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SEAT joins Alastria for the development of blockchain technology-based solutions
SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, has joined Alastria, the first semi-public multi-sectorial consortium which aims to provide a venue for digital cooperation in an independent, neutral network in which blockchain technology-based products and services are developed. SEAT is the first car manufacturer to join this network of more than 70 major businesses and institutions.
The Alastria consortium, announced in 2017, is open to any organization that wishes to have available a fundamental tool for the development of its own Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) strategy with the aim of distributing and organizing products and services for the Spanish market.
The Alastria network will provide a shared platform on which the various participants, and in particular large companies, will be able to create digital representations of the assets with which they work in their usual economic activity (tokens). With these tokens it is possible to develop new products and innovative cutting services, in addition to being able to develop current processes faster, safer and more efficiently. In this way, the network accelerates the digital transformation of current processes and enables a new paradigm of collaborative and multisectoral innovation.
With this new move, SEAT aims to test and further to progress the development of blockchain technology and encourage synergies with other participating companies.
Blockchain technology has been around since 2009 and represents an evolution with respect to current networked communications. Easy accessibility to information, which is increasingly instantaneous, sometimes leads to unreliable data, diminished security and insufficient verification of those involved in the communication processes with external suppliers. In this sense, the aim of this technology is to transform industries by generating an exchange of goods and services without the need to include third parties, and therefore enhance procedural security.
We are convinced of the importance that blockchain technology will have in the future, and for this reason we want to be involved from the outset.
—SEAT President Luca de Meo
SEAT intends to enable several company divisions to have a first contact with blockchain technology and to learn about the possible benefits that this knowledge can bring to different areas.
More specifically, production will be the first department to reinforce the development of this technology, with the main goal of studying the potential advances of Industry 4.0. Another area where SEAT wants to put blockchain solutions to work is finance, beginning with testing new initiatives to improve standard procedures.
SEAT is already working in collaboration with Telefónica on a blockchain-based proof of concept to improve the traceability of parts in the Martorell factory’s supply chain.
As the company that invests the most in R&D in Spain, SEAT is adapting its processes to the ongoing digital transformation of the automotive industry. The company is developing and implementing digital solutions aimed at car production that will enable it to be more efficient, flexible, agile and digital.
Researchers find product-specific active sites on copper catalysts for CO2 reduction
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have shown that recycling carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels can be economical and efficient using a single copper catalyst. The work appears in the journal Nature Catalysis.
… by reducing mixtures of 13CO and 12CO2, we show that oxide-derived Cu catalysts have three different types of active sites for C–C coupled products, one that produces ethanol and acetate, another that produces ethylene and yet another that produces 1-propanol.
—Lum & Ager
Researchers at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) have demonstrated that recycling carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals such as ethylene and propanol, and fuels such as ethanol, can be economical and efficient through product-specific “active sites” on a single copper catalyst. (Credit: Ager and Lum/Berkeley Lab)
These active sites are where electrocatalysis takes place: electrons from the copper surface interact with carbon dioxide and water in a sequence of steps that transform them into products such as ethanol, ethylene, and propanol, an alcohol commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Ever since the 1980s, when copper’s talent for converting carbon into various useful products was discovered, it was always assumed that its active sites weren’t product-specific—in other words, one could use copper as a catalyst for making ethanol, ethylene, propanol, or some other carbon-based chemical, but one would also have to go through a lot of steps to separate unwanted, residual chemicals formed during the intermediate stages of a chemical reaction before arriving at the chemical end-product.
The goal of ‘green’ or sustainable chemistry is getting the product that you want during chemical synthesis. You don’t want to separate things you don’t want from the desirable products, because that’s expensive and environmentally undesirable. And that expense and waste reduces the economic viability of carbon-based solar fuels.
—Joel Ager, a researcher at JCAP who led the study
Previous studies had shown that “oxidized” or rusted copper is an excellent catalyst for making ethanol, ethylene, and propanol. The researchers theorized that if active sites in copper were actually product-specific, they could trace the chemicals’ origins through carbon isotopes, “much like a passport with stamps telling us what countries they visited,” Ager said.
The team ran a series of experiments using two isotopes of carbon—carbon-12 and carbon-13—as “passport stamps.” Carbon dioxide was labeled with carbon-12, and carbon monoxide—a key intermediate in the formation of carbon-carbon bonds—was labeled with carbon-13. According to their methodology, the researchers reasoned that the ratio of carbon-13 versus carbon-12—the “isotopic signature”—found in a product would determine from which active sites the chemical product originated.
After dozens of experiments and state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy at JCAP to analyze the results, the researchers found that three of the products—ethylene, ethanol, and propanol—had different isotopic signatures showing that they came from different sites on the catalyst.
This discovery motivates future work to isolate and identify these different sites. Putting these product-specific sites into a single catalyst could one day result in a very efficient and selective generation of chemical products.
—co-author Yanwei Lum
The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis is a DOE Energy Innovation Hub. The work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
NIO launches ES6 electric SUV starting at $52K and 317-mile range
NIO Inc. officially launched the NIO ES6 on December 15, 2018 during the annual NIO Day celebration in Shanghai. The electric SUV starts at a pre-subsidy price of 358,000 RMB (US$52,000), and is available now for public pre-order via the NIO app, with delivery to start in June 2019.
The NIO ES6 features dual motors in conjunction with an intelligent electric all-wheel-drive system delivering output power of up to 400 kW (544 hp), peak torque of 725 N·m and 0-100 km/h acceleration in as little as 4.7 seconds for the top model. The ES6 also features excellent braking performance, decelerating from 100-0 km/h in just 33.9 meters.
High-performance independent suspension, Continuous Damping Control (CDC), intelligent electric all-wheel drive come standard, and users also have the option of equipping vehicle with next-gen active air suspension. Drivers can also switch between multiple driving modes, bringing a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
The ES6 sports the only body design with a hybrid structure of aluminum alloy and carbon fiber in its class. It is composed of 91% aluminum throughout the vehicle, with innovative use of aircraft-grade 7 Series aluminum. Structural elements made of high-strength carbon fiber make the ES6 lighter and more solid.
An overall torsional stiffness of 44,930 Nm/degree is the highest among production SUVs globally.
PM and IM motors and a 510-km range. The ES6 is the world’s first SUV equipped with a combination of permanent magnet and induction motors (in the Performance and Premier Editions), which allows for power and endurance alike. The front permanent magnet motor delivers power of up to 160 kW, peak torque of 305 N·m and an energy conversion rate of 97%; the rear induction motor delivers 240 kW and 420 N·m and contributes to fast acceleration. The Standard Edition features dual PM motors.)
The 84-kWh liquid-cooled thermostatic battery pack, optional across the range, features world-class NCM 811 cathode material and energy density of up to 170 Wh/kg.
The ES6 features a lightweight design and drag coefficient Cd of 0.28 which both contribute to a combined range of up to 510 km (317 miles).
The NIO digital cockpit built on the NOMI in-car artificial intelligence (AI) system is integrated with a speech-based interactive system. An upgraded HUD, digital instrument cluster and 11.3 inch second-generation multitouch screen put all vehicle information at the users’ fingertips.
ES6 features pre-installed NIO Pilot hardware, including a Mobileye EyeQ4 chip and 23 sensors. NIO Pilot supports more than 20 functions covering typical scenarios of car use in China. Functions can be upgraded over time via firmware-over-the-air (FOTA).
An intelligent fragrancing system offers four different fragrances for a more pleasant occupant experience. This optional system interacts with the vehicle’s other systems for automatic paring with different user accounts and situations.
The ES6 is equipped with Lion, a high-performance intelligent gateway enabling data exchange and remote upgrading via FOTA. Additionally, the Dragon security architecture offers a matrix-like firewall to enhance data security and protect user privacy.
The ES6 has a length of 4,850 mm, a width of 1,965 mm, a height of 1,768 mm and a wheelbase of 2,900 mm, bringing a comfortably large space.
This newest model continues the NIO family design language. The X-bar across the front end is in the same color as that of the body, integrating with the sweeping turning lights and smoky daytime running lights. This, plus the low-drag grille, tilted D pillars, sharp and straight window lines, more streamlined heartbeat taillights and rear shark fin style reflector design, highlights stylishness and sportiness.
Service upgrades. In 2019, NIO plans to fully upgrade three service systems: NIO House, NIO Service and NIO Power. It also plans to open 70 NIO Houses and pop-up NIO Houses by the end of the same year. Depending on user needs, NIO will also set up more battery swap stations for expressways.
In addition to the G4 Expressway battery swap network, NIO has partly finished building the battery swap network for the G2 Beijing-Shanghai Expressway and the G15 Shenyang-Haikou Expressway, which are both soon to be completed.
NIO has built a nationwide support network. By 2019, it plans to open more than 300 service outlets to further enhance its ability to offer services.
Pricing and Pre-order. The ES6 is available in two versions: the Standard Version and the Performance Version. NIO users can now choose from the battery plan and receive a 100,000 RMB (US$14,500) discount off of the price of the vehicle. The price of the battery plan is 1,660 RMB (US$241) per month. In addition, NIO also released a ES6 Premier Edition with a limited quantity of 6,000. Priority deliveries are targeted to begin in June 2019. Every ES6 is customized and made to order. Starting today, ES6 is available on the NIO app.
Xtalic enters EV market with materials that improve battery charger connector wear by up to 40 times
Xtalic Corporation, a leader in providing nano-scale metal alloys and coatings, has entered the electric vehicle market with products that extend the life of connectors in electric battery chargers by up to 40 times.
Founded by the head of the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Xtalic has commercialized products with 30 leading electronics firms and continues to leverage its proprietary toolkit to design and to patent stable nanostructured materials. Xtalic’s Dynamic Nanostructure Control process supercharges relatively benign and widely available materials to break through demanding requirements for hardness, strength, corrosion resistance, and durability.
Xtalic has applied its XTRONIC and LUNA nanostructured alloys to lengthen the service lives of electric vehicle charger connectors.
XTRONIC is a nanostructured nickel alloy that utilizes tungsten to stabilize grain boundaries and control overall grain size. It has a high hardness of > 650 HV. The alloy is commercialized as a barrier layer alternative in connector stacks to extend life or reduce precious metal cost in smartphone, electric vehicle, and enterprise server markets.
LUNA is a nanostructured silver alloy that utilizes tungsten to stabilize grain boundaries. It has a higher hardness of ~200 HV with electrical properties that replicate hard gold. LUNA extends the life of electric vehicle connectors and removes nickel from wearables and hearables to ensure safe contact with human skin.
Traditional connector contacts employ a silver-over-nickel-over-copper construction that wears through after 250 charge cycles. Xtalic replaces these layers with its materials to significantly enhance the connectors’ hardness, durability, and corrosion resistance. The Xtalic alloys have achieved up to 10,000 charge cycles in high normal force applications.
Xtalic products also can operate at 150° C or higher—temperatures that may cause conventional materials to lose critical properties required for safe operation. All Xtalic materials are stable at high temperatures due to a carefully engineered crystal structure.
Connector companies and OEMs are currently testing and qualifying the Xtalic materials, and the company expects to see them incorporated in the next generation of electric vehicles.
XTALIUM coating reduces electric vehicle weight. Xtalic is also developing XTALIUM, a suite of nanostructured aluminum alloys with application-dependent alloying elements, to help improve range and performance in the electric vehicle market.
The durable, corrosion-resistant coating enables the use of low-cost, lightweight magnesium alloy for automotive components. The magnesium parts weigh less than aluminum, and when coated with XTALIUM alloy, they have substantial corrosion protection. In addition, XTALIUM increases the corrosion resistance and performance of rare earth magnets.
