Green Car Congress - 記事一覧
Columbia University engineers make breakthrough in understanding electroreduction of CO2 for conversion to electrofuels
Electrocatalysis and photocatalysis (artificial photosynthesis) are among the most promising ways to achieve effective storage for renewable energy. CO2 electroreduction has been capturing the imagination of researchers for more than 150 years because of its similarity to photosynthesis.
Recent research in electrocatalytic CO2 conversion points the way to using CO2 as a feedstock and renewable electricity as an energy supply for the synthesis of different types of fuel and value-added chemicals such as ethylene, ethanol, and propane. However, scientists still do not understand even the first step of these reactions: CO2 activation, or the transformation of the linear co1 molecule at the catalyst surface upon accepting the first electron.
Knowing the exact structure of the activated CO2 is essential because its structure dictates both the end product of the reaction and its energy cost. This reaction can start from many initial steps and go through many pathways, giving typically a mixture of products. If scientists figure out how the process works, they will be better able to selectively promote or inhibit certain pathways, which will lead to the development of a commercially viable catalyst for this technology.
Researchers at Columbia University have solved the first piece of the puzzle; they have proved that CO2 electroreduction begins with one common intermediate, not two as was commonly thought. Their paper is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
They applied a comprehensive suite of experimental and theoretical methods to identify the structure of the first intermediate of CO2 electroreduction: carboxylate CO2- that is attached to the surface with C and O atoms. Their breakthrough came by applying surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) instead of the more frequently used surface enhanced infrared spectroscopy (SEIRAS). The spectroscopic results were corroborated by quantum chemical modeling.
Our findings about CO2 activation will open the door to an incredibly broad range of possibilities: if we can fully understand CO2 electroreduction, we'll be able to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, contributing to the mitigation of climate change. In addition, our insight into CO2 activation at the solid-water interface will enable researchers to better model the prebiotic scenarios from CO2 to complex organic molecules that may have led to the origin of life on our planet.
—lead author Irina Chernyshova
The researchers decided to use SERS rather than SEIRAS for their observations because they found that SERS has several significant advantages that enable more accurate identification of the structure of the reaction intermediate. Most importantly, the researchers were able to measure the vibrational spectra of species formed at the electrode-electrolyte interface along the entire spectral range and on an operating electrode.
Using both quantum chemical simulations and conventional electrochemical methods, the researchers were able to get the first detailed look at how CO2 is activated at the electrode-electrolyte interface.
Understanding the nature of the first reaction intermediate is a critical step toward commercialization of the electrocatalytic CO2 conversion to useful chemicals. It creates a solid foundation for moving away from the trial-and-error paradigm to rational catalyst design.
With this knowledge and computational power, researchers will be able to predict more accurately the reaction on different catalysts and specify the most promising ones, which can further be synthesized and tested.
—co-author Sathish Ponnurangam
The Columbia Engineering experiments provide such detail that we should be able to obtain very definitive validation of the computational models. I expect that together with our theory, the Columbia Engineering experiments will provide precise mechanisms to be established and that examining how the mechanisms change for different alloys, surface structures, electrolytes, additives, should enable optimization of the electrocatalysts for water spitting (solar fuels), CO2 reduction to fuels and organic feedstocks, N2 reduction to NH3 to obtain much less expensive fertilizers, all the key problems facing society to obtain the energy and food to accommodate our exploding population.
—William Goddard, Charles and Mary Ferkel Professor of Chemistry, Materials Science, and Applied Physics at CalTech, who was not involved with the study
The team is now working to uncover the subsequent reaction steps to see how CO2 is further transformed and to develop superior catalysts based on earth-abundant elements such as Cu (copper) and Sn (tin).
Irina V. Chernyshova, Ponisseril Somasundaran, Sathish Ponnurangam (2018) “On the origin of the elusive first intermediate of CO2 electroreduction” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1802256115
MAN exhibiting eTGE 4.140 electric van at IAA 2018; production starts in July 2019
The battery-electric MAN eTGE 4.140 van is celebrating its world première at the IAA 2018 Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. The MAN plant in Września will start production in July 2019. With a range of around 160 kilometers and a payload of 1 t–1.75 t (depending on type approval), it is targeted for last mile logistics applications.
Seventy percent of lightweight commercial vehicles used in urban areas average less than 100 kilometers a day. The average speed reached is low. Combined with frequent starting and stopping in dense urban traffic, the set of requirements this entails almost perfectly describes the ideal application for electric vehicles. For this reason, the MAN eTGE 4.140 will launched for these applications in the near future.
The van will initially be available in a high-roofed version. Its cargo space provides almost 11 cubic meters of volume. Depending on the type approval and whether it is a 3.5 tonne or 4.25 tonne variant, it offers a payload of up to 1.75 tonnes and a theoretical range of up to 160 kilometers (NEDC). This capacity covers around two-thirds of all journeys in urban centers that are currently completed using vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The MAN eTGE is charged at an AC wallbox in around five-and-a-half hours. Rapid recharging from zero to 80% is possible within 45 minutes if a DC charging station is available with a combined charging system (CCS) and 40 kilowatts of charging power.
The 36 kWh battery only loses 15% of its capacity after around 2,000 charging cycles with appropriate care. Individual modules consisting of six or twelve cells can also be replaced separately. The 264 lithium-ion HV cells are stored underneath the slightly raised load floor, which is constructed in the same way in the rear-wheel drive body version with a diesel engine. This rules out the excuse of batteries eating up space.
A permanently activated synchronous motor is used for the drive system in the MAN eTGE. The three-phase motor is mounted right at the front on the drive axle in combination with the single-speed gearbox. This provides a maximum of 100 kW of power, delivering around 50 kW in continuous operation, while the vehicle’s immediately available 290 N·m of torque ensures agile handling.
The MAN eTGE is equipped with parking assistance systems including side protection, a multi-function camera, rear-view camera, cruise control system, maximum speed limitation, a surroundings monitoring system, a city emergency braking function, plus, of course, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) advanced emergency braking system.
MAN introduces practical 26-tonne electric truck based on TGM at IAA 2018
During the IAA 2018 from 20th to 27th September 2018 in Hanover, MAN will present a fully electric eTruck solo distributor chassis with a swap body frame and a 6x2 axle configuration. The 26-tonne truck, based on the MAN TGM, incorporates batteries that can be installed under the cab and on the side of the frame, providing a range of up to 200 km.
The air suspension on the front and rear axles ensures adaptability to any urban loading scenario. The electric motor, mounted in the center of the frame, supplies 264 kW of power, transmitting 3100 N·m of torque to the drive wheels without the use of a manually operated gearbox.
Designed to handle classic city logistics tasks, the vehicle is suitable for a wide variety of different body applications, from dry freight carrying or refrigerated box vans to refuse collector units. The additional drive systems needed for such applications are also electric.
At the IAA, MAN will be offering daily test drives in the eTGM on the outdoor grounds of the trade fair.
The new fully electric MAN TGM 6x2 chassis forms the technical basis for nine vehicles that were released to nine member companies of the Austrian Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) for practical trials in mid-September 2018. (Earlier post.)
The vehicles are primarily 6x2 chassis units featuring refrigerated box van units, swap bodies and beverage units. However, they also include a tractor-trailer unit based on the MAN TGM. MAN will incorporate the findings of these practical trials in the development of its future product portfolio of series-produced electric trucks.
The eTruck development and testing program forms part of the MAN Truck & Bus eMobility Roadmap for urban transport solutions, which are scheduled to be included in the product portfolio starting in 2022. The concept involves trucks and buses using a shared eMobility kit, which will be available in future for a wide variety of applications.
MAN Truck & Bus introduced the MAN Metropolis concept vehicle back in 2012. (Earlier post.) The electrically powered, 26-tonne series hybrid refuse collector vehicle ran CO2-free in local waste disposal operations and could even be used in the city center at night, thanks to its low noise levels.
An integrated range extender expanded its radius by up to 150 km per day. With the range extender, fuel consumption was reduced by up to 80% compared with a regular diesel-powered vehicle. The extensive practical deployment of the MAN Metropolis provided a valuable source of experience for ongoing projects.
At the IAA 2016, MAN Truck & Bus presented a further development of the Metropolis concept: an entirely battery-electric powered tractor-trailer unit for overnight urban delivery services.
It was technically based on a MAN TGS 4X2 BLS tractor-trailer unit with an 18-tonne gross vehicle weight rating. Optimized to operate with single or twin-axled City trailers, the concept vehicle fulfilled the demands that will be imposed on vehicles involved in the urban logistics of the future: plenty of load space combined with a light empty weight, zero emissions (CO2, NOx), very quiet and highly maneuverable.
MAN Truck & Bus presents electric delivery truck CitE at IAA 2018
At the IAA 2018, MAN Truck & Bus is presenting the MAN CitE 15-tonne electric truck concept, designed specifically for city cargo traffic. MAN engineers developed the concept in 18 months, leveraging the concepts of the short product development cycles of the software industry.
A cross-functional team was drafted on this basis that, with the agile scrum method, organized its work flexibly and dynamically. Reviews with project participants at regular intervals accelerated the decision processes significantly. Using this agile approach, the MAN CitE could thus be implemented in a period of only 18 months and finally presented ready to drive at the IAA 2018.
As the diesel drive train with a combustion engine over the front axle is no longer required, this permits the design of a low-floor vehicle with very low floor and maximum freedom of movement for the driver in the cab.
The drive of the CitE is taken over by a centrally arranged electric motor from MAN’s eMobility module. The lithium-ion batteries are located under the vehicle frame and enable a range of at least 100 kilometers.
The chassis is completely cladded which increases safety for other road users additionally. Moreover, this guarantees a better protection of the batteries in event of an accident.
The clear goal of the CitE was, despite its individual concept with standard superstructures, that it could still be equipped with conventional constructions. Basically, the CitE can therefore be considered for all superstructure applications typical for city delivery traffic; the main focus however, is the dry freight bodies for the distribution of products and goods to small businesses.
The MAN CitE is also equipped with special design tires from Continental. The tire study Conti e.MotionPro matched specifically to the layout of the CitE is equipped with a specially manufactured tread and with its distinctive blue stripes on the side wall and blue groove bottom on the tread, fits perfectly to the design of the CitE.
All displays around the driver’s workplace are in the direct field of vision. The display has been designed fully digital for the optimum visualization of all information for the driver. The switches arranged logically according to how frequently they are used are easily reached from a normal sitting position, as well as the cup holder and stowage trays.
A universal tablet / smartphone holder in the dashboard is available within the immediate sight and reach of the driver. This makes it possible to integrate a customized tablet or smartphone into the driver’s workstation in such a way that the logistical and goods flow-oriented processes are optimally integrated into the workflow. Detached from the vehicle, the device can be operated in the customer’s own network. USB charging sockets are provided immediately next to the holder. Thus, customer-related functions for the fleet, such as a digital delivery note, are integrated into the workflow.
The air conditioning of the CitE is designed for the particular requirements in city delivery traffic. The driver gets in and out many times per tour and is always on the move. The doors are opened frequently. Heat escapes in winter and cooling requirement increases in summer—this means an undesired loss of energy for an electric vehicle. For this purpose, the air conditioning concept of the MAN CitE applies a reduced cab air conditioning and instead of that, contact heat or ventilation through the driver’s seat.
In the summer months, the heat and sweat is transported away by the ventilation, in the winter months, the immediate heat is pleasant through the seat and relieves the musculoskeletal system. When the weather is cold, an additional steering wheel heating warms the drivers hands.
MAN is initially presenting the CitE to the public at the IAA 2018. With respective positive response and queries, the production of further vehicles on the basis of the MAN CitE is a possible option.
MAN Engines showcasing D3876 diesel engine for EU Stage V locomotives without exhaust after-treatment systems
At InnoTrans 2018, the International Trade Fair for Transport Technology, MAN Engines is exhibiting the D3876 LE63x for locomotives, which produces 471 kW (632 hp) at 1,800 rpm. One of its outstanding features is the in-line six, which meets the EU Stage V emission standard for locomotives without the need for an exhaust after-treatment system (EATS).
This means that a single technical solution equally covers emission requirements for all currently recognised emissions threshold values up to EU Stage V.
The MAN D3876 LE63x meets EU Stage V for locomotives without the need for exhaust after-treatment systems.
