Green Car Congress - 記事一覧
Enovix raises $45M; working to develop its 3D Silicon Lithium-ion technology for EV market
Enovix Corporation has secured $45 million in new funds to produce and commercialize its 3D Silicon Lithium-ion Battery. The funding sources include a major new strategic investor, current investors (including T. J. Rodgers and York Capital), and non-dilutive funding from market-leading customers. Enovix has developed a lithium-ion battery that incorporates a 100% active silicon anode using a patented 3D cell architecture to increase energy density and maintain high cycle life. The patented 3D cell architecture vertically stacks high-capacity silicon anodes, cathodes, and separators in an inherently flat structure. Unlike the horizontally wound structure of a conventional lithium-ion cell, 3D architecture allows for an integrated stainless-steel constraint to apply stack pressure and maintain silicon particle connection for uniform discharge. The result is both a significant increase in energy density and high cycle life. Source: Enovix. Enovix replaces electrode winding in a standard pouch lithium-ion battery production process with proprietary laser patterning and high-speed stacking tools to increase line MWh capacity by 30%. Enovix will use the bulk of the funds to complete its Fremont, California high-volume battery production facility, where about 75% of the equipment and processes are identical to standard pouch lithium-ion battery manufacturing. We initially attracted customers when we sampled cells about a year ago with energy density over 900 Wh/l and full-depth of discharge cycle life over 500. As customers and investors visited our production site and saw our proprietary electrode laser patterning and high-speed stacking tools in action, their confidence in our production capability was sufficient to generate revenue and secure additional funding.—Harrold Rust, Enovix co-founder and CEO The facility is expected to produce batteries for delivery in late 2020 and to reach a run-rate of 8 million units per year as it ramps in 2021 and 2022. Enovix has also signed new agreements with two additional portable electronics companies. The company now has agreements with four category leading customers to develop and produce silicon-anode lithium-ion batteries for portable electronic devices, worth an anticipated $250 million in annual revenue once fully ramped. Based on successfully deploying 3D Silicon Lithium-ion Battery technology in portable electronic devices, Enovix is now working with leading international automobile manufacturers to develop its patented battery technology for the electric vehicle (EV) market. Initial R&D indicates that cells can achieve gravimetric energy density greater than 340 Wh/kg at a cost equivalent to or below present industry forecasts. Enovix expects to supply the EV market within 5 years. The company is backed by strategic relationships with Intel, Qualcomm and Cypress and more than $200 million in venture, strategic and private funding. It has been awarded more than 70 patents and has more than 40 applications pending.
Fortescue and ATCO to explore the deployment of hydrogen vehicle fueling infrastructure in W Australia; renewable H2
Fortescue Metals Group and ATCO Australia have signed an agreement to explore the deployment of hydrogen vehicle fueling infrastructure in Western Australia. Under the agreement, the two parties will collaborate to build and operate a combined hydrogen production and refueling facility at ATCO’s existing facility in Jandakot in the Perth metropolitan area, with the possibility of wider deployment across the State. The initial refueling facility will provide Fortescue, ATCO and approved third parties with the opportunity to refuel vehicles capable of utilizing hydrogen as the primary fuel source, including a fleet of Toyota Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles which have been made available by Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. The project will serve as a showcase for hydrogen mobility in WA and support the transition to the next generation of zero-emission transport. Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said the company is committed to working with other organizations to position Australia as a leader in the global hydrogen economy. ATCO Managing Director in Australia Pat Creaghan said ATCO is committed to expediting the global transition to a net-zero emissions balance in the future and sees a significant opportunity for hydrogen to play a role in that future. ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub has been generating and testing the use of renewable hydrogen for more than six months in gas blending and power applications. The Hub provides a fantastic base from which to partner with Fortescue to contribute to Western Australia’s burgeoning renewable hydrogen industry. We look forward to working with Fortescue capitalize on Western Australia’s natural advantages for the benefit of the environment, the economy and the community—Pat Creaghan ATCO and Fortescue have sought funding under the State Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Fund to support the development of this infrastructure, and are awaiting the outcome of this submission.
Skoltech researchers develop titanium fluoride phosphate cathode material for potassium-ion batteries
Researchers from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology (CEST) in Russia have developed a new cathode material based on titanium fluoride phosphate which enabled achieving superior energy performance and stable operation at high discharge currents in potassium-ion batteries. The results of their study are published in an open-access paper in Nature Communications. The rapid progress in mass-market applications of metal-ion batteries intensifies the development of economically feasible electrode materials based on earth-abundant elements. Here, we report on a record-breaking titanium-based positive electrode material, KTiPO4F, exhibiting a superior electrode potential of 3.6 V in a potassium-ion cell, which is extraordinarily high for titanium redox transitions. We hypothesize that such an unexpectedly major boost of the electrode potential benefits from the synergy of the cumulative inductive effect of two anions and charge/vacancy ordering. Carbon-coated electrode materials display no capacity fading when cycled at 5C rate for 100 cycles, which coupled with extremely low energy barriers for potassium-ion migration of 0.2 eV anticipates high-power applications. Our contribution shows that the titanium redox activity traditionally considered as “reducing” can be upshifted to near-4V electrode potentials thus providing a playground to design sustainable and cost-effective titanium-containing positive electrode materials with promising electrochemical characteristics.—Fedotov et al. The rapid development of electric transport and renewable energy sources calls for commercially accessible, safe and inexpensive energy storage solutions based on metal-ion batteries. The high price of the existing lithium-ion technology is a weakness further exacerbated by speculations of supply limitations for lithium and cobalt essential to the production of the cathode. Skoltech scientists succeeded in creating a commercially attractive advanced cathode material based on titanium fluoride phosphate, KTiPO4F, exhibiting a high electrochemical potential and unprecedented stability at high charge/discharge rates. This is an exceptional result that literally destroys the paradigm prevailing in the battery community and claiming that titanium-based materials can perform as anodes only due to titanium’s low potential. We believe that the discovery of the high-voltage KTiPO4F can give fresh impetus to the search and development of new titanium-containing cathode materials with unique electrochemical properties.—Professor Stanislav Fedotov Resources Fedotov, S.S., Luchinin, N.D., Aksyonov, D.A. et al. (2020) “Titanium-based potassium-ion battery positive electrode with extraordinarily high redox potential.” Nat Commun 11, 1484 doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15244-6
Photocatalytic optical fibers convert water into hydrogen