Xtalic technology. Xtalic materials are created through an electrodeposition process that utilizes at least two materials—a primary material and an alloying element. The alloying element sits at the grain boundary of the primary material and provides stability over temperature and time.
By increasing the amount of alloying element, Xtalic tailors the primary material’s grain size and controls its properties. Adjusting the amount of alloying element during deposition alloys customers to choose graded options if a homogenous solutions is not sufficient. Stack solutions are created for customers consisting of Xtalic and off-the-shelf materials when a single material or graded solution is not sufficient to meet application demands.
Xtalic is also a leader in plating nanostructured alloys from both aqueous and non-aqueous ionic liquids using periodic, pulse-reverse plating. Xtalic tailors grain sizes and optimizes alloy concentrations during electrodeposition that produce a single-phase, super-saturated, solid-solution alloy.
Z.B. Jiao, C.A. Schuh (2018) “Nanocrystalline Ag-W alloys lose stability upon solute desegregation from grain boundaries,” Acta Materialia, Volume 161, Pages 194-206 doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2018.09.014
Upstream Security: cyber hacks could cost auto industry $24 billion within 5 years
Cyber hacks might cost the auto industry roughly $24 billion within five years, according to a new study by Upstream Security, which specializes in cloud-based security protection.
Upstream studied the impact of more than 170 documented, Smart Mobility, cyber incidents reported between 2010-2018 and projected future trends based on that eight-year history.
The Upstream Security Global Automotive Cybersecurity Report 2019 outlines how hackers attacked—from physical to long-range to wireless and more—and whom they targeted in the Smart Mobility space.
With every new service or connected entity, a new attack vector is born. These attacks can be triggered from anywhere placing both drivers and passengers at risk. Issues range from safety critical vehicle systems, to data center hacks on back-end servers, to identity theft in car sharing, and even privacy issues. The risk is immense. Just one cyber-hack can cost an automaker $1.1 billion, while we are seeing that the cost for the industry as a whole could reach $24 billion by 2023.
—Oded Yarkoni, Head of Marketing at Upstream Security
Among the primary findings of the report:
While car manufacturers are an obvious target, Tier 1 suppliers, fleet operations, telematic service providers, car sharing companies and public and private transportation providers are facing an ever-increasing threat.
In 2018, the number of cybercriminals (Black hats) attacks eclipsed the number of White hat (security specialists who breaks into protected systems to test and asses their security) incidents. This is the first time that has happened in the Smart Mobility space.
Security needs to be multi-layered (defense in depth). This includes in-vehicle for close-proximity attacks, automotive cloud security for multiple vehicles, services and applications, and network security for the network side of the architecture.
42% of automotive cyber-security incidents involve back-end application servers.
Two new kinds of cyber-attacks are emerging through car sharing and driver exchange. These are having a measurable impact on fraud and data privacy.
Founded in 2017 by cybersecurity veterans from Check Point, Imperva and Juniper, Upstream Security is backed by Charles River Ventures, Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility.
€7.9M Lithium Sulfur for Safe Road Electrification project launches in Europe in January
The €7.9-million (US$8.9-million), 43-month Lithium Sulfur for Safe Road Electrification (LISA) project will launch 1 January 2019 in Europe. The overall goal is to design and manufacture a lithium-sulfur technology that will enable safe electrification of EV applications.
The partners involved in the LISA project are LEITAT (co-ordinators), OXIS Energy Ltd, Cranfield University, Varta Micro Battery GmbH, CIC Energigune, ARKEMA, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Förderung De Angewandten Forschung, Pulsedeon Oy, ACCUREC Recycling GmbH, Optimat Ltd, Technische Universität Dresden, VDL Enabling Transport Solutions BV and Renault.
Due to the fact that Li-ion batteries are still the limiting factor for mass scale adoption of electrified vehicles, there is a need for new batteries that enable EVs with higher driving range, higher safety and faster charging at lower cost. Li-Sulfur is a promising alternative to Li-ion—free of critical raw material (CRM) and non-limited in capacity and energy by material of intercalation.
LISA intends to advance the development of high energy and safe Li-S battery cells with hybrid solid state non-flammable electrolytes validated at a 20Ah cell level. LISA will solve specific Li-S technical bottlenecks on metallic lithium protection, power rate and volumetric energy density—together with cost, which is the main selection criteria for EV batteries. The sustainability of the technology will be assessed from an environmental and economic perspective.
The technology will be delivered ready for use within the corresponding state of charge estimator facilitating battery pack integration.
Today, Li-S is twice as light as Li-ion and has reached only 10% of the sulfur theoretical energy density (2600Wh/kg) at cell prototype level (250-300Wh/kg), with potentially 800Wh/l (600Wh/kg) achievable by improving materials, components and manufacturing.
LISA is strongly oriented to the development of lithium metal protection and solid state electrolyte and will incorporate process concepts enabling integration in future manufacturing lines.
Moreover, the outcome of the project in terms of new materials, components, cells, and processes will be transferable to other lithium-anode based technologies such as Li-ion and solid state lithium technologies.
As such, LISA can have a large impact on existing and next-generation EV batteries, delivering technology with higher energy density beyond the theoretical capacities of chemistries using CRM—i.e. natural graphite and cobalt—or silicon-based chemistries inherently limited by their manufacturability.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement Nº 814471.
Li-sulfur battery developer Oxis Energy is also leading the £7-million Lithium Sulfur Future Automotive Battery (LiSFAB) project, funded by Innovate UK, to transform electric vehicle technology for commercial use. It is developing a next-generation cell and module that is suitable for large electric vehicles such as trucks and buses and will deliver a 400 Wh/kg Li-S cell that will have the significantly improved power and cycle life required by large automotive applications.
This cell will allow buses and trucks to carry considerably more payload and will cost less because of the abundant cell construction materials. State of Charge and State of Health (SoC and SoH) will be improved, along with the manufacturing aspect. The project will look into four areas with OXIS playing a key part in all of them.
On ‘Cell Performance’ OXIS will work with University College London and William Blythe to utilize new materials to improve performance and characterise electrodes and cells using X-ray tomography and other techniques to accelerate development. This aspect of the work will build on past projects that increased cell specific energy (Wh/kg), with further improvements being made to cycle life, power and cell design to meet the performance and safety needs of EVs.
In ‘Cell Characterisation’, cells will be tested extensively to inform development. Rigorous safety tests, rapid test protocols/formation studies, degradation/abuse analysis will be carried out.
OXIS will also play a key role in ‘Cell Manufacturability’. Working with Ceetak, it will develop crucial pouch cell sealing technology required to make a robust automotive cell whilst BPE will lead the design of a pilot facility for the cells that are developed on this project. OXIS will again team up with University College London to develop a novel, non-invasive X-Ray quality control process for cells.
Collaborating with Cranfield University, the ‘Module Development’ activity, OXIS will build on the control algorithms developed on the Revolutionary Electric Vehicle Battery project in order to better estimate SoC and SoH and create intelligent charging algorithms to improve lifetime. OXIS along with Williams Advanced Engineering will also investigate module construction techniques and cell matching in order to establish a final module.
GM researchers demonstrate hierarchical electrode architectures for high energy lithium-chalcogen rechargeable batteries
Lithium-chalcogen batteries—e.g., lithium-sulfur (Li-S) and lithium selenium (Li-Se) systems— are promising candidates for high energy electrical storage solution.
Earlier this year, a team of researchers at the General Motors Research and Development Center in Warren, MI, with colleagues at Optimal CAE and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), reported demonstrating a rationally designed hierarchical porous carbon (SPC) electrode architectures with maximum micro-, meso- and macro-level porosities as the conductive framework for the lithium-chalcogen batteries.
Cell level calculations suggests that the hierarchical electrode architectures have the potential to increase the specific energy to more than 350 Wh kg−1—much higher than what can be achieved using the materials and parameters reported in the literature. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nano Energy.
Scheme of SPC synthesis route. Dai et al.
Lithium-chalcogen batteries, such as lithium-sulfur (Li-S) and lithium- selenium (Li-Se), have been recognized as promising systems beyond conventional Li-ion systems due to their higher specific capacity. Elemental sulfur (S) has a theoretical specific capacity of 1670 mAh/g, while Selenium (Se) has a theoretical specific capacity of 675 mAh/g. However, some major issues prohibit their practical applications.
For example, low electronic conductivity of S (5 × 10-30 S/cm) and shuttling effect highly affect the electrochemical performance. Although the conductivity of Se (10-5 S/cm) is several orders higher than S, a conductive backbone is still necessary to enable the redox process. Therefore multi-functional frameworks were adopted to provide reactive sites, electronic conducting channels, and polysulfide constraining reservoirs. A corresponding chalcogen cathode structure, which is composed of a chalcogen element (S or Se), a conductive framework, and a polymer binder, is well-accepted for most studies.
On the cell level, a fundamental challenge is the conflict exists between the overall electrochemical performance and the active material loading. It has now well recognized that excellent performance could be achieved with a low sulfur to carbon ratio and a low total S mass loading in the electrode. However, in order to achieve competitive energy density compared to current Li-ion batteries (i.e. > 3 mAh/cm2), a high total S loading and a high area capacity are required and critical for a Li-S system. Therefore certain parameters to meet the minimum requirements, such as 65 wt.% S content and 2 mg/cm2 S mass loading, were recommended for future evaluations. Higher loadings (i.e. 7 mg S/cm2) was also suggested for specific practical applications, such as electrical vehicle applications. Unfortunately, achieving excellent electrochemical performance under such conditions is challenging when using conventional sulfur/carbon (S/C) and selenium/carbon (Se/C) composites.
… In this work, a hierarchical carbon (SPC) electrode architecture was developed for high loading Li-S and Li-Se batteries and control the electrochemical reactions on various levels.
—Dai et al.
The maximum total pore volume of the SPC reaches 4.67 cm3/g—among the highest reported value for porous carbon materials. The hierarchical pore distribution also helps to improve the utilization of S and Se, as well as providing long cycling stability.
Without any conducting additive in composite/electrode fabrication, or performance booster in electrolyte, or additional interlayer structure/membrane modification in the cell configuration, the Li-S and Li-Se cells show higher specific capacity and better cycling stability compared with results published in the literature involving high loading studies of either S or Se.
Fang Dai, Jingmei Shen, Anne Dailly, Michael P. Balogh, Peng Lu, Li Yang, Jie Xiao, Jun Liu, Mei Cai (2018) “Hierarchical electrode architectures for high energy lithium-chalcogen rechargeable batteries,” Nano Energy, Volume 51, Pages 668-679 doi: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2018.07.015
24M raises $21.8M to accelerate SemiSolid battery development and deployment; round led by Kyocera and ITOCHU
24M, part of a team that received $3.5 million in funding from ARPA-E in 2016 to further the development of the next generation of high-energy-density, low-cost batteries (earlier post), has raised a $21.8 million Series D to accelerate the deployment of its simple, capital-efficient, low-cost manufacturing process and the development of differentiated, high-energy-density lithium-ion cells for the EV market.
The financing was led by advanced ceramics manufacturer Kyocera Group and leading global trading company, ITOCHU Corporation. Also participating in the round were previous investors, including North Bridge Venture Partners.
24M’s materials design enables up to 5x the area capacity of standard Li-ion.
24M’s Chief Scientist & Co-Founder is Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, a professor of Material Science and Engineering at MIT and one of the top battery researchers in the world. He previously co-founded American Superconductor and A123 Systems.
24M introduced its novel SemiSolid lithium-ion battery design in 2015, and has since leveraged its own semi-automated pilot facility to substantially advance both cell design and production readiness.