As a result of not including an EATS, our engines can be used all around the world – whether at EU Stage V or in less strictly regulated markets. This provides a clear benefit for customers in terms of global vehicle sales and giving vehicles a second life.
—Lorenz Panknin, Head of Rail Sales at MAN Engines
There are also advantages for operators working in situations involving large proportions of light loads, as they can increase technical operational reliability while enjoying low overall operating costs.
The MAN D3876 LE63x, designed for use in locomotives and featuring a 138 mm bore as well as 170 mm stroke, generates a maximum torque of 3,000 N·m at 1,200 to 1,500 rpm. The 15.3-liter engine achieves its high torque plateau and optimum torque curve thanks to the VTG (variable turbine geometry) turbocharger and the injection system (which offers up to 2,500 bar).
The combustion this generates, which is optimized for the scope of application, ensures low fuel consumption—one of MAN Engines’ leading development objectives.
The modular EATS’ components from MAN Engines can be flexibly positioned. This allows customers to choose between a wide range of installation scenarios.
The D3876 in-line six engine is a system with top-class performance that has been an established fixture and a practical success in trucks since 2014. It was also released for agricultural technology applications in 2015 and applications in the construction industry in 2016.
The D3876 earned the Diesel of the Year 2016 title, in particular for its basic concept and high-strength materials. Now, in its D3876 development for locomotives which was previously presented as a concept at InnoTrans 2016, MAN Engines is closing the performance gap between the established in-line six and V12 motors for train applications.
Modular EATS. In addition to the D3876, which meets EU Stage V for locomotives without EATSs, MAN Engines will be exhibiting a modular EATS at its booth to meet current and future emissions thresholds for rolling stock.
The modular EATS’ components from MAN Engines can be flexibly positioned. This allows customers to choose between a huge range of installation scenarios.
MAN’s engineers have designed the system (which has also become established in the truck sector) for the tough requirements away from the road and modified it for industrial needs.
Along with its robustness, the flexibility due to the separate positioning of mixers, SCR catalytic converters and particulate filters also offers a significant advantage. This gives customers more options to efficiently design their machines’ equipment areas, enabling them to take better account of criteria such as ease of maintenance and accessibility.
Aside from the D3876 and the modular EATS, MAN Engines will be exhibiting its tried and tested D2862 V12 engine, with a displacement of 24.2 liters. At its highest performance level (735 kW – or 986 hp – at 1,800 rpm), this produces 5,000 N·m in torque at 1,300 to 1,400 rpm. The top performance and efficiency of the MAN locomotive engine is available for railway vehicles at the current emission stages in power levels from 588 to 735 kW (789 to 986 hp).
Italy to start electric road trials; Scania and Siemens; zero-impact eHighway
The A35 Brebemi autostrada in northern Italy will become the latest location for road electrification technology, and Scania trucks fitted with Siemens pantographs and power connections are in line to carry out the initial trials.
The trucks receive electricity from a pantograph power collector that is mounted on the frame behind the cab. The pantographs are in turn connected to overhead power lines that are above the right-hand lane of the road, and the trucks can freely connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires while in motion.
When the truck goes outside the electrically-powered lane, the pantograph is disconnected, and the truck is then powered by the combustion engine or the battery-operated electric motor. The same principle applies when the driver wants to overtake another vehicle while on the electrified strip of the road.
To begin, the project will focus on a six-kilometer stretch of the autostrada between its Romano di Lombardia and Calcio exits. The A35 Brebemi connects Brescia, Bergamo and Milan, three of the main cities in Italy’s Lombardy region, and the project leaders’ ultimate goal is to create the first ‘zero impact’ eHighway in Europe, with solar panels along the 62.1km route generating the required electrical power.
The plan for Italy follows similar projects in Sweden and Germany.
The Scania trucks that will run on the A35 Brebemi contain tried and tested hybrid technology that was launched on the market in late 2016. Scania’s cooperation with Siemens builds on two other projects involving the two companies—one in Sweden and one in Germany.
For the past two years the two companies have been testing electrification technology on Sweden’s electric highway on the E16 near Gävle, in partnership with the regional authority. Scania and Siemens are also involved in the “Trucks for German eHighways” research project, in which Volkswagen Group Research and Siemens will develop technology and electric hybrid long-haulage trucks supplied by Scania for the German eHighway research project.
This research is a pre-phase before the start-up of three test separate tests on German public roads near Lübeck, Frankfurt and on the B462 road in Baden-Württemberg.
SAIC showcases battery-electric Maxus EV80 van range at IAA
Maxus is presenting a range of zero emission EV80 battery electric vans at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover. The light commercial vehicle manufacturer, a subsidiary of China’s largest vehicle manufacturer SAIC Motor, is also announcing LeasePlan as its exclusive partner in Europe, as it prepares for its full brand launch in 2019.
Under the new agreement with SAIC Maxus, LeasePlan will offer operational leasing solutions for the fully-electric EV80 large panel van to business customers across continental Europe. Maxus is continuing to establish partnerships with large businesses looking to reduce their fleet emissions and vehicle operating costs.
Four variants of the new range of zero-emissions EV80 battery electric vehicles are on display in Hannover, and two Maxus EV80 vans are available for visitors to test drive. Featuring newly-enhanced styling for the exterior and interior, the new EV80s are displayed in chassis-cab, standard panel van, high panel van, and wheelchair-accessible formats, highlighting the practicality and extensive versatility demanded by fleet operators.
The Maxus EV80 is driven by a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor that delivers maximum output of 100kW and a maximum torque of 320 N·m. All model variants are equipped with the same plug-in powertrain and 56 kWh LiFePo4 Lithium-ion battery pack that give the vehicle a range of up to 200 km (depending on configuration).
Charging time is just two hours while using a DC charger. The vehicle is equipped to enable both AC and DC charging capability as standard, for optimal flexibility. Standard AC charging takes seven hours, in-line with the industry standard for plug-in vehicles.
The new EV80 models all offer highly competitive levels of standard specification, with the range of driver aids and comfort features including air conditioning, electric windows, parking sensors (on van variants) and heated and electrically adjustable side mirrors.
Additional safety features fitted as standard include ABS, brake assist system (BAS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), hill hold assist, an electronic parking brake, LED daytime running lights and driver and passenger airbags. A 10-inch infotainment screen is an optional extra, which includes the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity applications.
The total cost of ownership of EV80 variants in most European markets will be within 5% of their diesel-powered competitors over the lifetime of the vehicles. The total ownership costs could even be lower in some countries where local subsidies are more favourable. Prices in Europe will start from €47,500 (excluding VAT).
Maxus offers a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a battery warranty of five years or 100,000 km, whichever comes first.
The standard panel van features a cargo area length of 3,300 mm, width of 1,770 mm and height of 1,710 mm (1,920 mm height with the high-roof variant), resulting in a total volume of 10.2 m3(11.5 m3 for the high-roof variant), accessible through wide-opening rear and side doors. The maximum payload capacity is 950 kg (915 kg for the high-roof model). The chassis cab model can be built up to the exact specifications of the customer.
AMF-Bruns, the European market leader in accessible vehicle conversions is collaborating with SAIC Mobility Europe to market the Maxus EV80 throughout Europe as a fully-electric accessible passenger vehicle, also with wheelchair access.
The standard EV80 model can be configured as a passenger bus, transporting eight people plus the driver. The wheelchair-accessible EV80 is additionally equipped with a bespoke lift system and can accommodate four wheelchairs, or a single wheelchair with up to seven other passengers.
LeasePlan customers opting for a Maxus EV80 will also receive support with charging infrastructure, fitments and customization, in addition to access to a network of 75,000 charging points in Europe. This benefit is delivered through LeasePlan’s partnership with Allego, an innovative and independent company that manages user-friendly and future-proof charge points for electric vehicles throughout Europe.
Ahead of its full Europe-wide launch in 2019, Maxus is establishing strategic partnerships with organizations that have the capabilities to support its direct distribution model and provide a variety of core services for customers throughout continental Europe.
SAIC Mobility Europe is responsible for introducing a range of brands, products and services into Europe, backed by SAIC Motor, the world’s seventh-largest auto company and China’s largest vehicle manufacturer. With the introduction of the Maxus light commercial vehicle brand, SAIC Mobility Europe starts its European activities.
The fleet division is making the Maxus EV80 available to more than 200 major fleet operators in Europe. Initial deliveries were made to customers in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Slovenia with developments in Belgium, Italy, France and Spain due to be confirmed shortly as Maxus accelerates its Europe-wide growth plans.
SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC Motor) is the largest auto company in China and the 7th largest in the world. Its business covers the research, production and sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles and the development and production of a range of components including engines, gearboxes, powertrains, chassis, interior and exterior and miscellaneous electronic components, and logistics, vehicle telematics, second-hand vehicle transactions and auto finance services.
SAIC’s affiliated vehicle companies include Morris Garages, SAIC MAXUS, SAIC Volkswagen, SAIC-GM, Shanghai General Motors Wuling (SGMW), NAVECO, SAIC-IVECO Hongyan and Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corp (SUNWIN).
SAIC Motor’s car sales hit 6.93 million units in 2017, up 6.8% on the previous year and keeping its leading market share in China.
Researchers take first 3D images of microscopic hydrogen-embrittled cracks in metal
Microfractures in metal alloys, though impossible to see with the naked eye, can easily spread when exposed to water or hydrogen and lead to major problems in structures such as bridges, electrochemical and nuclear plants and hydrogen storage containers, leading to failures and expensive repairs.
In a recent study involving a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Argonne National Laboratory and other institutions, have, for the first time, captured 3D images of microscopic cracks in metal caused by exposure to hydrogen, also known as hydrogen embrittlement. Using the images, researchers identified 10 orientations of microscopic structures called grain boundaries that can deflect cracks and prevent damage caused by hydrogen.
Using advanced synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction and tomography techniques, researchers were able to capture 3D images of microscopic cracks in nickel alloy caused by exposure to hydrogen, also known as hydrogen embrittlement. Credit: Dharmesh Patel/ Texas A&M University College of Engineering.
The open-access research, published in Nature Communications, relied on synchrotron-based X-ray diffraction and tomography techniques to investigate hydrogen-assisted cracks in nickel alloy. The result is a new method for analysis called 3D microstructure mapping that could aid materials processing methods aimed at blocking cracks from further propagation, strengthening metals and leading to longer lifespans for structures and components.
It’s been a long process. This was a new technique that complements electron backscatter diffraction but does it in 3D. When you’re thinking about how a crack propagates, it’s inherently a 3D problem. You need to have information about that crack, its morphology and how it’s related to the microstructure. There’s a lot of information involved.Jonathan Lind, LLNL
To perform the nondestructive analysis required for the project, researchers took samples of cracked nickel alloy to the Advanced Photon Source beamline at Argonne, illuminating them with high-energy x-ray beams, and using a camera to pick up diffracted and transmitted beams.
By testing hundreds of thousands of orientations, analyzing millions of points and matching the data with physical models, researchers were able to turn the diffraction spots into a 3D microstructure image. The image obtained from this complicated data showed which grain boundary types can deflect cracks, indicating that “boundaries with low index plains” or BLIPS, were especially resistant to damage.
The findings, researchers concluded, could pave the way to improved predictions of the mechanical behavior of hydrogen-embrittled metals. As metal alloys are engineered, stronger grain boundaries could be promoted while detrimental ones are processed out to create more obstacles for cracks and stop them from spreading. Engineers could design microstructures to extend the life of materials, potentially saving on costs of repairs or replacement of metal components regularly exposed to water or hydrogen.
When you have these fracture events, it inhibits the life cycle of materials. If you could process the microstructure with many more BLIPS, they could deflect cracks better or blunt them and you could potentially increase the life of the material significantly. In theory, that’s the idea behind grain boundary engineering.
The Department of Energy and National Science Foundation funded the research.
John P. Hanson, Akbar Bagri, Jonathan Lind, Peter Kenesei, Robert M. Suter, Silvija Gradečak & Michael J. Demkowicz (2018) “Crystallographic character of grain boundaries resistant to hydrogen-assisted fracture in Ni-base alloy 725” Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 3386 doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05549-y
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles unveils 5 battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles; I.D. BUZZ CARGO
At the 69th IAA Commercial Vehicles show, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is unveiling five new zero-emission vehicles:the I.D. BUZZ CARGO, ABT e-Transporter, ABT e-Caddy, the Cargo e-Bike and the Crafter HyMotion which is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell drive system.