Researchers at the University of Southampton have transformed optical fibers into photocatalytic microreactors that convert water into hydrogen fuel using solar energy. The technology combines, for the first time, microstructured optical fiber technology with photocatalysis, creating a photocatalytic microreactor coated with TiO2, decorated with palladium nanoparticles. The microstructured optical fiber canes (MOFCs) with photocatalyst generate hydrogen that could power a wide range of sustainable applications. The researchers have published their proof-of-concept in ACS Photonics and will now establish wider studies that demonstrate the scalability of the platform. Computerized tomography of a MOFC, showing buildup of TiO2 (light blue particles) in the triangular channels. Zepler Institute, University of Southampton. The MOFCs have been developed as high pressure microfluidic reactors by each housing multiple capillaries that pass a chemical reaction along the length of the cane. Alongside hydrogen generation from water, the multi-disciplinary research team is investigating photochemical conversion of carbon dioxide into synthetic fuel. The unique methodology presents a potentially feasible solution for renewable energy, the elimination of greenhouse gases and sustainable chemical production. Being able to combine light-activated chemical processes with the excellent light propagation properties of optical fibers has huge potential. In this work our unique photoreactor shows significant improvements in activity compared to existing systems. This as an ideal example of chemical engineering for a 21st century green technology.—Dr Matthew Potter, Chemistry Research Fellow and lead author Advances in optical fiber technology have played a major role in telecommunications, data storage and networking potential in recent years. This latest research involves experts from Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), part of the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, to tap into the fibers’ unprecedented control of light propagation. The scientists coat the fibers with titanium oxide, decorated with palladium nanoparticles. This approach allows the coated canes to simultaneously serve as both host and catalyst for the continuous indirect water splitting, with methanol as a sacrificial reagent. Optical fibers form the physical layer of the remarkable four billion kilometer long global telecommunications network, currently bifurcating and expanding at a rate of over Mach 20, i.e. over 14,000 ft/sec. For this project, we repurposed this extraordinary manufacturing capability using facilities here at the ORC, to fabricate highly scalable microreactors made from pure silica glass with ideal optical transparency properties for solar photocatalysis.—Dr Pier Sazio, study co-author from the Zepler Institute The research builds upon findings from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRC)-funded Photonic fiber technologies for solar fuels catalysis (EP/N013883/1). Resources Matthew E. Potter, Daniel J. Stewart, Alice E. Oakley, Richard P. Boardman, Tom Bradley, Pier J. A. Sazio, Robert Raja (2020) “Combining Photocatalysis and Optical Fiber Technology toward Improved Microreactor Design for Hydrogen Generation with Metallic Nanoparticles”, ACS Photonics doi: 10.1021/acsphotonics.9b01577
Aalborg U study finds biogas and biomethane reduce dry biomass consumption by up to 16%
Replacing dry biomass-derived fuels with biogas and biogas-derived fuels in certain sectors of the energy system can reduce dry biomass consumption by up to 16% when used for power, heat or industrial sectors, according to a new study by researchers By Aalborg University in Denmark. This paper analyses the role of biogas and biogas-derived fuels in a 100% renewable energy system for Denmark using the energy system analysis tool EnergyPLAN. The end-fuels evaluated are biogas, biomethane and electromethane. First, a reference scenario without biogas is created. Then biogas, biomethane and electromethane replace dry biomass-derived fuels in different sectors of the energy system. If biogas feedstock is free for energy purposes, this brings significant energy system cost reductions, but when the energy sector pays for the biogas feedstock, then savings are lower, in which case biogas and biomethane still reduce the energy system costs for use in power, heat or industrial sectors. Replacement of liquid bio-electrofuels for transport with biomethane shows slight cost reductions, but considerably higher costs when using electromethane. The marginal cost difference to the reference scenario for utilization of biogas in different parts of the energy system with different levels of manure costs with fixed biomass price of €6/GJ. Korberg et al. For power, heat, industry and partly transport, electromethane is economically unfeasible, independent of the dry biomass costs. Biogas should be used directly or in the form of biomethane. It is a limited resource dependent on the structure of the agricultural sector, but it can supplement other renewable energy sources. Resources Andrei David Korberg, Iva Ridjan Skov, Brian Vad Mathiesen (2020) “The role of biogas and biogas-derived fuels in a 100% renewable energy system in Denmark,” Energy, Volume 199, 117426 doi: 10.1016/j.energy.2020.117426
Toyota establishes Toyota Green Energy to conduct renewable energy power generation business
Toyota Motor Corporation, Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc., and Toyota Tsusho Corporation agreed to establish Toyota Green Energy LLP for the purposes of obtaining and managing renewable energy sources in Japan and supplying electric power from renewable energy sources to the Toyota Group in the future. Under Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, Toyota plans to reduce the environmental impact from automobiles to as close to zero as possible and at the same time engage in activities that contribute to the global environment and society. The clean energy to be supplied through this business is expected to reduce CO2 emissions from plants and other facilities to zero in the future and to contribute to the realization of a low-carbon society. Chubu Electric Power has been increasing the use of renewable energy in its drive to expand the scope of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) management and to contribute to resolving issues relating to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By participating as a business partner in the activities of the Toyota Group to create a low-carbon society, the company will contribute to improving Japan’s energy self-sufficiency rate and reducing CO2 emissions. Toyota Tsusho has engaged in the renewable energy business for more than 30 years, from development to operation of power stations, with a focus on wind power and solar power generation. The company plans to make use of its expertise in management of such business in this project in order to foster the transition to a low-carbon society. Going forward, Toyota Green Energy will achieve sustainable and competitive energy by maintaining sustainable practices through cost reductions and extending the lifespans of and replacing existing facilities.
Ricardo report analyzes global development of high voltage fast charging for EVs
A new report published by Ricardo highlights the rapidly changing landscape for fast-charging electric vehicles, and the implications for vehicle makers, supply chains, charging infrastructure providers and equipment manufacturers. The report—High Voltage and Fast Charging for Electric Vehicles—shows how automotive manufacturers and infrastructure providers in the US, China and Europe are responding to the needs of consumers, in order to make electric vehicles more attractive to users. It also addresses how technologies, standards and electric powertrain systems will need to be developed to meet these consumer needs. The publication provides an overview of the future landscape for fast-charging of electric vehicles. It includes a description of the latest battery-electric vehicle charging trends; an overview of planned fast-charging networks in Europe, the USA and China, along with fast-charging network statistics; a look at current and future development of battery-electric vehicle technology; and an overview of the capabilities needed to accept faster charging and provide longer vehicle driving ranges. The automotive industry is moving toward larger battery capacities with longer driving ranges and faster charging times. The report provides insight into current and future electric vehicle specifications. The broader technical implications of high voltage charging on infrastructure, battery life, battery chemistry and vehicle electrical architecture are also addressed.
IPSOS study finds private cars jump to 1st place as preferred means of transport in China; protection against infection
In a recent study by the market research institute Ipsos, two out of three respondents say that they prefer their own car to public transport—twice as many as before the COVID-19 outbreak. At the end of February, Ipsos asked 1,620 Chinese citizens about their mobility preferences, and the fear of the coronavirus in changing their habits. Private cars jumped from 3rd to 1st place in terms of preferred means of transport, while buses and metros lost ground to a similar extent. Individually driven two-wheelers, on the other hand, maintained second place. The consulting firm Kantar came to similar conclusions as the Ipsos study. “Due to the epidemic, people will rethink how they move around in the future,” says a study on the consequences of the corona situation for the Chinese industry. This could increase the desire to buy a car. One of the key findings of the Ipsos study: Two-thirds of all respondents who do not currently own a vehicle want to buy a car within six months. For three out of four first-time buyers, protection against infection is a key reason for their purchase intention. In the ranking of purchase arguments, health is thus clearly ahead of motives such as being family-friendly or flexibility. According to studies, around 80% of all vehicles in the Chinese entry-level segment go to customers who are buying a car for the first time in their lives. After a deep plunge in February, the Chinese car market is currently showing signs of recovery. I expect the car business to reach last year’s level in early summer.—Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China Production has already restarted at 22 of 24 Volkswagen locations in China. Volkswagen hopes that the JETTA brand, which Volkswagen launched on the Chinese market last year, has a particular opportunity. JETTA is targeted to young customers who are buying their own car for the first time. With almost 30,000 deliveries in the first three months, JETTA had the most successful launch of all new car brands in China.