The SemiSolid process, which uses electrolyte as the processing solvent, eliminates capital and energy intensive steps such as drying, solvent recovery, calendaring and electrolyte filling.
24M leverages the process via differentiated cell designs, eliminating the need for significant inactive material (copper, aluminum and separator), resulting in both a structural bill of materials advantage and a lower cost to manufacture. Further, the incorporation of electrolyte during the binderless slurry mixing process presents novel approaches to high energy density cell designs that have heretofore been impossible to explore.
Demand for lithium-ion batteries is escalating rapidly due to increasing interest in electric vehicles and renewable energy, and 24M’s differentiated manufacturing process and radical approach to cell design offers a powerful solution to cost-effectively respond to this need with a superior product.
Through this investment, ITOCHU is excited to be working closely with 24M to promote the global production of next-generation SemiSolid lithium-ion batteries.
—Koji Hasegawa, General Manager, Industrial Chemicals Department of ITOCHU Corporation
Volkswagen bundling all intelligent driver assistance technologies under new umbrella brand IQ.DRIVE; heading to autonomy
Volkswagen is bundling its entire range of intelligent driver assistance technologies under the new umbrella brand IQ.DRIVE. Before Christmas, Volkswagen will be launching a 360° marketing campaign for the new brand in Germany, consisting of TV commercial and posters as well as printed and online advertisements. Other European markets are to follow next year.
In January 2019, special IQ.DRIVE models will appear in European dealerships.
Our models already have intelligent electronic assistants for greater convenience and safety on board. With IQ.DRIVE, we are accompanying our customers on the way to autonomous driving. In future, their mobility time in a Volkswagen is to be quality time.
—Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member responsible for Sales and Marketing
IQ.DRIVE stands for all the intelligent assistance systems currently available for driving, parking and greater safety as well as for innovations being developed by Volkswagen to allow automated driving up to level 5 (fully autonomous driving without a driver) in the future.
The systems in the IQ.DRIVE family already support the driver in everyday situations such as parking, leaving a parking space (Park Assist) or lane changing (Lane Assist) and help prevent accidents (Front Assist with City Emergency Brake function).
In future, Volkswagen vehicles will be able to search for parking spaces in a car park or travel along the autobahn without human aid. In other words, the vehicle will accelerate, brake and steer independently, reacting intelligently.
The international IQ.DRIVE campaign was developed by the agency Grabarz & Partner. The heart of the campaign is a TV commercial which is to be broadcast from 20 December.
The film shows a boy thinking about the future of driving. He mentions examples which show how Volkswagen models already provide or will provide support for the driver such as remote-controlled driving out of parking spaces (Remote Control Parking), automated driving in congestion (Traffic Jam Assist) or lane changing without the assistance of the driver (Travel Assist). Finally he asks the question: “Will driving a car in the future be totally boring if the car does so much itself?” He finds the answer himself in the final scene, when he climbs out of the rear of the Volkswagen ID. VIZZION1, a study for an automated electric sedan. He points to the car and asks: “Hey, come on, does that look boring?” The commercial will also be used on the Internet.
Study finds megacity traffic soot can reach high altitudes and be transported over long distances, contributing to global warming
Soot from road traffic in emerging countries can reach high altitudes, where it can be transported over long distances and thus contributes to global warming, according to the findings of a study performed by an international team of researchers in the Bolivian cities of La Paz (the seat of government), El Alto and the neighboring Chacaltaya mountain observatory. An open-access paper on the work is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.
The conurbation of the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto is one of the fastest growing urban settlements in South America with the particularity of being located in a very complex terrain at a high altitude. As many large cities or metropolitan areas, the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto and the Altiplano region are facing air quality deterioration. Long-term measurement data of the equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations and particle number size distributions (PNSD) from the Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory Chacaltaya (CHC; 5240 m a.s.l., above sea level) indicated a systematic transport of particle matter from the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto to this high altitude station and subsequently to the lower free troposphere.
To better understand the sources and the transport mechanisms, we conducted eBC and PNSDs measurements during an intensive campaign at two locations in the urban area of La Paz/El Alto from September to November 2012. … results indicate that traffic is the dominating source of BC and particulate air pollution in the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto.
In general, the diurnal cycle of eBC mass concentration at the Chacaltaya observatory is anti-correlated to the observations at the El Alto background site. This pattern indicates that the traffic-related particulate matter, including BC, is transported to higher altitudes with the developing of the boundary layer during daytime. The metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto seems to be a significant source for BC of the regional lower free troposphere. From there, BC can be transported over long distances and exert impact on climate and composition of remote southern hemisphere.
—Wiedensohler et al.
The reduction of pollutants from road traffic such as soot particles from diesel cars should therefore have high priority in order to both protect the health of the population in the growing conurbations of emerging countries and reduce global warming, the researchers said.
Soot particles from combustion processes significantly contribute to air pollution because they contain heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are toxic. A reduction of soot particles through driving restrictions for old diesel vehicles can therefore significantly reduce the health impact, as studies by LfULG and TROPOS have shown based on the low emission zone in Leipzig 2017. However, soot does not only have a negative effect on human health, it also contributes to global warming by absorbing solar radiation.
According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there are still major uncertainties regarding the quantities and distribution of soot in the atmosphere. While altitude observatories in the Himalayas or the Alps provide insights into these processes, the picture is still very incomplete, especially for the Southern Hemisphere.
Large quantities of soot probably enter the atmosphere via forest fires in the tropics as well as from traffic in the growing conurbations of emerging countries. Scientists therefore hope to gain important insights from the Chacaltaya altitude observatory in Bolivia, which became operational in 2012. At 5240 meters, the station is currently the highest measuring station in the world. It is operated by the Universidad Mayor de San Andres (UMSA-LFA) in Bolivia and by a consortium, consisting of institutes from France (Grenoble University/IGE, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement/LSCE and Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique/LaMP), Germany (Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research/TROPOS), and Sweden (Stockholm University/SU).
Chacaltaya is a unique observatory in the Southern Hemisphere and of great importance for atmospheric research. With Bogota (about 7 million inhabitants on 2640m), Quito (about 2 million inhabitants on 2850m) and La Paz/El Alto (about 2 million inhabitants between 3400 and 4100 m), several of the fast-growing cities in South America are located at high altitude. Therefore, air pollution in this region has a particularly strong impact on the atmosphere and the global climate.
For the recently published study, the team with researchers from Bolivia, Germany, France, the USA, Sweden and Italy could benefit from unique conditions: With three stations at different altitudes (downtown La Paz at 3590m, El Alto Airport at 4040m and Chacaltaya Observatory at 5240m), it was possible to explain the vertical transport of soot. "The measurements clearly show how soot from the city valley emerges with the warmed air up to the El Alto plateau and then partly up to the peaks of the Andes", explains Prof. Alfred Wiedensohler from TROPOS. From the scientists' point of view, there is no doubt that the soot in La Paz comes mainly from road traffic. During the population census on 21 November 2012, all traffic in Bolivia was completely banned for 24 hours so that the population could be registered at their place of residence. Only ambulances were allowed to drive for emergency operations. "The result was impressive: the soot load on the road was reduced from around 20 to less than one microgram per cubic meter. This corresponds roughly to the reduction from 100 to about five percent. There is no clearer way of demonstrating the contribution of soot pollution from road traffic," reports Alfred Wiedensohler. “This finding is important because several cities in the region might be facing the same problem. For instance Cochabamba, the third largest metropolitan area of Bolivia, has serious air quality problems according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Therefore, this study can contribute to strengthen regulations for improving air quality in different cities in the country,” adds Dr. Marcos Andrade from LFA-UMSA, coauthor of the study and coordinator of the CHC-GAW station.
For the scientists involved in the study, it is therefore obvious that the growing traffic with diesel vehicles without particulate filters is an increasing health risk for millions of people in the megacities of emerging countries. Soot is also slowing down efforts to limit climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Tilo Arnhold
The study was funded by the European Union within the framework of the H2020 program (ACTRIS-2), the German Federal Environment Agency (WCCAP), IRD France (CHARME) and the Swedish funding agencies FORMAS and STINT.
Wiedensohler, A., Andrade, M., Weinhold, K., Müller, T., Birmili, W., Velarde, F., Moreno, I., Forno, R., Sanchez, M. F., Laj, P., Ginot, P., Whiteman, D. N., Krejci, R., Sellegri, K., Reichler, T. (2018) “Black carbon emission and transport mechanisms to the free troposphere at the La Paz/El Alto (Bolivia) metropolitan area based on the Day of Census (2012)” Atmos. Environ., 194, 158-169 doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2018.09.032
Schaeffler to showcase Space Drive as advance for autonomous driving
According to United Nations forecasts, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. To offer personal mobility to people living in places where space is at a premium, Schaeffler is working on technology concepts such as the Schaeffler Mover for which the technology group has developed new system solutions.
The “Space Drive” system by Schaeffler Paravan GmbH is a key technology for autonomous driving and has been successfully used on more than 700 million kilometers.
Autonomous vehicles require neither a steering wheel nor pedals for acceleration and braking—these are replaced by digital controls such as joysticks, notebooks or smartphone apps. The “Space Drive” technology installed in the Schaeffler Mover has previously proven its viability in vehicles for people with disabilities on more than 700 million accident-free kilometers.
“Sapce Drive,” now being further developed by Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG—the joint venture between the Schaeffler Group and Paravan GmbH—is certified according to the highest quality and safety requirements (ISO 26262 – ASIL D) and has TÜV and road approval. In addition, it has been designed for triple redundancy: If one control unit fails there are two safeguards ensuring absolute failure safety.
In combination with GPS, Radar and other sensors, “Sapce Drive” provides the basis even at this time for autonomous—fully automated and driverless—Level 4 and 5 driving.
Autonomous vehicles such as the Schaeffler Mover require novel drive concepts. One of them is the “Schaeffer Intelligent Corner Module” in which all propulsion and chassis components are installed in a compact, space-saving assembly unit: the wheel hub motor, suspension including springs and electromechanical steering.
The latter is an electromechanical “steer-by-wire” system controlled via the “Space Drive” technology. The Intelligent Corner Module offers wheel cut of up to 90 degrees. As a result, the vehicle can be maneuvered in narrow streets and even allows for parallel parking for passenger ingress and egress. Even on-the-spot turning is possible. Schaeffler will be demonstrating all functions of the “Intelligent Corner Module” at CES 2019.
The technology platform of the Schaeffler Mover is designed for great flexibility, allowing for various body styles from robo-taxis through to autonomous delivery vehicles to be implemented. The body – which can be converted for the desired application – can be quickly separated from the platform in which the technology required for driving is consolidated. Only some of the sensors required for autonomous driving are additionally integrated in the bodywork.
The technology platform of the Schaeffler Mover is designed for flexibility so that various body styles for diverse uses can be implemented.
For autonomous urban vehicles, connectivity is a crucial prerequisite for trouble-free operation. In the concept vehicle, Schaeffer’s experts achieve this by using a digital twin of the vehicle that mirrors the real-world vehicle in a cloud. By continuously analyzing the operating and condition data, for example, future maintenance needs can be detected in advance.
MPK Poznań orders 21 Solaris electric buses; ~$18.5M
Municipal transport operator MPK in Poznań, Poland and Solaris Bus & Coach signed a contract for the delivery of 21 electric buses: 15 articulated and 6 standard length. Pursuant to the agreement the whole order is to be completed by the end of February 2020. The total contract value is more than 70 million złoty (US$18.5 million).
The buses selected by the Poznań-based carrier will be fitted with Solaris High Power batteries. In the case of the 12-meter Urbinos, the batteries will feature a capacity of 116 kWh; the articulated units, 174 kWh. Energy storage will be adapted to fast and frequent recharging using high charging power.