I.D. BUZZ CARGO. One month ago, Volkswagen introduced the first new model in its electric mobility campaign, the new e-Crafter, with pre-sales of the electric van beginning this month. The electric campaign is now gaining momentum at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles show. One highlight is the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept—the first commercial vehicle to be based on the new I.D. Family and the modular electric drive kit (MEB). The vehicle could be launched as soon as 2021.
The I.D. BUZZ was developed jointly by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Volkswagen Passenger Cars focused on the van (people carrier) and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on the cargo version.
The models can be delivered with different battery sizes according to the vehicles’ intended use and budget. With the MEB it is possible—dependent on battery size and the model concerned—to achieve ranges of about 330 to more than 500 km (as per WLTP). If the transporter covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis, a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 48 kWh is recommended. If greater range is needed, the energy capacity can be increased up to 111 kWh.
Last year, the company presented the brand’s first all-electric van with the world premiere of the new e-Crafter. (Earlier post.) While the e-Crafter launched as a panel van with an overall length of 5,986 mm and a maximum payload of 1.75 tonnes, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept is positioned in the size class beneath the Crafter.
The payload of the concept vehicle is 800 kg; the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is 5,048 mm long, 1,976 mm wide and 1,963 mm tall. Its wheelbase measures 3,300 mm. By the way, the rear overhang was extended by 106 mm, making the cargo version of the I.D. BUZZ significantly longer than the van shown in Detroit.
The electric drive of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO consists mainly of the electric motor with power electronics and 1-speed gearbox integrated into the driven rear axle, the lithium-ion battery and auxiliary units integrated in the front body.
The flow of high-voltage energy between the motor and the battery is controlled by the power electronics. Here, the direct current (DC) stored in the battery is converted into alternating current (AC). A DC/DC converter supplies the on-board electronics with 12 volts.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has combined the battery in the I.D. BUZZ CARGO being presented in Hannover with a 150 kW electric motor. The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 160 km/h. An all-wheel drive system like the one implemented in its sibling model is conceivable.
The high-voltage battery of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO is charged by cable connection. Using fast charging systems operating at 150 kW direct current, the 48-kWh battery can be charged to 80% capacity in 15 minutes; for the largest battery expansion stage with an energy capacity of 111 kW it takes 30 minutes.
As an alternative, the high-voltage battery can be charged from any conventional household socket, charging stations with a wide variety of power outputs or wallboxes. Although the Bulli can be charged at 2.3 kW via a normal 230V mains, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers wallboxes that operate at much higher power levels up to 11 kW. They are especially advisable for charging batteries to 100% at a company’s vehicle depot overnight (when electricity prices are often lower).
The battery system of the future production version has also been prepared for inductive charging, likewise with 11 kW of charging power. The concept vehicle has this technology already.
Crafter HyMotion. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is also demonstrating a new alternative fuel direction with the world premiere of the Crafter HyMotion—a van with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
The Crafter HyMotion was specially designed for longer journeys: the longer the daily distance covered, the greater the appeal of the hydrogen fuel cell in large commercial vehicles.
The tanks integrated in the Crafter HyMotion have a capacity of 7.5 kg hydrogen. This enables the 4.25-tonne van to cover driving ranges of more than 500 km. The time required to refill the Crafter HyMotion is comparable to that for conventionally powered models.
Instead of the large traction battery of the e-Crafter, a smaller lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 13.1 kWh is at work in the Crafter HyMotion. The fuel cell system that delivers 30 kW of power serves as a range extender. Meanwhile, the Crafter HyMotion utilizes the same 100‑kW electric motor and gearbox as in the e-Crafter. The van’s fuel consumption is 1.4 kg hydrogen per 100 km.
Despite its significantly longer driving range, the Crafter HyMotion offers an even larger payload than the e-Crafter. The Crafter HyMotion is still a concept vehicle—but as soon as the infrastructure is right, according to Volkswagen, the van could launch with its zero emission electric motor.
The Crafter HyMotion is the second concept vehicle from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to feature a hydrogen fuel cell; it follows the Caddy Maxi HyMotion, which was first introduced in the “Hydrogen Road Tour” in 2009.
ABT e-Transporter. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has offered its Transporter model series for eight decades. Now the brand is connecting the best-selling vehicle’s drive system with electricity in a world premiere of a taxi concept: the ABT e-Transporter1. This concept car, designed together with the company Abt e-Line GmbH, is a zero-emission van designed to generate electricity at IAA Commercial Vehicles.
The battery system of the ABT e-Transporter is constructed to be scalable so that it can satisfy the needs of a wide variety of potential applications and budgets in a possible production model. In its base configuration, the Transporter comes with a lithium-ion battery that has an energy capacity of 37.3 kWh; the second battery version offers an energy capacity of 74.6 kWh. Driving ranges of the two versions are between 208 and 400 km.
ABT e-Caddy. The second model designed jointly by Abt e-Line GmbH and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the ABT e-Caddy, which is also being shown in a world premiere at the IAA. It will arrive on the market in the middle of next year. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is also presenting the ABT e-Caddy as a taxi; it is based on the extended Caddy Maxi and therefore offers ample space for five people plus luggage.
With a range of up to 220 km (forecast NEDC figures), the zero-emission vehicle has been tailored for urban use in the environmental restriction zones of European cities. An 82-kW electric motor operates in the ABT e‑Caddy. The electric motor is supplied with electricity from a 37.3 kWh lithium-ion battery. The ABT e-Caddy, which has a top speed of 120 km/h, will be one of the most spacious electric vehicles in its class with a cargo compartment volume of 4.2 m3.
Cargo e-Bike. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is also introducing the brand’s first electric bike: the Cargo e-Bike. Market introduction of the three-wheel cycle will be in 2019.
The Cargo e‑Bike is a pedelec (pedal electric cycle) that adds power assistance to its rider’s pedalling with a 250 Watt (48V) mid-mounted motor at speeds up to 25 km/h.
The pedelec can be used anywhere, even in pedestrian zones. Energy for the electric motor is supplied by a lithium-ion battery. The drive and rugged architecture of the cargo bike are designed for a maximum payload of 210 kg (including rider).
This vehicle—the smallest Volkswagen commercial vehicle ever—is equipped with two wheels at the front, with the load platform positioned low between them. Mounted on this load platform is a cargo box with a storage volume of 0.5 m3. Innovative kinematics of the front axle ensure that the goods being transported on the load platform do not tilt with the cargo bike when cornering, rather they remain horizontal and thereby stable. The new electric Cargo e-Bike will be produced at the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles plant in Hannover.
Daimler invests in electric bus company Proterra; exploring electrification of Daimler’s Thomas Built school buses
Daimler Trucks & Buses is investing in the US company Proterra Inc. Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses, made the announcement at the 67th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. Proterra was founded in 2004 with headquarters in California and is a leader in the business with electric buses for local transport.
Daimler’s investment was part of a $155-million round co-led by Daimler and Tao Capital Partners.
In conjunction with the investment, Proterra and Daimler have entered into an agreement to explore the electrification of select Daimler heavy-duty vehicles. The first of these efforts will be to explore potential synergies with Daimler’s Thomas Built Buses division by bringing Proterra’s proven battery and drive train technologies to the North American school bus market.
Similar to public transit vehicles, school buses provide mission-critical community infrastructure and offer an excellent use case for vehicle electrification, as most school buses travel a predictable distance per day that is well within the capability of Proterra’s EV technology.
We started working on electric trucks and buses at a very early stage and we aim to set the standards here in each relevant segment. We expect the cooperation with Proterra to deliver additional impetus for the development of heavy-duty commercial vehicles with electric drive. In this way, we are broadening our scope in particular concerning the key technology of the battery – also with regard to North America.
Cummins debuts PowerDrive plug-in-hybrid system; both series and parallel capabilities
Cummins Inc. unveiled PowerDrive, a suite of plug-in hybrid electric powertrain solutions spanning light-, medium- and heavy-duty applications, at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicle Show. The Cummins PowerDrive offers both parallel and series capabilities.
The PowerDrive replaces the conventional transmission and switches in real time between two hybrid and two pure electric modes, optimizing the powertrain for the best fuel economics in any driving situation.
The flexible hybrid architecture seamlessly shifts between pure electric for environmentally sensitive areas with a 50-mile (80 km) range and hybrid for jobs requiring more than 300 miles (480 km). It operates as a hybrid in either series or parallel configuration modes.
Series is better suited to low road speeds such as urban driving (stop/start conditions), while parallel is ideal for higher road speeds on the highway.
In a series hybrid, the electric motor is the only means of providing power to the wheels. The motor receives electric power from either the battery pack or from the engine-generator. In a parallel hybrid, the engine and electric motor combine to provide the power that drives the wheels. The third mode of electric plus comes online when higher energy is required when the system senses gradient climbing or acceleration for overtaking.
This hybrid system is showcased in the Cummins booth in an electric hybrid utility truck, a Kenworth T370. The vehicle is also configured with exportable grid-quality electric power to recharge vehicles and a recovery crane operating on either electric or engine power take-off.
The Cummins PowerDrive system has travelled more than six million miles in a fleet setting in the United States and China, and work is underway to introduce it to the European market in the near future. Its flexible architecture means the PowerDrive system can be combined with various sizes of diesel or natural gas engines and battery pack outputs.
The Cummins PowerDrive is intelligent, versatile and compact, providing our on-highway customers the flexibility needed to meet the demands of their diverse jobs and markets. Cummins is ready to offer the new PowerDrive suite through our OEM partners.
—Julie Furber, Cummins Executive Director of Electrified Power
The Cummins PowerDrive 6000 is paired with a Cummins B6.7 in the Kenworth T370, a US Class 6 truck. The vehicle’s gross weight is 33,000 lbs (15 mt gvw). The service vehicle was commissioned by Cummins to support EV and PHEV vehicle field tests and pilot routes. It showcases three vehicle charging stations (1: 100 kW fast charge and 2: 6.6 kW standard chargers) with direct charging cables from the truck to the PHEV or EV vehicle requiring charging.
USC study finds particulate matter in air pollution affects thyroid development in fetuses
In a cohort study of a subset of 2050 newborns from the Children’s Health Study in southern California, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) found that an increase of 2 standard deviations in prenatal exposure to particulate matter in air pollution was associated with higher newborn total thyroxine (TT4) measures. Thyroxine is a major hormone secreted into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland.
Months 3 to 7 and 1 to 8 of pregnancy were identified as critical windows of exposure to particulate matter and associated higher thyroxine levels. The newly published open-access research paper appears in JAMA Network Open.
Thyroid hormones are critical for regulating fetal growth and metabolism and play important roles in neurodevelopment. Even subtle changes in maternal thyroid function during pregnancy have been associated with reduced fetal growth and cognitive deficits in children, with detrimental effects observed for both low and excess levels of thyroid hormones.
Two major hormones are secreted from the thyroid gland: thyroxine (T4), the predominant circulating form of thyroid hormone, and triiodothyronine (T3), the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone, which is largely derived from T4.
—Howe et al.
This is one of the few studies to monitor air pollution effects on a developing fetus and the first to track pollution changes month by month on thyroid hormones.
USC scientists have been studying the health impacts of urban air pollution for a generation under the Children’s Health Study. It’s one of the world’s largest ongoing research efforts looking exclusively at how dirty air harms kids. USC is situated in the Los Angeles region, home to historically severe urban smog, an ideal laboratory to study air pollution health effects and environmental change across time.
Since the effort began in 1992, various USC researchers have documented how air pollution contributes to school absences, asthma, bronchitis and lost-lung function. Conversely, as air quality has improved due to regulations and technology innovations, scientists have been able to track improvements in children’s health.
In the new study, the research team focused on 2,050 newborns, people who had been enrolled in the Children’s Health Study previously. They selected them using birth data from the mid-1990s, when they were elementary school students at 13 Southern California schools. About 60 percent were white, 30 percent Latino and the remainder black or other races.
The participants were included only if they had blood tests taken right after birth and had complete monthly exposure measures for air pollution throughout pregnancy. The scientists checked blood levels for TT4.
The researchers found that when exposure to PM2.5 increased by 16 micrograms per cubic meter of air, TT4 levels in blood increased 7.5% above average levels in babies. When exposure to PM10 increased by 22 micrograms per cubic meter, TT4 levels increased by 9.3%, according to the study. They did not see the same increases associated with other air pollutants, such as ozone or nitrogen dioxide.