GM and JVs deliveries in China down 43.3% in Q1; Wuling introduces EVs
General Motors and its joint ventures delivered 461,716 vehicles in China in the first quarter, down 43.3% from 813,973 in Q1 2019. Cadillac deliveries topped 26,800 units (-40% y-o-y). The CT4 sedan being launched in China this month will give Cadillac its strongest and most complete lineup ever, enabling it to compete in all key luxury segments. Buick had deliveries of nearly 129,600 units (-42.5% y-o-y). Preorders for the all-new GL8 Avenir luxury MPV family, which added four-seat and six-seat variants, commenced in March. Chevrolet deliveries surpassed 50,900 units (-54.7% y-o-y). The brand likewise began accepting preorders for the Blazer SUV to tap into the popular large SUV segment. Baojun sold nearly 82,200 vehicles (-51.5% y-o-y) and Wuling deliveries exceeded 172,200 units (-34.3% y-o-y). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, GM shifted its primary focus to supporting control and prevention of the coronavirus while also ensuring the safety of its employees as well as company and dealer operations. The company’s brands adopted new tactics to stay connected with their customers and offer them peace of mind. New sales channels and methods such as livestreaming and touch-free vehicle services were introduced across the brands to reach out to customers in a secure way. GM reinforced its commitment to a zero-emissions future and is on track to exceed its plan of introducing 10 new energy vehicles in the domestic market between 2016 and 2020. The Chevrolet Menlo, the Chevrolet brand’s first all-electric vehicle in China, was launched in February. The all-new E300 will soon join the E100 and E200 in Baojun’s electric vehicle portfolio. Wuling also revealed its first all-electric models, the Hong Guang MINI EV and the Rong Guang electric van. Hong Guang MINI EV In addition to electric vehicles, GM is maintaining its focus on the introduction of luxury vehicles as well as midsize/large SUVs and MPVs—the segments with the strongest increase in customer demand. Wuling Rong Guang EV. The latest member of the popular Rong Guang family will be available later this month. Rong Guang EV The minivan has a range of 300 kilometers on a single charge and supports DC fast charging. It has been put through more than 100,000 kilometers of high-intensity road testing. The battery has undergone fire, water, collision, vibration and other testing to ensure it will offer a high level of safety. The Rong Guang electric vehicle has the same dimensions as the model powered by a standard internal combustion engine. It also has the same cargo space of 5.1 cubic meters.
Hyundai Motor Group appoints Bell Textron exec as Vice President of Urban Air Mobility Division
Hyundai Motor Group appointed J. Scott Drennan as Vice President of its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division. Drennan will report to Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President (EVP) and Head of UAM Division. In this role, Drennan will lead UAM research and development. Prior to joining Hyundai, Drennan spent more than 25 years with Bell Textron and made significant contributions to the V-22, the AW609 and the V-280, all vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. He most recently served as Vice President of Innovation at Bell Textron, where he was responsible for developing advanced configurations, technologies and vertical lift missions to advance Bell Textron’s commercial and military business. Through its UAM Division, Hyundai Motor Group aims to provide innovative smart mobility solutions to address ever-increasing traffic congestion in megacities around the world that suffer economic and environmental tolls due to lost productivity and air pollution. Earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Hyundai Motor Company presented its vision to offer an integrated mobility solution, including UAM, Purpose Built Vehicles (PBV) and Hub, that will help vitalize cities and improve people’s lives. Hyundai’s air vehicle concept. The Group showcased a concept personal air vehicle (PAV) model S-A1 that was built in collaboration with Uber Elevate, as Uber and Hyundai agreed to work together in the aerial ridesharing field. Drennan started his career as an engineer in 1990 as a co-op student with GE Aircraft Engines. Since then, he held various positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and program management. Prior to his innovation role at Bell Textron, he was a functional director of air vehicle integration and a program manager and chief engineer on the AW609 commercial tiltrotor program. His experience includes applied research, new aircraft development, certification and engineering support to experimental and production manufacturing. Drennan was appointed an Aeronautics Committee member on the NASA Advisory Council in June 2018.
GlobalData: Coronavirus threatens China’s battery sector dominance; 26 GWh hit in 2020
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China will impact the green energy sector, including renewable energy sources, battery energy storage, electric vehicles (EVs), and renewable heating and cooling, says data and analytics company GlobalData. China’s attempt to fight the coronavirus outbreak has led to delayed production across a number of battery production facilities located in key coronavirus hit provinces and is expected to lower the output of Chinese battery manufacturers by around 26 GWh in 2020.—Sneha Susan Elias, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData The supply constraint will also have an impact on the global EV markets along with energy storage projects, causing project delays or a rise in battery prices. This situation is different from the conventional narrative about grid storage projects and EVs reaping benefits from steady decrease in battery price. Globally, carmakers are looking for independence from the current supremacy of Chinese battery manufacturers and are aiming to secure their own battery supply chains. The industry’s over dependency on China has been showcased recently with the coronavirus outbreak leading to disruptions in the supply of components. China itself is expected to take a beating on production of around one million vehicles. The country exports around US$70 billion worth of car parts and accessories worldwide, with nearly 20% going to the US.—Sneha Susan Elias
Toshiba’s SCiB Li-ion battery system Japan’s first recognized compliant with ClassNK guidline for marine vessels
Toshiba Corporation announced that its SCiB lithium-ion battery modules and related components for building a battery system are the first to win approval for use in marine vessels from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), the international ship classification society that promotes protection of life and property at sea, and protection of the marine environment. The certification covers twelve storage battery system components, including SCiB lithium-ion rechargeable battery modules, current sensors, and the battery management unit (BMU) which monitors the voltage, temperature, and current of the battery module. Certified battery system components are exempt from tests ordinarily required for storage battery system components, and allow a battery system to be built in a relatively short period of time. Ships with the battery system can use renewable energy sources to charge the SCiB while at sea, allowing the system to power on-board equipment while the ship is at anchor and to provide power when entering or leaving port. At a time when pollution regulations are increasingly focused on the emissions ships generate, the SCiB will contribute to the protection of the marine and global environments. ClassNK is a global organization with more than 120 survey offices worldwide, and offers a wide range of maritime services that ensure the security of human life and property and promote conservation of the marine environment. The certification is based on Class NK’s “Guidelines for Large-capacity Storage Batteries,” which requires use of a BMU in the system as a safety feature. Toshiba’s BMU has passed safety tests at the National LABoratory for advanced energy storage technologies (NLAB) of the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation, an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which confirmed it to be compliant with JIS C8715-2, the safety standard for lithium-ion battery cells and battery systems for industrial applications. Ships are responsible for about 800 million metric tons of CO2 every year, roughly equivalent to the annual emission of Germany. In view of the growing global economy and increasing demands for international shipping, IMO aims as part of its GHG reduction strategy to reduce CO2 emission by at least 40% by 2030; cut GHG emissions by at least half by 2050, and to achieve zero emissions as soon as possible this century. Storage battery system component configuration While increasing numbers of ships are phasing out heavy oil fuel in favor of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for its lower CO2, NOx, and SOx emissions, storage battery technologies are attracting attention as a power supply for on-board equipment or as an auxiliary power source that will also help to reduce CO2 emissions. Lead acid batteries have long dominated the use of on-board storage batteries on ships, but they are often criticized for their large size and heavy weight relative to available energy density. In contrast, lithium-ion batteries provide greater capacity and energy density despite their smaller size, but may pose a potentially greater safety threat. Preventing battery destruction or ignition due to thermal runway is of crucial importance in a ship’s confined space, with limited escape routes. The lithium titanium oxide negative electrode of Toshiba’s SCiB is extremely low risk in respect of explosion or combustion even in case of an internal short-circuit caused by external shock. Fully functional at -30°C, and with a long life of over 20,000 charge cycles, the SCiB is suited to use in a wide range of automotive, industrial, and energy storage systems that require high levels of safety and reliability. The SCiB has been selected for electric propulsion system for ships, coastal trading vessels, and also in other industries across the world. This includes the rail systems in Europe, where SCiB battery system components became the first lithium-ion battery system components to achieve compliance with the European Norm standards for rolling stock in August 2018.