The electric buses will be suited for recharging by means of a roof-mounted pantograph and a classic plug-in device. The models supplied to Poznań will have plug-in charging sockets on both sides of the bus, which will ease recharging of several vehicles simultaneously.
The Urbino electric buses heading to Poznań will be recharged at three sites. Two new pantograph charging stations are to be set up at two bus terminals: one at the terminal Garbary, where one charging post including a plug-in charger will be available, and another one at the bus terminal near the Osiedle Sobieski estate.
At the latter site, two double-stand pantograph charging stations will be built, enabling the simultaneous recharging of 4 vehicles. With a pantograph boasting a power of up to 560 kW, the buses will be able to continue making their rounds after barely a few minutes of restocking energy at the bus terminal.
MPK has also decided to equip the bus depot at Warszawska street with an overnight plug-in recharging station. 10 double-stand stationary devices and three mobile charging stations will make it possible for the operator to concurrently recharge more than 20 electric buses.
In order to reduce the energy usage of the bus, the manufacturer will install a photovoltaic cell system on the vehicle roof. The bus design will also feature eco-friendly LED lighting inside and outside of the vehicle. Moreover, it will be the first time that buses providing bend lighting will roll out on Poznań streets.
So far Solaris has supplied more than 100 battery buses to buyers in Poland, and almost 90 more such buses have been commissioned. Poznań is yet another city that has decided in favor of high power pantograph recharging for bus batteries. Such a solution has been successfully applied in Warsaw, Jaworzno and Cracow.
Porsche commissions MAN electric eTruck for green logistics at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen
Porsche has commissioned a fully electric MAN eTGM (earlier post) for logistics operations at its Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen site. The truck is the first vehicle of this kind that has gone into series production in Germany. Both Porsche and MAN are members of the Volkswagen Group.
The electric 32-tonne truck will soon enhance the commercial vehicle fleet that Porsche uses for its production logistics in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Preparations for production of the first fully-electric Porsche are currently the core focus at Porsche headquarters.
The battery-powered eTruck is a MAN eTGM 18.360 4x2 LL. The type designation indicates that the truck is a semitrailer tractor and belongs to the 18-tonne weight class, while the overall combination with a semitrailer is designed for a total weight of 32 tonnes in delivery traffic.
The 360 figure represents the horsepower of the 265 kW eTruck. Lithium-ion batteries with a storage capacity of 149 kWh are used to store energy, making it possible for the eTruck to cover a range of 130 kilometers (81 miles).
With the MAN eTGM, electric commercial vehicles have taken a large step towards series production and can now reliably demonstrate their abilities in everyday operation. What we have learned—together with Porsche—in the context of regular factory logistics will be incorporated into the first small series, which MAN hopes to launch as soon as 2019.
—Dr Frederik Zohm, member of the Executive Board MAN responsible for Research and Development
In addition to its low noise emissions and being CO2-neutral, the strengths of the electric vehicle include reduced wear and maintenance. The eTruck uses recuperation to decelerate without mechanical braking and therefore with no abrasion to the brakes.
The electric commercial vehicle will be used for deliveries on the almost 19-kilometer (12-mile) route between the Porsche factory in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and the Freiberg am Neckar site operated by its logistics partner LGI. Using the eTruck avoids more than 30,000 kilograms of CO2 that would otherwise be emitted each year.
The charging station for the electric truck is also located in Freiberg. It is the first model using the new high-power charging infrastructure developed by Porsche Engineering for the future high-power charging network that will be operated by the Ionity joint venture.
The maximum charging capacity for this logistical application is 150 kW, which is sufficient to charge the electric truck to travel a further 100 kilometers in 45 minutes. As at all Porsche charging stations, the vehicle is charged using natural power, i.e. green energy from renewable sources.
In producing the eTruck for Porsche, MAN passes another milestone on its e-mobility roadmap, according to which the first small series of the MAN eTGM is planned from early 2019.
By integrating the eTruck into our production logistics, Porsche is taking another step on the path to the ‘zero-impact factory’.
—Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board responsible for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG
The journey to the “zero-impact factory” takes in many different stops and measures. One example is the fact that Porsche has already been using energy exclusively from renewable sources at all production sites for two years now, and the railway logistics from production locations solely uses natural power. Porsche is also increasingly electrifying its logistics vehicles—transporters, trucks and forklifts.
CARB approves ICT regulation; 100% zero-emission bus fleets by 2040; ZEB tech symposium in Feb 2019
The California Air Resources Board on Friday approved the Innovative Clean Transit regulation (ICT) (earlier post)—a first-of-its-kind regulation in the US that sets a statewide goal for public transit agencies to gradually transition to 100% zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleets by 2040.
The ICT is part of a statewide effort to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions and 80-90% of smog-forming pollutants. The transition to zero-emission technologies, where feasible, is essential to meeting California’s air quality and climate goals.
Full implementation of the newly adopted regulation is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19 million metric tons from 2020 to 2050—the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road. It will reduce harmful tailpipe emissions (NOx and particulate matter) by about 7,000 tons and 40 tons respectively during that same 30-year period.
Eight of the 10 largest transit agencies in the state are already operating zero-emission buses, including battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
California transit agencies currently deploying or planning on deploying zero-emission buses.
Transit agencies are particularly well suited for introducing these technologies. They operate largely in urban centers, where pollution and noise are of greater concern. Their buses drive in stop-and-go traffic where conventional internal combustion engines waste fuel while idling. And their fleets run out of central depots where charging infrastructure can be installed and conveniently accessed.
Deployment of zero-emission buses is expected to accelerate rapidly in the coming years, from 153 buses today to 1,000 by 2020, based on the number of buses on order or that are otherwise planned for purchase by transit agencies. Altogether, public transit agencies operate about 12,000 buses statewide.
To transition successfully to an all zero-emission bus fleet by 2040, each transit agency will submit a rollout plan under the regulation demonstrating how it plans to purchase clean buses, build out necessary infrastructure and train the required workforce. The rollout plans are due in 2020 for large transit agencies and in 2023 for small agencies.
Agencies will then follow a phased schedule from 2023 until 2029, by which date 100 percent of annual new bus purchases will be zero-emission. To encourage early action, the zero-emission purchase requirement would not start until 2025 if a minimum number of zero-emission bus purchases are made by the end of 2021.
Transit agencies are expected to save $1.5 billion in maintenance, fuel and other costs by 2050 after the full buildout of infrastructure.
Electrifying the heavy-duty transportation sector is supported by a range of government policies and programs. Public funding for zero-emission vehicles and related charging infrastructure is administered by CARB, the California State Transportation Agency, Caltrans, the California Energy Commission, and local agencies.
In addition, utilities are supporting this transition with new electricity rate designs and investments in charging infrastructure. The Department of General Services is also streamlining bus purchases through a single statewide zero-emission bus purchase contract.
The CARB and the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) also announced a ZEB Technology Showcase and Symposium in Sacramento, 6-7 February 2019, to highlight and discuss the latest advances and funding opportunities for transit buses.
The Showcase and Symposium is geared to provide information on California’s current and future support for zero-emission transit buses to the broadest array of stakeholders, including transit agencies, air districts, metropolitan planning organizations, and regional transportation planning agencies, environmental groups, zero emission bus manufacturers, charging technology providers, fuel providers, electrical utilities, researchers, and venture funding interests.
The Showcase will feature the latest advances in all aspects of zero-emission bus technologies. The Symposium will provide participants and stakeholders with updated technical information on zero‑emission technologies, associated infrastructure and scale up options, operating costs and fuels, deployment planning, and funding sources.
The Symposium will cover topics on lessons learned to date on deploying zero-emission buses. Specific areas of interest to be covered will include: funding opportunities and utilization, moving from demonstration projects to scaled-up deployment, sustainable green jobs and workforce training, troubleshooting, using electricity as a fuel, hydrogen production and its fueling and cost, infrastructure footprint and scale up strategies, strategies to grow zero-emission fleet, best management on cost curtailment, and more.
Fleets and manufacturers currently building or operating zero-emission buses are invited to showcase vehicles, technologies, and innovations. This will include fleets, technology providers, utilities, and other related industries.
The Showcase also offers an opportunity to set up a poster or booth to display the newest technologies or breakthroughs in zero-emission transportation.
HYON receives PILOT-E funding for two zero-emissions maritime projects using fuel cells and green H2
HYON AS has, together with partners, been awarded grants under Norway’s PILOT-E scheme for the development and realization of two maritime projects; a high-speed ferry and a short-sea freighter. The ambitions of both projects are to realize zero-emission propulsion via fuel cells using cost-efficient hydrogen produced from electrolysis based on renewable energy.
HYON is a joint venture established in 2017, owned wholly by Nel ASA, Hexagon Composites ASA and PowerCell Sweden AB. HYON provides customers with one point of contact for provision of products and services; from production of hydrogen, distribution and storage, dispensing systems and fuel cells. HYON’s main focus is the maritime industry, where HYON offers system integration of all on- board hydrogen systems from bunkering flange, via tank systems and distribution systems to use of hydrogen in module-based fuel cells solutions.
The projects are:
Project ZEFF – Zero Emission Fast Ferry. The vessel will utilize foils that lift the vessel out of the water and will have cruise speed between 25 and 45 knots. The craft will operate without CO2, NOx, SOx and particulate matter emissions. Propulsion power will be produced by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. The vessel will have approximately 45% lower energy consumption than current vessels per passenger-km, and can be made with varying size and capacity, from 100 to 300 passengers.
Project SeaShuttle – Zero emission coastal freighter with automated cargo handling. The project goal is to develop and realize profitable emission-free container transport for short-sea market based on hydrogen fuel cells. The ship concept will be moving transport of cargo from road to sea and will include autonomous cargo handling in achieving cost-effectiveness.
In the development contracts, HYON will use PowerCell as supplier of fuel cells, Hexagon as supplier of hydrogen storage tanks and Nel as supplier of the on-shore hydrogen production and fuelling solutions. Earlier this year, HYON was the first company to receive approval-in-principle from DNV GL of their module-based fuel cell solutions.
The PILOT-E scheme provides funding for Norwegian trade and industry and has been launched as a collaboration between the Research Council, Innovation Norway and Enova. Final agreements for the grant will be signed early 2019, upon which the project will commence immediately thereafter.
The objective of PILOT-E is to develop and utilize novel products and services in the field of environment-friendly energy technology as a means of reducing emissions both in Norway and internationally. The PILOT-E scheme seeks to accelerate the pace of development through greater predictability of funding, closer follow-up and better coordination between funding agencies in the research and innovation system.
Zero-emissions maritime vessels are expected to be in high demand—both within maritime segments where first-generation solutions, such as zero-emissions ferries, are already available, and in new segments, such as fast-ferries—and within the offshore industry and fisheries/aquaculture. With regard to ferries, about 70 ferry routes involving 100 ferries will be put out to tender and set into operation in the near future. Many of these tenders will specify requirements regarding reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This means that there is a large, growing market for the solutions that receive support under the PILOT-E scheme.
Automotive, Telecom and ITS companies carry out first Cellular V2X trial in Japan
Continental announced the completion of a joint Cellular V2X trial in Japan together with Ericsson, Nissan, NTT DOCOMO, OKI and Qualcomm Technologies. The companies have successfully conducted Japan’s first C-V2X testing in the country using 5.8 GHz as the experimental radio frequency for direct communication.
The use cases were designed to address various aspects of V2X communication, such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Pedestrians (V2P) direct communications, as well as Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) operations.