Exposures during months three to seven of pregnancy were most significant for PM2.5. PM10 exposure during one to eight months of pregnancy was associated with significantly higher newborn TT4 concentrations.
The findings show that the fetal thyroid gland seems particularly susceptible to airborne particulate, especially during early- to mid-pregnancy, according to the study. It’s consistent with previous studies by other researchers that show industrial chemicals, tobacco smoke and indoor air pollution impact the thyroid gland.
However, the study did not assess the health effects of the air pollution exposures. Also, the study only looked at one hormonal pathway associated with the thyroid gland, which the authors acknowledge is a limitation.
Nonetheless, the findings underscore that air pollution penetrates deeply within the human body to reach unborn babies. Carrie V. Breton, corresponding author of the study and associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said that the findings are a wakeup call not only for smoggy places such as California and the United States, but rapidly industrializing cities around the world.
There are several places around the world where air pollution is skyrocketing. This is another example of an environmental exposure that affects early development in subtle ways, and we don’t know the health consequences.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants 1R21 ES025870, P30 ES007048, 1UG3OD023287 and T32 ES013678).
Caitlin G. Howe, Sandrah P. Eckel, Rima Habre, et al. (2018) “Association of Prenatal Exposure to Ambient and Traffic-Related Air Pollution With Newborn Thyroid Function. Findings From the Children’s Health Study” JAMA Network Open 1(5):e182172 doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.2172
Ford reveals production version of Transit Custom PHEV at IAA Commercial Vehicles
Ford revealed the production version of the new Transit Custom plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at IAA Commercial Vehicle show in Hannover, Germany. The Transit Custom PHEV targets an all-electric driving range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), and uses the multi-award-winning Ford 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine as a range extender for total range exceeding 500 kilometers (310 miles).
Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market. The technology enables the vehicle to be charged with grid electricity, contributing to reduced local emissions and allowing the vehicle to enter low-emissions zones. The PHEV model will enter volume production in the second half of 2019.
Ford also announced major enhancements to the Transit Custom line-up, including an upgraded 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel with more powerful 185 PS variant, a segment-first diesel mild hybrid powertrain option, and advanced new connectivity and driver assistance features.
The Transit Custom PHEV uses a series-hybrid driveline configuration, the front wheels being driven exclusively by an electric motor, rather than by the combustion engine.
Power for the motor is provided by a compact 14 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack located under the load floor, which has been carefully positioned to preserve the full cargo volume offered by the standard Transit Custom van, and a payload exceeding 1,000 kg. Ford’s compact and fuel-efficient 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine generates additional charge for the batteries when required.
Three selectable EV modes enable the driver to choose how and when to use the available battery charge:
EV Auto – default setting determines how to use the energy sources
EV Now – uses only electric power until the battery is depleted
EV Later – system aims to maintain current level of battery charge
Using the charge port located within the front bumper, the Transit Custom PHEV can be charged using a domestic 240 volt 10 amp power supply, achieving full charge in five hours, or a commercial 240 volt 16 amp or 32 amp supply, which can bring the pack to full charge in three hours.
The FordPass Connect on-board modem technology is a standard feature, allowing fleet operators to improve vehicle utilization and optimize running costs, and enabling a range of features to be accessed via the FordPass mobile app to make the vehicle ownership and operating experience easier and more productive.
Within the cabin, a power/charge gauge replaces the standard rev counter, and a smaller gauge for battery state of charge replaces the engine coolant temperature indicator. Trip computer functions are configured specifically for the PHEV powertrain, and EV mode indicators, maintenance alerts, and a warning when the vehicle is plugged into a charging point, appear on the instrument display cluster. A status line showing distance to empty for both the battery and range extender is visible on all screen displays.
The new Transit Custom interior provides class-leading stowage and all-new displays and control panels designed for enhanced ergonomics and ease of use. Ford’s voice-activated SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system is available for high-series models, featuring an 8-inch colour touchscreen that can be controlled with pinch and swipe gestures.
The Transit Custom PHEV will be offered in a range of high-specification series, and offering driver assistance technologies including Active Park Assist and Lane-Keeping Aid supported by standard electric power-assisted steering that is optimized for city driving and easy maneuvering in busy commercial environments.
Ford Transit Custom PHEV prototypes are undergoing a 12-month fleet trial with real-world customers in London, covering in excess of 50,000 km (31,000 miles) to date, and Ford recently announced further trials will begin in Valencia, Spain.
The vans—equipped with telematics systems—gather data on operational and environmental performance, including charging patterns, journey patterns and real electric-only range, while in use by commercial fleets including delivery and construction companies, utilities and services such as the police.
The data collected is helping Ford to better understand how to optimize the benefits of the hybrid powertrain and explore how lower-emission plug-in hybrid electric vans could support cleaner air targets, while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions.
The new Transit Custom PHEV van is a key component of Ford’s global electrification commitment, with an investment of $11 billion to create a portfolio of 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 fully electric vehicles through 2022.
TRATON Group announces two strategic partnerships: Solera and Sinotruk
TRATON AG, formerly Volkswagen Truck & Bus AG, announced two strategic partnerships. The first is with Solera, to develop smart and secure solutions to answer challenges of transport and logistics customers. The second is an expansion of TRATON’s long-term partnership with Sinotruk to establish a joint venture to localize a MAN heavy-duty truck in China and evaluating and intensifying technology and procurement cooperation.
Since the beginning of the partnership, MAN has held a 25% stake plus one share in Sinotruk, one of the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturers in China.
TRATON and Solera.The TRATON and Solera Holdings strategic partnership aims to shape the future digital landscape of global transportation and logistics. This collaboration includes fleet management, driver services and digital sales solutions for participants in the global commercial vehicle ecosystem.
The decision to launch the new partnership was made following the highly successful cooperation of TRATON’s MAN Truck & Bus AG and Solera, which have jointly developed a driver-focused after-sales application set. Now, TRATON and Solera are taking the cooperation to the next level.
Both companies have united to help their customers solve the biggest challenges the transportation industry is facing: driver shortage and retention, security, truck utilization and load efficiency, solutions for predictive maintenance, analytics and vehicle uptime.
Beyond this, the partnership also aims to shape and accelerate new business models of the future, such as freight hailing, secure logistics and smart goods, as well as tracking with sensor data. As partners, TRATON and Solera intend to deliver digital solutions from TRATON, for example Loadfox, RIO services, MAN DigitalServices, enriched with Solera’s Digital Garage platform that focuses on connecting all of the approximately 250 service interactions throughout the truck life-cycle.
Both companies intend to connect open ecosystems that interlink intermodal transportation and existing IT solutions in a smart and secure way. Unlike other solutions in the market, this will be founded on an open-API-based ecosystem. In the upcoming weeks, the joint projects will be further specified and processed.
Founded and continuously led by inventor and entrepreneur Tony Aquila, Solera is a global leader in digital technologies that connect and secure cars, trucks, homes and identities. Today, Solera processes more than 300 million digital transactions annually for approximately 235,000 partners and customers in nearly 90 countries.
TRATON and Sinotruk. MAN and Sinotruk have been working together highly successfully since 2009. At the core of the increased cooperation is a new joint venture between MAN and Sinotruk. Supported by the new joint venture, MAN plans to localize a heavy-duty truck in China, the largest heavy-duty truck market in the world.
Furthermore, opportunities with regards to technology cooperation will be evaluated. Among the areas expected to be explored will be powertrains, electrification, autonomous driving as well as buses. Beyond the planned joint venture, TRATON and Sinotruk also intend to extend their efforts to benefit from synergies.
TRATON AG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and a leading commercial vehicle manufacturer worldwide with its brands MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, and RIO. In 2017, TRATON GROUP’s brands sold around 205,000 vehicles in total. Its offering comprises light-duty commercial vehicles, trucks, and buses which are produced at 31 sites in 17 countries.
NY launches first EV charging station installation rebate initiative for public and private locations; $5M available
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $5 million is available as part of the first rebate designed specifically for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces, office buildings, multi-family apartment buildings, and public locations such as theaters, malls, parks and retail locations.
Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the new Charge Ready NY initiative provides a $4,000 rebate per charging port for public or private employers, building owners, municipalities and non-profit organizations to install Level 2 charging stations.
Depending on installation costs and the model/make of the charging station, installers can save up to 80% of a typical installation’s total cost. Level 2 stations provide up to 25 miles of electric range to cars for each hour they are charging. Charging stations must be installed at one of the following types of locations:
Public parking lot: must have at least ten parking spaces and be open to the general public at least 12 hours per day for at least five days per week. Examples include municipal or privately-operated parking lots or garages, parking at retail locations, shopping malls, restaurants, parks, transit stations, schools and other destination locations.
Workplace: must have at least ten parking spaces that primarily serve a minimum of 15 employees who work at or near the lot. Examples include office buildings, universities, schools, and hospitals.
Multi-unit housing: must have at least eight parking spaces that primarily serve a building with five or more housing units, such as apartment buildings, condominiums and co-ops.
Charge Ready NY rebates can be combined with New York State’s 50% tax credit for installing charging stations. The tax credit is applied after the rebate amount received from NYSERDA. Charge Ready NY rebates cannot be combined with other New York State charging station rebate programs offered by NYSERDA, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York Power Authority, or other state entities.
The transportation sector is one of the largest producers of energy related greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. As a result, the state has multiple initiatives and programs designed to reduce these emissions and support the expansion of electric vehicles. For example, the Drive Clean Rebate initiative provides New York residents with rebates of up to $2,000 for the purchase of a new or leased electric car. Since its launch, more than 9,000 New York residents have received rebates totaling more than $12 million.
This new initiative supports the Governor’s Charge NY 2.0 initiative, which aims to have at least 10,000 charging stations across New York by the end of 2021. The initiative also builds on the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, which was launched in 2013 and has a goal of having 30,000 to 40,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2018.
To complement Charge Ready NY, which enables public and private organizations to apply directly for rebates, the Governor recently announced a $250 million commitment by the New York Power Authority to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and expand electric vehicle fast charging stations along key transportation corridors and in New York City airports.
DOE to renew JCESR for advanced battery research; $120M over 5 years
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will renew the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub led by Argonne National Laboratory and focused on advancing battery science and technology (earlier post). DOE plans annual funding for JCESR of $24 million, for a total of $120 million over the five-year renewal period.
Established in late 2012, JCESR is a partnership made up of national laboratories, universities and an industrial firm, with the original goal of “5-5-5”—batteries that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within 5 years.
Each of the five JCESR research Thrusts pushes the boundaries of scientific understanding, integrates with the other Thrusts, and advances the overall performance of prospective energy storage systems.
JCESR’s first five years have yielded important science breakthroughs, helped launch three startups—Blue Current, Sepion and Form Energy—and produced more than 380 published scientific papers. The knowledge we’ve gained has introduced new approaches to battery R&D and will guide our research in transformative materials for next generation batteries for many years in the future.
—JCESR Director George Crabtree
In addition, using computational methods, JCESR researchers screened more than 24,000 potential electrolyte and electrode compounds to help accelerate the search for new battery architectures, data that was made publicly available to the broader battery research community.
Over the next five years, JCESR’s vision is to create disruptive new materials deliberately constructed from the bottom up, in which each atom or molecule has a prescribed role in producing targeted overall materials behavior.
Future JCESR research will be aimed at energy storage technology for a host of emerging applications, including resilient future electric grids, distributed energy management for more reliable and efficient energy delivery under all conditions, fast-charging electric vehicles and even regional electric flight. While energy storage remains the key for all of these applications, no single battery type is capable of filling all the widely varying requirements.
What is needed, according to Crabtree, is a range of designer batteries, each tailored to the requirements of its host application. At the same time, each of these designer batteries must perform multiple, often competing tasks such as frequent cycling and long life, high energy density and slow self-discharge, or fast charging with little or no safety risk. The mission of the renewed JCESR is to create the science to, in the words of Crabtree, “lay the foundation for a diversity of next-generation batteries for a diversity of uses.”
Audi e-tron premium electric SUV debuts; starting at $74,800 in US; delivery Q2 2019; reservations open
Audi unveiled its all-electric Audi e-tron mid-size SUV—its first fully electric production model—in an event in San Francisco. The Audi e-tron is a premium electric SUV designed for sport, family and leisure, and will enter the US market with a suggested retail price of $74,800, with initial arrival in the second quarter of 2019.