Volkswagen and Faurecia delivering PPE to New York City Javits Center and area hospitals
Volkswagen of America and Faurecia are collaborating to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items needed on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis response. Strategic planning with Volkswagen has allowed Faurecia—a fabrics and materials supplier for the brand—to begin production of facemasks and gowns to be used by medical professionals battling the global pandemic. The shift in supply chain utilization came about from an internal Volkswagen task force, created to identify ways of meaningfully impacting the fight against COVID-19. After initial outreach to suppliers and production partners, an opportunity was identified when Faurecia communicated the ability and desire to modify the company’s production lines. Through rapid-fire operational discussions with Volkswagen, plus an initial order of 70,000 masks and 5,000 gowns, Faurecia was able to pivot its processes and begin production at one of its facilities in Mexico. The company has since been able to significantly ramp up production capacities and is now able to make an estimated 250K masks and 50K gowns per week. Volkswagen has donated the first run of Faurecia-produced masks and gowns to New York State’s COVID-19 response efforts. The shipment of 75,000 units is scheduled to arrive this week and be distributed at area hospitals including New York City’s Javits Center, recently transformed by the US Army Corps of Engineers into a temporary hospital staffed by FEMA and Army medical personnel. New York is currently the epicenter of COVID-19 in the US, with 102,987 confirmed cases on 3 April, and 2,935 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University; most of those are in New York City. The work with Faurecia is the first of numerous initiatives currently under development between Volkswagen of America and its network of suppliers to enter the operational phase.
Hyundai Motor Company extends warranties for more than 1M vehicles worldwide
Hyundai Motor Company launched a warranty extension policy for its vehicles worldwide. The program aims to support Hyundai customers who may face difficulties in getting vehicles serviced and repaired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyundai vehicles with original warranties that expire between March and June 2020 will benefit from a warranty extension for up to three months. More than 1.2 million Hyundai vehicles in 175 countries will be eligible for the warranty extension. The warranty extension can vary between countries. For Hyundai owners in the US with a 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty or a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that is expiring between March and June 2020, they will have the warranty coverage extended to 30 June 2020. All eligible customers will be contacted in the coming days, with more details about the warranty extension program. Vehicle maintenance has been deemed an essential business in most places across the country, so while many Hyundai dealership showrooms have closed due to reasons brought on by the coronavirus, most service departments have remained open. This leaves customers confused about service availability and whether they should leave their homes for vehicle service. To give customers peace of mind, Hyundai is taking action to help alleviate any anxiety or confusion that may exist by helping customers who still need to get to their jobs a way to have their vehicles maintained or repaired if necessary. These dealerships are well-equipped to manage repairs and provide maintenance while practicing social distancing, including picking up and dropping off vehicles for service and cleaning vehicles before they are returned. Hyundai understands that many customers would prefer to not sign repair orders while dropping off or picking up their vehicles. Hyundai’s current policy allows for electronic signature authorization and digital communication (text messages, email, and social media posts) between the dealer and customer as a form of repair approval. Hyundai dealers are also currently practicing social distancing in their showrooms, offering online purchase and home delivery of purchased vehicles at select dealerships, allowing solo test drives, cleaning common areas and eliminating certain in-person activities to make a purchase. Hyundai’s decision comes amid a global reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has caused many countries to take various precautionary measures that include closing non-essential facilities. With the warranty extensions, the company expects to help address any concerns customers may have about being unable to visit a service center to get vehicle maintenance or warranty repairs while adhering to stay-at-home and physical distancing guidelines set by local/federal governments.
Recent trends in gasoline prices
by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. This brief note analyzes the changes in the price of gasoline during the first 13 weeks of 2020 and compares them with the changes during the first 13 weeks of 2019. The raw data (the average retail price of regular gasoline) came from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The results are shown in the table below. During the first 13 weeks of 2020, the price of gasoline decreased by 22.2% (from $2.578 to $2.005). Furthermore, during this time of the year, gasoline prices typically (but not always) tend to go up because of the usual increase in driving in the spring compared with driving in the winter. As an example, the above table also includes the analogous data for the first 13 weeks of 2019. Indeed, during the same time period in 2019, gasoline prices increased by 20.3%. Thus, in comparison with the trend in 2019, gasoline prices during the first 13 weeks of 2020 decreased by 35% (77.8 is 65% of 120.3). Michael Sivak is the managing director of Sivak Applied Research and the former director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan.
Ilika completes US$19M equity placement to support solid-state battery commercialization
UK-based Ilika, a developer of solid-state battery technology, successfully completed a £15-million (US$19-million) equity placement to support its growth strategy. Ilika launched its cm-scale Stereax technology for industrial wireless sensors in 2016 and followed up with mm-scale micro-batteries for miniature medical devices in 2019. In response to demand from the automotive and consumer electronics sectors, with £5 million (US$6.2 million) in grant support from the UK Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge Fund, it has extended its product roadmap to develop large-format Goliath pouch cells. Ilika currently produces its Stereax batteries on a pilot line in Southampton, UK. It now intends to implement a partnering model with one or more third-party fabrication facilities (fabs) to produce Stereax at scale. This equity placing will be used to purchase manufacturing equipment which Ilika will install in its selected fab for it to be operated on demand. Ilika will continue to receive orders from its customers and, where appropriate, will outsource wafer production to the fab to allow it to fulfil larger orders. The £15-million equity funding has been provided by a combination of existing and new UK-based institutional shareholders. Ilika Technologies Ltd was founded in 2004 as a spin-out from the School of Chemistry at the University of Southampton. The company has secured commercial partnerships with a portfolio of blue-chip companies including Asahi Kasei, Shell, Applied Materials, Toyota and Murata Manufacturing. Ilika is headquartered in the UK and has operations in the US, China and Israel.
FTA allocating $25B to help US public transportation systems with COVID-19 reality
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a total of $25 billion in federal funding allocations to help US public transportation systems respond to shift in market reality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by President Trump on 27 March 2020. The evaporation of public transit ridership in response to COVID-19 and the rapid spread of stay-at-home policies and orders is leaving public transportation agencies with massive revenue shortfalls. FTA is allocating $25 billion to recipients of urbanized area and rural area formula funds, with $22.7 billion allocated to large and small urban areas and $2.2 billion allocated to rural areas. Funding will be provided at a 100% federal share, with no local match required, and will be available to support capital, operating, and other expenses generally eligible under those programs to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Further, operating expenses incurred beginning on January 20, 2020 for all rural and urban recipients, even those in large urban areas, are also eligible, including operating expenses to maintain transit services as well as paying for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during an emergency. We know that many of our nation’s public transportation systems are facing extraordinary challenges and these funds will go a long way to assisting our transit industry partners in battling COVID-19. These federal funds will support operating assistance to transit agencies, including those in large urban areas as well as pay transit workers across the country not working because of the public health emergency.—FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams In addition to the $25 billion funding allocation, FTA has taken a number of steps to support the transit industry during this public health emergency, including expanding the eligibility of federal assistance available under FTA’s Emergency Relief Program to help transit agencies respond to COVID-19 in states where the Governor has declared an emergency. All transit providers, including those in large urban areas, can now use federal formula funds under the Urbanized Area Formula Program and Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program for emergency-related capital and operating expenses. This includes the provision of personal protective equipment or special-purpose trips. FTA also established an Emergency Relief docket that allows transit providers in states where the Governor has declared an emergency related to COVID-19 to request temporary relief from federal requirements under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 as well as any non-statutory FTA requirements. Additionally, FTA recently announced that it would provide a 30-day extension of the deadline for current competitive grant program funding opportunities, including: FTA’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program; Passenger Ferry Grant Program; Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) Challenge Grants; and Helping Obtain Prosperity for Everyone (HOPE) Program.