With a combination of direct and network-based communications between vehicles, infrastructure, and vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, the test results showed that C-V2X can exploit the full potential of connected and intelligent mobility. In addition, the tests also indicated the technology’s strengths for reliability and latency, which assists in enabling the communication of mission critical messages quickly and efficiently.
Direct communication provides vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle to pedestrian (V2P) and other vulnerable road users connectivity even in the most remote areas where no mobile coverage is available. Under mobile coverage, C-V2X is designed to also enable a vehicle-to-network (V2N) communication link to deliver cloud-based exchanges of information over a longer range, including information on upcoming road conditions or traffic situations.
In their field trials, the companies focused on sending messages directly via cellular V2X technology (PC5). The use cases were tested under varying conditions to evaluate the C-V2X basic communications performance. With test vehicles passing each other at speeds of up to 110 km/h (68 mph) and with a truck or even buildings blocking the communications both direct and network-based communications were tested.
The companies observed a mean latency of 20 milliseconds for direct communication and a nearly error-free communication even at longer distances such as 1.2 kilometers with unobstructed line-of-sight condition as measured by the C-V2X test system.
With these results, the companies demonstrated the performance capabilities of C-V2X. The direct communication technology used in the tests was based on the 3GPP Release 14 specifications.
The companies also demonstrated a wide area V2N communication with end to end average communication latency of 50 milliseconds in NTT DOCOMO’s commercial network in the connected mode state.
The trials took place in multiple test tracks in Japan, where the performance of C-V2X was tested using five scenarios: Do Not Pass Warning, Electronic Emergency Brake Lights, Hazardous Location Warning, Intersection Movement Assist and Vulnerable Road User Warning. These were chosen, to ensure that basic aspects of the communication technology were considered. Thus, the tests did not only focus on V2V communication but also on V2I, V2P and V2N communication under different traffic situations and driving speeds.
For the trial, Continental used the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X Reference Design, which features the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset with integrated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capability to build connected car systems and to integrate the systems into Nissan test vehicles.
Working with Qualcomm Technologies, Nissan made a test driving plan for C-V2X to be used during the trials at the proving grounds. Bringing in their expertise in roadside unit (RSU) infrastructure and applications, OKI demonstrated V2I as a viable technology for advanced traffic applications by integrating the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset into their RSU. Ericsson, as one of the leading companies in the technology and service for telecommunication, assisted in testing the V2N use case scenario, combining direct communication and LTE-A network technologies. NTT DOCOMO provided a LTE-A network and V2N applications to demonstrate the benefits of the complementary use of network-based communications for a variety of advanced automotive informational use cases.
Following the positive test results, Continental will continue to further develop and investigate the C-V2X technology, globally as well as in Japan to enable an early global deployment. C-V2X will most likely be implemented initially on the 4.5 G (or LTE Advanced Pro) and further on 5G mobile communication standards from 2022 onwards.
C-V2X is a global solution for V2X communications designed to support improved automotive safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency, and is a V2X communication technology compliant with the global 3GPP specifications. C-V2X is composed with direct communication and network-based communication.
C-V2X complements Advanced Driver Assistance Systems sensors, such as cameras, radar and Light Detection or LiDAR. C-V2X direct communication mode is firstly specified in 3GPP Release 14 and designed to offer vehicles low latency communications for V2V, V2I and V2P without the involvement of a cellular network, or cellular network subscription, by operating on a designated and harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum. Network-based communication offer wide area communications for V2N services. Currently, 3GPP is working on further enhancements of C-V2X in 5G.
Argonne scientists maximize the effectiveness of platinum in fuel cells
Argonne chemists have identified a new catalyst that maximizes the effectiveness of platinum. Platinum—which offers unrivaled activity and stability for electrochemical reactions, such as the conversion of hydrogen and oxygen into water and electricity in fuel cells—is both scarce and expensive. Scientists are searching for alternative practical fuel cell catalysts that use far less of the costly precious metal.
In new research from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, published in Science, scientists have identified a new catalyst that uses only about a quarter as much platinum as current technology by maximizing the effectiveness of the available platinum.
Achieving high catalytic performance with the lowest amount of platinum is critical in fuel cell cost reduction. We describe a method of preparing highly active yet stable electrocatalysts containing ultralow Pt content using Co or Co/Zn zeolitic imidazolate frameworks as precursors. Synergistic catalysis between strained Pt-Co core-shell nanoparticles over a platinum-group-metal-free (PGM-free) catalytic substrate led to excellent fuel cell performance under 1 atmosphere of O2 or air at both high voltage and high current domains. Two catalysts achieved the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) mass activities of 1.08 A mgPt−1/1.77 A mgPt−1 and retained 64%/15% of initial values after 30,000 voltage cycles in fuel cell.
—Chong et al.
Schematics of LP@PF showing coexistence of Pt-Co NPs, Co@graphene, and Co-N4-C PGM-free active sites. Chong et al.
In a fuel cell, platinum is used two ways: to convert hydrogen into protons and electrons, and to break oxygen bonds and eventually form water. The latter reaction, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), requires an especially large quantity of platinum, and scientists have been looking for a way to reduce the platinum content in oxygen reduction catalysts.
Argonne scientists found novel ways to improve platinum utilization substantially. First, they tweaked the shape of the platinum to maximize its availability and reactivity in the catalyst. In this configuration, a few layers of pure platinum atoms cover a cobalt-platinum alloy nanoparticle core to form a core-shell structure.
The core-shell nanoparticles on their own still could not handle a large influx of oxygen when the fuel cell needs to crank up the electric current. To increase the efficiency of the catalyst, the researchers relied on another approach they knew from their past work—producing a catalytically active, platinum group metal-free (PGM-free) substrate as the support for the cobalt-platinum alloy nanoparticles.
Using metal-organic frameworks as precursors, Argonne chemist Di-Jia Liu, the corresponding author of the study, and his colleagues were able to prepare a cobalt–nitrogen–carbon composite substrate in which the catalytically active centers are uniformly distributed near to the platinum-cobalt particles. Such active centers are capable of breaking the oxygen bonds by themselves and work synergistically with platinum.
As it turned out, the new combined catalyst not only improved activity but also the durability as compared to either component alone.
Liu and his colleagues have created a patented process that involves first heating up cobalt-containing metal-organic frameworks. As the temperature increases, some of the cobalt atoms interact with organics to form a PGM-free substrate while others are reduced to well-dispersed small metal clusters throughout the substrate. After the addition of platinum followed by annealing, platinum-cobalt core-shell particles are formed and surrounded by PGM-free active sites.
While the ultimate goal is to eliminate platinum from hydrogen fuel cell catalysts entirely, Liu said that the current research opens up a new direction in addressing both fuel cell catalyst activity and durability in a cost-effective way.
Since the new catalysts require only an ultralow amount of platinum, similar to that used in existing automobile catalytic converters, it could help to ease the transition from conventional internal combustion engines to fuel cell vehicles without disrupting the platinum supply chain and market.
The study included computational modeling and advanced structural characterization done in part at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source and Center for Nanoscale Materials, both DOE Office of Science User Facilities.
The research was funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Fuel Cell Technologies Office).
Lina Chong, Jianguo Wen, Joseph Kubal, Fatih G. Sen, Jianxin Zou, Jeffery Greeley, Maria Chan, Heather Barkholtz, Wenjiang Ding, Di-Jia Liu (2018) “Ultralow-loading platinum-cobalt fuel cell catalysts derived from imidazolate frameworks” Science Vol. 362, Issue 6420, pp. 1276-1281 doi: 10.1126/science.aau0630
Ballard receives order for fuel cell module to power UK HydroFLEX H2 demonstrator train
Ballard Power Systems has received a purchase order from Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited, a leading participant in the rail leasing market, for an FCveloCity-HD fuel cell module and related support to power a HydroFLEX train in the UK.
Earlier this year, UK Rail Minister Jo Johnson MP challenged the rail industry to develop decarbonization plans, with the objective of removing diesel-only trains from the network by 2040. HydroFLEX is an innovative response to this challenge from Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s “Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education” (BCRRE).
Porterbrook will provide a Class 319 electric train for conversion by BCRRE’s technical and research experts into a HydroFLEX hydrogen-powered train. The train will utilize Ballard’s power module and Ballard will also provide system controls development, mechanical integration of sub-systems and other components.
The HydroFLEX will be the UK’s first fully-sized hydrogen demonstrator train. It will showcase how hydrogen can be used to power a train that retains the ability to operate across existing electric routes, on either third rail or 25kV overhead power. Testing and demonstration runs are planned for the summer of 2019 at RailLive, which will take place at Long Marston in Warwickshire.
We are pleased to work with Porterbrook and BCRRE on the HydroFLEX rail program. As evidenced by this activity in the UK, along with our work on fuel cell rail programs in Germany and China, momentum is rapidly building behind the development and deployment of Heavy Duty Motive fuel cell solutions for both inter-city trains as well as intra-city trams. Ballard is now actively working with a number of the world’s most important players in the rolling stock sector, including Porterbrook, to meet this growing requirement.
—Jesper Themsen, President and CEO of Ballard Power Systems Europe A/S
Porterbrook also recently completed an engineering assessment that makes a positive case for the conversion of one of the UK’s most reliable trains into a battery/electric bi-mode. The class 350 Electric Multiple Unit is Britain’s most reliable train, with Porterbrook’s 350/2 version recording 100,420 Miles per Technical Incident (Moving Annual Average).
With the addition of the latest battery technology, Porterbrook believes that the 350/2 BatteryFLEX would be able to match, or outperform, diesel trains on existing non-electrified routes, particularly in key corridors across the North of England.
Hyundai NEXO FCEV and Kona electric CUV win spots in 2019 WardsAuto 10 Best Engines
Hyundai has taken two out of the ten spots in the 2019 WardsAuto 10 Best Engine competition with the all-new 2019 NEXO FCEV fuel cell vehicle and 2019 Kona Electric CUV. (Earlier post.) This marks the tenth time Hyundai has earned a WardsAuto 10 Best Engine recognition since the awards’ annual inception in 1995.
It is a true honor to have two of our all-new eco-friendly engine applications receive this prestigious award as it underscores Hyundai’s momentum toward having the industry’s most diverse CUV powertrain lineup.
The endless hours of research, evaluation and real-world analysis by our engineering community has effectively raised the bar for alternative fuel applications. We are very proud of what has been achieved in this highly competitive marketplace. We are committed to providing smart, alternative fuel solutions for car buyers, and look forward to continue growing our eco-vehicle portfolio.
—John Juriga, director, Powertrains, Hyundai America Technical Center, Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Company plans to introduce 18 models by 2025. NEXO leads Hyundai Motor’s plans in development of zero-emission vehicles. This new development plan also represents the next step for Hyundai Motor Group toward realizing a cleaner environment via advanced eco-friendly vehicles.
The NEXO is Hyundai’s flagship vehicle and improves upon the Tucson FCEV. The NEXO Blue model has an estimated driving range of 380 miles, 115 more than its predecessor. The NEXO Limited trim has an estimated range of 354 miles. NEXO Blue models have estimated MPGe of 65 city, 58 highway and 61 combined, while NEXO Limited models have an estimated MPGe of 59 city, 54 highway, and 57 combined.
The NEXO can be refueled in as little as five minutes, allowing a consumer lifestyle very similar to a comparable gasoline-powered SUV in terms of range and refueling speed. NEXO hydrogen storage uses three separate hydrogen tanks in the rear of the vehicle. These are configured to maximize overall interior volume, especially in the rear cargo area, increasing it by 5.8 cubic feet and allowing for a flatter load floor. With 161 peak horse-power (120 kW) and 291 lb.-ft. of torque, acceleration and power have also increased to improve NEXO overall performance.