The two electric motors accelerate the e-tron from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds (with boost engaged) and reach a top speed of 124 mph. The maximum drive torque is reached in 250 milliseconds. A 396V, 95 kWh battery pack—augmented by efficient recuperation—provides more than 400 km (249 miles) of range under the WLTP. US figures will be available closer to launch.
The e-tron is 193 inches long, 76.3 inches wide and 65.5 inches high—basically, in-between the Audi Q5 and Q8—offering the spaciousness and comfort commensurate with an Audi. With a wheelbase of 115.1 inches, the Audi e-tron has ample space for five occupants and cargo. The total luggage capacity is 28.5 cu ft. (57.0 cu ft. seats down), equipping the electric SUV for short jaunts as well as long road trips.
Drive and recuperation. The two asynchronous motors (ASM) of the Audi e-tron are especially robust. Their sophisticated cooling concept is designed to keep the temperature level low. Single-stage transmissions transfer the torque to the axles via the differentials.
The front motor is an axially parallel ASM, with 165 kW with boost and 355 N·m of torque. The rear motor is coaxial, with 135 kW with boost and 309 N·m of torque.
Each motor is supplied by power electronics that act in close consort with the powertrain control unit. When the Audi e-tron is traveling at moderate speeds, in the interest of efficiency it is powered mainly by the rear motor. When coasting, the motors operate free from magnetic drag torque—another strength of ASM technology.
The Audi e-tron uses an innovative recuperation system encompassing both electric motors, to boost efficiency. Audi engineers estimate that on average this system is responsible for as much as 30% of the e-tron’s range depending on the conditions, terrain and driving style.
The electric SUV can recover energy in two ways: by means of coasting recuperation when the driver releases the accelerator, or by means of braking recuperation by depressing the brake pedal.
When pressing the brake pedal, the electronic control unit computes within milliseconds how much pressure the system needs to build up for the specific braking process required. A high-performance electric motor supplies the necessary energy. The integrated brake control system is approximately 30 percent lighter than a conventional system thanks to its more compact design. The conventional vacuum pump is no longer needed in this configuration.
According to the driving situation, the brake control system decides whether to use the electric motors as alternators or to use the friction brakes—all without the driver noticing.
Up to 0.3 g, the Audi e-tron is decelerated solely by the electric motors—that covers more than 90% of braking scenarios. Energy is returned to the battery in practically all normal braking instances.
Above this deceleration value—e.g., in a full brake application—the friction brakes come into play. With a newly designed electro-hydraulic activation principle, they are particularly quick to respond.
The driver can select the degree of energy recovery in three stages by means of paddles on the steering wheel. In the lowest setting, the Audi e-tron glides with no additional braking torque. At the highest stage the electric SUV is slowed more noticeably—the driver can slow down and accelerate solely via the acceleration pedal, if desired. This creates what is referred to as a one-pedal feeling.
The efficiency assist additionally promotes an economical driving style by prompting the driver when he should move his foot off of the accelerator pedal. It does this by using the navigation system’s route data, radar information and camera images, Depending on the traffic situation the predictive system makes the Audi e-tron slow down proactively and in turn, recuperate.
Electric all-wheel drive and suspension. In the Audi e-tron, the brand introduces a new generation of quattro drive as standard: electric all-wheel drive. This new system enables the electric SUV to achieve optimum traction in a variety of weather conditions and on challenging road surfaces.
In a similar way to the mechanical quattro with ultra technology, the second axle—in this case, the one at the front—can be connected predictively. This happens if the driver requests more power than the rear electric motor can supply, or predictively even before grip noticeably declines in wintery conditions or in dynamic cornering. The electric motors are an ideal power source for the high-precision, ultrafast electric quattro. Torque can be controlled spontaneously—the output can be redistributed between the axles within a fraction of a second.
Towards the limits of driving dynamics, torque vectoring enhances handling by means of brief wheel brake applications. The dynamic talents of the Audi e-tron are especially apparent on a low-friction surface, such as snow. For the first time in the e-tron, the quattro torque vectoring are integrated on the central suspension controller, distributing the torque with a slight rear bias.
The innovative traction control regulates wheel slip by the millisecond directly via the electric motors’ power electronics. The powertrain control unit is integrated with the built-in brake control system and helps maintain an optimum power flow between tires and road surface. Together with the electric all-wheel drive, this produces the high traction and directional stability that are typical of an Audi. This is especially evident in the four-stage Electronic Stabilization Control, which offers the “sport” and “offroad” modes and can also be fully turned off when desired.
The SUV’s driving character can be adjusted with the standard Audi drive select across seven profiles—from comfortable, through efficient, to distinctively sporty—according to the driving situation, road condition or personal requirements. Some of the modes also influence the standard air suspension with adaptive dampers.
Depending on road speed and driving style the suspension adjusts the body’s ride height by up to 76 millimeters (3.0 in). Especially on long journeys, a lower ride height improves the air flow around the body, thus helping to increase range. In the “offroad” mode, the Audi e-tron is primed for driving away from paved roads: Its ground clearance is increased by 35 millimeters (1.4 in) compared with the standard level. If the driver activates the additional function “Raise” in Audi drive select, the body can adapt to another 15 millimeters (0.6 in) higher.
The electric SUV is both dynamic and stable in changing driving conditions. The low position of the drive components helps in that regard: The battery system is optimally matched to the dimensions of the Audi e-tron body and is located between the axles in the form of a flat, broad block beneath the passenger compartment. That places the Audi e-tron’s center of gravity a few centimeters lower down than in a conventional SUV.
The axle load distribution is balanced at approximately 50:50, and self-steering behavior is neutral. The front and rear suspensions take the form of five-link designs. The standard progressive steering adjusts its ratio according to steering angle and provides speed-dependent assistance. The further the steering is turned, the more direct it becomes—this helps make the vehicle agile and precise to move with little effort. This advantage comes into play in city driving and for tight maneuvering.
An optional trailer tow hitch can increase the Audi e-tron’s versatility, for example as a sport and leisure vehicle. When equipped with the tow package, the Audi e-tron has a maximum tow rating of 4000 lbs. It can also be used for mounting a cycle carrier, for example.
High-voltage battery system. The battery system in the Audi e-tron is located beneath the cabin and is 2.28 meters (90 inches) long, 1.63 meters (63.6 inches) wide and 34 centimeters (13.4 in) high. It comprises a total of 36 cell modules in square aluminum housings, each of which is roughly the size of a shoe box.
They are arranged on two levels, known as “floors”—a longer lower floor and a shorter upper one. At market launch, each module is equipped with twelve pouch cells having a flexible outer skin of aluminum-coated polymer. The battery operates with a nominal voltage of 396 volts and stores 95 kWh of energy.
A cooling system of flat aluminum extruded sections divided uniformly into small chambers has the task of maintaining the battery’s high-performance operation over the long term. Heat is exchanged between the cells and the cooling system beneath them via a thermally conductive gel pressed beneath each cell module. In what is a particularly resourceful solution, the gel evenly transfers the waste heat to the coolant via the battery housing.
A strong surround frame and lattice-type aluminum structure that holds the cell modules is designed to protect the battery block. A substantial aluminum plate provides protection against damage from flying stones or curbs, for example.
The weight of the battery system including the housing pan with intricate crash structures is roughly 700 kilograms (1543.2 lb). It is bolted to the underbody of the Audi e-tron at 35 points. This increases the torsional rigidity of the body, which in turn integrates numerous aluminum parts such as the floor plate in the rear structure, the doors, as well as the hood and tailgate. The cabin features components made from heat-formed ultra-high-strength steel.
Charging at up to 150 kW. The e-tron is engineered for both AC and DC charging via the widespread SAE J1772 and Combined Charging System (CCS) standards. In an industry first to-date, the e-tron debuts a DC fast charging capability of up to 150 kW available at select high-speed public charging stations, this capability can deliver up-to an 80% charge in only approximately 30 minutes.
For customers’ residential charging needs, a standard 9.6 kW AC capsule charger (Level 2, 240-volt/40 amps) is provided and designed to deliver a fresh charge overnight. This charger will include plugs that can utilize both a standard 120-volt household outlet (1.2 kW) as well as a fast-speed 240-volt NEMA 14-50 outlet (9.6 kW).
Audi e-tron buyers will have the opportunity to ready their homes for their all-electric SUV with available Amazon Home Services in the first home charging collaboration between Amazon and an automaker. “Audi Home Charging powered by Amazon Home Services” offers e-tron buyers a fully-digital experience for in-home electric vehicle charging installations, designed to make the process of home charging set up as easy as ordering the millions of others items and services US customers depend on from Amazon.
Furthermore, customers can define their own personal priorities, such as charging when electricity is less expensive where available. With the myAudi app, it can be accessed from the convenience of the home. It can be used to plan, control, and monitor the charging and pre-heating/-cooling of the electric SUV. The customer can set a departure time, for example, so that the Audi e-tron is charged and/or heated/cooled at the desired time. Customers can even choose to heat or cool certain zones in the car. On cold winter days, for example, customers can turn on the optional seat heating. The app also displays charging and driving data.
For charging on the go, the e-tron will be supported by a nationwide charging network, “Powered by Electrify America.” By July 2019, this network will include nearly 500 fast-charging sites complete or under development throughout 40 states and 17 metro areas. Offering advanced charging, Electrify America’s chargers are capable of delivering up to 350kW. With the purchase of the Audi e-tron customers will receive 1,000 kWh of charging at Electrify America sites over four years of ownership.
Operation and displays. In keeping with the all-new Audi C and D segment portfolio, the Audi e-tron features the MMI touch response operating system. Its two large, high-resolution displays—the upper one with a diagonal of 10.1 inches and the lower one 8.6 inches—take the place of almost all conventional switches and controls. Operation is swift and simple: When the finger activates a function, it triggers a tactile and acoustic click by way of confirmation. The few remaining buttons, for example for the lights, are also available with touch response technology if desired.
In the upper display, the driver controls the infotainment, telephone, navigation, and special e-tron settings—this allows the activation of a charging timer or specifying the type of desired recuperation, for example. In the lower screen text input, comfort function selections and the HVAC are all managed with the wrist resting comfortably on the gear selector lever with integrated support. The menu structure is intuitively logical and flat like on a smartphone, including freely configurable favorites and start screens.
In addition, the driver can activate a wide range of functions using natural language recognition. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or can be delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The system understands spoken commands; the dialog manager asks questions if necessary, allows corrections, offers choices, and also defers to the speaker when interrupted.
Alexa has been fully integrated into the MMI system and is on board for customers to access the many of the same features and services in the Audi e-tron as they can in their home or through other Alexa-enabled devices. You can check news, weather and sports scores, order groceries and add things to your to-do list, stream music and audiobooks via Audible, Amazon Music and TuneIn. And you access the wide variety of Alexa skills.
The digital display and operating concept in the Audi e-tron is rounded off by the standard feature of the Audi virtual cockpit, which can be operated from the multifunction steering wheel. Its display benefits from the very high resolution of 1,920 x 720 pixels and new e-tron-specific graphics. The driver can choose between three views: In the classic view, the power meter and speedometer are presented as large dials; in the infotainment view, they appear smaller and the focus is on the navigation map. Additionally, with the standard Audi virtual cockpit plus an additional view is shown that puts the power meter center stage. The head-up display complements the displays as an option. It projects important information straight onto the windscreen.
Connectivity: navigation, Audi connect. The Audi e-tron is equipped with MMI Navigation plus as standard. The top-end media center supports the high-speed data transmission through LTE Advanced with integrated Wi-Fi hotspot for passengers’ mobile devices through a 6-month unlimited Audi connect PLUS trial subscription. The navigation system can make predictive destination suggestions based on previous journeys. The route is calculated both on-board in the car and online on the servers of the map and navigation provider HERE, using real-time data for the overall traffic conditions.
The online services of Audi connect PRIME ideally complement the navigation system, especially the e-tron route planner. The customer can use it either in the in-car MMI touch system or in the myAudi app. In both cases they are shown the suggested route with the available charging points. The navigation system considers not only the battery’s charge but also the traffic conditions and includes the required charging time in its arrival time calculation. The e-tron route planner provides charge locations as part of the route planning.