GM and Honda jointly to develop two next-generation Honda EVs on GM platform and Ultium batteries
General Motors and Honda have agreed to develop jointly two all-new electric vehicles for Honda, based on GM’s highly flexible global EV platform powered by proprietary Ultium batteries. GM unveiled the platform and batteries in early March. (Earlier post.) The exteriors and interiors of the new EVs will be exclusively designed by Honda, and the platform will be engineered to support Honda’s driving character. General Motors’ all-new modular platform and battery system, Ultium. Production of these Honda electric vehicles will combine the development expertise of both companies, and they will be manufactured at GM plants in North America. Sales are expected to begin in the 2024 model year in Honda’s United States and Canadian markets. GM and Honda have an ongoing relationship around electrification. This includes work on fuel cells and the Cruise Origin, an electric, self-driving and shared vehicle, which was revealed in San Francisco earlier this year. Honda also joined GM’s battery module development efforts in 2018. This collaboration will put together the strength of both companies, while combined scale and manufacturing efficiencies will ultimately provide greater value to customers. This expanded partnership will unlock economies of scale to accelerate our electrification roadmap and advance our industry-leading efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are in discussions with one another regarding the possibility of further extending our partnership.—Rick Schostek, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. This agreement builds on our proven relationship with Honda, and further validates the technical advancements and capabilities of our Ultium batteries and our all-new EV platform. Importantly, it is another step on our journey to an all-electric future and delivering a profitable EV business through increased scale and capacity utilization. We have a terrific history of working closely with Honda, and this new collaboration builds on our relationship and like-minded objectives.—Doug Parks, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain As part of the agreement to develop electric vehicles jointly, Honda will incorporate GM’s OnStar safety and security services into the two EVs, seamlessly integrating them with HondaLink. Additionally, Honda plans to make GM’s hands-free advanced driver-assist technology available.
Transatel launches next-generation, secured and global connected vehicle platform IoV Connect
Having successfully deployed connectivity services for several market leaders in Europe, such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, ranging from vehicle manufacturers to service providers, Transatel, a member company of NTT Group, has launched IoV Connect, a global cellular connectivity platform specifically designed for the sector of motorized vehicles. Available as of today in PaaS (platform as a service) mode, the platform is dedicated to solving vehicle manufacturers’ greatest challenges currently not being addressed by the market. Transatel says that the platform’s first key differentiator is MNO 9mobile network operator) selection at network-level. Any addition, removal, change of host radio network anywhere in the world is programmed at network level and thus implemented instantaneously, not requiring complex Over-The-Air SIM profile update campaigns. The second key differentiator is end-user management, for which most connected car platforms come unequipped. Leveraging on Transatel’s 20+ years’ experience in launching mobile B2C offers around the world, IoV Connect offers the professional tools, insights and expertise to cover all aspects of pricing, marketing, billing, customer experience, customer care and regulatory compliance. Last, IoV Connect offers a fully re-brandable service for onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, complete with marketing and end-user support services: Ubigi. Requiring but a single integration to cover the world (160+ countries to date), IoV Connect caters to vehicle manufacturers wishing to avoid the cost and/or complexity of multiple integrations with Mobile Network Operators. Most existing IoV platforms are feature-rich but rely on the aggregating of multiple MNO profiles. As a vehicle manufacturer, you therefore still need a Service Agreement with the MNO in question. In the case of IoV Connect, Transatel is the MNO. Manufacturers no longer need to sign Service Agreements with Mobile Network Operators, simply Access Agreements, which greatly reduces complexity. Moreover, manufacturers benefit out-of-the-box from 160+ Access Agreements already bundled into the IoV Connect platform. With most existing connected car platforms, manufacturers deciding on a change in Mobile Network Operator or a feature update must rely on costly (€0.60 to €1/SIM) Over-The-Air campaigns to reconfigure the SIM profiles inside their vehicles. Any inaccessible vehicles, such as garage-parked, or cars in motion, etc., will need to proceed physically to the dealership for a SIM profile update, with all that this entails. With a configuration at network level, any switching of underlying host radio networks, or any new connected vehicle feature developed, is instantly and seamlessly made available to vehicles across continents. The process, remaining perfectly transparent for the end user, leaves a lot of room for innovation at every turn. Transatel has long been concerned with Security for the IoT and has developed a system for airtight connectivity. IoV Connect has therefore been modeled considering the critical factor of security for vehicles, and this, at three levels. First, as a licensed operator without spectrum, Transatel has its own non-geographic MNC (Mobile Network Code). The underlying resources used are therefore inaccessible from the exterior. For example, in the typical case of hacking with a massive brute-force attack via SMS, the only SMS accepted by the vehicle are those from the OEM’s authorized servers. The unwanted SMS can’t even reach the authentication process and therefore drain the vehicle’s battery in the process. Second, all the software and firmware updates are not conducted via the internet. Third, IoV Connect SIM profiles are embedded with security keys for authentication purposes, to further shield vehicles from unwanted intrusions. Of course, IoV Connect is compatible with any form of additional security processes and add-ons desired by the manufacturer. IoV Connect’s security solution protects against threats and cyberattacks with a full set of services: A secure architecture for Data and SMS: Private APN, vehicle isolation, public non-exposure, certified architecture. Global security functionalities on the architecture: Threats analysis, traffic filtering, SMS firewalling. TAC/IMEI lock Caught between the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) who control the apps, and the MNOs who control the connectivity, vehicle manufacturers are understandably trying to secure their share of the revenue created with the increasing use of apps within their vehicles. Acting as an abstraction layer to MNO networks, IoV Connect enables OEMs to reap a share of the value generated from the connectivity services offered within their vehicles (whether from telematics, infotainment, or Wi-Fi on board). Manufacturers can also monetize the data collected and the access/visibility to their end users. Last, IoV Connect enables manufacturers to retain their independence and bargaining power vis à vis MNOs and thus control their connectivity service and financial equation. I’m excited about this launch, because it’s the result of years of observation and exchanges with the industry, and years of hard work from Transatel teams. IoV Connect can turn any complex, global Connected Car project, into a manageable enterprise with clear milestones and beneficial outcomes. By making things simple and global by design, we help manufacturers focus on their core activities and gain global economies of scale. We intend to prove that our platform for the Connected Car, both industry-specific and fully managed, is the safest option, and the most scalable and cost-effective business model for auto manufacturers, right up until they’re ready to become fully licensed telecom operators themselves!—Bertrand Salomon, Transatel Co-CEO
Emissions Analytics RDE testing finds VW Touareg V8 TDI well below Euro 6 NOx limit
Volkswagen has launched a new range of diesel engines (TDI) characterized by extremely low nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx). The Touareg V8 TDI, generating 310 kW (421 PS) (earlier post), is among the first Volkswagens to feature an exhaust purification system that brings NOx to these low level: it emits between just 0.01 and 0.02 g/km. These NOx values were determined on the basis of RDE measurements (Real Driving Emissions) in actual road traffic by independent specialist Emissions Analytics. The current Euro 6 NOx limit is 0.08 g/km. RDE measurements defined by the European Union are intended to be extremely close to values determined in practical conditions. They supplement the new WLTP test cycle (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure), determined on a rolling road test bed and thus in laboratory conditions, by an emissions test carried out in actual road traffic. In the case of the Touareg V8 TDI, these RDE measurement runs (which have been synchronized with the actual everyday usage of Volkswagen customers as part of a targeted procedure) were performed by Emissions Analytics in three German metropolitan areas. One test was carried out in the topographically flat federal German state of Lower Saxony while two further tests were conducted on routes in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria that included differences in altitude. The all-wheel drive Touareg V8 TDI reliably came in below the NOx limit in each of the tests, regardless of the route, differences in altitude and individual traffic volume. In Lower Saxony, the value totalled 0.010 g/km on average; in Bavaria it amounted to 0.013 g/km and in Baden-Württemberg the value stood at 0.020 mg/km. The Volkswagen averaged a NOx value of 0.014 g/km over all three measurement runs. This positive result has been made possible by elements including multi-stage exhaust gas treatment featuring a very large NOx storage unit (capacity: 2.3 liters) with high-grade coating and SCR (selective catalytic reduction) with complex conditioning. The SCR catalytic converter converts NOx to steam and nitrogen using AdBlue (synthetic urea solution). Like all Volkswagen TDI models, the Touareg V8 TDI also features a diesel particulate filter. In addition, the V8 TDI operates efficiently and economically as a result of several, internal engine innovations. These include a variable twin-turbo system. At part load—for example in cities or on country roads—the V8 TDI, generating 900 N·m from as little as 1,250 rpm, generates an extremely high torque and thus largely runs at low engine speeds using only one turbocharger. This single turbocharger operation minimizes both consumption and emissions. The second turbocharger only kicks into action from engine speeds over 2,200 rpm using an electrical valvelift system. The overall package generates very clean results; the Touareg V8 TDI meets the Euro-6d-TEMP-EVAP-ISC emission standard. The TDI flagship is not the only Volkswagen generating only a fraction of the NOx emissions permitted as the European limit: the new Golf and the current Passat with their new EA288 Evo four-cylinder model range TDI engines also fall into this category. More new models featuring TDI engines that undercut the nitrogen oxide limits by generating minimum emissions will follow.