The 2019 Kona Electric offers 258 miles of range. The new electric CUV offers youthful design, sporty driving character, leading safety technology and advanced infotainment features in an affordable, compact footprint along with an abundant suite of standard safety equipment. Additionally, the Kona’s Electric battery is covered by Hyundai’s industry leading Lifetime Battery Warranty.
The Kona Electric powertrain employs a high-efficiency 150 kW (201 horsepower) permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor supplied by a high-voltage 64 kWh lithium-ion battery. The motor develops 291 lb.ft. of torque distributed to the front wheels.
The powertrain inverter has a power density of 25.4 kVA per liter. The battery system is liquid cooled and operates at 356 volts. Battery pack energy density is 141.3 Wh/kg (greater than Chevy Bolt), with a total battery system weight under 1,000 lbs. In addition, Kona Electric EPA estimated MPGe is 132 city, 108 highway, and 120 combined.
This is the 25th year for WardsAuto 10 Best Engines, a competition created to recognize outstanding powertrain achievement, world-class technologies and those rare engines or electric propulsion systems that are so compelling that they help sell the vehicle. This year, 34 entries were competing for the recognition and were chosen from 2018 and 2019 model year vehicles. To be eligible, a new or significantly modified engine or propulsion system must be on sale in a production vehicle during the first quarter of 2019, with a base price capped at $64,000.
Since the list began in 1995, Hyundai has been honored ten times: the Tau V-8 was in 2009 (4.6-liter), 2010 (4.6-liter) and 2011 (5.0-liter); the Gamma I-4 in 2012; the hydrogen fuel cell powertrain in 2015; the Nu (2.0-liter plug-in Hybrid) in 2016; the four-cylinder Turbocharged DOHC (1.4-liter); and the (3.3-liter) in 2018.
The 2019 awards ceremony will take place at a banquet during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
ZF electric driveline to premiere in Formula E with Venturi
In 2016, ZF and Venturi formed a technology partnership for the FIA Formula E. For the fifth season of the championship, ZF has developed an electric driveline for Venturi that includes an electric motor as well as newly developed transmission and power electronics.
New Formula E rules this year will usher in many changes. The Gen2 car will celebrate its debut on the track with double the battery energy storage capacity of its predecessor, the Gen1 car. This means it can complete the entire race without the mid-race car swap previously necessary.
The Gen2 car has increased power output of 250 kW, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph).
Venturi will be sending former Formula 1 drivers Felipe Massa (BR) and Edoardo Mortara (SUI) on the hunt for points this year. The German HWA Racelab team will enter the Formula E as a Venturi customer team and acquire its vehicles from Monaco-based Venturi. Accordingly, the electric ZF driveline will be in four vehicles in the starting line-up for the new season.
As part of their partnership, ZF supplied the Monaco-based Venturi team with shock absorbers for its cars and developed a new transmission for season four. Mid-December will mark the first time Venturi takes to the track with a complete newly developed driveline from ZF. In addition to an improved transmission, the driveline also includes newly developed power electronics and electric motor.
The entire system is the first electric driveline from ZF that has been developed purely for use in motorsports. In addition to extreme performance and torque density, the Formula E driveline has much greater efficiency than typically seen in series applications.
Because engine output is regulated in Formula E, power transfer is extremely important.
In order to stay competitive in the fight for best lap times, we needed to make significant changes to the transmission design. For the first time, this new transmission uses a single-gear concept as well as new materials, such as a metallic lightweight alloy for the transmission housing. The new concept has enabled us, once again, to reduce the transmission weight substantially; by nearly 40% compared to the previous season’s design. The new driveline has enabled a significant increase in efficiency as well.
—Tobias Hofmann, Technical Project Manager Electric Axle Drive Formula E
The inverter, also newly developed, is ZF’s first power electronics product with high-performance silicon-carbide modules. The casing for the inverter is made entirely of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The intelligent control software is based on years of testing in volume production and has been specially adapted to the special demands of motorsports.
Fulcrum to build second waste-to-fuels plant in Gary, Indiana
Fulcrum BioEnergy has selected Gary, Indiana as the location of its Centerpoint BioFuels Plant, which will convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel.
Fulcrum has developed and demonstrated a proprietary thermochemical process that converts MSW feedstock into low-carbon renewable transportation fuels including jet fuel and diesel. The process has been reviewed by numerous third parties including independent engineers, the US Department of Defense and the US Department of Agriculture.
The process begins with the gasification of the organic material in the MSW feedstock to a synthesis gas (syngas) which consists primarily of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This syngas is purified and processed through the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process to produce a syncrude product which is then upgraded to jet fuel or diesel.
Fulcrum has licensed from ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc. a highly efficient and economic gasification system for the conversion of the MSW feedstock to syngas. During the gasification process, the prepared MSW feedstock rapidly heats up upon entry into the steam-reforming gasifier and almost immediately converts to syngas. A venturi scrubber captures and removes any entrained particulate, and the syngas is further cooled in a packed gas cooler scrubber.
The cleaned syngas is then processed through an amine system to capture and remove sulfur and carbon dioxide. The syngas then enters the secondary gas clean-up section that contains compression to increase syngas to the pressure required by the FT process. The end syngas product is very clean with zero sulfur content.
The FT portion of Fulcrum’s process is an adaptation of the well-established Fischer-Tropsch process which has been in commercial operations for decades. In the FT process, the purified syngas is processed through a fixed-bed tubular reactor where it reacts with a proprietary catalyst to form three intermediate FT products, a Heavy Fraction FT Liquids (HFTL) product, a Medium Fraction FT Liquids (MFTL) product and a Light Fraction FT Liquids (LFTL) product, commonly called Naphtha.
The Naphtha is recycled to the partial oxidation unit with remaining tail gas to be reformed to hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
In the last step, hydrotreating, hydrocracking and hydroisomerization upgrading steps are used to upgrade the combined HFTL and MFTL products into jet fuel.
Construction of the new plant is expected to begin in 2020 and will take approximately 18-24 months to complete. Once operational, the Centerpoint plant will divert and process approximately 700,000 tons of waste from the Greater Chicago area.
The plant will process the waste, which will be converted offsite into a prepared feedstock, and will produce approximately 33 million gallons of fuel annually.
Centerpoint will deploy Fulcrum’s proprietary process which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% when compared to conventional fossil fuels and will generate hundreds of jobs in the region, creating 160 full-time permanent jobs and 900 construction jobs.
Fulcrum’s Centerpoint plant will be the company’s second waste-to-fuels plant. In late 2017, Fulcrum began construction on the Sierra BioFuels Plant located near Reno, Nevada. When the Sierra plant begins operations in early 2020, it will be the first commercial-scale waste-to-fuels plant in the United States.
CARB approves Electrify America’s second $200M investment in California
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved Electrify America’s plan to invest its second $200 million in California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education programs.
In finding that Electrify America’s Cycle 2 California ZEV Investment Plan meets or exceeds all requirements of the 2.0L Partial Consent Decree, CARB moved forward the company’s plans for DC fast-charging in more metro areas, adding charging for regional routes, and strengthening highway networks.
The plan also includes investments for charging stations to support ZEV bus fleets and ride hail services, as well as residential and autonomous vehicle charging. The company also will invest in rural Level 2 charging. Implementation for Cycle 2 will begin on 1 July 2019, and continue through 31 December 2021.
The Cycle 2 California ZEV Investment Plan approved by CARB outlines Electrify America’s second $200-million investment in California. Electrify America is committed to investing $800 million in ZEV projects through four investment cycles over a 10-year period.
The Cycle 2 plan builds on Electrify America’s initial priorities and expands into new areas, where the need for electric vehicle charging stations and technology are greatest or are most likely to be used regularly. Consistent with the guidance of CARB, Electrify America will strive to ensure that 35% of Cycle 2 investments are in low-income or disadvantaged communities.
Highlights of the California Cycle 2 ZEV Investment Plan include:
Metropolitan Areas: The central focus of electric vehicle charging infrastructure investment in Cycle 2 will shift to more DC Fast Charging (DCFC) stations within metro areas, where electric vehicle (EV) drivers are expected to charge most often. Electrify America will invest in these new metro areas added for Cycle 2:
In Cycle 2, Electrify America also will continue to invest in the six Cycle 1 metros:
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
These metro areas are expected to account for 89% of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in operation through 2022, according to a 2017 Navigant report. The DC Fast Charging stations will be placed in retail locations but also consider the needs of adjacent multi-unit dwellings where Level 2 (L2) residential charging deployment is oftentimes challenging.
Electrify America also will invest in DCFC stations specifically targeting shared mobility drivers: car share, taxis, and transportation networking company (TNC) drivers.
Highways & Regional Routes: The new Cycle 2 investments will continue to build out a highway network of DCFC stations featuring charging power up to 350 kilowatts which can recharge a vehicle at up to 20 miles of range per minute. This will include building new sites connecting regional destinations, such as supporting travel to the Sierra Mountain communities and destinations like Lake Havasu.
Residential: The primary, most convenient, and cost efficient option for many drivers is residential charging. The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy reports that EV drivers conduct “more than 80 percent of their charging at home.” However, the cost and complexity of installing home charging can be a barrier to ZEV adoption for some buyers, especially in low-income communities. To address this need, Electrify America will develop a comprehensive residential charging solution.
First, Electrify America will develop an online tool that promotes and connects EV buyers with the wide range of residential charging incentives and rebates already available in California and simplifies the application process. This program will be designed to integrate with CARB’s recently announced “one-stop-shop,” which focuses on incentives for the ZEV purchase itself, and together these offerings will provide customers support throughout the entire purchase process.
In addition, Electrify America will offer no-money-down residential chargers and installation, enabling buyers who cannot or choose not to pay for the L2 charger installation at home. The cost of installation will be incorporated into a monthly fee.
Finally, Electrify America will develop a platform that will allow drivers with a home charger to potentially offset their electric bills by plugging in and supporting a demand response platform for grid electric power stability.
Bus and Shuttle Charging: To help spur adoption in this sector, Electrify America plans to collaborate with transit operators to provide charging infrastructure at depots, layover points, and on key routes. This approach offers another means of serving disadvantaged and low-income populations that rely on public transportation.
Rural: To further support the adoption of ZEVs in rural communities in California, Electrify America will deploy L2 chargers in rural areas with a potential focus on health care facilities and education institutions located in the Central, Coachella and Imperial Valleys.
Autonomous: To support the growth of autonomous ZEVs, Electrify America will build up to two commercial deployments of charging stations for autonomous electric vehicles where this need is emerging.
Renewable Generation: Electrify America will invest in renewable generation for select stations to help to reduce station operating costs and reduce the carbon content for EV recharging which is consistent with California’s broader air quality goals.
Education and Awareness: In Cycle 2, Electrify America will invest in additional education, awareness, and outreach activities to help drive ZEV adoption. Efforts will primarily focus on boosting awareness and consideration by informing the general public on the benefits of ZEVs through traditional media advertising, similar to Electrify America’s Cycle 1 “JetStones” TV/radio campaign. Electrify America’s marketing outreach will continue to coordinate with ZEV awareness initiatives by collaborating with key non-profit organizations such as Veloz.
Electrify America also will work to generate awareness of its charging network to promote station utilization through digital activations and targeted digital media interactions such as paid search and web banners for specific groups most likely to be able to utilize the Electrify America charging network.
Electrify America will continue to support the Green City Initiative in Sacramento called Sac-to-Zero. This initiative, which includes two ZEV car share programs, two BEV bus/shuttle services, and substantial investments in associated charging infrastructure, will showcase new uses of ZEV technology while promoting increased ZEV usage across many channels serving low-income or disadvantaged communities.