Driver assistance systems. The system at the heart of the optional Driver Assistance Package is adaptive cruise assist, which comfortably provides longitudinal and lateral control in traffic jams or at highway speeds. It supports the driver with accelerating, braking, maintaining speed, keeping distance. The system can detect lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. In construction zones, the Audi e-tron automatically adapts its speed to the traffic situation, taking into account the speed limit.
If the lane is too narrow to allow side-by-side driving, adaptive cruise assist enables offset driving through narrow stretches. In conjunction with efficiency assist it predictively slows down and accelerates the Audi e-tron based on its evaluation of sensor and navigation data as well as road signs. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts. The system can maintain a driving style that reflects the driving program selected—from every day to sporty.
Driver assistance features for urban areas include intersection assist, rear cross traffic assist as well as lane change and vehicle exit warning. The 360 degree cameras provide multiple views to facilitate centimeter-precision maneuvering, while showing crossing traffic. The 3D view with freely selectable perspective is the highlight. Park steering assist eases the parking process. It steers the Audi e-tron independently into parallel parking and perpendicular parking spaces – forward or backward. The driver only has to accelerate, select the gear and brake.
Operating as standard behind the driver assistance systems in the Audi e-tron is the central driver assistance controller. It continuously computes a differentiated picture of the surroundings. The required data is obtained—depending on the selected options—from up to five radar sensors, six cameras, twelve ultrasound sensors and the laser scanner.
Mercedes-Benz HD electric truck eActros entering practical customer trials; Hermes first of 20
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is starting practical trials for its all-electric heavy-duty eActros truck.
The retail and logistics service provider Hermes is the first of 20 customers in different sectors who will integrate the electric truck into their fleets. Each customer will use a near-series 18 or 25-tonner in their normal operations for one year to test it for day-to-day suitability.
The aim is to realize locally emission-free and quiet operation of heavy-duty trucks in cities. The test series is divided into two phases with ten customers each, and covers a period of around two years.
Every type of customer operation will make specific demands on the eActros. Hermes will test a 25-tonner mainly on a 50 km long route between Bad Hersfeld and the Hermes logistics Center in Friedewald, northern Hessia. The route passes through hilly landscape and is covered six to eight times each day. This makes at least one charging process necessary between tours. The range of the eActros is up to 200 km. The vehicle was handed over to Hermes in Bad Hersfeld in September. Further customer handovers will follow before the end of the year.
The practical trials with the eActros are an important milestone on the way to series production. We want to use the comprehensive findings to realise electric trucks that are economically comparable to diesel trucks for inner-city distribution from 2021. Our focus is on the operating range and cost of the batteries, and also on the infrastructure necessary for operations in our customers’ commercial fleets.
—Stefan Buchner, Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks
Practical operation of the eActros by customers is preceded by intensive advice from the experts at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Above all this defines the specific customer requirements and the corresponding variant of the eActros, and clarifies aspects of the necessary infrastructure.
All the test customers transport goods in city traffic, and will use the eActros for assignments otherwise carried out with conventional diesel trucks—but in completely different sectors and categories.
The goods concerned range from groceries to building supplies and raw materials. Depending on requirements, the customers will receive the two-axle 18-tonner or the three-axle 25-tonner. The body variants range from refrigerated and box bodies to bulk goods and tarpaulin bodies.
The other customers participating in the first test phase will gradually receive an eActros in the next few weeks. They are: Dachser, Edeka, Kraftverkehr Nagel, Ludwig Meyer, pfenning logistics, TBS Rhein-Neckar and Rigterink in Germany; and Camion Transport and Migros in Switzerland.
Architecture specifically configured for electric drive. The frame of the Mercedes-Benz Actros is used as the basis for the eActros. Otherwise the vehicle architecture has been configured specifically for an electric drive system, with a high proportion of specific components.
The drive axle, for example, is based on the ZF AVE 130 that has already proved its worth in hybrid and fuel-cell buses from Mercedes-Benz, and has now been fundamentally revised for the eActros.
The drive system comprises two electric motors located close to the rear-axle wheel hubs. They have an output of 126 kW each, together with a maximum torque of 485 N·m each. The gearing ratios turn this into 11,000 N·m each, resulting in a performance that is comparable with that of a diesel truck.
The maximum permissible axle load stands at the usual 11.5 tonnes. The energy comes from the 240 kWh lithium-ion pack. These have already proved their worth in service with EvoBus GmbH, so they can no longer be considered as prototypes. Depending on the available charging capacity, they can be fully charged within two to eleven hours (at 150 and 20 kW).
Daimler has been gaining experience with electric trucks since 2010, and since last year it has had its first series-production, fully electric truck in the market and in customer hands: the Fuso eCanter light-duty truck.
The first eCitaro buses will be delivered from the end of the year, and will go into practical operations in the context of so-called customer-oriented driving trials.
In the van sector, the eVito from Mercedes-Benz Vans has been orderable since November 2017 and deliveries will commence after this year’s International Commercial Vehicle Show (IAA). The eSprinter will follow in 2019.
Audi launches electrification offensive; 12 EVs by 2025; 4 e-platforms
With the world premiere of the Audi e-tron Monday night in San Francisco, Audi also marked the launch of its electrification offensive. By 2025 Audi will offer twelve automobiles with all-electric drive in the most important markets worldwide and achieve roughly one-third of its sales with electrified models.
The SUVs in this portfolio include the e-tron and the e-tron Sportback debuting in 2019. A series of models with classic body layouts such as Avant and Sportback will also be available. The range will cover every relevant market segment from the compact to the full-size class.
A total of four technical platforms and product families are the prerequisite for offering electric vehicles in every segment from A to D. Close collaboration between Technical Development and other Group brands leverages the synergies required for a broad, global range that also offers optimal prospects of financial success.
The Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback use components from Audi’s modular longitudinal platform. This and numerous innovative technologies primarily in the area of drive systems are giving rise to a separate product family of e-SUVs with electric quattro all-wheel drive. Fast charging with up to 150 kW and ample range suitable for long-distance journeys are benchmarks in this class.
Audi will present the first member of another e-platform by the end of 2018: The Audi e-tron GT concept showcar, a highly dynamic coupe with a flat floor assembly, is debuting at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The technology in this automobile was developed in collaboration with Porsche; the design and character of the e-tron GT concept are packed full of unmistakable Audi DNA.
Another joint project of the development departments at Audi and Porsche is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). It will be the basis for multiple Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments of the market.
Both SUVs and classic body concepts are planned here. A major strength of the PPE is that it was developed exclusively for electric drive. This offers advantages with respect to weight, the package and the proportions of the body.
Several Volkswagen Group brands are collaborating on the development of the modular electrification platform (MEB), which serves as the basis for a series of Audi e-models, particularly in the high-volume A segment. One of these is being developed specifically for the requirements of China, the single most important market.
AUDI AG will also greatly expand its range of plug-in hybrid automobiles.
In the future, virtually every market segment will include models powered by a combination of electric motors and a combustion engine, and that can be charged at an electric outlet.
—Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development
SoCalGas to offer renewable natural gas at its fueling stations for the first time
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) will soon begin using renewable natural gas for the first time at the 25 utility-owned natural gas vehicle fueling stations across its service territory, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area.
Last month, the utility received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a pilot program to purchase the renewable fuel and capture the additional environmental credits generated. Today, it published a Request for Offer (RFO), and expects to complete gas purchase agreements in the near future.
The latest generation of natural gas engines for heavy-duty vehicles can reduce smog-forming emissions by more than 90% compared to the cleanest heavy-duty diesel trucks. When these ultra-low emissions natural gas trucks are fueled with renewable natural gas, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 80%.
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is produced from the methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing and dairies and depending on its source, can be low-carbon or in some cases, even carbon-negative. It can be used to fuel trucks and buses, to generate electricity, to heat homes and businesses, and to cook.
Capturing the methane from these waste sources and using it for fuel has two benefits: It keeps methane, a greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change, and it reduces the use of traditionally-sourced natural gas.
Because renewable natural gas can be stored and delivered through the existing natural gas infrastructure, SoCalGas can help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the state’s renewable energy and air quality goals in a cost-effective way.
California provides incentive funding to help trucking fleets transition to renewable natural gas. Close to 70% of natural gas fleets in California are fueled with renewable natural gas.
As California policymakers have sought to expand the production and use of renewable energy, SoCalGas has been working to expand the production and use of renewable natural gas in California. The utility recently launched a video on renewable natural gas, and worked with waste management company CR&R Environmental to begin injecting renewable natural gas produced at CR&R's anaerobic digestion facility in Perris, Calif., into SoCalGas pipelines.
In June, SoCalGas joined two French utilities and a Canadian natural gas utility in a new collaboration to advance the research and development of renewable natural gas and technologies such as power-to-gas. SoCalGas also assists California fleets in obtaining state funds designated for the purchase of near-zero emissions heavy-duty natural gas trucks.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, servicing 21.8 million customers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90% of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses.
Natural gas delivered through the company’s pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60% of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.
TRATON AG and Hino to join forces in e-mobility, plan to establish procurement JV
TRATON AG—formerly Volkswagen Truck & Bus—and Hino Motors Ltd. announced new details on their strategic partnership, announced earlier this year (earlier post).
Both partners have agreed on two strategic initiatives: to join forces in e-mobility and the plan to establish a procurement joint venture.
In e-mobility, TRATON and Hino plan to share their development efforts and market products in shorter time. Hino has a history of more than 25 years in electrified vehicles and the largest running fleet of hybrid commercial vehicles in the world.
Also, Hino will start sales of a heavy-duty hybrid truck (Hino PROFIA Hybrid) with an AI-based hill anticipation hybrid control system in Japan next year.
The partners have complementary approaches: while TRATON is focused on heavy-duty applications, Hino focuses on light- and medium-duty trucks. Joining their forces will strengthen their innovation power, the partners said.
The future procurement joint venture with balanced rights is planned as a small but powerful entity between both parties, leveraging synergies in purchasing. The planned joint venture aims at realizing synergies in global procurement for existing parts as well as parts for new technologies.
More details of the planned joint venture will be outlined in the upcoming months. A corresponding framework agreement has already been signed, filing for antitrust clearance is the next step in the process aiming to establish the joint venture company in latter half of 2019.
Separately, Volkswagen said it is pushing forward preparations for a potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) of TRATON GROUP. Further steps to this end were decided by the Volkswagen AG Supervisory Board in the most recent meeting. TRATON GROUP will now strengthen the team preparing a potential IPO with external experts. For this purpose, investment banks and legal advisors will be mandated in a timely manner.
SLAC, Berkeley Lab X-rays uncover a hidden property that leads to failure in lithium iron phosphate
X-ray experiments at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have revealed that the pathways lithium ions take through lithium iron phosphate are more complex than previously thought. The results correct more than two decades worth of assumptions about the material and will help improve battery design, potentially leading to a new generation of lithium-ion batteries.
A paper on the work by the international team of researchers, led by William Chueh, a faculty scientist at SLAC’s Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences and a Stanford materials science professor, is published in Nature Materials.
Before, it was kind of like a black box. You could see that the material worked pretty well and certain additives seemed to help, but you couldn’t tell exactly where the lithium ions go in every step of the process. You could only try to develop a theory and work backwards from measurements. With new instruments and measurement techniques, we’re starting to have a more rigorous scientific understanding of how these things actually work.
—Martin Bazant, a professor at MIT and a leader of the study. “
When conventional lithium-ion batteries charge and discharge, the lithium ions flow from the liquid electrolyte into a solid reservoir. But once in the solid, the lithium can rearrange itself, sometimes causing the material to split into two distinct phases, much as oil and water separate when mixed together. This causes what Chueh refers to as a “popcorn effect.” The ions clump together into hot spots that end up shortening the battery lifetime.
In this study, researchers used two X-ray techniques to explore the inner workings of lithium-ion batteries. At SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) they bounced X-rays off a sample of lithium iron phosphate to reveal its atomic and electronic structure, giving them a sense of how the lithium ions were moving about in the material. At Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), they used X-ray microscopy to magnify the process, allowing them to map how the concentration of lithium changes over time.
Previously, researchers thought that lithium iron phosphate was a one-dimensional conductor—meaning lithium ions are only able to travel in one direction through the bulk of the material, like salmon swimming upstream.
But while analyzing the data, the researchers noticed that lithium was moving in a completely different direction on the surface of the material than one would expect based on previous models. It was as if someone had tossed a leaf onto the surface of the stream and discovered that the water was flowing in a completely different direction than the swimming salmon.