Volvo, Veoneer autonomous driving JV Zenuity to be split back between the two
Assisted and autonomous driving software development company, Zenuity, currently a 50-50 joint venture between Volvo Cars and Veoneer, will be split into two parts to maximize the potential of Zenuity’s developments to date. One part is a new stand-alone company, focusing on the development and commercialization of unsupervised autonomous drive software, and will be owned by Volvo Cars. The second part will focus on the continued development and commercialization of advanced driver assistance systems and will be integrated into Veoneer, the automotive safety equipment company. Under the joint ownership, Zenuity developed a strong software platform for advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving systems upon which both parts will now continue to build and to develop further. As part of the agreement, Zenuity’s operations and people based in Gothenburg, Sweden and Shanghai, China will be transferred to the new company to be owned by Volvo Cars. The operations and people based in Germany and USA will be transferred to Veoneer. Volvo Cars’ part of Zenuity will focus on development of unsupervised autonomous drive software that will be introduced in the next generation of cars based on Volvo’s SPA2 vehicle architecture. The new company will remain separate from Volvo Cars and run its own distribution channels. The new company is expected to become operational latest during the third quarter of 2020.
BYD, Toyota launch BYD TOYOTA EV TECHNOLOGY (BTET) JV to conduct battery electric vehicle R&D
BYD Company Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation announced that preparations have proceeded since they signed an agreement for the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture company to conduct research and development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on 7 November 2019 (earlier post), and registration of the new company has been completed. Operations are scheduled to commence in May 2020. The name of the new company is BYD TOYOTA EV TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD. (BTET). Hirohisa Kishi from Toyota will serve as chairman, and Zhao Binggen from BYD will be the chief executive officer (CEO). With the engineers from BYD and Toyota working together under the same roof, we aim to develop BEVs that are superior in performance and meet the needs of customers in China by merging the two companies’ strengths and also through friendly rivalry.—Chairman Hirohisa Kishi This joint venture company will focus on the research and development of battery electric vehicles with technology and know-how from both China and Japan. The company is committed to promoting and populating high-quality technologies that make battery electric vehicles more environmentally friendly, safe, comfortable, and intelligent. Our vision is to create a future customer-first mobility style, and a harmonious society for humans and nature.—CEO Zhao Binggen
BMW Group uses Blockchain to drive supply chain transparency: “PartChain”
The BMW Group is using Blockchain technology in purchasing to ensure the traceability of components and raw materials in multi-stage international supply chains. In 2019, we conducted a successful pilot project for purchasing front lights. This year, we want to expand the project to a large number of other suppliers.—Andreas Wendt, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Purchasing and Supplier Network The automotive industry’s international supply chains are highly complex. They generally involve numerous players at different delivery stages and often undergo rapid changes. For this reason, considerable effort can be needed to clearly track a component’s origin or supply route, for instance. Up until now, it has been customary for the many partners to manage their own data separately. The companies’ respective IT systems have not always been able to communicate consistently with one another. For the BMW Group’s purchasing experts and its suppliers, ensuring transparency therefore involved considerable manual effort. The BMW Group initiated the PartChain project to ensure seamless traceability of components—more or less “at the push of a button”—and to provide immediate data transparency in complex supply chains for all partners involved going forward. PartChain enables tamper-proof and consistently verifiable collection and transaction of data in our supply chain, said Wendt. 2019 the pilot project focused solely on part tracking. In the long term, the BMW Group also expects the project to enable complete traceability of critical raw materials—all the way from mine to smelter. This move is designed to take the digitalisation of purchasing at the BMW Group to the next level. Our vision is to create an open platform that will allow data within supply chains to be exchanged and shared safely and anonymized across the industry.—Andreas Wendt PartChain uses Cloud technologies (e.g. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure) in addition to Blockchain solutions. This allows the origin of components to be tracked between all participating partners without any risk of manipulation. The 2019 pilot project already involved two of the BMW Group’s total 31 plants (Spartanburg/US and Dingolfing), as well as three locations of the supplier Automotive Lighting. This year, the platform will be rolled out to about ten suppliers. BMW Group co-founded Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) in 2018. An industry-wide solution would enable all partners participating to link their business processes more closely and coordinate between companies. However, common standards and control models are needed to leverage the full potential of an open platform. The BMW Group therefore co-founded the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) in 2018, a cross-industry initiative comprising 120 leading automotive, mobility and technology companies. Within MOBI, the company heads a working group on supply chain issues. The MOBI members’ shared objective is to help Blockchain technology break through in the mobility sector.