While these programs are funded in Cycle 1, the services and benefits of this $44 million Cycle 1 investment will launch and be fully operational during Cycle 2. Electrify America will provide strategic guidance and operational support for these services over the course of Cycle 2.
The Cycle 2 California ZEV Investment Plan benefited from collaboration with the California Air Resources Board and Staff and a comprehensive national outreach period, during which Electrify America received more than 800 submissions and spoke with more than 100 individual submitters. The company held community meetings across California focused on local government and community-based organizations, and engaged with California’s leading academics at UC Davis, UCLA and the National Laboratories.
Electrify America LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America headquartered in Reston, VA and with an office in Pasadena, CA, is investing $2 billion over 10 years in Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education and access.
Fastcharge consortium presents prototype for 450 kW charging station; Porsche research vehicle charges at 400 kW
In Germany, the FastCharge research consortium (earlier post) has presented a prototype for a charging station with an output of up to 450 kW in Jettingen-Scheppach, located near the A8 motorway between Ulm and Augsburg. The new charging station is suitable for electric models of all brands with the European standard Type 2 variant of the widely used Combined Charging System (CCS), and is now available for use free of charge.
A Porsche research vehicle with a net battery capacity of approximately 90 kWh achieved a charging capacity of more than 400 kW on the new charging station, allowing for charging times of less than 3 minutes for the first 100 km range. An innovative cooling system makes this possible by ensuring even gentle temperature control in the battery cells.
BMW also had an i3 research vehicle at the inauguration.
Initiated in July 2016, the Fast Charge research project has received €7.8 million (US$8.9 million) in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The implementation of the funding guidelines is being coordinated by the German National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).
The industrial consortium includes automotive manufacturers the BMW Group and Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG, as well as operators Allego GmbH, Phoenix Contact E-Mobility GmbH (charging technology) and Siemens AG (electrical engineering).
Increasing the available charging capacity to up to 450 kW allows charging times to be significantly reduced. The charging capacity of the new FastChargers is three to nine times as high as what is currently possible with DC rapid-charging stations. The FastCharge project examines what technical conditions need to be fulfilled in terms of vehicles and infrastructure in order to allow extremely high charging capacities to be applied.
The energy supply system from Siemens used in the project makes it possible to test the limits of the fast charging capability of vehicle batteries. It can already work with higher voltages of up to 920 volts, as expected in future electric vehicles.
Both the high-performance electronics for the charging connections and the communication interface to the electric vehicles were integrated into the system. This charging controller automatically adjusts the power to be delivered so that different electric cars can be charged with an infrastructure.
The flexible, modular architecture of the system also allows multiple vehicles to be loaded simultaneously. Due to charging with high currents and voltages, it allows a variety of different applications, such as for fleet charging solutions or, as in this case, charging on highways.
For the connection to the public power grid in Jettingen-Scheppach, a loading container with two charging connections was realized in the project: one connection has a charging capacity of max. 450 kW, the second gives up to 175 kW.
To meet the requirements of fast charging with particularly high performance, cooled HPC charging cables (High Power Charging) from Phoenix Contact are used, which are fully CCS-compatible. The cooling liquid is an environmentally friendly water-glycol mixture used, making the cooling circuit can be made semi-open. As a result maintenance, in contrast to hermetically sealed systems that work with oil, is simple—for example, when coolant is replenished.
One challenge was not to squeeze the cooling hoses in the charging line when connecting to the charging station, as would happen with a conventional cable, as this would affect the cooling flow and thus the cooling capacity. This problem was solved by Phoenix Contact with a specially developed wall duct with defined interfaces for power transmission, communication and cooling as well as integrated strain relief.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 2 variant that is standard for Europe has already proven itself in a wide range of electrified vehicles and is used in many parts of the world.
The two Jettinger charging stations are currently available for use with all CCS-enabled vehicles, free of charge. Depending on the model of vehicle, the new ultra-fast charging station can be used for vehicles with 400-volt and those with 800-volt battery systems. In each case the charging capacity provided automatically adjusts to the vehicle’s maximum permitted charging capacity.
Neste investing €1.4B to boost capacity for renewable drop-in fuels and products production in Singapore
Neste Corporation will invest approximately €1.4 billion to add additional renewable products production capacity in Singapore. The decision is based on a growing global market demand for low-carbon solutions in transport and cities, aviation, polymers and chemicals.
The investment will extend Neste’s renewable product overall capacity in Singapore by up to 1.3 million tons per year, bringing the total renewable product capacity close to 4.5 million tons annually in 2022. The company’s target is to start up the new production line during the first half of 2022.
As a result of the investment, Neste will have more options to choose between different product solutions in the whole production system. In addition to producing renewable diesel, all Neste’s renewable product refineries are able to produce renewable aviation fuel and raw materials for various polymers and chemicals materials.
The investment in Singapore will include additional logistics capabilities and enhanced raw material pretreatment for the use of increasingly low-quality waste and residue raw materials also for the existing refinery.
The investment will strengthen our competitive advantages which are based on the global optimization of our production and waste and residue raw material usage. With our proprietary NEXBTL technology, renewable products can be refined flexibly from a wide variety of lower quality waste and residues while the end-products retain their high quality. We will leverage the experience gained at our existing sites in Singapore, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Porvoo, Finland, and thanks to our continuous process and technology development, the new production line will be the best in class worldwide.
—Peter Vanacker, President and CEO of Neste
Neste currently has a renewable products production capacity of 2.7 million tons annually. Of this total, more than one million is produced in Singapore, the same amount in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the rest in Porvoo, Finland.
Before the new production line in Singapore comes onstream, Neste will continue eliminating bottlenecks in existing production, bringing the existing capacity to 3 million tons by 2020.
Neste’s renewable products—Neste MY Renewable Diesel, Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel—are part of the solution for reducing emissions in transport and aviation. Neste renewable solutions can also replace fossil raw materials in various chemical industry applications, such as in the production of renewable solvents and bio-based plastics.
NEXBTL technology can make top-quality renewable products out of nearly any waste and residue fats and vegetable oils. Neste’s renewable products are fully compatible with existing production, logistics infrastructure and engine technology and a “drop-in” alternative to conventional fossil fuels and raw materials.
Mercedes-Benz Cars plants to source electricity from German wind farms
Mercedes-Benz Cars has entered into a power purchase agreement with Statkraft, Europe’s largest producer of renewable energy, enabling Mercedes-Benz Cars to source electricity directly from wind farms in Germany, whose subsidies from the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) expire after 2020.
Because the agreement with Mercedes-Benz Cars will contribute to the economical operation of existing windmills, the power purchase agreement is a contribution to the German energy transition (German “Energiewende”).
Norwegian energy provider Statkraft supplies the renewable energy from six community-owned wind farms. The power will be used to supply the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen as well as to the German battery production locations such as Kamenz and Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.
At Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations, we are pursuing the strategy digital, flexible and green in our global production organization. This also includes that we will supply all our German plants with CO2-neutral energy by 2022. As the first industrial company in Germany, we are using electricity from six wind farms and thereby ensure their continued operation already today. In doing so, we are taking an important step in realising our CO2-neutral production operations and are underscoring our social responsibility.
—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain
Statkraft is an important player in energy trading. As the leading PPA provider (Power Purchase Agreement), the group brings together electricity producers and companies from trade and industry throughout Europe and develops new concepts that offer added value for both sides. In Germany, Statkraft is the market leader in managing renewable assets on behalf of third parties with a total portfolio of 10,000 MW.
In the contract concluded between Mercedes and Statkraft, the power supplied by the wind farms is integrated into the existing supply contract by Enovos Energie Deutschland GmbH. Enovos primarily ensures the accounting, the grid use and the integration of the green power supply into the energy portfolio of the Mercedes-Benz plants.
The six wind farms with 31 turbines are located within a radius of about 25 kilometers from Hanover, the capital of the German State of Lower Saxony, as well as in Bassum, 30 kilometers south of Bremen. The plants generate about 74 GWh a year and have an installed capacity of 46 MW. Commissioned between 1999 and 2001, their subsidies through the Renewable Energy Act will run out after 20 years.
After the agreement comes into effect, the green power produced in the wind farm will be fed into the grid and simultaneously drawn from the grid by the Mercedes-Benz plants.
The electricity production is staggered in accordance with the different ends of the EEG subsidy for the individual installations. The plan calls for 33.1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2021. In the years 2022 to 2024, it is expected to have 74 million kWh and for 2025, the agreement provides for a delivery of 21.8 million kWh.
This green power will be used for the production of the EQC electric car at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant.
EEG subsidy ending starting in 2021. Thus far, the EEG guaranteed the wind farm operators a fixed subsidized rate for the electricity. From 1 January 2021, the EEG subsidy will run out for about 6,000 German wind power plants. In total, this corresponds to an installed capacity of 4.5 GW, enough to power about 2.1 million households.
Starting in 2022, further plants will drop from the EEG remuneration each year. Based on today’s data, this could affect about 1,600 wind power plants annually with a total installed capacity of about 2.5 gigawatts between 2022 and 2026.
Carbon-neutral energy supply of the German Mercedes-Benz Cars plants. In Germany, Mercedes-Benz Cars has eight vehicle and powertrain plants (Bremen, Rastatt, Sindelfingen, Berlin, Hamburg, Kamenz, Kölleda, Stuttgart- Untertürkheim), which either purchase electricity or operate their own power plants. In the future, 100% of additional purchased electricity will come from verifiable renewable sources, such as wind- and hydropower. This corresponds to about three quarters of the required electricity in the German plants.
Already existing high-efficiency gas CHP systems additionally generate local heat and power at the factories. The resulting CO2-emissions are compensated by qualified environmental projects.
New plants in Germany and Europe are planned with a CO2-neutral energy supply from the start: A new CO2-neutral engine plant is currently being built in Jawor, Poland. The plant will start operations in 2019 and sources wind power through a long-term supply contract from the Taczalin wind farm some ten kilometers away.
FEV and SEG develop 48V mild hybrid Mercedes AMG A45 demonstrator
FEV and automotive supplier SEG—formerly the starter motor and generator division of the Bosch Group—have developed a 48V mild hybrid Mercedes AMG A45 concept vehicle. The 48V mild hybridization is powered by the Boost Recuperation Machine (BRM) from SEG Automotive.
A 48V belt starter generator—the BRM from SEG Automotive—replaces the conventional 12V generator. This requires only minor modifications of the powertrain and therefore entails comparatively low costs. The 48V BRM enables hybrid functions such as brake energy recovery (recuperation), electrical torque support, load point optimization and particularly smooth start/stop engine starts.
In addition, the increased electrical power enables the use of power-hungry consumers or safety features.
The concept vehicle, which FEV developed in cooperation with SEG Automotive and the Chair of Internal Combustion Engines at RWTH Aachen University, uses a 48V BRM in combination with an electric compressor to significantly improve responsiveness, efficiency and comfort.
FEV A48V Demonstrator (Source: FEV)
The use of the BRM from SEG Automotive improves the response time of the four-cylinder engine significantly and at the same time decreases fuel consumption.
With the aid of the electric compressor, the maximum torque of the combustion engine is reached at just 1600 rpm—650 rpm earlier than in a standard AMG A45 vehicle. In addition, the boost function of the BRM provides additional torque to the combustion engine.
This results in a significantly improved response of the engine and an even more intense acceleration experience. This is particularly noticeable driving off after a stop or at low rpms.
At the same time, the BRM enables extremely comfortable start/stop functionality. The high torque capacity of the BRM ensures an almost immediate engine start, which effectively avoids comfort-impairing resonances, which can occur with conventional 12V start/stop systems.