They worked with Saiful Islam, a chemistry professor at the University of Bath, UK, to develop computer models and simulations of the system. Those revealed that lithium ions moved in two additional directions on the surface of the material, making lithium iron phosphate a three-dimensional conductor.
As it turns out, these extra pathways are problematic for the material, promoting the popcorn-like behavior that leads to its failure. If lithium can be made to move more slowly on the surface, it will make the battery much more uniform. This is the key to developing higher performance and longer lasting batteries.
Even though lithium iron phosphate has been around for the past two decades, the ability to study it at the nanoscale and during battery operation wasn’t possible until just a couple of years ago.
This explains how such a crucial property of the material has gone unnoticed for so long. With new technologies, there are always new and interesting properties to be discovered about materials that make you think about them a little differently.
—Yiyang Li, who led the experimental work as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at Stanford and SLAC
This work is one of the first papers to come out of a collaboration between Bazant, Chueh and several other scientists as part of a Toyota Research Institute-funded research center that utilizes theory and machine learning to design and interpret advanced experiments.
To follow up on this study, the researchers will continue to combine modeling, simulation and experiments to try to understand fundamental questions about battery performance at many different length and time scales with facilities such as SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, or LCLS, where researchers will be able to probe single ionic hops that happen at timescales as fast as one trillionth of a second.
In addition to SLAC, Stanford, Berkeley Lab, MIT, and the University of Bath, the collaboration includes researchers from the National Institute of Chemistry and the University of Ljubljana, both in Slovenia.
New method from EPFL more than doubles sugar production from plants
Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a method that can significantly increase the yield of sugars from plants, improving the production of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials.
Producing fuels and chemicals from biomass (wood, grasses, etc.) involves breaking down (deconstructing), plants to produce single carbohydrates, mostly in the form of simple sugars such as xylose and glucose. But even though these sugars are valuable, current processes for plant deconstruction often end up degrading them.
Now, the lab of Jeremy Luterbacher at EPFL has developed a chemical method that stabilizes simple sugars and prevents them from being degraded. This method could mean that chemists no longer have to balance deconstruction of the plant with avoiding degradation of the product.
The new method changes the chemical susceptibility of the sugars to dehydration and degradation by latching aldehydes onto them. The process is reversible, meaning that that the sugars can be retrieved after deconstruction.
The chemists tried their method on beechwood. First, they turned it into pulp using a paper-making technique called organosolv, which solubilizes wood into acetone or ethanol. But in order to latch aldehydes onto the sugars, the scientists mixed the beechwood with formaldehyde.
With this approach, they were able to recover more than 90% of xylose sugars as opposed to only 16% xylose without formaldehyde. When they broke down the remaining pulp to glucose, the carbohydrate yield was more than 70%, compared to 28% without formaldehyde.
Before, people had always been looking for often expensive systems that limited sugar degradation. With stabilization, you worry less about this degradation and this frees you up to develop cheaper and faster transformations for plants, potentially accelerating the emergence of renewable consumer products.
Ydna M. Questell-Santiago, Raquel Zambrano-Valera, Masoud Talebi Amiri, Jeremy S. Luterbacher (2018) “Carbohydrate stabilization extends the kinetic limits of chemical polysaccharide depolymerization. ” Nature Chemistry doi: 10.1038/s41557-018-0134-4
Volkswagen launches “Electric for All” campaign, demos rolling chassis of MEB
Volkswagen is launching its “Electric for All” campaign—a strategic effort to put attractive electric vehicles at affordable prices on the road, paving the way for the breakthrough of electric vehicles. Volkswagen’s electric offensive is based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB), a technology platform developed specifically for electric vehicles. Production of the Volkswagen ID., the first series vehicle based on the MEB, will begin in Zwickau at the end of 2019.
In a series of media workshops this week at the Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden, Volkswagen will provide more insight into the technology of the ID. The company is demonstrating the centerpiece of the MEB—the rolling chassis without the bodywork and interior—exactly as it will be used in series models.
Volkswagen is also premiering a design prototype of the “Volks-Wallbox” in Dresden. This Wallbox is an affordable home system that makes charging the ID. family easy and convenient.
Our Modular Transverse Toolkit already proved Volkswagen is one of the most successful platform developers in the auto industry. Now, we’re transferring this know-how and this strategy to the electric age. By the end of 2022, four Group brands will be ramping up 27 MEB models worldwide, ranging from compact cars to the lifestyle Bulli. That is something quite unique.
—Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for E-Mobility
All members of the ID family are designed for fast charging. Using fast charging systems, the battery can be charged 80% in about 30 minutes thanks to a completely new, significantly more powerful battery system developed by Volkswagen Group Components.
The use of a new generation of high-performance batteries begins with the ID. models. Thanks to their modular design and the multi-cell format, these batteries can be installed in smaller or larger ID. models.
—Christian Senger, Head of the E-mobility Product Line
ID family: e-mobility made in Germany. In every respect, the Volkswagen ID will be an electric car made in Germany. Most of the Volkswagen locations in Germany are involved in the development and production of the first MEB-based electric cars, including the Volkswagen Group Components sites in Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel. The company is investing €1.3 billion (US$1.5 billion) of a total €6 billion (US$7 billion) budgeted for e-mobility at these three sites.
The ID was conceived and developed by the E-mobility Product Line and Research and Development units at the main plant in Wolfsburg. This is also where the pre-series model is currently being built in the pilot hall and will subsequently be put through its paces at the Ehra-Lessien proving grounds.
Volkswagen will build the series production models of the ID family in Saxony. €1.2 billion is being invested in Zwickau to become the first pure-play MEB plant and the largest competence center for e-mobility in Europe. The Gläserne Manufaktur began building the Volkswagen e-Golf back in April 2017. The plant is evolving into a “Center of Future Mobility”. Customers and visitors can enjoy an interactive encounter with e-mobility and digitalization to discover more about the future of mobility.
The Braunschweig plant will manufacture the battery system, the heart of the ID. This factory with a long history already builds the batteries for the e-up!, the e-Golf and the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid. Braunschweig is today the battery and packaging specialist and has extensive know-how in power electronics, battery cooling systems and software management. The plant is currently being expanded so as to be able to build up to half a million battery systems per year in future.
The Salzgitter plant starts pre-series production of rotors and stators for the MEB this year. The Battery Cell Center of Excellence (CoE) is amassing development and manufacturing competence in battery cells and battery module production. This currently includes a lab line to be followed by pilot production with a view to building up production know-how.
The Kassel plant has already been the competence center for electric drives for many years. Production of the entirely new MEB drive developed by Group Components for the Volkswagen brand begins at the end of this year. The site is the lead plant for high-quality, cost-efficient electric motors.
Ford S-MAX and Galaxy now feature advanced EcoBlue diesel engines; new eight-speed automatic gearbox for ACC with Stop & Go
In Europe, Ford has enhanced the S-MAX sports activity vehicle and Galaxy people mover to deliver more fuel efficiency, performance and refinement. The Ford S-MAX and Galaxy models are now offered for the first time with Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine featuring power outputs from 120 PS to 240 PS and with an advanced new eight-speed automatic transmission controlled using a Rotary Gear Shift Dial.
The improved technology offering includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go functionality when combined with the eight-speed automatic; an enhanced version of Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that can detect approaching vehicles at greater distance; and a new Ford ClearView Wiper System for improved visibility.
Both models offer technologies including Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System that adjusts the headlight beam angle to match the driving environment, and can prevent dazzling other drivers with the Glare-Free Highbeam function; and Active Park Assist with Perpendicular Parking for hands-free parking maneuvers.
Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system allows S-MAX and Galaxy drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands. Supported by an 8 inch colour touchscreen that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures, SYNC 3 is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Available for the Ford S-MAX and Galaxy with 120 PS, 150 PS and 190 PS power outputs—and with 240 PS in Bi-turbo form—the 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine delivers the power, torque and driving performance of a larger capacity engine alongside the fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions associated with a smaller engine capacity.
An integrated intake system with mirror-image porting for optimized engine breathing; low-inertia turbocharger that enhances low-end torque; and high-pressure fuel injection system that is more responsive, quieter and offers more precise fuel delivery, all help meet Euro 6 emissions standards calculated using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Standard selective catalytic reduction emissions after-treatment contributes to improved NOx reduction.
Ford’s 240 PS Bi-turbo 2.0-liter EcoBlue engine features a small, high pressure turbo and larger, low pressure turbo that work in series at low rpm for greater responsiveness and enhanced torque. At higher engine speeds, the larger turbo works alone to produce the boost required to deliver peak power, resulting in smooth and linear acceleration for a more comfortable driving experience.
8-speed. Ford’s new eight-speed automatic transmission has been engineered to further optimize fuel efficiency and deliver responsive performance and smooth, swift gearshifts. The transmission features:
Adaptive Shift Scheduling, which assesses individual driving styles to optimise gearshift timings. The system can identify uphill and downhill gradients and hard cornering, and adjust gearshifts accordingly for a more stable, engaging and refined driving experience.
Adaptive Shift Quality Control, which assesses vehicle and environmental information to help adjust clutch pressures for consistently smooth gearshifts. The technology can also adjust shift smoothness to suit driving style.
A six-speed manual transmission also is offered for S-MAX and Galaxy models, and both vehicles can be equipped with Ford’s Intelligent All Wheel Drive technology, which measures how the car’s wheels are gripping the road surface and can adjust torque delivery up to 50/50 between the front and rear wheels in under 20 milliseconds—twenty times quicker than it takes to blink. The system seamlessly transitions torque between all four wheels and provides a more secure footing on the road especially in slippery conditions.
The eight-speed automatic transmission enables ACC, which helps the S-MAX and Galaxy maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead, to be enhanced with Stop & Go, which brings the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic, and automatically pulls away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator pull away.
Both models’ BLIS technology is now able to warn sooner of vehicles approaching the driver’s blind spot at higher closing speeds. Using new Variable Rear Range functionality, BLIS can now detect vehicles up to 18 meters (59 feet) behind.
In addition, the new Ford ClearView Front Wiper System helps drivers clear a dirty windscreen more effectively using multiple washer-jets mounted within the wiper arm—improving visibility in challenging driving conditions while using screen-wash fluid more efficiently.
For drivers of right-hand drive models, the electric parking brake switch in both models is relocated to the driver’s side of the center console, for more comfortable deployment. Drivers can also view vehicle information more clearly with a 4-inch, LCD, colour instrument cluster display as standard. A sophisticated 10-inch, customizable digital screen with animated analogue-style speedometer and rev-counter is also available.
Sophisticated Active Noise Cancellation technology is now standard for S-MAX Vignale models, in addition to S MAX and Galaxy models equipped with the Bi-turbo 240 PS EcoBlue engine.
U Hawaii team studies characteristics and stability of drop-in NERF biofuel replacements for NATO marine diesel
A variety of drop-in replacement biofuels—catalytic hydrothermal conversion diesel (CHCD-76), synthesized isoparaffin (SIP-76), and hydroprocessed renewable diesel (HRD-76)—have been produced in sufficient quantity and supplied to the US Navy for blending with the traditional naval diesel NATO F-76.
Now, Jinxia Fu and Scott Q. Turn at the University of Hawaii report on the storage and oxidation stabilities of SIP-76, CHCD-76, and their blends with F-76. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
The US Navy is … interested in alternative fuels for blending with marine diesel NATO F-76 in order to decrease reliance on fossil resources and increase energy security. Alternative fuels are being sought as drop-in replacements, requiring no modification to existing equipment and fuel handling and transportation systems. In addition, the shipboard environment and mixed fuel-seawater ballasting practices on Navy ships present unique challenges for preserving fuel quality.
Non-ester renewable fuel (NERF) is a class of biofuels comprising pure hydrocarbons that are indistinguishable from their petroleum counterparts. NERFs have many advantages over bioethanol and bio-diesel, e.g. higher energy content, better low temperature quality, and superior stability and material compatibility. NERFs are also interchangeable with petroleum diesel in the existing fuel distribution and diesel engine infrastructure. As such, NERFs are more likely to meet the specifications of alternative fuels.
… Although a blend of HRD-76, CHCD-76, SIP-76, and conventional F-76 has already been used to power Navy surface ships, the physicochemical properties and storage and oxidation stability of CHCD-76, SIP-76, and their blends with F-76 haven’t been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, the physicochemical properties and chemical composition of CHCD-76, SIP-76, and their blends with F-76 were measured.