Mitsubishi Fuso to begin series production of fuel-cell trucks by late 2020s; concept eCanter F-CELL
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), part of the Daimler Trucks family, plans to start the series production of fuel-cell trucks by the late 2020s. At the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show in October, MFTBC unveiled the Vision F-CELL, a light-duty fuel-cell concept truck. The Vision F-CELL delivers 135 kW of motor power, supplied by a 75 kW fuel cell and a 135 kW high-voltage battery. The modular high-voltage battery provides from 13.8 to 40 kWh, and 3-4 70 MPa hydrogen tanks hold 5-10 kg of H2. The vehicle has been further elaborated into the concept eCanter F-CELL, a light-duty truck that was presented recently in Kawasaki. The vehicle leverages high-pressure hydrogen, allowing it to be driven up to 300 km (186 milers) and significantly reducing filling time to less than 10 minutes, thereby maximizing road time for customers. As part of the Daimler Electric Mobility Group, an internal research and development organization established in 2018, MFTBC also contributes to and benefits from shared resources for vehicle electrification within the larger Daimler Truck network. In addition to the next generation of the eCanter, MFTBC will continue to collaborate within the Electric Mobility Group to roll out electric models for all FUSO truck and bus segments in the future. MFTBC is taking a leading role in realizing the electrification of commercial vehicles. Our vision is to leverage the Daimler Group’s network and technology in developing advanced e-mobility solutions, fulfilling the goal of CO2-neutral transportation. To realize this vision, and to make CO2-neutral transport a feasible choice for our customers, subsidies for electric vehicles and charging equipment will continue to be of high importance. Through close collaboration with industry players, we aim to deliver CO2-neutral vehicles to customers and continue to offer better solutions to them.—MFTBC CEO Hartmut Schick MFTBC introduced the eCanter, the first all-electric light-duty truck in series production in 2017, pushing the transport industry one leap forward in reducing worldwide CO2 emissions. The eCanter, which has a GVW of 7.5 tons, is ideal for short-distance routes and urban deliveries, as it can travel approximately 100 km (62 miles) on one charge. As part of Daimler AG, MFTBC is committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. MFTBC believes that truly CO2-neutral transportation will only be realized through either battery-powered electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Both battery-powered and fuel-cell vehicles have their respective advantages depending on customer use-case, and the two varieties will complement each other to address ever-diversifying transportation needs.
German transport company SWEG and Daimler sign LOI for first Mercedes-Benz eCitaro REX with fuel cell range-extender
The Südwestdeutsche Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft (SWEG) (Southwest German Transport Company), and Daimler Buses signed a letter of intent to bring the first Mercedes-Benz eCitaro REX with a fuel-cell range extender out of series production onto the road. SWEG is a transport company in southwest Germany that operates railway lines and bus services. The further development of the battery-electric eCitaro, which was described during its launch in 2018 (earlier post), is progressing rapidly. In the course of this year, its range will be increased considerably with new battery generations, including solid-state batteries. The eCitaro REX, another one of the future options described at the launch, uses a fuel cell stack as a range extender, enabling the eCitaro to replace conventionally powered city buses seamlessly, even with very high range requirements. Our company has always been a pioneer in the field of new and sustainable forms of mobility.—outgoing CEO of SWEG, Johannes Müller That is why we would also like to gain experience on site in the field of hydrogen technology.—Tobias Harms, future SWEG CEO From 2022, SWEG will probably use the two-door solo bus initially at the company’s headquarters in Lahr. The company is currently developing a concept for supplying the city bus with hydrogen. SWEG operates bus transport in urban and interurban transport as well as local rail freight and rail passenger transport in Baden-Württemberg and partially adjacent areas. The company uses around 400 of its own and around 60 rented buses. SWEG employs more than 1,300 people. Over the past few years, SWEG has tested many alternative drive types, including natural gas buses. The transport company also uses electric and diesel-electric hybrid buses.
Two Fuso eCanter electric trucks delivering mail in Dublin; 150 delivered globally
Two FUSO eCanter electric trucks are now operating in the Irish capital Dublin for the country’s post service An Post. With the handover in Dublin, the FUSO eCanter is now running in ten European cities in Germany, the UK, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. Since launching the eCanter in October 2017, FUSO achieved the initial sales target of 150 units in about two years since the first delivery to a customer. More deliveries in Europe, Japan and the United states are set to follow successively. So far, the global FUSO eCanter fleet has achieved 1.6 million kilometers, driven locally emission-free in customer operations. With a range of 100 kilometers, the 7.49-tonne vehicle easily meets the inner-city short-range distribution requirements of its customers. The electric drive system carries a motor (maximum output: 129 kW; maximum torque: 390 N·m) and six high-voltage (with each 420 V and 13.8 kWh) lithium-ion battery packs. Power is transferred to the rear axle by a standard single-speed transmission. With quick-charging stations, the vehicle only takes approximately one and a half hours to fully recharge.
Audi provides overview of its 4 distinct EV platforms
Globally, by 2025, Audi is aiming to have 30 electrified models on sale, with 20 of those vehicles fully electric. In the US, Audi has already introduced five production models: the Audi Q5 TFSI e, A7 TFSI e and A8 TFSI e plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) as well as the e-tron all-electric SUV and upcoming e-tron Sportback. Next, it will introduce the Audi Q4 e-tron SUV and e-tron GT performance sedan, which have already been shown as concept vehicles. Audi’s upcoming all-electric vehicles will be built on four distinct platforms to underpin cars and SUVs in a multitude of sizes: MLB evo; J1 Performance platform; MEB Modular Electrification Toolkit; and Premium Platform Electric PPE. MLB evo: The first Audi electric vehicles. The first Audi quattro model of the 1980s was simply named “quattro” for its innovative all-wheel-drive technology. Much the same, the “e-tron” name foreshadows a range of electric vehicle (EV) drivetrain technology for the Audi brand. The Audi e-tron SUV is the first all-electric SUV, having gone on sale in the US starting in May 2019. The e-tron is based on a heavily modified version of the modular longitudinal platform (MLB evo) that underpins an array of Audi vehicles. With a wheelbase that stretches 115.3 inches, the e-tron is between the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 SUVs in terms of size, or about the same size as an Audi Q8. The high-voltage battery stores up to 95 kWh of energy and can recover up to 30% of energy used to drive the vehicle during regenerative braking applications. In most applications, the e-tron uses brake-energy regeneration relying on its hydraulic brake booster. A brake pedal simulator makes the switch from regen to hydraulic braking nearly unnoticeable. The e-tron houses two asynchronous electric motors (ASM) that produce up to 402 horsepower in boost mode. A more powerful, three-motor variant with fully independent rear torque vectoring is also under development. Using an Audi-designed power electronics module, the e-tron is able to read sensor data 10,000 times per second and output current values for the electric motors to help with traction in various conditions. With its rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive system, if the e-tron senses a loss of traction, it is able to redistribute torque to wheels with traction in just 30 milliseconds. The Audi e-tron can charge using both alternating (Level 1 and 2) and direct (Level 3) current and can achieve approximately 80% charge in 30 minutes at a 150 kW high-speed public charger. Later in 2020, the e-tron will be joined by the e-tron Sportback, a new variant with a coupe-like profile. J1: The performance electric platform. Shown as a concept vehicle thus far, the Audi e-tron GT performance sedan shows how sports cars will evolve in the electric era. For the e-tron GT, Audi is sharing synergies with the Porsche brand, which developed the J1 architecture. The Audi e-tron GT concept car is equipped with two permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) that produce a combined 582 horsepower and 612 lb-ft (830 N·m) of torque. A PSM has a rotor with permanent magnets in it and a natural internal magnetic field. In a PSM, the rotor moves in coordination with the magnetic field of the stator (the stationary part of the motor in which the rotor rotates), which is why it is known as a permanently excited synchronous motor. By comparison, an asynchronous motor’s rotor rotates slower than a synchronous speed. While specifications for the e-tron GT are subject to change, the e-tron GT concept is estimated to reach 62 mph from standstill in 3.5 seconds and 124 mph in just over 12 seconds in production form. The electrical system in the e-tron GT concept car runs at 800 volts, whereas most modern EVs currently operate at a capacity of 400 volts or less. The J1 platform can accept this level due to its energy management and cooling systems. Because of this, the e-tron GT is able to charge the battery to 80% in about 20 minutes at a Level 3 DC fast charger with a maximum output of 350 kW. In the e-tron GT, the battery is located in the underbody, between the axles and is designed with recesses in the rear footwell, ensuring comfort for front- and