The BRM also makes a significant contribution to increasing efficiency. Upon braking, part of the kinetic energy is recovered and stored in the 48V battery. The coasting function opens up further potential: During coasting phases, the combustion engine is decoupled from the transmission and switched off. As a result, the vehicle can maintain kinetic energy and coast for longer by avoiding the friction losses of the combustion engine. When the driver wants to accelerate, the combustion engine is smoothly and immediately restarted and reengaged into the powertrain. In real operation, the BRM saves up to 15% fuel and to the same degree CO2.
In another cooperation project between FEV, SEG Automotive and the Chair of Internal Combustion Engines at RWTH Aachen University, the coasting function was further optimized by a predictive recuperation function.
Predictive coasting and recuperation (Source: FEV)
For this purpose, a camera-based sensor system detects the vehicles travelling ahead of the car. As the driver takes his foot off the accelerator, a prediction algorithm calculates whether it makes sense to switch into coasting mode or whether deceleration is necessary in order to avoid tailgating.
The BRM automatically regulates the degree of deceleration so that the mechanical brake system is not required. This increases comfort, as the driver does not have to intervene and it raises the amount of energy recovered, which has again a positive effect on fuel consumption.
The predictive coasting and recuperation strategy is a prime example of how the efficiency of the powertrain can be significantly increased by intelligent software functions.
SEG Automotive emerged from the Bosch Starter Motors & Generators division in 2018.
SEAT part of EU €1.6B Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Urban Mobility consortium
The European Union has chosen the MOBILus consortium, comprising the city of Barcelona, SEAT and 46 other cities, businesses and universities in 15 European countries, to develop the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Urban Mobility, an initiative that is tasked with developing innovations in urban mobility in the European Union.
The Knowledge and Innovation Community on Urban Mobility will have a duration of between 7 and 15 years and require a financial investment of up to €1.6 billion (US$1.8 billion): €400 million to be contributed by the European Union and up to €1.2 billion by the partners. The headquarters will be located in Barcelona, with four branches in Copenhagen (Denmark), Prague (Czech Republic), Munich (Germany) and Helmond (the Netherlands).
The first General Assembly of the EIT-Urban Mobility, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology of Urban Mobility, was held in Barcelona, and was attended by the city’s mayor Ada Colau; the commissioner of Economic Promotion of the Barcelona City Council Lluís Gómez; and representatives of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC).
At the press conference to present Barcelona as a European capital of urban mobility, SEAT president Luca de Meo emphasized that “this project confirms that when the Public Administration, businesses, universities, financial institutions and social agents work together, we are able to move the world. This initiative is going to enable us to boost a new European model of mobility that encourages innovation and competitiveness.”
The aim of the KIC on Urban Mobility is to stimulate European competitiveness, improve mobility and promote the appeal of cities by connecting communities and encouraging business innovation and re-imagining public spaces.
The choice of the MOBILus consortium and selecting Barcelona as the headquarters of the urban mobility innovation platform will have a significant economic impact on the city and attract new investments. Among other goals, expected outcomes include the creation of 180 associated startups, the freeing up of more road space in 90% of the participating cities, the training of 1,450 graduates in specialties relating to the consortium or an increase in shared mobility in all of the member countries.
Li-ion battery maker CATL opens its first North American sales and service facility
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL), a leading global supplier and manufacturer of lithium-ion battery products for electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage facilities, is renewing its commitment to the US market by opening its first North American sales and service facility.
CATL has established partnerships with several US-based businesses that will release products into the market very soon. The new Detroit base is the fourth international site to be opened by CATL and follows the opening of the company’s Japan subsidiary in May.
CATL currently supplies the North American market with core battery technologies for EVs and energy storage solutions. The new CATL facility in Detroit will allow the company to improve the supply of lithium-ion batteries to the US auto market and to support the expansion of EV manufacturing.
CATL has entered a series of partnership agreements with global car manufacturers including BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Jaguar Land Rover. Highlights of its battery technology include:
Safe performance: Featuring a complete battery safety management system to improve performance, CATL products have passed more than 270 abuse tests, including active and passive protection tests to guarantee user safety.
Energy density: CATL’s battery systems have achieved an energy density of 160 Wh/kg, and are continuously improving. By 2020, the Company expects to achieve a single cell energy density of 300 Wh/kg and a system energy density of 240 Wh/kg.
Battery life-cycle: CATL has been able to identify several key factors affecting the life of a battery cell and has taken measures to extend its life as much as possible. For example, CATL’s long-life endurance battery can achieve up to 15,000 cycles without the need for lithium titanate material, reducing life-cycle costs.
Fast Charging: Using NCM or LFP materials, CATL has discovered that it is possible to achieve a 90% charge in 15 minutes. This technology has since been incorporated as standard and is being mass-produced by CATL.
In May 2018 the McKinsey Electric Vehicle Index reported that global sales of new EVs had surpassed 1 million units for the first time in 2017. In the US, this represented a rise in fully electric car sales of 47%. According to forecasts published by Energy Innovation, EVs will make up to 65% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2050, with EV sales reaching up to 75% by 2050.
CATL’s mission is to create the safest and most reliable lithium-ion EV batteries and energy storage solutions that appeal to a global market. The opening of its fourth international subsidiary represents a further milestone for the company and a marked expansion in CATL’s global footprint driving new energy innovation throughout the world.
Founded in 2011, CATL is ranked first in the global vehicle power industry with 11.84 GWh shipped in 2017. Headquartered in Ningde, China, CATL has more than 15,000 employees and branch offices in Shanghai, Kiangsu, Qinghai and Beijing and international offices in the United States, France and Germany.
CliMA consortium seeks to build more precise climate model from ground up
A consortium of researchers led by Caltech, in partnership with MIT; the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS); and JPL, which Caltech manages for NASA, seeks to build a new type of climate model that is designed to provide more precise and actionable predictions.
Leveraging recent advances in the computational and data sciences, the comprehensive effort leverages the vast amounts of data that are now available and increasingly powerful computing capabilities both for processing data and for simulating the earth system.
The consortium, dubbed the Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA), plans to fuse Earth observations and high-resolution simulations into a model that represents important small-scale features, such as clouds and turbulence, more reliably than existing climate models.
The goal is a climate model that projects future changes in critical variables such as cloud cover, rainfall, and sea ice extent more accurately, with uncertainties at least two times smaller than existing models.
Projections with current climate models—for example, of how features such as rainfall extremes will change—still have large uncertainties, and the uncertainties are poorly quantified. For cities planning their stormwater management infrastructure to withstand the next 100 years’ worth of floods, this is a serious issue; concrete answers about the likely range of climate outcomes are key for planning.
—Tapio Schneider, Caltech’s Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, senior research scientist at JPL, and principal investigator of CliMA
The consortium hopes to have the new model up and running within the next five years—an aggressive timeline for building a climate model essentially from scratch.
A fresh start gives us an opportunity to design the model from the outset to run effectively on modern and rapidly evolving computing hardware, and for the atmospheric and ocean models to be close cousins of each other, sharing the same numerical algorithms.
—Frank Giraldo, professor of applied mathematics at NPS
Current climate modeling relies on dividing up the globe into a grid and then computing what is going on in each sector of the grid, as well as how the sectors interact with each other. The accuracy of any given model depends in part on the resolution at which the model can view the earth—that is, the size of the grid’s sectors. Limitations in available computer processing power mean that those sectors generally cannot be any smaller than tens of kilometers per side. But for climate modeling, the devil is in the details—details that get missed in a too-large grid.
For example, low-lying clouds have a significant impact on climate by reflecting sunlight, but the turbulent plumes that sustain them are so small that they fall through the cracks of existing models. Similarly, changes in Arctic sea ice have been linked to wide-ranging effects on everything from polar climate to drought in California, but it is difficult to predict how that ice will change in the future because it is sensitive to the density of cloud cover above the ice and the temperature of ocean currents below, both of which cannot be resolved by current models.
To capture the large-scale impact of these small-scale features, the team will develop high-resolution simulations that model the features in detail in selected regions of the globe. Those simulations will be nested within the larger climate model.
The effect will be a model capable of “zooming in” on selected regions, providing detailed local climate information about those areas and informing the modeling of small-scale processes everywhere else.
The ocean soaks up much of the heat and carbon accumulating in the climate system. However, just how much it takes up depends on turbulent eddies in the upper ocean, which are too small to be resolved in climate models. Fusing nested high-resolution simulations with newly available measurements from, for example, a fleet of thousands of autonomous floats could enable a leap in the accuracy of ocean predictions.
—Raffaele Ferrari, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography at MIT
While existing models are often tested by checking predictions against observations, the new model will take ground-truthing a step further by using data-assimilation and machine-learning tools to “teach” the model to improve itself in real time, harnessing both Earth observations and the nested high-resolution simulations.
The success of computational weather forecasting demonstrates the power of using data to improve the accuracy of computer models; we aim to bring the same successes to climate prediction.
—Andrew Stuart, Caltech’s Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
Each of the partner institutions brings a different strength and research expertise to the project. At Caltech, Schneider and Stuart will focus on creating the data-assimilation and machine-learning algorithms, as well as models for clouds, turbulence, and other atmospheric features. At MIT, Ferrari and John Marshall, also a Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, will lead a team that will model the ocean, including its large-scale circulation and turbulent mixing. At NPS, Giraldo will lead the development of the computational core of the new atmosphere model in collaboration with Jeremy Kozdon and Lucas Wilcox. At JPL, a group of scientists will collaborate with the team at Caltech’s campus to develop process models for the atmosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere.
Funding for this project is provided by the generosity of Eric and Wendy Schmidt (by recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program); Mission Control Earth, an initiative of Mountain Philanthropies; Paul G. Allen Philanthropies; Caltech trustee Charles Trimble; and the National Science Foundation.
Volvo Trucks to demonstrate Volvo VNR electric trucks in California in 2019; commercialize in NA in 2020
Volvo Trucks will introduce all-electric Volvo VNR regional-haul demonstrators in California next year, operating in distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations. Sales of the VNR Electric in North America will begin in 2020.
The Volvo VNR Electric demonstration units will be based on the proven propulsion and energy storage technology currently being used in the Volvo FE Electric, which Volvo Trucks presented in May and will begin selling in Europe in 2019 (earlier post), and builds on the Volvo Group’s accumulated expertise in electrified transport solutions. Sister company Volvo Buses has sold more than 4,000 electrified buses since 2010.
We are proud to announce the Volvo VNR Electric, designed to support cities focused on sustainable urban development and fleets operating in a range of regional-haul and distribution operations. The Volvo VNR Electric leverages the versatility of the new Volvo VNR series with a proven fully-electric powertrain, and represents a strategic stride toward a comprehensive electrified transport ecosystem. Cities prioritizing sustainable urban development can leverage electrified transport solutions to help improve air quality and reduce traffic noise. Cleaner, quieter, fully-electric commercial transport also creates opportunities for expanded morning and late-night operations, helping cut traffic congestion during peak hours.
—Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America
The Volvo VNR is ideal for applications like heavy urban distribution, drayage and other regional applications where electric trucks will first have the greatest impact. The VNR series has received tremendous industry acceptance since its April 2017 introduction and the addition of an all-electric powertrain provides even greater opportunities to expand its footprint in the regional-haul market.
—Johan Agebrand, Volvo Trucks North America director of product marketing
Introduction of the Volvo VNR Electric models are part of a partnership, known as LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) between the Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has preliminarily awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo LIGHTS project. The Volvo LIGHTS project will involve 16 partners, and will transform freight operations at the facilities of two of the United States’ top trucking fleets.
Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.