—Fu and Turn
The researchers determined the chemical composition and physicochemical properties of these two biofuels, including viscosity, density, peroxide value, heat of combustion, acid number, and phase behavior, using required ASTM methods. ASTM D4625 and D5304 methods were used to investigate the long-term storage stability of these two biofuels and their blends with F-76.
They found that HRD-76, SIP-76 and CHCD-76 all comprise fewer compounds compared to conventional petroleum diesel F-76 and ULSD. SIP-76 includes a single component—farnesane—and CHCD-76 is composed primarily of C10-C18 n-alkanes and n-alkylcyclohexanes. Despite compositional differences, the properties of SIP-76 and CHCD- 76 meet the MIL-DTL-16884N military specification for F-76 and its drop-in alternative replacements.
The storage stability tests illustrated that SIP-76 and CHCD-76 possess superior storage stability compared to F-76. Thus, blending SIP-76 or CHCD-76 with F-76 will improve storage stability.
Jinxia Fu, Scott Q. Turn (2018) “Characteristics and stability of biofuels used as drop-in replacement for NATO marine diesel,” Fuel, Volume 236, Pages 516-524, doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2018.09.042
Two Alstom hydrogen trains enter passenger service in Lower Saxony; 14 more ordered
Alstom held a world premiere event on Sunday celebrating its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell train (earlier post) rolling into service in Lower Saxony, Germany. From today onwards, two such trains will enter commercial service according to a fixed timetable.
Travellers in the Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser (EVB) network can look forward to a world-first journey on the low-noise, zero-emission trains that reach up to 140 km/h (87 mph). On behalf of Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG), the Coradia iLint trains will be operated on nearly 100km of line running between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, replacing EVB’s existing diesel fleet.
The new trains will be fueled at a mobile hydrogen filling station. The gaseous hydrogen will be pumped into the trains from a 40-foot-high steel container next to the tracks at Bremervörde station. With one tank, they can run throughout the network the whole day, with a total range of 1000 km (621 miles). A stationary filling station on EVB premises is scheduled to go into operation in 2021, when Alstom will deliver a further 14 Coradia iLint trains to LNVG.
This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production. The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.
—Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom
Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Economy and Transport has supported LNVG’s purchase of another 14 hydrogen trains with more than €81 million (US$94 million).
With the test operation starting today, Lower Saxony is performing real pioneering work in local transport in cooperation with Alstom and EVB. The emission-free drive technology of the Coradia iLint provides a climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains, particularly on non-electrified lines.
In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future. The state government of Lower Saxony is proud of putting this trendsetting project on the track together with LNVG.
—Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economy and Transport
The German federal government has actively supported the development and testing of the new drive technology in Lower Saxony by providing funds from the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.
For LNVG chief Carmen Schwabl, whose authority organizes the rail passenger transport between the North Sea and the Harz mountains and therefore pays annual compensation of around €300 million to the railway companies, the entry to fuel cell technology is also a strategic decision. She sees LNVG in a national pioneering role.
With the two Coradia iLint trains and with the use of another 14 hydrogen trains from the end of 2021, we are the first passenger rail transport authority to replace existing diesel vehicles by emission-free vehicles, thus contributing better to the fulfilment of the climate protection goals.
We also do this because about 120 diesel trainsets in our vehicle pool will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning we will have to replace them. The experience gained with this project helps us find a sustainable and practical solution.
With around 2 million rail passengers and around 4 million bus passengers per year, EVB figures among the largest mobility providers in the Elbe-Weser triangle. The traditional company, with a history of more than 100 years and around 550 employees, is looking forward to the “train of the future”.
It is a great milestone that we will use the world’s first hydrogen-powered train in our Elbe-Weser network in passenger service between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, not only for the region and for us, but also for passenger rail transport worldwide. For EVB, this is the entry to emission-free mobility.
—Dr. Marcel Frank, Managing Director of EVB
Geely Auto’s flagship Bo Rui GE hybrid selected as part of China’s diplomatic fleet; 48V MHEV or PHEV
Geely Auto’s flagship B-segment hybrid sedan Bo Rui GE has been selected as an official diplomatic concierge vehicle by the Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions. The Bo Rui GE comes in either a MHEV 48V mild hybrid or full PHEV plug-in hybrid version.
The Bo Rui GE MHEV is its first mass-produced mild-hybrid B-segment sedan. The 1.5TD engine provides 132kW of power and a maximum torque of 265 N·m. The 48V BSG mild hybrid system provides an additional 10kW of power and 35 N·m of torque giving the model a combined 142kW power and 300 N·m torque, as powerful as a 2.0T engine on the market today.
The mild hybrid system improves response to 0.3 seconds from take-off compared to the 1 second that traditional ICE engines need, making it more suitable for urban road conditions. Acceleration to 100 km/h takes 8.9 seconds, but the real highlight of the mild hybrid system is its improved fuel economy.
According to Geely Auto Group CTO Feng Qingfeng, the Bo Rui GE MHEV delivers fuel economy of 5.8L/100 km (40.5 mpg US).
By 2020, we aim to bring that level up to 25% improving the fuel economy of B-segment vehicles to under 5L/100km. In regards to MHEV technologies, Geely has already become the global leader and will continue leading far into the future.
Although Geely’s MHEV offers significant improvements, the company’s PHEV system offers even more. With the same 1.5TD engine, the Bo Rui GE PHEV comes with a combined maximum power of 192kW and maximum torque of 425 N·m.
With an 11.3 kWh Li-ion pack, it delivers an all-electric range of 60 km (37 miles). In green travel mode, the Bo Rui GE PHEV has an average fuel economy of 1.6L/100 km (145 mpg US). In addition, the PHEV version can accelerate to 100 km in 7.4 seconds, fully charge in 1.5 hours, and uses smart technologies to improve efficiency.
All Bo Rui GE models comes equipped with a 7DCTH transmission jointly developed by Geely and Volvo.
The transmission specially developed for hybrid powertrains have a transmission efficiency of 97%, an unobtainable figure for transmissions on traditional ICE powertrains. It improves fuel economy by 42.4% and improves power by 24%. In the future, Geely expects fuel economy improvements to increase to 50% and power to 30%.
By using navigation data the vehicle can automatically select the most efficient driving mode in all road conditions. During a traffic jam, it switches to pure EV mode, on the expressway it switches hybrid travel mode, when the battery is low it uses the engine and regenerative braking to charge it. In areas where electricity is expensive, the vehicle can be set to charge at off-peak hours through the use of a mobile app.
The Bo Rui GE is the first mass-produced B-segment vehicle in China to be equipped with Level 2 autonomous drive technology such as ICC Intelligent Cruise Control, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control, APA Automated Park Assist, etc.
At a handover ceremony held in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, 35 new Bo Rui GE were delivered to the Service Bureau to be part of China’s diplomatic vehicle fleet.
For the fourth year in a row, the Geely Bo Rui has been selected by the Beijing Service Bureau for Diplomatic Missions to be used as part of their diplomatic fleet in China for use by visiting presidents, prime ministers and senior diplomats. On March 20, 2015, the first batch of 20 Geely Bo Rui official diplomatic vehicles were delivered, marking a major milestone for the promotion of Chinese automotive brands. Since then, Geely Auto has delivered more than 185 vehicles to be used as diplomatic concierge vehicles including the full electric Emgrand EV and now the Bo Rui GE.
In addition to being a diplomatic vehicle, the 2017 model year Bo Rui has previously been selected as the official car for various international events held in China in the past such as the G20 Hangzhou held in September 2016. Its role as an official car has helped to change the perception of “Made in China” products.
Geely Bo Rui has become a sales leader among Chinese brands and broke the monopoly held by joint-venture brands in China’s B-segment sedan market. The model’s success was partly due to its status as a national diplomatic fleet vehicle as well as its leading technology package. Since its launch, the Bo Rui has sold more than 160,000 units. This past August, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir praised the new Bo Rui GE after test driving it during his visit to Geely’s headquarters.
BMW iNEXT concept
At the BMW AG Annual General Meeting in May 2018, Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at the BMW Group, said that the iNext would provide its building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit. BMW is now flying the iNEXT concept vehicle around the world to showcase what is to come.
The series-produced version of the highly automated, emission-free and fully connected BMW iNEXT will assume the role of a new technology flagship; production at Plant Dingolfing is slated to begin in 2021. It will take the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields (“D+ACES”) onto the road for the first time as a single package.
Personal mobility is set to experience significant change. The possibilities opened up by autonomous driving and ever-expanding connectivity enable a whole new range of experiences and ways of shaping a journey. With this in mind, we have designed the all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT as a mobile environment that enhances quality of life, a new “Favorite Space” in which we can be ourselves and relax. Indeed, all of BMW’s endeavors will continue to revolve around people—and their needs and desires when it comes to mobility—in the future.
—Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development
BMW Vision iNEXT drivers can choose to either drive themselves (in “Boost” mode) or be driven (“Ease” mode). “Boost” mode uses the electric drive system to deliver a highly dynamic and virtually silent driving experience with zero emissions. In “Ease” mode, the vehicle offers the driver and passengers a space in which to engage in a wide range of activities.
Inside the cockpit, the driver’s area is defined by the two visible digital display panels and the steering wheel. In “Boost” mode, the steering wheel and displays are positioned clearly towards the driver. When “Ease” mode is engaged, the driver’s immediate environment changes: the steering wheel retracts slightly, creating a more open sense of space.
The display panels switch from driving-related content to “Exploration Mode”, which provides the driver and passengers with suggestions of places and events in the surrounding area that could be of interest to them. Plus, the front seat head restraints can be folded back, allowing the people in the front to communicate more effectively with the passengers in the rear.
The vehicle’s Intelligent Personal Assistant switches on in response to the prompt “Hey BMW”. The BMW Vision iNEXT forms an integral part of the digital world and is seamlessly interlinked with the BMW Connected, smart devices and smart home network, making it possible for drivers to close the windows of their house, for example, by voice command.
Daimler and Bosch jointly premiere Automated Valet Parking in China
Daimler and Bosch announced the successful premiere of their joint Automated Valet Parking pilot in Beijing. The infrastructure-supported driverless parking technology, which made its debut in the parking garage at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart in 2017 (earlier post), marks the first pilot of its kind in China.
Automated Valet Parking, to the extent legally allowed where used, enables vehicles to proceed to an assigned space and for the user to retrieve the vehicle via their smartphone. This will undergo further testing by Daimler and Bosch at the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Center.
In modern urban parking environments, shortages of parking spaces, locating suitable parking spots, and other issues, present inconveniences for vehicle owners. Automated Valet Parking has the capacity to ease difficulties involved in the parking process by automating it, saving time and effort, and opening up new possibilities for vehicle owners.
Automated Valet Parking begins when the user parks the vehicle in a designated drop-off area before sending it to be parked using a smartphone app. After being registered by the intelligent system infrastructure installed in the car park, the vehicle is started and guided to an assigned parking space.
Sensors installed in the car park monitor the driving corridor and its surroundings while steering the vehicle. The vehicle’s onboard technology safely maneuvers it in response to commands from the intelligent car park infrastructure, stopping the vehicle in good time when necessary. When a user is ready to pick up the car, it can be called through a smartphone app, after which it rolls to the pick-up area without a driver.
The pilot in Beijing demonstrated Automated Valet Parking’s upgraded and more practical, real-world functionality. At the event, two vehicles were tested simultaneously to mirror the unique and complex traffic conditions found in contemporary Chinese cities.
Both vehicles were also able to successfully navigate to a service area that could be equipped with a diverse range of facilities in the future. These might include charging infrastructure, car washing stations, express package pick-up and other features designed to meet the unique needs of Chinese customers.
Automated Valet Parking is an efficient solution for both car park management and vehicle users. Car parks equipped with this intelligent infrastructure as far as legally allowed can potentially accommodate up to 20% more vehicles, while users save time and enjoy greater convenience.
The technology marks a milestone in automated driving for Daimler, which is one of the core pillars of the C.A.S.E. strategy. In July, Daimler announced it is the first international automaker to receive a road test license for highly automated driving research vehicles (level 4) in Beijing.
Daimler’s China R&D efforts began in 2005 with the first localized Mercedes-Benz E Class. In 2014 the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China Center in Beijing was opened, allowing the company to better learn the needs and tastes of Chinese customers. The number of designers and engineers is now almost three times larger than in 2014.