infrastructure for light-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), with a target of $5 million for charging stations and $5 million for hydrogen fueling stations. For charging stations, staff proposes providing up to 100% of the cost of publicly accessible charging stations at government owned properties; up to 80% for public charging stations at privately owned properties; and up to 60% for non-public charging stations at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings.
his allocation will provide funding to help purchase, install, operate, and maintain new charging stations for battery electric vehicles. For hydrogen fueling stations, staff proposes funding up to 33% of the cost to purchase, install, and maintain a new hydrogen fueling station for fuel cell electric vehicles.
$63 million in reserve
CARB staff estimates the proposed funding actions in aggregate will reduce about 10,000 tons of NOx over a 10-year period, which would fully mitigate the environmental harm caused by the subject VW diesel vehicles.
The plan will be submitted to the fund trustee before the first actual withdrawal from the trust fund.
Background. Beginning in model year 2008 VW sold about 600,000 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel passenger vehicles with illegal software in the United States. 87,000 of those cars were sold in California. The illegal software, or defeat device, was specifically designed to operate emission control equipment when a vehicle is tested. The control equipment would then be shut off when the cars were actually being driven on the road.
Map of estimated subject VW vehicle populations by air basin.
CARB engineers uncovered the defeat device and VW eventually confessed to violating US and California air quality regulations.
Excess NOx emissions are a major public health concern in California, because they are a key ingredient in formation of ozone (smog), CARB notes. More than 10 million Californians live in areas in extreme non-compliance areas for ozone. Those areas include the southern San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles Basin. Ozone is a contributor to asthma attacks, cardio-pulmonary disease and premature death.
The National VW Environmental Trust is intended to mitigate past and future excess NOx emissions from the subject vehicles. Under the terms of the two Consent Decrees, VW must pay about $3 billion into a national Environmental Mitigation Trust over a three-year period for specified eligible mitigation actions. California’s allocation of the trust is about $423 million.
Voith Turbo introduces electric drive system for buses
Voith Turbo as introduced a complete electric drive system for buses. The drive system was originally conceptualized as a prototype for a Solaris Urbino Bus, but it can be integrated into vehicles from other manufacturers without restrictions.
The achievable range primarily depends on the battery, which we acquire from an internationally renowned supplier. We are currently using a lithium-iron-phosphate battery. This battery offers the highest level of reliability, but the electric drive system is designed in such a way that it can work together with any battery technology.
—Jürgen Berger, project manager at Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG
With a torque of 2,250 N·m and an output of 260 kW, the liquid-cooled permanent magnet motor with high-efficiency inverter and smart energy management system provides strong driving performance and does not require a separate transmission. The system can even efficiently operate heavy articulated buses.
The compact design of the drive means that it is not only low in weight but also low in noise emissions and maintenance. The consistently employed lightweight design approach makes it possible to minimize any surplus weight, which in turn has a positive effect on energy consumption and consequently the achievable range.
The targeted brake force recuperation of the drive positively affects mileage. The fact that all components are cooled with water increases reliability and performance and makes it possible to reduce noise emissions during operation.
The range of the demonstrator bus currently exceeds 200 km (124 miles). This corresponds to the total daily operation of a conventional city bus line. In the coming years, this range is expected to increase thanks to further developments in battery technology, Voith said.
Studies have shown that inner-city traffic is subject to increasing changes, brought on by developments in terms of growing population, air pollution as well as climate change. The demand for environmentally friendly, low-noise drives in public transport is rapidly growing. Added to this is the political pressure, as for example restrictions imposed on nitrogen oxide and noise emissions, meaning that the number of electric drive vehicles will continue to grow in the coming years.
Especially for the bus fleets of municipal transport services, the time for electro mobility has definitely arrived. As an established and experienced partner of the bus industry, we have acquired an extensive amount of experience in regard to the various drive systems used for buses. With the new electric drive system, we are putting this experience to good use and add yet another milestone in our company history to our portfolio.
—Cornelius Weitzmann, Executive Vice President & CEO Mobility of Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG.
Voith is expecting that by 2030, electric drives will have taken up a superior position in the bus fleets of transport operators compared to other drive solutions. Significant growth of the electro mobility market for buses is expected for all regions of the world. In the course of this, the city bus segment is only the first step toward an emission-free city, which will soon enough be followed by other segments of the transport sector.
In September, Voith will introduce the demonstrator bus to the general public at the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 trade fair in Hanover, under the motto “Drive New Ways.”
Voith Turbo, a Group Division of Voith, is a specialist for intelligent drive solutions, systems and comprehensive services.