rear-seat passengers. The body and roof of the e-tron GT are made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), and the car uses the same multi-material construction philosophy as other Audi vehicles like the A8. In combination with the low center of gravity, the e-tron GT has quattro all-wheel drive, with an electric motor at the front and rear axles, offering ideal traction for a sports car. The drive management distributes the torque of the electric motors between the axles as needed and also regulates the wheels separately. The layout allows for numerous suspension and performance features, for example all-wheel steering or a sport differential, providing excellent traction and vehicle dynamics. Electric motors with different outputs can be used in production versions. MEB: Small Audi platform, large aspirations. Small, gasoline-powered Audi vehicles like the A3 and Q3 serve as entry points into the Audi brand and share components with one another on a platform called MQB. Larger Audi vehicles from the A4 up to the A8 and SUVs use shared componentry on the MLB platform. This helps engineers develop shared parts across many vehicles that are philosophically similar. That’s what the MEB platform will be to Audi for small and medium electric vehicles, with the PPE platform focused toward medium and large EVs. With the MEB platform, Audi will draw from the strength of the Volkswagen Group to offer customers affordable yet technically sophisticated electric models with unmistakable Audi DNA. The MEB platform will be used for vehicles like the Q4 e-tron. Designed exclusively for EVs, MEB will provide customers all the advantages that compact electric motors and lithium-ion batteries in different sizes and capacities offer. The battery systems, electric motors and axle designs form a technology toolkit. In contrast to the current models with combustion engines, the front section is considerably shorter—the front axle and firewall move forward, making the wheelbase and usable interior space considerably larger. The Q4 e-tron is expected to be the first Audi model based on the MEB platform, with exterior dimensions comparable to those of the Q3 but with the interior dimensions of a significantly larger vehicle. The architecture also offers new design opportunities and offers different performance levels and powertrain configurations. PPE: Medium and large premium vehicles. Finally, what the MLB platform is to vehicles like the Audi A4 through A8 and Q5 through Q8, the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture is to Audi’s electric portfolio. PPE has been designed and developed in cooperation with Porsche from the start with the project team sharing space in Ingolstadt. PPE is characterized by a high-tech and highly scalable architecture that allows for both low- and high-floor, from the medium-size class and up—SUVs, Sportbacks, Avants and crossovers. The portfolio and flexibility will allow Audi to develop and sell one of the best combinations of electric, plug-in and internal combustion vehicles in the global markets. The technology offered in PPE is similar to that of MEB and with a number of powertrain and battery options that will be available. Standard packaging will allow for one electric motor in the rear; the higher-range models will be equipped with a second electric motor at the front axle (PSM or ASM) that can activate quattro all-wheel drive automatically when needed. Like in the Audi e-tron GT concept, the electrical architecture is 800 volts; in combination with high-efficiency thermal management, it enables an ultra-high-speed charging capacity of 350 kW. The dimensions and overhangs of the low-floor Audi models on the PPE platform will be slightly shorter than those of the current combustion engine models on the MLB platform but will offer greater interior dimensions. Torque vectoring, air suspension and all-wheel steering will all be available. The Audi brand has dedicated approximately €12 billion global investment through 2024 to help ensure development of a number of EVs, in an effort to meet demand as infrastructure around the world rapidly develops. Globally, Audi anticipates it will reach production of approximately 800,000 electrified vehicles per year by 2025. The Volkswagen Group has committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and plans to be a CO2-neutral automaker globally by 2050.
MECA: industry could exceed relaxed US efficiency standards as it has to meet tighter standards elsewhere
On 31 March, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the final rule for The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles for Model Years 2021-2026. The final rule requires a 1.5% year-over-year increase in fuel efficiency and reduction in GHG emissions standards, which will result in projected overall industry averages of 40.4 mpg and 199 g/mile CO2 in 2026. (Earlier post.) In response, MECA (Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association), commented: Suppliers of emission control and efficiency technologies will continue to innovate and introduce new advancements to further improve fuel efficiency while continuing to lower tailpipe emissions across the light-duty vehicle fleet. We believe the industry could exceed the relaxed US efficiency standards as it must meet tighter standards in Europe, China, Japan, Korea and India. MECA members look forward to an expanded role for suppliers in off-cycle credit programs as to be defined in subsequent EPA technical amendments rulemakings.—Rasto Brezny, MECA Executive Director The industry is a leader in the advancement of technologies in response to performance-based regulations that serve to protect the environment and human health while supporting a diverse range of clean fuel-efficient vehicles that meet the varied needs of consumers. These innovative technologies include catalytic and evaporative emissions controls, advanced fuel injection, downsized GDI engines, turbochargers, cooled-EGR systems, dynamic cylinder deactivation, OBD systems as well as hybrid and fuel cell powertrain systems, batteries, electric components and controls. Over the past 50 years, mobile source emission reduction policies have not only delivered important health benefits but have also helped create an industry with a significant number of well paying highly skilled jobs and a global economic reach. MECA member companies represent more than 70,000 of the nearly 300,000 North American jobs building the technologies that improve the fuel economy and reduce emissions of today’s vehicles. This employment figure does not include the tens of thousands of additional jobs in the automobile, truck, and off-road equipment assembly manufacturing industries. MECA is concerned that as this relaxed rule in the US continues to be litigated in the coming months, future investments in jobs and technology development could be diverted to those countries that have adopted more stringent fuel efficiency standards. Founded in 1976, MECA is a nonprofit trade association of the world’s leading manufacturers of clean mobility technologies for all mobile sources.
EPA eases several gasoline-related regulations in response to COVID-19 pandemic
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is easing several gasoline-related regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, EPA intends to provide additional flexibility to the marketplace to transition from winter-grade, high volatility gasoline to summer-grade low vapor pressure gasoline. Due to the steep fall-off in gasoline demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (earlier post), gasoline storage capacity is limited and more time is needed to transition the distribution system in order to come into compliance for the summer driving season. EPA will temporarily waive the summer low volatility requirements and blending limitations for gasoline. Without a waiver of the summer gasoline requirements, parties upstream of retailers and wholesale purchasers would be required to stop selling the winter gasoline sitting in their storage tanks on 1 Ma 2020, which would prevent them from loading summer gasoline into the storage tanks, resulting in a shortage of gasoline. By waiving the low volatility and blending limitations through 20 May 2020, EPA will ensure a steady supply of gasoline. EPA will continue to monitor the adequacy of gasoline supplies and, should conditions warrant, may modify or extend this waiver at a later date. Second, EPA does not intend to unilaterally revisit or rescind any previously granted small refinery exemptions issued for prior compliance years. As noted in the temporary policy on COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Assurance Program, issued yesterday, EPA is focused on protecting its employees and ensuring continued protection of public health and the environment from acute or imminent threats during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, investigating and initiating enforcement actions against small refineries that were previously subject to an exemption is a low priority for the agency. EPA intends to develop an appropriate implementation and enforcement response to the Tenth Circuit’s decision in RFA v. EPA once appeals have been resolved and the court’s mandate has been issued. Finally, in a forthcoming action, EPA intends to extend the RFS compliance date for small refineries to provide them with additional flexibility.
PowerCell signs €6.9M contract with leading European shipyard for fuel cell system
PowerCell Sweden AB has signed a contract with a leading European shipyard regarding the development and delivery of a megawatt marine fuel cell system. The system will be developed and delivered over three years; the total value of the contract for the period amounts to SEK 77 million (€6.9 million). The contract comprises the development and delivery of a marine fuel cell system with a total power of approximately 3 MW. The international maritime organization, IMO, has decided to halve the emissions of Greenhouse Gases from commercial ships by 2050. Considering the long lifetime of ships, zero emission vessels may have to set sail as early as 2030. PowerCell was founded in 2008 as an industrial spinout from the Volvo Group.